73 Years Ago: Japanese demand Thai bases and resources, offer Laos and Cambodia

73 Years Ago: Japanese demand Thai bases and resources, offer Laos and Cambodia – The Evening Independent, August 1, 1941
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Japan’s high-pressure march to the south took another big stride today with reported demands on Thailand (Siam) for military bases and control of that country’s rubber, rice and tin production.
…Japan in exchange had offered to restore the province of Laos and the ancient city of Angkhor, both in Japanese-dominated French Indochina…

Posted in Today in History | 1 Comment

Weekly News Magazines, July 25, 2014

Nation Weekend_25 July 2014

From Nation Weekend, July 25, 2014
[Reference is to the new interim constitution announced to the public on July 23. According to Dr. Vishnu Khruangam, adviser of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), it is like the origin of five rivers: the national legislative council, a new cabinet, the national reform council, a committee on constitution drafting, and the NCPO.]

Matichon Weekly_25 July 2014

From Matichon Weekly, July 25, 2014
[The photo shows HM the King who granted an audience to Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order,a and endorsed the interim constitution.]

ASTV Manager Weekly_26 July 2014

From ASTV Manager Weekly, July 26, 2014
Cover reads: Jenny 91, when it’s time for the Lost Star Begins Again
[Refers to photos of an alleged assault posted on an Instagram account. The victim in the posted photos looks like television actress Janie Thienphosuvan. The Thai net is abuzz with speculation that her husband assaulted her. The headline, like many headlines on news magazines, plays on words connected to the actress such as the name of her Instragram accounts as well as song and movie titles she is connected with.]
On green color at bottom: Big Tou charter, NCPO’s the father of every institute?
[A full explanation of this cover is here.]

Posted in Thai Newspapers and Magazines | Leave a comment

We love Papa Prem graphic

Graphic of Privy Council President Prem circulated in social media. It reads: “The unrest in the country is because decent people remain idle to the acts of bad people” Gen. Prem Tinsulanont
Fan Page: We Love “Papa” Gen. Prem Tinsulanont

Posted in 2Bangkok News | Leave a comment

What does the U.S. want now?

From Thairath, July 14, 2014
Left, Ambassador Kristie Kenney: The U.S. and Thailand has established good relationship for centuries. We therefore want to support Thailand…
Middle, Ambassador Kenney: …in terms of economy, energy and military affairs.
ACM. Prajin Juntong: Here it is…
Right, ACM. Prajin: …just tell me exactly what you want from us this time?
[From the Thai perspective, the U.S. first strongly criticized the coup. Then the U.S. ambassador visited ACM Prajin saying that relationship between the U.S. and Thailand remained intact.
The joke here is that ACM Prajin thinks that the change in tone from the U.S. means the U.S. has quickly changed its position because it wants something from Thailand.]

Posted in 2014 Coup, Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Chai | Leave a comment

Weekly News Magazines, July 18, 2014

Nation Weekend_18 July 2014

From Nation Weekend, July 18, 2014
Cover reads: Path of Dham, Paphakaro Phikhu
Text in while: A story from Suan Mokkh, the first day of Monk Suthep
[Reference is to an unexpected decision of Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, to go into monkhood on July 15, 2014 at the Thaa Sai Temple, Surat Thani Province.]

Matichon Weekly_18 July 2014

From Matichon Weekly, July 18, 2014
Cover reads: Screaming whistle, 30 baht cannot cure all
Cartoon: The “golden whistle” disease. [The golden whistle was used by the People's Democratic Reform Committee during its demonstration as an honor given to important supporters of the group. Dr. Narong Sahametapat (on the cover), permanent secretary of the public health ministry, was awarded with one.
The cover refers to an anonymous report that Dr. Narong proposed to the National Council for Peace and Order that patients under the 30 baht for any medical procedure project should pay for 30-50% of the total cost of their hospital bills instead. This would be a big change from the present Thaksin-initiated 30 baht plan.]

ASTV Manager Weekly_19 July 2014

From ASTV Manager Weekly, July 19, 2014
Cover reads: “Coach Choi” said goodbye
[Choi Young-seok is the coach of the Thailand's national tequando sport team. Reference is to Rungravee Khurasa, a 22-year old female tequando sport player of the national team who posted on her Facebook telling how she was punched in the face and stomach as punishment by Coach Choi after an international game in South Korea. At the time this edition of the magazine was published, it was thought that he would not return to Thailand with the team.]

