Saturday, August 4, 2012

Those damned calls you get at 6pm--what to do!

I know many of you have the same issue I do with those ‘cold calls’ you get around dinner time; that’s if you are lucky enough to have your dinner at that time. I suspect that you are thoroughly over the calls. Not only are they inconvenient, they just keep coming, even if you have made it clear via a range of methods to ‘stop the calls.’ It is time for payback!
Before you say, ‘these people are only trying to make a living;’ I would like to suggest that in many cases these calls border on being illegal and fraudulent. Yes, I know there are genuine ones; I’m thinking of the ‘insulation or home cleaning ones, but the fact is, I just don’t want them.
The ‘let us fix your computer calls,’ rears its ugly head from time to time and quite frankly, they are so unprofessional and bad, that I actually have fun with them. I feel that if I can tie them up for twenty or so minutes then they are not bugging some other poor sod. I know other friends and family who are doing the same and some of our ‘comparing notes’ make for entertaining story telling. Maybe I shall write a book based on someone in an ‘overseas call centre’ and how they function.
I see in the newspaper today that some of the firms trying to get work in the home insulation industry have been accused of hiking their process. I have an easy answer for them when they ring. I tell them of my ‘green house’ and they hardly get a word in---surprise surprise---I tell them about my wonderful solar water-heating, my heat pump and my DVS system. Then they have the gall to ask me how old my insulation is. I have absolutely no idea, so I tell them that we just had a third birthday party for my insulation and they weren’t invited.
I guess until ‘technology delivers us an answer; we are going to put up with these unsolicited calls. If you don’t have a big mouth like me, then just hang up immediately. They usually don’t call back. If you are feeling more energetic, want them to leave you alone, then bring out the old whistle, preferably one of the old fashioned school ones because they can elicit one hell of a racket. It is supposed to be illegal, but I for one don’t care---I didn’t ask for the calls.
For those of you who really are quite perturbed by these calls, seek some help from friends and if you are being continually bothered by ‘one’ company, if it is in NZ, contact them direct. A really responsible, non-threatening way to handle any caller is to ask for their number so that you can call them at your convenience. The chances of any overseas company ever giving you a legitimate number is totally unlikely.
OK, have fun, but be careful.

Bring our troops back from Afghanistan!

Afghanistan is a country that no power has ever conquered or subdued. Even with sophisticated weaponry, the task has been hopeless, always resulting in a ‘withdrawal’ once the lessons of history have been learned. Afghanistan itself is not a united country. Even in times of short-lived peace, it is a myriad of tribal groups, owing allegiance to warlords or a despotic religious faction.
The Soviet Union was sent home with its tail between its legs and the USA, along with its allies (Including NZ) will soon do the same. Why prologue the inevitable; whilst watching more of our personnel being killed or maimed? Bring them home now. Mr Key has already foreshadowed that this will happen, so just bring the date forward. I do not want to see one more Kiwi death, or anyone else for that matter.
When we look back at our involvement, I suspect that we entered this war for the same reason we have been sucked into other military misadventures, led by the USA. We follow because of historical events. Once Britain became almost irrelevant in military and world terms, we tied our manner to that of the USA. Britain proved that it could not ‘defend us in times of trouble and when we watched in horror as the Japanese swept aside paltry British forces in South East Asia during WW2, we had to find a new protector. The USA able stepped up to the mark and New Zealand has a long memory and sense of relief from those actions.
Add to that the demise of Britain being our major trading partner and the rise of the USA in the Pacific region, and then it is not hard to understand the shift in ‘reality allegiance.’ We have witnessed NZ joining the USA in a number of wars but there has been growing sense of our own futility at these unfortunate events. The fact is that these wars are rarely ‘won.’
Now we find ourselves in another unwinnable war, under the guise of ‘rebuilding and peacekeeping,’ we see our troops being killed. It is time we recognise that we are ‘not necessarily’ wanted in that country. Large sections of the populace actually support the Taliban, much to our disgust. That the Taliban was in power for a few years and wreaked havoc in in many aspects of Afghan life does not change the fact that they are able to operate in many areas of Afghanistan because of this support. Whether that is through ‘fear’ of reprisals for not supporting the Taliban cause, is just a reality of life in that country.
I feel for the many Afghanistan people who see no future in a country rules by clerics, but there is something different about this ‘failed nation’ that belies all efforts form the ‘West’ and it’s reluctant allies. Let the Islamic world lead in bringing about change. They have the wealth but lack the will, but let’s put responsibility where it belongs; then, maybe we can consider supporting their efforts, with recourses but not personnel. The Crusades after all belong back in past failed interventions.
Russia has been burned and no doubt China has its own burgeoning issues with its Islamic minorities, so don’t expect action anytime soon from those quarters.
So--- USA, get the hell out of Afghanistan and please try to ‘stay out of other regions, unless you have the ‘clear’ backing of the Full UN. Britain should take note too, but I am sure NZ will continue to kowtow to whoever is pulling the ‘trade-strings.’ OH MY GOD--- are we going to be joining China on a military misadventure sometime in the future? Such is the plight of a proud little nation at the bottom of the Pacific.