Prayut: Thailand will have to prepare for a long-term war

July 5, 2022: Motorists complaining about high gas prices may seem like an easy problem if the energy crisis deteriorates beyond that and to the point of frequent power outages.

According to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Thailand must be prepared for two possible scenarios: 1. The war in Ukraine and its aftermath ends in the next three to six months, 2. It lasts more than six months.

“From October to December, we have to see what can be continued and what cannot be,” he said after chairing a high-level meeting at the headquarters of the National Security Council. Thailand’s top energy, finance, national security and interior officials attended the meeting.

“It’s not just a military or national security matter,” Prayut told reporters. “It’s all very intertwined, although sufficient energy supplies are our top priority.”

He admitted that the government cannot spend the money on the problem indefinitely because there is the issue of public debt that ultimately has to be worried about. “Today is about looking at what we have and checking out what more we can find and agreeing on what we need to be extra careful about,” he said. .

“It is our responsibility to ensure that the lights do not go out and that there is always an adequate energy supply,” he said.

Asked if a return to work from home is being considered, he replied: “It’s a good measure if people really stay at home.”

The Prime Minister didn’t sound too alarming, but he mentioned energy saving a few times during the 20-minute interview.

July 4, 2022: No one is spared these days from the social media bombardment of harsh and sometimes crass criticism directed at the online accounts of individual targets _ a notorious practice in relation to when large numbers of tourists are suddenly in town _ and even one of the best-known “libertarians” complained about it.

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul lamented in a Facebook post that his constructive criticism of newly elected Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt’s attitude towards skytrain operations and related issues “brought tourists” to his account in line.

In a comment that might make many Piyabutr critics frown or say “Welcome to the club!”, the Progressive Movement’s general secretary says the culture of the “tour group is here” hampers the expression of opinions minority or different.

“This culture causes people to refrain from speaking their minds, especially if they fear what they think will bring tourists to them,” Piyabutr wrote. This is how self-censorship happens, he added.

One of the sympathetic comments _ or else _ came from another activist. Nuttaa “Bow” Mahattana said such a culture was a “toxic environment” that she had fought against for years, only to be suppressed by “free speech advocates”.

“I’m glad you brought this up,” she posted in the comment thread. “I talked about it for years but nobody listened, because several (influential) people supported this kind of culture, citing freedom of speech. There was not a single warning and that’s why we are all in a toxic environment today.

July 3, 2022: To prevent a Pheu Thai election victory from becoming too big to resist, Parliament will have to do the unthinkable to reverse the method of calculating the party list as it was in 2019.

This seems to be a consensus among most analysts and even some MPs and government supporters.

It is an absolutely high mountain to climb, if not totally impossible. The expected parliamentary seal of the pro-Pheu Thai changes, which are embedded in the proposed election laws, is coming in days. The calculation method that stripped the Pheu Thai of party-list deputies after the 2019 elections would no longer be, replaced by an old system that practically rewarded large parties with a large number of party-list seats.

The proposed upcoming change, naturally favored by the Pheu Thai, would have to go through parliament, or fierce street protests demanding a constitutional amendment would erupt again. Moreover, all major parties on both sides of the aisle support (with varying degrees of alacrity and sincerity) the pro-Pheu Thai method of calculation.

But with talk and speculation of a Pheu Thai “landslide” resounding lately, all eyes will still be on Parliament in the coming days. Simply put, parliamentary approval of the proposed election rules should be a formality, but those who wish to maintain the 2019 system will still see a last-ditch show, slim as they may be.

July 2, 2022: If some tabloid articles were accurate, while the father was fighting Vladimir Putin, the son decided that making love, not war, was a better idea.

The son’s alleged past involvement with Russian escorts, however, would not help the Biden eldest.

While Donald Trump has struggled to fight accusations of Russian hacking and alleged Russian influences at the highest levels of US politics, Joe Biden could face his own Russian controversy and the US president would have his son Hunter Biden frowns.

In a democracy, one must be mature enough to distance family or ancestral acts from active politicians, otherwise the destructive arguments and/or damaging activities will never cease. That, however, doesn’t mean Hunter Biden’s alleged involvement with Russian escorts can’t hurt his father, who pretty much told the world that anything Russian is a no-no.

With Joe Biden’s jobs approval rating continuing to decline, the last thing he wants _ which unfortunately can happen _ is revival of Hunter Biden’s affairs and sexual issues. It threatens to go from a political gossip in the pages of the tabloids to a full-fledged political scandal. Some American media are stepping up the narrative and the re-digging.

Joe Biden inadvertently funded his son Hunter’s alliances with a Russian-linked escort ring, according to a report just days ago. The president wired his 52-year-old son $100,000 to help pay his bills from December 2018 to January 2019, the Washington Examiner reported, citing records from a laptop Hunter Biden left in a workshop computer repair in Delaware.

Hunter Biden, meanwhile, allegedly spent more than $30,000 on sex workers between November 2018 and March 2019, according to records, many of which are linked to Russian-based email addresses connected to a “ exclusive models” called UberGFE, the outlet reported.

Joe Biden fired Hunter $5,000 while his son was ‘actively engaged’ with an escort and was also convinced to send another $20,000 to pay for his stay in a New York rehab program that never turned up materialized, according to the report.

In a series of October 2020 reports, the New York Post detailed the president’s son’s alleged business dealings in Ukraine and China based on documents and data found in the laptop.

Hunter Biden is now under federal investigation for possible tax evasion stemming from his overseas business dealings, and House Republicans are looking for documents they say tie the president to those dealings.

These stories aren’t entirely new, but the big impacts probably are. It now hinges on pro-Democratic media activity on reviving the Hunter Biden issue, which was successfully “contained” during the campaign trail and the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency.

July 1, 2022: A large majority of Americans from all parties are unhappy with their nation, the immediate bad news for the incumbent president, and the protracted problem that future governments must address.

In an AP-NORC survey released two days ago, 85% of American adults say things in their country are going in the wrong direction, with just 14% believing the opposite. It was a substantial increase in overall pessimism from May, when 78% of American adults thought their country was headed in the wrong direction and 21% seemed optimistic.

A few months before the midterm elections, 92% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats are unhappy. It was the highest number of disgruntled Democrats since Joe Biden took office.

On the economy, 79% (67% among Democrats) called it bad.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll, also released on Wednesday, found growing discontent, particularly among Democrats, over the U.S. Supreme Court’s anti-abortion ruling. Interestingly but not so surprisingly, Republican discontent, while still substantial, has waned somewhat.

In this Reuters/Ipsos poll, 62% of Democrats say things in the country are on the wrong track, up from 49% the previous week. By contrast, 86% of Republicans say the same, down slightly from 94% a week earlier.

Americans’ opinion of Biden, meanwhile, remains fairly negative. An average of CNN Poll of Polls surveys conducted in the second half of June found that 38% of Americans approved of the work he does, with 57% disapproving, similar to his ratings earlier in the month. That can’t be good for a president whose main enemy is Donald Trump, who has rattled even some Republicans but is wildly popular among bitter Americans.

In the AP-NORC poll, 28% of American adults approve of Biden’s economic performance _ his lowest mark on the economy yet in this survey _ 36% approve of his performance on gun policy and 53% approve of how he handled the coronavirus pandemic. Again, it was impossible to fail on the pandemic which seems to be easing under his rule, and his poor rating on gun control was also understandable given that memories of recent tragedies were still fresh.

Daily updates of local and international events by Tulsathit Taptim

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