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
Dec212017

ALAN DERSHOWITZ IS BEYOND HIS “PAST USE BY” DATE

Alan Dershowitz is a retired constitutional and criminal law professor who made his bones defending the likes of Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, O. J. Simpson, Jim Bakker and Claus von Bülow. He is now gratuitously defending Donald Trump in the press and media.

Over decades he championed many a good cause, some I supported, others I did not. In the past, I had high regard for his legal acumen. As of now, I harbor doubts as to his mental state.

Appointed in 1967 at the age of 28, the youngest ever full professor at Harvard University Law School, he is now in the throes of dotage - the poster child for the proposition that old age may bring on senility. His recent comments on the controversies surrounding President Trump, his campaign and the current administration proves that he is well past his “due”, “use by” or “pay attention to” date.

Recently he made the following pronouncement: As a matter of law “sitting presidents cannot be indicted, prosecuted, or tried while serving in office”. Dershowitz further posits that before indicting a president he “must first be impeached and removed from office before … [being] … charged with a crime”.   

Taken at face value, his legal opinion insulates a sitting president from prosecution. Bullshit, says I! Should Donald Trump in a jealous rage kill Melania in the Oval Office, Dershowitz believes him immune from prosecution. Bullshit, I repeat!  

The murder would be in violation of Title 18 United States Code 1111 [Murder] and/or ¶22-2201 District of Columbia Code [Murder in the First Degree]. Trump would be arrested, indicted and tried. To suggest that President Trump would first have to be impeached and removed from office is patently ridiculous on its face.

The impeachment provision of the United States Constitution provides for the removal from office of a sitting president and other high federal officials. It does not speak to the prosecution for crimes committed while in or before assuming office.

The same should hold true for any crime committed by a sitting president. To claim otherwise would bring us back to a “l’état, c’est mois” rule, certainly not a democracy where all are equal before the law.

 

Saturday
Dec162017

RELIGION AIN’T NO EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SPORT 

Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Public Law 88 - 352

Every so often something happens that makes people take notice of misogyny, sex discrimination and sexual abuse. For a brief moment this abuse becomes a cause célèbre. The will to do the right thing prevails, laws are passed, perpetrators punished, damages paid and amends made. Then things go back to normal - men go back to abusing women with impunity.

Things in the United States are now at such a tipping point. It started with the firing of Roger Ailes and his precipitous fall from grace as head of Fox News. He was soon followed by Bill O’Reilly’s demise as star television anchor after disclosure that he had settled a sexual harassment suit for $32 million dollars. Then in quick succession came movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, United States Senator Al Franken’s resignation-to-be and a bevy of Congressmen John Conyers’, Matt Dababneh’s, Trent Franks’, Blake Farenhold’s actual resignations, including Dan Johnson’s self-inflicted by gunshot suicide.

Throw into the mix Donald Trump, a sitting President, Roy Moore, a political candidate for Senate, Louis C. K., a comedian, a brace of television pundits, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, a couple of high profile restaurateurs, Mario Batali and Brett Ratner, Silicon Valley honchos – the list keeps growing by the day and seems never ending.

You would think that this would be the moment that marks the end of misogyny and abuse. Think again, don’t hold your breath. Things will soon revert back to normal until religion is made to toe the line, address the problem and finally treat women as man’s equal, make Title IX of the Civil Right Act of 1964 applicable to religion, as a matter of conscience not of law.

This Sunday’s New York Times Magazine tried to answer the “How did we get here?” and “Can work place culture really be changed?” questions. A number of women tried to answer and suggest a way forward. They failed because they did not address the underlying, cultural root cause of the problem, religion.       

The world’s major religions were invented by men with women, by design or chance, minimalized. Judaism, today a minor religion, was devised by God, a father figure, with Adam in the lead role and Eve, the ingenue distraction, playing a second fiddle. The Old Testament is replete with instances of blatant misogyny, if not abject slavery – Exodus declares a woman the property of her father, with marriage transferring title to the husband to do as he sees fit. So, what’s new?  

