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Dictators Are Smarter Than You Think

Heads up democracies! We’re looking at the new staying power of dictatorship.

In this Tuesday, May 1, 2012 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed by the Korea News Service Wednesday, May 2, 2012, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, center, is applauded by military personnel during his visit to the Machine Plant managed by Ho Chol Yong in North Korea, to mark May Day. (AP)

In this Tuesday, May 1, 2012 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed by the Korea News Service Wednesday, May 2, 2012, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, center, is applauded by military personnel during his visit to the Machine Plant managed by Ho Chol Yong in North Korea, to mark May Day. (AP)

Think “dictatorship” and you’re likely to think of images from history. Stalin over Red Square. Mao before the millions.

Or of goofy images.  Qaddafi, with his crazy hair and sunglasses.  A North Korean Kim in high heels.

My guest today says think again.  Today’s most effective dictatorships, he says, don’t go in for the old theater and the naked iron fist.  They’re more subtle.  Savvy.  They use media, technology, cushy carrots, subtle sticks, even a lace of democracy to nail their central authority.

This hour, On Point:  the dictator’s learning curve.  They’re smarter than you think.

-Tom Ashbrook


Will Dobson,  politics and foreign affairs editor at Slate and the author of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy.

From Tom’s Reading List

Foreign Policy “Dictators are supposed to be dumb, or at least crazy. Muammar al-Qaddafi was a ranting lunatic with a goofy fashion sense. Kim Jong Il had a weird hairstyle and a penchant for surreal sloganeering. Those generals in Burma were brutes given to consulting soothsayers on major decisions and shooting people at the drop of a hat.

The New York Times “It’s hard not to think about Tony’s woes while reading William J. Dobson’s intelligent and absorbing “Dictator’s Learning Curve.” It’s a book that intricately explores the headache-making complexities of being an authoritarian tough guy in 2012. These despots may well be on anti-depressants too.”

Wall Street Journal “In March 2011, a few weeks after the crowds had left Tahrir Square, I sat down with Sherif Mickawi, a former Egyptian air-force engineer turned political activist. He was one of the young leaders who had helped rally the people to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak. But despite the democratic revolution’s success, Mr. Mickawi was worried.”


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  • Roy Mac

    They might be, but then–I’m smarter than they think.  And they are on the wrong end of this game.

    • jefe68

      Not if your arrested and dumped from a helicopter into the Atlantic. Think Argentina circa 1976 until 1983.

      • Roy Mac

        Fair enough; but I’m still here to thumb my nose at them!

  • Wavre

    Please let’s not forget that behind a lot of those dictators, stand the enabeling hands of “Democracies”.Overlooking this fact will produce just empty rhetoric. The western media has been at it for too long. And beside, How democratic are we really, when the will of the people is not reflected in the laws being passed? Aren’t we all living under the dictatorship of CEO’s and Corporations?

    • Victor Vito

      I’ll say it until I go on to my reward.  Freedom is relative!

  • Victor Vito

    I love the above photo!  It looks like a still from a musical!

    • Brett

      Actually, Kim Jong Un IS quite fond of musicals! In fact, while not reflected in the photo caption, he’s being applauded for his recent tour de force as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof! He’s been known to dabble in regional dinner theatre…  

      • Victor Vito

        “Oh, I wouldn’t have to work hard, yada dida dida dum!”

  • Victor Vito

    The best, most effective government would be a dictatorship ruled by an altruistic, enlightened, and educated leader.

    I nominate…. me.

  • Victor Vito

    Is it that dictatorships are so effective, or that free market democracies are reaching their end and beginning to implode?

  • JustSayin

    All power is wielded through fear and violence. That is as deep as political “intelligence” gets. The conditions for holding power are the same in all of the apes (except in Bonobos), greed and sex.

    Goodall proved that if you throw a bunch of food into and peaceful ape society (excess resources), that violence, hatred, and even murder arise until the resource is consumed.

    Dictatorships, like religion are sustained by constant unrelenting fear of direct personal jeopardy. It evolved with our species, and its only cure is education and social security. Power knows this and thus education and security are always being threatened and destroyed from within the state… to be replaced by religion.

    Orwell knew how power works, and how it sustains itself:

    “It is almost universally felt that when we call a
    country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they
    might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one

    “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it”

    “War is a way of shattering to pieces… materials
    which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and…
    too intelligent.”

