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Old 07-18-2018, 11:37 AM
Akaj Akaj is offline
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Is Trump, plain and simple, a traitor to his country?

I don't mean a metaphorical traitor to specific values, or to the people who support him (despite the harm that will eventually befall them from his policies).

I mean, is he literally acting on Russia's behalf to undermine the United States?

And, if so, what should happen?
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:45 AM
JB99 JB99 is offline
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Trump is literally a traitor. His goal from the start was to eliminate sanctions on Russia for reasons we can only guess at. He literally refuses to criticise or condemn Russiaís interference in our democracy, and consistently supportís Putinís interests while attacking our allies. Trump is indisputably a traitor to our country.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:47 AM
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Nevermind, I see the question has been asked and answered.

(ETA: Oh, the "what should happen" part wasn't. The penalty for being a traitor should be applied, unless it's the death penalty. In that case just regular old prison.)

Last edited by bobot; 07-18-2018 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:59 AM
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I am not sure about "letter of the law" traitor but I am amazed at both his actions and the faction of people who are so blinded by playing for Team Red that they refuse to see how his interests far exceed his loyalty to our country, our people and the constitution.

I remember rolling my eyes as a kid and young man at my fathers comments about the decline of standards, morals and the greed of politicans. And while I know much of this has existed for a long time, Trump does not even try to hide his corruption.

Maybe his "honesty" is what we need for the next 2 years to wake people up...
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:59 AM
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Well, sure, if he's genuinely a traitor and if I had a magic wand, he'd be instantly and permanently transported to a supermax prison.

But what I hope Dopers will help me explore here is, how do we demonstrate that he's a traitor to those with the power to do something about it, and then what steps should those people take?
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:03 PM
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No, he isn't literally a traitor. He's an idiot who loves authoritarians, and wants to be one.

Frankly, he's probably too dumb to have an informed opinion on the Constitution, so I have a hard time thinking that he is actively betraying it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:04 PM
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by the 50s definition yes …..if you read the old 50s screed "none dare call it treason" a lot of it applies …..
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Akaj View Post
I don't mean a metaphorical traitor to specific values, or to the people who support him (despite the harm that will eventually befall them from his policies).

I mean, is he literally acting on Russia's behalf to undermine the United States?
No. He's not acting on Russia's behalf, and he's not undermining the United States.

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And, if so, what should happen?
Nothing.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:06 PM
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He has financial incentives to cozy up with Russia. He's willing to do that, even when it's not in the interest of the United States. You could call that the actions of a traitor. Not sure the label matters, he's a major asshole and incompetent president.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:07 PM
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No, he isn't literally a traitor. He's an idiot who loves authoritarians, and wants to be one.

Frankly, he's probably too dumb to have an informed opinion on the Constitution, so I have a hard time thinking that he is actively betraying it.
This.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:15 PM
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No. He's not acting on Russia's behalf, and he's not undermining the United States.
I don't think he is deliberately aiding Russia in mounting a takeover of the U.S. But he is definitely taking actions that are more in Russia's interests than the U.S., and he most definitely undermining the United States in his international dealings.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:19 PM
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I don't think he is deliberately aiding Russia in mounting a takeover of the U.S. But he is definitely taking actions that are more in Russia's interests than the U.S., and he most definitely undermining the United States in his international dealings.
I agree a lot with this, but I err toward concluding that incompetence, rather than malevolence, is the reason. I just can't see that incompetence equates to treason.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:19 PM
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This.
No. It isn't that he is too dumb to be a traitor. It is that he doesn't give a flying fuck whether he is a traitor, as long as he gets his. The man is immoral.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:22 PM
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No. It isn't that he is too dumb to be a traitor. It is that he doesn't give a flying fuck whether he is a traitor, as long as he gets his. The man is immoral.
Sure, I can go with that too.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:26 PM
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No. It isn't that he is too dumb to be a traitor. It is that he doesn't give a flying fuck whether he is a traitor, as long as he gets his. The man is immoral.
True -- but if, while "getting his," he boosts the strength of a foreign nation while weakening that of the US, doesn't that make him a traitor? Who cares what his motivation is?
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:30 PM
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Nothing in his life suggests anything other than an entitled, egotistical, narcissist.
He has loyalty only to himself so from his POV he only has to worry about pleasing himself.
For him, the concept of "traitor" is only useful as a label he can apply to others in order to further benefit himself.
I have not the slightest doubt whatsoever that only a quirk of birth and the restrictions of a democratic society have prevented him from becoming a gold-plating, harem-hoarding, dissenter-torturing dictator.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:31 PM
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True -- but if, while "getting his," he boosts the strength of a foreign nation while weakening that of the US, doesn't that make him a traitor? Who cares what his motivation is?
I was just disagreeing with the idea that he is too stupid to be a traitor. He is a traitor...but if nothing is done about it(and nothing will be done) he doesn't, and has no need to, care about it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:36 PM
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No, he isn't a traitor. But plain and simple is a good description of him.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:43 PM
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YES

That's as plain and simple as it gets.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:47 PM
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I was just disagreeing with the idea that he is too stupid to be a traitor. He is a traitor...but if nothing is done about it(and nothing will be done) he doesn't, and has no need to, care about it.
Why will nothing be done?

