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.





In war ravaged Baghdad, Old Glory was officially lowered one last time on the last day of the Iraq War. What comes to mind are two sound bites that should be indelibly etched in your mind: Dick Cheney’s amoral “shit [read “stuff”, for this is a family newspaper] happens” and Major General Johnson’s callous dismissal of civilian casualties, until now “collateral damage”, as “just the cost of doing business”. These words should be superimposed in your mind’s eye on ghastly photographs of abused Abu Ghraib’s prisoners to commemorate this undeclared, futile and illegal war.

But these lame malapropisms fade when confronted by the astute musings of the King of Malapropism, the great Lawrence “Yogi” Berra, truly a major leaguer. Just contemplate his wise remarks in the context of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you will end up somewhere else”. We started in Afghanistan, but ended up in Iraq. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there” but no matter “when you come to a fork in road…take it”. Now we are out of Iraq, but still in Afghanistan. As for Iraq, Obama seems to say “I don’t remember leaving, so I guess we didn’t go” and added “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”.

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a political partisan. In fact  confess to not having voted for the past 40 years. I am not a registered Republican, Democrat or even a sorry Independent. I equally loathe all political parties, and politicians, except my very own Anarchist Party, with its constituency of one, me.
        That said, I am well suited to comment on the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates. I ain’t got no dog in this fight. 

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Economics ain’t my thing, nor is logic. After all I scored 18% on my Logic final exam while in college. With that said it seems to me that the only solution to the world’s fiscal crisis is for governments to cap interest rates, not only on lending but on borrowing as well.

     Since the invention of money the world has had fiscal problems. Monetary policy has always been beset by too much money or too little. In simpler times, before paper money, physical limits on how much gold or silver was on hand, or could be seized by force, were the main constraints of fiscal policy.

     Even in those pre electronic times another conundrum bedeviled monetary policy: credit or the lack of it. Borrowing money was the easy answer, if you had a positive FICO credit score say in the high 700’s. But borrowing money had a downside: you had to pay it back with interest, usually at usurious rates. Early societies responded to this dark side of the force of money by prohibiting usury or regulating it. Islam’s Shariah law generally prohibited interest on loans. Christians responded in kind by outlawing interest bearing loans between the faithful. But humans, being human, invented loopholes galore. Jews were exempt from these strictures and were fair game, see Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.  

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        New York City Police in full riot gear, plastic face shields in place, batons in hand cleared Zucotti Park early this morning. As I watch the confrontations and abuse by the police, municipal and state, in dealing with OWS protesters, I cry warning, rephrasing Shakespeare: “Do not cry havoc, do not let loose the Dogs of War.”

         Whatever your views on the methods of this protest, most seem to agree that this ill defined movement confirms that there is plenty to bitch about the state we are in. Usurious credit card interest rates, student loans never to be repaid, joblessness in the double digits, foreclosures continuing apace, whatever else destroys the body politic.

          Authorities ignore that America is a society weaned on guns. To date no one has responded to the authorities’ abuse of force with more than a measured civil disobedience response, some bottles hurled, punches thrown and some garbage cans set alight. This response truly sets us apart from the riots in Greece, France and England.

          But all that is needed is a spark to set off a catastrophe. The use of unconstrained force will result in a like response. A night of protest can easily turn into a night of the long knives, or in the case of America, days of long guns.

          As long as the protests remain but a civil peaceful complaint, let them be. Let the voice of protest be heard and not be silenced unless it truly impinges on all of our rights. To do otherwise will surely lead to class warfare we can ill afford.








[Revised Version of Op-Ed Piece Published Litchfield County Times November 3, 2011]


“Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.”       King James Bible, Luke 6:42

          Fast on the heels of the conviction and sentencing of Raj Rajaratnmam, Galleon Group’s disgraced hedge fund honcho, to 11 years of hard time we have the surrender and arrest of Rujat K. Gupta last week. Both are inadequate and feeble attempts by the Government and the Securities and Exchange Commission to bring order and justice to the financial markets and fall far short of the mark.

          Today the tsunami of greed destroyed another victim, MF Global Holdings. Formerly a staid derivative trading firm that Jon Corzine, the former Senator from and Governor of the Garden State, who spent over $65 million for that dubious privilege, tried to shape into a mini Goldman Sachs, that revered temple of greed. Well his leveraged $40 in debt to $1 in equity bet on European sovereign debt went belly up putting his $12 million golden parachute in jeopardy. By the way, it seems that, according to the New York Times, $700 million of clients’ funds may be missing. But that’s a story for another day.

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