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Donald Trump and Dictatorial Taste
#81
Libya under Qaddafi -- a rich nation due to its oil income, but whose people were very poor.





More evidence.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#82
When "President" falls short of one's pretensions, and only "Emperor" will do...

[Image: 1977.bokassa_m30i.jpg?itok=F8msEl-y]

Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa.

...Emperor Hirohito  and Reza Shah Pahlavi snubbed this coronation.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#83
And now the definitive expression of taste of a despot. Guess which one!





Intended to overawe anyone except its master and perhaps the Devil who certainly paid many visits and liked what he saw.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#84
Photo 
Mobutu Sese Seko. Or what remains of a community that is best described with "He built this city"...

[Image: 984b77c6-0ee5-44e1-8933-160e3120f971-206...490887c191]

He knew how to play the Cold War. Much like Ceausescu, he posed as non-aligned but adopted the worst ways of ornamentation paid for with his thieving. Unlike some of the other excesses of display, this is mostly in ruin. But the now-defunct Concorde flew to his Xanadu, a one-time village named Gbadolite (no, that is not the name of some obscure mineral) -- his birthplace.

His taste?

[Image: 58a4b323-fee1-4003-9b6e-2dcbd2c0c829-206...9c9ddb70e6]

One of the surviving bronze lions. Now the old "Here be lions" is almost appropriate for Gbadolite. Except that lions are not truly creatures of the jungle.


OK, so a tropical rainforest is hardly the place in which a grandiose place keeps the merit that Nazi esthetics deemed 'ruin value' -- that the ruins would impress people long after the building had largely crumbled. (That is a sick concept; it is more important that something built for other than temporary purposes, such as an Olympic venue for obscure sports or temporary housing for a temporary worksite have the desirability that allows it to be preserved long beyond the creator's lifetime. As an example, the White House is a high-maintenance building). The most impressive ruins are to be found in hot deserts like Egypt, or such hot semi-deserts like the Anatolian or Iranian plateaus or hot places that would be deserts but for a short, chilly, rainy season like the sites of Carthage, Rome, Pompeii, Athens. or Istanbul. Maybe after the USA is gone the gambling casinos of Las Vegas, the skyscrapers of Los Angeles and San Diego, and the Mormon Temple at Salt Lake City will outlast the skyscrapers of New York City and the petrochemical installations of Houston. But Gbadolite is in ruins within twenty years of the death of its 'builder'.

Article and images here.

Meanwhile the Trump Taj Mahal and the Trump Casino, places of ruin economic for many of their gulled guests, exist awaiting new buyers.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#85
I wonder how far we could go with drug traffickers, who like dictatorial kleptocrats are similarly immoral and amoral and have incredible nouveau-riche wealth to display:



The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#86
[Image: c6fb724a5e345e071dff5e200567193121de31f6...=600&h=307]

Guess who, again!

Hint -- Merry Christmas from the White House.

Another example: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No materialism, no drinking binge, and no ostentatious display. Its appeal crosses every line of ethnicity and religion, and is for rich and poor, and young and old alike. 

[Image: get?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpbs.twimg.com%2Fme...=600&h=249]

Is that a giant taco shell or a bleached-out giant clam? And what is it with the discolored pumpkins?

For people with the means, bad taste may be a sign of bad character. Again, Happy Thanksgiving from the White House.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#87
I found a video excursion to the palace of the late and unlamented Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. It suggests decadent royals about to be overthrown by the masses. Note that most monarchs had more modest starts. This applies to such types as the Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, Glucksberg, Saxe-Coberg-Gotha, Braganza, Orange, and even Capet dynasties.

Enjoy!



The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#88
An illustration of how humbling power can be in a democratic society. There's nothing to bloat an ego here:

[Image: 300px-MagellanRailcardiningroom.JPG]

That is the formal dining room of the President's official rail car, the Ferdinand Magellan, last used officially in 1954 until Reagan used it for a short trip. I've seen grander diners in small towns.

[Image: 220px-Magellan_Railcar_PresidentsStateroom.JPG]

...and the state room. You might expect the richest country of the time to splurge on something grander. Nope. That's one reflection of America being a richer country than Tito's Yugoslavia. You saw his train car -- far more impressive, don't you think?

