Abhisit and Prem doing deals

28 04 2014

As deals are being done in a murky darkness of backrooms and party rooms, Abhisit Vejjajiva is being attacked by almost everyone for his proposal to end the political crisis, attention again turns to the grand old schemer, General Prem Tinsulanonda.

Abhisit has not publicly revealed much about his “plan” so far, but states, according to the Bangkok Post, he realized that “reform before election faces several legal restrictions. My stance is also clear that with an election before reform the crisis will resume…”.

He speaks of a plan that has support from unnamed backers. Or perhaps he speaks in the British toff style of the royal “we.” Who does back the “plan”? He also makes the extraordinary claim that: “This reform project I’m initiating has nothing to do with politics.”

His plan would seem to be no election for a time, while making an election part of reform processes. As might be expected, the Bangkok Post backs Abhisit’s “plan” even if it has little revealed substance:

The former prime minister tried hard to make his proposal positive. In an atmosphere of constant criticism, that is an excellent start. His “blueprint” is indeed essential to decent governance. Political reform, timely elections and adherence to rule of law, in this case the constitution, are necessary. Rather than “reform before election” or vice-versa, Mr Abhisit foresees a master plan enveloping both, while adhering to the supreme law.

This approach has led to claims that he and Oxford chum Korn Chatikavanij have done a deal with pro-Thaksin Shinawatra groups and relatives that would again make Abhisit premier.

These claims of a deal have come from anti-democrats ranging from unelected, yellow-shirted senators to a gaggle of PAD-related activists and followed a yes-no response from the Democrat Party on meeting Thaksin. They feel scorned by Abhisit who has long supported the anti-democrats. They are coming to the view that he is both a narcissist and a traitor.

If there was any truth to their claim that Abhisit has done a deal with the man he hates, then the fallout for the Puea Thai Party and Thaksin-related groups would probably more politically disastrous than the ill-considered amnesty bill. Abhisit is a tainted politician that the broad mass of Puea Thai supporters will reject.

Closer to the anti-democrats is a proposal by “a group calling itself Rattha Bukkhon (State Citizens)” led by Prem Army buddy Saiyud Kerdphol. They are claiming the support of the old schemer.

The Bangkok Post is reporting that the Privy Council president “only listened” to a “proposal to end the political turmoil by [the]… group…”.

Prem flunkey Lt Gen Pissanu Putthawong said his boss “did not agree with nor commit to any of their suggestions…”. Yet this hardly matters. Prem is deeply engaged in political shenanigans.

Pissanu was responding to a “remark after Gen Saiyud … told reporters that Gen Prem had agreed with his group’s idea of seeking His Majesty the King’s discretion in pulling the country out of the crisis and asked him [Saiyud] to draft a royal command to that effect.” Pissanu said Prem made no promises to Saiyud.

Yet Prem still “invited Gen Saiyud for talks because he wanted to hear his detailed proposal, know who were in his group and what was the group’s objective…”. That sounds like nonsense as Prem already knows all these old men and is a long-time Saiyud friend.

One thing that is clear in all of this scheming is that the political momentum is not with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Puea Thai as the old royalist elite gets motivated.

Links from readers

7 12 2013

As many readers know, we haven’t been answering email for a few days – just too busy. However, readers continued to send us some interesting material. Here it is in no particular order:

1. Abhisit Vejjajiva of the so-called Democrat Party in a parallel universe:

This ranks as one of the most ridiculously revealing interview we have seen with this person. He counts protesters as support for Suthep Thaugsuban and counting for something. The next question should have been: Hey, Mark, you dopey dick, what about all the millions who have repeatedly voted for pro-Thaksin parties year after year? Do they count for nothing? We guess the answer is: No, they are ignorant, dark-skinned savages who sell votes, and they dress very badly, so they count for nothing.

And when he criticizes Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for not responding to the nice, non-violent middle class people exercising democratic rights under the constitution, he should have been asked: What? You mean they should have been blasted by the Army and its snipers? Presumably the response is: Oh! Goodness gracious me, no! These are good people, not the great unwashed (we borrow that term from Abhisit’s chum Korn Chatikavanij, used to describe red shirts).

