Archive for February, 2010

Subsidies for agriculture cost 70 billions per year

The government may reduce subsidies for sugar and cane farmers later this year in a bid to curb public spending, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says. […]

The study showed that subsidising the sugar industry had resulted in significant costs to the public purse.

The study also examined the impact of subsidising products such as rice, tapioca, longan, rubber and dairy goods.

The combined subsidies cost the government about 70 billion baht a year. The sugar and cane sector accounted for about 12-16 billion baht per year.

The cane and sugar industry has not followed market demand for three decades as the government developed a quota system to allocate supply for the domestic and export markets. (Bangkok Post)

Let’s be clear : to stop a system that… runs since 30 years is going to be difficult. That’s the problem with all those Lalapolicies and feel-good subsidies… they create deep market distorsions which are not sustainable on the long run, and very strong habits.

It’s like opium…

By the way It’s rather tasty to hear our dashing Prime Minister speaking about budget discipline and cut in public spendings… when the same PM decided to extend “the free electricity bill, bus and train rides for another three months” (Nation)… That means end of june (march + 3 months).

Total cost ? 4,5 billions THB.

๐Ÿ˜‰

The same people talk to us about impressive GDP growth, recovery, Green Shoots… and meanwhile vow to continue the stimulus policy, the subsidy policy, the “don’t be afraid… everything will be fine tomorrow” policy.

Change ? Yes We Can (But Later).

And the worst is : virtually all the clowns in the world are doing exactly the same… Obama, Sarkozy, Trichet, Bernanke, Merckel, Brown you name them…

It’s not a club anymore : it’s a herd.

But guess what ? Reality dies hard : “unexpected” unemployment figures in the US, “unexpected” bad figures for the house market (new homes and existing homes as well), “unexpected” low figures for equipement demand, “unexpected” revision (up) of unemployment figures in France, “unexpected” budget disaster in Greece, “unexpected” grotesque “austerity” plan that will never be implemented, “unexpected” strikes in Greece, “unexpected” lies…

Eventually : “unexpected stupidity“.

An abundant commodity on this planet.

[I’ll back on line on march 8]

Government House occupation : case against PAD delayed… 8 times

The prosection on Wednesday deferred until April 22 the decision whether to indict nine leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) over the 193-day seizure of Government House for a political rally in 2008.

The postponement, the eighth since Nov 18, 2008, was made at the request of the PAD’s lawyers, who said their clients were busy in other provinces. Prosecutors handling the case also said they had not completed their work. (Bangkok Post)

3 days… before the verdict in Thaksin’s case.

I mean how smart people can believe that… such grotesque “postponement” will not put gasoline onto the fire ?

Two solutions :
-they’re not smart
-they don’t care

… I think it’s probably a mixing of both.

The whole “justice” system is rotten and corrupted, used as a leverage for political gains.

There is no way they can make people accept an indictement of Thaksin and such blank check for PAD’s leaders in the case of the Government House occupation (and by the way it was not 193 days).

I know the 2 cases are different… but it’s a matter of principles.

You know the word that our dashing Prime Minister loves to pronounce : principles. Rule of law. Blablabla. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s be clear : Thaksin and PAD are guilty… Both of them.

But again, it’s hysterical to continue to prosecute Thaksin and meanwhile not punishing the PAD.

And what about the line from the PAD’s lawyer : “we are sorry guys, we are busy up country. Call us back. Or leave us a message after the tone. And don’t forget : up yours” !

I mean : even by thai standards, it’s simply huge.

Unbelievable.

Something is happening: people protest against the traffic police’s corruption

I think this picture, published on Nation website, is striking.

And what about this one…

Drivers of some 300 ten-wheeled trucks on Monday blocked two inbound lanes of the six-lane BangnaTrat road, demanding police stop collecting “tea money” from them. (Nation)

A few comments :
-3000 at a rally to protest against the corruption of the police ? It’s an impressive number.

-you need courage to attend such a rally… but the anger must be so deep that people are able to overcome their fear. That’s a sign.

-the police in Thailand is definitely a problem.ย  We all know (to some extend) the amazing corruption that lashes its ranks.

So to see such protests, with women, in the village, and from professsional truck drivers, is really striking. It could be the signal that the people are fed up : enough is enough !

Rise up Thailand ! Rise up !