    “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

  • Gregg

    I never thought dictators were dumb, Obama is a smart dude.

    • Ray in VT

      I’m glad that you’ll admit that Obama is smart, but he’s not a dictator by any accepted definition of the term.

      • Gregg

        He has a hit list. He decreed a segment of illegal aliens to be legal. He went to Libya without Congressional approval. He told Republicans to sit in the back and shut up. After the SCOTUS ruling saying Arizona police could check immigration status and alert the Feds he instructed the Feds to ignore the calls, thwarting the law. But fair enough, it was teed up too nicely for me (you know how I am) to pass on. Obama is not a dictator… he just thinks he is.

        • mary elizabeth

          This President has been told to sit in the back and shut up more than any in recent times.  The few instances in which he used his rightful power has been mocked and delegitimized by folks like you who are not averse to twisting the facts.

          • Gregg

            I dispute your first sentence and deny your last.

        • jefe68

          Interesting that you seem to know President Obama’s mind so well.
          If he’s a dictator in your mind, then what does that make GW Bush, Ronald Reagen, and the worst of of all Presidents, Nixon.

          You think you’re being funny or cute here, but you’re not.

          • JGC

            No, he doesn’t think he’s being funny; he thinks Obama is a dictator.

          • Gregg

            “Obama is not a dictator… he just thinks he is.” -myself

            “Lighten up” -Archie Bell

          • jefe68

            Again, not very funny.
            You say lighten up which is funny as your comments are full of heavy matter that bare a striking resemblance to the by-products of bulls.

          • Gregg

            Which of my examples are wrong?

    • Tom

      What grade are you in, Gregg, fifth?

      • Victor Vito

        Tee hee!

      • Gregg

        Sixth, smarty pants.

      • Steve

        Based on the comments he writes here, I would have thought first.

    • mary elizabeth

      Certainly all those filibustered bills, all those  appointments languishing for months, all those hostage taking of the debt ceiling etc are proof of this POTUS status as dictator. 
        It is the Repub party that dictates through obstructionism. 
       And if trying to make inroads into  securing,  in the 21st century,  health care for all is evicence of a dictator, then he is a most  benevolent one  And if using executive privilege once in four years is dictating, then he is in good company.
      The defense of an expatriot “american” who spent minimal time here and then set out to destroy “his” county is questionable, deplorable as any killing is.

    • nj_v2

      Greggg moves closer to becoming a full self-parody of himself.

    • JGC

      Oh, come on, you don’t really view Obama as a dictator, do you? 

  • Steve

    I sure hope the only choices aren’t dictatorship or plutocracy, but it’s starting to look that way.

  • jefe68

    Heads up democracies! We’re looking at the new staying power of dictatorship.

    This is the copy used as the lead to this show? Heads up democracies! Amazing. I’m not sure if it’s me but I find this use of language in this context to be wanting.

    What is more interesting is how this show follows the one on money buying elections.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    President Ferdinand E. Marcos was very smart.

    He was top ten in the Philippine Bar Exam.

  • Sam

    This remind me of the government in Ethiopia “Meles Zenawie”, he has been leading the country for century and the west allowed to do so. How could our government allow or willing to work with a government who will put a law in place that will put you in prison for 15 years for using Skype? 

    Nashville, TN 

    • Nebiyou1

      Meles has tried to justify his authoritarian ways using the same tactics that were mentioned on this episode of the show.  He is the result of Ethiopia’s dependency on foreign aid and the lack of incentive to listen to his domestic constituents. Donors enable this dictator. They use all the excuses mentioned on the show to justify their support to his government.
      Quiet interestingly, in the last year or so (after 20+) years, Meles has realized that he can not continue to use the same methods to rule Ethiopia. He has openly come out and suggested that there is no relationship between economic development and democracy…hint hint!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    MANY dictators package themselves as ‘presidents’, or other acceptable titles, and have used the U.S. Government, and U.S. Millitary, to get themselves installed!
        How much smarter do you need to be?

  • Ivanoffsky

    How is Venezuela a dictatorship? If Chaves was never there would it still be conciddered a dictatorship?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      He was voted by the Venezuelan people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Whether it’s called a democracy or a dictatorship, all forms of government are basically oligarchies, with small groups actually being the ones in control.

