Volume 31, Number 1

The Fall of the Rule of Law
Would Mean the Fall of Democracy

Fred Schepartz

I don’t know where to begin.

Actually, that’s a lie. Of course, Giant Baby Man lies all the time. As someone who has had business dealings with him told me years ago, “He’s such a pathological liar, that if you ask him what time it is, he’ll lie just for the practice.”

I know exactly where to begin.

Just the other day, Giant Baby Man proclaimed that Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor should recuse themselves in every case that involves him.

This reminds me of my younger sister, when she was just a little kid, proclaiming, “I call that I get to make all the rules,” as if such a proclamation would make such an absurd notion so.

Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor will do no such thing. They know, unlike Giant Baby Man, that recusal is imperative when there is a compelling conflict of interest. For instance, when one of the parties is, uh, I dunno, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, and they donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the election or reelection of members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court those justices should recuse themselves.

Giant Baby Man claimed that Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor are unfairly biased against him (because everything is so unfair against him; life has been so unfair to him).

Well, if bias in and of itself is a reason for recusal, then there’s a few justices that should recuse themselves as well, but really that’s not the point here.

Giant Baby Man wants to dictate which Supreme Court justices can rule in cases involving him. He wants to choose to disregard the judgement of those who are not marching in lockstep with him. Oh, and I’m sure he hates the idea of a pair of strong women having say over what he can and cannot do.

Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor reacted with strength and courage, just as one would expect.

I just wish more people would show a similar grit when it comes down to determining whether or not the rule of law is to mean anything.

Like I said (lying), I don’t know where to start, but we’ve seen the rule of law attacked at every turn. And make no bones about it. If the rule of law has no meaning, we no longer have a democracy.

Instead we have autocracy. Instead we have oligarchy.

I’m not going to go through the whole litany of attacks on the rule of law because I think I long lost track. Instead, there’s a couple I’d like to focus on briefly.

First, last month Giant Baby Man fired Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. What was his grand offense?

His aide briefed the House Intelligence Committee about a consensus assessment of the CIA, NSA and the FBI that Russian hackers were attempting to not just meddle in this year’s elections, but were making a concerted effort to help Giant Baby Man win reelection.

Apparently, GBM gave Maguire a severe dressing-down before firing him. It was reported that he found the presence of Adam Schiff at the briefing particularly galling.

Maguire’s replacement is Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany. He’s a loyalist with little intelligence experience, demonstrating that having yes-men in place is more important than our national security.

And of course, there’s the whole Roger Stone sentencing fiasco, which reached a new low in the last week of February when, during a hearing on the defense’s motion for a retrial based on allegations of jury misconduct, the courtroom had to be sealed from the press and the public in order to protect jurors due to GBM Tweets that created such an atmosphere of intimidation that one commentary compared it to a mob trial.

Judge Amy Berman was not amused.

“The president of the United States used his Twitter platform to disseminate a particular point of view about a juror,” she said. “Any attempt to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice. ... They deserve to have their privacy protected.”

Indeed. Jury duty is a bedrock component of our judicial system without which, well, there is no rule of law.

And now, as Axios has reported, the Administration is conducting a purge of so-called “Deep State” elements:

“Since Trump's Senate acquittal, aides say the president has crossed a psychological line regarding what he calls the ‘Deep State.’ He feels his government—from Justice to State to Defense to Homeland Security—is filled with ‘snakes.’ He wants them fired and replaced ASAP.”

Among the “network” compiling lists of enemies is the utterly vile Ginni Thomas, wife of Clarence Thomas.

I guess GBM can stand up waving a blank sheet of paper and claim to have a list of known Communists who work at the State Department.

We’ve seen this before, this notion of “if you’re not with me, you’re against me,” but I don’t think we’ve ever seen it take such an extreme, pernicious path, certainly not since the days of HUAC and McCarthyism.

But this is dangerous stuff. The Deep State is a myth, really, the notion of whacked out conspiracy theorists. The term originates in Turkey in the 1990s and involves shadowy government/quasi-governmental entities involved in a secret war against Kurdish insurgents. The term is not meant to define career diplomats, intelligence analysts and civil servants.

Goebbels understood, and GBM understands that if you keep throwing around a particular term in a particular way, you can define its meaning, even if the meaning is incorrect, even if it is a lie.

The autocrat does not view the office as a means of serving the nation. The autocrat sees that nation as serving the office.

As I stated previously, we saw great displays of courage and patriotism on the part of the civil servants who testified during the Impeachment hearings.

But the autocrat is incapable of seeing it that way. They are disloyal. Therefore they are “snakes” that must be purged. The Administration is so hyper-partisan that it is incapable of seeing that these alleged “snakes” are dedicated to the nation they serve. What kind of fool would actually do that?

And how far does this go?

The Administration has actually taken the extreme step of politicizing the coronavirus. Top level medical officials, true experts with lives dedicated to public health have been gagged for speaking inconvenient truth.

And in the case of Dr. Nancy Messonnier, head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, we are actually seeing a medical official denounced as Deep State because she just happens to be Rod Rosenstein’s sister. You see, the impetus for attacking Dr. Messonnier is this insane narrative that the coronavirus is a hoax designed to make GBM look bad, so medical experts are using their position to discredit the Administration.

I guess it’s not enough for this neo-McCarthyism to cost people their jobs; this unwillingness to take action on a looming pandemic may cost people their lives.

It is no secret that there is some pretty heavy-duty pathology at work here. The Giant Baby Man’s ego functions like a massive black hole, sucking in all matter that comes close. It is fueled by a perverse combination of narcissism and deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, the two orbiting around each other in a manner that keeps the black hole spinning. I can only speculate, but was Giant Baby Man’s Daddy an overbearing ogre who could never be pleased?

I don’t know, and I don’t care. If he suffers from psychological pain, I will not shed a tear. I have looked back at Republican Presidents in my lifetime. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush and W—I can come up with redeeming qualities for each of them. GBM, on the other hand, I cannot name a single redeeming quality that he possesses.

Unfortunately, his pain is our pain.

And we need to make it go away.

We the people have the power. It is up to us.


Here we are with a brand new decade. Just a couple quick thoughts. First, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change is now in its fifth decade of publication. That’s the advantage of being founded at the very end of a decade.

Second and much more important, the previous decade was the decade of angry white men. It started with the racist reactionary election of 2010, which subjected Wisconsin to eight years of Scott Walker.

The decade ended with the defeat of Scott Walker and hopefully the end of Giant Baby Man’s reign of error.