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Headlines from the Forum

A bit quiet this time, as we passed through the holiday season - those of us not in prison for defaming the ruling coalition, that is - but the forum continues to inform and entertain. Here are the highlights from the past two weeks:

  1. [Haiti] Basically a lawless free-for-all
  2. [Venezuela] Chavez is dead. No he's not.
  3. [Russia] Putin has not had a great year.
  4. [Syria] Targetting civilians 101

And the comment of the period goes to netizen Max the Incinerator in article [Syria] Moderates sidelined as battle rages:

We've seen the same thing in the American Congress and probably for the same reasons: the moderates, seeking consensus and pragmatism, drop out in frustration. The hardnosed radical nutjobs hang on tight to their ridiculous ideologies and scream and threaten until they get their way.

That's a bad omen for the looming "fiscal cliff" then, I'm sure (oh wait, does that comment count as defamation?)

Happy Holidays to the Unfortunate

Grumpy Cat Scouring the headlines for articles pertinent to those interested in authoritarianism, dictatorships, and civil society leads to an overly-acute understanding of just how many people out there are going to spend the holiday seasons in conditions less favorable than my own. Yes, it's a season for compassion and for giving thanks. It's also an appropriate time to remember how many out there, living in authoritarian shitholes, have very little to be thankful for. Here's just a few examples: Continue reading "Happy Holidays to the Unfortunate"

A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 3

To read Part 1, click here. Part 2 is here.

The following manuscript was found in a cache of stolen documents, nestled between execution orders and ledgers detailing illegal funds siphoned from international aid programs.

A hot bath and a tumbler of scotch will do wonders for generalized anxiety; I recommend a gold-plated tub, if you have the cash.

In any case, the warm water and alcohol soothed my nerves, and soon I forgot about the image of Joachim over the door knocker. That’s the trouble with martinis and driving, I said to myself, they don’t mix, whether you happen to be behind the wheel or not. I laughed the apparition off, laughed until i was stopped by a rumbling stomach. Of course ... I was hungry, practically at the edge of starvation ... low blood sugar, my doctor always told me, was a leading cause of hallucinations and anxiety. The answer for my nerves was right there. Dinner ... it was time to eat.

Continue reading "A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 3"

A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 2

To read Part 1, click here.

The following manuscript was found in a cache of stolen documents, nestled between execution orders and ledgers detailing illegal funds siphoned from international aid programs.

I can always tell when Pauline is distracted. There is no “I love you, Great Leader,” or “What wonderful spread, your Excellency,” and a playful belly-pat afterwards. No, today she morosely smoked a cigarette after I’d climaxed, and was silent, mostly, except to complain about an insufficient number of shoes. Women are a mystery to me too, I freely admit, but then I have the luxury of not having to care. Perhaps she was upset about having to work on Christmas Eve too.

Well, let her be upset, like Bob. In the end what they think doesn’t matter very much.

She sighed loudly. “Are we finished here, Dicky?”


She sighed again. “I mean, Your Grace.”

I thought it best to let that slip go. She was still fine to look at, or rather the curves of her buttocks and large nipples were, and so while I could stare fighting seemed superfluous. Read history, I felt like telling her, and you’ll find that no one is usually more linked to a dictator’s fate than his mistresses -- for better and worse.

That axiom is not mine, though I am credited with it in all the official state history books (you can also find in in the Big Book of State Aphorisms). No, it was my friend Joachim who said it. But he’s no longer my number 2. He’s passed on.

Continue reading "A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 2"

Headlines from the Forum

Here are the latest threads of discussion from our lovely forum. Get there!

  1. [Syria] Assad reaches for the scuds.
  2. [Russia] Here's one beauty queen who will soon be experiencing trouble
  3. [N Korea] What if we all just ignored Kim Jong Un?
  4. [Afghanistan] thanks for the aid money, suckers
  5. [Mali] That wasn't a coup!
  6. [N Korea] Kim Jong Un cracks one off

And here are the winning quotes. Tough to choose just one! First of all, in a discussion about Syria, we've got netizen Scat in the Hat, who writes in response to Bashar Assad's assertion he'll live and die his life in Syria,

Yes, that's what we're hoping. And if we're lucky, it will be due to a rocket launcher up his ass. (Putting the "Ass" in "Assad.")

Next, in the article about how Venezuela's ailing president Chavez's health weakens his political platform, netizen June Bug responds:

Isn't that the weakness in the one man state? When that one man disappears, the state vanishes. Let's assume Chavez is a mortal and will eventually die, even if cancer isn't the cause of his ultimate demise. What happens to Venezuela then? The institutions have been ravaged, the competing powers eviscerated, the press shackled, the legislature muzzled, the economy pillaged, and an entire generation of Chavistas is running around feeling entitled to having their asses wiped by the state.

Doesn't bode well for a strong and functional Venezuela, I can tell you. I went to school with a Venezuelan back in 89 and in those days Venezuela was an economic powerhouse to be reckoned with. These days it's a pauper state of hyper-politicized peasants. Way to go, you bereted dumbass Chavez.

OK, one more - can't resist. In the article "Kim Jong Un cracks one off" netizen Max the Incinerator provides the inevitable riposte:

Ha ha! Strokity-strokity-strokity-SPROING! I'm tired of all this North Korea missile madness. The Kim family is a one-trick pony, and an ugly one, at that.

That's it for now, folks. See you in two weeks!

A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 1

(Apologies to Charles Dickens, James Ellroy, and Louis-Ferdinand Celine)

The following manuscript was found in a cache
of stolen documents, nestled between execution orders and ledgers detailing illegal funds siphoned from international aid programs.

The holiday  inches closer and the masses prepare for it, and they seem happy, or at least content with their lot, living under a dictatorship.

I make that last observation every year and it puzzles me. But I let it go. No need to obsess over it, even if I cannot understand how anyone could be content being ruled by another. This is no ordinary tin-pot autocracy; the peoples' means of earning a livelihood, their media access, travel, ability to express ideas, all of it controlled and restricted. Yet I see them even now, hanging wreaths, setting mangers, trimming trees … pouring rum in their egg nog, casual and distracted, as if secret police are not sharing their good will toast.

(My country is mostly Christian, nominally, and so even I am ‘officially,’ or at least when it’s prudent to appear so. But I have no use for turning the other cheek.)

I find all this holiday cheer strange … I’d never show my face at a party if someone held the power of life and death over me. But then I don’t have that problem because I’m THE DICTATOR. Richard M. Tater, at your service (but not really).

Continue reading "A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 1 "

Tools of the Trade: The Internet

Don't think that my wife doesn't nag me -- dictator or not, it happens. One her most predictable gripes (other than my penchant for mistresses) is how I go on and on about how much I love the UN. 'You never once stop talking about how happy you are with them,' she says. Sigh. I know I need the whole marriage thing for appearances, but when is enough enough?

Trouble is, I DO love the UN. What other international body has provided unshakeable cover for despots through the ages (don't answer that)? But that's not the only thing I love. Want to know what else puts a smile on my face? One hint: it's not Mrs. R.M. Tater.  

Continue reading "Tools of the Trade: The Internet"

Stoking the Flames of the National Myth

Thanks to The RegisterEvery nation has one: a founding story, a myth, something approximating a creation story that explains how we got here, why it matters, and most importantly, who we are.   Keeping that myth alive - and mythical - is essential.

North Korea's Pyongyang scientific community stunned the world this week with news that the cave of a legendary unicorn had been found.  Said unicorn once bore the founding king of the Korean Koryo Kingdom, and the legend of that king and his steed are an important part of Korean mythology.

Continue reading "Stoking the Flames of the National Myth"