drug dangers


Tag Archive for 'Russia'

Putin Wants To Be Tony Soprano


“Putin is the godfather of a mafia clan ruling Russia. And like all mafia bosses, he barely distinguishes between is personal property, the property of his clan and the property of those beholden to his clan.”

-Journalist Masha Gessen, 2012

Reprint from August 29, 2008

putin0.jpg

PUTIN WANTS TO BE TONY SOPRANO

GREENPOINT, Brooklyn, Aug.28…Winston Churchill famously called Russia “a riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a mystery.”

In the aftermath of Russia’s brutal foray into Georgia, analysts were wondering what was going on behind the stone walls of the Kremlin and especially in the mind of its leader, Vladimir Putin.

Now Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, head of the Greeznyzidh Think Tank, feels he has unwrapped the enigma and solved the riddle.

“Putin doesn’t want to be Tsar or Commissar,” he says. “He wants to be Tony Soprano…”

In an interview at Golubchik’s Lounge, Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk said he didn’t truly understand Putin until he came to America.

“In Brooklyn, on the streets of the Bensonhurst, quarter, I saw scores of muscular young men in sleeveless undershirts they call “wife-beaters,” wearing heavy gold ID bracelets and big rings, which is Putin’s preferred outfit. I heard stories about Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, another short man with big muscles who controlled the neighborhood. This is Putin’s fantasy role, I thought. The Mafia strong man.

“Putin models his behavior on American gangster culture,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “He uses blackmail and intimidation. He works behind front men, corrupts public officials, and assassinates those who defy him.

“If you look at things in Mafia context you can predict every move he will make”

Yopsvoyomatsky offered the Georgian invasion an an example.

“This is about wiping out a rival boss and at the same time crushing a front man who wouldn’t play ball,” he said. “A two-horse parley, Tony Soprano would say.”

Putin’s Mob had made a deal with British Petroleum to exploit Russian oil and gas resources. ” BP was big corrupt company,” Yopsovoymatsky said. ” Involved in bribery and blackmail scandals . It had ignored safety standards, which led to bursting of Alaska pipeline and an explosion in Texas that killed fifteen. So BP made a deal behind Putin’s back with Georgia to construct pipeline that would run from Baku through Tiblisi, the Georgian capital, to Ceyhan in Turkey, completely bypassing Russian pipelines and providing independent supply of natural gas to Western Europe.”

BP’s Georgian country manager, Hugh G. McDowell said at the time that the “oil and gas fields of the Caspian (were) among the most sizable and productive in the world.” The pipeline traveled 1,768 km and transported one million barrels of oil a day. When it was opened in July 2006, BP said it was the largest new non-Opec source of oil supply in 15 years.

With a grimace Yopsvoyomatsky threw down a shot of Popov, the vodka in the plastic bottle, coughed and wiped his streaming eyes.

“Tony Soprano would never let someone make big money in his backyard,” he said. “So Putin wasn’t going to let his front man make a deal with enemy mob in Georgia to cut him out,” he said. “He also wanted to teach BP a lesson, not to, how you say, mess with the Boss of all Bosses.”

The Russian invasion effectively shut down the Georgian pipelines. The Russian Navy took over the port of Poti, preventing oil tankers from docking. It bombed the main east-west bridge that connected various oil depots to Tiblisi. It crippled BP’s jet fuel business at Tiblisi airport. It intimidated the neighboring countries, serving notice of what would happen if they made deals with the West.

Was it a success?

Maybe, but…Yopsvoyomatsky shook his finger with a sly look. “This is not the way Tony Soprano would do business,” he said.

“Tony would have brought in top hit men to show strength. Instead, the world watched rusty Russian tanks break down. It got a good look at antiquated military in action…Russians were so desperate they stole American Humvees to drive their generals around…”

“Tony would have consulted his soldiers first to see if his family businesses would be affected,” he said. “Putin didn’t do this. And now the Russian stock market has lost much value; the ruble has sunk; investors are withdrawing from deals; Russians were gobbling up American steel companies, but now US Congress wants to put a hold on acquisitions.

“Tony would have requested permission from the other families before making such a big move in their neighborhood,”Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Dictators and Dons do not like to be taken by surprise. But Putin didn’t inform Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Tajikstan, not to mention China, which is its counterpart in the Shanghai Co-Operation Organization, Central Asian version of New York’s Five Mafia Families. These countries also have rebellious provinces with secessionist movements. They don’t want trouble. They did not give Russia a public vote of confidence at their annual meeting. China even expressed ‘concern about the latest developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,’ which is equal to slap in the face to Putin. Behind closed doors you can imagine how angry they really are.”

Yopsvoyomatsky thinks Putin has made a mistake. “He has no support from his so-called allies, his vassals are losing money and his enemies have forgotten their differences to unite against him.

“This is classic Mafia scenario,” he said. “The faithful Medvedev, the heir apparent, is watching in the wings as the Boss stumbles. He is having secret meetings, building alliances, biding his time.

Yopsvoyomatsky raised his glass. “Putin maybe has one more Mafia lesson to learn:

Dons don’t die in bed.”

MY CAREER AS A PETTY THIEF/PART FIVE

I MEET THE FIXER

It’s 1960. The US is beginning its longest period of economic expansion in history. But as business booms disillusion gnaws at the national psyche.

