Editorial and Editorial Cartoons – November, 2008

Government of Madame Daeng’s husband - Phutjatkan, by Bancha/Kamin, November 2, 2008
Title: Government of Madame Daeng’s husband [meaning the current government headed by PM Somchai, the brother-in-law of Thaksin]
Thaksin is saying: If the Sky refuses to grant me a pardon, I'm going to use my men [perhaps "my men's feet"] to flatten the land thoroughly!
On the bottom right: Decoding Thaksin’s phone-in

[This refers to the threats against the monarchy coming from the Red Shirts over a pardon for Thaksin. This is another in a series of tough editorial cartoons from Phutjatkan. An earlier example was Samak signing the emergency decree with the blood of a slain protester.
]

The government should solve the political crisis and beware of a people's war - translated and summarized from Krungthep turakij; Column: editorial; November 26, 2008
Because of the nominee government and its unfair legislative power, the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters decided to lay siege to important places such as the Suvarnabhumi International airport, Don Muang airport, the House of representatives, etc. in order to obstruct the government action. Is that the right action?
At this moment, the PAD’s movement has affected the Thai economy in both the government and private sector. Besides this, a lot of conflict between the yellow-shirted PAD protesters and the red-shirted mob has brought violence all over the country. Maybe the conflict will become a people's war. The Somchai government should decide immediately to choose solutions to end the problems before serious damage to Thailand’s reputation will be even greater.


The government playing hide-and-seek - Military remains calm - The country in a state of no law? - translated and summarized from Matichon; November 26, 2008
The gathering does not seem to end as fast as announced by the People's Alliance for Democracy in its latest major mobilization on November 23. Its moves on November 24 did not seem to change the situation. However, the PAD is not giving up and still focusing on its ‘shrapnel’ strategy.
The reason its action does not end in one move is that the PAD is facing a smooth and relaxed strategy by the Somchai government. Today's game is like hide-and-seek. The PAD is the party that seeks the government while the Somchai administration is hiding. If the PAD catches the government, the game ends. If it cannot, the catcher will become tired. It is the war to fight for the righteousness of victory.


Over in one move - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Thinking Station 12; Author: Tawee Meengern; November 27, 2008
This is the second day that the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has applied the "over in one move" strategy. Strategic spots have been besieged by yellow-shirt members. To gather at the kingdom's economic vein--Suvarnabhumi Airport--still does not give the victory to the PAD. The country has been greatly hurt. This move is more severe that to surround the Parliament. Foreign countries may think that Thailand is closed.
In fact, many people understand the PAD and its fights. However, the PAD should also understand that all business sectors are affected by its strategy.
The person who must take full responsibility for all damages is Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. He does not do his duty, but stays indifferent and lets the country be in a vacuum state. Members of the Parliament do not seem to want to do anything to help the public. Currently, Thai people cannot depend of the government and politicians.


Anupong stages silent coup 2 – Civil war not easy to be stopped - translated and summarized from Matichon; November 27, 2008
It is a sign telling the Somchai Wongsawat's government to end the political problem as soon as possible when Commander-in-Chief Anupong Paojinda, as the chairman of the committee for monitoring the national situation, called for after a meeting with high-ranking officials and businessmen.
The committee proposed that the government dissolve the parliament and the People's Alliance for Democracy withdraws their people from the Suvarnabhumi National Airport and other spots. It said that the public should be allowed to make their own decision to create peace in the country. If the government does not do as suggested, the committee will give up its mission to suggest for the country.
Gen. Anupong even said that if he were the Prime Minister, he would have resigned a long time ago. He questioned how the current PM stays in the post on people's blood.
However, Somchai is very stubborn. He does not dissolve the parliament, nor quit. He is confident that the military will not dare stage a coup.
It is not known if a silent coup will be able to help cure the kingdom from its terrible state.
The red shirt people are making a move. If the military decides to run a coup, we will see people using their own bodies to block tanks. Or is the civil war going on because a person called Thaksin never gives up?


If you don’t do your duty, get out then - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; November 28, 2008
The major duty of a government in a democratic country, or even countries with other systems, is to keep the state and people in peace. To let bomb attacks happen every day in the country's capital, where the parliament and airports have been besieged, means that the government does not do its duty.
The government has already experienced the time when the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) took over the Parliament for several months. After that, it has no place to work. However, this time, it still lets the PAD besiege its temporary workplace at the Don Muang Airport. The worst part is that it allows the PAD to get to Suvarnabhumi Airport easily, without trying to fight.
It seems like there is no government to govern the country. Thailand is becoming a failed state like some African countries.
The government must admit that the closure of the Suvarnabhumi airport has enormously affected Thailand as the airport is the gate and entrance to the kingdom.
If the government still refuses to resign, it must do its duty. However, if it cannot keep the country in peace, it has better resign in order to allow a new government to get in--a government which is not led by the People Power's Party.


Politics walk - translated and summarized from Krungthepturakit; Column: Look and Critique; Author: Rak Montree, November 18, 2008
Sacked Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra seems to be fallen in the big trouble after he found himself homeless. The public wonders how such a problem could happen with the multimillionaire who now becomes a dream hunter. His dream is currently to find a place to stay. The latest news claimed Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as the new candidate, which sounds impossible considering facts.
The Muslim world today consists of Muslim countries that are cooperating in many ways. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and others are strengthening their relationships and best group interests. Former PM Thaksin, however, did not create any positive results to the Muslim world while he was holding the PM position. Are the Muslims going to accept the former PM who agreed to send manpower for America to battle against Saudi Arabia and killed Muslim brotherhood? [A reference to the Thai forces used in the Gulf War.]
Not to mention his policies in the south of Thailand which turned the three provinces into red zone areas and caused thousands of Muslims to die. Also the cruel incident in Masjid Krueseh [the "Kru Se Mosque massacre"], and the kidnapping case of Muslim attorney Somchai Neelapaijit who helped Muslim suspects who were unfairly charged.
Past condemnation from OIC after the meeting in Saudi Arabia showed a big denunciation of the Thai government on the violence against Muslims. This may not much bother Thaksin if he still has the clout to sit down with the OIC and "clarify the misunderstanding."
The no-powered man with the severely bad karma may found it hard to get a house in a Muslim country. Saudi Arabia and others might choose to keep the good relationship with Iraq rather than accept this homeless person.


Brave Thai government - translated and summarized from Thairath; Author: Political team; November 18, 2008
Nothing impedes the Somchai-led government plans in any way. First of all, PM Somchai Wongsawat mentioned that Government House is a national asset and it is not suitable that the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters have been gathering in front of the House for several months. THis is because the government has to spend lots of money renovating the house after the rally.
Second, Chief government whip Witaya Buranasiri dared to announce that the government should carry on amending the constitution. He will press on with the plan to forward the draft of proposed amendments to the House meeting. He explained that this is the right action. Moreover all three government party dissolution cases–the PPP, the Chart Thai Party and the neutral Democratic Party, as well as the Khao Phrae Viharn border dispute involving the signing of the agreement by 28 cabinets members of Samak-led government is going to trial next month. It is not hard to guess what the final judgment will be.
Hence, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra would renew his political game if he wants to control the game under his direction. His supporters will have much sympathy for him if he is arrested after returning to Thailand. It is surely that his supporters will elect his youngest sister, Yingluck Shinawatra to be a new leader in order to amend the constitution. And it is in his advantage to stay in Thailand to direct this. Getting much benefit from amending the constitution is perhaps the reason he dares to return to Thailand despite arrest.


Demerit of PAD - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Editor Review; November 11, 2008
People's Alliance for Democracy or PAD is now proud of the new history they established in joining the longest non-stop demonstration and cooperating in occupying the government house, saying these actions certainly never happened in any part of the world before.
Nevertheless, resisting the government intention in amending the charter and at the same time expelling former PM Samak Sunderevej and then Somchai Wongsawat as PM has caused the PAD to be widely criticized. Violence was reported with the mention of bombs and fires and people dead and wounded. The conflicts between PAD, government and others too seem to be uncontrollable.
Unlike today, the first step of PAD in 2006 towards the Thaksin government was claimed as honorable with a rational foundation and much support from the public. However, those people are now leaving saying they cannot tolerate the unreasonable accusations from PAD mainstays to people opposing against PAD. These accusations are made daily by PAD mainstays on ASTV.
The unreasonable accusations of the PAD create a demerit to their success. Rather than accuse and blame to anyone thinking differently, the PAD must examine their own weaknesses concerning what to be improve and recover. The government and other PAD opponents possess funds, intellectual knowledge, and power as well as the media as a weapon to win over the PAD. The PAD may find it hard to achieve victory as they keep announcing on ASTV the accusations against their opponents. These plans and actions might work against the PAD and could halt PAD achievements without a doubt.