The farce in Finland pretty clearly demonstrates where his interests lie. The Mueller probe may yet connect the dots. Faced with impossible-to-refute evidence of actual treason, will congress truly do nothing?
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:47 PM
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No. He's not acting on Russia's behalf, and he's not undermining the United States.
Weird that you don't think alienating your allies and destroying your state department doesn't undermine your country. What effect will these things have, if not serve to undermine your country?
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:48 PM
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Why will nothing be done?

The farce in Finland pretty clearly demonstrates where his interests lie. The Mueller probe may yet connect the dots. Faced with impossible-to-refute evidence of actual treason, will congress truly do nothing?
Not "truly", no. They'll do nothing, but they'll lie about it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:53 PM
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'Traitor' is, like 'terrorist', a word whose applicability, barring some real indisputable, grand and sinister behavior, is in the eye of the beholder, and is mostly meaningless. 'Traitor' is a marketing strategy, not a meaningful descriptor.

Is Trump a traitor? Who knows? Who cares. Has he engaged in actions that are unadmirable, underhanded, and dishonest, at the expense of his fellow citizens? Yes. Has he done so in collaboration with people from other countries? Most likely.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:54 PM
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How has he helped Russia out at all? Not only have the sanctions not been lifted, but new ones have been imposed. He just had a meeting with NATO where he demanded the other nations spend more money on defense to counteract Russia. He has also tried to get OPEC to lower the price of oil which the economy of Russia depends on.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:00 PM
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I agree a lot with this, but I err toward concluding that incompetence, rather than malevolence, is the reason. I just can't see that incompetence equates to treason.
I do wonder if he was raised, guided and made who he is for this purpose. He doesn't even seem to have a complete vocabulary, like certain aspects of a free mind was denied to him in terms that the language one uses relates to how they view their reality.

If so I don't know if it is treason, as this is all he ever knew how to do and thus not something he ever had a choice on.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:02 PM
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How has he helped Russia out at all? Not only have the sanctions not been lifted, but new ones have been imposed. He just had a meeting with NATO where he demanded the other nations spend more money on defense to counteract Russia. He has also tried to get OPEC to lower the price of oil which the economy of Russia depends on.
Trump only signed the sanctions bill because Congress would have overwhelmingly overridden his veto. And he's pushing to re-admit Russia to the G7.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:04 PM
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How has he helped Russia out at all? Not only have the sanctions not been lifted, but new ones have been imposed. He just had a meeting with NATO where he demanded the other nations spend more money on defense to counteract Russia. He has also tried to get OPEC to lower the price of oil which the economy of Russia depends on.
He said some really dumb things. And then said even dumber things while trying to explain the dumb things he originally said.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:05 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Is Trump, plain and simple, a traitor to his country?

Well, let's look at the definition:

Quote:
1 : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2 : one who commits treason
Etymology:
Quote:
Middle English traytour, from Anglo-French traitre, from Latin traditor, from tradere to hand over, deliver, betray, from trans-, tra- trans- + dare to give
I'm going to go with the word having more to do with the general notion of betrayal than the specific crime of treason.

And in that sense, hell yes. He's playing for the other team, he is undermining America's interests around the world, and he's undermining Americans' interests here at home. He's a traitor.

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  #29  
Old 07-18-2018, 01:06 PM
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Not a traitor - sadly he's just a moron.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:16 PM
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Trump is an idiot, a crook, a terrible President, and a horrible human being. But I don't think he's technically a traitor.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:18 PM
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How has he helped Russia out at all? Not only have the sanctions not been lifted, but new ones have been imposed. He just had a meeting with NATO where he demanded the other nations spend more money on defense to counteract Russia. He has also tried to get OPEC to lower the price of oil which the economy of Russia depends on.
None of this proves anything. It's easy to argue that Trump is trying to be a traitor and failing to do a good job at it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:28 PM
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Can someone define, specifically, what they believe it means to be a traitor?

And if the answer involves "United States' interests," can you also define specifically what those interests are?

For example, were the Vietnam War protestors "traitors?"
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:30 PM
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Can someone define, specifically, what they believe it means to be a traitor?

And if the answer involves "United States' interests," can you also define specifically what those interests are?