2. Paul Handley at Foreign Policy:

Bhumibol is still alive, but there is no doubt that his long reign is dying. He was frail and barely audible as he read a statement calling for unity Thursday morning. He and Queen Sirikit, 81, both suffer a number of debilitating ailments, and now stay out of the public eye. They live not in the capital, but in a seaside palace to the south, infrequently seen or heard from.

Their longtime team is fading, as well. The king’s main political agent, privy councilor, former Army chief and Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, is 93, in ill health, and no longer able to manage the military. And Bhumibol’s other lifetime stalwart, the supreme patriarch of the Thai Buddhist clergy, just died at 100.

We agree, the monarchy is at a turning point, having poisoned itself through its grasping for economic wealth and political power.

3. The U.S. Embassy must be pissed:

The dopey anti-government demonstrators were led by Abhisit’s best chum to scorn the U.S. Embassy for issuing a statement that said something like occupying government buildings, some by force, wasn’t really promoting democracy. The Embassy seems to have been miffed by this silly shouting and seems to have responded:

The US Ambassador to Thailand has praised the Thai government′s restrained measures toward anti-government protesters during her discussion with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The US Ambassador and US Pacific Commander, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, have previously attended the celebration of His Majesty the King′s 86th Birthday at Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin yesterday.

They later met with Ms. Yingluck and Chief of Defence Forces, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn.

… Ms. Kenny also raised her concern over the anti-government protests which have claimed four lives and injured more than 200, stating that the US has been closely monitoring the situation in Thailand.

…[Kenny] told Prime Minister Yingluck she is impressed by the restraint shown by the Thai government and the police in handling the protesters.

Admiral Locklear likewise said he appreciates the Thai government′s patient and tolerant manner during its tackling of the conflict.

The anti-government leaders will now be convinced that the U.S. and Thaksin are involved in a conspiracy. Yet, Korn already re-tweets the idiotic rants of extremist “anti-imperialist” bloggers associated with right-wing talk show programs in the U.S. that rant about just such a conspiracy.

4. Thammasat “academic” administrators gone royalist viral:

Two stories at Khaosod. The first links to an earlier update we had to a post about a deputy rector want to crush students who disagreed with him. Not content with that he has defended his threats with a tirade of nationalist nonsense demonstrating his lack of good sense, not to say intelligence. Lunatics, keys and asylums come to mind.

The second is about the rector, Somkit Lertpaithoon:

The Rector of Thammasat University has been accused of secretly collaborating with anti-government protest leaders after leaked screenshot of his chat application correctly predicts the protesters′ next move.

 He says he was guessing and repeating what Suthep colleagues told him. Yeah, right. These guys are so arrogant that they do the most inane things.

5. The Nation writes Suthep’s political obituary:

It’s easier to say why Suthep shouldn’t be leading the anti-government campaign than why he should be. As a leader he ends up lacking. He was at the centre of a major political scandal almost two decades ago, and to this day approximately half the country holds him responsible for the violent crackdown on the red-shirt uprising in 2010.

Perhaps PAD can save him , with Sondhi Limthongkul calling on his supporters to get out for Suthep tomorrow.

Notes from the news II

30 11 2013

Again, PPT is trying to link to interesting stories we can’t find the time to post on in detail.

Note 1: The New York Times comments on the current anti-government protests and states:

… [they] are the largest in the country since a military crackdown left more than 90 people dead three years ago. This time the government and the military have been strikingly restrained in their reaction. The government says this is a deliberate strategy of nonconfrontation to avoid violence.

Of course, it probably needs to be stated that the government is different. This time, instead of a reactionary Democrat Party government, it is an elected Puea Thai Party government. As if to emphasize the difference, the NYT, while noting provocation, quotes a policeman:

We have not arrested a single protester so far,” Maj. Gen. Piya Uthayo, a police spokesman, said by telephone. Arresting protesters is “not our policy,” he said.

So far, no live fire zones, no emergency decree, no massive censorship, no hysterical rhetoric.

Sadly, the Times also observes that: “… police had received intelligence reports of possible disorder in the coming days that could lead to violence. The police have been ordered to ‘protect buildings and guard against possible calamity’.”

The NYT also makes another excellent, which PPT emphasizes: ”

The protests have been a highly personalized battle between Mr. Thaksin and his allies — who have won every national election since 2001 — and a vocal minority in Bangkok and southern Thailand that says his power threatens the country’s democratic institutions.

