Moral hectoring

14 07 2014

Like most military dictatorships, the Leader’s regime can’t keep itself under control. The Leader has decided that it is his role to hector Thais on their moral failures.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, in another of his televised speeches on Friday, that there are 12 main values as decided by the junta:

1. Love for the nation, religions and monarchy
2. Honesty, patience and good intention for the public
3. Gratitude to parents, guardians and teachers
4. Perseverance in learning
5. Conservation of Thai culture
6. Morality and sharing with others
7. Correctly understanding democracy with the monarchy as head of the state
8. Discipline and respect for the law and elders
9. Awareness in thinking and doing things, and following the guidance of His Majesty the King
10. Living by the sufficiency economy philosophy guided by His Majesty the King
11. Physical and mental strength against greed
12. Concern about the public and national good more than self-interest.

In a dictatorship, no sooner does the dictator make a statement than loyal minions must implement it, no matter how nonsensical.

So it was that in less than 24 hours, the Ministry of Education proudly announcedc that it “plans to implement junta leader Gen.Prayuth Chan-ocha’s 12 main Thai values into the education reform roadmap for the years 2015-2021.” We can’t imagine this bunch of military chumps being around in 2021, but this is all part of re-establishing order and hierarchy, all underpinned by a North Korean-like “love” for the monarchy.

The significance of the military dictatorship’s determination to wind back the clock is expressed by Suthasri Wongsaman, who is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education. She “said that the Ministry had already started revising history and civic duties in order to make students learn about the duty of Thais, discipline, morality and patriotism.” That curriculum begins later this year! The junta’s lackey also stated that her Ministry would “strengthen” the curriculum for the boy/girl scouts and Red Cross Youth.

It is remarkable that curriculum change can take place so quickly and with no attention to education, just propaganda, order and hierarchy. Just like Sarit in the late 1950s! Thai-style democracy is re-established.

Royalist “constitutionalism”

16 03 2014

As PPT has posted before, there is support for the anti-democratic movement from various scholars connected to royalists and Thailand’s right since the days of the CIA’s involvement in the U.S.’s support for anti-communist and authoritarian regimes fronted by the military. The royalists have regularly wheeled out the relatively unknown American Stephen B. Young to support the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra and anti-democratic movement and to promote palace-inspired and conservative royalist ideas regarding politics and forms of “Thai-style democracy.”

We have previously mentioned Young as a commentator who heads up his own organization, the Caux Round Table, which is about shameless self-promotion. While the royalists like to say Young is a “scholar,” this is a misrepresentation. His major publication appears to have close connections to CIA-funded operations. His other publications are his own rants published in pretty meaningless places or self-published as a result of royalist support for their talking head.

A reader sent us a long version of yet another “paper” that Young has produced on the royalist “vision” for Thailand, and we were content to ignore it and let it disappear without trace. However, the conservative Bangkok Post has seen fit to publish a shortened version, so we are pushed to comment. In his longer paper, not only does the author spell “constitutionalism” incorrectly, but is listed as “Stephen B. Young, Esq.” as if from the 19th century. Both seem appropriate for that paper, which is a travesty of uniformed nonsense about Locke, Rousseau and constitutionalism.Young

For more and better information on these 17th and 18th century philosophers and their impact on constitutionalism, try here, here, and here. A bit of searching produces many papers that are learned and which contradict Young’s sometimes bizarre interpretations of Locke and Rousseau in this longer piece. So odd is his interpretations of Thailand’s history are impossible to briefly characterize here. What is more significant is Young’s remarkable confusion in his call for conservative reform.

