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Dick's Tips: Holidays

Late summer is a slow time for news from abroad. My agents in Washington D.C., for example, mention something about the Labor Day holiday, and then stop sending in reports. You might think this infuriates me, but while it does annoy me a bit, I understand. Everyone needs some time off now and then, and what better time to schedule a vacation than a national holiday? Laugh if you must, but even dictators must take the occasional break. 


That being said, I would remind all you dictators-in-waiting that you can turn national holidays to your advantage. Need to announce unpopular legislation? Send out the press release after 5PM the day before the holiday -- you can be sure no one will notice until they get back (and if you're good it will be too late for anyone to do anything about it). See above for all and sundry, including a) executing popular political prisoners, b) arresting charismatic leaders of protest movements, and c) anything else you can think of.  But by far the best way to exploit the human desire for leisure is to announce or institute holidays that enhance your personality cult or consolidate your bond with the people. Read on. 

If you feel up to it, declare your birthday a national holiday -- or even your mother's birthday, as I write in my book -- and the people will be glad of the extra time off and drink to your health. Despite the grumbling from the business community, tying your face and name to a nice, long 3-day weekend will do wonders for your popularity. Or, you can develop a holiday that speaks to a disaffected or important constituency; urban or rural workers, the middle-class, whatever group requires a bit of positive reinforcement. When you can, undercut your enemies by usurping a holiday that celebrates their ideals; Adolf Hitler appropriated the May Day holiday and turned harvest festivals in a national celebration of rural workers, a nice one-two [See Hitler's Social Revolution by D. Scheonbaum, chapter 2]. 


Or, consider the option that Hosni Mubarak used in 2009, when he declared a National Police Day, partly as a way to reward a group that was an important pillar of his power (the January 25th date didn't seem so pleasant a few years later. Poor Hosni ... but better him than me!).


All this gives me an idea ... that's right, Rich Tater Day is coming soon to a 4-day weekend near you.  

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