DEYAN RANKO BRASHICH was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, and is an Op-Ed columnist for Connecticut's Litchfield County Times.  He writes the monthly Letter From America column for Romania’s Scrisul Romanesc, a literary magazine and is the Editor-at-Large for  The Country and Abroad, another literary/art magazine where he authors the Dispatch from Abroad column. He is a frequent contributor to Pecat, the Belgrade, Serbia weekly news magazine, Britić, a magazine published in the United Kingdom, Ekurd Daily, a multinational Kurdish news portal and Passport, a lifestyle quarterly. He resides in New York City and Washington, Connecticut.





Buildings in Sana, the capital of Yemen, destroyed in a Saudi airstrike Photo Mohammed Huwais/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images courtesy New York Times


I did not write the headline you have just read. The Editors at the New York Times wrote it on October 15, 2015 to highlight a major news story. But the story, the story that the United States is waging war in Yemen, didn’t appear on the front page, it was buried on page 9. The article started with this blunt, in your face paragraph:

“More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war. This week, the United States became more directly involved in the conflict, which already included Saudi Arabia and insurgents with ties to its sectarian rival, Iran.”

The Times made it clear that we are involved in a war in Yemen siding with our ally Saudi Arabia against Iran and its proxy “insurgents”. Making sure that we got the message the Editors followed up the next day Sunday, the slowest news-day of the week, with a front page headline “Somali Strategy Reveals New Face of US Warfare”. The lead paragraphs of that article reads:

“The Obama administration has intensified a clandestine war in Somalia over the past year, using Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors and African allies in an escalating campaign against Islamist militants in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.”

“Hundreds of American troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993.”

This follows the news that on October 12 that the USS Nitze, a United States Navy destroyer, fired Tomahawk missiles on three coastal radar sites in Yemen destroying them and other “targets associated with missile attacks on US ships” last week. That sure sounds like war to me.

I must have been preoccupied with the Presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s tweets because I missed the news that the United States Congress had declared war on Yemen and Somalia. No one in the Obama Administration, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Central Intelligence Administration or for that matter Congress has stood up to deny that we are at war in Yemen and Somalia, so it must be so. 

Click to read more ...







Photo courtesy E! Entertainment Television Getty Images

“I would rather have sex with Bill Cosby than Donald Trump” “With Bill Cosby, you could sleep through it” Tina Fey

After calling for Donald Trump’s indictment several weeks ago you would think that I would be the last person to come to his defense. Yet here I am doing just that. His detractors are only now calling for his head. Where were they months ago, or for that matter years ago?     

As an equal opportunity detractor I remind that I wanted Hillary Clinton indicted as well. He is not that bad; there are many far worse. I still stand behind both demands notwithstanding my lukewarm, less than enthusiastic defense of Trump. My defense is not meant to exonerate him but to just paint him in a less damning light.

There are hundreds of elected officials who have waged war on women who are far worse. I now call for their indictment.  

Trump is a pig, a serial liar, a xenophobe, a racist, a misogynist, a narcissist, a delusional fool with an alternate reality, a psychopath and a sociopath, a crude, illiterate, ill-mannered sleaze, a cheat, a charlatan, a flimflam artist, a hustler, a bait and switch bunco impresario. That said, he ain’t all that bad.

Much of what he is accused of is socially acceptable. For “crude, illiterate and ill-mannered sleaze” I point to Blanc Chyna, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. For “delusional fool with an alternate reality” I point to Mitt Romney and his “magic underwear” and the Church of the Latter-day Saints founded Elmira, New York in 1830.

As for “serial liar” I point to any number of politicians and world leaders still in power. There is a big difference between bragging that a condo project in Tampa, Florida was a success and claiming that a positive regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya was achieved. 

Click to read more ...



Real Debates: The Lincoln-Douglas Great Debates of 1858 - Ottawa August 21, Freeport August 27, Jonesboro September 15, Charleston September 18, Galesburg October 7, Quincy October 13 and Alton October 15, 1858 – Debates that altered history. Image courtesy Virginia Tech.

Debate: “A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward” - The Oxford Dictionary

On Monday millions of Americans watched something that was billed as a “Presidential Debate”. It is still fresh your mind so I won’t give you my take on that sorry spectacle. It was a “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” between two apparently sentient life forms but it was not a debate as defined by the dictionary. 

"America doesn't really have presidential debates. Instead, we have joint appearances where candidates recite talking points in settings so carefully controlled by party apparatchiks that the only real wrangling is over the height of the lecterns and the temperature of the drinking water. As with so many other aspects of the political process, debates that should be enlightening, perhaps even transformational, are instead stage-managed to satisfy the demands of power brokers with money and connections rather than the needs of democracy" was written with prescience just before the first 2012 televised presidential meet and greet encounter between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The format of what passes as a presidential debate has not changed in the last four years. The “debates” are sponsored, controlled and produced by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a not-for-profit private organization controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties, the operative word being produced as in movies, theatre and show business, with show business being the dominant impetus. The “debate” is financed by private contributions from individuals and corporations whose influence is unchecked and uncheckable.  

The Commission does not have a government sanctioned mandate, nor is it government sponsored. It came into being after the non-partisan League of Women Voters refused to participate in what had become pre-packaged political charades with the presidential candidates making secret undisclosed side agreements as to how to manage and produce the presidential debates show.

That secret “memorandum of understanding” between the Democrats and Republicans limited who would be allowed to participate much in the way the two political parties have excluded third party candidates from the political arena. The memorandum chose the panelists who would pose the questions, the issues to be covered and controlled other aspects of the debate including the “height of the lecterns”. The League of Women Voters rejected this format for this “would perpetuate a fraud on the American voter”.

Click to read more ...