The Times notes that Democrat Party chums Abhisit Vejjajiva and Korn Chatikavanij have joined the protests that their election-losing party promotes.

The article also mentions that the “military went out of its way on Friday to back away from confrontation.” That is our note 2.

Chamlong invades

A Bangkok Post photo

Note 2: The Bangkok Post reports that that while the military may have not wanted to confront those who entered their HQ, including the old grinning gargoyle and master political manipulator over four decades, Chamlong Srimuang, it is making statements that no professional army should ever make. But this is the Thai military. A spokesman commented:

“The army calls for protests on all sides to be carried out under the democratic system and within the rule of law,” he said in a statement read out by army spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree. “[Protesters] should refrained from [causing] division and trying to bring the army to be on their side.

So far, so good you might think, and perhaps the protesters see it as  less than supportive. However, a professional military should not be commenting on such matters.

It is followed by this:

“The army would like to inform the public that the army is the army of His Majesty the King and the people. [The army] is monitoring the situation and is prepared to help people if there are injuries or the loss of lives from protests which could lead to violence.”

At least the Army seems uninterested in shooting protesters, but that raises the issue of double standards. How come they were so keen to murder protesters in 2010? Have they learned a lesson or are they showing a bias? And what of the claim about the king. Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy for over eight decades and yet the military clings to a feudal relationship (and vice versa). Professional armies act on the lawful direction of the government. But this is the Thai military.

Note 3: The Bangkok Post reports that Suthep Thaugsuban, in declaring Sunday the day for overthrowing the so-called Thaksin regime,  has come up with a people’s committee. It says:

He also introduced a “people’s committee” including businessmen, academics, activists, workers’ leaders and retired officers to gather under one umbrella to drive the campaign. He brought 24 people to the stage — every single one of them a man.

PPT isn’t sure that the lack of women is the important point here….

Note 4: From a couple of days ago, the Bangkok Post reported on academics in support of Suthep’s anti-democratic proposals. One is the ferociously yellow-shirted Charas Suwanmala, dean of Chulalongkorn University’s Political Science Department.  Charas apparently “believes some parts of the constitution must be put on hold for Mr Suthep’s ‘people’s parliament’ and ‘dream team’ government to become reality.”

Of course it would, for even this junta-tutored constitution is insufficiently undemocratic for yellow-shirted propagandists like Charas. He referred to “the need for the democratic system to take a break.” He sounds remarkably like the 2006 military junta talking about the same thing or the dopey old men who wanted to “freeze” Thailand.

He said that “the people’s parliament and government must have a strict mission to draw up a blueprint for political reform.” We assume he means “reform” in the sense of properly fixing the system so that the rural buffaloes will not be able to vote for pro-Thaksin political parties and will accept democratic tutelage from hierarchical institutions. It all seems very 1991 or 2006. But Charas seems to be an adviser to Suthep because he knows the details of the “plan”:

The parliament will only be temporary, existing for three months at most, he said. After that, a new election should be called and the new government must implement political reform as envisaged by the representatives of the people.

Yep, an unelected committee of appointed (by whom? Suthep?) notables will draft a program that elected representatives will have to implement. So the elections are all a bit of a smokescreen for the elected representatives will only be able to implement a pre-ordained plan. Fascism anyone?

With 3 updates: Army invaded! Others seen as threats!

29 11 2013

Reports tweeted by several journalists including Reuters say anti-government protesters have broken into the Army’s headquarters. Suthep Thaugsuban and his lot are either invincible, have done a deal, are seeking violence or are politically suicidal. Take your pick!


Update 1: The Nation reports that Oxford lad Abhisit Vejjajiva and his tea-sipping chum Korn Chatikavanij have joined the demonstrators on the streets – while still members of parliament, thus putting the whole Democrat Party in a position to be dissolved. It seems they are doubling-down and expect to win by overthrowing the government. Exactly why they have led a march to the U.S. Embassy and attacked and/or pleaded with them for support remains a mystery. Much of what this lot do is a mystery.

Update 2: Readers tell us that those who occupied the Army HQ have now left, and The Nation seems to confirm this. Also of interest is this short video of protesters cutting power to Police HQ. As the video shows, the Police HQ is next to the Police General Hospital with about 500 patients, and reportedly lost power too (see our earlier comment on the hospital and double standards).