Honestly : those 2 news, in less than 1 week, fill me with pure joy. The decent thai people start to understand that what they endure is not normal. Le’ts hope this silent majority will become very loud.

And for once : Change, Yes We Can.

Bozo explosive detectors : the daily torture of Abhisit

As I wrote here, in the GT200 scandal, Abhisit fights against himself, inside a basket full of contradiction.

-Abhisit knows that the whole story is a national shame, a scam, supported by the military

-but Abhisit can’t give an order to the Army, because the real power lies in the Army’s hands. Abhisit is the mere governor of a Potemkin State.

-and the Chief of Army took obviously great pleasure to remind (the hard way) the rules to Abhisit.

That leads the Prime Minister to use some stupid rethoric, as an escape route.

For that matter the GT200 scandal is a curse, a daily torture. He had to endure exactly the same situation during the Refugees scandal last year (read here).

Look at the latest example :

“An immediate ban could lead to chaos,” Abhisit said. “Those working in the field will ask what alternative do they have. And what can we say if we order a ban and bombs explode immediately?”

Here we have an intelligent man, educated at Oxford, who came to (the obvious) conclusion that GT200 was nothing more than a fraud, who had the courage (let’s not fear this word) to say publicly that the GT200 was inefficient… This very same man is now forced to attract ridicule by making, in public, such inane statements.

It’s a condensate of cheap rethoric and idiotic syllogism (you remember : “All men are mortal. Socrates is a man…”)

Let me translate for you :

-the army needs detectors. if we ban the GT200 and a bomb explodes, then it will lead to chaos… therefore we can not ban the GT200.

The poor guy is so stuck, that he has to sell himself like a whore, in order to justify what can’t be justified.

Because eventually, it’s all what this story is about : the GT200 is a fraud therefore the GT200 should not be used.

The Army should stop using it. Period.

Any other explanations, any other ideas, any other justifications are nothing more than intellectual frauds.

But wait, it’s not finished.

The “users who have come to trust” the device still had to be convinced, he said. “Time is needed to get those working [in the deep South] to understand the situation. But one thing must be clear. The device must not be used against human beings, as mistakes can lead to problems, not to mention lawsuits,” he added.

“At tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, I will instruct the [Science] ministry to come up with a plan to decommission the GT200s,” he said.

The plan should include measures to assist the military in finding new devices, he said. (Nation)

Like a pathetic athlete… Abhisit managed to come up with the lastest part of his twisted inferring, his false reasoning.

-since we can not ban the GT200 because it would create chaos
-and since the military on the ground do need explosive detectors
-we have to wait… for the Army to find a replacement… !
-therefore : before the Army finds a replacement… the Army will continue to use the GT200

๐Ÿ˜‰

Thai politicians love to use such figures de style in order to subdue the plebeians (it works very well with people with low education)…

But here, I don’t really think Abhisit enjoys it. He has to try to bend common sense, basic inferring and logic, in order to save face andย  to (try to) close the case.

You know what ? I start feeling pity for the guy. He has a really hard job. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chart, oil net imports, december : going down

A few days ago, we learned that :

Oil consumption in January dropped almost 10% compared to the same period last year and a month earlier, due to consumersโ€™ lack of confidence, according to the Department of Energy Business. (my article here).

The EPPO (Energy Policy and Planning Office, Ministry of Energy) has published data for november and december. And indeed we can see a nasty trend at the end of the year, after a “Green Shoot” in september.

As I wrote (many times) : oil, energy if you prefer, doesn’t lie. Particularly for countries like Thailand.

When you see that diesel consumption is going down, then it’s a serious red alarm. Because, the internal and external trade (from agriculture to industry) is based mainly on trucks, and sea freight.

Let’s start with imports of oil :

Next, the most important : net imports (Thailand does export oil, so we look at imports minus exports to get the real domestic demand)

In december, net imports were at 400 000 barrels per day. Look at the yellow line… It’s a low level.

[next chart, we’ll look at diesel, gasoline and LPG consumption]

Bozo explosive detectors : Army Chief tackles Abhisit


Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva did not order a halt in the use of the GT200 which have been found ineffective in scientific tests, Army Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda said Friday.

Anupong said Abhisit wanted soldiers to be aware that the devices might not detect bombs.

The army chief was speaking during making a visit to deep southern provinces on Friday to brief the army men about the bomb detectors.

Anupong said he was visiting the region to brief the soldiers there about the results of the efficiency test undertaken on the devices.