For example, were the Vietnam War protestors "traitors?"
Why don't you tell us what you think it means and then tell us whether or not Trump fits your definition? I'm sure we'd all be curious to know what you actually think about something and not about the legal aspects of something for once.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 07-18-2018 at 01:31 PM.
  #34  
Old 07-18-2018, 01:31 PM
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Most likely he's a stupid man that would like to be a dictator like Putin/Erdogan/Duterte and is being manipulated into betraying American values. He, of course, doesn't care about America other than what he can con out of it.

However, actively trying to undermine the US is consistent with the evidence we have at hand. Now, I don't think he has any ideological reason to want to destroy American. I'm sure he'd throw the US under the bus if it advanced personal goal.

So, my vote is for not a traitor.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:37 PM
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None of this proves anything. It's easy to argue that Trump is trying to be a traitor and failing to do a good job at it.
I personally believe he's trying to extract himself from billions of dollars of debt, and that the treason-ish behavior is a by-product.

He isn't a traitor in the sense of someone who believes his country is wrong and actively works to advance an enemy's interest. That would require intellect and some degree of warped integrity. But if someone's personal issues and weaknesses lead him to advance an enemy's agenda at the expense of his own nation's well-being, what else can you call it?

And, as far as what he's actually done to help Russia -- who knows what he and Putin discussed during their private, one-on-one meeting before his pathetic speech Monday?
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:50 PM
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Is an unwitting traitor - a dupe, a stooge, a patsy - still a "traitor"? Does his intent count? I don't think he is intentionally betraying the country, but he's really too stupid to know he's being played.

He's likely of the mindset that whatever is good for Trump is, by definition, good for the country.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:51 PM
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Why don't you tell us what you think it means and then tell us whether or not Trump fits your definition? I'm sure we'd all be curious to know what you actually think about something and not about the legal aspects of something for once.
I'm not especially curious to know what he thinks.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:53 PM
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Does being a traitor require a conscious effort to act against the best interests of the US? Can you accidentally be traitor, or does that just make you clueless? If I drop something containing national secrets, and an agent of a foreign power picks it up, am I a traitor, or am I careless?

I don't think Trump has ever thought "I want Russia to gain power/knowledge/leverage over the US", but I also don't thing he has ever thought "Will this action hurt/help anyone other than me?"

Last edited by Tastes of Chocolate; 07-18-2018 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Snarky Kong beat me to it.
  #39  
Old 07-18-2018, 02:00 PM
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I don't think Trump has ever thought "I want Russia to gain power/knowledge/leverage over the US", but I also don't think he has ever thought "Will this action hurt/help anyone other than me?"
My exact thoughts.

But now, on to the sentencing phase ... what happens when known facts (a Mueller probe, say, or another unexpected revelation) demonstrate that our president is a bumbling, accidental traitor? Someone who may not have set out to betray his country, but who by putting his own interests above the nation's gave traitorous advantages to an enemy?
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:03 PM
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Can someone define, specifically, what they believe it means to be a traitor?

And if the answer involves "United States' interests," can you also define specifically what those interests are?

For example, were the Vietnam War protestors "traitors?"
I would say it's in the U.S.'s interests to prevent adversaries from interfering in our elections.

And that the POTUS refusing in the face of good evidence to accept that such interference has occurred works against those interests.

I don't know whether what Trump has done rises to the level of traitorous. But it's laughable to compare it with citizens protesting a war.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:12 PM
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He's actively, deliberately ignorant, with profound narcissism functioning as a mental impairment. He has no ideology, no philosophy, no core than self-gratification. Such a person could be a "traitor," but I don't think it's really particularly productive to get into dictionary pissing contests over it. He's harmful and his only concerns are his own fame and assets.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:13 PM
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Why don't you tell us what you think it means and then tell us whether or not Trump fits your definition? I'm sure we'd all be curious to know what you actually think about something and not about the legal aspects of something for once.
I am willing to bet Bricker has Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution ready to deploy:

Quote:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

SOURCE: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiii
By definition a traitor is a person who commits treason so in the US the above is the answer to, "What it means to be a traitor." (At least legally...rhetorically it is whatever you want it to be.)

The trick then is to define what constitutes an "enemy" to the US and what constitutes "aid and comfort" for this purpose.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:14 PM
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None of this proves anything. It's easy to argue that Trump is trying to be a traitor and failing to do a good job at it.
It would be just as easy to argue that FDR was working for Hitler and was just really bad at it.
In order to even entertain such crazy notions one should be able to point to actions which he has taken that advance the interests of Russia at the expense of American interests, the fact that no one has should show you this is just another crazy conspiracy theory.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM
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Perhaps "Treason" is a better word? Traitor has multiple connotations and baggage. Treason is helping the enemy.

Russia is an enemy. Maybe an enemy that we can do business with, and co-exist with, but still an enemy.

