Teri Kanefield+ Your Authors @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Sep. 15, 2019 5 min read + Your Authors

(Thread) Creating Pain and Destruction

Jim asks if all the @LindsayGrahamSC noise about the FISA warrants and arresting the Trump Russia investigators is a concern or a grand distraction.

It’s a concern.
It arises from a reactionary desire to destroy.

1/ Consider a few of the Trump-FOX-GOP policies:

💠Repeal the ACA
💠Warm the globe
💠Destroy the environment for corporate profit
💠Jail those who investigated Trump Russia
💠Manufacture a border crisis / take steps to make the border crisis worse⤵️

2/ Notice that each of those policies:

💠Deliberately inflict pain on people
💠Cause massive destruction
💠Put money into the pockets of would-be oligarchs
💠All the above.

There's a method to the madness, best understood in the context of reactionary politics.

3/ Reactionism is a “forceful desire to return to the past.”  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/pops.12540 

Underlying reactionism is “anger, fear, nostalgic hope, betrayal, and perceived injustice.”

The word “again” in “MAGA” signals reactionist politics.

For more, see⤵️

4/ MAGA means take us back to the days when (white) men had much "personal liberty."

💠They could grab women⤵️

💠They could grab land (the frontier!)
💠Before regulatory agencies they could manipulate markets, fix prices, launder money, and pollute rivers

5/🎶Those were the days🎶

Recall that when David Koch was the Libertarian Party 1980 vice presidential candidate, he advocated abolishing (among other things) the FBI, CIA, and IRS.  https://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/16/arts/man-without-a-candidate.html 

To return to the "good old days" you must dismantle all those agencies.

6/ The FISA attacks can be seen as an attempt to dismantle the FBI as an independent agency and bring it under the control of Donald Trump.

@AshaRangappa_ has tirelessly explained why the GOP attacks on the FISA warrant are nonsense. See, for example:

7/ Comey said the accusations against the FBI are “dumb lies.”  https://beta.washingtonpost.com/opinions/james-comey-no-treason-no-coup-just-lies--and-dumb-lies-at-that/2019/05/28/45f8d802-8175-11e9-bce7-40b4105f7ca0_story.html 

Why are @LindseyGrahamSC and pals lying?

Because the lies are destructive.

I wrote about why Trump supporters pretend to believe his lies in this Slate article⤵️  https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/trump-lies-kavanaugh-khashoggi.html 

8/ From @ddale8⤵️ Trump supporters argue that the lies point out an important truth, and they care about the deeper truth.

The lie—“the warrant was illegal”—points to a deeper truth: The existence of the FBI is a threat to their “individual liberty.”

9/ They think the Trump campaign should have been able to do what ever it wanted. How dare the government regulate them? Let’s go back to the good old days before pesky government agencies!

What we call legal surveilling with a warrant, they call “spying.”

10/ If you want back in time when (white) men were "free" you can dismantle the government with its alphabet soup of agencies slowly or bring in a wrecking ball.

A wrecking ball (Trump) is more efficient.

(Much of the nostalgia is for a mythic era, but that's an other thread)

11/ Now consider how much human pain is inflicted by policies like repealing the ACA and polluting water.

Timothy Snyder calls it Sadopopulism.
See:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOjJtEkKMX4 

Sadopopulism explains how oligarchs—those who seek both power and wealth—seize power and stay in power.

12/ SadoPopulism comes from Russia. It was perfected by Putin and is now being used by America’s far right wing, brought to you by people like Steve Bannon.

Sadopopulism is simple: Enact policies that cause pain, turn the pain into anger, and direct the anger against "enemies."

13/ For example, create a border crisis and then direct the rage against “those” people who are coming to take what belongs to "real" Americans.

Meanwhile the would-be oligarchs are enriching themselves through tax cuts and policies that allow them to pollute rivers for profit.

14/ See how the cycle works? Soon polluted rivers or global warming will create more pain, which can be turned to anger.

A leader like Obama tried to make life better for average Americans.

Would-be oligarchs can’t do that.
If they do, others can rise and challenge their power.

15/ You might say, “In trying to create an oligarchy, they’re not trying to take us BACKWARD! We’ve never had oligarchy before! They’re a criminal enterprise taking us someplace entirely new and scary.”

Ding. Ding. Ding.🛎️

We've had two oligarchies in the U.S. so far.

16/ The first oligarchy was slavery, when wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy slaveowners.

Because of the advantages in the electoral college and the 3/5 rule, those who were pro-slavery held disproportionate power and wealth in America.

17/ Thus the majority of our early presidents were pro-slavery. By the time of Dred Scott, the Supreme Court was stuffed with pro-slavery justices.

The Civil War ended slavery, but soon came the rise of robber barons and a second oligarchy.


18/ The New Deal got us out of the age of robber barons.

We are now experiencing our third slide into oligarchy.
GOP policies have created today's income inequality, which is approaching what we had in the 1920s👇

OK, so, how do we get out of this third oligarchy?

19/ FDR taught us how⤵️

There are 2 ways to respond to the current reactionist politics of destruction and sadism.

💠Fight fire with fire, or

💠Work to stabilize our institutions while we remove the reactionaries from power through legal means.

20/Guess which I think is best? See👇

Democracy is grinding work
Checks and balances slow the pace
Due process takes time

Autocrats aren't hampered by any of that, so they can move quickly.

The ability of autocrats to move quickly explains their appeal.

Check out what's happening now in Georgia.  https://www.npr.org/2019/08/15/751419405/judge-denies-request-to-scrap-georgias-outdated-electronic-voting-machines-for-2 

When a doomsayer says, "Nobody is doing anything; everyone is complicit," ask that person, "What are you doing personally to strengthen democracy?"

Spreading panic doesn't count, and in fact, helps Trump.

All my threads are also blog posts. You can read this one here:  https://terikanefield-blog.com/creating-pain-and-destruction/ 

I also post now to an Author Facebook page, for people who still prefer Facebook.


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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