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10 years ago: Thailand figures prominently in the 9/11 Report–mainly as a meeting point for terrorists

10 years ago: Thailand figures prominently in the 9/11 Report–mainly as a meeting point for terrorists

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One year ago: Thai editorial cartoon: The farmer’s happiness is the Democrat Party’s hardship

One year ago: Thai editorial cartoon: The farmer’s happiness is the Democrat Party’s hardship

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Rape in the past and present

This is from a graphic circulated in social media.
Title: TV series and news in the country of Bangkok
Top, from left: TV series in the past; TV series in the recent past: TV series at present
Bottom left: News in the past. Headline: Accursed karma, punched the stomach and raped a girl
Bottom middle: News in the recent past. Headline: Chased and immediately apprehended a lustful taxi driver who raped a young female passenger
Bottom right: News at present. Headline: Notify the U.S. to extradite Kham, a banished monk who raped girls
[This reflects the idea that portrayals of rape in television dramas influences people to commit rapes. Rapes have been commonly shown in Thai culture as a romantic and titillating event in soap operas and as a normal thing to happen between an amorous man and female seen as playing hard to get. Such thinking was common just a few decades ago in many Western countries.
The point of the graphic is that, over time, the contents of TV series and news headlines have never changed. There is just talk about doing something, but nothing really changes.]

Posted in Culture and Society | 1 Comment

Thais are fourth heaviest drinkers in the world

Thais are fourth heaviest drinkers in the world – thaipbs.or.th, thaipbs.or.th
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Thais were found to be the fourth hardest drinkers at 4.5 shots per week, closely trailing behind South Korea, Russia, and the Philippines.
South Koreans, who topped the list, drink more alcohol than Russians, Americans, and Britons combined…

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Just two years ago: netizens’ fury over return of Chalerm’s son to police service

Just two years ago: netizens’ fury over return of Chalerm’s son to police service

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Manager Group weekly news magazine under pressure from the junta

ASTV Manager Weekly_26 July 2014

From ASTV Manager Weekly, July 26, 2014
Cover reads: Jenny 91, when it’s time for the Lost Star Begins Again
[Refers to photos of an alleged assault posted on an Instagram account. The victim in the posted photos looks like television actress Janie Thienphosuvan. The Thai net is abuzz with speculation that her husband assaulted her. The headline, like many headlines on news magazines, plays on words connected to the actress such as the name of her Instragram accounts as well as song and movie titles she is connected with.]
On green color at bottom: Big Tou charter, NCPO’s the father of every institute?

["Big Tou charter" refers is to the interim constitution which was recently enacted in the Royal Thai Government Gazette. The article emphasizes the overwhelming power of the junta that is a key part of the new charter. The article claims the new constitution is all about the power of the junta and that the document makes the junta super-powerful. The most controversial point it makes is that the junta now has the power to simply fire the prime minister and the entire cabinet.

Almost immediately upon publication, the junta released a tersely worded rebuke of Manager Group (NCPO warns 'Manager Weekly' - Bangkok Post, July 26, 2014).

The Manager Group was behind the initial opposition to Thaksin via the PAD and eventually became as angry at the opposition Democrat Party as they ever were to Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai. Thus it is not surprising that they would eventually begin attacking the junta as well (having relentlessly mocked Gen. Prayuth through most of 2013 for his rumored deals with Thaksin).

The military does not want to be painted like juntas of the past that ended up becoming greedy and insinuating themselves into power forever for their own benefit. Gen. Prayuth has been trying to portray the military as a force restoring accountability and fighting crime--something that previous democratically elected governments were unable or unwilling to do.

Knowing that the pro-Thaksin opposition to the junta is likely to center on the perception of a military dictatorship and an undemocratic charter, the army is sensitive to interpretations of the interim charter (and the permanent charter that will soon be drafted) that contend the documents are designed to install the military into power forever.

This situation is also instructive of how the powers in Thailand constantly interact and challenge each other. While it is true that the military, business groupings, and political factions all have a common goal of eliminating Thaksin and his family from politics, they also have their own particular interests centered around preserving their prerogatives and freedom of action within the political and business worlds. One of these interests is ensuring that no other power becomes so overwhelming that it impinges on the prerogatives of the other centers of power.

The last ten years have been spent battling one such power--Thaksin Shinawatra--who openly (particularly through the Pheu Thai Party) vowed to rewrite the laws to ensure no check could be placed on a sitting government's authority.