  • http://twitter.com/Astraspider Astraspider

    I wonder if Mr. Dobson’s description of Putin’s subversion of what is a good government structure “on paper” is a cautionary tale for the U.S. We have a ideal government structure on paper, too. But it’s subverted by flawed campaign finance rulings, outsized influence by deep pocketed oligarchs, and partisan warfare that no longer seems interested in the common good.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    You don’t have to be a dictator to be dumb.

     Look at George W. Bush

    • Drew (GA)

      W was a Democratically elected representative of the American People? I learn something new every day.

    • Zig

       I guess there’s a reason why Obama has continued with many of the policies set by the “dumb” President who preceded him. Maybe in your view and by the same yardstick, that makes Obama “dumber”? ;-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The pairing of democracy with freedom and right is nonsense. Democracies can be severely restricted. NDAA, SB 1070 and NYC’s stop and frisk policies  are all current products of “democracy”.

    • fascist america

       no you re wrong–they call it democracy but it is not–it is corporate military aristocracy.  if we had direct democracy things might look different.  When are the people really given any choice–in fact if a senator disagrees with the people–even in a presidential election he has the right to vote the other way.  If we the people voted on every issue rather than a plutocracy and pawns of the corporate aristocracy–this country would be prosperous and look a lot different.  The fact that we have free speech zones and that protesters are corraleed and beaten and brutalized and demonized and ignored in the media proves we do not have democracy. 

  • Drew (GA)

    “Dictators Are Smarter Than You Think”

    And the rest of us are dumber than we realize.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

     Dictators these days seem to all say: The people have freedom and democracy, but they cannot be trusted with it. That’s I’m the President.

  • Irene Moore

    This is analysis? 

    • Drew (GA)

      No this is commentary. Unfortunately it’s what we get as opposed to what we need.

  • Scott B, NY

    One has to wonder WTF Yeltin was thinking? After all demise of the USSR, and all the new freedoms, he goes and basically picks Putin, a known hardliner and former head of the KGB as the next in line. What did Yeltin think was going to happen?

  • jim

    I feel your perspective on dictatorship is narrow.

    Singapore is not a democracy, and yet this island nation is striving and prospering.

  • Info

    Calling Obama or any U.S. president a “dictator” is hyperbole. Though any who subscribe to the Nixonian notion of “if the president does it, it’s not illegal” are sure leaning in that direction. I think the more accurate label for what the U.S., along with most Western countries are, is a so-called “managed democracy”. The dynamics of power and governance here are much more sophisticated than a simple brute-force dictatorship.

    It is true, though that the President has continued the trend of the Executive Branch arrogating increased power to itself, in such areas as the “War on Terror” and “War on Drugs”, and the accompanying secrecy and attacks on whistleblowers. There is also a defensible criticism to be made of the health insurance plan championed by the Democratic party. It mandates that individuals purchase a product from a private company, while failing to reign in the pharmaceutical industry and other profit-seeking excesses.

    As we have seen with the NYPD spying scandals, and the harrassment of Occupy members, there are limits to “freedom” in this country, too. Freedom of speech, as long as we don’t disapprove of what you say, isn’t freedom at all. And to answer the anticipated objection, yes I can say this openly without getting a visit from the FBI, but I don’t matter. If some individual or group gets enough visibility, exposes enough government/corporate wrongdoing, the situation changes. Even if no charges are filed, law enforcement harrassment and intimidation are still there to be used at deterrents.

    The Executive has also shown itself quite capable at the art of propaganda, at times (especially the Pentagon). The media has shown itself all too eager to participate, passing on “un-named officials say…” style news.

    The image of the “crazy dictator” is applied to dictators we don’t like, not the ones we do. Contrast our approach to Saudi Arabia vs. Venezuela. Criticising foreign dictators has propaganda value, encouraging U.S. citizens
    to dismiss criticism of our own country with, “well, whatever this country’s problems, we’re still better than

    • Terry Tree Tree


    • fascist america

       you slice hairs–arguing over the finest points–look at the results.  When people are dying does it matter if it is a euphemism like ‘managed-democracy’ or fascism, ‘war’ or ‘conflict’–’collateral damage’ or ‘murdered innocents’–or race coded language–when that bomb drops on your head–people like you perpetuate the crime–and inaction.  its disgusting.

