I have a big problem and I need your help; in my country I'm the supreme leader, I've cowed the opposition, the media, foreign diplomats and civil society meddlers ... but I can't control my wife.
Every month she embarrasses me by flying off to a foreign capital to spend my money on shoes, condos, furs ... you name it. This gets in the foreign media and invariably sneaks through my broadband filters, so now the man on the street is mocking me about not being able to keep my wife in line. Even my generals are cracking jokes behind my back (I don't like that at all). Worse, yesterday my wife caught me with 1 of my 5 mistresses and raised holy hell. I can't just get rid of her, can I? Unfortunately I outlawed divorce about 5 years ago and she is a member of an important ethnic bloc, one that I'd like to keep on my good side. What would you do, your excellency?
Continue reading "WWDD? Wife Problems"
Does anyone here know how to get around a two-term presidential term limit? Anyone, anyone?
Yes, you in the corner. Evo, isn't it? Looks like you have an idea.
Continue reading "Dick Move #33: "That Term Didn't Count""
Today on What Would Dick Do? (WWDD?) we've got a letter from Dictator-in-Training "Ricky," who writes:
Sir: I'm having a lot of fun with my "popular revolution" but the fact is I don't know much about economics and the nation seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. Already we were suffering shortages of things like milk and sugar, but the latest is we're out of toilet paper, and let's just say "the folks are freaking." It's a real shit-fit. Not easy to fix, though! My Revolutionary government is responsible for purchase of consumer goods and I've got that ministry so stuffed with idiots they'll be lucky if we get toilet paper in the next century. They're not up to the task, but I also can't just fire all those suckers. What do I do?
Continue reading "WWDD? Commodity Shortages"
On today's edition of 'What Would Dick Do?' (WWDD?) we have the following letter from anonymous writer "Louie"
Sir: I've got things mostly under control but I'm getting sick and tired of international journalists nosing around and making unfounded allegations. Since they're international it's a bit harder for me to do what I usually do (throw their pasty asses in jail) without causing an international diplomatic scandal. But they're a real thorn in my side. What should I do?
Signed - "Louie"
Continue reading "WWDD? Bloggers"
Dictators, Autocrats, Tyrants, Totalitarians, and Strongmen of the World, take note!
We understand: you have problems, concerns, questions, and perhaps incomplete knowledge of how to best apply the tenets of the Dictator's Handbook. Well, fear not, bucko: Richard M. Tater himself will soon be taking - and answering - your questions.
Simply email your questions to email@example.com (unless your nation's internet connection has been .. ahem .. recently severed - right, Bashar?) and his Dickness will answer them on this blog. Yes, kind of like "Dear Abby" for the world's most powerful.
A couple of tips when writing Rich:
- When we ask "What would Dick do?" the idea is to discuss the concerns of autocrats. That means how to crush your civil society, eviscerate your political opposition, and your blundering military, not how to cure your herpes sores, lose the extra belly fat your wife dislikes, or explain to your parents that you suck cock.
- The appropriate greeting when addressing His Dickness is "Sir."
- Keep it short and sweet, Shirley. You think Rich has got time to hear your whole fucking life story? He's got a busy schedule too and is only pausing between executions and the torture chamber long enough to read your email. Cut to the chase, please.
The lines are open. Come forth with your questions, you impotent fools.
Well, it looks like some of you have been reading my book after all (chapter 8 in particular). I'm looking at you, Bashar al-Assad! What was once a losing battle seems to have stabilized, for now, and you are looking tough, too tough at least for local actors to dislodge (not talking about Israel here, so all you international studies majors, back off!).
I like what you've done to help yourself -- a little bit of everything, something I called 'The Kitchen Sink' approach in chapter 8 of The Dictator's Handbook. The idea here is that when a number of different strategies fail to curb unrest or stamp out the flames of rebellion, you're better off using everything at your disposal, from violence, espionage, and financial skullduggery to media manipulation to get ahead of events and make sure your regime will not go the way of the dinosaur.