The Russians shoot down the U2, an American spy plane. President Eisenhower disavows its mission, then backs off and becomes the first American president to admit he has lied.

There are bloody uprisings in the Asian and African colonies of our wartime allies France and Britain. We had thought of them as bulwarks of democracy and freedom, but now realize they are oppressive imperial powers.

Four black students sit in at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. They are arrested. Protesters all over the South are beaten, jailed, attacked by police dogs. Six years after Brown vs. Board of Ed. one quarter of our country is still a police state.

John F. Kennedy, a dashing young war hero with a hot wife, runs for President, promising change and a New Frontier. He is tied with Vice President Nixon until late returns from Cook County, Illinois make him victorious by one tenth of a percent. “The boys in Chicago fixed it,” says Mr. Leo, who runs numbers in Tony’s candy store on Eleventh Avenue in Brooklyn. “Just like Luciano fixed New York for FDR in ’32.”

My father has given me a job at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on Park Circle across from Prospect Park. He has worked himself up from monument salesman to manager, but is mortified at being in the funeral business. When people ask him what he does he says: “I play third base for the Cubs…” Or: “I’m the wine steward in the Woman’s House of Detention.”

I need a special Chauffeur’s license to drive the hearses, panel trucks and flower cars. But I’m 17 and you have to be 18 to get a Chauffeur’s license. Plus you have to pass another written exam and road test.

“Albino will fix it,” my father says.

Albino is a limo driver with connections way above his station. He is short and dark with a sharp, chin and beak of a nose. His eyes rove restlessly and his head jerks like a hungry bird’s.

On the way to the DMV I hear the story of his life. He talks in staccato bursts… “Youngest of eight. My father only had enough gas left in the tank to make a dwarf…He was a big guy,too…Everybody in the family shot up… Even in my sisters…I’m shorter than my mother for Chrissake…”

We drive over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. “We’ll go to Worth Street,” he says. ” I don’t trust those mamelukes in Brooklyn…”

He spent five and a half years in the Army during World War II. “They didn’t let me out until every Jap was dead.” He asks me if I’ve gotten my draft card. “Tell me when they call you for your physical,” he says. “I got a doctor who’ll make you 4F.”

There are lines out the door at the DMV. Only one window for the Chauffeur’s License applicants and there are at least a hundred guys ahead of me.

Albino pulls me away. “Wiseguys don’t stand on line…”

He gives me the form. “Fill this out.”

A few minutes later he is back. “Let’s get your picture took…”

The photographer is a little guy in a plaid bow-tie, eyes bulging behind horn rimmed glasses.

“Anybody ever tellya ya look like Tony Curtis?” he asks.

“No…”

“They will now…Stand straight and look serious…”

Albino takes me aside. “Got ten bucks?”

I don’t carry that much cash.

“Never mind, I’ll front it…”

My license shows up in the mail five days later.

I pay Albino back the ten. Years later I find out he told my father it cost 20 and got that plus a ten spot for his time.

I’m taking morning classes at Brooklyn College. Between the boiling radiators and the boring professors I go into a coma every morning. My Western Civ instructor, Professor Hoffman asks the class to talk quietly. “We don’t want to wake Mr. Gould.”

At two o’clock I run to my ’57 Bel Air, my home away from home. I change into a black suit in the back seat and head to the chapel. My job is to stand in the lobby and direct people to the reposing rooms. After visiting hours Albino and I load up a Chevy 31 Panel truck with mourner’s benches for religious Jews.

“Here’s a little trick, kid,” Albino says as we go to the first house. The order is for five benches, but he takes three.

A haggard old man, nose running, eyes red-rimmed complains: “We ordered five. We have to have five benches for the immediate family.”

Albino pats his arm. “Let me see what I can do.” He brings the two extra benches into house and comes back with a five dollar bill and a gleeful smile.

“Works every time.”

No one can be buried without a valid death certificate, issued either by the attending physician or the Medical Examiner. The Board of Health is very strict about correct cause of death and has been known to disallow a death certificate, causing a delay in burial. Also, religious Jews and Catholics object to autopsies, causing more costly complications.

But Albino has “fixed” Katz, a clerk on the night shift. He gives me careful instructions.

“Wait ’til there’s nobody in the room. Go to the cage and tell him you’re Albino’s friend from Riverside. Slip the certificate under the bars with two bucks under it.”

I do exactly as ordered. Katz, his face shadowed by a green visor, stamps the certificate without even looking at it and slides it back.

It occurs to me that we might be helping somebody get away with murder.

Albino agrees. “We might be at that.”

And puts in an expense chit for five dollars.

My Bel Air is what they call a “big six.” It can fly. The Brooklyn B ridge at 2am is a great proving ground.

But one night I get a speeding ticket. Next day I’m telling everybody how this motorcycle cop came out of nowhere. Later Albino sidles up.

“You wanna beat a ticket?”

He gives me a copy of the NYPD house organ, Spring 3100, a magazine distributed only to cops. “Put a copy of this on your windshield, and write Albino on the front page,” he says. “Keep your license in a little plastic envelope with a tensky folded up behind it. The cop’ll see the magazine. You slip him the license…” He snaps his finger. “Bingo, you’re outta there.” Then, in all seriousness, he warns: “it probably won’t work if you run an old lady over, or somethin’.”