Young’s basic point is that Locke’s approach to constitutionalism is a kind of perfect liberalism, while Rousseau’s is more radical and leads to authoritarianism. He argues that Thaksin Shinawatra and the red shirts are the inheritors of Rousseau’s alleged authoritarianism via the People’s Party, 1932, Pridi Phanomyong and Plaek Phibulsonggram. Indeed, Young makes the claim that Rousseau’s thought is the basis of all totalitarianism, and notion that has been refuted time and again since the early 19th century:

These interpretations, based on the concepts of the “total surrender” of individual rights (“l’aliéna-tion totale”) and of the absolute sovereignty of the state over all its members, draw conclusions from the Contrat social that are fundamentally opposed to the intentions of its author. Indeed, for Rousseau, liberty was the most precious of possessions, a gift which nature has made to men. They can no more be deprived of it rightfully than they can be deprived of life itself; nor can they be permitted to divest themselves of it for any price whatsoever. The social pact should not be interpreted as abrogating, in effect, a right which Rousseau declared inalienable and inseparable from the essential character of man.

Based on false premises, Young proceeds to make a nonsense of Thailand’s modern history. His interpretation of Locke and Rousseau is a manipulation to make a political point that resonates with palace and royalists. His selective use of quotes from these two philosophers is banal. PPT could be just as selective and note that Locke was “a major investor in the English slave-trade through the Royal African Company. In addition, he participated in drafting the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina while Shaftesbury’s secretary, which established a feudal aristocracy and gave a master absolute power over his slaves.” Hardly liberal, but also an unduly narrow interpretation.

His claim that “Thailand now needs sustainable constitutionalism harmonising with its Buddhist culture of seeking the equilibrium of the middle path between extremes and aligning with the rule of law” is a plagiarism of much earlier conservative ideas about constitutionalism that were developed in the early 1960s by Kukrit Pramoj (opens a PDF) and other royalists as elements of military-backed monarchism.

Firmly based in this conservative tradition, both Western and Thai, Young wants to provide a way forward for Thailand. He begins with an interpretation that Locke’s writings allow a popularly-elected government to be disposed of if it is believed to threaten liberty or property. Young chooses to interpret this as meaning:

“Thaksin’s manoeuvres to concentrate power in his hand by means of bringing elected officials under his personal sway caused his government to lose its legitimacy under Locke’s constitutional system. So, under that system, by seizing too much power Thaksin forfeited his authority and the people of Thailand were within their rights to withdraw allegiance from him and his ministers and seek to replace his government with one more faithful to upholding the public trust.

Young does not explain how this interpretation can be applied in circumstances where pro-Thaksin governments have been elected in every single national election since 2001. His claim that “the people of Thailand” could rise up against the elected government is simply an acceptance of anti-democrat propaganda. Other anti-democrats and royalists have avoided this philosophical gap by simply rejected elections.

Young, however, demonstrating his confusion and lack of imagination by arguing for more elections and a political system that looks a lot like the U.S. presidential system:

The executive branch of the national government should be removed from direct dependence on the National Assembly. The chief administrative officer of the cabinet of ministers should be directly elected by the people for — say — a three-year term of office. The election of the chief administrative officer would be held in years when the House of Representatives is not elected.

His other suggestions on decentralization, police, the judiciary (which he acknowledges is politicized), impeachment, and House and Senate are essentially American. Fixed term legislatures may or may not be relevant for Thailand, but certainly limit the very Lockean interpretation of threats to liberty and property he claims are the base of his “constitutionalism.”

He then suggests a path forward for Thailand current political stand-off that has no basis in law or constitution.

PPT takes all of this a a sign that the royalists have been very confused and challenged by the Yingluck Shinawatra’s seeming ability to hold out against the old threat of military coup and the newer threat from judicial coup (at least for the moment). It seems that the old men who have always believed they have the answers for Thailand are flummoxed.


Updated: Bumbling academics

25 01 2014

PPT is continually amazed by the antics of academics associated with the anti-democrats. Sadly, many of their interventions reflect badly on them as academics.

We have seen them using foul and misogynist language, making stuff up and some of them, wig in place, leading blockades of various homes of ministers.