Update 3: A reader has accused PPT of running our Sunday giggle a couple of days early:

‘ Abhisit Vejjajiva and his tea-sipping chum Korn Chatikavanij have joined the demonstrators on the streets – while still members of parliament, thus putting the whole Democrat Party in a position to be dissolved … ‘

You’re kidding, right ? It says right in their contracts that the EC/judges cannot dissolve the Democrat Party. Not can they prosecute same … for anything.

Judges in Thailand are in charge of punishing those ‘who need it’. The Democrats are ‘good people’ and so never need punishing. The rest of us are always liable for punishment, it’s just a question of when and the severity of the punishment to be meted out.

In Thailand ‘justice’ works on the basis of one’s essential qualities … not on ephemeral characteristics, like ones actual acts, one’s behavior.

You know that. You’re just pulling our legs, trying to catch us napping.

We weren’t doing that, but we have to admit that the reader is making a good point.


Further updated: Occupations and Korn

27 11 2013

We suggest watching Saksith’s Twitter (https://twitter.com/Saksith) account for a blow-by-blow description of fast unfolding events in the anti-government protests including the seizure of government buildings and provincial halls.


At the Bangkok Post, Suthep Thaugsuban has decided to go for broke and is painting himself as a martyr-in-waiting and hinted at violence to protect him:

Suthep insisted … he would not flee [and arrest warrant] as he said he respected the justice system but would not turn himself in to police until the so-called “Thaksin regime” is uprooted from the country….

He said if his supporters did not want him to be arrested, they should come to Bangkok to join the protests.

“These could be my last words to you. I don’t know what will become of me.”

… Suthep [again] urged all anti-government demonstrators across the country to take over the fight by laying siege to all government offices.

“I’m asking Bangkok people to do like I did at the Finance Ministry at all remaining ministries and for people in the provinces to do it at provincial halls and tell officials not to serve the Thaksin regime anymore,” he said.

“We have to do it simultaneously tomorrow [today], otherwise we will have no chance of victory.”

Provincial halls are now being seized in several places in the south where the Democrat Party is strong, and also at Saraburi.

In Bangkok, more government buildings are being seized. These attacks are being led by some southern stalwarts but also by PAD leaders such as Preecha Iamsuphan and Somkiat Pongpaibul, who have “moved to surround the Interior Ministry where the situation was the most tense. They demanded that all civil servants exit the building.” They cut off power to the complex.

Update 1: The old crew from PAD are getting this anti-government protest motivated. Along with the southerners arriving in fairly large numbers and the Dhamma Army providing the basis of the moveable demonstrations and some of the occupations, some of PAD’s celebrity supporters are being seen. Mad monarchist Tul Sitthisomwong has been with the crowds at Silom. Tul

The Bangkok Post has a reported that former Finance Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva’s school chum and current deputy leader of the Democrat Party Korn Chatikavanij has been at some of the rallies and is showing support for his former colleague and the Party’s big boss, Suthep. Korn has also commented on his Facebook page that he supports Suthep’s campaign to overthrow the “Thaksin regime.”

A Bangkok Post photo

A Bangkok Post photo

Apparently, like Suthep, Korn craves a  “people’s government” which would consist of a “dream team” of administrators. This team would “temporarily take the helm of the country’s administration…”. It all sounds very last century, harking back to the military junta’s appointment of royalist Anand Panyarachun in 1991. One of the complaints from the yellow lot in 2006 was that the then junta appointed a bunch of has-beens to a “dream team” that was unable to root out the “Thaksin regime.”

Korn reveals that:

“Khun Abhisit (Vejjajiva) and all of us also would not take any positions (in the people’s government). I, for one, would like to make it clear I will also not take any position. I would take an administrative post only after being elected,” Mr Korn wrote on his Facebook.

 But, as in 2006, the Democrat Party then expects to take over from the “dream team” and run the country without having to worry about free and fair elections.

There’s just one small problem: “Korn said he did not quite understand what the ‘people’s government’ would really be like.” Really? No one seems to know! Perhaps they can just make it up after the chaos.

