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.





Detail from SF 86 Form – United States Office of Personnel Management


Jared Kushner, the alleged lynch-pin of the Trump Administration and its eminence grise, is an enigma. He is little known outside the confines of his self-imposed insular world made small by his adherence to the tenets of strict Orthodox Judaism. He has kept a low profile. Sphinx like his voice and words are not known. He has refused to talk to the press, even though aspiring to media control when purchasing New York’s Observer newspaper. He has made no public comment on any of the issues that have been stuffed into his vast portfolio. Jared, we hardly know you.   

Undisputed facts supported by the public record give guidance as how to explain his actions which are now subject of investigation by House and Senate Committees and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While not in the public record Kushner graduated from the Frisch School where he was an honor student. It is undisputed that he matriculated at and graduated from Harvard College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government. What is in dispute is that it took a $2.5 million-dollar contribution to assure his acceptance. Be that as it may, it is a matter of public record that he graduated from one the nation’s most prestigious institutions.

He expanded his knowledge with a Doctor of Laws and a Master in Business Administration degrees from New York University, another far from shabby institution of higher learning. While the public records of the States of New York and New Jersey do not list him as licensed to practice law, he is in fact a lawyer by training. His disclosure forms, more on those later, confirm that he was an intern with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and was employed by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, one of the nation’s premiere law firms.

The public record supports the fact that Jared is literate and that perforce he has had to complete a number of admission and employment applications and that he is fully familiar with the process.  

Anyone contemplating government employment is faced with having to complete seemingly endless number of forms - bureaucracy thrives on forms and paper records. The higher in government you go, the more extensive are the forms and more intrusive is the vetting process. Some fifty years ago when I last filled out a form for a United States government appointment, if memory serves, the form was some 10 pages long. Today the Standard Form 86 [SF 86] Questionnaire for National Security Positions is 127 pages long and is only one of the plethoras of forms that a high level White House appointee must complete.

Right of the bat in the instruction portion of the SF 86 form the applicant is cautioned and put on notice that concealing or omitting material facts is a crime:

"Penalties for Inaccurate or False Statements : The U.S. Criminal Code [Title 18, Section 1001] provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines of up to $10,000, and/or 5 years imprisonment, or both. In addition, Federal agencies generally fire, do not grant a security clearance, or disqualify individuals who have materially and deliberately falsified these forms, and this remains a part of the permanent record for future placements. Because the position for which you are being considered is a sensitive one, your trustworthiness is a very important consideration in deciding your eligibility for a security clearance." [emphasis supplied]

If that were not warning enough, immediately before starting to complete the form you are further cautioned: 

"Persons Completing This Form Should Begin With The Questions Below After Carefully  Reading The Preceding Instructions : I have read the instructions and I understand that if I withhold, misrepresent, or falsify information on this form, I am subject to the penalties for inaccurate or false statements [per US Criminal Code, Title 18, section 1001], denial or revocation of a security clearance, and/or removal and debarment from Federal Service.   □ yes   □   no " [emphasis supplied]

In completing form SF 86 Kushner was required to report all contacts with foreign government officials within the preceding seven years. Without belaboring the point or needlessly regurgitating information that has been widely reported he did not do so. He “omitted dozens of meetings, including ones with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., and Sergey Gorkov, the head of Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank.” 

Jared Kushner committed a separate and distinct felony in violation of Title 18, Section 1001 for each and every such omission. For context, had Jared won the $256 million jackpot in the multi-state Powerball Lottery on November 8, 2016 and in January, 2017 filed his 1040 Federal Income Tax return form failing to report his jackpot winnings as income he would have committed a felony in violation of Title 26, Section 7201 which provides that for failure to report income a felony and “shall be fined of not more than $100,000 … or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both…”

Jared Kushner’s education and training precludes a conclusion that his failure to disclose the many meetings with foreign officials including those with Ambassador Kislyak and banker Gorkov was inadvertent. On the contrary his education and training requires a finding that his actions were made with the intent to conceal materials facts in violation of law. Jared Kushner is too smart to be stupid, so arrest the stupid son of a bitch and be done with it! While you are at it, arrest General Michael Flynn, another over educated, stupid son of a bitch with three Master Degrees, for committing the very same felonies.





Illustration by Jorge Arévalo - Courtesy of The New Yorker It may surprise you to learn that the United States as of today has only two serving, Senate approved Ambassadors, Nikki Haley, the envoy to the United Nations and David Freedman, the Ambassador to Israel. All of the other 131 ambassadorial positions remain empty and unfilled. So, I was blindsided when Donald Trump nominated Callista Gingrich for the position of Ambassador to The Holy See, the Vatican.

Her nomination signals all that is wrong with politics as usual. Her nomination is not based on her accomplishments, which are nonexistent except that she blows, amongst other things, a mean French horn. It’s naked political payback, a quid pro quo, for Newt Gingrich’s unwavering and continued support of Donald Trump’s disastrous policies. What makes this nomination all the more odious is its sheer hypocrisy – the nomination of an open and notorious adulteress now married to a serially philandering husband to a religious city state that professes to be guided by the Ten Commandments which include the prohibition against adultery and coveting thy neighbor’s wife.