Time bomb - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Author: Pracha Burapavithee; November 21, 2008
A weapon called M79 grenade launcher is now not being used, but anyone who has money can buy it at the Thai-Cambodian border. During the cold war ear, the US army produced the M79 grenade launcher for the war against Vietnam. On the past Tuesday, the weapon was used in the city war.
The explosion led to a death of a member of the People's Alliance for Democracy. Two were seriously injured and 21 other people were injured. We have to go on investigating to find out who runs this mission.
The M79 grenade launcher is not difficult to use. But what is the real question is how the police let such an incident happen. However, the bombing has intensified people’s hatred against the nominee government.
The PAD leaders agree to mobilize the mass action again at the Government House on November 23 from 2 pm onwards. The move aims to oppose the amendment of the constitution and stop the nominee government in every way.
It will be able to create a great pressure on the military led by Gen. Anupong Paojinda. Previously, his role was "above" the conflict.


Don’t risk the country - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Editorial; November 23, 2008
The People Alliance for Democracy’s announce to gather and surround the Parliament again on November 23 makes people anxious. They fear that the situation will be like October 7. It seems like the gathering will last longer than the previous one. It means that political turmoil could widen. Moreover, an unexpected situation could happen.
However, the gathering of the PAD is not as scary as the fight by its opponents. Several bombings against the PAD members could lead to a more violent situation. In addition, all the counterattacks by the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship and Thaksin’s phone-in make Thai people worried.
People are getting more scared day by day as they no longer know what the country is facing. We are now facing disharmony of thoughts and the global financial crisis, which is bigger than the previous one. The crisis starts at the center of the world, so it will create a bigger impact. To cope with these crises, the government and people should be conscious and rational. At this time, we are risking the country, which means all Thai people.


Not the country in a normal state - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; Column: Editorial; November 22, 2008
Thailand’s political situation temporarily went back to its normal state during the cremation of Princess Galyani during November 14-19. After the time-up is over, the situation became intensified again. Some members of the parliament from the People Power Party announced that Thaksin Shinawatra would return to the political battle again. They also say that the civil war had begun and the country could be separated. It is reported that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat plans to reshuffle the Cabinet for the first time. It is said three new ministers will be appointed, while two ministers will be transferred.
However, there is nothing new in this reshuffle. It is the same old quota system which enables members to become ministers without any consideration about their knowledge and ability.
What is very worrying is that the government still runs the country as if the kingdom is in a normal situation. Despite the political and economic crises, the government seems to be indifferent. The Prime Minister acts like he knows nothing about Thaksin’s upcoming phone-in and the party members’ declaration of war which could lead to violence.
If the cabinet is reshuffled, the Prime Minister should use the opportunity to create trust and faith among Thai people and foreigners, as well as prepare to cope with political and financial crises.


ISOC mission - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Editorial; November 19, 2008
The Internal Security Operation Command was formed in 1965. It is responsible for coordinating with all sectors to prevent and get rid of any communist-related actions.
After beating the Communist Party of Thailand, its mission has gradually changed. The Chuan Leekpai government revised its role. It was then responsible for preventing and eliminating drugs and creating unity in border areas. During Thaksin’s administration, he reduced its role again by letting the organization focus only on the southern problem.
It looks like the ISOC mission focuses mainly on coordination, information seeking, psychological operations and solving problems by peaceful methods. No matter how many times it has been restructured, its major responsibility is to be a coordination center of government officials. It operates missions for the country, not for the benefit of certain parties.
We can see that the ISOC is a very important unit. It has power from the police, the military, civilians and even the scouts. However, we must admit that its image is not so good among the public. Despite applying peaceful measures, people think that they use covert methods to solve problems.
Amidst severe political conflicts, the government is likely to allow the ISOC to help solve the problem. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat should be reminded that the ISOC has a duty to work for the country, not for the government nor safety of certain people. Moreover, the organization must solve problems with peaceful measures, not violent ones.


