Words Have Meanings so Stop Using Treason

In the wake of the revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, the already unhinged promoters of the RussiaGate ruse are amping their rhetoric up even further, if that is even possible. I am frequently seeing the charge of “treason” and “traitor” casually tossed around. The problem for the RussiaGate hysterics is that treason has a precise definition in the U.S. Constitution, and neither Don Jr. nor anyone else associated with this come anywhere close to meeting it.

The Constitution specifically defines treason. The Framers did this in order to avoid the abuse of the charge that they considered too prevalent under the Crown. (Perhaps anti-Trumpers should consider what company they are placing themselves in with their reckless rhetoric.) According to the Article III, Section 3 treason is defined as:

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.

Words have meanings, and if we are going to attempt to have a civil discourse in this country about our political differences, these meanings should be respected and loaded words should not be used as casual slurs. (It is likely given the current manifestations of the left and the Democrat Party too much credit to assume they actually want a civil debate, but bear with me for the sake of the argument.) I say this not just about treason which has a precise definition but also terms like Nazi and (F)fascist, which the left also tosses around casually as slurs, despite these words having real meanings and historical contexts that make their use in the modern American political scene almost always inaccurate. And for the record, I also counsel my fellow rightists against the casual use of the word (C)communist which accurately applies to very few people in the modern American political milieu.

With regard to treason, for starters, there is a debate about whether the charge requires a declared enemy, which, as I pointed out in my last essay, America has none. Historical precedent would suggest that at least for the first clause, levying war, it does not, as the treason case against Aaron Burr illustrates. But with regard to the second clause, adhering to their enemies and giving them aid and comfort, it is arguable that an actual declared enemy is necessary. It is perhaps illustrative that the Rosenbergs, for example, were charged with espionage and not Article III treason during a time when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were not on friendly terms, but the USSR was not an official declared enemy. Since the necessity of a declared enemy is not in the Constitution’s text per se, I find it ironic that a lot of anti-Trumpers who are arguing that treason is a justified charge here have suddenly become strict textualists. Liberals are certainly not textualists when they are scouring the penumbra for this or that right. (Thanks to Dr. Kevin Gutzman for his help with this issue.)

There is a debate about whether, even if the RussiaGater’s spin on the event is true, Don Jr. even broke any law at all. Do the anti-Trump hysterics really want to go to the mat over an issue where one credible interpretation is that no law was even broken and the other end is that he is guilty of a capital offense? This sort of absurd escalation just makes them look silly. And then they wonder why Americans are growing tired of the liberal media’s constant Russia obsession.

Are there really any RussiaGate conspiracy theorists who actually believe some prosecutor will bring a charge of treason against Don Jr.? If so, do you want to place a little wager on it? Since I seriously doubt I will have many takers, casually tossing around the charge of treason is not credible legally speaking. It is simply a slur that is poisoning the debate. You would think that liberals of all people, if that term has any real meaning in America anymore, would be sensitive to the use of such charges to quash dissent.

It is clear that the RussiaGate conspiracists are not truly motivated by a genuine concern over foreign interference in our election. They are just anti-Trump. It is known that Britain, Estonia, and Ukraine attempted to aid the Hillary campaign with dirt on Trump. Where is the similar outrage about this? Anti-Trumpers paid a former (?) British spy to compile a dossier against Trump collected from foreign sources. Far from decrying this in the same way they are the alleged Trump Russia connection, by and large the same crowd that is hyping the Russian conspiracy were giddy with excitement about the potential contents of the dossier. So please spare me your feigned concerns about foreign interference. Your real concern is and always has been that your insider candidate was beaten by an outsider political novice, and you can’t get over it.

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Russia is not Our Enemy

The Twitterverse and the rest of social media are abuzz with hysteria about Russia in light of the recent revelations regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian national who claimed to be in possession of some incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. Words frequently used by the anti-Trump Russian conspiracy mongers to describe Russia include “enemy,” “hostile,” “adversary,” etc. There is just one problem with this. It is not an accurate characterization of Russia or our relationship with her.

For the record, the U.S. currently has no declared enemies. Not one. The fact that we are at war in one country and are aiding one side in a civil war in another yet have no declared enemies should give one pause, but that is for a separate essay. The U.S has (way too many) countries that are treaty allies, and countries that are not treaty allies, but we have no declared enemies. People who irresponsibly describe Russia as an enemy of the U.S. need to produce the declaration of such or retract their slander.

What Russia is is an impediment to Davos uber alles globalism, and that is what this whole “RussiaGate” ruse is really all about. The Davosian hegemonists seek to portray Russia as the enemy and maintain tensions between the two great nuclear powers because it serves their ends. A nationalist Russia and a newly nationalists “America first” United States getting along is the stuff of Davos Man, whose primary loyalty is not to his nation but to the “liberal world order” that enriches him, nightmares. That so many rank and file Democrats and liberals have allowed themselves to become useful idiots for elite hegemonists does not speak well of their judgement.

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It’s Time for a Rant about this Trump/Russia Foolishness!

Every now and then a situation calls for a good rant. This Russia/Trump nonsense is one of them, so here goes.

