The election splurge II

3 12 2018

Just days after shoveling taxpayer funds out to shore up its electoral appeal, and soon after the devil party more-or-less officially stated that The Dictator is their man for the premiership after the election, the junta has come up with even more electoral giveaways.

This means that the de facto leader of the Palang Pracharath Party is Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. So when The Dictator has his minions throw more money after votes, he does it for his party.

His latest scheme to pour funds into the party’s direction is seen by The Nation as blatant:

In a bid to garner popularity ahead of the election scheduled for February, the government has finalised plans to give more than 11 million low-income people free Internet SIM cards and other state subsidies that will together cost taxpayers billions of baht.

Mimicking Pansak Vinyaratn when he was with the Chatichai Choonhavan government in the late 1980s,

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said it would benefit farmers, for example, who could access market crop prices and other useful data in real time.

He said farmers would be able to follow price trends on low-cost smartphones so they could make more informed decisions on what and when to plant, avoiding issues like oversupply. The NBTC would work out the details, Apisak said, and low-income people other than farmers would also benefit from online access to improve their individual economic well-being.

As well as helicoptering cash, the new taxpayer-funded handout is the free internet access.

How much more will the junta shovel into the electorate in order to maintain its political control?

Yellow shirted anti-democrats reckon there’s nothing wrong with all of this. Look at Yingluck Shinawatra’s rice subsidy, they say. But they then forget that they demanded and got people jailed for years for this scheme. But no one is about to “investigate” the junta in they way they hounded Yingluck. Double standards? You bet.

 





Junta shenanigans I

21 11 2018

A Bangkok Post editorial chastises the military dictatorship for what it does best: limiting freedom of expression. In this case, the Post is concerned about the rigged election:

Three months away from a possible election, the ban on political activities and basic freedoms is truly a mystery. There seems no logical reason to continue the bans. They were imposed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in the wake of the May 22, 2014, coup. They were regularised by formal edict early in 2015. The army-controlled junta continues to state it will not lift the bans “yet” and refuses to state an ending date.

The logic the Post searches for is that of military authoritarianism and the junta’s desire to extend it on and on and on. Everyone knows this and the only really interesting question is whether there’s any chance that this rigging can be overcome.

But when the Post states that the “bans apply to everyone,” this is a distortion of the facts (as it later shows). In fact, the restrictions have been selectively – one might say strategically – applied. As far as we can tell, most parties the junta favors have been campaigning in various ways. Most restricted is the Puea Thai Party. Even some of the new anti-junta parties have fond ways to get out among voters.

So the junta intimates all, but some more than others.

The Post knows this. And, it knows that the main pressure the junta is applying is to “restrict what people, newspapers, broadcasters and internet users can say and write.”

This restriction is to allow the military – via ISOC – the bureaucracy (now junta compliant) and pro-junta political groups access to voters particularly in rural areas and places known to be strongly pro-Puea Thai, while restricting that party.

The Post also points out that there’s still “no election date.” That’s also part of the election rigging. No date, hence no lifting of restrictions.

In the editorial, the Post does recognize double standards in a broader political context:

Arguably worse than the bans of free speech, free assembly and free press has been the highly selective prosecution of alleged violators. It is safe to say no supporter of the coup, the government, the junta or the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) has faced censure for their activities.

It is certainly true that the “public has the right to hear all political facts and opinions from politicians and the media,” but the junta needs restrictions until it feels it can “win”/steal an election with impunity.





Rapping the military junta

5 11 2018

The mammoth number of views received by the ประเทศกูมี video – more than 28 million – has caused more international attention to the nature of the military dictatorship and its rigged election.

IHS Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report states that there is an “increased likelihood of NCPO [junta] intervention in Thailand’s political parties…”. Perhaps Jane’s has missed the fact that the junta has been doing this since 14 May 2014. Oddly, the report also believes that “civil activities raises protest risks.” We don’t see any greater “risk” – we might say “hope” – of this than at any time over the past couple of years. The report sees the rap video as evidence of considerable dissatisfaction with the military’s rule. That is true.

