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Old 19-06-2011, 12:53 AM   #2851 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettyboo
Abhisit is certainly either extremely stressed and making mistake after mistake, or he wants a very low vote for the dems...
I think Abhsit is feeling guilty and that's where the stress comes from. The pleas for understanding on Facebook and the almost total denial of the facts of what happened in April and May last year show this. He was never cut out to be a hard man and he's starting to crack bigtime. I don't think he imagined that when he started out in the political career that he inherited as a young man of privilege that it would ever be like this.

I feel sorry for him - but not much.
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Old 19-06-2011, 12:55 AM   #2852 (permalink)
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^

Ah, I understand now. Army showing up in PT strongholds and asking about voting intentions is not intimidating. Opinion polls by polling institutions in Bangkok is.

Good we have cleared that up once and for all.


But that leaves the question open why do so many really do not tell their plans. I too do not believe so many are still undecided.
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Old 19-06-2011, 12:56 AM   #2853 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mid
10 will get you 5 ,it's the local market and most there hadn't any advanced notice of the event , supporters is stretching it a tad to far from the faces in the pic .
Well spotted , Mid, they do look a bit surly, don't they?
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:04 AM   #2854 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerbil
Democrat Party leaders yesterday denounced what they said was bullying by supporters of the rival Pheu Thai Party while expressing confidence many of their own supporters were among the "silent majority" who did not identify their favourite party in recent opinion polls.
Aaah the "silent majority", a phrase coined by that great statesman Richard Nixon.
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Old 19-06-2011, 04:57 AM   #2855 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : UDD attacks Abhisit over 'provocations'


News > Politics

UDD attacks Abhisit over 'provocations'

DEMOCRATS' RATCHAPRASONG ELECTION RALLY WILL OPEN OLD WOUNDS, SAY RED SHIRTS The Democrat Party's plan to hold a major electioneering event in Bangkok's Ratchaprasong area to remind voters about last year's mayhem will only intensify political conflict, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has warned.

Democrat leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said his party would hold a rally in front of CentralWorld shopping complex on Thursday in its last major address in Bangkok on the final leg of its election campaign.

"On that day, we will focus on the party's reconciliation plan. We invite everyone to come and listen to our plan to douse the fire in the country," Mr Abhisit said as he campaigned in Phetchabun province.

Mr Abhisit said Ratchaprasong is "the perfect place" for his party's campaign speech because of the political unrest that took place there last year.

The red shirts set up their main stage at Ratchaprasong intersection during their lengthy demonstration to oust the Abhisit administration.

Ninety-two people died in the unrest, with dozens killed at Ratchaprasong and adjacent areas during the crackdown on protesters on May 19.

Tida Tawornseth, the UDD chairwoman, yesterday said the Democrats' Ratchaprasong address would provoke discontent among red shirt supporters, especially those who were injured or who lost their loved ones during the security forces' operations.

The Democrats' tactics to attack the red shirt people and to remind the public about the April-May protests would not do any good to the party and would not bring it more votes, she said.

Instead of rubbing salt into people's wounds, Mr Abhisit should launch a transparent investigation into the deaths of 92 people and bring involved state authorities to justice, said Mrs Tida, the wife of Weng Tochirakarn, the UDD leader-turned-Pheu Thai party list candidate.

"What the Democrat Party and Mr Abhisit are doing now is to provoke the red shirt people," she said.

"He attacked the UDD during his election campaigns, he wrote on his Facebook defending the government's violent dispersal of the red shirts, and now he will hold an election campaign at Ratchaprasong."

These provocations had led to sporadic disruptions of the Democrats' electioneering by red shirt members, Mrs Tida said.

"Mr Abhisit can't blame the UDD for the mischief because it is he who keeps provoking the red shirts," Mrs Tida said, adding that the UDD had repeatedly asked its supporters not to disrupt the Democrats' election campaigning.

Natthawut Saikua, the former UDD core leader who is now a Pheu Thai party list candidate, said the Ratchaprasong event aimed to provoke conflict and violence.

"They are using the April-May incident as a political tool to woo votes as many polls show the Democrats' popularity is dropping," Mr Natthawut said, calling on red shirt supporters not to fall victim to the Democrats' plot to provoke confrontation.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday said the planned election speech at Ratchaprasong was "inappropriate".

He urged the Democrats to cancel the event or change the venue to avoid deepening conflicts in society.

Mr Prompong also strongly denied the Democrats' allegations that the party was behind red shirts' disruptions of Democrat canvassing.

"We are concerned about the moves, but our investigations found none of our party's staff are involved in such activities," he said.

The latest confrontation erupted on Friday evening when a red shirt supporter allegedly kicked a member of the Democrats' campaign team led by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban at Phetkasem 79 market in Bangkok's Bang Kae district.

Mr Suthep yesterday called on Pheu Thai to accept responsibility for the incident.

The Democrats' secretary-general said he and his party had been accused of killing red shirt demonstrators and failing to prevent the torching of buildings on May 19.