Update 2: The newly-established media division of the street protesters now calling themselves the Civil Movement for Democracy, has released its third statement (see the earlier two here). The third statement repeats six points that Korn posted at Facebook (and which we skipped above) suggesting that Korn and his team are working directly with the CMS. That said, there are some divergences in the preamble. It states:

CMD Statement Number: 3

Issued: 27 NOV 2013

Statement for Immediate Release

Civil Movement for Democracy (CMD)

Rejecting the divisive, color-coded politics of recent years, the Civil Movement for Democracy (CMD) is a broad-based people’s movement committed to rooting out Thaksin’s regime and to building an inclusive Thai society based upon sustainable democratic principles.

The Civil Movement for Democracy (CMD) is committed to establishing a People’s Assembly which would work in tandem with the current legislative structure, the Assembly would move to address structural flaws which are impeding the development of our country. The CMD considers institutional corruption as the main threat to the country and will implement structural changes to address this, such as:

1. Creation of an election system whereby vote buying would be more difficult – such as making electoral constituencies bigger.

2. Effectively counter corruption within the country – such as doing away with statutes of limitation for corruption charges.

3. Providing the public with more governing authority – such as giving the public more tangible powers to impeach flawed politicians and through increased decentralization by changing the gubernatorial system so that governors are directly elected rather than appointed by the Inter Minister (currently only the Governor of Bangkok is directly elected).

4. Reforming the police force – such as making the police more representative of the public’s needs by having the police in each province come under the jurisdiction of an elected Governors.

5. Reforming the bureaucracy so that it responds to the needs of the public rather the interests of politicians – such as making it more difficult for politicians to arbitrarily transfer bureaucrats (with measures such as those that currently ensure the impartiality of the Governor of the Bank of Thailand.)

6. Foster a free market economy that would prevent monopolies, collusion and market distorting policies such as the Rice mortgage scheme. Create a National Agenda to address issues such as Education, Health Care and Infrastructure deficiencies.

 The most interesting part of this statement is the claim that the now capitalized People’s Assembly will work with the existing parliament – the one Suthep has rejected. That seems to run counter to the earlier claim by Korn that a “dream team.” But then, if the “Thaksin regime” is toppled and the 300+ parliamentarians sent packing for voting on the amnesty bill, then there’s be on members of the Democrat Party left in parliament. Confused? So are we.

Much of the rest of the statement is stuff that’s been around on all sides of politics for some time – electing governors. cleaning up the cops, reforming the bureaucracy, decentralization – and you’d guess that the Democrat Party, when in government in the past, would have addressed these items. They didn’t so we are left wondering why they’d so it now.

Reforming the electoral system we take to mean another attempt by the Democrat Party and its backers to ensure that the party can get elected. In fact, prior to the last election in 2011, the Democrat Party tried some of this, but they were still beaten in a landslide. So “electoral reform” can only mean wholesale changes that are unrepresentative and anti-democratic; essentially, fixing the system.

The final shibboleth on the free market means little. In fact it might scare some supporters for the backers of the PAD and the Democrat Party favor oligopolies and sweetheart business deals for making their billions.

It seems they are a confused and confusing lot. We do know they hate Thaksin and love the king.


With two updates: The Democrat Party and its failures

9 09 2013

On Sunday, in an op-ed at the Bangkok Post, Voranai Vanijaka managed to criticize the Democrat Party for its multiple failures, not least at the ballot box, without ever giving credit to all the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties since 2001 for their remarkable political savvy and capacity to win elections. The best Voranai can do is put multiple election victories, many by landslides down to good PR and babble about a “democratic dictatorship.” We think he means parliamentary politics.

In other words, pro-Thaksin parties are really very, very bad and very, very nasty, but their PR covers all this up for the apparently stupid electorate who chose them.

And, oh yes, the Democrat Party helps out by being politically hopeless.

All the party of the elite has to do is get better PR locally and internationally, and, hey presto, they’ll get into power. Hence he can doodle about foreigners having only a superficial understanding of Thai politics but the fact is that the Democrat Party itself seems to have a jaundiced and superficial view of the nature of Thailand’s politics and the way it has changed. When Voranai writes of PR, how different is this from the view that all voters are paid, misled or stupid?

Thailand has changed and the Democrat Party and the royalist elite are being left behind.

