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Devion's Views #164

CROSSING THE RUBICON IN CRAZYTOWN (posted Sept. 7, 2018)

Crossing the Rubicon river was an event in 49 B.C. that precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ultimately led to Julius Caesar becoming dictator for life and the rise of the Imperial era of Rome.

Caesar had been appointed to a governorship over a region that ranged from southern Gaul to IIIyricum, but not Italy.

As his term of governorship ended, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome.

He was explicitly ordered not to bring his army across the Rubicon river, which was at that time a northern boundary of Italy.

In January 49 B.C., Caesar brought the 13th legion across the river, which the Roman government considered insurrection, treason, and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate.

Today, the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" is an idiom that means to pass a point of no return.

                                  Why does this story resonate as eery?

As America inches ever-closer to "the point of no return", three recent events spilled into public view:

 - The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best selling author, Bob Woodward's book "Fear - Trump in the White House" (release Sept. 11), exposing the inner workings of Trump's "well oiled machine" as a chaotic and conflicted White House mess.

 - The scathing, anonymous New York Times opinion piece.

Suggesting a palace coup is afoot to "fire" the real-life unstable skipper, Captain Queeg, played by reality star Donald J. Trump (nervous, sleep deprived, a twitching tweeter finger and shouting "who stole memos from my desk? I want names!"

A valid comparison to the make believe, Captain Queeg, the unstable skipper of the U.S.S. Caine, played by movie star Humphrey Bogart (nervously clicking his ball bearings and shouting "who stole the stawberries? I want names!", in the 1954 movie 'The Caine Mutiny'.

 - The rushed Senate confirmation hearing to approve Emperor Crazy Pants' pick to fill the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat with 53-year old, Brett Kavanaugh.

The selection of Judge Kavanaugh is controversial for several reasons.

The most critical, troubling and alarming, to many, are his views on the limits of presidential power.

In past writings, he referenced the famous Nixon interviews series, conducted by British journalist, David Frost, with former President, Richard Nixon.

Frost: "Would you say that there are certain situations where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation, and do something illegal?"

Nixon: "Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal."

Frost: "By definitions?"

Nixon: "Exactly, exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating the law. Otherwise, they're in an impossible position."

Frost: "The point is - the dividing line is the president's judgment?"

Nixon: "Yes, and, so that one does not get the impression that a president can run amok in the country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as CIA's covert operations are concerned, as far as FBI's covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress."

What could this mean, in the opinion of Judge Kavanaugh, should he be confirmed? With Republicans in control of all branches of government, unwilling to exercise the checks on the president (their sworn duty) and should removal from office for competence or the growing number of criminal "indiscretions" reach the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, make removal of the Emperor...unlikely?

Like Nixon, Trump believes, as president, he is sovereign, infallible, above the law and supreme.

Like Caesar, unless he is stopped by elected representatives of the people, he will "cross the Rubicon", to the delight of his mentor/controller/hero, Vlad the Invader, dictators and despots he admires and his hard-core base cheering him on at weekly rallies.

A volcanic tantrum erupted with tirades and noise, triggered by the New York Times piece causing:

1) An ever-growing parade of supplicants "not me, wasn't me, mine fuhrer".

2) Loyalist Rand Paul ranting "Don't trust any of the treacherous deep state actors, haul out the lie detectors and test them all."

3) The Sheriff of Trumpingham ordering his deputies to post the following proclamation in every town square of the Empire:

"Hear Ye, Hear Ye. Your elected Emperor and Commander-in-Chief of everything, offers a fantastic reward for anyone/someone providing names of person or persons responsible for writing the lying New York Times opinion piece.

Anyone/someone withholding knowledge of who these gutless, treasonous conspirators plotting to displace me, your greatest-ever president, will be ferreted out of your hidey-hole by my loyal secret police.

Should you choose to remain silent cowards, then along with the aformentioned scumbags you will be dragged before 'the Emperor's Court of the Manor' and forthwith convicted of treason.

Citizens of my empire, rest assured this is no idle bluff, the 'Emperor's Court of the Manor' will make the 'Inquisition' and the 'Lawless Court' (formally the King's Court of the Manor of King's Hill), resemble paragons of justice."

The world is enduring a modern version of the old Chinese curse "May we live in interesting, unpredictable, perilous times."

Consequently, our government should not be rushed into concluding a trade deal with a frightened, unhinged loose canon.

Much wiser to wait for the fall mid-term election results. In the meantime, best to stall, prevaricate and have patience.

Tick...tick...tick...tick...

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory