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Misdebating in parliament

Just checked on what Chalerm had to say during the debate today, will leave it alone for now, the subject is very juicy indeed.

I don’t know what these debates are supposed to be for. No one has ever been censured, afaik, despite having them every year. In 2003 debate Democrats tried to nail the Finance Minister for Thaksin’s Ratchada deal – nothing came out of it, the coalition voted along party lines and the subject was laid to rest until independent investigators took the case to the court after the coup (independent of Thaksin, mind you).

Still, a good show for either side can certainly make a lot of difference, even though not through the parliamentary means. After 2005 debate that was centered on airport scanner scandal Thaksin had to remove Suriya from Transport Minister post, the public confidence in TRT government was severy shaken, just months after they swept 75% in the elections. Several months later Sondhi started his anti-Thaksin, anti-corruption shows and they quickly attracted thousands of people, and the rest is history, as they say.

Last year PTP brought up 2005 election campaign charges against the Democrats and the matter now is going to the court, even if the parliament didn’t acknowledge the charges, DSI and the EC did.

This year, however, the debate has lost all sense.

It’s more like a discussion board with two sides piling up youtube videos against each other. This is beyond silly, as the presenters give those anonymous, unverified videos a lot more weight than they deserve. A lot of them would simply be inadmissible in the court, I suspect, yet PTP wants to remove the Prime Minister on their strength.

As it always turns out, neither side can possibly claim a victory, they just dig up more suspicious pictures and images.

Quite often the presenters have no clue what was really going on, Phatumwanaram temple is probably the best example.

As I was following the debate on twitter some opposition MP presented a video of soldiers on BTS tracks. Suthep immediately replied that the video was taken a day later, as there was no smoke coming form Siam Paragon (?). The presenter, according to tweet translations, said the smoke was there last time he checked it but now it’s somehow gone. Several minutes later Suthep himself mistakenly attributes something to a different date. Today in the Nation the episode is reported as doubting fires at Central World, not Paragon.

A week ago Suthep claimed that the Italian journalist was killed in a grenade blast, side by side with a soldier. He was clearly wrong, probably confusing the Italian with another reporter, a Canadian.

How can anyone trust anything said by these people?

What qualifications do they have to perform this ridiculous investigation? How are they better equipped than your average Internet user like you or me?

I, for one, would NOT recommend any real world action based on whatever arguments I present here. I would need a real world proof, not some undated, possibly doctored pictures and videos somewhere on the Internet.

I don’t know who shot all those people at the temple, it could have been soldiers, but, if you want to prove it, you need to find what soldiers they were, what unit, under whose command, what was their tactical goal, what were their orders, rules of engagement, when did they move to the area, how long they stayed, what they have been doing all this time, why they were shooting inside the temple and so on.

In other words, you need a real investigation, summoning real witnesses and collecting real evidence, not some half arsed attempt to search the Internet for “truth”.

Same goes for a lot of other “evidence” that the army was shooting innocent people, especially on the first day of Rajprasong blockade when reds on the outside tried to break in trough the army lines by all means possible.

There was this red dude who decided to play with his laser pointer and flash it on the army positions.

WTF!?! You just don’t play this kind of games, pretending to be a spotter for grenade launchers, like on April 10.

He was shot in the head by a sniper right there and then. Was he innocent? Terminally so.

In another case reds commandeered a truck, don’t know what they tried to do, earlier they have tried to ram trucks and buses at army lines. Anyway, soldiers opened fire, shot the tires.

Was is a warning enough for red shirts? One of them got the point and refused to drive the truck any further. Another volunteered, as soon as he got behind the wheel he was shot dead. Was it soldiers’ fault? Really?

Sometime later, in the same area, in front of the same group of soldiers (afaik) reds tried to set up a tire barricade. Didn’t they get the message yet? Did they need any more warnings? What was the barricade there for if not to attack the troops with molotovs, among other things, or what if it was manned by M70 carrying types, with troops well within the firing range?

How did these red expect NOT to get shot there?

I’m not sure MY version of what happened there is correct, far from it. BUT, it could have been so, even more likely than setting up a peaceful protest site for a little bit of flag waiving, and a water truck was needed there to provide showers.

Nevermind the general ignorance of how things actually developed over these days, the underlying premise of the censure debate, that Abhisit and Suthep should be held responsible, is completely beyond me.