New economic attack - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: editor Review, November 19, 2008
The report from Privy Councilor Dr. Kasem Wattanachai verifies a new economic attack on Thailand.
Insufficient crops derives from the imbalance between world population and agricultural area. Thus Middle East investors, which faces this problem, are insulting Thai law by appointing intermediaries to purchase the land from Thai farmers with immoral conditions. These conditions enable them to have full authority over the land while withdrawing all the rights of the former Thai landlord. This situation so also said to have happened in Laos and Cambodia.
The Ministry of Culture and Cooperatives confirm the Foreign Business Act, 2542 to the cabinet and said foreigners do not possess the right to conduct certain businesses. Rice farming is reserved for nationals and absolutely prohibited to foreigners. Thai nationals or juristic persons that assist foreigners in avoiding the Foreign Business Act will be sentenced to imprisonment of up to three years or liable for a fine from 100,000 to 1,000,000 baht. The same penalties would apply to the foreigner equally.
However the policy on this issue is not yet formed. It should be the goal to lift up Thai farmer's living standards during the current world's economic crisis, rather than putting all emphasis on imported systematic management techniques that would disrupt Thai farmers' customs and traditions. 
The government should take the advice from Dr. Kasem on making the Board of Investment (BOI) manage the right and authority of agriculture business issues as well as to assist the Thai agriculturist. Though the BOI is supposed to support the charter, the reality is different as the good intentions in the first place are frequently overruled by the fact that a ‘disqualified individual’ [probably Thaksin or perhaps Newin] is apparently involved in corruption in almost every project relate to farmers.


Politics unstoppable – Thaksin and PAD become uncontrollable - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Analysis; November 16, 2008
If we keep an eye on the city war between Thaksin Shinawatra and his opponent, we will see that both of them are trapped by themselves. Both Thaksin and Thaksin’s opponent are unavoidably forced to fight against each other.
During 2005-2006, Thaksin Shinawatra, as the Prime Minister, was opposed by the People's Alliance for Democracy. During that time, the civil war was ended by a military coup, as the conflict could not be ended by the Constitution. Even if Thaksin decided to quit or dissolved the parliament, the problem would not be solved.
After that, a post-coup government, led by Gen. Surayud Chulanont, was appointed. The 1997 Constitution was replaced by a new one, drafted by the Surayud’s government.
The Thai Rak Thai Party was dissolved. Thaksin Shinawatra and his family members were charged. The People's Alliance for Democracy, which had been fighting to oust Thaksin, stopped their movements. If Thaksin decided to end his political role at the time, the civil war would have been ended.
However, he did not stop. He continues to fight until Samak Sudaravej became the Prime Minister. The Minister of Foreign Affairs returned the red passport to the ousted Prime Minister. These made the PAD unhappy. They started mobilizing people again to urge the government to stop intervening with the legal process and to oppose the amendment of the 2007 constitution.
The situation and the movements of both parties have forced them to continue to fight. Therefore, the civil war is now uncontrollable.

Power of the ‘red shirt’ - translated and summarized from Matichon; Author: Songporn Srisuwan; November 17, 2008
It must be admitted that the gathering of the red-shirt people and the phone-in by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to the The Truth Today or Kwam Jing Sanjorn Wanni program on November 1 are strategies which have turned the political situation.
Those who analyze that the Somchai Wongsawat’s administration will not last and that the story will end with the dissolving of the government must estimate the situation again.
The ‘foot-clapping’ power of the red shirt people has encouraged the government to make a major move.
They make a move knowing that they are at an advantage as the military cannot do anything – the coup is over.  Senators take sides and people cannot depend on then. The public also is getting sick of the conflict. They want problem to be solved.
The People's Alliance for Democracy itself made false moves by demanding people to take sides and by running a prolonged gathering. They also change their targets often. The worst move was that they put used tampons at the statue of the King Rama IV in the Royal Plaza. This action was not acceptable for Thai people.
The government takes advantage of the situation by moving to amend the Section 291 in the Constitution and proposes several acts which will benefit them. They not only win grassroots support, but also gain a lot of money for megaprojects. We can be sure that the People Power Party will win the election again, even under another name.

