Sunday, November 25, 2007


By all accounts, the world's worst phone company is the major provider in Britain: BT. There is a good example of the way BT treat customers just up on Wicked Thoughts. A customer had to post his complaint on YouTube in order to get them to talk to him. A phone company that refuses to talk is pretty strange, isn't it?

But I am sure that many American readers have plenty of gripes with their phone company too. I myself have had innumerable run-ins with Australian phone companies. Talking to Telstra via their phone help-line or their email help-line is quite hopeless. You either get an insincere promise to look into it or you get told point-blank that they can't help you. Either way you have wasted your time.

Fortunately, there is a tiny chink in Telstra's armour. If you write to their chief executive you do get a mostly intelligent response and the response sometimes -- but not always -- does fix the problem. So I have only minor gripes with them at the moment. I thought it might be amusing, however, to put up copies of some of the letters I have had to write to them in the last few years. You will see how heavy I sometimes had to get in order to receive a helpful response. You can read the letters on Pondlife.

I imagine that there is already such a thing elsewhere but if I get enough emails telling of bad experiences that readers have had with their phone company, maybe I could start a site to publish such emails. It could well become both popular and a real help to people victimized by arrogant and unresponsive phone companies.


Arabs are never to blame

When the US intervened in 1999 to stop the mass murder of a Muslim minority by Slobodan Milosevic, it was savagely criticised by a Europe desperate to distance itself from the action. Eight years later, the US is being savaged for a perceived lack of engagement in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

It is becoming increasingly de rigueur around the world and, for that matter, in certain segments of the Democratic Party, to place responsibility for all international crises on the US Government. When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it has attained the level of high fashion to ascribe the persistent absence of peace to a lack of adequate US "engagement" in resolving it. If the administration of President George W. Bush were truly engaged, the argument goes, the chances for Middle East peace would be greatly improved.

Next week's meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, between Israel and Arab representatives has the look and feel of more of the same. The State Department has sent out formal invitations to the event, but it remains unclear who will attend besides Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. If history is any guide, the meeting will yield unsatisfactory results, Israel will be blamed for failing to make the requisite concessions and the Bush administration will be criticised for its "failure to engage".

This analysis, simple and neat, and for so many so satisfying, would seem at odds with the historical record.... It was the Arab bloc, including the Palestinian leadership, that decided to reject the UN's 1947 partition of Palestine into two states, Arab and Jewish, living side by side. Instead, it invaded the nascent Jewish state rather than choosing to co-exist with it, spawning the conflict that has so burdened the world for the past 60 years. This was not a decision made by the US.

The US is also not responsible for the Arab world's choice not to create a Palestinian Arab state in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank from 1948 to 1967, when it easily could have done so -- before there were any Jewish settlements there to serve as the public object of Arab grievance. It was not the US whose leaders rejected peace with Israel, negotiation with Israel and recognition of Israel in 1967.

Nor can the Clinton government be criticised for failing to pursue Yasser Arafat with sufficient solicitude between 1993 and late 2000. The Clinton administration was, after all, the most ardent of suitors of the Palestinian leader -- only to be forced to watch Arafat reject an independent Palestinian state in all of Gaza and virtually all of the West Bank. It was the Palestinian leadership, not the US, that decided in 2000 that, rather than accept an independent Palestinian state.....

Under the circumstances, one might imagine that those in a position to improve the situation in the Middle East -- but who have chosen by their inaction to worsen it -- might feel sheepish about placing the onus for the absence of Middle East peace on the US. The only thing in shorter supply than sheepishness when it comes to the Middle East, however, is helpfulness. As far as helpfulness is concerned, it is past time for those who complain most about the lack of American engagement to begin providing some.

More here


Yes. Australia now has a new Leftist government. But it is probably the world's most conservative Leftist government. Well to the Right of Tony Blair.



Syria 'was building A-bomb': "The secret Syrian structure bombed by Israeli planes three months ago was not a nuclear reactor for producing plutonium but a plant for building a bomb using plutonium that Syria apparently already had, an expert says. Uzi Even told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Syria had been far closer to a nuclear bomb than anyone believed. "In my estimation," said Professor Even, who had worked as a chemist at Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, "this (structure) was even more dangerous than a reactor. I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium -- that is, a factory for assembling the bomb."

Denmark convicts men in bomb plot: "A court in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, has found three men guilty of planning bomb attacks. Mohammed Zaher, Abdallah Andersen and Ahmad Khaldhahi were part of a group of four men arrested after a raid in the city of Odense last year. Chemicals used to make explosives were found at one of the men's homes, the court heard. The men had also been recorded discussing targets to attack. The fourth man, Riad Anwar Daabas, was acquitted by the court.... The men were charged with acquiring chemicals and equipment used to make triacetone triperoxide (TATP) - an explosive compound used in the 2005 London bombings. The evidence against them included a bottle containing a small amount of TATP, found at one of the suspects' homes, and surveillance recordings in which the men are apparently heard discussing targets for possible attack".


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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