While Thaksin is far from vanquished, the fight to unseat him has ironically has led to a state of affairs where the military is now proudly and popularly (if the polls are to be believed) holding absolute sway over the Thai world.

Although the military is ultimately reactionary--intending to reset the old balance of politics that the Thaksin revolution upset--it is still likely that there will be an overwhelming military tendency to overreach and resist the return of control, even once it is clear that politicians have given up any loyalty to Thaksin and his political machine.

All other powers now have to scheme to insure military control is tempered or risk another critical imbalance that might ignite years of struggle as prerogatives are once again fought over.

Amusingly, the Thai newspapers, wary of military power over them at this time, have been coyly (and falsely) reporting that it is not clear what the military objects to in the Manager Weekly.]

Press Council eyes ‘Manager’ mysteryBangkok Post, July 28, 2014
The National Press Council of Thailand is launching a probe into alleged false reporting by Manager Weekly magazine — even though it has no idea what it is investigating…

Junta asked to explain what offended them in newspaperThe Nation, July 28, 2014
…Junta warns Manager Group over “dishonest intent to undermine the credibility of the NCPO…”

The ‘big stick’ of martial law must be used sparinglyBangkok Post, July 28, 2014
…In a post on his Facebook page, National Press Council president Chakkrish Permpool asked the NCPO to submit its evidence in writing.
He urged the junta to clearly point to the false information contained in the magazine, as required by the council’s charter, so that his group can start its ethics probe…

Posted in Analysis, Thai Newspapers and Magazines | Leave a comment

Karoon Hosakul enters the monkhood

Karoon Hosakul enters monkhood – thaipbs.or.th, July 26, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]

More background on this person: Another Colorful Politician: Karun Hosakul

Posted in 2Bangkok News | Leave a comment

Follow democracy


From Komchadluek, July 8, 2014
Word: Democracy
[In the cartoon, the American woman is using Democracy Monument to persuade people to follow her direction. This cartoon expresses the opinion of some who support the coup that the US is using calls for democracy to serve its own purposes.]

Posted in 2014 Coup, Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | Leave a comment

Prayuth must thank Thaksin


From Manager, July 10, 2014
Left, Thaksin Shinawatra: Khun Prayuth… I can wait… I’m in no rush ['Khun Prayuth' is Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order.]
Left caption: He said this…
Right, Gen. Prayuth: Thank you for not rushing me…
Right caption: …should thank him.
[Reference is to Gen. Prayuth's claim that his mission is to restore Thailand's situation to normal, both politically and socially. He asked everyone to wait be patient, and then later all can return to politics, including the Shinawatra family, particularly Thaksin if he is certain of his innocence and willing to prove it by returning to Thailand to fight in court.
The cartoonist seems to indicate Prayuth is lucky Thaksin has not ordered resistance to the coup as originally promised. This has given the military free reign since the coup. Thaksin has probably decided to wait out the military reforms, confident a party he controls can once again return to power in a future election.]

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1932: “Siamese skyline”


(Photo: AP, July 14, 1932)

“Siamese skyline” - AP, July 14, 1932
This photo, taken shortly after the 1932 revolution, is labeled “palace of the king.”

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The Roots of the Thai Political Crisis: Thaksin as Prime Minister


Above: Thaksin takes over the Phalang Dharma Party in 1995

Today is Thaksin’s 65th birthday.

The roots of the present political crisis are not easy to find online. Since English-language sources of news like The Nation and Bangkok Post change their link structures about twice a year, it is difficult to easily find news items from Thaksin’s time as prime minister.

With so much being written about the future of Thailand, it is useful to remember the real roots of the crisis–a conservative and finely balanced political system that was rocked by an ambitious billionaire.

The progressive 1997 constitution was intended to create a few large stable parties to replace the unstable coalition governments of previous decades. It succeeded in this goal, but the party it created–Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai–was then able to subvert the checks and balances intended to check the political abuse of power.

Initially, a dominant Thai Rak Thai government arose not because of the popularity of the party, but because of the purchase and absorption of existing political factions and parties. The way the existing political establishment so easily acquiesced to Thaksin control was indicative of the weakness and vacuousness of the political world that Thaksin was consuming and changing forever.

At the height of Thaksin popularity and power a real clampdown on the media began. The Bangkok Post editor was replaced, webboards were flooded with pro-government posts or pressured to shut down, TV shows featuring political analysis were removed from the airways, polling organizations were raided, iTV’s investigative reporting was silenced, and critical reporters found themselves on lists to be investigated for money laundering.

