Thursday, September 28, 2006

"No - fuck YOU, Jon Stewart."

In a match up nobody demanded, the unshakable Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf appears opposite the unwatchable Jon Stewart on the insufferable Daily Show.

The YouTube video of these titanic mediocrities is here, while bitching and moaning on the equally insufferable Huffington Post appears here.

Wallechinsky's bellyaching aside, I am all for having dictators as guests on American television, but is it too much to ask for more entertaining dictators?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thai King officially backs coup d'etat

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has made his tacit support of his country's military coup d'etat official. The English language Bangkok Post , His Majesty has been quoted as saying:

"For the sake of stability, we ask the people to be at ease, and to obey the instructions of General Sonthi"
This endorsement, while tepid in translated English, apparently packs enormous weight in Thailand, where The King wields political influence that overspills his somewhat more limited constitutionally mandated role. Indeed, the idea that the Royal Thai Army would depose the now widely detested former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra without the explicit approval of His Majesty is widely considered to be utterly inconceiveable. With Shinawatra's political capital exhausted, General Sonthi has, quite rightly, deduced that his Majesty would repay the Army's undying loyalty to the throne with public support for the coup. You have to wonder if the monarch directed the Army to launch the coup, or if the generals simply knew that they would receive the King's support? With strict press censorship now in place, the answers are not forthcoming.

Jot Man continues to blog the coup, live from Bangkok, right here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The revolution will be televised (and then some)

The military coup d'etat in Thailand appears to be a fait accompli at this point, and a kind soul with the nom de plume of Jot Man has thoughtfully been blogging his way through the action in Bangkok. His efforts are no doubt aided by Bangkok's position as the financial and technological capital of Southeast Asia. Whle there have been dozens of coup d'etats, both successful and attempted, in the past decade. Most of them, however, have been in dreary places with abysmal telecommunications infrastructure, like Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Fiji, et al.

I find myself inspired by his hands on coverage, and now I'm wondering why I'm sitting on the sidelines, missing all the action. I have, therefore, provided my credentials to the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC in an effort to secure a cabinet position in the, admittedly currently non-existent, "Ministry of Violence". Granted, Thailand is by and large a devoutly Buddhist nation, and the concept of an American assuming the post of Minister of Violence may seem to be at odds with the country's religious and cultural heritage.

I maintain that with this coup, Thailand has begun the transition to becoming a fully secular democracy. For example, General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin - a Muslim - has now appointed himself to the position of Prime Minister, signalling a breakthrough in political advancement for non-Buddhists in Thailand. I breathlessly await a reply, and news of a cabinet appointment, from his excellency the ambassador.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Coup d'etat!

When I'd heard that there had been a military coup d'etat in Southeast Asia, I immediately suspected that it had taken place in Cambodia, and hoped that, perhaps, the Vietnamese army had overthrown the moribund Communist regime in Hanoi.

But Thailand? Yes, Thailand. Rumors of a military coup had, apparently, been swirling for months as a result of the nation's political crisis, and now, the army has pulled the trigger.

General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin of the Royal Thai Army is now Prime Minister of Thailand after the current Prime Minister, the much loathed Thaksin Shinawatra, was deposed in a bloodless coup while out of the country to attend meetings at the United Nations.

While international messages of "concern" are issued, the coup appears to have broad support from the Thai people and carries at least the tacit support of the King. The General, however, claims that this is just a temporary move, saying:

We would like to reaffirm that we don't have any intention to rule the country and will return power to the Thai people as soon as possible.
It remains to be seen if the General will make good on his word to restore democracy to Thailand, thus ending his brief career as dictator, but veteran dictator enthusiasts have heard the "we will restore democracy soon" line from nearly every single ursurping brasshat from the late Mobutu Sese Seko to Pervez Musharraf. Needless to say, nobody should hold their breath.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

UNESCO honors Uzbek dictator Karimov

If there is any other person, place or organization that is at ease with dictators as I am, it would have to be the United Nations. Last week, UNESCO director-general Koichiro Matsuura awarded Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov with the organization's gold "Borobudur Award" in recognition of the Central Asian strongman's "efforts on behalf of friendship between peoples".

Neither Mr. Matsuura, nor the state controlled Uzbek press, elaborated on just which peoples, exactly, Karimov is credited with fostering friendship between. I would have to guess that "the peoples" in question are foreign energy ministers and Uzbek treasury officials, but I suppose I'm just a cynic. However, I do feel fairly confident in speculating that UNESCO did not award Karimov with a medal for Karimov's efforts on fostering friendship between the Uzbek state and, say, Uzbek political dissidents, Uzbekistan's neighbors, journalists, or even the the dictator's own unhappy subjects.

On the one hand, it's easy to be appalled with the United Nations wasting money handing out frivolous awards. On the other hand, I can't wait to see which dictator or brasshat is feted by UNESCO next. Isn't there some cultural award they can give to Robert Mugabe, or Muammar Gadaffi for their lifetime acheivements? And won't some faceless international technocrat please recognize that Kim Jong-Il and Saparmurat "Turkmenbashi" Niazov are likely to feel slighted at being left out?

I would certainly hope, at the very least, that there enough Borobudur Awards to go around until every dictator has had a chance to win.