"I will take to the stage next Thursday to tell the truth about what really happened [during last year's unrest]," Mr Suthep said.
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Old 19-06-2011, 05:07 AM   #2856 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : Building by persuasion

COMMENTARY
Building by persuasionWhen you want to ascertain the thoughts and feelings of the people, talk to the "brother" taxi driver or the "auntie" merchant in the market.

With the Honda Civic in the shop and the desire to head home for a Skype date, yours truly hailed a cab from the Bangkok Post building. In the streets, passing all the campaign signs, including a moustached man with a dog in one poster and a baby in another, the taxi driver remarked: ''I like Chuwit. I will vote for Chuwit. At least he tells the truth.''

This sentiment reflects those of many voters, whether working class, middle class or high class _ those who are sick and tired of manipulative political factions and their scheming politicians.

At least Chuwit tells it like it is, and is entertaining to boot. The sad state of Thai politics is such that this is the best many of us can hope for.

I called it, ''the F-it vote''!

The cab driver continued. ''For party list, I will vote Chuwit. But for individual constituency, I will vote Pheu Thai, 80 or 90 percent of people like me will always support Pheu Thai.''

''Why is that, brother?'' I asked. He paused for a moment, looked up at the rearview mirror and replied: ''There's no reason. It's in here.'' He tapped the left side of his chest. ''It's in the heart.''

Curious, as my nature dictates me to be, I inquired, ''Please explain, brother. What do you mean?''

The cab driver told of how life is just easier with Pheu Thai in control. Making a living is easier. Everything just seemed easier. There's a trust. There's a relationship. When a Pheu Thai MP talks to you, you understand what he or she is saying. He or she speaks the language of the people.

You can always pick up the phone or knock on the door. Pheu Thai MPs are always around, always accessible. If you need a string pulled, a connection made or some cash, Pheu Thai MPs provide. Pheu Thai takes care of the people.

It's the fluidity of the patronage system, I thought to myself, and the Pheu Thai Party is a master at it.

''But brother, what about the Democrats and their MPs?'' I asked.

He laughed a little. ''They come around once or twice, maybe three times - and you never hear from them again.''

He sighed. ''When they talk, we never know what they are talking about. We just can't understand. They talk about things we can't touch.''

This reminds me of when I moderated a debate between two MP candidates from the Pheu Thai and Democrat parties.

When the Pheu Thai candidate spoke, I thought, ''You're full of it, but at least you are speaking Thai and the people can understand you.''

When the Democrat candidate spoke, I thought, ''You're full of it, 'it' being Greek.''

The human touch - this connection, this bond - is stronger than any logical or rational motivation that could propel one to cast a vote.

We may call it an emotional reason, but it's as good as any, if not the better reason.

After all, if you can't win the hearts and minds of the people, you can't rule effectively. Anyone can introduce populist policies, but not just anyone can win trust.

The cab driver has given his trust to Pheu Thai.

This is not to say that the Democrats haven't already won the hearts and minds of millions. But Pheu Thai is the party leading in the polls, and has a history of sweeping elections. So the Democrats need to win a few million more hearts and souls - and there's only two weeks left.

''Brother,'' I continued. ''Are there any other reasons?''

''Well,'' he began. ''I am just sick and tired of it.''

The cab driver elaborated on how people like him dislike seeing ''the government, the army and the courts'' pick on the red shirts and Thaksin Shinawatra. ''They get together and they just pick on him,'' he lamented. ''They just bully him and everybody.''

The next logical question then was: ''How much of this is about Thaksin?''

The cab driver explained that it depends on the person. But for him, it's not about Thaksin. For him, it doesn't matter if Thaksin comes back. For him, the only thing that matters is the relationship, the trust and the bond that he has with Pheu Thai, or its two previous incarnations, the People Power and Thai Rak Thai parties.

The human touch - heroes have it, like Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. The human touch is the persuasion that can build a nation, and/or destroy it. Villains have it too - be they Hitler or Stalin. That's when the human touch becomes the human stain.

I'm often reminded of the image of Thaksin sitting in some little hut, talking to farmers. He always looked comfortable, friendly. When he was prime minister, this image was marketed very effectively by his vast media empire. He's a good actor, with a good marketing team behind him.

On the flip side, there are two images of Abhisit Vejjajiva that still have me shaking my head, the first of his visit to a flood-ravaged South last year.

Prim and proper, white shirt buttoned to the neck and wrists, sitting on a boat, with his entire entourage, while others - some say soldiers, some say locals (prai) - are tugging along in chest-deep water.

The other image is more recent. On the campaign trail, in a rice paddy, again with white shirt buttoned to the neck and wrists, looking uncomfortable as can be, with two farmers flanking him attentively, making sure he doesn't trip or something as he pretends to work the fields.

Who is advising him? Who is his publicity manager? Is there one? The prime minister isn't a good actor, and he has a terrible marketing team behind him. This is something the Democrat Party should address.

None of this has anything to do with what makes a good prime minister, but it has everything to do with the ability to win the hearts and minds, and hence the votes, of the people.

Thaksin is a salesman. Abhisit is an academic. Selling isn't his forte. Democracy is a popularity contest, so the salesman often wins, because he has the human touch. As for the academic, more learned and intelligent though he may be, students tend to doze off in class.

