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Round of applause for Burma!

I'd like to take a moment here and give a shout-out to my boys the Burmese generals.  Ever been to one of those stupid movies where there's a psycho killer in the abandoned house, but the stupid girl and her sorority sisters are walking up to the front door anyway to go get slaughtered in the next two minutes of the film?


That's what watching American trying to court Myanmar is like.  

Continue reading "Round of applause for Burma!"

R.I.P. Baby Doc Duvalier


Well, we're late in wishing Baby Doc Duvalier a happy afterlife, but it's been a long time since he mattered much, and when he did matter, it was for all the wrong reasons. He got more than honorable in the Dictator's Handbook and his 15 year rule of Haiti was only slightly better than an outbreak of a deadly virus, rife with humans rights abuses, torture, and unexplained death.

Never underestimate that power of the crowds to come out and mourn the "good old days," though. Continue reading "R.I.P. Baby Doc Duvalier"

You don't want freedom: you want a firm hand



All this whining and crying about independence movements brings a tear to my eye, as I reach for my revolver.  You, son: you don't want independence, you just think you do.  What you really want, as far as I can tell, is for someone powerful and visionary to show you which direction is up.


In short: you need a Dick.


What if you got your independence?  The jackass behind you would probably decide he needs independence too.  Never mind the fact you can't survive on your own.  Never mind the fact you can't wipe your nose and walk at the same time.  They've got the right idea over at Slate.  Check out their map of what Europe would look like if every separatist movement got its way.  Not pretty, I can assure you.


Maybe you should just sit down and shut up.


Actually, know what I should do?  Let you all get your independence, because individually you are all weak and unprotected.  Then I should run roughshod over you like a bunch of slugs crossing a highway.  Because while you're enjoying your newfound independence, I'll be warming up my army to make you my bitches.

Torture, Nigeria style

I know, I know, you've read the entire chapter of the Dictator's Handbook about security and police forces as well as the chapter on perpetuating a culture of fear, and you're thinking to yourself, "dammit, all the interesting torture practices have already been discovered and are being used elsewhere!  How am I supposed to innovate in this important area of governance?"


Fear not, young Dick.  Nigeria is here to show you the way.

Continue reading "Torture, Nigeria style"

Finally, a law that can stop anyone from doing anything

If you've read the Dictator's Handbook, you've certainly appreciated the chapter on "A Culture of Fear."  And a huge part of keeping people quaking in their boots is a legal framework that encourages self-censoring on every level.  Congrats to you guys in the United Kingdom then. Continue reading "Finally, a law that can stop anyone from doing anything"

History repeats itself in Nicaragua

Once upon a time in Nicaragua, there was a brutal, rapacious, avaricious dictator running Nicaragua. He, his family, and his business cronies owned anything worth owning, and controlled the rest. The press was silenced, political life was basically squashed for any other than his own party, and the people were disaffected but powerless to do much of anything about it. Then in the mountains, ragtag bands of rebels began training and organizing, gaining in strength and in courage, and they used the mountains as a base for attacks on the violent apparatus of the state: the national guard, the police, and the army.

Eventually, the rebels won. The dictator was overthrown, and the head of the rebels became the president. His name was Daniel Ortega.

Ortega knows this story well, as does every school kid that ever went through the Nicaraguan public school system. So it should be no surprise to anyone that what's happening in Nicaragua is a repeat of the past. Only this time, Ortega is the dictator, and the rebels are massing against him.

How do you think it will turn out? How do you hope it will turn out?

Boo, Hiss, UK Snooping Laws


One country you definitely do not expect to find on this lonely little blog: the United Kingdom.

But hell, they've earned it this time! David Cameron, WTF? The BBC reports:

The legislation is primarily aimed at the companies that provide us with telephone and internet connections. It outlines their legal obligation to retain "communications data" on their customers. This metadata includes things like logs of when calls were made, what numbers were dialled, and other information that can be used, the government says, in investigations. It does not include the content of the communications.


The Prime Minister loses one point for the snooping laws, another for forcing them through Parliament without, apparently, time for due consideration, and a third point for justifying them on the grounds of the usual suspects: "emergency needs," Al Qaeda and other international baddies, and of course, pedophilia. We don't support any of those things, of course, but neither do we think the prescription is the appropriate remedy for the problem, and suspect this was just vile justification for something the British government was planning to do anyway.

Lastly, needless to say: this is a move straight out of the Dictator's Handbook. Go read it, chumps.

Mr. 95.5%

When I return home from my month long -- hell, six-week!! -- vacation in West Palm Beach I usually find a bored and angry trophy wife, piles of paperwork, and a gang of sycophants just waiting for access to Il Commandante (that's me). It's usually then that, with a sigh of regret, I say to my mistress 'See you in a week, honeybunny.' 


This year, I turned on the news. And I saw what I'd missed since my well-deserved vacation -- the public mastery of the art of dictatorship. 


Large teeth

Continue reading "Mr. 95.5%"

Where's Ortega?

Waldo with cane

Has anyone seen Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega recently? Why, no. In fact, not only has the ersatz strongman been conspicuously absent for nearly two weeks, but it's been radio silence from the office of the president, the president's inner circle, and the Nicaraguan government as a whole.

That's good news, because it means Daniel Ortega might finally be ready to shuffle off this mortal coil, the only way we'll ever be rid of the mustachioed bastard given his recent changes to the constitution. But that's bad news too, because no government is a problem. Continue reading "Where's Ortega?"