Nothing wrong in a democratic society with putting your wig on and blocking the premier’s house or getting so antsy with some foreign journalist that you say quite bizarre things, but it is the “academic” bit that is troubling.

Most of this lot simply are not academics in the usual sense of the word. Few of them contribute anything at all to the usual research debate that drives scientific and cultural knowledge. When they write it is opinion pieces that show scant knowledge of their subject. When they speak, it is propaganda.

PPT was set thinking about this when we read an op-ed by a Chulalongkorn University researcher who has published reasonable research articles in the past. Ukrist Pathmanand has written useful papers on Thaksin Shinawatra, telecommunications and the military.

Hence, we were surprised by his piece at the Bangkok Post: where he commented on the anti-democratic movement and international relations and seemed to us to demonstrate some remarkable academic blindness.

He tries to explain why China and the U.S. have “react[ed] differently to democracy in Thailand, and the political rallies led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).”

He puts this in terms of “specific national interest.” He says:

… the term “national interest” used here does not necessarily convey the cliched concept of a conspiracy theory, which has been used excessively to imply an attempt to lead a certain political ideology and /or to discredit a rival party.

To be honest, we don’t understand this idea of a “conspiracy.” Are we at PPT missing an important debate? We thought the term had a particular meaning and location in international relations writing, as briefly mentioned by Wikipedia:

The national interest … is a country’s goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural. The concept is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.But even if a conspiracy theory is not the case here, what is certain is that each world superpower wants to secure its interests in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region.

He alerts us – if that was at all necessary – that Thailand has a “national interest,” and then turns to the “strikingly different reactions from the international community” to the anti-democrats.

So Ukrist wants us to understand different reactions by the U.S. and China. But then this:

The West and Asian giants like China clearly voiced their support for the democratically elected government. Of course, as diplomatic etiquette would dictate, it’s not likely any country would say otherwise _ showing support for the democratically elected is a principle they hold dear.

Readers might be surprised to learn that China “holds dear” the “principle” that it should “support for the democratically elected.” Readers might also find this claim for the U.S. made absurd by recent history.

Based on these false claims, Ukrist then explores “differences” that turn out to be not differences at all.

He babbles about China being a superpower, apparently unaware of the very large academic debates about this, and refers to “neoliberal” China’s “fast, active, or even aggressive policy regarding matters within the Southeast Asia region including Thailand.” He refers specifically to economic interests and FTAs, and decides: “It’s not likely China as a huge trading partner would give up those multi-billion transactions so easily,” and adds:

With opportunities for extra political and diplomatic negotiations arising from major trade, China certainly sees a democratically-elected government as a means by which to secure its position.

Again, readers may wonder what he’s on about. PPT thinks Ukrist is saying that the Chinese government must support the Yingluck Shinawatra government in order to protect its economic interests. Perhaps, but it doesn’t require an elected government to do that, as has been shown in many other places where China happily invests. He continues:

Chinese-language and English-language media have portrayed the situation as threatening and chaotic, without mentioning the positive sides of the protests, including the fact that they give various opinion groups a chance to voice their views _ an unlikely scenario for the Chinese government to endorse.

Yes, this yellow-shirted intellectual is confused by China’s response. Perhaps if he’d researched a bit, he’d have found that the Chinese regime has a penchant for supporting incumbent governments that maintain political and economic stability. We are unsure whether Ukrist thinks this is good and appropriate or not. He seems confused.

But the comments on the U.S. reveal perhaps a little more. He gets agitated that “the prototype for democracy worldwide has “revealed a paradoxical reaction towards the situation, fiercely supporting the government while turning a blind eye to the people’s movement and civil society whose protest is largely peaceful.”

Appealing for elections and peaceful resolution of a crisis “while [sending] strong signals … to warn the military against staging a coup” seems “paradoxical”? We are lost, but Ukrist “explains” his tortured logic:

The ideological framework and reaction of the US can be traced back to a biased attempt to undermine the notion of “Thai-style democracy”.