Prompted by the rap, Hawaii Public Radio has a short report on the junta and its repression.

CNN has a longer look at the rap’s impact, quoting Dechathorn Bumrungmuang, one the group’s co-founders: “Our main goal to set up this group is just like our name, Rap Against Dictatorship. We want to use rap songs to fight against dictators…”. CNN notes:

Under [Gen] Prayuth [Chan-ocha]’s watch, hundreds of activists have been arrested and prosecuted, political activity has been banned, and the sphere for robust public discourse has all but disappeared thanks to draconian laws that restrict online expression and increase surveillance and censorship.

Even the usually politically timid commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak sees that the “song taps into collective and pent-up anxiety and frustration. Its lyrics are a litany of political ills and social injustice Thailand is afflicted with.”

Al Jazeera has a video report that takes up many of the same issues and is well worth viewing. Interestingly, it also shows anti-democrat Suthep Thaugsuban campaigning in Bangkok. The junta continues with its double standards.





Updated: Has the NACC completed its cover-up II?

3 11 2018

Is the puppet National Anti-Corruption Commission reading PPT? We think it must be. Each time we poke the Deputy Dictator and the NACC, we get a response. It is almost Pavlovian. We only just asked about the cover-up on the luxury watches (non) investigation just a couple of days ago. Now, the NACC has responded.

But, in fact, it is likely to be a response to the hugely popular rap attack on the military dictatorship that has triggered the slavish response. That video is now over 27 million views, despite efforts to restrict it by both YouTube and the junta.

As usual, the toothless-against-the-junta NACC has a lame response.

The NACC’s secretary-general Worawit Sookboon babbles that “[h]e had just learned that the agency had received the documents from watch companies abroad.” As usual, the NACC is flummoxed, facile and fact-less, with the spineless and supine Worawit reportedly having “refused to elaborate except only that a conclusion is expected to be reached in the not too distant future…”.

The NACC said that months ago. It is just a cover-up. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing more or less than everyone expects.

Update: The Bangkok Post joins PPT in asking questions about the NACC cover-up. It has an editorial that begins somewhat meekly stating the NACC has “disappointed the public once again … with its lame excuse for not completing a long-overdue probe into the … watch scandal…”. It calls out the bogus NACC: “the anti-graft agency’s insistence on seeking … documents from abroad, rather than acquiring proof of ownership from the family of whom Gen Prawit said was his dead friend not only baffled members of the public but also intensified their suspicions.”

The editorial refers to “public anger.” We think there’s not much anger, just more resignation that the military junta do what it wants, when it wants: it can hide behind puppet bodies, lie and engage in corruption.

The question asked is is also lame: “If our graftbusters can’t handle the watch saga in a straightforward manner, how can the public trust them…”? Almost no-one in Thailand trusts the NACC. The widely held view is that it is the junta’s cover-up agency and its attack dog against political opponents. It is a part of the junta’s regime of double standards.





Not let off easy (double standards)

31 10 2018

A couple of days ago, we posted on the fact that the former Buddha Issara, am ant-democrat monk, had got off light in a criminal case.

He was charged with having allowed his People’s Democratic Reform Committee thugs to capture and beat two policemen. The beatings were savage. One suffered broken ribs and a ruptured liver and another suffered bruising and broken teeth from beatings.

He got a suspended sentence and will be back in saffron and his anti-democratic ways very soon.

Now look at the double standards.

It is reported that the Criminal Court “sentenced former Pheu Thai MP Prasit Chaisrisa to two years in jail for having a helmet and a bullet-proof vest stolen from anti-riot soldiers in 2010.”

“Stolen” is a problematic term. At the time, many soldiers simply abandoned their gear and ran away. In this case, the claim is that the helmet was taken from a soldier who was beaten.

