Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do NOT Mess With An Original Gangsta


(or “Word!” in English)

It was June of 2001—yes, there was a world—an America before September 11th of that year, and George Bush, whose shiftlessness, arrogance, and balls-to-the-wall stupidity we were just beginning to glean took his very first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was in Slovenia for a summit, and Bush at his faux-empathetic best saw fit to let the whole world know what he thought of his Russian counterpart. In a move that should have been a red flag for the crazy to come, Bush went to his “faith healer” schtick and gave us his “sense” of the man via little more than a handshake and a look:

“I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue.”

“I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

That was six years ago. An eon in diplomatic time—and an ever-loving eternity when you factor in 9-11.

Which brings us to today, a post 9-11 world where the landscape is radically different from those “soul-gazing” days of '01. A landscape featuring a topography of mingled Asian sand and Caspian ice —via AP:

He (Putin) also suggested Moscow and Tehran should have a veto on Western plans for new pipelines to carry oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea, using routes that would bypass Russian soil and break the Kremlin's monopoly on energy deliveries from the region.

Putin came to Tehran for a summit of the five nations bordering the Caspian, but his visit was aimed more at strengthening efforts to blunt U.S. economic and military ties in the area. Yet he also refused to set a date for completing Iran's first nuclear reactor, trying to avoid an outright show of support for Iran's defiance over its nuclear program.

Putin strongly warned outside powers against use of force in the region, a clear reference to the United States, which many in Iran fear will attack over the West's suspicions that the Iranians are secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made similar comments.
"We are saying that no (Caspian) nations should offer their territory to outside powers for aggression or any military action against any of the Caspian states," Putin said.
The five national leaders at the summit later signed a declaration that included a similar statement — an apparent reflection of Iranian fears that the United States could use Azerbaijan's territory as a staging ground for military strikes in Iran.
Putin has warned against such attacks previously, but reiterating them in Tehran gave them greater resonance — particularly at a summit for a region where Moscow deeply resents U.S. and European attempts at greater influence.


At the same time, Putin — on the first trip to Iran by a Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin visited in 1943 for talks with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II — said Moscow wouldn't back down on its obligation to finish the plant.

"Russia has clearly stated that it's going to complete this work," Putin said. "We are not renouncing this obligation."

Cue the big brain on Driftglass:

Hmm. Where have I seen this before? Nuclear states with imperial ambitions?

Taking a rooting, tampering interest in countries with strategically valuable resources?

Countries which can trade geopolitical importance for power and prestige, and through which their dominant partner nations can carry out a cold, proxy war at a safe distance?

Oh yeah.

So meet the

New War...

...same as the

Cold War.

He hammers the nail through the wall, into the neighbors' apartment and through the back of mama's old breakfront. Bush (and his imperialist handlers) were so dead set on treating Iran like a wet food stamp that there was almost no way this Putin/Ahmadinejad love connection wasn't gonna go down—especially after the shitty treatment he got here in New York during his visit. Now, no one is saying that we should have extended to Ahmadinejad the tender courtesies that Mickey Kaus does to his goat friends, but one would have to be a fool to see that Putin's perfectly-timed, and historically-destined cuddle wouldn't be a result of the U.S.'s ham-fisted non-diplomacy. And while a cuddle it may be, the arms of said Caspian cuddle-er while capable of the gentle diplomatic caress we're seeing now, are just as capable of and ready to casually snap the neck of anybody who really pisses him off.

Which leads us to the crux of this situation...which Hubris lays out succinctly:

He wants to make it clear to Bughouse Dick that if he moves against Iran there will be consequences. We have seen this whacky topic of invading Iran ebb and flow based on the level of Dick's meds recently. Hopefully this message from Pooty Poot will quiet down the trained monkeys about invading Iran.

Russia is the only country that is helping Iran to realize its nuclear program in a peaceful way, he said.

If you want to keep it that way Richard, keep your trap shut...

As a public service to the President and Vice-President, I'm gonna lay this out for you real simple-like.



Now, I know you want to fuck with him, but let's be clear—he ain't like you. Meaning, that for all the tough talk you guys have spit out over the years with the aid of handlers and broadcast transmitters hidden in your suit jackets, this son-of-a-bitch—Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin walked the walk—and probably shot the bullets, and car-batteried the gonads of people who got in his way.