He doesn’t explain “Thai-style democracy” but tramples on:

What’s noteworthy is how the US and the Western media, who should have understood the development of democracy in Thailand, failed to grasp the reality that democracy has been prevalent in Thailand through past elections, during each of which the campaign for votes was widespread and regular.

And the point is? We are sure the previous sentences are garbled and he means something else, for he writes that:

Thailand’s democracy has unique complications similar to the development of democracy in other nations in Southeast Asia where traces of oligarchy remain influential, as well as local influences and power, and faith in an individual figure.

Oligarchs and faith in individuals? Has Ukrist never studied democratic politics anywhere else? But his point seems to be that “[d]emocracy comes in various forms … and it would be either ignorant or narrow-minded if the US and Western media fail to differentiate ‘anti-government’ from ‘anti-democracy’.” In fact, PPT reckons that is exactly what they are doing.

Ukrsit then lets his imagination outpace his already flawed logic. He says the while some “rally leaders [are] trying to court military involvement, the civic group that has been the backbone of the rally desires no coup.” Which civic group is this? The extremists “students”? The Democrat Party? Perhaps he means just the people who show up for the rallies? But is that a “civic group”? There have been plenty of signs at the rallies asking for a coup.

For some unknown reason he gets upset that “active political expression is undermined by the attempt of the Western media to brand the protest a festive carnival.” He seems to completely miss the point that such descriptions are not negative at all and are even read by many as supportive of the protesters.

So if you’ve been lost in this potpourri of “academic analysis,” this “academic” explains:

Of course, the US has been enjoying economic, political and military benefits in the Southeast Asia region, but it’s the political issue that’s perennially on top of Washington’s agenda, isn’t it?

And the whistles that have been blown to banish authoritarianism and corruption in Thailand are not different from the song of protests sung in North Africa, Turkey and Ukraine.

In other words, all of this is to explain that both China and the U.S. support the incumbent government, one for economic interests and the other for “political” or even ideological reasons.

Is it the political – and he means democracy – that always wins for Washington? Perhaps Ukrist could ask the Egyptian military? Ukrist doesn’t even consider the U.S.’s very substantial investments and capital stock in Thailand; these are well in excess of the Chinese.

Perhaps both China and the U.S. are tired of the ridiculous nature of Thailand’s politics? Perhaps they are reflecting their investors? Perhaps Ukrist could try doing a little research rather than being a propagandist.

Update: Voranai Vanijaka’s interventions in debates of late have been rather good and interesting. That’s a big compliment as we have been very critical of him previously. His op-ed today at the Bangkok Post reflects on some of the issues we raise above: “academics” not really being able to teach about the past. In our view, this is often because they don’t know it because they haven’t researched it. He asks:

The transitional period is something every society goes through, but with all the histories out there to learn from, we still manage to be in such a mess. This is simply because we are clueless about ourselves and the world around us.

How are we to shape the future, if we haven’t learned about our past? How are we to understand where we are today, if we don’t study the history that led to the present?

So often, both sides get it wrong. Voranai suggests this as one issue that needs to be studied: “How society copes in a land where feudalism, democracy and dictatorship are in such a tangled mess.”

Monarchy, economy, anti-democracy

12 01 2014

At The Globe and Mail there was a useful report a couple of days ago on the implications of the anti-democracy shutdown.

The basic point of the article was to point out that, for all Thailand’s political shenanigans since about 2005, economically, Thailand “appeared – until recently – an unstoppable powerhouse.” The anti-democracy lot will claim that the economic slowdown of late has been the doing of Yingluck Shinawatra and populist policies. Others will point out that the political shenanigans, throwing out elected governments, shooting down protesters and denouncing democracy may have something to do with economic performance.Wax king

In recent months, the demonstrators once again marshalling in the streets have sent money scurrying away. Tourist visits are down some 15 per cent. In November alone, foreign investors withdrew $3.7-billion from Thailand; in December, the country’s stock market marked a record 11 consecutive days of declines, a reminder that trouble in Thailand has much broader ramifications. At the same time, voices inside the country are warning that without some sort of change, Thailand is at risk of losing out to its economically ascendant neighbours.