They didn’t order troops to shoot, they weren’t there, up until now they still have no idea what happened at the temple, for example.

Why should they be held responsible for some unidentified soldiers breaking their rules of engagement, or even for some commanders ordering their troops to do so? How’s that Abhisit’s fault?

So far there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest the killings at the temple could be traced back to Abhisit, not even a suggestion this connection exist.

Ok, some could say that Abhisit could have expected that engaging the army would result in innocent casualties. But so did Jatuporn and all the other red leaders. I’m referring to Jatuporn’s speech today where he said “How can I hire people to die? Can I hire Suthep for this job?”

Maybe he didn’t hire people to die, but reds’ determination to fight the army and die for the cause is well documented. How can red leaders deny responsibility for setting this mindset among their followers?

Another point that Abhisit mentioned yesterday once but which is generally overlooked – the army didn’t even try to disperse the rally, they set the blockade outside the perimeter and fought off the attacking reds, and, on May 19, they only break through Saladaeng barricade and secured Ratchadamri and Lumpini park only up to Sarasin intersection, well away from the red stage.

It just doesn’t go well with “Abhisit sent the army to kill protesters” accusation.

Ok, back to Chalerm “bomb” – he decided to grill Kasit for suggesting the society needs to talk about taboo subject like monarchy!

“We including Thaksin & his family have never considered les majesty law as an obstacle like Kasit does.”

There you go.

Where is Hobby with his undying support for the red cause AND for reforming LM laws? Where does the entire New Mandala brigade stand on this one?

Were they batting for this Chalerm team all along?

At the start of his speech Chalerm introduced himself as Thaksin’s disciple, btw.


60 Responses

  1. Where is Hobby?
    Read my last blog post written BEFORE Chalerm spoke in parliament, which included:
    “It’s a brilliant setup, the trap is now complete – after decades of one sided propaganda, no political party can touch on the subject of detoothing LM without committing political suicide”
    Please read the blog post in full and watch the video’s – you might learn something:)

    btw, I agree with you about the parliamentary debate being basically worthless, and I am also pleased that you agree with Robert Amsterdam & Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops that independent investigations are needed.

  2. Abhisit can organize investigations by some elements of Thai state but relatively independent from his government.

    The two dudes you mention are paid to defend the side accused of terrorism, not investigate anything, as you mistakenly believe.

    It’s interesting that Amsterdam now openly states he is representing UDD, exactly the connection between Thaksin and the reds the government is looking for.

    More from Chalerm:

    “This rhetoric of yours means our institution needs to be reformed. It’s a very wretched and vile thought,”

    That’s the side you’ve been cheering to victory, and Kasit was your prime target in Abhisit’s administration.

  3. You got two things wrong:

    1. Amsterdam has called for independent investigations by a body such as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – check it out for yourself – AFAIK, the red’s have always been happy with independent investigations, but your team isn’t.

    2. I don’t have a team to cheer to victory, as all I have ever called for is the people to be allowed to choose, and for their choice to be respected. So if I do have a team, it’s the people, and if you are opposing me, that means your team is against the people.

    I will support whomever is pro-democracy, and as far as I can see the red’s are the only side interested in democracy.

    The other thing I like to highlight is the systematic indoctrination that has made Thailand the mess it is today – there may have been a time for such propaganda, but it’s well past it’s ‘use-by’ date now.

    An interesting rumour was posted on twitter today, and if it’s true then the stakes have been upped considerably, and it does not bode well for a smooth transition to ‘normality’.

  4. Amsterdam is bullshitting.

    This is what UN commissioner said himself:

    “To foster longer-term political reconciliation, I urge the government to ensure that an independent investigation of recent events be conducted and all those found responsible for human rights violations are held to account,” Pillay told the Human Rights Council at the opening of the latest session.”

    There’s not even a hint that they want to investigate anything themselves, or that any non Thai entity should do it.

    You, or Amsterdam, are dead wrong when you understand it as stressed like this:

    “We fully support the calls for an independent investigation by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay”

    The Amsterdam article I refer to is here.

    In the meantime he is conducting his own investigation, too:

    “..the intention of our investigation is to represent the basic rights of UDD protesters..”

    On your second point, recently you made it clear that LM laws are the main obstacle and the main point of your concern.