Actually did it, okay?

To you, Mr. President, Putin was in the KGB when it was your daddy's job to see to it that as many members of that organization ended up face-down in Gorky Park with poisoned shivs in their backs. And it was Putin's job to make sure he piano-wired the carotid arteries of anyone trying to poison-shiv his KGB buddies. You ducked conflict. This guy dipped it in his borscht and ate it, happily.

And to you, Mr. Cheney, for all your diabolical thinking, your hand-rubbing and mordant chuckles over evil plans set in motion via dark-roomed, “cigarette-smoking man” calls from you, understand that Putin worked as the kind of low-level spook who handled the dirtiest of the dirty work. Tail a guy, brace him, beat the living shit out of him, dope him up, torch his place, torch his nads. He's everything you are—minus the innate cowardice to actually do the evil with his bare hands. Say what you will, but that does something to a man. It's what separates a button pusher, from a trigger man. And that trigger-man runs the only place that has near as many nukes as we do.

You see, there are “Original Gangstas”, and there are “Posers”. Kind of like the whole Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight paradigm. “Pac”, as he was called, was in essence a master showman. A more than capable actor who could put across the image and superficial trappings of the toughest of the tough street hoods. He played this role on record, to the press, and very convincingly on film. If you didn't look at him too close, he could easily scan as the the living embodiment of the image he portrayed.

But an image is all it was. For all his bluster and “Thug Life” tats, and gangsta-talk, Pac, in spite of some troubled family surroundings wasn't a “thug” or a tough guy at all. He went to art school. He studied poetry, jazz, acting and ballet. Performed Shakespeare to boot. By the time he was twenty he'd read Salinger and Melville, and the feminist works of Alice Walker and Robin Morgan.

A “Thug”? Hardly.He got his big break dancing behind Humpty-Hump in Digital Undergorund—not from taking nine, or nine-hundred bullets “Fiddy-Cent— style. (he caught a couple of slugs and checked himself out of a hospital hours after a minor scuffle once) And once given light, he adopted the “Thug Life” mantra, lifestyle and requisite attitude as a performer's persona. A performer's persona.

Now, his “buddy” Marion “Suge” Knight is a different story altogether. The 300 lb. monster rolled with Compton's vicious Mob Piru Bloods gang as a teen. The “Bloods” of drive-by killing fame. Suge would use his hulking size eventually nab a football scholarship to UNLV, and from there to “bodyguard” jobs for stars which he'd eventually parlay into a career in “concert promotion”—that usually ended up with disagreeing parties being broken and bloodied in an alley somewhere off Crenshaw Avenue. And eventually, he wound up in trouble with the law over the relatively minor issues of grand theft auto, concealed weapons and attempted murder charges. Had a restraining order put on him for cutting off a girlfriend's ponytail in front of her home. Capped a dude twice with a hot .38. Broke another guy's jaw pistol-whippin' him.

Suge was NOT an actor. He was the real. The awful, ugly, deadly and down-and-dirty real.

And in this world, you have your wannabe gangstas...of the “Pac”—for all his “talent”—mold, and the Original Gangstas of the just-as-soon-as-shoot-you-as-hand-you-a-cigar Suge Knight mold.

Bush and Cheney fall into the “Pac” camp. They can talk a good game but have no real “record” to stand on. Putin is in the “Suge” school, with a trail of broken and non-breathing bodies behind him. Bush and Cheney rat-fuck. Putin, as we've seen in the case of Alexander Litvinenko will rat-poison a mother-fucker.

There's one hell of a difference between the two. And as we saw on that fateful night in that parking lot in Las Vegas, one dude walked away from the gunfire, and one wound up on a slab. Guess who did what.

You might—Mssrs. Bush and Cheney take a lesson from that. You've been verrry successful as posers for all your lives. You've parlayed it into great personal success. But you need to check your bullshit at the door when you're dealing with an “O.G” (Original Gangsta) like Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. You said you “looked into his eyes and saw his soul”. John McCain, for all his silliness noted the other day that when he looked into Putin's eyes, he saw three letters: “K.G.B.” It's a quip. A nifty sound-bite. But John McCain probably knows a shitload more about what it looks like staring into a hard, brutal man's eyes than Bush and Cheney ever will. Putin's got the icy look of a man who's seen life ebb out of more than a couple people, and more than a couple of times directly because of him.