But the article says that understanding the perennial political gridlock and “looking for fixes means diving into a mess decades in the making.” It points first to the monarchy:

One aspect is a Thai institution so sacred as to be beyond criticism. Thailand’s monarchy is among the vestiges of a place that prides itself on being the only south-east Asian country without a history of colonization. The current king has reigned since 1946. And while Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, the palace wields influence through what academics call a “network monarchy” whose sway has grown in the past half-century.

In fact, while the palace and its network do work very hard stifling criticism, the horse has bolted. Only draconian laws like lese majeste can manage a deluge of criticism, much of it well justified. Here’s some of it:

Street-level criticism: There is a veritable cottage industry in social media and even on the streets that is critical of the monarchy.The King Never Smiles

Journalistic criticism: the work of Zen Journalist says it all. Forbes is not particularly critical but reveals the monarchy’s previously hidden and massive wealth. The New York Times has also been critical.

Cultural criticism: Prachatai had a useful article on this a week or so ago.

Academic criticism: Duncan McCargo, Michael Connors, Paul Handley, Kevin Hewison, Thongchai Winichakul, and we could go on. It also includes Federico Ferrara, cited in the article, explaining the issue of the power of the monarchy to influence political events.

Federico Ferrara, in his book Thailand Unhinged, describes a “precipitous rise in royal power and prestige” that has “tilted the balance of power in favour of the palace” and its coterie of advisers, judges and military commanders.

Elected officials, as a result, have been unable to “place the military under civilian control, take charge of the machinery of government, and set national policy,” he wrote.King and junta

The claim that “Thailand’s king remains tremendously popular in a country festooned with his portraits,” is an untestable assertion, and the claim attributed to David Streckfuss, that the present king has “had at best a mixed record supporting democracy, and hasn’t allowed a fully democratic political system to emerge,” is deeply flawed. The king has never unequivocally supported “democracy,” except for a crippled version known as Thai-style democracy.

Suthep’s ultimatum

1 12 2013

Suthep Thaugsuban, self-appointed leader of the so-called People’s Democratic Reform Committee, is presented in this “official” statement from the group as directing the government “return power to the people unconditionally” via a “representative People’s Assembly.” To be accurate, he means to hand power to him or his representative, for his cabal of unelected, yellow-shirt leaders, his backers and associated academic flunkies remain faceless. He portrays his group’s “growing power” as evidenced in his ability to force television station to project his statement live. Of course he condemns violence, but only that directed as his lot.

He reveals a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and military commanders. More on this below the statement by Suthep:

PDRC Statement Number: 2

Issued: 2 DEC 2013

Statement for Immediate Release

People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)

PDRC Secretary-General calls on Prime Minister to return power to the people

Rejecting the divisive, color-coded politics of recent years, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has been established comprising leaders from various organizations participating in the Civil Movement for Democracy (CMD), a broad-based people’s movement committed to rooting out Thaksin’s regime to build an inclusive Thai society based upon sustainable democratic principles. (PPT: This statement appear as a slogan in each release)

Bangkok, 1 December 2013 – Speaking tonight PDRC Secretary-General Suthep Thaungsuban told the Thai people that in a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier in the evening he had demanded the Prime Minister return power to the people unconditionally.

Indicating the growing power of this people’s movement, Khun Suthep’s report on his meeting with the Prime Minister, who was accompanied by the commanders of the armed forces, was broadcast live across most major television channels, following the PDRC’s request to broadcasters to carry the people’s voice

Khun Suthep reported he gave the Prime Minister two days to relinquish power in a direct transfer of power to a representative People’s Assembly, something a growing number of Thai academics are suggesting is permissible under the present Constitution. This people’s movement would then quickly lead to the establishment of a People’s Parliament which would undertake the radical 6-point national reform agenda outlined by the CMD earlier.