    Now it appears your “pro-democracy” side is very much pro-LM, too.

  5. You are naive or disingenuous if you think a thai investigation would be independent.

    You are also being disingenuous regarding LM.
    You know why everyone has to be either pro-LM, or seen to be pro-LM.
    Like I said in my blog, its a brilliant trap – no way out till nature takes it’s course, and even then I think they have a (not so little:) lady up their sleeve.

    • There will be no “international” investigation, period. There’s no international jurisdiction over Thailand to investigate anything, it’s clear to everyone involved, even to Amsterdam himself who gets paid to post this ridiculous proposal anyway.

      Chalerm, you are saying, was only pretending yesterday, right?

      What about Kasit then? Was he pretending to think about the reforms or how does that fit in your world?

      • It doesn’t really matter wheher Chalerm was pretending or not – the fact is, it’s political suicide to go against the ‘official ideology’ – you know that!

        I agree there will not be international investigations, but international jurisdiction is not the reason. (you know all it takes is goodwill to allow such an investigation)

        • International investigation is very much a matter of jurisdiction.

          Without legal grounds any army commander can tell these “investigators” to piss off if they demand disclosure of any information.

          There needs to be a whole lot of legislation passed through parliament for any non Thai body to do anything in Thailand.

          How about Kasit’s “suicidal” remark about reform?

          • Yes, I said it needs goodwill, something something severely lacking in the thai rulers.

            Kasit said nothing controversial IMO, and Chalerm was a goose for raising it.

  6. A bit off-topic, but I’d like to hear a reaction from the Red apologists who claim there were no armed red shirts:


  7. If you categorize me as a Red apologist, I would never have been so naive as to claim there were no armed redshirts – that would be foolish in a society which seems to have more than it’s fair share of armed people.

    I would also not be so foolish as to claim there were no armed PAD yellowshirts, nor would I claim that there were no disgruntled/overlooked military men taking advantage of the situation, no would I claim that Newin had nothing to do with any of the violence.

    I would however agree with Abhisit that that the vast majority of redshirt protesters are not terrorists, and were were not armed (one of the few times I actually believe what Abhisit says:)

  8. btw, I like the title of this thread – quite clever đŸ™‚

  9. ” . . .the vast majority of redshirt protesters are not terrorists” but of course. The question really is whether or not the vast majority of redshirts/redshirt sympathizers support terrorism because their leaders encouraged and supported terrorists/arsonists (paid Bangkok slum dwellers to torch Bangkok).

  10. Latest results of nation-wide poll by Bangkok University:

    Mr Abhisit received the highest confidence vote (71.7 per cent), followed by Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij (71.0%), Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum (54.4%), Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (53.6%), Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban (52.8%) and Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul (50.0%).

    According to the poll, 43.5 per cent of the respondents wanted the Democrat-led government to continue running the country, while 28.4 per cent of them preferred a House dissolution, 17.6 per cent favoured a cabinet reshuffle, 3.8 per cent wanted the premier to step down and 1.4 per cent wanted the opposition camp to become a government.

    Asked how the various parties performed their tasks during the censure debate, the respondents gave 6.55 out of 10 to the House speaker, 6.51 to the government and 5.43 to the opposition.

    A total of 46.2 per cent said they believed the information from the government more than that from the opposition, 18.1 per cent had more trust in the opposition, 23.3 per cent believed each side equally, and 12.4 per cent did not believe in the information given by either sides.

    As many as 82.4 per cent of the respondents said Mr Abhisit was the best speaker on the government side, followed by Mr Korn (7.7%) and Mr Suthep (6.7%).

    On the opposition front, most respondents voted for Puea Thai MPs chairman Chalerm Yubamrung (78.8%), with Jatuporn Prompan on 15.0% and Sunai Chulapongsathorn 2.8%.

    A total of 52.9 per cent of the respondents said they learned a lot from the debate, 37.2 per cent said the debate was of moderate help and 9.9 per cent stated they got little benefit at all.

    Some 66.8 per cent of the respondents said they still have questions about the use of force against red-shirt protesters because there was no clear conclusion. They also had questions about the men in black who fired into Wat Pathumwanaram and the rioters who set fire to the shopping malls on May 19.

