Junta shenanigans II

21 11 2018

The Dictator is pulling the nation’s collective leg. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha claims to be still looking for the right party to come along and make the right offer for him to continue as prime minister without being troubled by an election, even a rigged one.

Of course, the Palang Pracharath Party was set up by the junta for The Dictator.

Gen Prayuth mumbled that “he has not been approached by any party to stand as their candidate, so it would be pointless to speak about it in the media.”

He’s a clown and a dope who seems to think everyone in the country is as thick as he is. No one believes this drivel.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayuth poured more money into election campaigning. The junta announced another “63 billion baht into cash handout packages aimed at assisting low-income earners, the elderly and retired officers…”.

The Dictator immediately denied that his regime was engaging in “a populist move aimed at shoring up support ahead of the election.”

No one believes such claims.

While the poor deserve assistance, this is mostly helicopter cash that has no monetary policy embedded; it is simply meant to push the poor away from pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties and vote for pro-junta devil parties.

The helicopter cash is “a 500-baht cash handout that will be given as a New Year’s gift to almost 15 million people worth a total of 7.25 billion baht.” When’s the “election” being rigged?

Yes, the cash will boost the economy, but given that growth has stalled, the junta knows it needs an economic boost if it wants too “win” the “election” without having to steal it outright.

If anyone doubted that this is a bid to buy votes, consider that the “Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said the measure is being presented as a New Year’s gift.”

Yep, a gift.

Other “gifts” meant to buy votes included measures doling out cash that will only be in place for from one to nine months. There’s no policy involved. There’s no notion of a welfare or safety net. This is naked vote buying.

The junta has doled out hundreds of billions of baht seeking to bolster its support. This is just more taxpayer funding for the junta’s “election” campaign.

Setting the rigging I

18 11 2018

The Bangkok Post has yet another politically timid story on the military junta’s elections. Indeed, the Post seems to move ever closer to the military tyrants.

In this story, it mentions that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha “has signed an order granting the Election Commission (EC) the authority to do what is necessary to resolve disputes so that the redrawing of all 350 constituencies are done by the Dec 10 deadline.”

That order invokes Article 44 of the 2014 interim charter, that remains in force to allow The Dictator to do anything he wants.

The story then “explains” that the use of dictatorial power results from “complaints by several parties about the constituency map proposed by the EC and inadequate and incomprehensive [sic.] hearings on them.”

So The Dictator has decided that his puppet EC can do as it wants (or as it is ordered) in the event of complaints and screw the process. It also absolves the EC from legal responsibilities: “The EC’s decisions or actions shall be considered legitimate, constitutional and final…”.

This order trashes an earlier junta order “requiring public hearings on the new map before the EC approves it.” We can only guess that this now clears the way for junta boundary rigging should The Dictator decide this is necessary for his parties to triumph.

Thai PBS has a different take. It reports a junta spokesman as saying the order will “give more time for the Election Commission to demarcate constituency boundaries…”.

In fact, if there are no hearings and no scrutiny of the puppet agency, then “more time” makes no sense at all. With hearings gone, the process should require less time. If the EC is taking more time and dumping scrutiny and hearings then the conclusion is that  the junta wants more time to seek benefit for its parties.

This is confirmed when that spokesman “insisted that there was no hidden agenda behind the order…”. When the junta says such things, you can be pretty certain it is up to no good.

February or May? Still rigged

14 11 2018

Not that many hours ago we posted on the likelihood that the military junta’s rigged election might be further delayed until May. We did that along with several other media outlets.

The junta has reacted saying it is still planning for 24 February. Deputy Slitherer Wissanu Krea-ngam said “there was no reason to delay the general election again…”. He then added: “So far there is no reason [to postpone the polls] and there’s no chance the EC [Election Commission] will not be ready. If the elections are delayed, it will be because of others…”.

Meanwhile, devil party Palang Pracharath has opened for anti-democrat members. The Nation reports that just 121 signed uo on the first day. We assume this number is so low because, in line with its hierarchical bosses, the junta sycophants only signed up “big names.”

Slithering into the party and oblivious to calls for something like ethical standards, were three serving Cabinet members. They were: Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, who is the party leader; Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, the secretary-general; and Prime Minister’s Office Minister Kobsak Pootrakool, the party’s spokesman.

Among others lining up to lick military boots was Nida Poll director Napong Noppaket. Yes, the man who produces poll results each week. Now we understand why the Nida polls are so suspect.

Uttama confirmed that he will be nominating The Dictator as his party’s candidate for prime minister following the election.

The election, whenever it is finally held will be rigged.