The Democrats have been two years in power, with the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, Pheu Thai Party and Thaksin tumbling and stumbling, making one strategic mistake after another. Any competent political machine should have buried them in the history books.

And yet here we are, two weeks before the general election and Pheu Thai still manages to lead in the polls.

Yingluck Shinawatra hasn't done anything and she won't have to do anything. She only has to look pretty, smile, gives hugs and handshakes and photos. She doesn't have to speak with substance, only as a daughter or a sister, friendly and personable, and the Yingluck fevers rage on. She already has the human touch. Just take a look at her on the campaign trail. She's comfortable. She's confident. She's in tune.

A debate with Abhisit? If I were her, I wouldn't be scared, I'd go for it. Afterwards the critics will hail the prime minister as the victor, but for the masses sitting at home? They wouldn't know what he was talking about. And they are the ones who matter.

The human touch - perhaps they don't teach it at Oxford; perhaps they do at Sam Houston State or Kentucky State.

We can't change the past nor should we dwell on it, but we should learn from it to shape the future. Whoever becomes prime minister after July 3, I hope they will take this one thing to heart. We need a leader who will build a nation, not a politician looking to survive politically, or rule for personal or family glory.

A leader makes sacrifices for the greater good of the nation, as in this scene from the movie Invictus:

Brenda Mazibuko: ''You're risking your political capital, you're risking your future as our leader.''

Nelson Mandela: ''The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead.''

This is the persuasion that builds a nation.


Contact Voranai Vanijaka via email at voranaiv[at]bangkokpost.co.th
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Old 19-06-2011, 05:14 AM   #2857 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : Voters deserve a candidates debate

EDITORIAL
Voters deserve a candidates debateWith only two weeks to go before the general election, many people have their minds made up on who to vote for, and in fact most of them probably decided long ago. Undecided voters who might be inclined to base their decisions more on the issues involved than party loyalties must be thinking that something has been lacking. What is missing is a clear explanation of policy from the major candidates themselves, rather than merely soundbites from the campaign trail. There is no better way to bring this about than a well organised debate between the two major candidates.

Since the fifth century BC when the Council of Five Hundred met in Athens, and a few hundred years later at the Forum in Rome, debates have been synonymous with democracy, and today they are considered a necessary step in political contests in most democratic nations.

Soon after the Pheu Thai Party announced that Yingluck Shinawatra was its choice for prime minister, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other high-ranking Democrats proposed a debate to help voters make their decisions. The offer was quickly rejected, with most people assuming it was partly because of Mr Abhisit's reputation as an excellent orator and partly because Ms Yingluck needed sheltering, as if she would be likely to fall apart in a debate or at the least be easily flustered. But given her performance these past weeks on the campaign trail _ speaking several times a day to large crowds and the media with perfect composure and a winning personality _ that doesn't appear likely.

The advantage still has to go to Mr Abhisit, not only for his debating experience but also because he should be much more familiar with policy questions after a lifetime in politics and holding the prime minister's post since December 2008.

Most voters will be aware of this and make some allowances for style. What people are really looking at are differences in substance and whether the candidate is able to think on his or her feet.

In rejecting the debate proposal Pheu Thai deputy leader Plodprasop Suraswadi said it was unwarranted because the two rival parties had already outlined their respective policies. This is missing the point. If there is a clear choice between the Democrats and Pheu Thai _ other than on the amnesty issue, which is a must topic for debate _ the leaders of the respective parties should be able to articulate their visions and answer challenges to their positions from the other side in real time.

<snip - non-election topic>
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Old 19-06-2011, 05:21 AM   #2858 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : Party pitches loans for low wage earners

Business > Economics

Party pitches loans for low wage earnersThe Chartthaipattana Party has announced a new campaign pledge _ soft loans of up to 100,000 baht to self-employed business operators, small vendors and low-income earners.

Mr Pradit explains his party’s ‘100 baht, 100 days’ pledge. Eligible loan applicants would be required to deposit 100baht a day for 100 days to qualify for a 100,000-baht state bank loan to be repaid over two years.

Eligible applicants would be required to deposit 100 baht a day for 100 days to qualify for a 100,000-baht state bank loan.

Repayments would be over two years at a rate of about 200 baht a day.

Pradit Phataraprasit, the head of Chartthaipattana's economic team, estimates the annual lending rate of the scheme at 23-25%, below the Bank of Thailand's 28% limit for personal and credit-card loans.

The programme would also be made available to applicants who could afford to deposit 50 baht a day for 100 days, but the loan amount would be lowered to 50,000 baht, he said.

Repayments would equal 100 baht a day for up to two years.

Mr Pradit said the party devised the plan after surveying self-employed operators and vendors regarding their daily income and the amount they could afford to repay each day.

Most self-employed operators such as motorcycle taxi drivers, taxi drivers and street vendors now rely on loan sharks, who charge as much as 20% a week in interest.

This is a root cause of low-income earners failing to develop or expand their own small businesses or survive economic hardships, said Mr Pradit.

He said the party believed the new lending pledge would attract waiters, hairdressers, noodle stand operators, street vendors and stallholders, all of whom are self-employed or low-income earners with no payslips.