    Bangkok Post

  11. Thanks koko. That survey merely confirmed sentiments of the Bangkok people and the cities.

    I am more interested in any survey that would indicate how the ‘common villagers/reds’ felt (continued support) of their:
    (a) leaders
    ( b) the Red movement
    (c) Thaksin Shinawatra

    after the failed Reds rebellion at Bangkok.

    • It was a nationwide poll, wasn’t it?

      Bangkok Pundit believes they are still skewed towards Democrat side as some groups that typically favor Dems are usually overrepresented.

      I remember he thinks it’s no more than 5%, though.

      Whichever way, 60% to go on or simply reshuffle the cabinet vs 35% for “yub sabha” or Abhisit resignation is a clear sign of where majority lies.

      • Yes, the Bangkok Uni poll was a nation-wide poll covering 30 provinces over every region in Thailand.

        Another results from Suan Dusit poll, also conducted nation-wide, as follows:

        The effect of the censure debate on the popularity of the government and the opposition:

        – No change in popularity: for gov: 52.34%, for opp: 53.64%
        – Less popularity: for gov: 20.81%, for opp: 29.80%
        – More popularity: for gov: 26.85%, for opp: 16.56%

        The following ABAC nation-wide polls results, from the Nation:

        About 82.4 per cent gave a thump-up for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for his performance during the censure debate, followed by Pheu Thai MP Chalerm Yoobamrung (78,8 per cent), Abac Poll said in its opinion survey released on Thursday.

        On the full score of 10, the government received 6.15 points while the opposition got 5.43 points from the censure debate.

        Some 43 per cent wanted the government to carry on its job while about 28 per cent were in favour of the House dissolution in wake of the vote of confidence.

  12. The only poll that counts in the real one.

    The Democrats/Coalition must have their own private polling because it’s an established fact that politicians don’t avoid elections that they think they can win (especially if going to such an election could have avoided bloodshed, and given them real legitimacy!)

  13. I knew you would say that, Hobby.

    The majority of the population do not want a “real” poll yet, which is scheduled for the end of next year and no one is avoiding it.

    How about this – you get on the roof of a highest building in the neighborhood and threaten to jump off unless Abhisit dissolves the House.

    Let Abac run its poll that would predictably tell you that you are moron and should get off. You dismiss the poll result because only the “real” poll counts and Abhisit should definitely comply with your demand to avoid bloodshed which will be on his hands.

    • ” . .. you get on the roof of a highest building in the neighborhood and threaten to jump off unless Abhisit dissolves the House”

      To prove what what? Just another ‘red-till-dead’ moron who couldn’t wait for another election.

  14. Absurd, isn’t it?

    If you threaten to jump on someone else’s car, throw a grenade at bystanders and set the fire to the building and the police shoot you down, you can start calling Abhisit a butcher or Bangkok, too

  15. StanG & VichaiN – still coup supporters after all this time – and I thought I was a slow learner:)

  16. Hobby is the ‘typical’ Red supporter . . . tons of baggage on their shoulder . . . that propels the flatulence that keep their Red flag flying.

    Where’s the coup man? PM Abhisit was duly elected to his office by parliamentary means in accordance with the constitution.

    • Just to add to what Vichai said, the lastest censure debate further confirms that PM Abhisit still comfortably enjoys the majority support of elected MPs in parliament, each of whom are legitimate elected representatives of the people.

      If the Thai people don’t like that their MPs voted for Abhisit and support Abhisit to be PM, then in the next elections they should switch to vote for someone in the opposition to be their MP. However, as the latest censure debate results show, most MPs in parliament are still confident that their respective constituents would approve of them voting in favour of Abhisit.

      No wonder the Reds can’t wait for elections and would resort to – as we have seen – illegal occupation of public space, throwing grenades, arson attacks, looting, etc. in order to force a national crisis with the aim of a highest possible death toll. They failed to get the deaths they longed for in the Songkran riots of 2009, they managed to get more this time around but not sufficiently as the obvious presence of their paramilitary also gave the army justification to use a higher level of force. Thus the majority of Thais and the international community have not turned against Abhisit and his government as the Reds had hoped for.

      They will now try a guerrilla insurgency but I don’t think they can achieve their aims that way either and t the cost to society and the economy will be great.

  17. Which constitution was that Vichai? 555

    btw, Abhisit refused to contest an election till after the tanks rolled.

