Autocracy moves swiftly. It's thrilling. Things happen and they happen fast. It's all about fighting the enemy.

The Facebook whistleblower said: "It’s easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions."

Democracy and due process are dull and slow-moving.
There are rules against prosecutors talking about ongoing investigations for a reason.

Consider how making it easier to imprison people would backfire. The whole point of due process is to slow things down.

Think of it this way . . .

One side wants to speed up the process. They envision a conveyor belt. For much of our history, criminal justice meant putting black men in jail. In autocracies, criminal justice is to put political dissenters in jail. . .
For the past 100 years or so, liberals have worked to reform the system by making it harder, not easier, to put people in jail.

Sorry, this is dated. I included in a book I published several years ago (but I had it handy.)

See the problem?
Me (and others) spent years trying to change a conveyor belt into an obstacle course because the more places along the way there was to prevent an innocent black man from being imprisoned, the more chances we had to keep from going there (or get him out on appeal.)
Over the past, say, 100 years, things have improved enormously, but the criminal justice system is still flawed because (1) it's run by human beings (2) not all people are good people.

It will never be perfect because it can't.

But we want to push it the right direction.
The right direction is the idea I started with.

Criminal punishment = the state, the government, inflicting pain.

There was a time, not long ago, when "justice" was carried out by mobs with pitchforks. (Lynching mobs)
Now I revealed my hand. I spent my career as a criminal defense appellate lawyer.

My practice was limited to indigents. I have never represented anyone who could afford to pay me, or who did pay me.
(California has a right of appeal, so I was paid through the CA budget.)

When I looked at the system and saw problems, I worked to correct them.

I never said, "The system sucks so we should burn it all down."
Prosecutorial discretion is also a pillar of democracy (or an institution).

In autocracies, the autocrat decides.
In the days of lynching, the mob decided.

Now the prosecutor decides.

Trust me on this. . .
During my career as a defense appellate lawyer representing indigents in CA, I rarely liked the decisions made by prosecutors.

OK, I'll it say it directly. I was often appalled.

They don't always do what we like.

But prosecutorial discretion is better than the alternative.
If you're talking about the Jan. 6 select committee, I think they'll meet their deadline of mostly finishing by spring, and entirely by November.

People are holding out the Jan. 6 select committee investigation (the one issuing subpoenas) . . .

. . . as some kind of magic bullet. If the select committee moves faster (they're moving fast) they will save democracy.

Sorry to disappoint you all. This is the magic-bullet theory.

They make a criminal referral. They will issue a report like this:…
The corollary is that if we just quickly put enough people in jail, we can save democracy.

We have a political problem (A dangerous percentage of Americans prefer autocracy)

We have a law enforcement problem.

The criminal justice system can't solve the political problem.
Someone pointed out that big shots are saying subpoenas should have been enforced at midnight (before anyone actually failed to show up for a deposition)

That would have made for some great theater. It would have raised the temperature.

Trump also provided great theater. . .
So many people want to live in Trump's world where we live for the thrill of landing blows on our enemies.

(1) Fascism is about landing blows on the enemy
(2) When "news" becomes a show, what matters is who puts on the best show.

There is no showman better than Trump.
My advice: Don't try to out-Trump Trump.

Don't try to out-fascist the fascists. Then we're no better than they are, and there is no rule-of-law party for people to vote for.

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More from @Teri_Kanefield

12 Oct
My latest for @NBCNewsTHINK

We all know that Trump doesn't do well in court, where facts matter. He'd be well-advised not to try to fight the executive privilege matter in court. Yes, he'll lose. It could also backfire.
It depends on what you mean by "long." (There are some on Twitter who think 3 days is long.)

The election fraud cases went quickly (under a few months)

Delaying these documents even 4 or 5 months wouldn't matter, even if he managed to delay it that long.
Records are duplicative. The select committee is getting plenty of others, which Trump can't even pretend to control.

I think this one could get tossed out on a motion raising the crime-fraud exception, leaving Trump with nothing to appeal. . .
Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
I think this is unproductive. There are procedures to follow. Cool heads should be in charge of the government.

This was how Trump governed: Make everything into who is strongest and toughest, and it was unbecoming.
Certainly, but the last I heard, he said he would defy the subpoena. He wrote a scathing letter.

First, he has to actually not show up for his deposition, right?

Do we imprison people for letters?

Bannon “has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President,” the House panel said in a statement.

When he actually does it, there are procedures.
Read 7 tweets
9 Oct
This is unbecoming behavior.

Make an outrageous statement not based on fact.
When people call it out as wrong, double down.
Finally, assert that following statutory procedure appears "weak."

Yes, the "bad guys" scorn people who follow the laws.
Does that mean we shouldn't?
This plays well with people who have no patience with rule of law. It also converts more people to the "rule of law is tiresome" way of thinking.

I suspect that the Do Something This Minute people will never be satisfied.

Nothing will ever be enough.
A strongman has a lot of appeal.

A strongman can get things done quickly by blowing through the rules. A strongman appeals to people who dislike rule of law.

You see, a lot of people don't actually like democracy.
It's hard, slow-moving, grinding work.
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
I think I'm going to stop for now.

Someone just told me that these reports are "meaningless unless . . . "

The truth is never meaningless.
The idea that a report is meaningless because . . . .because . .. because what? Because Trump is not in prison?

That's not how things work, people.

In fact, it sounds a bit autocratic to me.

I'm about to go on a tear . . .
I'm tired of the word "consequences" and "accountability."

Trump was removed from the White House after trying everything he could to subvert an election.

Investigations are ongoing.

If you want elected leaders who abuse their authority to be held accountable . . .
Read 5 tweets
7 Oct
Reading the Senate Report now on Trump's months-long attempts to subvert the election:…

The attempts involve repeated abuses of presidential power and violations of "longstanding policies" intended to prevent a president from weaponizing the DOJ.

Finding #1: Trump repeatedly asked DOJ leadership to endorse false claims about the election and to assist his efforts to overturn the election.

I seem to recall @RepAdamSchiff warning Congress that if Trump wasn't impeached and removed he'd keep abusing his power.

Finding #2: Mark Meadows similarly "violated longstanding restrictions on White House-DOJ communications about specific law enforcement matters."

Why it matters: In an autocracy, the autocrat decides who to prosecute. Independent prosecutors are a safeguard of democracy.

Read 22 tweets
5 Oct
And what regulations might these be?

*checks a timeline of regulations*

Regulations from this era include the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and our first affirmative action regulations.

"Insane" indeed. Image
Does anyone remember the economy tanking during the time from JFK to Nixon?

(That would be 1963 until 1968 or 1974, depending on how to count "Nixon.") Image
I recommend not arguing with such people. They use the firehose of falsehoods method: throw out lots of garbage and wear people out trying correct errors.

I retweeted because I thought the "insane" comment was interesting.

The hatred of regulations is why they hate government.
Read 4 tweets

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