Here is what really bugs the heck out of me about the Russia/Trump narrative being pushed by the liberal “mainstream” media and the legion of hysterical anti-Trumpers, both liberal and “conservative” Never Trumpers, on social media. If the situation was reversed, and Hillary had won and Republicans and Trump supporters were claiming that Russia stole the election for Hillary, their claims would not be taken at all seriously by the media or this chorus of newly minted Red Baiters that is currently hyperventilating about Russia. Those pushing the theory would be derided and mocked as sore loser conspiracy theorists and told to get over it and move on. Their allegations and assertions would be hand waved away and simply scoffed at, AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT. Fox News would not even cover the story. Coverage would be relegated to places like World Net Daily (WND) and InfoWars.

Hillary Clinton engaged in an open and obvious pay to play scheme through the Clinton Foundation, yet I’m supposed to believe that all these people now crying about Russia really care about foreign interference in our politics? Give me a break. Were they equally as vocal about the Clinton Foundation? If not, then please shut up about Russia. You have no credibility.

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Donald Trump’s Syria Problem

Donald Trump responded to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by lobbing some missiles at the Syrian airbase from which the gas attack was allegedly launched. Some have described it as a fireworks display intended more as a message than a serious military strike, but that fireworks display was quickly rivaled by the fireworks that erupted on social media among Trump supporters following the strike. Opinions were decidedly mixed between those who enthusiastically supported the strike and those who saw it as a betrayal of Trump’s promise for a more America first foreign policy with very little middle ground in between.

Many of Trump’s more “regular” Republican supporters saw the strike as evidence that a “new sheriff is in town.” In their minds Trump demonstrated with the airstrike that he will not be pushed around unlike President Obama who they perceived as “weak” on foreign policy. On the other hand, many of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters were extremely disappointed with Trump’s decision and were not shy about saying so. For example, Anne Coulter, who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Trump, expressed her dismay in no uncertain terms. Paul Joseph Watson of InfoWars announced that he was now off the Trump Train.

So what explains this dichotomy of opinions? As I have explained elsewhere (see here and here), while Trump campaigned on a foreign policy agenda that was atypical for a Republican, especially if you were sensitive to nuance, the majority of rank and file Republican voters remain at least somewhat hawkish on foreign policy. While the average GOP voters is not nearly as Wilsonian as are the neocon talking heads that are so often trotted out to speak on foreign policy for Republicans and “conservatives,” they still reflexively believe that the U.S. should have an outsized role on the world stage such that “punishing dictators” is the purview of a U.S. President and the U.S. military. Decades of catechization on the matter are hard to overcome overnight. What Trump’s campaign demonstrated is that these same hawkish voters will tolerate and even applaud an America first foreign policy message that acknowledges the mistakes of the past such as Iraq, but it would be a mistake to assume that they took Trump’s invocation of America first as a wholesale change in direction.

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The Bombing of Syria Was Not 3D Chess

This article was originally published at Lew Rockwell on 14 April 17.

During the campaign, a lot of enthusiastic Donald Trump supporters would claim, when the wisdom of his tactics was questioned, that Trump was playing 3D chess while Hillary Clinton and her sycophants in the mainstream media were playing 2D chess or even checkers. While I never doubted Trump’s powers of persuasion, I generally avoided the 3D chess claim, because I was, quite frankly, torn between whether he was a genius who was several steps ahead of the game or whether he was just the right guy at the right time who was making it up as he went along. I won’t swear that I never made the 3D chess claim in some moment of enthusiasm, lest someone dig it up, but I was never sold on the idea that that is what we were witnessing. My hunch was always that he was the right man at the right time who was flying by the seat of his pants and succeeding by the sheer force of his personality.

The problem with the 3D chess claim is that, like a conspiracy theory, it is difficult to falsify. The claim that Trump has made a misstep can always be chalked up to us not really understanding the depths of his machinations. This framework can potentially paper over and serve as a justification for actual missteps, the same way evidence of the non-existence of a particular conspiracy serves as more confirmation of its existence in the minds of certain individuals.

Trump’s decision to launch missiles at Syria in response to very questionable reports that the Assad regime used chemical weapons has caused great consternation among some of Trump’s previously most supportive base. For many of Trump’s most intense base, his promise of a more “America first” foreign policy that eschews regime change and pledges less international meddling was one of the, if not the, primary reason they supported him and viewed him as a genuine alternative to the status quo.

Read more at Lew Rockwell…

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Georgia Republican Delegation Responds to Airstrikes on Syria

We could do this for any state, but here are reactions from Georgia’s two Republican Senators and four Georgia Republican Congressmen. I picked Georgia because that’s where I’m from, and because I just stumbled on this article at a site I sometimes visit that focuses on Georgia politics. Depressingly, the responses are all supportive.

It is disappointing and telling that not a single one questioned whether or not the gas attack was a false flag and whether Assad was really behind it. Why do they believe Assad was behind it? Because the always reliable MSM tells them so? Because our intelligence agencies, who were openly engaged in a soft coup attempt against President Trump, tell them so?

And even if we knew with 100% certainty that Assad did it, it is the U.S.’s business to “punish” that why? Are we the world’s daddy? Where is that in the Constitution?

Have Republican learned nothing on the foreign policy issue? Bombing Syria is not the America first foreign policy I was promised and voted for.

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Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) on Syria Strikes

Sorry this is a little delinquent, but we are rounding things up on the Syria issue from around the net. This is Jones’ official statement via Antiwar.com. Jones is one of the few good’uns in Congress.

“Regardless of the circumstances, no American president has the constitutional right to commit acts of war against a sovereign nation without approval from Congress,” said Congressman Jones. “As clearly stated in the Constitution, Congress has the sole power to declare war. This is a dangerous precedent for the president to set for the new administration.”

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