    If you are in the mood for comedy, I recomment you go back and look at Opposition Leader Abhisit’s statements and compare them with PM Abhisit’s.

  18. But I am not in the mood for comedy Hobby . . . but since you’ve gone back at the before-and-after Abhisit, do share the comedy that make the Reds laugh themselves silly.

    it is the same constitution that got Jatuporn elected and the same constitution that could get Jatuporn (and other Red leaders) jailed or worse.

  19. I’m too lazy, & what’s the point anyway Vichai?
    Abhisit has made his bed, he’ll have to lie in it, and there’s no need for me to try to convince people one way or other.

    Time will tell which type of reward he gets, but if a few old guys were younger, I’d be betting on his reward being a seat on the Privy Council – he’s got all the right credentials

  20. Exactly Hobby – – what was your point anyway?

  21. My point, in a nutshell, is that Abhisit only became PM due to a military coup, military imposed constitution, and ‘directed’ judicial & military interference.

    A large group of people are unhappy with that process, and feel that it made a mockery of Thai democracy, and reinforced their view that a double standard exists in Thailand and that PM Abhisit’s legitimacy is in doubt.

    They asked for a an election so that Abhisit could prove his legitimacy, but the timing did not suit Abhisit (or his ‘backers’ – who knew he would lose) so he/they chose to kill people to delay having the election.

  22. The way Abhisit came to power is par for the course.

    What matters now is that clear majority of the population supports his government and rejects calls for new elections.

  23. The way Abhisit came to power is par for the course.”
    Agree – that’s the point of my posts – Thailand has a rotten system, and the rot starts at the top.

    “What matters now is that clear majority of the population supports his government and rejects calls for new elections”
    Not provable unless you have a referendum or an election, but I accept those that wanted to delay elections have got just what they wanted – never mind the death and injury they presided over to get it.

    I might just throw in a little question for you and Vichai:
    Remember who presided over the funeral of Angkhana Radappanyawut?
    Wondering if they also did the same for Kamolkade Akkahad?

  24. Oh, Hobby – we don’t have delayed elections, and you don’t run referendums to find out if people want elections earlier.

    If someone was on a rooftop with these arguments, for months with no end in sight, people would be shouting “Fucking jump, you moron” and I bet there’d be plenty of volunteers to help him along.

  25. I’m not sure singling out Kamolkade among the victims would be appropriate at this point.

  26. Was the other funeral attendance ‘appropriate’?

  27. Not worth wasting our time debating whether an election was delayed or overdue.

    An illegal coup was made legal, a constitution overthrown, and the coup leaders were exonerated – whoever did that has a lot to answer for IMO, but you think it’s fine.

    There no point discussing it further because our difference will always come back to that same basic point.
    (btw, Darunee Torpedo is in jail for 18 years for apparently thinking/talking like me – that’s scary, especially when the people she apparently so offended don’t even seem to bother to be concerned this time by people being killed by government – maybe they don’t mind intentional killings by a government, it’s the accidental ones that stirs their sympathies? )

  28. Coups are always illegal, Hobby. That said, coups are repeated everywhere . . Thailand, Philippines, Latin America . . everywhere. Coups happens (usually for runaway corruption by elected leaders) and constitutions overturned and rewritten . . . then people move on.

    In certain countries where civil rights abuses by military juntas were rampant, countries (like Argentina and Chile) succeed, decades after the torture/murders, in prosecuting the junta ‘monsters. It happens yes, but very rare., because the ‘majority of the people’ just wish to forget and move on with their lives.

    If the objective of the Red rebellion was to prosecute General Sonthi and his junta for the coup (that ousted Supreme Red Leader Thaksin), then they should have known that by their very mission their cause would fail. Because the Thai people clearly wanted to just move on, and General Sonthi’s coup and junta rule was very peaceful, bloodless and without any hint of torture or rampant human rights abuses.

    A new constitution was already ratified Hobby and if you will just open your eyes, before you jump from any building while demanding for Abhisit’s resignation, you would notice that really – the Thai people are already moving on past the coup, and past Thaksin.

    But of course Thaksin won’t move on and his danger remains. See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704852004575257790134925082.html?mod=WSJ_World_LeadStory

  29. Time will tell if the people have moved on or not – I have a sneaking suspicion this genie is not going back in the bottle, despite the sophisticated (& not so sophistcated) measures being employed to make it do so.