...This was perfectly good for Harry S. Truman's whistle-stop tour in 1948.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_..._(railcar)
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#89
(02-26-2019, 12:37 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: ...This was perfectly good for Harry S. Truman's whistle-stop tour in 1948.

Yeah, Truman was a different kind of POTUS.
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#90
(03-01-2019, 08:09 PM)Hintergrund Wrote:
(02-26-2019, 12:37 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: ...This was perfectly good for Harry S. Truman's whistle-stop tour in 1948.

Yeah, Truman was a different kind of POTUS.

Yes, Truman -- the  last American President to not have a college degree, from a time in which a college degree was not a necessity. Still, we may miss the rough-hewn quality that creates a realism that comes from (among other things) the outside toilet and having done real labor as on a family farm.

I made much of a difference between the official residence of the British Prime Minister (its decoration is seemingly identical with the Georgian style of the 18th century) and the gaudy displays of despotic and dictatorial power.The  difference is not power; the British PM could have in extreme powers, the power to do everything but murder and steal at will... or to make big changes in the interior decoration of 10 Downing Street. All the leaders whose lair have been shown have records of murder or grand theft, if not both. Yes, Donald Trump is a kleptocrat, if not a murderer.

Restraint is the antithesis of excess, excess itself manifesting itself in bad taste. Maybe the bad taste is a side effect more than a cause. I'm not saying that someone infamous for flamboyant bad taste, like Liberace, represents evil. It may impress people of limited refinement (Oh, look how far Liberace raises his hands before striking the piano keys -- Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, and Van Cliburn didn't do that, and no competent piano teacher will teach a budding pianist to do this. It's a great effect, like the candelabra set upon the piano -- or the robes -- to impressing people who rarely experience classical music in the usual setting. It contributes nothing to playing the piano). Liberace's rube audiences had little appreciation for nuance. OK, if you have an appearance in Ann Arbor, Michigan and there is a call for an encore, you might have Hail to the Victors! available, as it fits the community. (If you don't know why, then you know nothing about the University of Michigan). You do not put that between works by Chopin and Schumann as Liberace did.

Restraint by elites is a show of decency toward the masses, who may be much more prudish and prissy. Besides, the British PM might have as his main voting constituency either blue-collar workers and may have been one at time -- or small-scale entrepreneurs and yeoman farmers. Such people might come visiting.

A hint: both Barack and Michelle Obama seemed very comfortable in the PM's official residence. I doubt that Trump would.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#91
(03-01-2019, 10:13 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(03-01-2019, 08:09 PM)Hintergrund Wrote: Yeah, Truman was a different kind of POTUS.

Yes, Truman -- the  last American President to not have a college degree, from a time in which a college degree was not a necessity. Still, we may miss the rough-hewn quality that creates a realism that comes from (among other things) the outside toilet and having done real labor as on a family farm.

Restraint by elites is a show of decency toward the masses, who may be much more prudish and prissy.

1. We could need someone as realistic as him again.
2. And yet, a part of the masses is impressed with this kind of style.
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#92
Now for someone not really a dictator, but similarly immoral as the political figures that I have excoriated, John Gotti. The mansion of "Dapper Don" John Gotti was up for sale in 2003. Much unlike the usual denizen of 10 Downing Street, killing and stealing were foci of this horrible man's life.


[Image: 71a62-vgotti_pics.jpg?w=700]



The Variety article says far more than I can. My taste would be for austere, spacious, and brainy.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#93
The link to Variety Magazine:

https://variety.com/2008/dirt/real-estal...201228899/
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#94
Now for someone highly important in creation of a new order of the ages, George Washington. Yes, he was rich by the standards of his time, and he had a modest start. I'd say that he was too busy with such activities as being the leading general of the American Revolution and defining the Presidency of the United States to make his estate as gaudy as some of the esthetic cesspools that I have shown here:

https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-g...e-mansion/
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#95
From 2004:


Suharto Tops World Corruption League

March 25, 2004 11:25 PM,

Laksamana.Net -  Former dictator Suharto has topped a list of the world's most corrupt politicians over the past two decades.

The list is part of Transparency International's new Global Corruption Report 2004, which charts the flow of stolen assets, recommends ways to recover money looted by despots, and sets out new standards on political finance and favors.