Only about 25% of the population now has access to credit and loans from commercial banks, while the other 75% are blocked by difficult lending conditions.

Mr Pradit said the lending scheme may result in some non-performing loans but not very many, as the lending banks would review the saving discipline of each applicant.

The Chartthaipattana Party is willing to share its lending scheme with the new government, he added.


Writer: Chatrudee Theparat
Position: Business Reporter
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Old 19-06-2011, 05:27 AM   #2859 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : The sharpest political tool in the arsenal

Opinion > Opinion

The sharpest political tool in the arsenalOn Friday Army C-in-Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that he would not be giving any further media interviews during the final weeks before the election. The reason he gave was that he wanted to avoid arguments and prevent people from using the army as a political tool.

Read my lips: Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has stated more than once that the ‘‘army will not get involved in politics’’.

Obviously this is great news. If ever there was any suspicion that the army had its own political agenda, it is clear now that the suspicion was unwarranted. Gen Prayuth has clearly stated: the army will not get involved in politics.

Does this mean that there will be no further action against Pheu Thai members who allegedly draw firearms on soldiers? Such an act could be construed by suspicious-minded people as a way of giving Pheu Thai politicians a bad reputation. On second thoughts, that incident probably wasn't political. It is far more likely that Constituency 19 incumbent Pairote Issaraseripong decided to threaten a group of fully trained soldiers for completely non-political reasons.

Now that the army isn't involved in politics (not that they ever were, of course) they will have time to focus on more pressing issues. Like ensuring that the media is not abused by colour-coded politicians.

On Thursday army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd reported that the Internal Security Operations Command would begin clamping down on media outlets that attempt to create conflict in society through biased reporting. Despite not naming any names (probably so as to avoid bringing politics into the issue), it is widely believed that media stations associated with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and the People's Alliance for Democracy are those to be targeted.

The thought of powerful political institutions having the ability to broadcast their message any time they choose is a little frightening.

Thank God the army is here to ensure that biased reporting is not tolerated in Thailand.

Meanwhile a day earlier, Gen Prayuth appeared on nationwide TV, via army-owned Channels 7 and 5, to offer up some more non-politically related advice.

In his no-way-biased statement, he told the public to "choose the best candidate to run the country efficiently", adding that we should not be blinded by the personalities involved, and nor should we vote for people who violate morals and laws.

A cynical man with no trust in his heart might possibly interpret that statement as somewhat supportive of 19-year veteran of politics Abhisit, while slighting the larger-than-life personality of Yingluck Shinawatra and her criminal record-holding brother.

That's what a cynic would think, not me.

Coincidentally, on the very same day Ms Yingluck announced that if her party were to assume power there would be no reshuffle of the military and that Gen Prayuth could keep his job.

Having already said his piece on national television, Gen Prayuth has made no response to Ms Yingluck's olive branch. In fact the only time we have heard from him since then was to tell us that he would no longer be giving media interviews. Perhaps that was the response?

For someone keeping his nose out of politics the good general is extremely lucky with regard to political timing. If the critics are right and all this time the army has secretly been supporting the Democrats while throwing up hurdles in front of Pheu Thai, all he has to do now is keep shtum and he, sorry, the army, is a winner no matter what.

Unfortunately, good news for the army is bad news for us. What good will two weeks of silence do us? The military has already made its mark on this election and can now afford to step back. However, with all their passive-aggressive meddling they may have done irreparable damage to the legitimacy of these elections.

Taekwondo stars as ministers; denying you said something to Reuters news agency when they have evidence that you said it; and promising an iPad to everyone _ these things make Thai politics look pretty damn stupid. The army standing at the backdoor makes it look like a farce. During his TV appearance, Gen Prayuth said we should not look too deeply into his words, that he wasn't trying to flex his military muscle, that he was speaking simply "as a Thai citizen". Sadly, this is a country where coups occur with more frequency than elections, so the army's top commander should understand that he is not capable of speaking as a normal Thai citizen, no matter how good his intentions are.

Everything he says and does will be interpreted, analysed and deconstructed in different ways by different people. As someone who has the power to send our country to war, I would hope that he realises his words have consequences, and thus he should have stayed out of these elections from the very beginning.

While I am grateful for the promise that the army will stay quiet for the next two weeks, I can't help but feel that this might just be too little, too late.


Arglit Boonyai is Multimedia Editor, the Bangkok Post.
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Old 19-06-2011, 08:00 AM   #2860 (permalink)
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Riceroots stuff

I questioned yesterday some of the activities of the UDD. They were focussed on Polling the intentions of voters in many villages. I thought their time would be better spent beefing up and training election monitors.

Their response, "We got a clearer picture on how much vote buying is involved. We didn't know the degree of that. If local leaders are using money to buy votes and engaging in other coercive activities, monitoring the polling stations will not show it. The corruption has already occurred before they get to the polling station and our monitors"

So what will they do about it, was the obvious next question:" We will fully inform the MP of the reality of our findings, and challenge him/her and their teams to deal with it"

So in effect, this polling type of activity is part of their election monitoring process. Identifying electoral corruption before their surveilance at the Polls, and taking what initiatives they can to head it off. Especially with respect to the whole vote-buying thing. This is typically ramped up immediately before election day.