    Regarding the constitution, her’e’s a nice summary of the process leading up to it.

    An excerpt:
    “Put simply, the choice for people in Thailand will be between a fraudulent draft charter and leaving the army to decide everything itself: not democracy, but blackmail.

    Apart from its legalized coercion of the electorate, the regime has been trying hard to make sure that other conditions are right for the vote. All political party activity remained banned across the country up until the tribunal set up in place of the dissolved Constitution Court disbanded the former ruling Thai Rak Thai party and barred all its senior officers from their electoral rights for five years. Martial law has remained in force across half of the provinces, and military propaganda efforts have been in full swing. Persons speaking out against the draft have been accused of being against the country’s development and not wanting a return to electoral process, no matter how flawed”

  30. Sorry Vichai, but I thought by now you would realize he’s just a sympton, not the cause.

  31. If you have to be sorry Hobby, be sorry for those poor villagers manipulated and used by Thaksin S., via his appointee-Red leaders, during the 2 months Reds protests-turned-rebellion.

    Thaksin is the cause and the primary instigator, the master instigator.

    Sure there are underlying discontent and valid grievances among the Northeastern people. But Thaksin S. and the demagoguery of his appointee-leaders were designed to stoke the fire of rebellion. Nattawut was paid by Thaksin S. Baht 100 million to ld the march to Bangkok. General Khattiya too admitted of being hired/paid by Thaksin S. Lots of leaders also admitted to funding from Thaksin & friends.

    Without Thaksin’s money and cash inducements, there would have been no march to Bangkok and no rebellion.

  32. Let me get this straight Vichai:
    You concede the redshirts have genuine grievances, yet you are happy to see their political choice be quashed? You call what they do ‘rebellion’.
    All because you don’t lke Thaksin?

    Just take a back step, and look at all that has happened since April 2006, and tell me honestly that you think it was all worth it ( when Thaksin was voted in, so can be voted out – not like those coup leaders, and behind the scenes manipulators including whomever Darunee referred to as ‘the one’)

    I used the think like you do about Thaksin, (still don’t particularly like him) but I now see how the reverence for another is far far more dangerous.

    btw, I doubt many redshirts would see it like I do:)

  33. Maybe I should add ‘yet’ to my last sentence above:)

  34. Hobby, despite your quote constitution is not a problem. Democrats supported motions for its amendments on several occasions, the opposition, coalition, and red shirts always stopped when Dems made it clear any changes must pass people’s referendum.

    Reds don’t want that because they know they would lose.

    In yesterday’s elections in Bangkok Dems picked up three times more seats than PTP, btw.

  35. I’m all for a referendum on the constitution – how about a straight choice between 1997 and 2007 constitutions?
    (or even included modified versions of same)
    I mean a fair referendum, not one where debate is restricted under threat of a gun like the 2007 constitution referendum was.

    I’m also all for elections, and I’ll respect the right of the winners to govern (but commend and support those who resist military coups and other manipulations directed from above)

  36. What is ‘fair’ elections to you Hobby?

    In a ‘fair’ election, where vote buying is NOT rampant, Thaksin Shinawatra and his vote-buying gang, would hardly have a chance. Chamlong Srimuang won the Bangkok vote for Governor in a landslide without himself spending a single Baht. That is fair elections.

    The electoral commission comes out with strict rules specifically to criminalize vote buying and the result is Thaksin’s TRT party got disbanned . . . is that UNFAIR, Hobby?

    You call it ‘threat of a gun’ during the referendum . . . perhaps it was, but perhaps it was merely to ensure Thaksin’s vote-buying shadow did NOT influence the constitutional referendum at that time.

    Thaksin is capable of buying up the bulk of Thailand, or, hadn’t you notice Hobb?. Even in exile, while a fugitive from Thai justice and while Thaksin’s violent Reds wreak havoc in Bangkok, Thaksin was able to buy his preferred citizenship at tiny country Montenegro.

    But I agree with you, the 2007 Thai constitution has to be revised . . . but not under the threats of Thaksin’s M79-toting thugs.

  37. What is ‘fair’ elections to you Hobby?

    In a ‘fair’ election, where vote buying is NOT rampant, Thaksin Shinawatra and his vote-buying gang, would hardly have a chance. Chamlong Srimuang won the Bangkok vote for Governor in a landslide without himself spending a single Baht. That is fair elections.