Thaksin returns to politics and runs his political game - translated and summarized from Komchadluk; Author: Naya Jaikawang, November 17, 2008
After the coup d’etat in 2006, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Khunying Pojaman decided that they would separate if he returned to politics. Last Friday, they filed for divorce at the Thai Consulate General in Hong Kong because he will return to politics in order to fight to defend his name. Many people think that he planned in advance to find a way to get back his seized money. The divorce is only his political game. He plans to make a second phone-in speech to Kwamjing Wannee Sanjorn (or Mobile Truth Today) on December 10 [this date was later changed to the December 13] to incite the red-shirted UDD supporters to violence and he wants to build a political movement.
Besides, Khunying Pojaman is coming back soon to manage Pheu Thai Party–planning political strategy–after sounding out Chaisit Shinawatra, Thaksin’s cousin to be Phue Thai Party leader and Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s youngest sister to be secretary.
[This prediction, widely repeated in the Thai-language press, proved to be correct--Chaisit did turn out to be party leader. Interestingly, in English, the press generally ignored Chaisit and kept predicting Yingluck would be party leader.]
If the names of anti-Thaksin supporters are revealed [as Thaksin as threatened to do], could cause a severe clash between PAD protesters and anti-PAD groups. This would concern soldiers as well and then red-shirted supporters could clash with them. If this happens, the political situation would become more and more severe.

Thaksin’s plan - translated and summarized from Matichon; November 12, 2008
Due to his ethical wrongdoing, ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra had abused his power –helping his wife purchase 33 rai of land around Ratchadaphisek so his tourist visa was revoked by the British government. Now he cannot stay in London. He has to seek a new home. Maybe he will stay in Dubai because he has a lot of rich friends there. Domestically he is gathering many people in red shirts as the symbol of his supporters because he wants the Power People Party members to collaborate with his supporters to amend Thai constitution in order that he is acquitted on his case. While he is gathering a group of people, he has declared that he will make phone-in speeches to his supporters, spend much time talking with them and tell them a list of people who have persecuted him. Unless he fights hard like this for himself, he will not return to Thailand. However fighting hard is not always a good idea. Instead of reaching his goal, he may be assassinated by someone dislikes him like Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto. Although a lot of Pakistani people appreciated her, she was assassinated.

Good timing? - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; Author: Political reporters; November 12, 2008
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced that Britain decided to revoke visa of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra following Thaksin’s two-year jail term. They are no longer welcomed in England.
The venue where the UK Foreign Secretary announced his decision was Sarajevo, Bosnia, which has no link to Thailand. It reflects that the Thai former Prime Minister issue has become an issue of global interest. International press waited to ask the UK Secretary the question when he made a visit to Bosnia. Thaksin becomes a focus of the world.
So, it is not an exaggeration when the former Prime Minister confidently said that he was a citizen of the world and he could fly to any country worldwide. AFP reported that many countries expressed that they wanted Thaksin Shinawatra. He would not reach a dead end easily.
However, several sources say that Thaksin plans to settle in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, very close to Thailand. And there could be another phone-in.
So, it is not a coincidence that the government decided to allocate 100 billion baht for its populist projects. It is expected that Prime Minister Somchai will dissolve the parliament in the near future to hold a new election in February.
It is the time that Thaksin begins to phone-in to ‘The Truth Today’ program, which will be held in the Northeast and the North – his major bases.

Thaksin’s opponent - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author: Krin; November 12, 2008
It is not only Thaksin's’s advocates who want to know who are political opponents of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but also other people. So that we will know who is the person who put Thaksin in the position he is now.
Is it the powerful person above the Constitution whom the former Prime Minister mentioned in early 2006? Are they the upper-class people? No answers are confirmed. People also want to know why Thaksin dare fights against them.
His 70-billion-baht assets which have been impounded are not likely to return to him easily.
It is known by his phone-in that the former Prime Minister does not think that to fight through the legal process will be a difficult job.
And there are also many problems fighting via the Somchai Wongsawat’s administration. One reason is that the majority do not accept him. The current Prime Minister has power, but cannot manage the country.
The new war has to be a prolonged one. The winner is the one who sets a new game. The bullet is a major factor in the fight.
The more Thaksin tries to unveil his opponents, the more intense the conflict will become. The country will be in trouble. Thaksin himself may already know who his real opponent is. He does not dare unveil the name as it is himself from the beginning.