I am no beacon of moral rectitude. I have sinned mightily and I have enjoyed those sinful pleasures but never a hypocrite was I. I do not perform weekly with the Choir of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC as Callista proudly declares. I did not carry on an open and notorious affair with New Gingrich, a married man, as Callista admits, nor did I demand my married lover divorce his second wife who just happened to be dying of cancer.   

America’s long, robust history of misogyny is alive and well and resides temporarily in the White House. The current resident boasts of grabbing women by the pussy, using his fame to fuck them, groping them without consent, of doing whatever he wants. His lack of moral compass within and without his well-documented serial marriages and affairs is a matter of public record. His morals are in tune with Callista’s.

Click to read more ...




Steve Bodner Courtesy of The Los Angeles TimesAmerican politicians are like guppies – bottom feeding fish, seemingly aimless and thoughtless, of no socially redeeming value and of little economic worth. They are fungible and little if anything sets them apart one from the other, be they Republican, Democrat or Independent.

They swim aimlessly in schools with odd sounding names: the Tea Party, Republican Liberty Caucus, the Christian Coalition, the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, the Democratic Freedom Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They accomplish little if anything while on their meaningless and clueless meandering elected-to-office-to-govern rounds in the halls of Congress waiting for a photo or TV opportunity.

Yet they continue to survive election after election as voters continue to return them to Congress, notwithstanding their ineffectiveness, their cupidity, their corruptibility and their lack of moral compass.

But there come times when their survival is threatened, a time that galvanizes even gutless political guppies to action. It’s a random, totally without their control happenstance that makes them realize their vulnerability. Most often it’s another politician’s publicly eviscerated demise that catches their attention.

A visible public evisceration leaves blood in the water. The smell of blood could well make the electorate take to the streets and re-enact the French Revolution’s storming of the Bastille. Any revolution can make the loss of a House seat or a Senate office a real possibility.

The firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend and enforce President Trump’s Executive Order banning refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries was a bloodless public execution. Congress in Republican hands rallied around the flag and the President. There was no blood coloring the political waters.

After a flawed and compromised Attorney General’s recusal from the Trump/Russia investigation left a local United States Attorney free to pursue his own leads and investigations Donald Trump summarily fired Preet Bharara. After all, the Southern District of New York is where the Trump Tower is located and should be the locus of any investigation of misdeeds occurring there.

The story found little traction in the press and there was no blood on Fifth Avenue or in Foley Square. Congressional guppies were undisturbed and continued swimming without a goal or purpose in sight, marking time, creating photo ops until the next election.  

But the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Tuesday Night Assassination, was a bloody public execution, a public evisceration that ran blood in the water. To all failed politicians of whatever stripe this was a call to arms in defense of their own sinecure.

The three political executions remind of Richard Nixon’s 1973 Saturday Night Massacre. The Watergate burglary resulted in the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate and, if necessary prosecute. With the investigation about to unearth damning evidence the President ordered his Attorney General to fire the Special Prosecutor. The AG refused and resigned in protest. His replacement, the Deputy AG followed suit and was summarily fired.

Click to read more ...





America’s recent Presidential election demonstrates that xenophobia and racism is alive and well in the United States. Before the European Union starts congratulating and patting itself on the back let me remind you of Britain’s 2016 Brexit vote where another version of xenophobia and racism carried the day. France voted for President last Sunday and a local version of the same political malady catapulted Marine Le Pen into the run-offs. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece and Austria all have major political parties with the same tainted philosophy. Xenophobia and racism dwells on the Continent as well.       

At the height of the Raj, when Britannia ruled the world, it became clear to the people in control of the Empire that they were vastly outnumbered by people of a different hues and color. To remain in control the British system of class was superimposed upon the already racist Indian caste system. You had the “haves”, the white ruling class and the subservient “have nots”, the “not-quite-whites” who in their passport had “NQW” appended to their names.

The United Nations was created to maintain world peace, prevent wars and check rogue nations in 1945. The victorious nations, some with dismal colonial histories, were not ready to share command and control with the world’s not-quite-white population of other races and colors. The Security Council with its veto mechanism was the regime that assured that power and control remained where God had ordained, where God and not Allah meant it to be.    

After the war, Russia went rogue pursuing the Communist dream of world domination. In response, the other allies in need of an alternate regime to exercise political, military and economic power established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. NATO at its inception was a lily white, Christian, western alliance of like-minded states.

One has to keep in mind that NATO’s founding members, but for Italy, shared the North Atlantic. That focus was soon lost and it became an alliance that exercised military power far afield. It expanded into the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas by admitting Greece and Turkey thus controlling access to the Black Sea and denying Russia the Mediterranean.  

Click to read more ...

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 48 Next 5 Entries »