Len Barry Smiles On Me

Uncle Volodya says, "Hey, Alexander Vasilyevich; could you spare 15 roubles until payday?"

Probably quite a few of you won’t know who Len Barry is, but way back in 1961 his “Bristol Stomp” took the country by storm, rocketing to number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100. He might even have been of Russian descent, as he was born Leonard Borisoff, in Philadelphia. A few years later, in 1965, he wrote and performed 1-2-3, which was another major hit; you might have heard it as part of the soundtrack to “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, which was a fantastic film.

Anyway, 1-2-3 included the memorable lyrics, “It’s easy (it’s so easy), like taking candy from a baby”. That’s the theme I’d like to elaborate on a little today. If you’re a regular reader, you know how I enjoy it when La Russophobe offers up another clownish effort that begs to be contradicted. But this one is…well, almost too easy. Like taking candy from a baby. Thanks, Len; you can go now.

The original piece is mercifully short, but no less revealing for that. According to the coyly-entitled, “A Russian Tail, and Dog”, the Chief of the FSB (which she persists in referring to as the KGB, probably for the terror she imagines it invokes) makes an annual salary 50% higher than that of the Russian President. Incidentally, you got that title, right? Tail wags dog? Yes, cute. This leads her to inquire, speculatively; who is really running this country?

We’re meant to conclude, obviously, the one who makes the most money of the 3 persons rated. This would, based on salary alone, indicate that the Chief of the FSB runs the country.

Let’s stick with that standard of measurement for a minute. Let’s imagine the country is run by whoever makes the biggest salary, even though it makes about as much sense as saying the guy with the biggest penis gets to run the country. Never mind that – the guy (or girl) who takes home the biggest paycheck is the leader. We’re even absolved of the responsibility to restrict ourselves to government figures, since the Chief of the FSB is not in government, although he reports to it. He’s in security and enforcement. Let’s also recall that La Russophobe consistently holds up the United States as an example to the world, as a model to which all should aspire. So let’s head over there for a look at how things balance out, salary-wise.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

All right, then – without further ado: the President of the United States makes an annual salary of $400,000.00. Not bad. It was doubled in 2001, when George W. Bush took office, from the previous $200,000.00. He also has a $50,000.00 discretionary expense account. So let’s roll that into his salary, giving us annual income of $450,000.00.

I bet that there are businesspeople who make quite a bit more than that, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the Financial Posts asks if CEO salaries in the United States are out of control. Let’s look at some of them; Boeing CEO James McNerny actually had to take a pay cut in 2007, because the value of some of his stock options dropped – he only made a lousy $19 Million, 42 times what the President of the USA makes.  How’s the Defence Procurement business these days? I’m glad you asked; Lockheed-Martin’s CEO, Bob Stevens, took home just a bit under $31 Million, also in 2007 – 68 times what America’s CEO gets. How about the auto-manufacturing sector? Wow; don’t go there – General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre only makes $1.7 Million, although he also receives $7 Million in company stock. Looking at only his cash salary, he makes just a bit more than 2 times what Obama does. In one of those funny little sidebars that just makes you laugh until you start to scream, the former CEO who got fired will still pocket $59,000.00 per month – plus expenses- through the end of this year. Nice work if you can get it.

In investment banking, the creme-de-la-creme of legalized robbery in the United States, a mere department head can expect to start at twice what the President earns, and an average salary can go up to 155 times the rate of presidential pay.

Following La Russophobe’s leadership model, investment bankers run America, followed closely by corporate CEO’s. Is that pretty much the way it is? That’s not for me to say.

Let’s dispense with one more cheap shot, while we’re at it. La Russophobe’s editorial alleges that Putin’s watch costs at least a third of his annual salary. In fact, the Prime Minister favours the Blancpain Chronograph, which retails for $15,000.00, although you can get it on sale for $10,000.00. I don’t know where La Russophobe went to school, but the math I learned says that’s nothing like a third of his annual salary. Besides, it was quite possibly a gift – after all, Julia Ioffe recently ran a post in The Moscow Diaries about a 2007 Porsche Cayenne operated by the Moscow Emergency Services department, which was a gift from Porsche-Russland.

So, to recap – Russia is run by the forces of national security and enforcement. America is run by investment bankers and corporate raiders. I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

This entry was posted in Government, Investment, La Russophobe, Russia, Uncategorized, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Len Barry Smiles On Me

  1. Eugene Ivanov says:

    Mine is the first comment to this great post, so let it be short.

    Mark, the real question is not “where La Russophobe went to school”? The real one is “whether La Russophobe went to school at all”? You have 3 attempts to figure out my answer to this question 🙂


  2. marknesop says:

    Ha, ha!!! A better-than-even chance she is not a product of any educational system at all. I would have said she was home-schooled, but in some cases that has been known to produce some very bright people indeed.

    No, I’m sure she is well-educated, and her Alma Mater must be sickened to see what a pig’s ear she’s making of it. Mark Adomanis had a great line – the world would be a much better place if all the people who were wrong about something were simply stupid. Her exaggeration and hyperbole are fairly-obvious insults designed to get a reaction. I don’t think mockery is the one she’s looking for, though.

    • Misha says:

      A main underlying point continues to be how some key elitny are willing to tolerate that kind of take in a way that they don’t when it comes from another angle.

      Even more gross in subjectivity is how some more balanced and intelligent options are kept out of the process.

      • marknesop says:

        I’m sure you’re right, and that her all-the-way-across-town-from subtle approach is encouraged in some circles. However, just to send things in another direction for a moment – when I first happened upon her blog and saw the sneering, bigoted bias there, I did a fair amount of research into American hate laws, to see if I could get it shut down. Ha, ha: not in a million years. Free speech is such a talisman in America, such a holy grail, that you can say just about anything you want to. The only qualifier I could find is that material may not directly incite to violence in order to qualify as hate speech, and even then the person gets their day in court to satisfy the presiding authority that he/she didn’t mean anything like that at all. If they won, they would likely sue you for defamation.

        I like to think of her blog as a finger in the wind, a sampling of the international mood. If it appears to be negative toward Russia (ie: lots of supportive comments), good times – everything is working as intended. If there are a lot of comments that suggest she’s a paranoid fruitcake, it’s a mixed blessing; people are not agreeing that Russia is the very eye of the syphilitic storm, but there are still lots of comments, and it tends to stir up her followers. Besides, she can always delete their comments or ban them from commenting if things get uncomfortable.

        The worst for her is no comments, or few and of those, many by the same reader (like faithful Robert, who can usually be relied upon to go on a Chechnya bender no matter what the subject is). She’s often torn up other people’s blogs by pointing out that they garner few or no comments, which she interprets as failure. When her own postings start to slip, and generate no attention at all, she tends to pump out a couple of real clangers like this one, blatant overreach that really says, “Hey!!! Notice me!!!”

        • Misha says:

          Msrk, excuse the repeat of what follows

          I lean towards a libertarian approach of letting people have their say from their own toilet, which can take the form of a blog.

          Topping the list on the the subject of what’s wrong with the coverage of the former Communist bloc are some of the sources getting promoted over some others by the existing power structure. The record shows that LR punked out of a live worldwide panel with one of its targets.

          Belittling that site and wishing it away is contradicted by feeding it with acknowledgement. This is why I respectfully encourage reviews like your recent piece on an RFE/RL article.

  3. From the Department of Ass Kissing Left of Center Twittery and “Russophile” Phoniness: I hope you’ll also comment on the incarnadine whipped cream and compote with stewed cherries that is LR’s latest “EDITORIAL”! 🙂

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