Military responsible for torture and murder in its own ranks

10 11 2018

Under the military dictatorship, the National Human Rights Commission is a neutered agency. Its fall into non-independence can be traced to a series of events over the period of political conflict, but most notably its alliance with the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime in 2009-11 when stewarded by Amara Pongsapich,. Her tenure at the helm of the NHRC was a disaster for human rights in Thailand.

Even so, there are odd rays of light from the NHRC. Most recently, The Nation reports that the military’s “beating of military draftees is a violation of their rights” according to the NHRC. It has “called on the Army to set guidelines for appropriate ways to punish infractions.” It also called for “regulations establishing the level of aid and remedial measures given the families of soldiers injured or killed while being punished.”

That last bit is an admission that the military continues to kill recruits in using enhanced disciplinary measures that have been most recently defended by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. Essentially, they have claimed that recruits who die are simply not tough enough.

The NHRC findings result from “an NHRC probe into two recent cases – the caning and kicking of a soldier at the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Centre in November 2016 and the fatal beating of conscripted Private Yuthinan Boonniam at a military detention facility in Surat Thani in April 2017.”

These cases amount to torture and murder.

The military brass involved is protected by the impunity attached to the men with weapons.

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.

The Dictator sulks and thought police get vindictive II

31 10 2018

This post updates an earlier one on the military regime’s response to the rap song “Prathet Ku Mee.”

The sulking and vindictiveness continues, with Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul having “authorised police officers to lodge the defamation lawsuit on his behalf on Monday.” He also revealed that the official police investigation of the rappers and their anti-junta song is continuing, even while he “concede[d] there is no evidence so far that those connected to the song have broken the law.” Absurdly, he also “denied rumours that leading government figures ordered him to take legal action against the rappers.”

Pol Gen Srivara then “distributed a brief containing 10 counter-arguments to various lyrics of the song to the media.” It complained that the senior policeman considered that the song’s “lyrics are not entirely true … [and] that some of the video’s content deliberately tarnishes the reputation of the military.”

Check a  version of the lyrics here.

It remains unclear to PPT how the police general is engaged in  a defamation action that claims the military is defamed, but we suspect that this statement is evidence that the regime has indeed ordered the police to “investigate.”

Indicating the politics that the rap has unleashed, Pol Gen Srivara stated that his “brief” was written by notorious anti-democrat and ultra-royalist Seri Wongmontha.

Meanwhile, The Dictator claimed that the rappers were slandering the nation. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha went on to threaten tens of millions, saying “there are laws against acts of showing hostility toward the country.” He warned and threatened: “Anyone that shows appreciation towards the song must accept responsibility for what happens to the country in the future…”.

The dictators are being dictatorial. Worse, they have lost face, and this is when they are nasty, dangerous and vindictive.

The Dictator sulks and thought police get vindictive I

30 10 2018

Despite YouTube now requiring a sign-in for some to view “Prathet Ku Mee” – did the military junta get to them? – it has more than 22 million views.

Grumbling (thought) police have “backed down on a threat to press charges against the artists behind the Rap Against Dictatorship project over the lyrics to their smash-hit…”. Deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul decided “there was no evidence at this stage to charge the rappers…”. Even so, the belligerent junta minion added that “listening, singing and sharing” the rap was “legal for now.”

Pol Gen Srivara then got vindictive, saying he “would file a personal complaint against the rappers for accusing him of trying to arrest or summon them, and for making false accusations about the black panther case which is in court.”

Unbelievably he claimed these statements “damaged” something he referred to as his “reputation.” Jeez, this guy is a senior policeman. Pretty much without exception, these are corrupt thugs. Srivara is worse because he slithers before the dictatorship. How on earth he thinks he has anything other than a reputation as a thug and slitherer is beyond comprehension.

On the “elect me!” campaign trail in Phayao, The Dictator Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, sulked.

He demanded that “people not to pay attention to ‘social media buzz’.” Like a sulking child he “refused to refer to the song by its name or by the name of the group.”

He complained, babbling:

Use your own judgement. Is it really that bad? Is life really that hard? Is it that oppressive? Am I so dictatorial? If I were a dictator, I wouldn’t be here [to visit people]. I could just give orders somewhere else. Don’t let anyone distort the facts.

Such childish rhetoric hardly deserves a response. Use your own judgement on more than four years of military dictatorship under a petulant general.

Then he got all dictator-like, complaining that there’s too much freedom: “… freedom without limits will turn against you, your family and your children in the future. Don’t let yourselves be a tool of others. If society is like this, I don’t think we can go on…”.

You are warned! Watch out Thailand. This is the man-child who wants to continue as prime minister for years to come.