That Friday night I go to a loft party in Greenwich Village. Four hours later I have ten very stoned beatniks in my Bel Air. Arms and legs sticking out of the windows, people giggling and struggling for breath under the pile. We decide to see the sun rise at Coney Island. A cop car follows me across the bridge and pulls me over. It’s a sergeant with a chest full of commendations. He looks at the squirming mass in the car.

“You tryin’ to break a college record or somethin’?”

As I open the door three people fall out at his feet.

“I’m gonna get writer’s cramp with you, pal,” he says.

He makes me walk a straight line. Close my eyes and touch my nose.

“If you were drunk at least you’d have an excuse,” he says. “You’re just a moron.”

He takes the magazine off the windshield. Takes my loaded license back to his car.

I wink at my friends. “Watch this…”

Ten minutes later he comes back with a fistful of tickets and hands them to me one by one.

“Overloading a car…Changing lines without signaling…Driving over the lane markers…One red light infraction…Broken tail light…Going 45 in a 35 mile zone. Normally, I would overlook that, but I’m throwin’ the book at you, asshole.”

He follows me as I drive everybody to the Borough Hall subway station and watches as they get out to take the subway back to Manhattan.

Then, he hands me my license with the ten still in it.

“You were lucky tonight, kid,” he says. “Next time I’ll be pullin’ your body out of a burning car.”

Next day I tell Albino the story. “At least there’s one honest cop in the world,” I say.

Albino doesn’t accept that explanation. He shakes his head in puzzlement. Then, he brightens.

“You said it was a sergeant, right?”

“Yeah…”

“That’s it, ” he says triumphantly, his vision of a corrupt universe confirmed. “Dopey me.” He smacks himself in the forehead with the heel of his hand. “I forgot to tellya. Sergeants you gotta pay double, ’cause they kick back to the captain…”

WILL AMERICA EVER BE COOL AGAIN?

 

Igor Yopsvoyomatsky,
editor-in chief, paranoiaisfact.com
answers readers’ questions.

Dear Igor,

I sell souvenirs to tourists on the Staten Island Ferry and after eight years of Dubya I can’t give America away. Nobody wants Statue of Liberty piggy banks, FBI caps, “Brooklyn Rules” tees…Not even Michael Jackson wind up dolls. People used to be in awe of how cool we were–NYC, DC, the Grand Canyon, Hollywood. Now they come to sneer and feel superior. Our plunging dollar makes us a cheap date. Our leaders get no respect. After Bush trashed the American brand I thought Obama would turn it around, but his novelty has quickly faded and now I’m stuck with a gross of “Yes I Can” hoodies. I’m afraid America will never be cool again. Is this paranoia or fact?
Distressed Peddler
Sunnyside, Queens

Dear Distressed,

This is fact. According to a recent Pew survey,the US ranked 117th on the cool index, right under Tierra Del Fuego. Only Russia, China, the UK and Zimbabwe were considered less cool than the US.

America created the 20th. Century in its own image. Victorious in two wars, innovative in industry and the arts, it was a magnet for the best minds and most energetic workers in the world. Everyone loved Detroit cars, Broadway musicals, Hollywood movies, American cigarettes and Elvis. American Capitalism vanquished Soviet Communism by promising eternal, exponential wealth.

America was cool.

Now the American financial house of cards has collapsed. General Motors is begging Government handouts, Broadway is ruled by British imports, Hollywood is a limping subdivision of bloated conglomerates, the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer and Graceland is controlled by Scientology.

Uncool.

In its ascendancy, the US had the coolest leaders. FDR betrayed his class to bring the US out of the Depression. Harry Truman fired MacArthur and stood up to Stalin. Dwight D. Eisenhower, wartime commander and Five Star General, turned on his brethren to warn about the “Military-Industrial Complex.” JFK, brought hipness, taste and sophistication into the White House and called Krushchev’s bluff in Cuba. Even Lyndon Johnson had the dignity to withdraw from public life when the people rejected him.

Cool.

During its slow decline the US has experienced an unbroken chain of bizarre nonentities. Nixon inexplicably recorded his own incriminating statements; Carter, a peanut farmer with delusions of prophecy, left office with a 19% interest rate; Reagan, an underpaid Warner Bros. contract player, actually believed that the rich would allow a minuscule portion of their wealth to “trickle down” to the working class; Clinton, a glib, small town Lothario, enabled Wall Street to take over the American economy. The Bushes are the greatest argument against ruling class inbreeding since the Hapsburgs. Obama has seen ingratiation turn into antagonism and doesn’t know what to do about it.

Uncool.

American celebrities were the coolest in the world. Could anyone top Marilyn or Einstein (he was a citizen), Astaire, Grace Kelly, Jonas Salk, Jackie O, Brando, Duke Ellington, Broadway Joe–the list is truly endless.

Now you have OJ, MJ, Lindsay Lohan, Elliot Spitzer. You have the dangerous nonentities of reality TV. Sports stars who turn themselves into bionic chimeras with steroids and surgery.

But don’t feel too bad, Distressed. At least you can complain. Three quarters of the world must suffer in silence. They live under the heel of oligarchical thugs who maintain their power by censorship, repression, torture, rape and outright massacre.

Uncool

China hasn’t been cool since Confucius, France since Sartre and Belmondo; the UK since James Bond and he wasn’t even real. Italy has a seventy-three year old President who brags to teenage girls about his sexual prowess. Russia was cool with Rasputin, but Putin poses shirtless like Mr. Universe and Medvedev, the little man who wasn’t there, makes pronouncements that no one hears.