Bahamas – Thaksin – who is at an advantage? - translated and summarized from Matichon; November 13, 2008
Although his visa was revoked by the United Kingdom, Thaksin Shinawatra confidently expresses that he is a powerful person. He also announces that he will unveil the names of his opponents.
The move could be driven by his grass-root backup. In addition, Bahamas’s Prime Minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham has summoned high-ranking officials to find measures to help the poor person as an honorary citizen. The Bahamas Prime Minister said that he could not accept the UK decision. [Later reports indicated that the Bahamas did not offer any asylum to Thaksin. These reports of multiple overseas havens for Thaksin were coming from INN which was later criticized for the reports.]
According to information from Chulalongkorn’s political science teacher Mr. Panithan Watanayakorn, Bahamas is a small, but financially strong country. However, there is no official relationship between Thailand and Bahamas. One link is that Thailand imports drinks from the country and exports automobiles there.
Mr. Panithan forecasted that after the UK changed its reaction to Thaksin, others would do so also, except countries which has trade benefits by dealing with Thaksin.
If Thaksin decides to settle in Bahamas, it is quite difficult to get him back. Thailand and Bahamas have not signed an extradition agreement, nor have any relationship between each other.
Now, we must keep a close watch as to where Thaksin will use as his base to fight his political opponents.

National trouble - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; Column: Editorial; November 14, 2008
The current no-exit political turmoil, which is likely to become more intense and violent, causes us to consider which group might create problems in the country’s future or create a dead-end so that no resolution can be found.
Thaksin Shinawatra is considered as a major source of trouble as he did not accept the court’s judgment and became a fleeing prisoner.
However, the real problem, which Thailand’s legal process cannot manage, is Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. He is above problems and denies acknowledging them. He does not manage the problems, does not answer questions, does not quit and does not show that he is a moral person.
To have this kind of person as the leader of the government will worsen the problems. He does not show that he wants to take responsibility. He wants to keep the premier position, but does not want to do anything for the public without permission from his patron.
His behavior makes the problems become unsolvable. He does not quit and allows disgusting politicians to humiliate the Constitution. He creates problems to help a fleeing politician [Thaksin] and therefore, the country has been put in great trouble.

Misuse of state-controlled media - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; Column: Editorial; November 4, 2008
The NBT is a state-owned media. The people should benefit greatly from “the NBT” TV programs. It means they gain more knowledge after they watch the TV programs. Rebroadcasting “Thaksin’s call-in” on the state-run NBT television station's The Truth Today program. It was so unsuitable because it is a misuse of the state-controlled media. He has used it for his personal interest. His speech has been completely distorted and could make the people misunderstand. If the people misunderstand that the court judged his case unfairly, the political conflict will be more violent. However he is able to use a broadcast for personal interest, giving any excuse. But now he has no power to do something he needs. It is important that he must avoid using the state-owned media for making up the stories and he must follow the rule in order that the political trouble will be better.  

A narrowing path - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author: Reporter No. 10; November 10, 2008
Nine violent incidents at the Government House and neighbouring areas led to injuries of many people. It is a restricted area for the yellow members – no authorities can enter the place.
Some parties wonder who exactly committed the city bombings. Leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PDA) condemned the action and claimed that it was committed by the government. They demanded the government to seek the criminals and punish them.
However, some parties see that it was an effort to create a situation to draw the public’s interest. We must admit that the daily trend set by the PAD has lost its charm.
Day by day, there are fewer reasons to get rid of the Thaksin regime. In addition, some PAD members start to unreasonably fight, especially their obstinacy to close Rajadamnern Road. This may be unacceptable for the majority.
It is said that the PAD is now very stressed with the current political game. The longer the game becomes, the more difficult it is to be ended.
Some parties now start to oppose their move. Moreover, there is no response to their demands. As its path becomes narrower, if the PAD still does not change its strategy, it can be sure that the ending will not be beautiful.

