Bleating about the military

4 08 2014

When we recall the constant efforts to bring down the elected government and to denigrate electoral representation, does it now seem odd that some of the most vociferous anti-democrats now complain that the military dictatorship is being just a little too dictatorial?

No, for the two positions are exactly the same. PPT has two examples, both from the Bangkok Post, where the apparent schizophrenia regarding politics is often on display. The management might say this represents healthy competition on views about Thailand’s politics. In fact, though, it is representative of much that is wrong with the royalist elite and its middle class supporters.

Veera Prateepchaikul is a former editor of the Bangkok Post and was a great supporter for and propagandist of the anti-democrat demonstrators. When he bleats that the “colour of the day and for many more days to come over the next 18 months is, I guess we all know, green,” he is not really complaining, for this is exactly what he wanted and urged, for months.

He complains that there is insufficient “representation” for occupational groups other than the men with guns. What did he expect? You ask for a coup and you get the military. In any case, it is important to note that occupational “representation” is not about elections or democracy.

So when he quotes other anti-democrats complaining that the puppet assembly should “be a forum for debate and not an army club,” this is errant nonsense. These dopes simply want to talk amongst themselves, exclude others, and know that, in the end, they want the military there to protect them. The parliament they want is a Starbucks parliament. No representation, no elections, just chatter amongst those who think they should rule.

Veera advises that the military dictatorship needs to get its job done, and admits that the puppet parliament will just be a quiet rubber stamp. Exactly what the anti-democrats wanted. The media, if they support the junta, should be permitted to be a little critical: “the NCPO should be more open-minded and receptive to criticism and even opposing views which are rational and honest.”

He worries about the lack of an “independent” think-tank and says: “During the era of Field Marshal Pibulsongkram, there was a popular saying: ‘Believe in the leader, the nation will prosper.’ Now, we seem to be going along that path of following the leader. Of course, the performance of our leader, the NCPO, for the past two months has been OK. But it is just the beginning. There are at least 18 months to go.” Yes, Veera wants to “participate” by keeping the junta on track!

Pichai Chuensuksawadi is editor-in-chief of Post Publishing and has been a propagandist for military intervention and anti-democratic positions. When he bleats that the “composition of the National Legislative Assembly, unveiled this week with a heavy tint of green,” he is not complaining but explaining that it is necessary. He says: “With the military at the helm one cannot expect varied representation.” Of course not!

He knows that you get what you protest for: “Amid the street protests and political turmoil prior to the coup, many sides [he means one side, the anti-democrats] called for and made proposals for reform, greater transparency and the end of corruption.” He says the military’s “goals set are laudable but the challenges are immense.” As he observes, “in the end, the NCPO will make the final selection and can influence not only the composition of the NRC, but the direction it takes on reform and whether genuine, fundamental changes will be made.”

That change is “eradicating not just the influence of Thaksin but also preventing the possibility of any other political party becoming dominant and pushing ‘populist policies’.” That’s exaqctly what the anti-democrats wanted, so Pichai urges sticking with the military dictatorship, even if he urges more functional representation.

The argument that “for reform to take place, there must be vigorous debate,” is bleeding heart nonsense. There can be no vigorous debate when the anti-democrats just want to listen to themselves and ignore the majority. Criticizing the military for acting as it does is closing the gate after the horse has bolted and the barn has burned. Speaking to the military bosses is nothing to do with representation, elections or democracy; it is elite and middle-class political bleating.

When Thailand has electoral politics, these groups complain and campaign to bring it down. When this happens, almost always by the military in alliance with the palace, they get squeamish about the results. Some of this is simply pretending to be upset. Some of it is about telling the military that it owes something to those whocreated the ground for the coup. All of it is anti-democratic.

On the military junta’s interim constitution II

28 07 2014

Khaosod has a very appropriate editorial on the military dictatorship’s interim constitution. With the title “Junta’s Charter Paints Grim Future for Thailand’s Democracy,” it stands in stark contrast with the anti-democrat, pro-military coup op-ed by Post Publishing boss and dictatorship propagandist Pichai Chuensuksawadi.

Khaosod, more cognizant of the threat posed by the military dictatorship begins: “The junta’s 2014 Interim Constitution is robbing Thai people of their political voices.” That certainly is the junta’s plan, just as it was for the anti-democrats when they opposed and prevented elections.

The editorial observes:

The National Council For Peace and Order (NCPO) dissolved Thailand’s 2007 constitution almost immediately after seizing power on May 22, and until last week, ruled over the Kingdom without a charter.