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Friday
Dec012017

IT’S CURTAINS FOR THE COURT

It’s curtains for Slobodan Preljak, the Croatian General convicted of war crimes. He’s done dead, committing suicide by publicly drinking poison during an open court session last week. It’s also curtains for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [“ICTY”], a court of dubious validity. The suicide took place as that Court was reading its very last judgment before expiring, now scheduled for December 31, 2017. A fitting end for an ill-begotten exercise in selective prosecution designed to salve the conscience of forces that instigated and facilitated the breakup of Yugoslavia, once a nation state member of the United Nations. Good-by and good riddance.    

War is a messy business, a business that deals in death and destruction. The wars that tore former Yugoslavia asunder were no exception. The ethnic parties to the wars, the Serbs, the Croats, the Bosniaks, were all guilty of war crimes. By definition war is a crime. The only issue that needs be addressed is magnitude – culpability is a foregone conclusion, with only identification, arrest, conviction and sentence left to be determined.        

The Bosnian Wars resulted in the reported deaths of more than 104,000 soldiers and civilians, some say 200,000, including 12,000 children. At least an additional 137,000 people, some say more, were wounded and maimed. An estimated 20,000 women, some say 50,000, were raped or otherwise sexually abused. An estimated 2,200,000 of the populations of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia were forced to “flee their homes, making it the largest displacement of people in Europe since the end of World War II”, abandoning and losing their homes, lands and possessions. The financial costs of the war in cost of munitions and military hardware, destruction of property, lost economic opportunity and cost of reconstruction is in the billions of dollars.

Yet for all that mayhem and havoc the ICTY, established by a resolution of the United Nations’ Security Council, in the 25 years of its existence has indicted only 161 individuals, prosecuting and convicting some but not all. The political elite of the warring republics was never indicted except for the Serbs - Karadzic, Milosevic, Krajisnik, Plavsic and Seselj - while noticeably absent without leave were the Croats and Bosniaks - Izetbegovic and Trudjman.

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Monday
Oct232017

GENERALS WITH FEET OF CLAY

GENERAL ILIJA BRAŠIĆ, 1882-1951 GENERAL ROYAL YUGOSLAV ARMY AWARDED TWO MEDALS OF HONOR

The White House mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a political huckster, a flimflam artist, said that it would be “highly inappropriate” for me to debate John Kelley, a retired four-star Marine general and Donald Trump’s apologist, over his lies and false statements regarding last week’s imbroglio over military condolences and honor.  

Let me start with the fact that I have 3 generals, 2 captains, a score of non-commissioned officers and privates and 3 medal of honor recipients in my family stretching back 200 years. They were all honorable men, but nevertheless men and not saints. Even though prejudiced in favor of things military, I am fully capable to debate and argue without restraint.

Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign attacked institutions that had lost the confidence of the American electorate – Congress, Wall Street, big business, the media – but it hitched its wagon to the institution that had steadfastly retained America’s trust – the military. Once ensconced in the White House he surrounded himself with generals to exploit a falsely perceived virtue and continues to do so to this very day.     

 Elevation in rank to general officer does not make one less susceptible to the sins and temptations of the flesh. A pedophile parish priest does not lose his spots on becoming bishop or assuming a cardinal’s miter, witness the charges now pending against Australia’s Cardinal George Pell. To suggest that a general officer or fleet admiral by dint of advancement alone sheds his or her sins is just plain whistlin’ Dixie, or as The Urban Dictionary puts it “pure bullshit”.

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Friday
Oct132017

DONALD TRUMP, ANALYZE THIS

Exhibit 1 - July 20, 2017 Executive Order Terminating Environmental Regulations Exhibit 2 - October 12, 2017 Executive Order Defunding Affordable Care Act

Donald Trump never fails to make the news. Most often it is what he says and what he does that catches the media’s attention. This week it is Donald Trump’s state of mind that made the news. The New York Times describes the White House as “adult day care” for a Trump who is “unstable”, “losing a step” and “unraveling”, according to Vanity Fair.

In the tradition of the movie Analyze This I am going to analyze that.  Please see Exhibit 1 - Donald and his signature on July 20, 2017 and Exhibit 2 - Donald and his signature on October 12, 2017. Both are unreal, obscenely large, narcistic, detached from reality, out of proportion. The signature in Exhibit 2 is thirty -one [31%] percent larger than the one made two months earlier, a sure indication of a mind under severe stress. Need I analyze more?  

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