PPT can’t help wondering if the Democrat Party should also ditch its name; in recent years it has not shown any penchant for democratic politics. Perhaps, too, if it is to be involved in electoral politics in any serious way it should ditch its tainted leaders Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, both forever stained by their orders that resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 and injuries to thousands in 2009 and 2010.Abhisit and Suthep

The sense that politics is all about PR stunts is seen when Voranai notes that: “The Democrats [he means the Democrat Party] suffer the image of a conservative, pro-establishment party with a too-comfortable alliance with the military. This simply does not speak well to the international community that promotes democracy.”

You see, its “image.” No, Voranai, it is a fact. This is exactly what the Democrat Party really is, for the local electorate, and it is not what they want.

But Voranai seems to assume that the Democrat Party is serious about parliamentary politics. A story at the Bangkok Post suggests otherwise:

The Democrat Party expects chaos and political game-playing in the joint parliamentary session this week when the chamber resumes the constitutional amendment debate.

Based on the past week’s experience, this is not a prediction, but a threat.

The Democrat Party demands that every one of its MPs should be able to speak on every article in the bill. In most parliaments – the U.S. being a major exception – such a tedious tactic is soon set aside by speakers, as set out in, for example, Robert’s Rules.

Even if they can speak forever, the Democrat Party is still going to refer the bill to the Constitutional Court, which makes all the delaying rather silly except that it allows the Party to bring the parliamentary system and elected politicians into such disrepute that whole system, they hope, will collapse.

If anyone doubts the democratic destructiveness of the Democrat Party, then read the Bangkok Post’s interview with Deputy Democrat Party leader Korn Chatikavanij.Korn_tea

After babbling about party reform and admitting the party has not been able to recruit many outstanding members … since politics became polarised after the 2006 military coup,” Korn says “… it is possible the Democrats may start to lead people onto the streets…”.

Start? They have already been doing it, including organizing protests. Again, Korn is making a threat.

Also at the Bangkok Post there’s a short report on three academics trying to explain political conflict. None seem to be reported as explaining conflict, but Pasuk Phongpaichit’s call for “old power cliques” to accommodate to “the country’s changing social and political terrain…”:

She said the refusal of the old power groups, which included the Democrat Party, to adapt has caused the conflicts.

The Democrat Party is at a remarkable low point. Its issues and allies are not just conservative but reactionary.

We agree with Voranai (and Pasuk) on one point: if the party is democratic and supports the parliamentary system, then it needs to be a stronger party that strengthens the system rather than undermining it. It can only do that with a new, untainted leadership and policies that don’t plagiarize but challenge the pro-Thaksin parties.

To be honest, we don’t think it has the capacity for such change. That’s bad for democracy.

Update 1: The paucity of the Democrat Party’s ideas and debate is further demonstrated in a recent Khaosod report that has former premier Abhisit attacking current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as อีโง่ or “a stupid bitch” in the following video:

The video runs the selection twice but the point is clear. As Khaosod says:

Abhisit′s uncharacteristic rudeness might also reflect the larger shift in attitude of the Democrats. The party has recently embarked on aggressive tactics in its attempt to oust the government including organising street protests and creating chaos inside the House of Parliament during debates on contentious issues.

Abhisit reportedly reinforced his misogyny:

Abhisit did not apologise for his now-notorious remark when reporters questioned him at the Democrat Party headquarters earlier today.

He claimed that he did not refer to Ms. Yingluck specifically when he said those words on the stage. “I was merely following what I saw on Google,” Mr. Abhisit insisted (typing “stupid bitch” in Thai on Google search would bring up images of Ms. Yingluck).

Smart ass rich lads treating women badly is unlikely to curry favor with anyone other than the patriarchal right-wing royalists.

Update 2: Khaosod has gone to extraordinary lengths to point out that its translation of อีโง่ as “stupid bitch.” It does this in part because other English-language newspapers have translated Abhisit’s sexist rant in more “generous” terms, perhaps protecting the errant Democrat Party leader.

For PPT, Khaosod’s translation is accurate and carries the venom Abhisit intended.

Several outlets have suggested that Abhisit’s comment was not directed at Yingluck personally. The context, in the video above, makes it clear his misogynist attack was directed at the premier.


