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.







Photo courtesy E! Entertainment Television Getty Images

“I would rather have sex with Bill Cosby than Donald Trump” “With Bill Cosby, you could sleep through it” Tina Fey

After calling for Donald Trump’s indictment several weeks ago you would think that I would be the last person to come to his defense. Yet here I am doing just that. His detractors are only now calling for his head. Where were they months ago, or for that matter years ago?     

As an equal opportunity detractor I remind that I wanted Hillary Clinton indicted as well. He is not that bad; there are many far worse. I still stand behind both demands notwithstanding my lukewarm, less than enthusiastic defense of Trump. My defense is not meant to exonerate him but to just paint him in a less damning light.

There are hundreds of elected officials who have waged war on women who are far worse. I now call for their indictment.  

Trump is a pig, a serial liar, a xenophobe, a racist, a misogynist, a narcissist, a delusional fool with an alternate reality, a psychopath and a sociopath, a crude, illiterate, ill-mannered sleaze, a cheat, a charlatan, a flimflam artist, a hustler, a bait and switch bunco impresario. That said, he ain’t all that bad.

Much of what he is accused of is socially acceptable. For “crude, illiterate and ill-mannered sleaze” I point to Blanc Chyna, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. For “delusional fool with an alternate reality” I point to Mitt Romney and his “magic underwear” and the Church of the Latter-day Saints founded Elmira, New York in 1830.

As for “serial liar” I point to any number of politicians and world leaders still in power. There is a big difference between bragging that a condo project in Tampa, Florida was a success and claiming that a positive regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya was achieved. 

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Real Debates: The Lincoln-Douglas Great Debates of 1858 - Ottawa August 21, Freeport August 27, Jonesboro September 15, Charleston September 18, Galesburg October 7, Quincy October 13 and Alton October 15, 1858 – Debates that altered history. Image courtesy Virginia Tech.

Debate: “A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward” - The Oxford Dictionary

On Monday millions of Americans watched something that was billed as a “Presidential Debate”. It is still fresh your mind so I won’t give you my take on that sorry spectacle. It was a “Close Encounter of the Third Kind” between two apparently sentient life forms but it was not a debate as defined by the dictionary. 

"America doesn't really have presidential debates. Instead, we have joint appearances where candidates recite talking points in settings so carefully controlled by party apparatchiks that the only real wrangling is over the height of the lecterns and the temperature of the drinking water. As with so many other aspects of the political process, debates that should be enlightening, perhaps even transformational, are instead stage-managed to satisfy the demands of power brokers with money and connections rather than the needs of democracy" was written with prescience just before the first 2012 televised presidential meet and greet encounter between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The format of what passes as a presidential debate has not changed in the last four years. The “debates” are sponsored, controlled and produced by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a not-for-profit private organization controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties, the operative word being produced as in movies, theatre and show business, with show business being the dominant impetus. The “debate” is financed by private contributions from individuals and corporations whose influence is unchecked and uncheckable.  

The Commission does not have a government sanctioned mandate, nor is it government sponsored. It came into being after the non-partisan League of Women Voters refused to participate in what had become pre-packaged political charades with the presidential candidates making secret undisclosed side agreements as to how to manage and produce the presidential debates show.

That secret “memorandum of understanding” between the Democrats and Republicans limited who would be allowed to participate much in the way the two political parties have excluded third party candidates from the political arena. The memorandum chose the panelists who would pose the questions, the issues to be covered and controlled other aspects of the debate including the “height of the lecterns”. The League of Women Voters rejected this format for this “would perpetuate a fraud on the American voter”.

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It seems that the whole world is following America’s presidential election. As with the Brexit vote in Great Britain, the result will affect not only America’s future but that of a number of other countries as well, if not the whole world.  

One of the benefits of not voting and refusing to participate in the flawed American presidential election process is that I favor no one. You take no sides. You take no prisoners. You have no dogs in the fight. You are an equal opportunity detractor, a free agent without constraint to visit a pox on both the Republicans and Democrats’ Houses.

This election cycle has been full of charges, allegations, innuendos and suggestions of wrongdoing by both candidates. I, like Colin Powell in his recently hacked emails, find them badly wanting.

I will refrain from repeating Powell’s ad hominem remarks but note that the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated Hillary Clinton’s misuse of emails and a private server while Secretary of State and that the Internal Revenue Service fined Donald Trump and his Foundation for illegal political contributions. These are just tips of icebergs when it comes to the candidates.

Both Hillary and The Donald have decades long checkered pasts. Hillary has Whitewater with lost documents miraculously found to contend with, not to mention her uncanny good luck with Refco cattle futures bets earning $100,000 on a $1,000 stake. The Donald has the Polish unpaid illegal alien demolition workers, the Trump not-really-a-University fraud and a bunch of sketchy investments that just skated by local and federal indictments, all earning him millions.  

Politifact, an organization that verifies political facts, as quoted in today’s New York Times reported that thirteen [13%] percent of Hillary Clinton’s statements as a candidate for President were “false”, not true, simply lies. Likewise, it reported that fifty-three [53%] percent of Donald Trump’s statements were “false”, likewise not true, likewise lies.

As a non-partisan observer, I suggest that we invoke the provisions of Title 18 United States Code § 1001 and indict both candidates and be done with them, throwing the election to an independent candidate, whoever that may be. He can’t be any worse than these two. At least we will have broken the unsavory and undemocratic monopoly of America’s two party political system.

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The Trump Penthouse Foundation announces a major fund raising campaign to support the Foundation’s efforts to have The Trump Penthouse – the top three floors of 725 Fifth Avenue - designated a New York City Landmark. Recognition by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission would confirm the architectural, cultural and historical significance of the site and ensure its existence for future generations. 

For The Trump Penthouse to achieve landmark status it “must be at least 30 years old, have special historical or aesthetic interest, value, or character as part of the development of the city, state or nation”. The Trump Penthouse meets these criteria in spades.

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