You know what wrinkles my britches? People thinking they can get around me. If any of you have read chapter 4 of my Dictator's Handbook, you'd remember I belong at the center of everything, where I can control, direct, manipulate, coopt, and generally get my way.
That's tough if I can't ready your email, listen in on your telephone conversations, or otherwise spy on you. (What are my spies going to do then with their free time, write poetry?)
So let's just say when I read about stuff like the Crypto Party people organizing conventions to spread info on circumnavigating my careful restrictions (don't forget, they weren't cheap to put in place, either: have you no respect for the finite resources of our state?) it pisses me off.
Yes, I've downloaded their little book and pawed through it. And what do I see? Using a VPN, encrypting email, making sure your software hasn't been violated by my goons with their spybots, using darknets, TOR, chatting securely, and even counter-surveillance, it makes me crack my knuckles.
Agents Dasher, Dancer, and Prancer, get yer asses over here. Go warm up the black van and the eavesdropping equipment. It's time we round up a couple folks for extended 'questioning.' I don't like the sound of this stuff at all.
As always, the Dictator's Handbook Forum remains a hotbed of political insight and desperation. It smells like Guiness.
Here's the latest:
- The Death of Privacy (in general.chitchat)
- [Zimbabwe] down to its last fitty sen
- [Eritrea] How long can it remain a closed state?
- Venezuela + Iran - Chavez = ?
- [Venezuela] Prison riot: you're doing it wrong
- [North Korea] Same old shit
- [Russia] Pow! to the moon, Alice!
- [Syria] Medvedev thinks Assad sucks
- [Mali] the European Union is MIA
And here's what our readers have to say:
In the article [Egypt] Riots = sexual assault detailing how many women are assaulted in otherwise political rallies, reader Natcho Mama writes:
Egypt is a sick society. Sick. ... Goodbye land of the pharoahs, you're now land of the fappers.
And in the article Venezuela + Iran - Chavez = ? Netizen Motormouth writes:
Oh, oh, oh, call on me. I know the answer.
Venezuela minus Chavez will also be minus Iran, which means it will just be Venezuela. No Chavez, no relationship. It's a paper relationship anyway, like the two class dummies who both enjoy heckling the other students from the back row, but they're both doomed to lives of pitiful irrelevance anyway, so as soon as you learn to ignore them, it all gets better.
Here's a new equation for you math lovers out there:
douchebag X 2 = ? Yes, that's right, double douche!
Wow, very subtle, Mr. Mouth. See y'all on the flipside.
Here's a refresher on Dick Move, #28 (keep your journalists on a tight leash). Reread it here if you have to. Two recent examples show some nuances not evident in the Kazakh example we looked at back in October 2012.
Example One: Benin
In Benin, the media law and media authority make editors/publishers responsible for the quotes they publish. So if someone says something offensive about the president, and you publish it. You're guilty. Clever! 'Course, not everyone agrees. The Committee to Protect Journalists complains, "President Yayi retaliated against a journalist who conveyed a message he did not like and then pressured the courts to impose his will. He is sending a message that his government is off-limits to critical scrutiny."
Example Two: Thailand
This one is a bit simpler. An eleven-year jail sentence for a Thai publisher who published (under a pseudonym) articles generally critical of an unspecified person easily identifiable as the King. Lese Majeste policies provided for a stiffer sentence, but this sentence was severe by any measure.
Whoops! A quick edit, one day after publication. Kenya provides us with an example, too!
Example Three: Kenya
There's always the brute force method, too. Kenya's government spokesman appeared to make a veiled threat against international journalists while announcing a tough stance on information deemed divisive surrounding nationwide elections March 4: ... "We will set you on fire before you set us on fire." He said the media and pollsters were the catalysts of violence that rocked Kenya following a disputed presidential vote five years ago.
You might think that I'm a tireless worker, ever looking to self-innovate or improve relentlessly (how else can you explain my success? I'm good-looking, but not THAT good-looking). Well, if you thought that you'd be wrong. No, the secret of my success really rests on a few well-worn but still useful tactics, tips, and maneuvers.
Take civil unrest, a dictator's worst nightmare. Many of us start looking for the exits when the 'people' take to the piazzas -- many but not all. I'm one of the latter. The reason? Simple -- I know how to handle myself when everything looks to be crumbling around me, and you might too if you follow my sage advice. One of many possible solutions is highlighted in my book: simply declare a state of emergency.
Continue reading "Tools of the Trade: State of Emergency"
Found this on the Internet, that glorious bastion of an archive for things that interest me. And it reminded me, man, it's a long time ago that they got my little buddy Mohammar Khadaffi. Now there's a guy who contributed lots of good stuff to my Handbook.