It was feared that this was leading to a Malaysian- or Singaporean-style one-party government that would dominate the press, the military and the monarchy. In a system where political parties were business entities that often took turns holding power, the specter of a prime minister for life represented a fundamental change.

Before the Red Shirt protests of 2010, there was a distinct lack of on-the-ground photos and commentary on Thai politics. The coup of 2006 received minimal outside attention. Even the chaotic events of 2008 and 2009 received only passing coverage and little in-depth comment in English.

This changed in 2010. During the Red Shirt protests that year, dozens of foreign bloggers were roaming around the Red Shirt redoubt in Rajaprasong posting photo essays and breezily commenting on the Red Shirts’ democracy movement. Since that time there has been an explosion of comment on Thai affairs online facilitated by websites such as Facebook and Twitter which essentially allow free blogging services.

This burst of information starting in 2010 impacts the way the Thai political situation is viewed. Most journalists simply use a Google search for their background material. The dearth of info prior to 2010 means that the definition of the present conflict tends to be that the “elite are trying to keep a democratically elected leader from power.” This is certainly the view that pro-Thaksin groups have tried to portray from the beginning.

However, the reality is more complex and fascinating. It begins well before the 2010 protests or even the 2006 coup. Below is a sampling of news items from Thaksin’s controversial years as prime minister that sheds light on the origins of the present political crisis.

What choice do we have? – September 29, 2004
[Early attack on the anti-Thaksin movement that was to become the PAD. Article points out that those behind it--Sondhi and Ekkayuth--were both failed businessmen embroiled in financial scandals.]

Thaksin and the National Anthem – October 20, 2004
[The aggrandizement of Thaksin a symbol of the nation: inserting Thaksin's image into the national anthem montage. As with much of the controversy Thaksin courted, there seemed to be little reason for this other than ego.]


The outrage of the Tak Bai deaths – October 31, 2004
Thaksin “bans” Tak Bai video footage – December 11, 2004

Thailand’s strongman: Do we have another ‘indispensable man’? – December 26, 2004

The Weird Claims of Dhammakaya – July 31, 2002
[Religious sect closely connected with the pro-Thaksin movement.]

‘Foreign debt: We could try the Thai way’ – August 18, 2003
[Thaksin's early repayment of IMF obligations was widely admired.]

Pro-Government forumers who are hired to spin debate on forums – January 6, 2005

Thaksin company courts controversy – July 16, 2005
T is for trouble in the age of libel – July 29, 2005
[Massive libel suits brought by companies close to the government.]

Thaksin’s wife owns new party headquarters – July 15, 2005

Notes on the canceling Muang Thai Rai Sapdah – September 17, 2005
[Anti-government political analysis programs axed while pro-government shows continue.]

Thaksin’s Burma blunder – March 6, 2006
[Thaksin tells political parties boycotting snap polls to ask Aung San Suu Kyi about the importance of participating in elections.]

The Gutting of iTV – March 7, 2006
[A key impulse during the Thaksin years was to make sure there were no media outlets in the position of being able to expose misdoings of the government. iTV was a special example as it used hidden cameras to expose corruption. Such an unThai-like confrontational approach was sure to face massive pressure from the Thai Rak Thai Party.]

William L Monson vs Thaksin – May 11, 2006
[An odd event from Thaksin's business past...]

Finland, monarchy: a dangerous mix – May 25, 2006

Extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers in Thailand – May 29, 2006
[Perhaps the best known excess of the Thaksin years.... It is important to note that these tactics were, and continue to be, very popular with the public. This is because in most areas of the country there is neither dependable law enforcement nor an independent judiciary. Occasional purges of criminals are seen as the only way to tamp down the provincial mafia when they go too far. Also: Chalerm Yubamrung: For drug dealers if they do not want to die, they had better quit staying on that road... drugs suppression in my time as Interior Minister will follow the approach of [former Prime Minister] Thaksin. If that will lead to 3,000-4,000 deaths of those who break the law, then so be it.]

Thai editorial cartoons from the Thaksin years: Is a dealer worth more than an addict?
Thai editorial cartoons from the Thaksin years: Sucking up MPs
Thai editorial cartoons from the Thaksin years: Time to Shoot Those Involved in Drugs

Who wants to lead the United Nations? – June 5, 2006
[Surakiart as UN secretary General: an unfulfilled Thaksin dream and typical of the leadership aspirations he had for Thailand in the wider world.]


