This one doesn't take much describing, so I'll be brief. Sometimes, you need to get out your
censor board media oversight committee with their big, black Sharpie markers to make sure nothing makes it into the press you aren't willing to see in the morning paper. But why take the brute force approach, when you can get the same effect with less effort?
I'm talking about self-censorship, and if you have done a decent job of establishing a culture of fear, it will happen all by itself. Imagine how pleasant it is when journalists, bloggers, and citizen spokespeople watch their f*cking mouths for fear awful things will happen to them.
You may think I'm talking about China, but it's happening elsewhere too.
If you're a Dick, that's awesome! If you're a citizen, not so much.
Love this. An old trick of the trade.
The old joke goes:
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
This seems appropriate, then:
Raise your hand if you've just committed a move that was straight out of the Dictator's Handbook.
Mr. Yanukovych, thank you; you can put your hand down now.
Continue reading "Bad Days for Democracy in the Ukraine"
Folks, as you might imagine I could write a post on this topic every day.
Let's face it, incompetence is something I deal with quite often. Do you have to correct shoddy executioners, or overly conspicuous spies, or off-their-game prostitutes? Well, I do it all the time, and it's a wonder I still have the energy to crush dissent on my way to the bathroom (which I am doing more and more often). And that's just the tip of the iceberg. These days, incompetence is everywhere. I ask for agent provocateurs and I get milquetoasts with degrees in performance art; I send out for cold killers and I get thugs holding guns sideways. You just can't win.
Which is why I am particularly disappointed in some of my fellow dictators.
Continue reading "On Incompetence"
Instagram: love it or hate it, and for the most part it seems that in 2013, people love it. Because what's not to love about over saturated, grainy shots taken with an $800 modern multi-megapixel digital camera and then reduced to something that looks like 1971 wants its look back?
But surely it can get better. And it can. How do you improve on Instagram?
Just add dictators. Ever wonder what kind of selfies Saddam Hussein would take if he'd had a hand free from its desperate clutch on the nation? Ever wonder if Fidel Castro had an artistic bent and a fetish for fat, phallic stogies? Ever wonder if the Ceaucescu family liked to whip out the BigShot on their family vacations?
Wonder no longer. It's Instagramology, and as far as I can tell, it's done by a Romanian: certainly a culture that knows something (awful) about autocracy.
A big shout-out to my disciples, Rep. Lamborn (Republican, Colorado), Rep. Duncan (Republican, South Carolina), and Rep. Cramer (Republican, North Dakota). I don't remember seeing them in my class, but they've surely been reading my book. And the bill they sponsored in Congress, House Resolution 1965, is a beautiful piece of autocratic legislation that brings tears of joy to my eyes.
Continue reading "Dick Move #34: "Got to Pay to Play""
Pity poor Islam Karimov, leader of the struggling, corrupt, and dynastic Uzbekistan, former pearl on the Silk Road, now site of incipient radical Islam insurgency and lackluster cotton. What's his problem? Maybe a problem you share yourself: a hottie daughter with intense political and financial ambitions who considers herself a singer, poet, "exotic beauty" and designer. She's also easy on the eyes.
But their family feud is being played out across the world's media: Twitter, radio, TV, and beyond. No one wants that.
Continue reading "Dictator Dislikes: Public Family Drama"
I guess this was no surprise, right? I mean, Ortega has tried this on numerous occasions since coming (back) to power in Nicaragua in 2005.
The thing in question is the proposal of a new constitution, that(surprise, surprise) does away with all sense of term limits on the presidency. It's exactly the sort of thing he'd have railed against from 1991-2005 when he was on the outside, and would have fought against prior to 1979. But now that he's the one in power, staying there until his death seems the logical thing for him to do.
What do Nicaraguans think about it? They're generally appalled, and why shouldn't they be? Daniel Ortega has been ass-raping democracy since he took office, and it's been clear that his intentions are less-than-noble. But he's no fool, either. Nicaraguans are tired of war after an entire generation suffered mightily in the 1980s. He knows damned well they won't rise up in arms against him, and he knows that if he just keeps pushing the tip, a little more, a little more, he will eventually penetrate the pink fleshy ring of Nicaraguan democracy, and become a dictatorial "king" more avaricious than the one the Sandinistas overthrew in 1979.
Hypocrisy, you know no bounds. And that's why, Daniel Ortega, you are one of these things.
Your Excellency: I am president of my country, and thanks to your tip of vote-stealing I win last election, no problem. Also thanks to your excellent book, all political opponents now enjoy long stay in jail. I swim 5 miles all day, drink nice Sctoch from decanter and women like me, sometime even when I forget money. True, English could be better but no one is perfect (except you!). Still, I have problem; I can't sleep at night because nightmares terrify me, I wake up in sweat and think I have enemies unknown, maybe far away but maybe close too. You understand? Or maybe my enemy's son or daughter or dog is thinking revenge? So I say, why take chance? I order second, third, fourth crackdown, arrest all relatives, friends, aquaintances, pets. First I sleep better but can't help wonder, maybe I go too far? Then bad dreams come back. What I can do?
Respect yours, President Yelda.
Continue reading "WWDD? Be Sure. Be Really Sure. "