Saturday, March 04, 2023

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As NBC News reports

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz sprung onto the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference and took a victory lap after federal authorities recently informed him that he would not be charged in a sex trafficking investigation.

 “If you don’t mind me saying so, I think vindication looks pretty good on me!” Gaetz said to a cheering crowd.....

 Minutes later, Gaetz, now serving on the select committee investigating the so-called weaponization of the federal government, suggested eliminating federal investigative agencies.

 “I don’t care if it takes every second of our time and every ounce of our energy, we either get this government back on our side or we defund, get rid of, abolish the FBI CDC, ATF,” Gaetz said to applause.

Gaetz had been under investigation for underage sex trafficking allegations that looked at his role in a larger scheme that led to the sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.

The core of that investigation included testimony from a former Gaetz associate, Joel Greenberg. Greenberg previously pleaded guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official, and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of his plea agreement.

You would think that Gaetz would be appreciative that the Department of Justice helped him dodge a bullet by declining to prosecute him. Yet, moments before gloating

Gaetz, now serving on the select committee investigating the so-called weaponization of the federal government, suggested eliminating federal investigative agencies.

“I don’t care if it takes every second of our time and every ounce of our energy, we either get this government back on our side or we defund, get rid of, abolish the FBI CDC, ATF,” Gaetz said to applause.


At first thought, Gaetz could seem like a reckless libertarian eager to demolish federal law enforcement. However, he's signaling what Republicans such as Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, by far the two individuals most likely to be the next GOP presidential nominee, would do if they became President. They would be determined to bring federal law enforcement agencies- and local and state police forces- to heel.

This would be the thrust of a Trump or DeSantis presidency, and the Florida governor recently

endorsed the revival of a Trump-era initiative aimed at stripping tens of thousands of federal employees of their civil service protections....

In October 2020, Trump signed an executive order establishing a new Schedule F job classification within the federal government’s excepted service for federal workers in policy-related jobs that would exempt their positions from most civil service rules. The edict ordered agencies to identify positions that would qualify for the new job category and convert employees in those jobs to Schedule F, effectively making them at-will employees.

So it's not only law enforcement that would be brought to heel but the entire federal government, which would be mobilized to enforce the will of the President and consolidate his power. Within the four years of the presidential term, an authoritarian state would be the favorite to overtake the representative democracy of the last two-and-a-half centuries. 

When he says the GOP would bring federal law enforcement agencies "to heel," it might not meet the dictionary definition of "fascism."  But it's awfully close.

 

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