Khun Suthep then reiterated his call for all civil servants other state employees to stop working for the illegitimate Thaksin Shinawatra regime, as of tomorrow (Monday 2 December).

Addressing the use of violence against the people’s protest movement over the last two days, Khun Suthep condemned in the strongest possible terms these provocations, reiterated the CMD’s absolute commitment to non-violence and called upon the authorities to refrain from the use of force at all costs.

In the meeting noted above, Army boss General Prayuth reportedly told mob leader Suthep and elected Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Yingluck “that the armed forces did not want to see the people killed or injured and they would stand by the country.” That sounds a little like his mutinous predecessor, General Anupong Paojinda, in 2008, refusing to move against yellow shirts.

While there have been condemnation of the use of the media by protesters, it is noteworthy that The Nation claims to have an “Drama at Ramkhamhaeng University, as it happened” that manages to leave out all of the vicious attacks on red shirts. And, the Bangkok Post can produce anti-government ideologues writing op-eds attributing blame for all deaths and injuries to a prime minister who has been remarkably constrained in the use of the security forces. Imagine the outrage if Yingluck had used the force that the Democrat Party government used in 2009 and 2010.

Based on previous experience with Suthep, when the Democrat Party was placed in power in late 2008, and the calls for anti-democratic actions by his crew that grows directly out of PAD, should a “people’s assembly” get its hands on government via a military or judicial intervention, it is likely to result in witch hunts (remember the anti-monarchy conspiracy Suthep concocted), vast censorship (remember the blanket opposition media censorship under Suthep and Abhisit), “Thai-style democracy” (which will be no democracy at all) and reliance on military backing for the government.


Democratic oranges and anti-democratic apples

8 07 2013

At the Bangkok Post there is yet another anti-democratic op-ed, as pointed out by several of PPT’s readers. One of the odd elements in this particular op-ed, by Ploenpote Atthakor, a Deputy Editorial Pages Editor at the Post, is the bizarre equation of Thailand’s small white masks group and “anti-government movements around the world,” including the protesters “at Taksim Square in Turkey to Tahrir Square in Egypt, with the Cairo movement eventually ending with a coup.”

That the “V for Thailand … group” might be compared with demonstrators in Egypt calling for a military coup makes some sense, but in terms of scale and complexity, there is simply no comparison. It is comparing oranges with apples.

That the white masked ones are described as “a gathering of people who simply want to maintain their anonymity” is odd too, for the group is just one more in a long line of activists opposing pro-Thaksin Shinawatra elected governments.

But the point for Ploenpote is to oppose parliamentary politics with a royalist propaganda claim of “dirty and corrupt politicians.” In Thailand, she assert, “it’s rampant corruption that drove people into the streets.” She adds that  “their concerns are more than valid.”

On the face of it, anti-corruption claims are motherhood/fatherhood statements, and there is no doubt that Thailand is riddled with corruption. But this particular “concern” can be shown to be just another restatement of a royalist mantra that is anti-politician and part of the anti-democratic movement to bring down yet another elected government. The use of “corruption” as a moral claim is also a political tool that has been used by both military and monarchy to justify “Thai-style democracy.”

If these “masked men and women” were really dedicated anti-corruption activists, would they be parading pictures of the monarchy and demanding that anyone who doesn’t love the king should leave Thailand? Wouldn’t they actually be interested in corruption? And if they were, where were they when the military has its dirty hands in the till? Where were they when the military-backed Democrat Party-led government was doling out funds to their political allies through the Thai khemkaeng projects?

Obviously, for these “anti-corruption” protesters, there is good corruption (theirs) and bad corruption (Thaksin-related).