      • fascist america

         but everything you say after that is spot on

    • Midwestgirl09

       You are so on target with your comments, especially about “the accompany secrecy and attacks on whistleblowers”.  I can’t go into details here online; but there is plenty of truth in this comment you made about attacks on whistleblowers.  Whistleblowing as you probably mean here, is in regards to huge issues that affect our American people; but I, personally have had retaliation taken out on me just for bringing up concerns within the VA healthcare system.  I couldn’t believe my ears when I received a phone call from another veteran while he, a male nurse from the VA and a doctor were discussing what this male nurse had done to my records while I was awaiting a housing voucher back in 2009.  I received a rude awakening while having to stay at one of their Domiciliaries and I plan to never go back to the VA hospital.  Intimacies amongst staff members and veterans housed in the Domicilary were very normal during that time.  One of the veterans even had access to the Master key to every door in the VA because he was a janitors’ helper.  Medications were missing; but all they did was cover it up.  I’m a veteran; but never served in wartime.  My deceased husband was a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corp.  What I experienced at the VA hospital setting makes me ashamed of being a veteran at this point of my life.  Especially when they do a whole lot for those who have been incarcerated, saying that their military experience caused the veteran to rape, try to kill someone, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, stress can cause some individuals to crack and probably do things that are not conducive to the benefit of others; but why does a person, like myself, who doesn’t have the addictions the VA helps veterans with, have to be put in with those that do and have to suffer the consequences of their continued misdeeds? 

      My grandparents on both sides were immigrants and were brought to this country by their parents.  I’m thankful for the opportunities that I have had in life; but saddened by the violent cultural “norms” that seem to permeate our country. 

      Thanks for sharing your comments!

  • JIMTinSC


    You guests assretion about the Chinese communist dictators approach post fall of the USSR is true, but leaves out one fact.  The economic and natural resource future for China looked-and still looks-much better for them than Russia or eastern Europe.  Since the Soviet block was made up of war ravaged countries that continued to be ravaged by the Soviet economic system.  There really isn’t much left in the natural recource future for these countries.  Sometimes things can go on for decades and decades, look at North Korea.  No one will ever stop that from the outside and no one CAN stop it from the inside.  Appears to be the “perfect” dictatorship for that family.  One thing they all have in common, if you challenge them with free thought you’ll be dead or wishig you were.

  • Guest

    Some of the greatest rulers in history have been enlightened absolutists.  Even hundreds of years ago these “dictators” were fostering religious tolerance, freedom of speech, and equal justice under a set of fair laws.  They saw their rule as a duty…a duty to improve the lives of those they ruled.  Looking at the rulers that “the people” have put in charge recently around the globe, I’m all for an enlightened dictator!

    • SamEw

      The problem is though that the mechanization of dictatorships also allow for the evils of totalatarianism whereas democracies are at least in theory self correcting.

      • Guest

        Don’t ever forget that Hitler was elected by a democracy…talk about allowing for the “evils of 

        And dictatorships are self-correcting as well.  It’s called a revolution, and it’s more successful than trying to oust an incumbent Republican Senator in Texas…

        • SamEw

          Actually Hitler while popular, never was elected to a position of executive power and even if he were elected his power far exceeded electoral mandates. So, actually I will forget what you just wrote.

        • fascist america

           Hitler was not elected–he was anointed by  the corporations and military factions–anyone who opposed feared annihilation–voters intimidated, beaten, disparaged, threatened, disappeared.  Hitler was no more elected than George bush–its all rigged and manipulated from the top.  Hitler also had support from American corporations–like Ford and Bush family businesses.  Prescott bush was a open supporter of hitler and nazis and fascism–as most or all republicans have been–look back in the 20s & 30s–they advocated the wave of the future in media–fascism.  When you vote republican, even democrat–you vote for the fascist party of America. 

    • fascist america

       i cant believe i’m hearing this crap.  Americans are so hypocritical and cowed–you can accept a dictatorship because you live in one and have known nothing else–also your extreme and radical religious beliefs groom you for subjection–the father , the lord, obedience, hell and damnation–you are all willing subjects of dominance–you willingly choose to give up freedom–we see it everyday with the patriot laws and security apparatus shoved down our throats that Americans cheer for stupidly.

  • Patrick Culhane

    Thank you for always having a very interesting program.  I am of the view that ‘dictatorship’ is on the rise and all the result of the concentration within mass media and the ever more sophistigated uses of the latest psychological tecniques and ‘spyware,’ and our growing fear of subversion; the latter since WWII?  

    Please just ask yourself (a perfect topic for one of your shows), why are Americans not able to watch any German, Swedish, French, or non-English speaking country’s sit-coms or TV series or movies, unless they are dubbed?  But who wants to read subtitles, and even if they did, what ‘network’ would carry such ‘shows.’  