Questions that need to be answered - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Preface; November 5, 2008
I comment that there are some questions that need to be answered initially in case deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra is preparing to claim royal amnesty, according to his speech on November 1 and the reaction of his political supporters who plan to move on the royal amnesty request.
The first question is whether deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra intends to claim royal amnesty or is it merely speculation over his speech. The second is whether Thaksin is allowed to claim the royal amnesty during the time he still has to wait until the ending of the appeal against his conviction which is 30 days after the verdict is given. The third is whether his fleeing from bail without reporting himself to the court impacts his right to claim royal amnesty. Finally, it is also a concern that cases against that show his true guilt are possibly not included in chances for royal amnesty.

Black magic used for claiming new politics - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Wipakhangwipak, November 3, 2008
Focusing on black magic, a new special form of charm is used for claiming fair politics is used by many demanding groups on both sides. Both the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters and the Anti-PAD groups use black magic. For example, on the stage of “Kwamjingwannee” or “The truth today”, the leaders invited Brahmanists to perform a ceremony before giving a speech believing their ideas would be more accepted after the ceremony. The mass media are interested in both groups so it becomes one of the main instruments of political change. Their stories show these rituals in photos which are published freely in the newspaper and other media and is more influential than what is said on stage. It makes the people believe in the magic spells more easily. What do you think about black magic? Between the black magic and the logic, which one do the people believe? 

[The above is a snippet from an editorial about a subject widely discussed over the last week which seems exotic to non-Thais. Quite often, what is being talked about in the Thai-language world is never reported in English.
Just a few years ago, the English-language Thai press was rarely in sync with what was being reported in the Thai language. As recently as last May, vandalism at historical sites in Buri Ram was blandly reported as a "personal conflict with a local group" or a dispute with strict park rules and sellers of amulets. At the same time, the Thai-language press was reporting something completely different--that the vandalism was part of the pro-/anti-Thaksin tussles with groups attempting to nullify the good luck rituals performed by their opponents the week before.
This is why it is surprising to find this black magic subject, complete with talk of bloody tampons, reported in English in Chang Noi's PAD saves the nation from supernatural attack.
Chang Noi's columns are often based on subjects that every Thai-speaking person is talking about on internet forums, but the English-language press either will not report on or does not know how to report on.]

The truth, the belief - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author: Rak Montree; November 4, 2008
Academics and columnists are focusing on analyzing and decoding Thaksin Shinawatra’s speech, aiming to understand the intention of this prisoner.
The truth is the event on November 1 was nothing, but a folk singer’s effort to draw attention of his supporters. The importance of the ceremony on November 1 was a process would be run to make his efforts come true.
Thaksin's request can be categorized into two sections. The first one was about him asking for royal kindness. And the second one was about the request for the public’s power [to support him].
He is trying to ask for forgiveness from the King. However, its success depends on many factors. He is still being charged in many cases. The forgiveness will also destroy Thailand’s legal process. However, if he has not been forgiven, he therefore asks for help from the public. He will ask the masses to consider whether he is right or wrong. To do so, he must increase the number of the red-shirt members.
After interpreting his speech, we will see that Thaksin and his followers wanted to make the belief become the truth. He is trying to turn the truth that ‘Thaksin is a toxic product’ into the belief that ‘Thaksin is a useful product’, by controlling the mass media.

Inappropriate action - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: Editorial; November 4, 2008
A part of the phone-in speech by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to members of the red shirts at the Rajamangala National Stadium on November 1 said that "no one will be able to take me back to Thailand, except the King’s kindness and the public power."
Host of the event Mr. Veera Musikpong said that the former PM’s speech reminded him of a word which means collaboration between the royal institute and the grass-roots power. This becomes a political issue as the MPs of the People Power Party are preparing to ask for the King’s forgiveness for Thaksin.
Thaksin’s expressions and his event could be his effort to fight as a political prisoner. However, his movement was careless and inappropriate. It can be seen that several parties express their disagreement with the action. His attempt could be the a natural behavior of a prisoner who does not admit that he is guilty. But, PPP’s representatives’ effort to seek ways to carelessly help the prisoner from being punished is absolutely unforgivable.

Listening to the voice of the silent power - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; Column: Editorial; November 5, 2008
Amidst a prolonged, no-exit political conflict, it is heartening that the campaign for a peaceful resolution by the press, the King Prajadhipok’s Institute and the Politic Development Council has been very well received by the public.
The campaign for the end of the violence has spread throughout the country, including the southern border province Satun. Results of a poll show that 94 percent of respondents in 19 provinces agreed with the campaign. Those who agree with the move include the government’s advocates, the government’s protesters and people who do not side with anyone or the so called silent power.
What is even more heartening is that a negotiation between representatives of the People's Alliance for Democracy and the government could be held. Leading member of the PAD Maj. Gen. Chamlong Srimuang also agreed with the negotiation idea. A public poll clearly shows that all Thais people want peace.