The court found Prasit “guilty of having the warfare products in the boot of his car on April 22, 2010.” Even if we dismiss the notion that these were anything other than crowd control products, as it is reported, soldiers were using “warfare products” to crack down on red shirt protesters. That isn’t questioned.

The double standards are clear. And, do we need to add that he’s being victimized? “The former MP for Surin province was earlier sentenced to two years and six months in prison for lese majeste.”





Campaigning, monarchy and the puppet Election Commission

26 10 2018

Perhaps the news of the day is the Deputy Dictator’s seeming confirmation that he and The Dictator are indeed planning for a 24 February election.

The junta has responded to a reported clash of that (maybe) “election” date with university entrance examinations. In essence, they have told the Ministry of Education and the universities to sort out the clash. While this isn’t an official announcement, it is a kind of confirmation.

The junta remains secretive as it wants to keep all the “election” cards in its hands.

Which leads to Suthep Thaugsuban and his anti-democratic party, Action Coalition for Thailand. As we posted yesterday, ACT is actively campaigning. This seems to be in violation of the military dictatorship’s “rules” on political activity that is applied to most political parties but not the ministers-party-executives-cabinet-members-junta-minions of the Palang Pracharath Party.

Following media discussion of the double standards involved, the puppet Election Commission has mumbled something about it watching all parties. Double standards-driven members of the junta were lukewarm about ACT’s electoral campaigning but were hardly condemnatory and certainly didn’t demand the EC “investigate,” in the manner it did with another anti-junta party.

Apparently, no person has lodged a complaint with the EC about ACT. The EC’s “investigation” of Puea Thai continues.

Meanwhile, back on the campaign trail, Suthep and ACT leader, the minor prince, Chatumongkol Sonakul and 50 other party members, most from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, went to a dead king monument – Rama I – “where they held a ceremony to pay homage to the late King and took an oath to be a party loyal to the monarchy.”

What was that about the monarchy being above politics?

ACT could not possibly swear loyalty to democracy because they are determined anti-democrats.





One up, one down

25 10 2018

With the alliance of the military junta and the anti-democrats who formed the People’s Democratic Reform Committee being harnessed for “elections,” it seems like the PDRC’s pro-junta party, the Action Coalition for Thailand Party is getting some free kicks. It probably needs this as it has to fight not just Puea Thai but perhaps the Democrat Party as well. So having the junta give ACT a free kick is presumably meant to help in forming the pro-junta coalition.

ACT has “announced its plan to carry out an activity described as ‘walks to pay respect to the land’, which begins today in Bangkok.” That means the ACT is campaigning, a bit like the ministers-Palang Pracharath-party-executives-cabinet-members-junta-minions.

Thaweesak Na Takuathung, secretary-general of the Democrat Party, claims “the walks have already been approved by the [puppet] Election Commission…”.

ACT’s campaigning involves activities Prajadhipok Road and meeting people in Worachak and nearby areas. Tomorrow the electoral campaigning moves to the Sukhumvit Road area. This is to be followed by campaigning in Yaowarat, Silom, Sathorn, Bang Rak and Pratunam. Once Bangkok is covered, ACT says it is off to campaign in the provinces.

All said to be approved by the EC which bans anti-junta parties from doing pretty much anything.

Worse, though, Puea Thai seems increasingly worried that it faces dissolution. The Bangkok Post reports that “the chances of the party being dissolved will become much greater if eight core members accused of defying the regime’s political gathering ban are indicted next month.”

So while ACT, Palang Pracharath and other devil parties can campaign their socks off, Puea Thai faces charges and possible dissolution.

How are those free and fair elections coming along? They aren’t. The junta has rigged them. But it is so fearful that Puea Thai may still “win” that it is contemplating getting rid of the party.

The junta will only do this once the time for candidates registering with a party has passed, thereby disqualifying all of those registered with Puea Thai.

This is the junta’s rigging at work. This is the double standards in operation.