Are they able to negate it? I doubt it, but their surveillance may give some people pause.

Shining a bright light on corruption has a way of affecting it.

Last edited by Calgary : 19-06-2011 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 19-06-2011, 08:08 AM   #2861 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arglit Boonyai
Obviously this is great news. If ever there was any suspicion that the army had its own political agenda, it is clear now that the suspicion was unwarranted. Gen Prayuth has clearly stated: the army will not get involved in politics.
I suspect newspapers need smilies .
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Old 19-06-2011, 08:09 AM   #2862 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerbil View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calgary
A case could also be made supporting the notion that the Thai electorate is more sophisticated than what you mention DR. Bob.
FFS, am I the only person on this forum who understands that a sarcasm smiley() at the end of a sentence means the poster is being sarcastic

(that's a "depressed" smiley, in this case it means the poster feels sad about people not understanding emoticons)
You'll have to forgive Calgary, He's somewhat dim.

He thinks that irony is like silvery and goldy, but made of iron.
Thanks to my ears being close to the ground, and being involved beyond "disengaged ivory tower intellectualization from BKK" I have informed this board of events/activities days in advance of when it was posted in media reports and copied/pasted here.

Several cases in point:

> UDD election monitoring activities
> Problems with ballots
>The degree and nature of election sign vandalism

So until you come up with something original Gerbil....................

Nothing further needs to be said and I will restrain myself!

("disengaged ivory tower intellectualization from BKK" - Sorry if that offends some of the informed people on this board. I could name them as I have learned from their insights)

Last edited by Calgary : 19-06-2011 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 19-06-2011, 08:18 AM   #2863 (permalink)
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"A year ago, the Red Shirts — a loose coalition of leftists, rural protest groups, pro-democracy activists, anti-monarchists and supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra — took to the streets to demand national elections" Quote from Post # 2843 above

This is actually quite a good summary statement, identifying all the disparate interests that make up the Red Shirt Democracy Movement. What % are pro-democracy vs. pro-Thaksin and some of the other catagories mentioned in this quote is open to speculation.

I also question that there is an anti-monarchist element. I have been heavily immersed in this movement and have never heard anything along this line. There is some debate about the functioning of the various elements within a Constitutional Monarchy style of Government, but that is the extent of it. I have never heard of anyone wanting to change this form of Government. In my opinion, it is very superior to the American model. At least when a political Party wins a plurality in an election, and if they screw up, after 4 years you know who to blame. Plus it has all that Pomp and Ceremony that so many people like, especially the British. It is what gives Thailand its' beauty and distinctiveness in many ways.

But this quote is certainly more accurate then the way the Amart characterizes their political opposition in an attempt to diminish them. Using their media to portray this movement as being exclusively one of these characterizations is done for a purpose. They studiously avoid any reference to it having significant Pro-Democracy elements. That would - horror-of-horrors - suggest there is a problem with Democracy in Thailand.

What is indisputable however, is its' gender composition, being 80% women. In light of that, perhaps it is only justice that a female is running for PM.

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Old 19-06-2011, 10:26 AM   #2864 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : Prognosis positive for cheap medical services after vote

Prognosis positive for cheap medical services after vote

Pheu Thai plans a return to the 30 baht scheme, while the Democrats favour the free model but both realise universal health care is crucial. Critics say the devil is in determining who'll pay for it In their current election campaigns, the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties have both vowed to continue their populist health policies if they form the next government. While the Democrat Party promises to continue its free medical scheme, the Pheu Thai party vows to revive the 30 baht healthcare scheme.


FREE FOR ALL: Dr Kriangsak Vacharanukulkiat, chairman of the Thai Rural Doctors Society.

Both parties have tried to woo voters with promises of more benefits from their health policies, but they have been criticised for not incorporating preventative measures into their proposals.

THE PHEU THAI PARTY

Vicharn Meenchainant, deputy leader of the Pheu Thai Party admits that the party puts emphasis on medical services, which is why the 30 baht healthcare scheme remains a mainstay of its policy.

''The party is confident in the merits of the universal coverage principle of health care under which everyone in the country has access to medical services. However, it needs improvement,'' he said. Mr Vicharn added that registration and payment under the 30 baht scheme would help stem the flow of people flooding into hospitals under the current free medical service system.

However, prevention is better than cure, and programmes that encourage breast feeding, the availability of school milk, regular exercise, a healthy diet and even regular check-ups should be promoted to help reduce the number of patients in hospitals. And in an ageing society, where the number of old people is steadily rising, a comprehensive plan to look after the elderly is also necessary.

THE DEMOCRAT PARTY

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party is focused on free ID cards and more efficient delivery of health care.

''We don't need a gold card that identifies that a person is registered and is entitled to free medical treatment. This will reduce costs on card purchases,'' says Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

Mr Jurin agrees that the government must increase the budget to improve services.

Last year, the Democrat-led government increased the budget for the free medical scheme to 2,546 baht per head per year. According to Mr Jurin, the Democrats want to increase that amount to 2,900 baht as soon as possible so that 48 million people who are not entitled to any other medical schemes can access healthcare services.