This is not entirely true, for the military junta kept the articles on the monarchy, and notes this in the interim constitution. We mention this to note its symbolic and political significance.

Identifying the “2014 Interim Charter … [as] a discouraging step backwards,” it points to the “Article 44, which effectively enshrines the NCPO’s absolute power into the Kingdom’s highest body of law.”

Article 44 grants the NCPO power to unilaterally intervene “regardless of its effects on the legislative, executive or judiciary” in the name of defending Thailand against threats to “public order, national security, the monarchy, national economy or sovereignty.”

Not only is the NCPO given this carte blanche to intervene in almost any situation, but “all orders or acts [taken under these circumstances] are to be regarded as lawful and constitutional.”

In other words, nothing the NCPO does can be considered illegal. Furthermore, this absolute power will not be subject to any oversight, judicial or otherwise.

The 2014 interim charter also establishes three governmental bodies that will be tasked with fundamentally restructuring Thailand’s system of government, yet are unlikely to represent broad swaths of the population.

The National Legislative Assembly, Reform Council and Constitution Drafting Committee all see the junta “granted the power to appoint the members of these bodies,” and will see them “dominated by military personnel and their loyal allies.”

That “the charter makes no mention of putting a draft of the permanent constitution up to a referendum,” is a red herring; putting constitutions to a referendum might be symbolic of something, but the idea that a large and complex legal document can get a yes/no response is silly. The more significant point is that the junta is not about to allow any significant participation or consultation in drafting the charter.

Khaosod states that the junta’s “vision for Thailand” is to “involve a curb on human rights, political freedoms, and democratic values.”

“Liberals” do the junta’s work II

21 07 2014

Our last post was about the fake liberal Anand Punyarachun. It is no accident that Pichai Chuensuksawadi, who is editor-in-chief of Post Publishing, should follow-up on Anand’s work, also published in the Post. It seems that Pichai has been selected to do the military dictatorship’s work as a kind of tag-team partner for the aged faker.

Pichai was the subject of an earlier post where PPT stated that he is a reliable propagandist for the royalists, posing as one of those so-called liberal royalists, who are, in fact, never very liberal when the elite’s political or economic dominance is threatened. Like Anand, he is an anti-democrat wolf in liberal garb.wolf in sheeps clothing

In an op-ed at the Post, Pichai gets into propaganda mode for royalists. He begins by supporting the junta and anti-democrats in their repeated attacks on civilian politicians.

The Leader, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, “suspended local elections because they could lead to renewed political conflict.” Evidence for this? None. But no matter, Pichai reckons this is warranted, because he hates the idea of the masses expressing a political view.

He also mentions the politically biased National Anti-Corruption Commission urging the equally biased (anti-) Election Commission “to implement measures to screen populist policies.” He means to plans to ban any policy that the EC and its backers might not like.

Remarkably, to support the biased EC, he reports EC “opinion polls on various measures to reduce corruption, abuse of power and patronage among elected MPs.” The polls were full of leading questions, getting the EC the responses required: Thai-style push-polling.

After all of this nonsense, Pichai says: “The track record and role of our politicians and political parties is nothing to be proud of.”

We agree that politicians have not always been great models of propriety. But who has a track record to be proud of? The military that murders its own people? Corporations that engage in racist slavery? The media that is takes bribes? Self-promoting and parasitic royals? The grasping rich?

You get the picture.

When Pichai states that “some MPs received committee attendance allowances of up to 9,000 baht after spending just five or 10 minutes at meetings” might be a reasonable question. But why doesn’t he ask why the royals get more than 1.5 million baht per hour from the taxpayer.

You get the picture. Tarnish the electoral politics you hate but do not look at the opaque finances of the monarchy. Don’t examine the opaque finances of the military. Don’t look at the junta’s grasping and corrupt activities in all of the state enterprises. Don’t ask about meeting allowances there!

All of this is about “reforming the role of MPs is just one change that needs to take place for us to become a democratic society.” What a joke. Pichai is supporting the destruction of democracy by a fascist junta.

Pichai reckons that the “biggest challenge is how to change the mindset of many of our representatives who repeatedly quote chapter and verse that they are ‘elected and chosen by the people’ and therefore have carte blanche to do what they want.”

To be honest, in this form, the only place we have heard this is on the anti-democrat stage. But really, shouldn’t elected governments and their MPs be entitled to implement their policies? Not according to the anti-democrats.

Then Pichai goes to the great lie: “Limiting the terms of MPs, for example, does not tackle the problem at ground zero where vote-buying and election fraud remain rampant despite decades of elections.”