The entire planet is totally, hopelessly…

Uncool.

 

OBAMA’S CABINET WILL NOT LAST, SAY CHINESE

BEIJING, China,…Dec. 9 A top-secret report prepared for China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) predicts that none of President-elect Obama’s appointees will be in office at the end of his first term.

They are all qiao zong huo fan,” the anonymous author says, using the Chinese term for bridge burners. “They will depart, leaving flames in their wake.”

The report, which was leaked to the Daily Event by officials who prefer to be nameless out of fear of summary execution, analyzed bios and interviews to compile a profile of the typical appointee.

“He or she is addicted to conquest,” the report says.” But once success has been achieved becomes bored and either moves on or self-destructs.”

The author sees Obama’s cabinet as a “snake pit of militant egos,” Three appointees sought the presidential nomination–Clinton, Richardson and Daschle. “Clinton feels great bitterness toward Richardson and Daschle for rejecting her to support Obama. She regards Richardson as an apostate who turned on her after all she and her husband had done for him.

“Richardson for his part, feels that he has not been rewarded for courageously spurning Clinton to support Obama in the early days before the outcome was clear. Every cabinet meeting will sting like a slap in the face as he sees Clinton sitting on the president’s right hand in the job he coveted.”

“Clinton and Richardson will make a public show of working together, but will intrigue against each other in private.”

Daschle, was humiliated by his defeat in 2006 when Democrats were sweeping into office everywhere else. The report says that he he must engineer a major health care initiative to restore his political viability and predicts that his possible opponents in 2016 will try to block him at every turn.

“Competitive people do not give up their dreams,” the author says. “The three who lost still aspire to ultimate power. Secretly they will wish Obama to fail.”

The report predicts that the early days of the new administration will be rife with conflict and controversy. “Each cabinet officer will be given daunting tasks that they will be unable to perform.”

As Secretary of State Clinton will be charged with persuading the Europeans to contribute more troops and money to the War on Terror.

“This they will not do.”

Iran will not swayed from its nuclear path, the report says. “Clinton will try to ignore the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but a series of attacks and retaliations will force her to engage…and fail.”

The exit from Iraq will be messy. “American troops will fight bloody rear guard actions designed to extract the utmost humiliation.”

Wary of appearing weak Obama will not remove the missile shield in Eastern Europe and Clinton will try to mollify the Russians into accepting it.

“This she will not do,” the report says.

Defense Secretary Gates is a possible Republican contender. He will be looking for a way to maximize his credit while subtly detracting from his possible opponent in 2012. Sensing this, Clinton will try to minimize his influence. “There will be much backstage plotting,” the report predicts..

“After the last American soldier has left, Gates will resign…”

Clinton and new Treasure Secretary Geithner will try to get the Chinese to open their financial markets and let the yuan appreciate.

“This of course, we will not do,” the report says. It concludes that Clinton’s tenure will be dogged by one failure after another that, fearing for her place in history, she will have to find a way to escape. A seat on the Supreme Court might provide a graceful exit.

Attorney-General designee Eric Holder has been chosen to “prevent revenge prosecutions,” the report says. “The left wing of the party will want to indict Cheney and Rumsfeld. It will seek prosecution of high level financial donors. Obama does not want to alienate Republicans by going after Bush war criminals. Holder will hold the fort for Obama’s wealthy patrons as long as he can. He will suffer a great loss of public prestige and will return to his lucrative law practice.”

As Commerce Secretary Richardson will have to create business opportunities in a depressed global economy.

“This he will not do,” he says. “He will be diminished politically.”

Treasury Secretary Geithner will try to find a way to keep taxes and inflation down while Government expenditures soar into the trillions.

“This no one could do.”

Lawrence Summers, Obama’s top economic adviser is “a brilliant careerist, but not an original thinker,” the report says. “Faced by a real unemployment rate of 15% he will be unable to innovate. Watching his fabled reputation wither as the economy languishes he will focus on the job he really wants—Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Current chairman Bernanke, weakened by the crisis, will be easy to topple. Summers will have a job that confers the maximum of prestige with the minimum of thought.”

The report expresses puzzlement that Obama has not chosen loyalists, but “competitive individuals with deep personal agendas.” It asks: “does this show that he is a naive bungler? Or is he brilliantly creating scapegoats for the failures he knows will come?”

It says a deeper analysis of Obama can be delayed in the short term. Given the turmoil in the US, China’s future is not threatened.

“If we control dissent, stifle protests among migrant workers and farmers and keep the yuan artificially low we will continue to prosper. The US will not stop us.”

WILL OBAMA SAVE THE WORLD?

Igor Yopsvoyomatsky
Editor of paranoiaisfact.com
Answers readers questions.

Dear Igor,

My Western Civ. prof, Leon Notsky says Obama is not the saviour we have been hoping for, but just a counter swing in the dialectical pendulum from right to left. He says nothing will change in Washington but the faces. Is this paranoia or fact?

Hopeful,

Berkley, CA

Dear Hopeful,

This is fact. Obama can revive America, but cannot save it.

But first a little background. In the Book of Judges the Hebrews, chafing against rigid divine rule, appeal to the aging prophet Samuel: “Make us a king to judge us like all the other nations.”