In the future, Mr Jurin expects that complicated medical treatments, such as heart or liver transplants, would be available under the free medical scheme.

But Mr Jurin disagrees with criticism that his party ignores health promotion and disease prevention. ''The five non-communicable diseases that Thai people suffer from the most are diabetes, high blood pressure, paralysis, heart disease and cancer, and they account for a high proportion of the overall cost of treatment each year,'' he said.

Mr Jurin said he supports concrete preventive measures to combat these ailments, such as regular exercise, healthy diet and stopping smoking and drinking alcohol.

Another Democrat initiative aims at Thailand becoming self-sufficient in vaccine production. Only two vaccines _ for tuberculosis and haemorrhagic fever _ are now produced domestically.

The Democrats say that vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and dengue fever could also be produced here within the next 10 years.

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL

Both the Pheu Thai's 30 baht scheme and the Democrats' free medical care scheme share the same principles of universal healthcare coverage _ medical treatment for all.

The dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party's 30 baht healthcare scheme, with the slogan ''30 baht for every disease'', proved so popular that the party enjoyed a landslide win in the general election of 2005.

After the Sept 19, 2006, coup, the 30 baht scheme was replaced with free medical treatment. Patients no longer had to pay 30 baht per visit, but they did need a ''gold'' registration card and their ID card when they sought medical services at the hospital they were registered with.

The Democrat-led coalition scrapped the gold card, allowing people to use their ID card to seek free medical care.

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) was established under the National Health Act (2002) to manage and distribute the budget to hospitals _ both state and private _ to run the scheme. The NHSO also set regulations on which medical treatment and drugs could be used under the scheme.


TAKE A NUMBER: Critics of free health care say that it often results in hospitals that are packed with people seeking medical treatment.

INEFFICIENT MEDICAL SCHEMES

While the poor have been satisfied with both Pheu Thai's 30 baht scheme and the Democrats' free plan, some groups, especially medical professionals, oppose both policies.

They say neither the 30 baht scheme nor the free healthcare policy are suitable for the Thai healthcare system as long as the government cannot find and allocate enough money to support them.

''The government has an obligation to make efficient and sufficient healthcare services accessible to everyone. But free medical services under financial constraints is not good for patients, hospitals or the whole healthcare system,'' said Dr Churdchoo Ariyasriwattana, president of the Federation of Healthcare Workforce of Thailand.

Despite the budget increasing from 1,204.40 baht per year per person in 2003 to 2,402 baht per year per person this year, the finances available cannot cover the real cost because of the large number of patients seeking treatment at hospitals, especially state hospitals.

''Most medium and small state hospitals have been running at a deficit. Many state hospitals have suffered financial losses because they have to allocate revenue from other sources to pay their actual expenses for free medical care.

''We have to admit that money is essential to medical services. We need it for good medicines, medical equipment and medical staff. Without these necessary factors, how are people going to receive good health care?'' asked Dr Churdchoo.

Freedom for doctors to treat patients is also limited under the NHSO regulations on medicines and treatment methods.

''The Democrats' fanfare over ID cards for free medical care at hospitals with a good environment, good services and good administration is so untrue.

''The hospitals are overcrowded. Each doctor has to consult with so many patients each day, possibly causing mistakes, and the shortage of facilities for in-patients remain a serious problem,'' she said.

Under the 30 baht scheme, the patient has to pay 30 baht per visit, an amount she said was too small compared to the real costs incurred by the hospital.

''While the government cannot bear all financial responsibility for an efficient healthcare service at the present time, patients should share some of the cost,'' Dr Churdchoo said. ''For instance, they could pay for medicine while the government subsidises other medical expenses such as medical equipment or labs.

''This will benefit the patients themselves by ensuring that they receive the treatment they need. At the same time, doctors and other medical staff can be trained and develop their skills.''

The father of one patient, Rod Puyiamchit, did not see any differences between the two schemes. ''At present, we don't have to pay 30 baht, and the services are the same [as they were when we did],'' he says.

He added that his daughter _ who suffers from a skin disease _ uses her ID card to receive free care at a private hospital that has joined the government's free medical scheme.

CONVERGING ON COVERAGE

The principles of universal coverage, or health security for all, have been accepted and established in Thai society already. ''To keep to this principle is the right thing for both parties. Any attempt to cancel the provision of free health care will be a retrogressive step,'' said Dr Kriangsak Watcharanukulkiat, a director of Chum Phae Hospital in Khon Kaen, and chairman of the Thai Rural Doctors Society. ''Any attempt to cancel this principle will be opposed. I don't think that any political party, even one opposed to free health care, will dare to do such a thing.''

Another reason that both parties have to hang on to this populist policy is that they cannot think of anything else that has such an impact on the majority of the population.

''The Democrat-led government has tried to promote the so-called tambon hospitals. These have not been successful because of a shortage of full-time doctors at those hospitals,'' he noted.

He admitted that certain groups of medical professionals continue to complain about budget shortfalls in the free healthcare scheme. ''Despite an increase of budget from some 1,200 baht to 2,402 baht per head per year, they are not satisfied and blame the NHSO for controlling and limiting treatment methods and medicines,'' he noted.