Transparency International says Suharto stole about $15 billion to $35 billion during his 32 years of rule in a country where the Gross Domestic Product per capita hovers at around $700.

The report, released in London on Thursday (25/3/04), says "plundering politicians and bribing multinationals" are undermining economic development.

Suharto (82) came to power in 1967 amid mass slaughters of hundreds of thousands of communists and their alleged sympathizers. He was forced to resign in May 1998 amid mass riots, protests and financial turmoil. Since then, efforts to bring him to court on corruption charges have failed because doctors claim he is too physically and mentally sick (brain-damaged) to stand trial. Many observers suspect the old man is faking the extent of his alleged poor health.

Despite Suharto's notoriety for corruption and repression, his eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti 'Tutut' Rukmana is hoping to contest Indonesia's July 5 presidential election - seeking to capitalize on growing nostalgia among many citizens for the relative political and economic stability of the Suharto era.

Featured below is the list of the world's most corrupt politicians, showing their years in power and the estimated amounts of money they embezzled; followed by a press statement outlining comments made by TI chairman Peter Eigen at the launch of the new global corruption report.

Where did the money go? - The top 10

1. Mohamed Suharto - President of Indonesia (1967-98) $15-35 billion.
2. Ferdinand Marcos - President of the Philippines (1972-86) $5-10 billion.
3. Mobutu Sese Seko - President of Zaire (1965-97) $5 billion.
4. Sani Abacha - President of Nigeria (1993-98) $2-5 billion.
5. Slobodan Milosevic - President of Serbia/Yugoslavia (1989-2000) $1 billion.
6. Jean-Claude Duvalier - President of Haiti (1971-86) $300-800 million.
7. Alberto Fujimori - President of Peru (1990-2000) $600 million.
8. Pavlo Lazarenko - Prime Minister of Ukraine (1996-97) $114-200 million.
9. Arnoldo Alemán - President of Nicaragua (1997-2002) $100 million.
10. Joseph Estrada - President of the Philippines (1998-2001) $78-80 million.

Statement by TI Chairman Peter Eigen

March 25, 2004 - "Political corruption undermines the hopes for prosperity and stability of developing countries, and damages the global economy," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), launching the TI Global Corruption Report 2004 (GCR 2004) today. "The abuse of political power for private gain deprives the most needy of vital public services, creating a level of despair that breeds conflict and violence. It also hits the pockets of taxpayers and shareholders worldwide. The problem must be tackled at the national and international level," he said.

"The GCR 2004 , with a special focus on political corruption," said Eigen, "is a call to action to bring integrity and accountability into governance, to stop bribery by multinational companies, and to curb the flow of stolen assets into secret bank accounts in the west." TI is the leading international non-governmental organisation combating corruption worldwide.

"Democracies can no longer tolerate bribery, fraud and dishonesty," states former US President Jimmy Carter in a foreword to the GCR 2004 , "especially as such practices disproportionately hurt the poor."

The GCR 2004 details funds allegedly embezzled by political leaders of the past two decades. During his misrule, Mohamed Suharto, President of Indonesia from 1967-98, is alleged to have stolen US$15-US$35 billion in a country where the GDP per capita hovers at around US$700. Suharto tops the table of corrupt politicians.

Political corruption deprives millions of health care, education and the prospects of a sustainable future," said TI-Zimbabwe Chair John Makumbe at the launch of TI's GCR 2004 in London today. "The fight against corruption requires sustained political will at the highest levels, and not only in countries recovering from the legacy of Moi, Suharto, Duvalier or Abacha," said Makumbe, a member of TI's international Board of Directors.

"There has to be a commitment," he continued, "on the part of governments to implement the new African Union Convention on Combating and Preventing Corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption, in particular the measures to curb the outflow of assets stolen by corrupt elites into foreign bank accounts. Bribe-paying is a crime against humanity, a fact made clear by the legacy of poverty and distrust left behind by corrupt politicians."

"International financial institutions and donor governments must engage with developing country governments that demonstrate the political will to fight corruption," said Eigen. "To make sure that this will can be realised, donor governments must insist on adequate civil society monitoring of good governance in recipient countries."