He’s making this up. Look at this and then look at this. Pichai is peddling this “dangerous nonsense” because he is a propagandist.


The elite hates electoral democracy

13 07 2014

Pichai Chuensuksawadi is Editor-in-Chief of Post Publishing. He’s also a propagandist for the elite and its politics. Back when the 2011 election campaign was on, we mentioned his strong support for the Democrat Party, acting as a royalist mouthpiece. He works for a news organization that is deeply royalist and a part of its networks.

He has always been a reliable propagandist for the royalists, posing as one of those so-called liberal royalists, who are, in fact, never very liberal when the elite’s political or economic dominance is threatened.

Now, in his editorial position in the Post, he has becomes a mouthpiece for the elite’s political desires for the future. Not surprisingly, it is a rejection of democracy and a plea for Premocracy-style non-democracy. This was also a hope following the 2006 coup.

Pichai says out loud what the military has been hinting at and what the elite wants: forget electoral democracy. And, blame Thaksin Shinawatra for giving ” rural Thailand … their voice; [a feeling] that their vote counts.” Big problem because, despite winning elections on after another, “Thaksin is no democrat.”

So while “[w]e tell our people that elections mean we are a democracy…. But in reality, we are not. We have never been.” This is the elite speaking (“we”) to the phrai (“our people”).

As the anti-democrats and the military dictatorship endlessly repeat, Thaksin, like all “politicians and parties he used patronage…. He ran Thailand like a company and took cronyism to a higher level than those before him.” Yes, we know, this is damning of all Thai businesses, but the military doesn’t really trust capitalists either. That’s why the dictatorship is grabbing large bits of the economy.

Pichai sounds like he just stepped off Suthep’s stage: “His [Thaksin’s] party’s steadfast adherence to majority rule, completely ignoring the voices of the minority, clearly illustrates the lack of understanding of the democratic process.”

He says the Democrats also “failed dismally to reform themselves as an alternative to Thaksin,” and even Suthep “strayed from the democratic path…”, but these slips might be forgiven if it weren’t for Thaksin’s dominance.

Pichai observes:

Since the coup, I have heard many comments from a number of people asking whether Thais are ready for democracy and whether Thais (especially those upcountry) truly understand what it means. There have been suggestions, for example, that candidates for elected MPs should only come from the “knowledgeable and educated”. Another is that only taxpayers should be allowed to vote, or that voters should at least be given a test on what democracy means before they are allowed to vote.

This all sounds pretty good to him, and probably much of the elite:

These comments reinforce my view that for a start we should be honest with ourselves and admit that we are not yet a democracy. Let’s admit that we will never have a democracy like countries in the West. There’s nothing wrong with that since our history, our culture and our traditions are different.

How might that work?

Even if it means adopting, for example, a system where all senators are appointed and seats allocated to the military and bureaucracy in which places are filled by rotation, then so be it. This does not mean that a fully appointed Senate should supersede the elected representatives of the people. This idea may run counter to the democratic principle of elected senators, but past experience has shown that the bureaucracy and the military have and will play a role in governance.

Let’s be honest — is this democratic? No, it is not. But unless we find a political structure that allows all stakeholders their space and say in governance, we will once again be back to where we were before.

Pichai essentially prescribes a Premocracy. Yes, let the phrai vote and have an elected house, but this should be meaningless. The elite of royalists, the monied, the military can control things through a fully selected senate. Let the phrai think they have some say in things, but they are really stupid buffaloes, and the elite will really control things, and we can call that “Thai-style democracy.”

The surreal world of the Democrat Party

5 07 2011

PPT hasn’t looked at the Thai-language media yet this morning, but it not a surprise that the Bangkok Post and The Nation have barely paused for a moment before attacking the still-unformed Puea Thai Party coalition government, mostly on its campaign promises regarding amnesty.

It is as if they confirm a point made at Bloomberg by Thailand scholar Kevin Hewison on the residual abhorrence for and fear of Thaksin Shinawatra and the anathema felt for any amnesty: “These people continue to hate Thaksin and they don’t want him back…. If there is any move that looks like he’s closer to coming back or if there’s anything they interpret as a whitewash, they will be up for the fight.”

Both Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban have shown that there is neither grace nor any reconsideration based on the voice of the people.

Suthep has been on television this morning (Tuesday) attacking Thaksin as if there had not been an election where his party virtually made anti-Thaksinism its only call to the electorate and was firmly rejected. He also attacked and “blamed” red shirts for his party’s loss. His comments appear in the next linked story, although the press account misses the deep hatred displayed in his television interview.

