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.






Steve Bodner Courtesy of The Los Angeles TimesAmerican politicians are like guppies – bottom feeding fish, seemingly aimless and thoughtless, of no socially redeeming value and of little economic worth. They are fungible and little if anything sets them apart one from the other, be they Republican, Democrat or Independent.

They swim aimlessly in schools with odd sounding names: the Tea Party, Republican Liberty Caucus, the Christian Coalition, the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, the Democratic Freedom Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They accomplish little if anything while on their meaningless and clueless meandering elected-to-office-to-govern rounds in the halls of Congress waiting for a photo or TV opportunity.

Yet they continue to survive election after election as voters continue to return them to Congress, notwithstanding their ineffectiveness, their cupidity, their corruptibility and their lack of moral compass.

But there come times when their survival is threatened, a time that galvanizes even gutless political guppies to action. It’s a random, totally without their control happenstance that makes them realize their vulnerability. Most often it’s another politician’s publicly eviscerated demise that catches their attention.

A visible public evisceration leaves blood in the water. The smell of blood could well make the electorate take to the streets and re-enact the French Revolution’s storming of the Bastille. Any revolution can make the loss of a House seat or a Senate office a real possibility.

The firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend and enforce President Trump’s Executive Order banning refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries was a bloodless public execution. Congress in Republican hands rallied around the flag and the President. There was no blood coloring the political waters.

After a flawed and compromised Attorney General’s recusal from the Trump/Russia investigation left a local United States Attorney free to pursue his own leads and investigations Donald Trump summarily fired Preet Bharara. After all, the Southern District of New York is where the Trump Tower is located and should be the locus of any investigation of misdeeds occurring there.

The story found little traction in the press and there was no blood on Fifth Avenue or in Foley Square. Congressional guppies were undisturbed and continued swimming without a goal or purpose in sight, marking time, creating photo ops until the next election.  

But the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Tuesday Night Assassination, was a bloody public execution, a public evisceration that ran blood in the water. To all failed politicians of whatever stripe this was a call to arms in defense of their own sinecure.

The three political executions remind of Richard Nixon’s 1973 Saturday Night Massacre. The Watergate burglary resulted in the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate and, if necessary prosecute. With the investigation about to unearth damning evidence the President ordered his Attorney General to fire the Special Prosecutor. The AG refused and resigned in protest. His replacement, the Deputy AG followed suit and was summarily fired.

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America’s recent Presidential election demonstrates that xenophobia and racism is alive and well in the United States. Before the European Union starts congratulating and patting itself on the back let me remind you of Britain’s 2016 Brexit vote where another version of xenophobia and racism carried the day. France voted for President last Sunday and a local version of the same political malady catapulted Marine Le Pen into the run-offs. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece and Austria all have major political parties with the same tainted philosophy. Xenophobia and racism dwells on the Continent as well.       

At the height of the Raj, when Britannia ruled the world, it became clear to the people in control of the Empire that they were vastly outnumbered by people of a different hues and color. To remain in control the British system of class was superimposed upon the already racist Indian caste system. You had the “haves”, the white ruling class and the subservient “have nots”, the “not-quite-whites” who in their passport had “NQW” appended to their names.

The United Nations was created to maintain world peace, prevent wars and check rogue nations in 1945. The victorious nations, some with dismal colonial histories, were not ready to share command and control with the world’s not-quite-white population of other races and colors. The Security Council with its veto mechanism was the regime that assured that power and control remained where God had ordained, where God and not Allah meant it to be.    

After the war, Russia went rogue pursuing the Communist dream of world domination. In response, the other allies in need of an alternate regime to exercise political, military and economic power established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. NATO at its inception was a lily white, Christian, western alliance of like-minded states.

One has to keep in mind that NATO’s founding members, but for Italy, shared the North Atlantic. That focus was soon lost and it became an alliance that exercised military power far afield. It expanded into the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas by admitting Greece and Turkey thus controlling access to the Black Sea and denying Russia the Mediterranean.  

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Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s Iron Chancellor, instituted universal health care in 1884. Most civilized industrial nations, Canada, England, France, have universal health care that works. Others such as former Eastern bloc countries, Romania, Serbia, Croatia have universal health care that works, after a fashion. Others, many ending in “a”, Somalia, Ethiopia, Syria and India do not.

