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.

 

 

Media
Tuesday
Aug092011

SINGING THE CREDIT RATING BLUES

Back in the sixties I had a job with Retail Credit, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia with offices all over the Eastern United States. It was a primitive version of our consumer credit agencies rating individuals for employment, insurance and department store credit.

          Every morning I would show up for work and get a list of some 35 prospective applicants. It was piece work and you were paid for each completed investigation, $1.50 for auto insurance, $2.00 for store credit and $10.00 for life insurance. You would drive out to the applicant’s home, eyeball the neighborhood, gossip with the neighbors and speak to the applicant or the spouse. I had no training whatsoever. It beats the hell out me how I was supposed to assess risk or credit. Sometimes, when all information sources proved dry, you fudged and made up the information. In other words you lied. Not very scientific or fair, was it?

          This prehistoric method soon evolved into “sophisticated” information and credit driven models run by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Their credit reports now dominate and terrorize the consumer. The reporting models are based on the theory that the more facts you garner, no matter whether they are false, dated or inapplicable, when fed into a computer will generate a true and accurate consumer history and give an accurate forecast of the consumer’s future performance.

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Thursday
Jul072011

P. S. TO BAGHDAD: A THOUSAND ONE FAIRY TAILS

    When someone does a better job than you, give them credit when credit is justly due.

          Four hours after posting my latest blog I came across a Salon article that predated my thoughts by a full month. I strongly suggest that you read the clearly better written and more thoroughly researched article:

                                           "WHAT WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ?" 

       http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/07/iraq_occupation_withdrawal/index.html

Thursday
Jul072011

BAGHDAD: A THOUSAND AND ONE FAIRY TALES

Fairy tales are stories with no foundation in fact designed to entertain and educate gullible children. A Thousand and One Arabian Nights is the adult version. It’s a series of adult tales set in the Middle East full of murder, magic, love, lust, erotic couplings as told by Scheherazade, the beautiful daughter of a Sultan’s vizier. These tall tails kept that sucker of a Sultan enthralled and Scheherazade alive, alive to live another day and spin another tale.
          Speaking of fairy tales I am enthralled by the one now being peddled by our very own State Department from the banks of the Tigris River deep in Baghdad’s “Green Zone”. Our modern day Scheherazade is none other than our Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who wants us to abandon reason and buy her version of reality.
          It should not come as a surprise that after having invaded Iraq we have an Embassy in Baghdad. What does surprise is that this “embassy” is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world. It is built on 0.44 square kilometers, that’s 104 acres to you and me, with 21 buildings including six huge apartment house complexes. The total construction costs have not been disclosed but we do not know that the President made two “emergency supplemental funding requests” of Congress, one for $1.3 billion and one for $592 million both in 2005. Now that’s spending with class.

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Wednesday
Jun082011

RATKO MLADIC THE MONSTER DU JOUR

They finally arrested General Ratko Mladic last week, todays Monster of the Week. There will be others, tomorrow, next week and next year. These “monsters to be” will be Libyan, Somali, Egyptian, Israeli or even Americans, depending how events unfold and how the world media perceives the truth. It is easy to demonize a person, accuse him of war crimes, ascribe to him horrible acts of insane violence, and condemn him but never the roots, the causes of the conflicts that precipitated them to the world stage.          

         It makes us feel good. Another criminal behind bars waiting for justice to be done. We all collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Civilization has been saved. But then another war, another revolution erupts and the cycle repeats itself. Mass graves abound and they all look alike, year in and year out.          

         And then there are conflicts, wars, Iraq and Afghanistan being but two that make the news day in day out, yet somehow escape being tainted by accusations of war crimes, of genocide or simply the murder of civilians. Those deaths, those murders fly under the radar of international scrutiny. They are simply ignored while we smugly congratulate ourselves on our moral hypocrisy.             

         I do not like Ratko Mladic much. I met him twice back in 1994 during the wars in Bosnia, ex-Yugoslavia. He was an arrogant, ignorant blowhard son of a bitch. He was, and remains, a dumb Bosnian peasant, who just happened to be a Serb. He proudly wore his ignorance as a badge of honor as stupid as that First World War military cap of his, sporting a “kokarda”, an insignia of some sort or another. He was at home in a dump of a café in Han Pijesak, a small decrepit town in Eastern Bosnia close to Sarajevo, where I met him, surrounded by a fawning retinue of like jerks. He was sitting on the terrace of the café, the very image of a war lord, beefy and loud, full of himself. The colorful red and white umbrellas kept us cool and in the shade. There was a lull in the war. The war didn’t seem real.

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Wednesday
Jun082011

A DEADLY RITE OF PASSAGE

On a beautiful spring afternoon I was in the local DMV office waiting to re-register my car. I was sitting on a hard green plastic chair clutching my papers: the insurance card [FS-20], the Connecticut Title Certificate [MVCWA-348], the New York State registration application form [MV-82], the current Connecticut Registration Certificate [F1307A], the New York State Sales Tax Exemption form [DTF-803], my paid Out of State Sales Tax form [DTF-804], my Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin [MCO], my driver’s license and other pieces of paper dear to bureaucratic hearts. I was waiting for my number to come up so I could see the next available attendant in this state sponsored insane asylum.          

            Sitting next to me was an overweight housewife bulging out of her purple tube top and green slacks sporting pink flip flops, accompanied by her daughter, likewise color challenged. The girl was clutching a pair of sneakers while wearing another variation of her mother’s flip flops. I overheard their conversation.          

            The gist of it was that the daughter had not prepared or practiced for the test. The mother assured her daughter that the test what a “no brainer”, that she really didn’t have to practice, that anybody, I mean anybody can pass the test. By the way, wear sneakers when taking the test. The cavalier attitude to this rite of passage startled me.           

            Their appointed time came and off they went to the parking lot to take the driver’s test. I watched through the window. Some twenty or so teenagers of all shapes and sizes were standing by these huge SUV’s, pick ups and just plain cars, ready to pass the test and hit the road.

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