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
Friday
Aug122011

DEMOCRACY: TYRANNY BY THE MINORITY

I often complain about the undemocratic state of our government where the Electoral College elects a President with less than a majority and where each state has two Senators irrespective of population. Wyoming’s two Senators representing 500,000 constituents have as much clout as Connecticut’s representing 3,500,000. The one man one vote principle has been hijacked and now legislation by “elected representatives” is being scuttled.

          The latest affront to democracy is the recently formed Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Harry Reid’s harebrained “Supper Committee”, tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in savings and deficit reductions. For the moment ignore the partisan, biased and self serving nature of those just nominated, about that later. Let’s just do the numbers[1], the actual raw numbers that these “super twelve” congress people represent and who will wield power over the rest of us, all 311,000,000 of us, accordingly to the latest Census figures:

          The “super twelve” represent 49,000,000 constituents, see below, and that is but a mere 15% of the population. What about 37,593,000 Californians, Texas’ 25,200,000 souls, New York’s 19,378,000 residents, or 18,800,000 Floridians? Just those four state have 100,171,000 in population, twice the number represented by the “super twelve”, but their voice or the voice of their elected representatives will not be heard.

          In the present scheme of things the legislation provides that just seven members are needed to decide on what cuts are to be made, what taxes and revenues are needed, who will wither and who will prosper. In other words the future fiscal policy of the United States is being decided by a minority, not a majority or even a plurality. If taken to the extreme seven congress people [six representatives and one senator] representing 5,031,000 constituents hold our economic future in their hands. That is less than 2%, 0.015% to be exact, of the population. That’s sheer madness.

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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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