You've done it your own way of course, Bashar; you've focused your military on the trouble spots, brought in irregular militia to support your terror tactics, and isolated the rebels, among other things. Nice job, even if it's strictly for the short-term. You may have bought yourself a little time, but it doesn't look like the end result is going to change any. Still, look on the bright side -- now you can pick out your retirement mansion on the Black Sea without fear of being strung up in a public square in Damascus. For now.
It's been a tough month for political strongmen as far as the judicial system goes. In some cases, it's catching up; in others it's already caught up.
Of note, we've got former Guatemalan military leader General Efraín Mott, who was found guilty of genocide of the Mayan people during his reign of terror in the 80s. I doubt he was expecting that.
In Iran, current furry strongman Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has been warned by the Constitutional watchdog he may face sanctions over breaking election regulations. I'm sure he wasn't expecting that one. Ahmedinejad is being scolded for having escorted his political protegé, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, to to the election registration office - a clear, though illegal, show of support. You know what else Ahmedinejad probably wasn't expecting? The potential sentence, which could include a maximum punishment of six months in jail or 74 lashes. And you can be sure there is more than one in government who'd be pleased to give that bearded wonder a sound spanking.
Europe has little more to gloat about, at least not the Italians, where a prosecutor is maneuvering to ensure ousted Prime Minister Sylvio Belusconi gets up to six years' jail time for having paid for sex with an underage girl. Not clear if he too will be spanked, or by whom.
Got something to say about it? Catch us on the forum.
Are you a dick? Raise your hand if you are. Mr. and Mrs. Ortega, thank you very much. Keep those hands raised.
For the rest of you, here's a hint: If you, in your capacities either as autocrat-of-the-day or autocrat's-spouse-who-essentially-runs-everything have ever contacted a foreign government in order to request they stop funding your daughter's NGO then you can, in fact, say you are a dick. Bonus points: if you have been accused of repeatedly sexually violating said step-daughter, and have pilloried her in the press and elsewhere to make sure her case against you goes untried, then you count double.
Note: elsewhere in this blog, "Dick" usually means "dictator". But in this case in means not just that: it means you are a cock. Read on.
Continue reading "How to tell if you're a Dick"
Today a real-life inspiration to all would-be tyrants joined the ranks of the departed; Giulio Andreotti died at age 94, a seven-times prime minister of Italy and the architect or enabler of the 'strategy of tension' (we'll never know for sure, but for an account of how dictators can use this technique see chapter 8 of our book) who in many obituaries is being referred to as the 'center of Italian political life for 50 years.'
Giulio gave great material for aphorists: 'Power wears out those who don't have it' and 'Never leave traces' are but two examples. But perhaps for aspiring dictators his greatest legacy is a long list of expressive nicknames. As we point out in chapter 13 of The Dictator's Handbook, a great nickname will go a long way in projecting your reputation while almost certainly capturing what the man in the street thinks about you. Here is what Signor Andreotti was called over his long lifetime:
-Beelzebub-The Black Pope-The Hunchback (hunchbacks are considered unreasonably lucky in Italy)-The Prince of Darkness-Uncle Giulio-Il Divo Giulio (the Divine Giulio) -Lavazza (an Italian coffee; refers to the strange habit acquired by some of Andreotti's enemies -- dying after drinking a poisoned espresso)
Don't get me wrong, I like my Iphone as much as the next guy - it helps me get through boring meetings with my Ministers, for example - and I understand it's tracking my every movement, tracking every website I visit, etc. I get it. But there's some spy technology that really gets my hackles up.
Look at remote imaging technology, and information-gathering satellites monitoring things from orbit. There's a thing that has gotten my man Omar al Bashir in some deep doo-doo in Sudan. I mean holy cow, you knew they were looking in at you, but did you realize they're measuring and counting too? Did you realize they're checking the square footage of villages before and after you've burned them to the ground, or counting the heads of refugees massing at the border? Did you, Omar?
Well, you know now, anyway - hang on a second, got to take a call - damn, love this thing.