As a hospital director and medical practitioner, he confirmed that 2,400 baht per head per year is enough. He said that it is a matter of purchasing power, citing as an example the fact that kidney dialysis used to cost as much as 3,000 baht per treatment, but that such treatment can now be obtained for 1,500 baht.

The government has allocated 100 billion baht this year to provide healthcare cover for 48 million people. But the government spends an average of 70 billion baht for health care for government officials.

Dr Kriangsak also thinks that patients do not need to pay 30 baht per hospital visit. ''Under the 30 baht scheme, the hospital collects 30 baht from patients aged between 15 and 60. If they are poor, they don't have to pay. The amount collected is not significant. The provision of free medical services is then more appropriate,'' he said.
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Old 19-06-2011, 11:31 AM   #2865 (permalink)
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Abhisit is certainly either extremely stressed and making mistake after mistake, or he wants a very low vote for the dems...
I think Abhsit is feeling guilty and that's where the stress comes from. The pleas for understanding on Facebook and the almost total denial of the facts of what happened in April and May last year show this. He was never cut out to be a hard man and he's starting to crack bigtime. I don't think he imagined that when he started out in the political career that he inherited as a young man of privilege that it would ever be like this.

I feel sorry for him - but not much.
It does look that way, I agree.

But, I can't feel sorry for him at all. From trying to force a coup by pulling his party out of elections just because they wouldn't win... to supporting the coup, empowering the coup makers, enabling mass murder under his premiership, lie after lie after lie; he has become a Samak, Banharn, Newin, (Chuan?), etc. I dislike him more every day - he had choices to make, he could have made the opposition party strong, he could have worked to design policies, he could have considered the Thai populous; but he has NEVER lifted a single finger to do anything other than enable the army/bluebloods. Going over his actions since he became head of the dems, it is a long long list of abuses; his pretty face hides much, but he is an awful excuse for a human being, imho.
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:24 PM   #2866 (permalink)
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Bangkok Post : P. Thai leading Dems in nationwide poll

Breakingnews >The Pheu Thai Party is more popular than the Democrat Party both nationwide and in Bangkok in the party list system, Suan Dusit Poll revealed on Sunday.

The poll was conducted on 102,994 eligible voters in all 375 constituencies throughout the country between June 4-18. Throughout the country, 51.55 per cent of the respondents said they would vote for Pheu Thai, while 34.04 per cent would vote for the Democrat Party. Only 2.38 per cent said they were still undecided. The rest were for other parties. In Bangkok alone, 52.05 per cent of the 10,964 voters polled said they would vote for the Pheu Thai Party while 34.15 per cent for the Democrats. Only 1.85 per cent of the respondents were still undecided. It is noted that in the previous poll the Democrat Party was slightly more popular than Pheu Thai in the party list system.
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:31 PM   #2867 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bkk Post
between June 4-18
Health warning about this report: I suspect the date span may be wrong. If it is, then it seems sensible to wait for the full report/corroboration of the results before making too much of them. The reported drops in "undecideds" from about 40% to about 2% in such a short period look surprising to put it mildly.....
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:37 PM   #2868 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SteveCM
The reported drops in "undecideds" from about 40% to about 2% in such a short period look surprising to put it mildly.....
look rather alarming through democRat eyes , given that this is the demographic that suthep and co are relying on to save the day .
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:44 PM   #2869 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCM
Health warning about this report: I suspect the date span may be wrong. If it is, then it seems sensible to wait for the full report/corroboration of the results before making too much of them. The reported drops in "undecideds" from about 40% to about 2% in such a short period look surprising to put it mildly.....
Yes, that caught my eye too. That drop is even more stunning than the huge lead the poll gives the PT over the Democrats.

Also the sheer size of that poll with over 100.000 people polled and that it was nationwide.

Maybe part of that undecided swing could be from different wording of the questions?
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Old 19-06-2011, 02:02 PM   #2870 (permalink)
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From the blog world.....

https://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordp...ty-politics-i/

June 19, 2011 · 5:09 am

Democrat Party and dirty politics I

Some time ago, PPT wondered if the Democrat Party had the political stomach for some old-style dirty politics. As the polls have continued to show Puea Thai in the lead, albeit with a large undecided category, in recent days we have posted on how the Democrat Party strategists have decided that attacking red shirts as the violent ones who burned the country is a way to woo some undecided voters. Red shirt and Puea Thai Party responses to these charges have been reasonably measured and even-tempered.

After watching the news reports on television on Saturday evening, we are wondering if this tactic is now being combined with a much more provocative Democrat Party stance and a large dose of very dirty politics.

PPT here looks at provocation in the first of two posts.

Perhaps dissatisfied that Puea Thai have not lashed out at all the Democrat Party charges, as the Bangkok Post reports, the latter are now trying to directly anger red shirts by planning to hold a major election event at Rajaprasong. This plan was announced by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is fully on-board with this current aggressive election strategy.

Abhisit “said his party would hold a rally in front of CentralWorld shopping complex on Thursday in its last major address in Bangkok on the final leg of its election campaign.” He added: “On that day, we will focus on the party’s reconciliation plan. We invite everyone to come and listen to our plan to douse the fire in the country…”.