    The electoral commission comes out with strict rules specifically to criminalize vote buying and the result is Thaksin’s TRT party got disbanned . . . is that UNFAIR, Hobby?

    You call it ‘threat of a gun’ during the referendum . . . perhaps it was, but perhaps it was merely to ensure Thaksin’s vote-buying shadow did NOT influence the constitutional referendum at that time.

    Thaksin is capable of buying up the bulk of Thailand, or, hadn’t you noticed Hobb?. Even in exile, while a fugitive from Thai justice and while Thaksin’s violent Reds wreak havoc in Bangkok, Thaksin was able to buy his preferred citizenship at tiny country Montenegro.

    But I agree with you, the 2007 Thai constitution has to be revised . . . but not under the threats of Thaksin’s M79-toting thugs.

  38. Agree it would be good if political parties had their election spending capped (not only in Thailand), but the last election was considered as clean as they get in Thailand (even though the junta had a distinct advantage and were pushing the anti Thaksin line as hard as they could – both fairly, and unfairly)

    The simple way to ensure fair elections is to allow international electoral observers, but you know that the rulers won’t allow that because it would blow their whole ‘vote buying’ argument out of the water.
    (where would they be left if that excuse was taken off the table?)

    You also keep referring to Thaksin like he’s the richest person in Thailand – he’s far from it, and you should try doing some research to see who the richest really are:)

  39. Interesting that you brought up Chamlong and elections:)
    His mate Sondhi seems to have a clearer picture that one day the vote buying excuse will be taken off the table, hence him proposing abandonment of ‘one person one vote’ in favour of appointments and now ‘Dhamma-ocracy’.

  40. ” . . . is to allow international electoral observers,” – Hobby

    Are you living in another planet again Hobby? Which country in the world would allow that? . . . only countries whose government had completely lost control.

  41. Yup . . . Chamlong had been a disappointment since he took of the Yellow Shirts flag.

  42. I’m busy Vichai, but invite you to go through the below checklist of the indicators of a Failed State to see how close Thailand comes:
    (taken from Wikipedia, but I’m also too busy/lazy to post the link)

    Social indicators

    1. Demographic pressures: including the pressures deriving from high population density relative to food supply and other life-sustaining resources. The pressure from a population’s settlement patterns and physical settings, including border disputes, ownership or occupancy of land, access to transportation outlets, control of religious or historical sites, and proximity to environmental hazards.[6]
    2. Massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples: forced uprooting of large communities as a result of random or targeted violence and/or repression, causing food shortages, disease, lack of clean water, land competition, and turmoil that can spiral into larger humanitarian and security problems, both within and between countries.[7]
    3. Legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance: based on recent or past injustices, which could date back centuries. Including atrocities committed with impunity against communal groups and/or specific groups singled out by state authorities, or by dominant groups, for persecution or repression. Institutionalized political exclusion. Public scapegoating of groups believed to have acquired wealth, status or power as evidenced in the emergence of “hate” radio, pamphleteering and stereotypical or nationalistic political rhetoric.[8]
    4. Chronic and sustained human flight: both the “brain drain” of professionals, intellectuals and political dissidents and voluntary emigration of “the middle class.” Growth of exile/expat communities are also used as part of this indicator.[9]

    Economic indicators

    5. Uneven economic development along group lines: determined by group-based inequality, or perceived inequality, in education, jobs, and economic status. Also measured by group-based poverty levels, infant mortality rates, education levels.[10]
    6. Sharp and/or severe economic decline: measured by a progressive economic decline of the society as a whole (using: per capita income, GNP, debt, child mortality rates, poverty levels, business failures.) A sudden drop in commodity prices, trade revenue, foreign investment or debt payments. Collapse or devaluation of the national currency and a growth of hidden economies, including the drug trade, smuggling, and capital flight. Failure of the state to pay salaries of government employees and armed forces or to meet other financial obligations to its citizens, such as pension payments.[11]