The incapacity for self-reflection

31 08 2013

PPT has now had a chance to read English-language version of former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva’s The Simple Truth, which is a translation of his Thai-language book from several months ago. This account comes with a foreword by Abhisit’s  school chum Korn Chatikavanij, which is entirely laudatory and expresses a discernible personal affection for Abhisit. It was while reading the last few pages of the rather thin book that we saw this in The Nation:Abhisit Vejjajiva

The opposition Democrat Party is ready to hold talks with the prime minister’s representative on political reform, party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

“I’m ready to talk with Banharn [Silpa-archa] if he contacts me. I will tell him the root cause of the problems which, in fact, have come from the government itself. And the government has to end the conflicts,” Abhisit said.

That Abhisit decides that he “will tell him [Banharn] the root cause of the problems” is no surprise as Abhisit is remarkably arrogant. His next claim that all problems “have come from the government itself” is a re-run of his book, where he blames everyone but himself for all problems. Abhisit seems unable to see himself in a mirror.

Of course, all governments are flawed in various ways. Some, like Abhisit’s, are more flawed than others. However, the incapacity for self-reflection means the potential for one to dangerously misrepresent their experiences to themselves.

Updated: Lost in law

28 08 2013

PPT admits to being confused on a Bangkok Post story citing Kanit na Nakhon as chairman of the Law Reform Commission (LRC). Readers will recall that Kanit was formerly chair of the Democrat Party-appointed Truth for Reconciliation Commission.

Kanit has come out to assert that “Parliament’s deliberation of the charter amendments on the make-up of the Senate violates the constitution…”. Apparently he sent a memo on this “warning” parliamentarians that: “… deliberation of the charter amendments relating to the make-up of the Senate contravenes the constitution.”

Tie us up and whack us with wet newspapers, but we just don’t get it. If the constitution can’t be amended according to the constitution’s own provisions, then is it some kind of divine document rather than just being an invention of a bunch of military junta and elite cronies.

Can any reader see anything in Kanit’s curious claim that has even a smidgen of legality to it?

Update: Here’s another one that confused us for a second. At the Bangkok Post, Deputy Democrat Party leader Korn Chatikavanij is said to have “blasted the government for prioritising charter amendment ahead of political reform.” Um, changing the constitution to rid it of military junta-imposed unelected senators who represent the royalist elite is not political reform? The way the elite protect the constitution that they all said could be changed “later” when it was foisted on Thailand is revealing.

Democrat Party abandons parliament for street politics

20 08 2013

It has been clear for some time that the Democrat Party has been increasingly frustrated by parliamentary politics. They are an electorally unsuccessful party and have decided that parliamentary politics can be abandoned as they seek a return to power via street politics.

Of course, this is learned political behavior, for it was the People’s Alliance for Democracy that was created to bring down the Thaksin Shinawatra government via street demonstrations and, eventually, military coup in 2006. That set of stage-managed events was fully supported by the Democrat Party as it created new political rules – via the junta’s 2007 constitution – that promised the party a chance at government.

Now the Democrat Party has essentially abandoned parliament for the streets again. This time the party is playing the leading role in managing and apparently funding street politics.

Our conclusions are drawn from a series of recent reports in the media.

First, at the Bangkok Post, t is reported that the Democrat Party has opposed meeting to set a parliamentary agenda for constitutional change. A Democrat Party leader said that “the opposition is against the constitutional amendment, claiming efforts are being made to manipulate the Upper House.”

The unDemocrats oppose making the Senate elected. Like pundits in the mainstream media, they prefer the junta spawn of appointed senators rather than elected members of the upper house. Why? Well, simply because the nonDemocrats don’t win elections.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva concocted a statement that “most opposition MPs agree that the election, rather than the appointment, of senators would serve democratic means.” However, they don’t want the Senate controlled by a pro-Thaksin Shinawatra party and prefer a “neutral” Senate.

There’s more on unDemocrat opposition at The Nation.

Second, at Khaosod, these same “neutral”-loving lot are visiting the “People′s Army Overthrowing Thaksin Regime” at Lumpini Park, praising “the protesters for ‘their contributions to the country’.” Of course they support them for the Democrat Party is more or less sponsoring the protest.

Yellow-shirted Democrat Party members like Kalaya Sophonpanich, Korn Chatikavanij and Kasit Piromya, “brought the protesters some instant food and camping items.” Kalaya promised sponsorship for three days.

