US presidents can become a modern Julius Caesar?

By Alex P. Vidal

“What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also.”—Julius Caesar

I CAME, I saw, I conquered Circa 2024?

With the controversial new US Supreme Court ruling, American presidents—Joseph “Joe” Biden, Donald Trump (if luck would bring him back to the White House after the November election), and those after them can become a modern Julius Caesar.

Touted as one of the greatest military strategists, conquerors, and leaders in world history, Caesar, 55, carried an awesome power as Roman emperor who conquered the vast region of Gaul.

Born on July 100 B.C. in Suburra, Italy, Caesar helped initiate the end of the Roman Republic when he became dictator of the Roman Empire.

In 46 B.C. he was made dictator of Rome for ten years, outraging his political opponents and setting the stage for the eventual end of the Roman Republic.

Caesar began making several drastic reforms to benefit Rome’s lower- and middle class, including: regulating the distribution of subsidized grain; increasing the size of the Senate to represent more people; reducing government debt; supporting military veterans; granting Roman citizenship to people in Rome’s far-flung territories; reforming the Roman tax codes; creating the Julian calendar.

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Despite Caesar’s brilliant military prowess, political skills and popularity with Rome’s lower- and middle-class, his rule was cut short when opponents—threatened by his rising power—brutally assassinated him on March 15, 44 B.C.

According to History, Caesar declared himself dictator for life in 44 B.C. However, his crusade for absolute power didn’t go over well with many Roman politicians. Fearing he would become king, a group of senators conspired to end his life.

On the Ides of March (March 15, 44 B.C.), the History added, the senators, led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, stabbed Caesar 23 times, ending both his reign and his life as he fell bleeding onto the Senate floor at the feet of a statue of Pompey.

The History said Caesar’s assassination at age 55 made him a martyr and incited a cycle of civil wars resulting in the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise to power of his grandnephew and heir Gaius Octavius (Octavian)—later known as Augustus Caesar—to emperor of the Roman Empire.

The US Supreme Court’s historic 6-3 ruling effectively strips out key parts of an indictment against former President Trump for allegedly conspiring to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Trump’s “win” was made possible after six conservative-leaning justices signed the majority opinion, although the three liberals dissented, expressing “fear for our democracy” and issued a blistering dissent to the 6-3 US Supreme Court decision granting Mr. Trump partial immunity from prosecution.

The three liberal justices warned that it will allow presidential power to be used “for evil ends”.

While one legal expert claimed this was not simply a case of “fear-mongering”, President Joe Biden similarly warned of a “dangerous precedent.”

According to BBC, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, leading the liberals, outlined hypothetical situations where the concept of immunity could apply.

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival?” she wrote. “Immune.”

“Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

“Even if these nightmare scenarios never play out, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

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I received an email from New York Governor Kathy Hochul, which she also sent to other New Yorkers at 6:18 in the evening July 2.

Alex, Summer is here and New York is ready! As young people stream out of school and into summer activities, we’re continuing the good work we’ve done in building a state that serves our families and protects our kids.

New York in the summertime is too beautiful and goes by too fast for our kids to be inside on their phones. This week, we kicked off a campaign to get our kids active and make summer memories outside, with free swimming at State parks and major investments in outdoor activities.

Protecting our kids online. Our children are facing a mental health crisis fueled by addictive social media feeds. New York is leading the nation in confronting this crisis with our SAFE For Kids Act and New York Child Data Protection Act — legislation that will rein in addictive feeds, shield our kids’ personal data, and provide a safer digital environment for the next generation. As New York’s first mom governor, I’ll fight to protect our kids any day of the week.

Cracking down on illicit cannabis and boosting up legal retailers. We promised to expedite the closure of unlicensed cannabis storefronts, and I’m proud to say that we’re getting it done! In just 3 weeks, more than 100 illicit storefronts across the state were shut down by the New York State Cannabis Enforcement Task Force, and our legal retailers saw a 27 percent increase in sales.

Expanding access to maternal health care. I was in the Bronx to announce an $8 million investment in expanding the maternal care center at the Morris Heights Health Center and to highlight our work to increase doula access. Like I said, I’m New York’s first mom governor. I take this issue seriously.

Carrying the torch for LGBTQ+ equality. New York is proud to be the home of Stonewall and the start of the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and we’re carrying on that fight — from joining President Biden to officially open the Stonewall National Monument Visitor’s Center, to signing legislation to expand access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. 

That’s all for now, Alex! Get out and enjoy all New York has to offer this summer and we’ll see you next month! Ever upward, Gov. Kathy Hochul

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We have been warned to stay cool during extreme heat.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), when the heat index is 80 degrees or higher, the risk of occupational heat-related illness and injury increases significantly.

With the recent wave of record-setting heat, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDL) has strongly encouraged businesses to follow the following extreme heat safety tips:

-Allow for rest regularly in shaded areas.

-Encourage workers to drink water frequently, even if they are not thirsty. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommend that employers provide each outdoor worker with 32 ounces of cool, potable drinking water per hour.

-When the heat index equals or exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, establish shaded areas near work sites for rest and meal periods.

-When the heat index reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, implement standardized rest breaks to keep workers safe.

-Encourage workers to protect themselves from the sun and heat by wearing light clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunscreen.

It is also reportedly crucial for both workers and employers to recognize the signs of common heat-related illnesses.

New and returning workers should be aware that they need to build a tolerance to heat, as those who are not acclimated to working in hot conditions are the most vulnerable, the NYSDL suggested

“Our top priority is to keep all workers safe and protected. Please follow these tips to ensure that you stay safe when working in extreme heat,” the NYSDL said in a statement.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)

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