    Are we, and have been for so long, kept from experiencing other cultures in the most ‘benign’ (or in fact, most dangerous) way: via an unsuspecting audience.  Strangely enough, in dictarorships like Venezuela, Venezuelans watch everyday American (dubbed) TV series, and the latest Hollywood bloc buster.  Can we say the same?  From Bollywood for example, or the great TV series rivaling ‘Colombo,’ but of German origin, Stalasky, or somethink like that?  I used to watch it all the time in France, and ususally after seeing that day’s CNBC for a few hours.

    Yes, I agree, we do live in a ‘free’ society, but how free in fact.  I can’t even move out of state unless willing to lose my present health insurance.  Is that freedom?  Under Francisco Franco in 
    Spain (a dictator) Spaniards did not lose their health insurance if they moved from Barcelona to Seville!            

    What is freedom????

    • SamEw

      What the hell are you babbling about any American of reasonable means who wants to get can get a satetlite package with foreign channels can as many immigrant Americans do. Besides wouldn’t the fact that Mexicans for example watch predominantly American cinema and television indicate a real preference for the product among consumers.

      • fascist america

         no.  if you are ignorant of a thing and not presented with how does that constitute choice?

        I think the point is–you have to pay so much extra for it–and come on satellite tv sucks th ebig one!

        Why should everything be so commercial and privatized–this is the ruin of democracy.  Why dont the regular cable channels give access to this.  Even the local free channels?

        In Europe, in Asia–watching international tv is free–provided by the state tv or networks.  this is choice–nothing hidden–just made available–but in America it is not consumer choice–it is simply hidden and obscured and pricey-everything weighed an measured by the dollar–its bullshit!

        a community, a nation is ether a nation–or not–united or not–america talks a big game but it is none of these things.  America is a corporate detention center full of overfed oinkers with dullled brains.

        In europe and asia they actually provide infrastructure and services for the common good–united them in common cause and community.

        I am reminded of Aesops, the groom and the horse.

        there is only greed in America and shallow talk of charity in America–where republicans cheer for the death of accident victims on the side of the road–let them die they chant–no health care.  Seems pretty savage to me and anti-social, and insane–not very patriotic or united.  nor is democratic since   a broad majority supports health care–where is the democracy in america!

        I have military neighbors–officers–telling me america is a republic–not a democracy–and they say with pride and a malicious glint in the eye–they say it never was a democracy–we are a republic–well, North Korea says the same thing, Nazi germany said the same thing, China says the same thing… 

        • SamEw

          Whatever the point is the material isn’t being censored. The ‘international’ tv in many countries is american tv which means in affect people all over the world are watching the same things. Besides not everyone in the world has tv or internet. I would be shocked if for example the average chinese person knew more about the average american than vice versa. 

        • Gregg

          Freedom. Ain’t it a bitch?

    • fascist america

       America is the most fascist regime on the planet–an empire–just because the see words are not used (all the time) doesn’t mean its not so.  Tho we do say–the empire state.

      When i returned from Britain after 3 years(never having visited America in that time) i was shocked and frightened by the extreme fascism in America–the flag waving consistently everywhere all love the place and in the media–with cries of America the greatest, and freedom and democracy–shallow ignorant aspects of the concept–but yelling–with raised voices–the media was–always always America America  telling us how wonderful America is and criticizing any one who would question authority or policy–the levels of danger–high alert and all that–every word from every talking head was how great America was–and these are things you don’t notice when yo live there, but when you step back–you see how shockingly fascist America is -very Nazi like–and everyone so crass and loud and belligerent about their patriotism–with no tolerance democratic ideas–disagreement or discussion–violence and threats always the first reaction for an American.

      America is under a malicious cloak of deception–the most sophisticated–tho very blunt and obvious–brainwashing media machine.