To mark the publication of the GCR 2004 , today TI launched its Standards on Political Finance and Favours, setting out a blueprint for transparency in political and campaign finance in a year which sees key elections in countries where political corruption has been a persistent problem. Elections will be held in the coming months in Indonesia and the Philippines, two countries still reeling from the corrupt legacy of Mohamed Suharto, and both Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada respectively.

The TI Standards include conflict-of-interest legislation, and independently monitored annual disclosure of party income and expenditure. The recommendations include a diversified funding base, fair access to the media and provisions for civil society monitoring of political finance.

The special focus of the GCR 2004 on political corruption includes expert reports on the regulation of political finance, the disclosure of money flows into politics, and the repatriation of wealth looted by politicians. Two industry case studies - on the arms and oil sectors - demonstrate the role of the private sector in supplying corrupt political funds.

The GCR 2004 includes detailed assessments of the state of corruption in 34 country reports, accompanied by analyses of recent global and regional developments, including the UN Convention against Corruption and the impact of EU expansion on corruption. The report also includes the findings of the latest research into corruption and ways to combat it


https://web.archive.org/web/200407171536...ws_id=6841

Comment: Muammar Qaddafi and Viktor Yanukevich likely displace the bottom two.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#96
Yes, one can speak ill of the dead.

I met Robert Mugabe in the late 1970s. What he told me still haunts me.
The Zimbabwean rebel leader wanted to be a different kind of African president. He was — just not the way I thought he meant.
“We are not going to make the same mistake the rest of Black Africa has made,” Robert Mugabe told me in the late 1970s in an interview for Newsweek. “We are going to learn from their mistakes.”

We met in Mozambique, the headquarters for his guerrilla army, which was then locked in a seemingly interminable war against the white minority regime in Rhodesia. The conflict would claim an estimated 20,000 lives, most of them black nationalist guerrillas and African civilians, and was marked by terrible atrocities on both sides.

Tragically, Mugabe, who died Thursday at age 95, would make good on his promise to learn from the mistakes of fellow African leaders, turning into an art form the corruption and brutality that had plagued African nations since the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa won its independence in 1957.

One statistic sums up what Robert Mugabe did for his people: At independence in 1980, the average life expectancy for a Zimbabwean was about 60 years old; by 2006, that had dropped to 37 for men and 34 for women, the shortest in the world.

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/world/2...nt-zanu-pf


Oh, yes -- the currency became worthless:

[Image: 250px-Zimbabwe_%24100_trillion_2009_Obverse.jpg]  

The dollar is welcome in Zimbabwe. Canada, US, or Hong Kong.  But life4 was good for the dictator...

https://www.google.com/search?q=mugabe+m...e&ie=UTF-8


Here lived "Comrade" Robert Mugabe.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#97
More on ostentatiously-awful Hermann Göring



[url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMc3Kw9aNEs][/url]

Not quite a dictator, but like the dictators already shown (and Donald Trump, to whom I attribute dictatorial dreams) a bloated ego without a soul.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#98
Much of the taste of a dictator... someone who always remained a child in many ways even if he lived to age 50.

Michael Jackson and his "Neverland" ranch.

For some people, reality is an unwelcome option.

Hey... there is a time to realize that even if you have incredible wealth, you can't burn the candle at both ends. Unlike dictators who robbed their people blind, Michael Jackson really was a superb talent. Around age 50 one must slow down if one is to enjoy old age. Michael Jackson didn't kill and steal like most of the dictators, and didn't deal drugs like the leaders of Latin-American drug cartels. He sold a legitimate commodity, mass culture, just like John D. Rockefeller sold petroleum or Henry Ford dealt motor vehicles. It is a legitimate commodity: he was a great performer. 

MJ died young because he could not grow out of the teenage years.  Instead of slowing down he kept a teenager's pace. At age 50 such is good for getting more than the rest you think you need. Eternal rest, maybe.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#99
(12-18-2020, 08:27 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: Much of the taste of a dictator... someone who always remained a child in many ways even if he lived to age 50.

Michael Jackson and his "Neverland" ranch.

For some people, reality is an unwelcome option...

MJ was forced to slow down somewhat.  In his final years, his dance moves were much slower versions of what he could do in his youth.  I agree.  He should have saved a little more in his youth to not be forced to continue on when he didn't have it anymore.  But, hey, he lived on the edge.  He had to be MJ.
That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
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