Judiciary power - translated and summarized from Thairath; editor review; November 4, 2008
Thais might felt huge relief after the grand meeting of DAAD supporters of the former PM ended without any violence though tens of thousands of fans gathered.
Thaksin himself phoned in to the crowd, but did not deliver an aggressive speech as expected.
In current political turmoil, administrative and legislative power that derived from the peoples' election are claimed to be discredited [because of their association with Thaksin], leaving the judiciary as a sole candidate that gains peoples' trust and support. Some suspect a lot of the judiciary are trustworthy, but attempting to eliminate a group of people [Thaksin and his associates] who in turn are doing their best to resist it.
A survey once reported that 91.9% of respondents believed in relying on judiciary power while only 36.6% trusted in legislation power. The survey did not cover the question of administrative officials' trustworthiness, but that figure would be expected to be lower than legislation power's rate.
Evidences show an attempt to interfere in the judicial system in many state organizations. This includes trying to bribe the judges of the constitutional court in political party banning cases or bribing judges during the sessions of the parliament members' corruption cases. This goes on as bombs are thrown into the superior court judges' homes.
MPs who possess administrative power claim judiciary power is too great. However, under [international] standards, such as American politics, the Administrative and judiciary are separate and counterbalance other powers systematically, enabling the judiciary to halt any policy that is contrary to the law and constitution.
Political officials, who used to exercise their administration power without any investigation, may found it hard to accept these new systems and may even intend to amend the charter in order to diminish the judiciary what has the almost the sole trust of the people. 

Thaksin and his plan to survive - translated and summarized from Matichon; November 4, 2008
After the coup on September 19, 2006, former PM Thaksin started doing his best to work towards his comeback. Victory of the PPP in the last election enabled his companions to hold power in government as planned. However this did not make any change to his karma [his luck].
The results since the elections derive from the 2007 constitution which gave authority to the judiciary power. Besides this, the aggressive action of PAD restricts the activity of the PPP to rescue their big boss. The failed performance of the PPP results in a sentence against Thaksin on corruption cases with 2 years in jail. THis will surely stop him from coming back to his motherland before 10 more years.
These lessons show the inability of political power and legislative power to resolve the Thaksin situation. So now he may rely on the 'supreme power' [the king], which certainly has the greatest power of the PAD and PPP.
Proper exercise of power demands some actions to be take beforehand and it is claimed that Thaksin is plotting to attempt to stimulate the supreme power to take action. This includes the latest speech to his supporters on November 1, 2008, where ten thousands attended and displayed the power of his fans that support his policies.
In the near future, many actions will be taking place in a variety of forms according to the same intention.
Society should pay close attention to these situations taking place as the former PM is criticized widely on his working characteristics of achieving goals regardless of the consequences. The current politic turmoil too is a part of Thaksin's characteristic inheritance.

Cabinet selection - translated and summarized from Thairath; Column: editorial; November 29, 2008
Barack Obama is the President-elect of the United States. As a result of his cabinet selection, he acted in a spirit of democracy by deciding on his cabinet for assisting him with the administration of the United States--especially solving the global financial crisis. In selecting his cabinet he considered the knowledge, the experience and the appropriateness to give a particular post. For example, Federal Reserve Bank of New York president Timothy Geither was appointed as Treasury Minister because of his experience. He is suitable to work as the Treasury Minister to help Obama to solve the US financial crisis.
The United States cabinet selection is different from Thailand's cabinet selection. Although Thailand has been governed under a constitution for more than 76 years, Thailand's cabinet selection is often unfair. A person who supports a government party is always appointed to the cabinet. This action has impacted Thailand's development. Besides, the country grows slowly because of the cabinet's lack of knowledge and experience to administer the country.

City of sculpture - Cartoonist: Palungkorn, Daily News, November 26, 2008
"Oh..the city of sculpture?"
Written on the pillar: Monument of Hopewell

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