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
Thursday
Apr072011

REQUIEM FOR A DON

 

          The “Don”, the Mafia boss, immediately brings to mind The Godfather’s Don Vito Corleone, John “Dapper Don” Gotti, Salvatore “Sammy, The Bull” Gravano, Robert “Bobby Ha-Ha” Attanasio, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, Sam “Momo” Giancanna and Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno. All Italian-American gangsters. But this stereotype has it wrong. Think of Otto “Abbadabba” Berman [German American who coined “Nothing personal. It’s just business”], Alex “Allie Boy” Rudaj [Albanian], Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein [Jewish American], Nick “Nicky Nails” Dedaj [Albanian], Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer [German American], Jack “Legs” Diamond [100% American] and Irving “Waxey Gordon” Wexler [Jewish Russian American]. In reality “Dons” come in all shapes and sizes, ethnic origins and religious and non religious persuasions.
          Which bring us to Bosko “The Yugo” Radonjich who died at age 68 in Belgrade, Serbia last month. Now as I write this piece, this Requiem in Pace plea to the Almighty to go easy on old Bosko, to grant him a pass. Oh Lord, show him compassion and mercy for surely he has sinned. But after all, he was a friend; he saved my life and kept me out of harm’s way. The very least I can do is to humbly seek intercession on his behalf.
          Now the question is how does the life path of a fancy Madison Avenue lawyer intersect with that of a rather rough brawler from New York’s Hell’s Kitchen? It’s all a matter of chance, a roll of the dice, and easy, real easy, believes you me.

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Monday
Mar282011

THE LIBYAN WAR: THE RIGHT WAY OR NO WAY

                                                       deyan ranko brashich & nikola kostich
          Our Constitution has been criticized for being vague and subject to interpretation with changing morals and times. Scholars and judges have wrestled with the meanings of “establishment of religion”, “freedom of speech”, “right of the people to keep and bear arms”, “cruel and unusual punishment”, “unreasonable search”. However, the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, makes it crystal clear that Congress, and only Congress, shall have Power  
“To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”
          The Civil War, America’s first modern war with weapons of mass destruction and casualties in the hundreds of thousands, was presided over by Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps it is apt to consider his take on the War Powers Clause when he sat in Congress and debated the beginning of the Mexican-American War in 1846:
“The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.”
          President Obama is not a “king”. He and his Adninistration’s  [Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Generals and Admirals constituting the Joint Chiefs of Staff] violation of the War Powers Clause by unilateral military action in Lybia should be condemned and not condonned.

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Tuesday
Mar152011

TAX GOD: A BUDGET HAIL MARY PASS

 

          A “Hail Mary Pass”, as everyone knows, is a very long forward pass made in sheer desperation with only a small chance of success, usually thrown at the end of a football game. Faced with catastrophic and huge budget deficits, American politicians at the state and city level should seriously consider lobbing their own Hail Mary Pass: Tax God, Tax Religion.
          New York State is slashing payrolls and threatening to fire and furlough teachers. Connecticut is nor far behind. Wisconsin has just passed a law abrogating collective bargaining rights for state employees and mandating an 8% pay cut concession. New Jersey is closing psychiatric institutions and limiting state aid to education, the arts, cities and municipalities. California, Nevada, Rhode Island are but a few of the states considering taxing the sale of marijuana to solve the deficit. Adding insult to injury, the Town of West Hartford is considering extending parking meter hours, noting that for every extra taxable parking hour the Town will reap a benefit of $67,000 a year. 
          All of these proposals and measures seem to fall "disproportionately on the backs of the middle class, the poor, the elderly, schoolchildren, college students and inner-city residents, while leaving largely unscathed the wealthy and most businesses". OK, so why not tax dumb, fat, happy and rich tax targets, God and Religion?   

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Monday
Mar072011

YOU WANTS A "NO FLY ZONE", YOU GOTS A "NO FLY ZONE"

 

         You just can’t keep up with the news, even if you are engaged full time. After posting comments on the follies of war on what is known as the internet, the true meaning of which I must ruefully admit I do not even begin to understand, I was alerted by a “site” [again, don’t ask me what the hell this means] known as “Justwatch” to a profound statement made by the Gulf Cooperation Council, apparently a body representing six tiny nation states in the Persian Gulf.
          Now Justwatch is a pretty nifty site. It is run by the University of Buffalo, last heard an accredited institution of higher learning. It is apparently both totally apolitical and rabidly partisan. If you enjoy intellectual mud wrestling on an international scale, I urge you to log on. Hours of unmitigated fun tempered with liberal [pun intended] ministrations of valium.  
          Back to the Justwatch posting: “The Gulf Cooperation Council demands that the Un Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya” calling on “the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to face their responsibilities in helping the dear people” [emphasis supplied].
          When I see Saudi jets, bought for hundreds of millions of dollars from the United State patrolling Libyan skies, Egyptian F 16’s and Jordanian F 15’s, all paid for by United States military aid assistance programs, and whatever other military hardware NATO countries have sold to the Middle East enforcing a “no-fly” zone, then, and only then, will I say “You wants a no-fly zone, you gots a no fly zone”, now you enforce it. Never happen, I bet. Contact me HERE to place your bets

 

Monday
Mar072011

THEY SHOULD HAVE THEIR HEADS EXAMINED

 

         West Point, America’s War Academy, makes you proud to be an American, yet at the same time it fills you with dread and loathing. The pride comes from Bastogne, the “Battle of the Bulge”, Ivo Jima, Corregidor, Bataan and Valley Forge. The dread comes from the Battle of Gettysburg, the firebombing of Dresden, the blood spilled at Shiloh and some 800,000 American dead in our Civil War. The loathing comes from Viet Nam’s Mai Lai Massacre, Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and the hell hole of Andersonville’s prisoner of war camp.
That stone fortress, with its colorful flags flying high above the Hudson River, was an appropriate venue for Robert Gates, our Secretary of Defense [perhaps we should use the old moniker “Secretary of War”], to make a speech ten days ago bluntly warning:
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined’, as General MacArthur so delicately put it.” [emphasis supplied]
          I am a believer in conspiracy theories. Without a shred of evidence, a scintilla of proof, I believe that Gates was throwing the gauntlet, drawing a line in the sand, giving fair warning, cautioning those in power that starting a war with Iran is suicide, hara-kiri. Just don’t go there, or for that matter into any local conflict now inflaming the region.

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