Characteristically, Abhisit first big-noted himself by stating: “I think that a good leader of an organisation must take responsibility…”. It is still about Teflon Mark and me, me, me. At present it seems that Abhisit’s resignation is nominal, and he seems to feel that he is set to be re-elected leader. Abhisit stated that “he would fight tooth and nail against any attempts to dismantle the rule of law and national principles.”

That may sound okay as a statement if it wasn’t Abhisitspeak for rejecting the electorate’s voice. Rule of law meant repression under his government and denoted opposition to red shirts and Thaksin. Rule of law is now the discourse for opposing a Puea Thai government. Presumably when that opposition descends into lawlessness, it can be justified, as it was in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

The points made by Suthep and Abhisit are repeated by Pichai Chuensuksawadi, Editor-in-Chief of Post Publishing, a media outlet that did much to support the Democrat Party. As one of the elite’s media, it inflated public support, boosted its campaign, gave extra space to Abhisit and wrote op-eds that were blatantly anti-Puea Thai. In the face of a crushing electoral defeat, Pichai tries to sound just a tad reasonable in searching for meaning and messages in the emphatic rejection of the royalist Democrat Party.

One message is that the “overwhelming support for Pheu Thai indicates that rural Thailand wants former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra himself back home. Indeed there is no doubt that many do. How else can you explain the repeated electoral success of Thai Rak Thai and its various reincarnations?”

While we agree in general terms, the emphasis on “rural Thailand” is a yellowish political tone. PPT would note that it is not just “rural Thailand” that voted for Puea Thai. And, we’d add that amnesty was indeed near the top of the party’s platform that they took to the electorate (as was constitutional amendment when People’s Power Party won a less emphatic victory in 2007).

Pichai then adds the good point that “Thais who supported Pheu Thai, Khun Yingluck or Thaksin did so because they believe they would be better cared for. They feel empowered, that their vote and voice can, and do, make a difference. They feel they can have a better life and that it will be easier for them to make a living. They want a fairer system, opportunity and access to better education, health and justice. They are calling for and demanding these changes.”

He is right to note that this vote was also one that said: “we don’t want a military coup d’etat to change our choice of leaders.”

For the “established elite” he says that they should “accept and adjust to these changes. Embrace it and help guide the changes, making it a constructive force for the future.” This sounds like a plea for the historical compromise that the Thai ruling class has been unwilling to make. PPT doesn’t see it coming.

Pichai, like many others in the anti-Puea Thai camp also have a message for any new administration that is not theirs: “Despite its overwhelming numbers…. There are a significant number of Thais who want a sincere effort at reconciliation but not at the expense of discarding the rule of law for the benefit of the one or the few.”

That’s Abhisit’s message and it is to be the lead battle cry going forward. Don’t do what you promised; forget the campaign platform and ignore your supporters. If you don’t, this will “lead to further political turmoil.” Puea Thai is warned, again and again.

Pichai refers to the “fact that the Democrats still retained a significant hold in Bangkok – despite the exit polls – is a clear message that the red shirt leaders were responsible for the intimidating tactics of mass protests which not only infringed on the rights of others but led to violence. These Thais voted for the Democrats in Bangkok because they do not want to see a repetition of the rioting of April 2009 and Ratchaprasong last year.”

Pichai ignores the fact that the Democrat Party lost seats in Bangkok, and that’s why he refers to exit polls rather than the 2007 result. The result in Bangkok showed that the Puea Thai message was strong and so they gained support in Bangkok.

Pichai points to the second battle cry for those opposed to the election result: “Pheu Thai cannot say that it has nothing to do with the red shirts. In the eyes of many they were – and now officially are, with the inclusion of key leaders on the Pheu Thai party list – one and the same.” In other words, opposition to the red shirts will continue. If this is sounding like the failed Democrat Party election strategy that’s because it is. Rejection by the electorate counts for nothing.

He blames the People’s Alliance for Democracy No vote campaign for “diluting support for the Democrats,” neglecting the fact that this vote was well down on 2007.

Like many in his circle, Pichai still adores Abhisit: “The decision by Khun Abhisit to step down as party leader and assume responsibility for the election result is the kind of gumption we expect of our political leaders, even though it is a pity to see such a political resource limited to the back benches.” Damned voters….

But, reluctantly, “The people have made a choice and that choice must be respected.” But that “respect” is tempered by the notion that the fight continues. The third battle cry is that the ballot is just one element of the ongoing fight. It is a setback, but, eventually, can be ignored as the fight by the high and mighty for control of “their Thailand” continues.

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