      `the media is not free.
      `we are a militaristic society in a stater of constant war–always have been
      `text books lie, and omit truth
      `we pledge allegiance every in school–and if you don’t you will be punished by the school and/or beaten by classmates
      `prayer is taught in schools–in man parts of the country–evolution denied, science denied
      `the will of the people is ignored; corporate officials ina revolving door–manipulate by money–control decision making.
      `an illusion of choice is perpetuated in elections.  empire with a smile or empire with a scowl–you pick your poison.
      `third parties are forbidden and excluded
      `we have a security state that monitors everything
      `the executive can assassinate any citizen at any time with out reason
      `detention centers where torture takes place–and disappearings!
      `the police force has become militarized
      `police and martial forces armed with sonic weapons and pain rays used on democratically minded peaceful protestors and activists
      `police brutality is rampant and racist
      `a private prison system that has incarcerated half the population–the largest prison pop in the world–and mostly non-white-a racist system of Jim Crow–cant enslave em, lock em up! and execute them unfairly!
      `we are the only developed society with the death penalty

  • Plmcguir

    I’m puzzled as to why the author didn’t include any African regimes in his argument. Many of the governments on the continent could qualify for his interpretation of contemporary dictatorship  (Paul Kagame regime in Rwanda, Joseph Kabila in DRC or Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni for example) and there are plenty (Equitorial Guinea’s Obiang Nguema, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Eritrea’s Isaias Afewerki) who can still be considered traditional autocrats.

    At the very least, I find it surprising that Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe wasn’t included on Dobson’s list, if only for the sheer longevity of the regime.

  • fascist america

     “They’re more subtle.  Savvy.  They use media, technology, cushy carrots,
    subtle sticks, even a lace of democracy to nail their central

    –ahhh, you mean the USA!

  • fascist america

    the guest talks about china using polls and committees to make the people feel like they have a say when they dont–is straight out of the USA playbook–that is exactly what goes on in America. I live in china–and things here are no different than in America–except how normal people think–Americans are violent and also opinionated, whereas Chinese are non-violent and apathetic by nature and culture. 

    we are talking culture not demcracy.  We do not have democracy in america–governemnts in china and Russia and the uS are mirror images–its just people have different attitudes and cultural notions.  Americans are violent by nature.  Chinese are submissive by nature and duplicitous.   But in many ways americans are more ignorant than chinese–the chinese seem to be aware of their situation, whereas Americans boldly and belligerently  deny their faults and proudly proclaim freedom and democracy where there is none.

    Who is the bigger fool?

    i dont give the speaker much credit-i have lived in china for a long time and he has no way of knowing the things he speaks of, and he tends to spin it in a way Americans are comfortable hearing.  There is definitely a authoritarian vein in Chinese people, but there government provides a hell of a lot more for the people than America and if you want democracy in china–you join the party and get involved–on party, many ideas–it has its problems, and im not advocating it, but our founding fathers didnt lke the idea of ‘parties’ either.  In china–it is just the government-join or dont.  that is freedom. 

    I would like to know where the guest got his notions that there was a lot tension around Mubarak and Egypt–the average person was ignorant and uncaring, and he is not in the circles of government. 

    I find his comments very misleading and based merely in on ignorant speculation.

    • Midwestgirl09

       i agree with alot of what you have posted.  Though I am American born, many people are violent in nature.  Sometimes I wish things were different; but that probably is only a pipe dream in most cases unless many Americans wake up and “smell the coffee” so-to-speak. 

      Enjoyed reading your comments and thanks again for sharing!

  • Kivenaberham

    i prefer Canadian democracy vs American democracy. i wish china would shift to a British parliamentary democracy, hell, i wish united states would shift to a British parliamentary democracy but as is in china, it needs more open mindedness but its a good start for them. problem is that united state is such a major a••hole in this world nobody want anything to do with what united states has to say or want except Israel. using the whole idea of ” bring democracy to a country” is a code word for ” thermometric unman drone bombing, total pandemonium, baby killing horror, civilian suffering on a massive scale, and hatred beyond hatred” another word, hell on earth for those who have to bare witness to it. but hey the good news is most likely the white people who are the military industrial complex will be richer, happier and most likely sleep better knowing they matter.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Dumb Dictators become Dead Dictators!

  • Paxtriot

    People get the government they deserve. We in the US – fat, dumbed down by creationist or anything-goes education, and maxed out on credit card shopping at WalMart -  are about to get something that is quite different from what the founding father envisioned.  Here comes the US oligarchy that is dictatorship disguised in reality TV shows and political commercials.

  • Pingback: Dictators Are Smarter Than You Think Heads up… « YALLA SOURIYA

  • Seylulleyl

    If the state began as a raiding party – turned protection racket, then what we have is a real improvement for the average Jane & Joe:

Sep 16, 2014
Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

Sep 16, 2014
From "Rich Hill"

“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

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