She praised the motley crew for “doing their best for the country, religion and the monarchy.”

Korn said “he is willing to stand by the People’s Army.” We recall that he supported the PAD when they engaged in illegal occupations of airports.

As reported at The Nation, these senior nonDemocrats were “given the green light by the party leader to join the street rallies…”. Abhisit argued that “… it’s good if we can support them…”.

He also supported an alliance with PAD and said the two groups “would … discuss the amnesty bill and moves to amend the Constitution…”.

If a party can’t win elections, it should look to itself for reform. The nonDemocrats ignore this and seek extra-parliamentary means to grab power, whether coup or PAD protest.


Abhisit’s fabrications

20 08 2013

The Bangkok Post has a review of Abhisit Vejjajiva’s The Simple Truth, a translation of his Thai-language book from several months ago. This account comes with a foreword by Abhisit’s  school chum Korn Chatikavanij. The review is by Chris Baker, a well-known writer based in Bangkok.

Baker is rather kind to Abhisit’s personal plea for understanding on how it was that he ordered security forces to shoot down protesters in 2010. Or, as Abhisit prefers, apparently living in a fantasy world:

Abhisit explains that he wrote this memoir because red shirts have made political capital by claiming that government forces killed protesters in a brutal crackdown, so he needs to set the record straight: “We have heard plenty of lies _ I now ask for the opportunity to tell the truth.”

The former and now tainted premier apparently takes politics very personally, emphasizing red shirt attacks on himself.

The good old days at the Army Club

The good old days at the Army Club

Abhisit seems to believe that the red shirts “realised that to create even greater chaos, they had to add weapons”. He says that from the end of 2009 demonstrations, the red shirts were “preparing to wage a war.”

Regarding the 10 April 2010, events, Abhisit refers to “black shirts kill soldiers at Kok Wua intersection.” Forget the protesters who were cut down by snipers, for Abhisit and his ilk didn’t care. Abhisit is said to have cried “all night over the incident” but he doesn’t cry for the protesters cut down by military bullets.

The “truth” for Abhisit – and who knows if he believes it or is simply delusional – is that “there were armed guerrillas within the red-shirt movement.” For him, the red shirts were “waging guerilla warfare complete with organised terrorism”, and “wanted the country to become a failed state”. Abhisit seems to repeatedly speak of guerrillas, the men in black, and seldom about red shirts or their issues.

His supporters will believe this “truth,” but the evidence is of something else. As Baker points out:

Someone who read this book with no prior knowledge of the 2010 events would imagine the army suffered heavy casualties from weeks of “terrorism”, “vicious attacks”, and “bullets flying everywhere”. In truth, military casualties did not reach double figures, and deaths of protesters were 10 times as many. Among the many illustrations in the book, several show red shirts holding crude weapons, but there is not a single picture of a soldier visibly holding a gun.

Abhisit apparently believes that the delicate, reluctant military were subjected to “vicious attacks.” He cannot believe or admit to the Army doing anything aggressive or murderous:

As for the killings at Wat Pathum, Abhisit claims it is “unfair and illogical… downright preposterous” to blame them on soldiers. Although the temple had been designated a safe haven for women and children, male protesters had also entered the temple “perhaps even with arms and other weapons”. Abhisit suggests the deaths in the temple were caused by the same “armed militia”, meaning the black shirts. By a mixture of strange logic, innuendo, and unsubstantiated assertion, Abhisit absolves the military of any guilt.

This, apparently, is Abhisit’s “truth.”

His delusional musings – yes, we know we have used the term already, but synonyms are few for this stuff – include this: “I saw everything that happened, and I can confidently say that the true murderers were the same people who had earlier unleashed terror on our city.”

As Baker says:”But of course he did not see everything.”

And, it seems, Abhisit simply hates red shirts and most especially Thaksin Shinawatra. So much does he seem to hate Thaksin that he was prepared to kill and maim thousands. This view may reflect Abhisit’s thinking, but if it does, Abhisit deludes himself, for his assigned role was to protect the existing royalist order at any cost.

He continues to do this in opposition and in arranging street protests against the pro-Thaksin government that he and other royalists see as a mortal threat to their wealth and power.