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Above: Thaksin’s unusual election: the controversial voting booth placement on April 2, 2006 with booths arranged to face outward so the choices of the voters could be monitored.
The boycotted election – April 30, 2006

PM’s role as defender of democracy is a joke – Bangkok Post, July 10, 2006
…But most offending of all seems to be a famous remark about democracy unwittingly made by Mr Thaksin some time ago. “Democracy is not an end in itself, but just a means…”

Consequences of Thaksin’s botched foreign policy – June 8, 2010
Book Review: Thaksin and Thailand’s contentious foreign policy – August 3, 2010

Suvanabhumi Airport Runway Cracks – November 3, 2006
[One of the boldest attempts of the government to silence the press.]

Washington Post: Thaksin and Absolute Power
The dark age of cowardly dumbed-down TV


Above: Minister – Made in Hong Kong – Arun, Krungtepturakit, January 27, 2008
It reads: Minister. Made in Hong Kong
[Meaning that Thai government ministers are controlled by Thaksin from Hong Kong.
The People Power Party election win in late 2007 resulted in another year of political tension. Cabinet-level activities ground to a halt as the ruling party insisted the constitution by amended first (presumably to effect a Thaksin return) before any governing take place.]

Note: An earlier version of this article was originally posted on Thaksin’s birthday in 2011.

Posted in Analysis, Thai Politics | 3 Comments

Advice for protesters

From Thairath, July 9, 2014
Left: Eating sandwiches and glutinous rice roasted in bamboo…
Middle: Woman: Next time, what should we eat to protest the junta?
A sergeant: It will be better…
Right: …that you should eat something with iodine mixed in to improve your brain.
[Refers to the anti-junta group who symbolically protest the junta by eating sandwiches or glutinous rice roasted in bamboo or reading George Orwell's 1984 in public. This cartoon reflects the opinion of those who question the motives of anti-coup protesters. They contend that if anti-coup rhetoric is successful and elections are quickly called, it would immediately return Thaksin and his family to power again. While Westerners might point out that a principled stand against military rule is possible, the Thai world places little store in principle, assuming only that money and self-interest are behind all anti-coup protest activities.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Chai | Leave a comment

Hope not to forget the past with the new constitution

From Thairath, July 9, 2014
Cartoon title: Hope not to forget the past
On spine of constitution: NCPO [the National Council for Peace and Order] constitution
Man: Public hearing
Voice from NCPO, from top: Adopt now and amend later; Turn left, turn right [meaning the NCPO can order people to do what they want]; No amendment, but can…
Phi Nooring: Returning the democracy
Mouse: The real happiness
[This expresses fear that the junta-drafted charter will cement the military's power over politics. This would repeat events of the past when the military attempted to cement their political gains after a coup by drafting a biased constitution.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Helpful advice from the U.S.

From Komchadluek, July 7, 2014
Uncle Sam: The way to solve things for your country’s problem is to having an election… Come on!!
[The cartoon illustrates the opinion of some that elections will merely return a government to power that has no intention of being democratic, but will again try to change the laws to return Thaksin to power, thus sparking the same cycle of unrest again. These people expect the junta to "reform" politics in some way to prevent the same cycle of Thaksin-controlled politicians from regaining power.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | Leave a comment

The military backbone of the future government

From Thairath, July 8, 2014
Title: Backbone of the future government
On the chair: Government for reformation 2557 (2014)
On the chair leg: NCPO
Phi Nooring: For the security
A mouse: Return happiness to Thai people
[This implies that once there is a new government, the National Council for Peace Order (NCPO) led by Army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, will still have an influence over the new government and serve as its foundation.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Who ate all the rice?

From Manager, July 7, 2014
On TV M.L. Panadda Diskul, acting permanent secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister, says: I don’t understand… How can tens of thousands of rice merely disappear!?
Caption: It’s here!!
[On the couch is Yaowapha Wongsawat, sister of Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra and her husband, Somchai, who's a former prime minister of Thailand. Yaowapha was thought to be the most powerful and influential person in the former Pheu Thai Party government. She, in particular, was accused of massively benefiting from fraud in the rice pledging scheme.]