God punishes the Hebrews for rejecting him by granting their request. He plucks Saul, a clumsy, unlettered peasant from the ranks and elevates him to kingship. And thus the “charismatic Ruler,” the tragic figure that has haunted history, is born.

At first, Saul is a hero, uniting the tribes and leading them to victory. But he proves unable to control his pillaging troops. And later cannot master his homicidal jealousy of the young David. The people lose faith. Even his own son turns against him. In desperation he turns to witchcraft. A sorceress summons the ghost of Samuel, who predicts Saul’s downfall. The next day he is killed in battle.

This is the paradigm of the rise and fall of the Ruler. It continues through the Bible and into recorded history in the stories of the Roman Emperors, the kings of Europe, the Czars, and Napoleons; the totalitarian cult figures of the 20th Century; the demagogues of bourgeois Democracy. The people, unwilling to assume responsibility for themselves, rush to surrender their autonomy to the charismatic one. At first he (or occasionally she) is a hero, bringing triumph, wealth and national pride. But inevitably the Ruler becomes mired in the swamp of daily rule; the rise of an oppressive bureaucracy, the petty squabbles and intrigues of the courtier class. As the Ruler’s power grows so does the resentment against it. Sensing that it has lost the faith of the ruled, the Ruler strengthens its power over them. It oppresses dissidents, rewards favorites, encourages corruption and deceit, plays off competing cliques. In the end, nothing avails and the Ruler is discredited or overthrown.

Obama has studied history. He knows how charismatic Rulers crash and burn. He was a cautious child, treading carefully through an alien society. His rule will be circumspect. He has sought to dampen messianic expectations, backtracked on some of his promises, warned that tough times lie ahead. His administration will be lullingly familiar. We will have Clinton, Gates, Summers, Holder, etc.—familiar faces from previous controversies of arrogance, lost opportunities and abused power.

But as cautious as he is, Obama will be beset by the parasites on the body politic.

The bankers and CEOs who believe that they are the victims of the crisis they caused and will oppose any attempt to curb their wealth or influence.

The oil companies who profit from waste, pollution and over consumption.

The racists who will seek to undermine with rumor and innuendo.

The hypocritical radicals who will condemn him for not leading a revolution that they secretly do not desire.

The sub- cultures—abortion crusaders, animal rights zealots, gay marriage advocates, gun owners, BCS critics, etc., who will judge him through the monochrome prism of their single issue.

The Chinese, who have declared economic and cyber war on the US.

The Russians whose suicidal bravado will increase as their power declines.

The Europeans whose anti-American schadenfreude is so intense they act against their own interests to confirm it.

The runaway media that is increasingly addicted to scandal and exaggeration.

A popular culture that encourages self-pity, greed, over-indulgence and outright stupidity.

On Election Day America gave itself a reprieve. If the world does not change the fault will not be with Obama but with ourselves.

But at least we will live to be discontented another day.

ANALYSST: OBAMA’S VICTORY WILL REIGNITE COLD WAR

GREENPOINT, Bklyn, Nov.7…Toasts and cheers resounded at Golubchik’s tavern last night as Obama euphoria kept the party floating two days after the historic election.

“To change,” people shouted, raising their glasses.

“To peace.”

This was too much for Ivan Yopsvoyomatsky, recent immigrant from Pinsk and senior scholar at the Greezhnizihd Think Tank.

“Peace?…PFUI!”

Rising quickly from a stool he had occupied for two days, blood rushing to an unfamiliar location–his head–he faced the crowd with fine Slavic disdain.

“You pathetic puppets of Capitalism,” he sputtered. “Peace is when the ruling class has its foot on your neck and its hand in your pocket. Twenty-eight years with Reagan, Bush the Father, your precious Clinton and Bush, the Simple Son was peace…The Russians got rich, the Chinese richer with American corporate help and against the interests of American workers and consumers…Now that Obama has been elected get ready for total war.”

A waitress pushed a plate of piroshki across the bar. “Eat something Ivan…”

Yopsvoyomatsky sent it flying. “I haven’t finished my salad yet,” he said, dipping a cucumber in a glass of Popov vodka.

There was muttering in the cowed crowd. Finally, they pushed a young blonde in Uggies and a tight leather skirt forward for a timid challenge.

“But the world has welcomed Obama,” she said, cringing.

Yopsvoyomatsky leered and beckoned. “My dear you are victim of noble blowjob… I mean global snowjob. World leaders are quaking in their boots…”

“Bloggers in China went crazy,” someone hollered from in back. “One guy said this proved that America was a great Democracy and China was a one party oppressive dictatorship.”

Doorak,” Yopsvoyomasky boomed. “How do you think Hu Jintao felt when he read that? With China wheezing from pollution, puking from poisoned food, factories closing from financial crisis, people oppressed from internet crackdown, does he need proof that America is closest thing to real proletarian power?” He stroked the blonde under her chin. “I promise you, dooshenkya in party meetings they are talking about one thing only: how can we defeat this upstart Obama?

“But they are a great economic power, aren’t they?” the blonde asked, gaining confidence.

Yopsvoyomatsky smiled indulgently. “From slave labor, my dear. They make your underwear cheaper. Later we will see if your panties were made in Guangdong. But now you must understand that when Obama calls for tougher environmental and labor regulations they see their costs going up and their competitiveness coming down. When he promises to award tax breaks to companies that keep jobs in the US they say the dirty word: protectionism. They know that US market powers their economies. Without help from Bush and American financial interests to keep their yen low and their labor costs lower they will go broke…”

” Obama restored the American image in Europe,” a young man with a German accent said.