Trump just spent the past week publicly driving a wedge into the NATO alliance, calling into question the base tenet of NATO mutual defense, and on a global stage declared support for Putin over the US intelligence community. Treason seems to be a fair summation.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM
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In order to even entertain such crazy notions one should be able to point to actions which he has taken that advance the interests of Russia at the expense of American interests, the fact that no one has should show you this is just another crazy conspiracy theory.
Accepting Russia's aid to win the election (if demonstrated to be true) was arguably an act of treason all by itself. Would an enemy really offer such aid without a quid-pro-quo?

Even if Putin's only real goal was to install the biggest idiot possible in the White House, Trump has fulfilled his wildest dreams.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:27 PM
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I personally believe he's trying to extract himself from billions of dollars of debt, and that the treason-ish behavior is a by-product.

He isn't a traitor in the sense of someone who believes his country is wrong and actively works to advance an enemy's interest. That would require intellect and some degree of warped integrity. But if someone's personal issues and weaknesses lead him to advance an enemy's agenda at the expense of his own nation's well-being, what else can you call it?

And, as far as what he's actually done to help Russia -- who knows what he and Putin discussed during their private, one-on-one meeting before his pathetic speech Monday?
Trump is like a government worker with gambling debts in the bad old days, who could be subject to blackmail. Or who had some "morals" problem. Is it easier to go along with the person who knows my secret or suffer the consequences. His empire would fall apart if the banks under Putin's control called his loans. I bet that is more of a factor than the piss tape.
He is stupid, yes, or more accurately does not have enough attention span to read an entire intelligence briefing, but you don't know a PhD from Georgetown to know the value of NATO and that Canadians are better friends of the US than Russians.
Traitor? Maybe not. Traitorous. Definitely.
  #47  
Old 07-18-2018, 02:33 PM
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Perhaps "Treason" is a better word? Traitor has multiple connotations and baggage. Treason is helping the enemy.
Maybe we could use definition #1 but definition #2 is the one with possible legal consequences.

Quote:
Definition of traitor
1 : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2 : one who commits treason

SOURCE: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/traitor
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Can someone define, specifically, what they believe it means to be a traitor?

And if the answer involves "United States' interests," can you also define specifically what those interests are?

For example, were the Vietnam War protestors "traitors?"
Well, just talking about my gut interpretation, and not about the letter of any law, treason consists of attempting to subvert or undermine your country's government and/or national interests; taking actions which have the predictable result of making your country subservient to a foreign power.

I could certainly offer a definition of national interests, but I don't believe it's possible to arrive at any definition that would be universally agreed upon.

I would hope we could nearly universally agree that secretly accepting aid from foreign intelligence agents to gain an advantage in your political campaign, in exchange for agreeing to allow those agents to dictate foreign policy once you are elected, is acting against the national interest.

WRT Vietnam, the vast majority of both the people who believed it was important for our country to demonstrate resolve against Communism and the people who believed that the war was bankrupting us, killing our sons for no useful purpose, and degrading our moral stature were sincerely trying to uphold the national interest as they understood it, and thus were not traitors. Even if their methods of protest involved violent crimes, that would not necessarily make them traitors.

There was a tiny minority of people who wanted to foment a violent Communist revolution, and viewed participation in war protests as a means to that end. I would say they could fairly be considered traitors, and if they were actually knowingly receiving advice, direction and/or financial support from agents of a foreign government, then definitely traitors.
  #49  
Old 07-18-2018, 02:38 PM
Whack-a-Mole's Avatar
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
It would be just as easy to argue that FDR was working for Hitler and was just really bad at it.
In order to even entertain such crazy notions one should be able to point to actions which he has taken that advance the interests of Russia at the expense of American interests, the fact that no one has should show you this is just another crazy conspiracy theory.
I would suggest weakening the US relationship with NATO (which Trump did) and the US starting a trade war among its closest trading partners (which Trump seems to be trying to do) are definitely in the best interests of Russia.

Not to mention further polarizing the US electorate and undermining the media (which Trump does practically daily). All great destabilizing things Russia likes to see (they worked towards that goal after all).

More concretely Trump opposed sanctions against Russia.
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Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 07-18-2018 at 02:38 PM.
  #50  
Old 07-18-2018, 02:41 PM
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Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
It would be just as easy to argue that FDR was working for Hitler and was just really bad at it.
In order to even entertain such crazy notions one should be able to point to actions which he has taken that advance the interests of Russia at the expense of American interests, the fact that no one has should show you this is just another crazy conspiracy theory.
The news conference where he threw over his own country's security analysts to support Putin was just a couple of days ago! You might find it easy to argue that FDR was working for Hitler, but anyone with actual respect for and knowledge of history wouldn't support such a weak argument.
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