This becomes all too obvious when Ploenpote slips from the anti-corruption message to one damning elected politicians for majoritarianism: “When a government is overly confident with its majority and wields the ‘we are democratically elected’ mantra to do whatever it wants, it’s not much different to a dictator.” She then makes the claim, “don’t get me wrong, I know a military dictatorship is much worse” than corrupt politicians, but heads off on an anti-elections rant, saying “[l]et me give some examples of why we are frustrated with our democracy.” While we don’t know who “we” really is, we can assume it is royalist yellow shirts, for the claims are their anti-democratic rhetoric:

Over 80 years since the country became a constitutional democracy in 1932, we have often witnessed the bad side of majority rule….

Thailand has only ever had majority rule in parliament from 2001 to 2006 and 2007 to 2008 and since mid-2011.In the latter two periods, voters have been steadfast in supporting the governments thrown out by unelected military thugs and unelected royalist judges.

… this thing called democracy has not helped us much in getting rid of unscrupulous politicians. The bad guys keep making parliamentary comebacks, and _ more often than not _ to the Norasingha mansion [Government House].

And so on…. to this:

We know it’s a case of democracy going wrong if a government, which claims to attach high importance to reconciliation, regards and treats those with different ideas as “enemies” and instead supports other groups, like red shirts, to counter and confront opposition and sometimes resort to intimidating acts.

This is an old theme for Ploenpote. PPT has only posted once previously on Ploenpote’s musings, when we noted that she attacked red shirts as undemocratic, and stated that she still had a long way to go before she understood the struggle for democracy in Thailand. Her musings, we said, amounted to an ignorant and pompous piece of self-delusional nonsense, made worse by a concocted attempt to appear tolerant when she simply hates red shirts. We added:

This is one of the worst pieces of  “journalism” we have seen for a couple of years. Her claim that “we have not gone anywhere” since 1973 is infantile, hypocritical and ahistorical dribble.

In the current op-ed, she concludes with a lamentable longing for a military coup like that seen in Egypt. She reckons the military is in the government’s pocket, but warns the government should watch out as “those in the silent majority lose their patience.”

Government should listen to the people, during elections and after, yet having the military or judiciary conspire to bring down an elected government is neanderthal nonsense. Maybe the Post needs to publish an edition chipped into stone.

Oppose everything!

3 04 2013

The Democrat Party seems stuck in a yellow past. Or perhaps it is just that they feel ever so comfortable opposing Thaksin Shinawatra and PAD-like, considering every move the government makes as being either to exonerate him or for him to somehow to gain control of Thailand as his personal fiefdom.

So it is that Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva opposes any change to the 2007 constitution that was spawned by the military junta. His reasoning, as detailed in the story is: “they are designed to help the ruling party cling to power rather than improve the political system…. Abhisit said the changes, if approved, would enhance the government’s leverage and serve vested interests.”Abhisit

Perhaps less disingenuously and recognizing that his party seems unable to win national elections, Abhisit said that the effort “to require that all members of the Upper House be elected” was an attempt to “ensure the chamber was filled with government lapdogs.” Some readers may recall that making the Senate half appointed was the military junta’s effort to ensure that parliament could be controlled by the conservative elite. Indeed, the current unelected senators are royalist lapdogs.

So while Abhisit bleats about upholding “democracy and transparency,” he is clearly no democrat. Real democrats would support an elected senate. When in office, placed there by the military-palace cabal, he demonstrated no democratic inclinations.

Abhisit’s recent statements at the yellow-hued island in a sea of red in Khon Kaen saw him expressing his political inclinations differently:

“We are here to bring the truth to the people,” Mr. Abhisit said to a fiery crowd [of yellow shirts]. “We want to show that Thailand is not one of Thaksin’s possessions. We want to protect our democracy and our king.”

Truth from the Democrat Party would be an innovation. Nothing much changes for Abhisit or the Democrat Party. Neither are interested in democracy that isn’t Thai-style, meaning royalist domination and little else.


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