“You mean old, decadent, zero population growth Europe?” Yopsvoyomatsky sneered. “How many black faces in English House of Commons? Mostly flushed, overfed, flatulent whites enjoying their squeals of indignation while country’s business is done by MI6…French don’t allow headscarves in public schools…Turks are second-class citizens in Germany, even after three generations in residence. Do you think they want mixed race underclass to embrace electoral politics…?”

Several people finished their drinks and slipped out onto the rainy streets.

“Bush brought us to the brink with Russia,” a voice piped up. “They must be happy to see Obama…”

“Melancholic is closest Russians come to happy,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Russians follow Stalinist doctrine of probe with bayonet. Medvedev, latest in long line of metrically challenged rulers, climbs up on two Moscow phone books so he can see over lectern and makes hollow threat to put Iskander missiles in Kalingrad to counter US missile defense. Iskanders have range of 175 miles when they are working. They might land in a barnyard in Poland and kill a few chickens…”

“Russia must be dealt with,” a pale man young man said in a quavering voice said and ducked behind a pillar as Yopsvoyomatsky loomed over him.

“Russia is a gas station with a broken pump,” he roared. “A tavern with drunks snoring through frozen snot. Their market has lost 50% in value. The oligarchs, who grease their corrupt machine are broke. They have to kill a journalist a week just to stay in power…”

Sighing heavily, more people shrugged into their coats and left.

“Obama will bring peace to the Middle East,” a swarthy young man shouted angrily.

“Peace can only be made by people who are fighting each other,” Yopsvoyomatsky countered.

“People in the Middle-East have great hope for Obama.”

“Not Iranian daily Jamhou-ye Eslami,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “They say: The most that black man can do is replace staff and change ceremony…He will never change capitalist, Zionist, racist structure of American regime.

Saudi daily Al Wotan says: There is no difference between McCain and Obama. Both mean to achieve America’s chief goal which is to rule for a hundred years…”

“But Bush favored Israel and that got us nowhere.”

“Nowhere is obviously where they want to be,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Jordan and Egypt do not want Palestinian theocracy funded by Iran on their borders. Lebanese do not want more power to Hezbollah allies. Anyway, Obama will be busy with economic crisis. Israelis and Palestinians will have to sit on back burner for years. They might do something sensational like a war of a terror attack to refocus the world’s attention…”

Most of the revelers had slunk away, leaving a few brooding in their cups. One man paused at the door.

“So there is no hope,” he said

“When does hope last more than a day?” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “The power of the status quo will be arrayed against Obama…Maybe he will prevail…”

He looked around the empty room with satisfaction. “Looks like the party is over,” he said to the blonde. “Want a cucumber?”

PUTIN WANTS TO BE TONY SOPRANO

 

putin0.jpg

PUTIN WANTS TO BE TONY SOPRANO

GREENPOINT, Brooklyn, Aug.28…Winston Churchill famously called Russia “a riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a mystery.”

In the aftermath of Russia’s brutal foray into Georgia, analysts were wondering what was going on behind the stone walls of the Kremlin and especially in the mind of its leader, Vladimir Putin.

Now Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, head of the Greeznyzidh Think Tank, feels he has unwrapped the enigma and solved the riddle.

“Putin doesn’t want to be Tsar or Commissar,” he says. “He wants to be Tony Soprano…”

In an interview at Golubchik’s Lounge, Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk said he didn’t truly understand Putin until he came to America.

“In Brooklyn, on the streets of the Bensonhurst, quarter, I saw scores of muscular young men in sleeveless undershirts they call “wife-beaters,” wearing heavy gold ID bracelets and big rings, which is Putin’s preferred outfit. I heard stories about Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, another short man with big muscles who controlled the neighborhood. This is Putin’s fantasy role, I thought. The Mafia strong man.

“Putin models his behavior on American gangster culture,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “He uses blackmail and intimidation. He works behind front men, corrupts public officials, and assassinates those who defy him.

“If you look at things in Mafia context you can predict every move he will make”

Yopsvoyomatsky offered the Georgian invasion an an example.

“This is about wiping out a rival boss and at the same time crushing a front man who wouldn’t play ball,” he said. “A two-horse parley, Tony Soprano would say.”

Putin’s Mob had made a deal with British Petroleum to exploit Russian oil and gas resources. ” BP was big corrupt company,” Yopsovoymatsky said. ” Involved in bribery and blackmail scandals . It had ignored safety standards, which led to bursting of Alaska pipeline and an explosion in Texas that killed fifteen. So BP made a deal behind Putin’s back with Georgia to construct pipeline that would run from Baku through Tiblisi, the Georgian capital, to Ceyhan in Turkey, completely bypassing Russian pipelines and providing independent supply of natural gas to Western Europe.”

BP’s Georgian country manager, Hugh G. McDowell said at the time that the “oil and gas fields of the Caspian (were) among the most sizable and productive in the world.” The pipeline traveled 1,768 km and transported one million barrels of oil a day. When it was opened in July 2006, BP said it was the largest new non-Opec source of oil supply in 15 years.