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The junta will win the reform battle

From Thairath, July 5, 2014
Title: Everyone wants to receive a trophy.
On the left: World cup 2014
On the right: Political reform 2014
On the trophy held by Gen. Prayuth: NCPO’s constitution
Phi Nooring: Being a world champion
A mouse: Return democracy
[Now, the junta led by Army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha is preparing the new constitution which is one of their missions on reforming the country. It is expected that the constitution will cement the junta's control of politics.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

Seven Years Ago: First Red Shirt Move: Surprise Raid on Privy Council President’s House

Seven Years Ago: First Red Shirt Move: Surprise Raid on Privy Council President’s House

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Obama and Yingluck

From Naewna, July 5, 2014
Yingluck: Since the day I met you… my life was immediately damned…!! Not long after that, the NCPO [the National Council for Peace and Order] seized my power.
Obama: Yes…mines too…!! In ‘Merica [America]…, they accuse me…of being the worst president…
On the woman’s back: Yingluck
On the man’s back: Obama
[This aludes to President Obama's trip to Thailand, after which Yingluck opponenmts accused her of flirting. More about this here: The Burden of Being a Prominent Thai Woman--and Being Called a Slut]

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U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney is the best Red Shirt

From Manager, July 6, 2014
U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney, giving the three-fingered anti-coup salute from The Hunger Games: What!?… Are you afraid of them so much that you dare not wear red shirts? Dare to uphold your principles… Like me!
Caption: There is only one true Red left in Thailand
[From left are Red Shirt leaders Thida Thavornseth, Dr. Weng Tochiarakarn, Nutthawut Saikua and Jatuporn Promphan. These are core leaders of the Red Shirt movement. The cartoonist ridicules the Red Shirt leaders for giving up their principles as they have not supported Thaksin nor advocated an uprising against to the junta as they had long threatened.
Photos circulated on social media have shown U.S. officials meeting with Red Shirt grassroots groups amid calls for Thailand to hold elections quickly. This has aroused anger that those who support the coup and its intentions to destroy Thaksin influence.]

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Boycott U.S. goods

Above: Thai giant: Don’t stick your nose into other people’s business for just once, will you?

Examples of more anti-American graphics being circulated in social media.
More: Uncle Sam: Hold elections now!
More: Is the United States the puppet master?

Above: Raise a warfare flag, boycotting every kind of consumer products from the U.S.

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American vulture or eagle?

From Komchadluek, July 4, 2014
Bird: He said he’s an eagle. He comes to help us know democracy.
[The cartoon reflects an opinion that the US has attempted to protect its own benefits in Thailand by using the democracy as an excuse to intervene in the Thai political situation. This is expressed by showing the American eagle as a vulture.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Komchadluek | Leave a comment

The bouncing man

From Thairath, July 3, 2014
Cartoon title: Bouncing man, Thailand only
On back of men bounced out: Civil servants
On chair, from front left: Civil servants; state enterprises’ executives; Civil servants; Transferred; Transferred
Yingluck Shinawatra: Poo transferred just one person, and is being sued.
Mouse: C’est la vie.
[This refers to executive-level civil servants and state enterprises' employees who were transferred by the junta--mainly for continuing to take orders from Thaksin or having obtained their positions due to political contacts originating in the Pheu Thai Party. In Thai, the word for this sort of transfer is colloquially referred to as a "bounce."
Yingluck in the cartoon refers to a legal case brought against her for one of the most notorious appointments of all. Yingluck removed Thawin Pliensri, secretary-general of the National Security Council, from his post and replaced him with a powerful police general in a scheme to make sure a Thaksin relative could take control of the police force. As the police acted as a counterweight to the military and also control the administration of legal cases, it was key for the Pheu Thai-led government to control the organization.
The cartoonist says the junta has "bounced" many people, but former PM Yingluck got in trouble for just one transfer--the removal of Thawin.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Thairath - Sia | Leave a comment

“Thailand itself is on trial” – Slavery Scandal Tests Thailand Legal System

Slavery Scandal Tests Thailand Legal System – maritime-executive.com, July 19, 2014
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has described Thailand as being ‘on trial’ for allowing a company to prosecute a human rights defender who exposed modern day slavery in its canned fruit and fishing industry…

Posted in Human Rights | Leave a comment

Washington Post predicts the majority will reject the junta and unrest will rise

Can Thailand save its democracy? – Washington Post, July 19, 2014
[This articles foreshadows the next great political battle--the re-branded Red Shirts will demand a referendum on the new constitution that is being written to forever block Thaksin from power by ensuring military domination of the political system for years to come.]
…The junta can continue down its repressive path, which will likely lead to unrest. Or, mindful of public opinion, it can restore civil liberties and return the country to democratic rule before fall 2015, as promised. This latter option must come with a constitution approved by referendum, with an elected legislature and mechanisms to ensure neutrality in the judiciary…

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