Like his management of the military, for example. Nobody did a better job of keeping his military forces corralled, separated, and engaged in permanent infighting than old Mowy. He used to crack me up, too, with his incessant berating of the West and of Europe in particular. You could always lighten up a party by inviting him to tell a couple of "Western Diplomat jokes." There was that one joke, where a European diplomat, the President of the United States, and a camel walk into a bar. But I won't spoil the ending; that joke goes to the grave with my buddy.
Anyway, rest in peace, you miserable bastard. And thanks for all the great material.
Pity Robert Mugabe, if you can. Under his autocratic leadership, Zimbabwe has become one of the poorest countries on earth, with widespread hunger, empty hospitals, and raw sewage flowing in the capital's streets. This is not the Zimbabwe of yesteryear.
What does he turn his attention to, then, now that he's done such great work with Zimbabwe? Leadership of a Pan-African Union, of course. Why not? This used to be Colonel Mohammar Khadaffy's favorite axe to grind, citing the ruinous intervention of the 'West' in Africa, and its pernicious influence today. Whether the West's influence is beneficial or detrimental is the topic of another discussion. It's more useful to study whether a government body whose purview is the entire continent of Africa (and what that would really include) would improve things in any way. Would North Africa want part of this? Would Egypt be counted? What about African island states like Mauritius and Cape Verde, both of whom are doing pretty well for themselves?
Regardless, since the talking heads behind this particular initiative are a long way away from having a groundswell of support, this exercise is largely academic. And who better to lead the fight for uselessness than Uncle Bob Mugabe himself? Because what he's done to Zimbabwe is so impressive, he may as well try to lend a hand to the rest of the continent as well. No?
Here is what's been happening on our forum.
- [Argentina] Kirchner banging on about the Falklands
- [Venezuela] Hurtling toward the post-Chavez chasm
- [Mali] French jets give Mali an enema
- [Guinea Bissau] 2013 will be like 2012
- [Burma] Oh noes! Reform undone!
- [N Korea] wants rapprochement, theme parks, better weapons
Man, you can't make this stuff up. Nor can you keep down public opinion. Here's what Netizen Massive Unibrow had to say about Bashar Assad in the discussion "Syria accepts advice but not orders":
I think the key quote here is "blind confidence in the face of an … ugly conflict … refusing to step down." He's making it clear there's only one way to get rid of him, and it's a method I think the rebel opposition is more than inclined to favor themselves as well.
Maybe he'll goad them so much they'll be forced to do something nasty to him/his cadaver just to make a point.
And finally, repeat offender Max the Incinerator chimes in on the discussion about Burma going back on its reform process with this quote:
I don't think anyone reading this list is surprised. At least, I'm not. Who among you was expecting the rainbows and unicorns to come flying out of Burma the moment the Burmese generals decided they would prefer the West to kick in some cash?
That's it for now. See you in two weeks.
Glad I got this up before Christmas, 2013. Click for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
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 tried every trick I knew to get to sleep ... more port, nearly half of bottle number 2 ... sleeping pills from the State Pharmaceutical company ... they had my scowling face on the capsules, a neat marketing trick I thought would bring in more sales in 2009 ... it didn’t work, and neither did the pills. The visitations had been too disturbing ... imagine a supreme leader like me being scared by a few fanciful images, hallucinations in all likelihood, nightmares ... maybe a sign of decay ... was I getting soft, or too indulgent?
Still under the covers, I slid my fingers over my body, taking comfort in the feel of my solid frame ... arms and legs still there, my penis was definitely still there, and sadly the belly was still there too ... I was real, palpable, and not some figment of a ghost’s imagination.
I slowly began to feel a little less afraid. Why not get out from under the sheets?
Inching my face out from under the duvet, I sniffed the air. The residue of a fire, its steaming embers, and nothing more. Perhaps it was safe.
Continue reading "A Dictator's Christmas Carol, Part 6"
Being a dictator isn't easy work, and the hours suck, too: Basically, no rest for the wicked. So in between squashing the opposition and eviscerating the constitution, it's nice to step back once in a while and revel in the simple pleasures: like pulling one over on the West.
So this morning when I sat down at the breakfast table, poured a nice, hot, black coffee (and then let it cool while I took a slug of whiskey instead), I was thrilled to see another great example of my famous technique in action.
You have read chapter 10 of the Dictator's Handbook, haven't you? It's all in there under "Working with the International Community."
Continue reading "Damn I love staying one step ahead of the West"
What do seven hundred imprisoned journalists have in common? They just ... don't ... know .. how to shut ... their MOUTHS. Ha ha! Just a little dictator joke there. I think I saw Mr. Lukashenko laughing though. Alex? Am I right?
Continue reading "Social Media and the Press"