This is aberrant nonsense. Abhisit and his chums are trying to provoke violence. Rajaprasong is one of the killing grounds of 2010, and has been the scene of numerous red shirt remembrance rallies. PPT is sure that the Democrat Party wants to provoke red shirt hot heads. It feels it needs to demonstrate red shirt violence in order to regain some electoral ground. It is desperate for red shirts to show up and that there will be clashes.

As Abhisit says Rajaprasong is “the perfect place” for his party’s to campaign “because of the political unrest that took place there last year.” And, a perfect provocation for a perfect storm. Suthep Thaugsuban, who was deeply involved in the murderous events of April and May 2010, added that at the rally Abhisit disingenuously claims is about “reconciliation,” adds to the provocation by stating: “I will take to the stage next Thursday to tell the truth about what really happened [during last year's unrest]…”. In other words, he shows Abhisit’s claim about reconciliation as being nothing more than a pathetic lie.

Natthawut Saikua called “on red shirt supporters not to fall victim to the Democrats’ plot to provoke confrontation.” That may not be enough, however, as it is easy enough for Democrat Party backers to provide their own “red shirts” ready to show up and create political mischief.

PPT wonders whether the Rajaprasong traders’ association with come out to oppose the Democrat Party’s plan. After all, they claim that red shirt rallies are bad for business. Will they close their stores to the Democrat Party supporters as they do for red shirts? Will they sue the Democrat Party? Will they be consistent or just show their double standards? We won’t hold our collective breath.

The Democrat Party’s brinksmanship portends future conflict, no matter who wins the election. While some bloggers claim that the “old men” have no stomach for further battles, we think this is misguided. By their actions, by the life being given to PAD-like groups and elements of PAD itself, by the statements of the military brass and <snip - to comply with TD policy>, if Puea Thai win the election, they are to be opposed. If they lose, the provocations can’t be forgotten.
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Old 19-06-2011, 02:04 PM   #2871 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeovers
Yes, that caught my eye too. That drop is even more stunning than the huge lead the poll gives the PT over the Democrats. Also the sheer size of that poll with over 100.000 people polled and that it was nationwide. Maybe part of that undecided swing could be from different wording of the questions?
AFAIK there is no stunning drop. The polls showing a large group of undecideds are polls on the Constituency Vote. This poll is a Party List poll.

This is the poll. There are no questions are such, other than "from the party list, who will you vote for?".

The option immediately after No 11 is "Undecided". The footnote says that undecideds also include those who refuse to give a preference.





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Old 19-06-2011, 02:18 PM   #2872 (permalink)
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^
1 Pheua Thai.............................................. ....51.55%
2 Democrats......................................... .........34.05%
3 Bhum Jai Tha..............................................3 .43%
4 Rak Prathet Thai..........................................2.48 %
5 Chart Thai Pattana.......................................1.60 %
6 Chart Pattana Pheua Phaendin........................0.98%
7 Rak Santi............................................. .......0.88%
8 Palang Chon.............................................. ..0.54%
9 Mathaphom......................................... ........0.31%
10 Kit Sangkhom (Social Action).......................0.10%
11 Others............................................ ..........0.29%
* Undecided......................................... ..........2.38%
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Old 19-06-2011, 02:19 PM   #2873 (permalink)
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^^^
In essence (as raised in another blog cited at http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asi...ml#post1786632 (Thai elections 2011-Thai PM sets stage for tough election) ), if the Dems' "go negative" tactic works to turn around the widely-predicted vote figures on election day so as to put him back in the PM's chair..... he'll be presiding over a country that's even further from reconciliation than it has been in the last year. I, for one, didn't think that was possible.
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Old 19-06-2011, 03:26 PM   #2874 (permalink)
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Rumor has it the Democrat Party guy in Katchanaburi is giving 5,000. baht per vote.

True? - false? - rumor only? - I dunno.

But if this is true, and we know about it living hundreds of kilometers away, yet local police do not know, than this comes very close to being officially sanctioned activity.
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Old 19-06-2011, 03:53 PM   #2875 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DrB0b
AFAIK there is no stunning drop. The polls showing a large group of undecideds are polls on the Constituency Vote. This poll is a Party List poll.
I haven't been through all of them, but there are the 1-2 June NIDA * constituency and party list poll results both showing a much higher "undecided" element at about 46% - higher still when "won't say/won't vote" are excluded. Bangkok Pundit questions why the NIDA "undecided" figures are so high relative to other polls - but the matching constituency/party list pattern seems to be there

OK, as ever, let's be careful with all polls - and Thai polls in particular..... never mind MSM Thai media reports of Thai polls.

* NIDA Poll shows support for Thailand

BTW, interesting to read across the results broken down by region: after the first "National" results column the order is BKK, Central, North, North-east, South. Likewise the second vertical column under "National" - i.e. the number of seats such results would provide - with BJT shown as getting 4. Of course, they'll pull in their fiefdom-based constituency seats - but their combined seat total looks set to fall way short of being much use to the Dems as a consortium partner.

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