With a grimace Yopsvoyomatsky threw down a shot of Popov, the vodka in the plastic bottle, coughed and wiped his streaming eyes.

“Tony Soprano would never let someone make big money in his backyard,” he said. “So Putin wasn’t going to let his front man make a deal with enemy mob in Georgia to cut him out,” he said. “He also wanted to teach BP a lesson, not to, how you say, mess with the Boss of all Bosses.”

The Russian invasion effectively shut down the Georgian pipelines. The Russian Navy took over the port of Poti, preventing oil tankers from docking. It bombed the main east-west bridge that connected various oil depots to Tiblisi. It crippled BP’s jet fuel business at Tiblisi airport. It intimidated the neighboring countries, serving notice of what would happen if they made deals with the West.

Was it a success?

Maybe, but…Yopsvoyomatsky shook his finger with a sly look. “This is not the way Tony Soprano would do business,” he said.

“Tony would have brought in top hit men to show strength. Instead, the world watched rusty Russian tanks break down. It got a good look at antiquated military in action…Russians were so desperate they stole American Humvees to drive their generals around…”

“Tony would have consulted his soldiers first to see if his family businesses would be affected,” he said. “Putin didn’t do this. And now the Russian stock market has lost much value; the ruble has sunk; investors are withdrawing from deals; Russians were gobbling up American steel companies, but now US Congress wants to put a hold on acquisitions.

“Tony would have requested permission from the other families before making such a big move in their neighborhood,”Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Dictators and Dons do not like to be taken by surprise. But Putin didn’t inform Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Tajikstan, not to mention China, which is its counterpart in the Shanghai Co-Operation Organization, Central Asian version of New York’s Five Mafia Families. These countries also have rebellious provinces with secessionist movements. They don’t want trouble. They did not give Russia a public vote of confidence at their annual meeting. China even expressed ‘concern about the latest developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,’ which is equal to slap in the face to Putin. Behind closed doors you can imagine how angry they really are.”

Yopsvoyomatsky thinks Putin has made a mistake. “He has no support from his so-called allies, his vassals are losing money and his enemies have forgotten their differences to unite against him.

“This is classic Mafia scenario,” he said. “The faithful Medvedev, the heir apparent, is watching in the wings as the Boss stumbles. He is having secret meetings, building alliances, biding his time.

Yopsvoyomatsky raised his glass. “Putin maybe has one more Mafia lesson to learn:

Dons don’t die in bed.”

MAKE WAY FOR INDIA, THE NEW HIP HEGEMON

MUMBAI, India, July 14…Today Bollywood tomorrow the world.

The announcement last month that Indian movie mogul Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Big Entertainment, had closed billion dollar production deals with Hollywood A-listers like Stephen Spielberg, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Jim Carrey was proof to Efraim Durg that India is now officially the coolest country in the world.

“It’s the culture, stupid,” says Durg, owner of the Delhi Deli in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. “Indian movies, art, literature are taking over. American culture hustlers are jumping on the juggernaut which is an Indian word by the way.”

Durg points to the significant investments that Hollywood is making in the Indian culture industry. Disney recently bought a 33% stake in Indian television company UTV and is partnering with producer Yosh Chopra to make animation features for the Indian market. Sony has invested 250 million in production company Pritish Nandy Communications and Warners is co-producing an Indian feature called “Chadni Chowk to China.”

Ambani emphasized that he would not try to influence the movies that his American partners made and advertising exec Pradcon Joshi added that “there will be no creative interference.”

But Durg scoffed at these assurances. “Culture spreads like a virus. Clooney and Pitt are already working on Ganges 14. Spielberg’s next project is Indiana Jones and the Search for the Sacred Cow Pie”

Durg says America’s days as a cultural superpower are over. “We were Number One during World War II with Coca Cola, nylon stockings and Benny Goodman. Nobody could touch us in the ’50′s when we were selling Marilyn, Elvis and tail fins. In the ’60′s we had Sinatra and the Rat Pack , JFK and Jackie ruled the world from Camelot…” Durg gets a wistful look. “Everybody wanted to know what we were up to in those days. ” He shakes his head in sorrow. “But then we had Vietnam and urban riots and the Weathermen. Assassinations, man–JFK, MLK, RFK, Malcolm X– really cut into our lead. We gained back some ground with Motown and Disco, but then the BIble Bangers, Falwell and Robertson– took over and we were toast. The 2000 election and Guantanamo sealed the deal. We just ain’t cool anymore, end of story.”

Other nations have rushed to fill the coolness vacuum, Durg says, but he’s not impressed.

“Russia is has a bully culture,” he says. “Do what I want or I’ll turn off your oil. That’s clumsy. The Russians gave this ex KGB spook some kinda nuclear poison to make him glow in the dark. They killed a reporter because she busted them for torture in Chechnya…Very uncool…”

China, the country in which the compass, the printing press, paper, gunpowder and noodles were all invented in the space of a century, is trying to recapture it former glory. Some of the world’s most prominent architects and urban planners have turned the skyline of Beijing into a modernist sketchpad with the Water Cube, the Olympic swimming center, whose walls glow blue in the dark, the National Stadium and the Chinese Central Television Tower designed by Rem Koolhaas. The city is full of modern art galleries. Avant garde music is played in the hippest clubs. There’s a four star restaurant on every corner…

“They do all this great stuff,” Durg says. “But then they execute a guy for bouncing his rent check…Very uncool…”

“India has a caste system and it’s messed up in Kashmir,” Durg says. “It has separatist movements in the northeast. There’s even rebel tribesmen shooting at cops with bows and arrows in Assam, which is kind of cool– if you’re not a cop…With all this going on it’s a real democracy so you know it’ll keep growing.”