The United States has been in the throes of establishing a viable health care system, not necessarily universal, for the last two decades. This last decade has seen the passage of Obama’s Affordable Care Act and more than 60 separate votes in the House of Representatives to repeal it. Last month witnessed the defeat of the Ryan/Trump repeal and replace by the American Health Care Act fiasco.

I will not debate the merits of the two pieces of legislation:  one, Obamacare is 960 pages long with 2,000 pages of regulations appended which I have not read; the other, the proposed Ryan/Trump replacement only has the initial part on paper, with phases 2 and 3 yet to be written. It also remains unread and so I cannot compare the two.   

But I can tell you about the care I just received at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital for “cervical cord compression with mysiopathy and stenosis of cervical spine with mysiopathy” or what you and I would call old age.

I am 76, retired and I collect Social Security. $273.00 is deducted from my monthly benefit for Medicare Part B coverage, adjusted for my family’s income. I have an AARP wrap-around medical insurance plan costing $230.50 a month and Silver Scrip drug coverage at $38.40 a month. The cost of medical insurance totals 41% of my Social Security benefits.

November 30, 2016: During a visit to Mount Sinai for an unrelated medical issue the examining physician noticed that my uneven walking gait. He recommended that I see a neurologist. The portion of that visit dealing with this issue had me interact with two individuals, the doctor and a nurse. The number of individual interactions [hereafter “NIIS”] was two. NIIS is 2.

December 23, 2016: Initial consultation with neurologist. Arrived at Mount Sinai Hospital campus, a multi block behemoth complex of building. Directed by receptionist/guard to neurology department. Met by receptionist who directed the completion of information forms. Examined by nurse for vital signs and other base line measurements. Examined by neurologist and nurse-practioner. Directed to blood laboratory - met by receptionist and technician. Directed to x-ray facility and received by receptionist and x-rays taken by 2 technicians. NIIS is 10

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When you talk of treason a few names come to mind: Benedict Arnold, Alger Hiss, Aldrich Ames, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The names and their misdeeds are separated by almost two hundred years of treason free history because the United States had fortuitously renamed an armed insurrection a Civil War and made glorious the exploits of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B Stewart lest our national escutcheon be besmirched.

At the height of the cold war a self-published paperback None Dare Call It Treason took the nation by storm selling 7 million copies. This was during the 1964 presidential election between a populist Lyndon Johnson against the arch conservative Barry Goldwater. John Stormer’s book did not tip the election in Goldwater’s favor but it called into question the definition of treason.

Stormer’s theory was that political beliefs are treason and should be denounced as such because treason would “prosper” only if “none dare call it treason” quoting Sir John Harrington [1561-1612].

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort” [Article III, Section 3, emphasis supplied] and by definition can occur only in time of war with all else being espionage or some other crime.

I say that that ain’t so because for the past 75 years the United States has been in a perpetual state of war - the Cold War, the War on Drugs, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Iraq Bush War One, the Iraq Bush War Two, the War on Terror, the War on ISIS, the Afghan War and now Syria and Yemen. It follows that any act which adheres to and/or gives aid and comfort to our enemies is treason in this age of on-going war.      

In July, 2016 Donald Trump publicly said that “he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s e mails, and encouraged them to publish whatever they may have stolen, essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state”.  

Trump was urging, suggesting, approving, condoning, validating violations of criminal statutes by an adverse foreign power against a candidate participating in a national election. Seems to me that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck. This duck is treason, pure and simple.  

Trump was explicit adding “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find 30,000 emails that are missing … I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press”. If that ain’t “aid and comfort” and I don’t know what is.

Once elected Donald Trump appointed Michael Flynn, a retired United States Army Lieutenant General as National Security Advisor who served for all of 24 days [January 20-February 13, 2017] before being cashiered, a record I am sure will never be bested.

Flynn was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and forced to resign in 2014. In 2015 he attended and spoke at a Russian state sponsored event and sat next to Vladimir Putin eliciting a report by Politico that “at a moment of semi-hostility between the US and Russia, the presence of such an important figure at Putin’s table startled US officials”. This red flag was ignored by the Trump transition team.    

Even before Flynn’s appointment the Acting Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency alerted the incoming President and his transition team that Flynn had been in direct contact with Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, that Flynn was in “a compromising position to Russia” and “might be vulnerable to blackmail”.

These heads up fell on deaf ears – I love mixed metaphors – and Flynn was appointed National Security Advisor privy to all secrets of state. I call this treason for which Donald Trump should be impeached.  

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