Anupong told a press conference on Thursday that the armed forces were ok with the devices, as they had helped detect explosives and ammunition in the past.

Abhisit has told reporters that the government will not order more devices after they failed scientific testing. (Nation)

Anupong plays perfectly his role (denying the obvious, playing with words, supporting the GT 200 “bozo” detectors… we can’ expect something different from him).

But it’s interesting to see how he tackles the Prime Minister… the Army Chief places Abhisit within his own contradiction.

What the people are going to think ?

-on one hand, Abhisit says officially that the detectors are useless. Everybody is laughing at Thailand.
-but on the other hand, Abhisit doesn’t seem to mind if the army continues to use those devices, and he didn’t give an order to stop the use of those “devices”.

= huge contradiction and huge weakness.

Actually, Abhisit is powerless toward the Army, because the Army owns him. Literally.

But Abhisit is of course intelligent (much more than the average thai politician). So he doesn’t want to lose face by being a total bozo who supports the idea that the planet Earth is flat (= believing in the GT2OO).

So he has to make a compromise : to say in public that the GT200 are useless and that the government won’t buy new inventory, but to let the military use them if they want to.

Anupong knows this… and It seems that he takes some pleasure to remind Abhisit the rules of the game. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The proof that thai authorities are monitoring Internet traffic

Here is a screenshot taken in Bangkok, using an ADSL internet line.

Asia Sentinel is a web-based Asian regional publication focussed on news, business, arts and culture. The site was launched in August 2006. Headquartered in Hong Kong, it was founded by four (western) senior expatriate journalists (Wikipedia).

While the browser downloads data coming from the host… suddendly… you can see calls to… another address !

A very special one.

“Connecting to w3.mict.go.th…”

The infamous Ministry Of Information And Communication Technology… a bunch of lunatics who secretly cut, censor websites… sometime without any legal framework.

What does it mean ? That they are MONITORING Internet traffic, to some extend.

Before they just wanted to prevent prople to visit specific websites… Now, obviously, they want to make “lists”… If you visit a “sensitive” website (according to their insane criterias),ย  MICT will notice.

The web traffic is passing through the computers of MCIT, this is why you see the calls to “Connecting to w3.mict.go.th…” on your brower.

A little bit of history.

First, they set up “web redirections”… Their targets were mostly porn websites… You know Thailand the land of mia noi and bordellos on a daily basis, but all those serious politicians and bureaucrats can not stand to look tits on a computer screen.. Anyway.

So you wanted to visit for instance Bigtits.com.. and you were redirected to w3.mict.go.th, with a very nice “Big Brother” like logo with an eye. Scarry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But It was funny. Even bon enfant.

Then, after the Coup in 2006… they became more agressive. Cutting thousands of websites. Porn, gambling, and… politics. Meanwhile, they tried some “stealth” system… The Big Brother Eye Logo was way too visible, even for the lunatics in uniform.

So you wanted to visit Screwyou.com or deadtothemilitary.com… then your browser displayed a nice “network error”… Shameful censorship… from people full of guilt. It was censorship disguised behind technical problems.
Meanwhile the Junta designed new law to fight against Internet. They became even more agressive.

And since a few months, actually since Abhisit was nominated Prime Minister… it’s a festival… The clowns decide to cut websites, without any legal process anymore. They just don’t care. It’s the Fuck You Policy.

And It can change on a daily basis, like they change underwear. Censored on monday, allowed on tuesday, play it again Sam. Why ? How ? It’s a total black box. And the rethoric is getting ugglier : “national security”, “lese majeste”, you name it.

According to their new obsession, the thai national security was probably endangered by Wetpussies.com for instance…

Or by Asia Sentinel. Next step : BBC, CNN, who knows ?

The truth is that the authorities are totally overwhelmed by the growing discontent and opposition. Thai people are not afraid anymore to express their opinions on Internet. And sometimes those opinions are really not politically correct… So the government panicks. And by doing so, it accumulate mistakes, over mistakes.

Because more stupid and dirty censorship excites the opposition, fuels the anger. It’s an old golden rule.

Anyway, we would like to know what our dashing Prime Minister Abhisit (you remember the democracy lover, the partisan of the rule of law blablabla) does think about this story ? Does he agree or not ?

๐Ÿ˜‰

More seriously : Thailand is on a dangerous path. And I’m not sure It can be changed… before disaster.


Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.