Durg is going into the Indian business in a big way. He’s planning to run elephant rides through Central Park in the fall. He already has five Delhi Deli franchises and more being sold every day. As his pots gurgled releasing a cloud of curry, Durg pointed to an eighteen wheeler parked outside. “Know what’s in there? 33 tons of garlic nan and that won’t get us through the weekend.”

He offered this bit of advice to entrepreneurs. “Take your Nehru jacket out of the closet, trade your guitar for a sitar and buy yourself a white heifer, bro. Lord Vishnu is coming across the Williamsburg Bridge.”

GAZPROM vs. OPEC, WHO’S BLUFFING WHO?

MOSCOW, Russia, July 8…In a 1956 reception at the Polish Embassy, a tipsy Nikita Kruschev, then First Secretary of the Soviet Communist party, threatened the capitalist West: “History is on our side,” he said, referring to Marxist ideology. “We will bury you.”

Forty-three years later, in 1989, it was the Soviet Empire that was buried in the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

But the Empire has risen again–at least in its own mind. Only now, the weapon it intends to use to subdue the West is energy.

In remarks last week, Alexei Miller, chief executive of the Russian state-controlled gas group, said that Russia will soon overtake OPEC as the world’s dominant energy supplier.

“We think oil will reach $250 a barrel in the foreseeable future,” he said and indicated that Russia will extract maximum profit and political influence from this rise.

Russia, which is not a member of OPEC has repeatedly defied the cartel’s requests to bring its production in line with OPEC standards.

“OPEC doesn’t have any real influence on the global market nowadays,” Miller told the Financial Times. “Not a single decision has been passed of late that would really influence the global oil market.”

This, according to Africa Oil Week, “set the scene for a Cold War between Moscow and OPEC.”

Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading exporter of oil, pumping 8.6 million barrels a day to 7.96 million for Saudi Arabia. With global demand rising Russia will probably increase production to 9.2 million barrels, energy experts say.

Analysts estimate that the oil reserves of OPEC nations will be exhausted by 2050, while Russia with only 6% of the proven reserves in the world will only be beginning to use its resources.

Russia has the energy starved countries of Western Europe in a stranglehold, Miller hinted. With its new South Stream pipeline, which would take gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then onto Western Europe, Russia will be able to turn the faucet on and off to extract financial and political gain.

“The sharp rise in Russian exports…raises the question: Is OPEC doomed,” said Leo Drollas of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London.

And is Russia poised to reclaim its Cold War superpower status?
“No to both of those questions,” says Igor Yopsvoyomatsky of The Gryazneezhid Think Tank in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

Interviewed at Golubchiks Tavern, Yopsvoymatsky was emphatic. Raising a glass of vodka he declared: “Russia is the diseased old whore covered with face paint to hide her syphilitic scars.”

The customers cheered and the bartender slid another glass across the bar.

“For its entire history Russia has bluffed the world,” Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk said. “In 1787, Russian minister Potemkin had facades put up along the Dneiper River in Crimea to convince Empress Catherine that he had built villages to resettle Russians. There was nothing behind those facades but torches made to look like lamps and cooking fires.”

He dropped a lighted match on his corduroys trying to light a foot long Russian cigarette, but continued without noticing.

“In World War I Russian sent soldiers to battle with wooden rifles made to look like real thing,” he said. “They were immediately overrun by Germans…”

“Igor, your pants are burning,” the bartender said.

Yopsvoyomatsky waved irritably. “In Cold War, Russia impoverished its people trying to keep up with West. Its Army was poorly equipped with no spare parts. It could not afford to sustain nuclear program and did not have enough nuclear weapons to defend itself against attack. But frightened people in West thought it was a military juggernaut and then when it was beaten in Afghanistan they could see it was Potemkin military…”

A waitress swatted at his trousers with a wet towel, raising a cloud of smoke.

“Now in Russia you have thousands wealthy, siloviki, ex-KGB thugs, and everybody else poor or worse,” he said.

He raised a finger.

“One…Russia has lowest birth rate, 1.3 children per family, in its history, which means there will be no workers for its so-called big economic miracle…”

He managed to raise another finger…”Two…Russians alcoholism rate has tripled, according to consumer protection agency,” he said. “Russians drink three times as much as they did sixteen years ago. And now they are seeing alcoholics as young as thirteen in treatment centers…”

He tried to raise a third finger and fell over against the bar. “Three…Russian Ministry of Health says suicide rate is among highest in the world with over 60,000 suicides in 2007.”

With his head in a puddle on the bar, Yopsvoyomatsky continued. “Human Rights Watch says Russia has not ability treat rampant rise in drug addiction…Russian inflation is up to 15 per cent, Russian oil exploration and development has stalled because of corruption, inefficiency and xenophobia…”

A spark ignited Yopsvoyomatsky’s woolen socks and flames flared around his ankles. The bartender poured a pitcher of water over him and the waitress rushed in to pull off his burning pants.

“Russia rule the world?” Yopsvoyomatsky shouted. “Pfui, I say. Pfui!”