One last thing. When I was a teenager, there was a little deli/grocery store in my neighborhood called “Slim's”. And as is often the case, a name like “Slim” is given to a fella who is not that. The proprietor—“Slim”—was a man-mountain. six-foot-five and about 270 lbs. None of it fat. Arms like picnic roasts. Hands like baseball mitts. Big, southern fella with a “Paw” from the “Hillbilly Bears” countenance. Wore overalls all the time, and had a huge burn welt on his right upper arm—just below a faded, crude green Marine Corps bulldog tattoo. Said he got the burn when a dude attacked him with an arc welder. He never said what happened to the dude...and he didn't have to.

Anyways, one day I'm in his store, and there's a real jerk at the counter harassing one of Slim's daughters at the register. Lewd, chattering about everything, being a general nuisance. He hands her a five-dollar bill for his purchase amidst his distracting patter, and then upon receiving his change, went ballistic, claiming that he'd given her a twenty and that she was stiffing him. I know it was a fiver, as I was standing behind him for five minutes practically watching his every annoying move. She corrected him—“No, you gave me a five. I put it right here.” He countered with curses, threats, counter-pounding and demands that she give him change he wasn't entitled to. When I heard her call out to the back room “Daddy!”, I knew it was all over.

Slim lumbered from the back, ducking his head at the short doorway, and the clown at the counter, who evidently was pulling a scam and had never been in the store before—and didn't know who he was fucking with continued with his invective. “Oh, now you gonna call this mother-fucker out here? Who the fuck is you? Who the fuck is you?”, he railed.

“You need to calm down, kid. Watch your mouth in my store.”, Slim rumbled. “And don't be bothering my daughter.”

“Fuck your daughter!”, the idiot yelled as I took a step or two back. “She gypped me! I gave her a twenty, she's saying I gave her a five! I want my Goddamn change! All of it!”

“Baby, what did he give you?”

“A-a five”, she stammered.

“We don't be gypping people who come in here, mister. I been here twenty years and we don't do that. I think you made a mistake.”

I made a mistake?”, the guy screamed. “No, this is a mistake!” And with that, he upset a jar of pickles that was on the counter, tipping it over and as it wasn't 100% sealed, spilling pickle brine all over the counter.

“Mister...I ain't no play-toy.” Slim intoned. And he threw a couple of paper towels at the guy. “You need to wipe that up, right now.”

“Yeah, well I want my fuckin' change right now! All of it! Right now!”

And with that, I heard—I didn't see because it was too damned fast—Slim whip one of those baseball-mitt hands out and grab this dude by the clavicle. The other hand hit the guy's hip, and with one quick motion, Slim yanked him into the air, and slammed him down hard onto the counter with a “BOOM!” that shook the gum rack and penny-candy boxes.

He had the guy pinned in an unnatural position that looked for certain to snap his neck if he kept him like that for long. The man's face was pressed hard against the brine-soaked countertop.

“I told YOU, I ain't no Goddamned play-toy! I gave you a chance to wipe that shit up—now you're gonna lick it up! NOW LICK IT UP!. Sure as shootin', homeboy started to loll his tongue out and lick at the liquid like some sort of spine-twisted cat at a bowl. “Annnh! Annnh! Annnnh!” he went, lapping up the spillled brine as Slim moved him about like a human dishrag.

“I told-you-what-to-do, but-you-didn't-wanna-listen, did-you? Now-look-at-cha! Told-you-I-wasn't-no-Goddamn-play-toy, right? Huh? I-didn't-hear-you? Am-I-a-Goddamned-play-toy?” “Annnh! Annnh! Annn-n-n-n-n-n-h!” was the throttled response again.

The correct answer of course, was “no”. Slim was absolutely not a “play-toy”. Certain people you'll come across in life are just not. And Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is one of those people. An “Original Gangsta”, if you will.

You don't just fuck around with folks like that. And the absolute worst thing you can do is “play” tough guy with them when you don't have the pedigree for it. Take heed the tales of “Pac”, and “Suge”, of “Slim” and “The Counter-Licker”, and if you have any sense at all, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, you'll go to the phones before you even think of going to the generals.

'Cause from what I remember seeing, being forced to lick up pickle brine an absolute bitch.