    Political indicators

    7. Criminalization and/or delegitimisation of the state: endemic corruption or profiteering by ruling elites and resistance to transparency, accountability and political representation. Includes any widespread loss of popular confidence in state institutions and processes.[12]
    8. Progressive deterioration of public services: a disappearance of basic state functions that serve the people, including failure to protect citizens from terrorism and violence and to provide essential services, such as health, education, sanitation, public transportation. Also using the state apparatus for agencies that serve the ruling elites, such as the security forces, presidential staff, central bank, diplomatic service, customs and collection agencies.[13]
    9. Widespread violation of human rights: an emergence of authoritarian, dictatorial or military rule in which constitutional and democratic institutions and processes are suspended or manipulated. Outbreaks of politically inspired (as opposed to criminal) violence against innocent civilians. A rising number of political prisoners or dissidents who are denied due process consistent with international norms and practices. Any widespread abuse of legal, political and social rights, including those of individuals, groups or cultural institutions (e.g., harassment of the press, politicization of the judiciary, internal use of military for political ends, public repression of political opponents, religious or cultural persecution.)[14]
    10. Security apparatus as ‘state within a state’: an emergence of elite or praetorian guards that operate with impunity. Emergence of state-sponsored or state-supported private militias that terrorize political opponents, suspected “enemies,” or civilians seen to be sympathetic to the opposition. An “army within an army” that serves the interests of the dominant military or political clique. Emergence of rival militias, guerilla forces or private armies in an armed struggle or protracted violent campaigns against state security forces.[15]
    11. Rise of factionalised elites: a fragmentation of ruling elites and state institutions along group lines. Use of aggressive nationalistic rhetoric by ruling elites, especially destructive forms of communal irredentism (e.g., “Greater Serbia”) or communal solidarity (e.g., “ethnic cleansing”, “defending the faith”).[16]
    12. Intervention of other states or external factors: military or Para-military engagement in the internal affairs of the state at risk by outside armies, states, identity groups or entities that affect the internal balance of power or resolution of the conflict. Intervention by donors, especially if there is a tendency towards over-dependence on foreign aid or peacekeeping missions.[17]

  43. Last year a committee made of representatives of all parties and the senate considered all kinds of proposals and boiled them down the amendments to six issues.

    Opposition backed out as soon as Abhisit insisted on taking them to a referendum instead of a simple parliament vote.

    This year coalition partners boiled them down to two or three less controversial issues and backed down when Abhisit vowed to still take them to a referendum.

    Red shirts had no problems with elections under the current constitution whatsoever and refused to talk about amendments, not until they won the elections and had freedom to change the chapter on their own terms, just like they tried throughout 2008.

    On the failed state list – I got through the first three demographic indicators and it looked like a pointless exercise, nothing to do with Thailand at all.

  44. Still busy, but surely you know redshirts had no option but to go along with the military imposed constitution. They then won the election and wanted to reform the constitution, but it’s clearly a controversial issue, so they have instead called for a reversion to the last propely implemented constitution, being the 1997 ‘peoples constitution’

    A quick look through the list indicates Thailand is sailing close to the wind on points 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, & 11
    (all IMO of course, and no doubt Professor Stephen/Trep/Stan/Vichai will disagree:)

  45. You can’t just reinstall 1997 constitution, that would be unconstitutional in itself.

    The only legitimate process is amendments passed through the parliament, referendum is not necessary but that evil dictator Abhisit insists on having a public vote.

    Should reds lay the hands on the charter they won’t even think about asking for non-red people opinions, being all such nice democrats.

    Reverting to 1997 version is practically impossible if you want to preserve the legitimacy of the currently existing bodies, and it is absolutely impossible if it means declaring everything that happened since the coup illegitimate.

    This constitution talk is just a red herring.

  46. There’s one person who seems to be able to endorse (or not endorse) any military coup, so presumably they could undo a coup if they had the inclination.

  47. No one can legally undo the coup, just like with 1997 constitution you’d need another coup to replace the current version.

  48. How did an illegal coup get made legal?

  49. It doesn’t matter how the coup became legal, the problem is you need a coup to discard a constitution, whether it was in 2006 or you want it now.

    The fact is people are quite happy with 2007 version and so red shirts are afraid to take their proposed changes to a referendum.

    Theoretically they can propose enough changes to legally turn the current version into 1997 one but no one would bother with doing all this work, not even their MPs, they all know it’s a futile exercise and people would just vote it down.

    The country has moved on. Period.

  50. Think we are back to ‘Time will tell………….”
    (see above:)

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