Telstra spinner Rod Bruem writes: Really surprised by your decision to run Paul Budde’s highly misinformed commentary about Telstra’s new Next G mobile network on Tuesday (item 22)… especially given the Australian ran the same comment on Saturday. For the record, Budde was not among the “‘analysts” at the day-long briefing and launch, which could explain why he has no idea. (Graeme Lynch from Communications Day demolished Budde’s commentary on Monday, and I include his comments below for your information.) Budde seems to be on a personal crusade to discredit Telstra’s $1 billion investment in the Next G network and all the benefits it will bring – this from someone that has repeatedly called for increased investment in infrastructure to improve broadband provision in Australia. HSDPA is clearly recognised as the dominant 3G technology globally – according to the GSM Association Australia is the 39th country to go live with the technology and Telstra the 64th network to commence HSDPA based commercial services. Importantly the move to higher data speeds under HSDPA – peak of 14.4 Mpbs in early 2007 and and expected peak of 40 Mbps in 2009 – will be done via software upgrades and, contrary to Budde’s “expert” advice, will not require another major network overhaul. In regard to Budde’s comments on handsets, all chip manufacturers are committed to supporting multi band 3G (ie 850, 1900, 2100), in much the same way that Quad band GSM is such a common feature today – in other words, it’s all about putting a chip in a phone, not about designing a special handset. There are currently 16 devices that operate in the 850 MHz frequency band, in support of network deployments such as Telstra’s in Australia, Cingular in the US and Rogers Wireless in Canada (the biggest wireless operators in all three countries), as well as potentially many more markets in the Americas, Asia and elsewhere. Telstra has been working with handset manufacturers, including Samsung and Motorola, to develop a roadmap of close to 30 devices over the next 18 months.

Andy McIntyre, EP of The Wedge, writes: Yesterday’s edition of Crikey makes reference (item 23) to the Australian TV comedy series The Wedge and its absence from Network Ten’s published program schedule for next Tuesday October 17th. Mr Dyer infers from his reading of next week’s program guide that The Wedge has been cancelled. This is incorrect. It is not uncommon for long run television series to make way for one-off specials on occasions, something Mr Dyer should be aware of after his long career as a network executive. The Wedge has not been cancelled, nor has its first season run concluded. It returns to the program schedule later in October and has been recommissioned for a further season in 2007. Mr Dyer has every right to express his opinion on The Wedge and its content. We simply object to his reporting that “Ten ended the experiments known as The Wedge and Real Stories…” without first checking his facts.

Glenn Dyer responds: Guilty on all counts except I did not infer that it had been cancelled. If I had I would have said, cancelled, dead, no more. I knew it had been renewed for next year and that it was coming back later this month and was awaiting confirmation from Ten. They got back to me AFTER Crikey had been published, which is the usual way of things. Real Stories though remains un-renewed for next year. It was an interesting experiment and deserves to come back but with a harder, sharper edge to show that bogan humour doesn’t have to be so Melbourne suburban, which is The Wedge. The two programs work OK together.

Fiona Sassenfeld writes: Just a comment about the new program on Channel Seven last night. The Unit is actually about the military and the military spouses providing support for their husbands who are a specialised unit. I am one of these spouses and when you glibly place this show into the “another police show” box, it is offensive as this is nothing like a cop show. Maybe you did not get the promo material but this is a good show.

Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “ABC radicals get their pay rise” (yesterday, item 23). I am curious about Glenn Dyer’s piece on the “radicals” at the ABC. Curious as to why radicals needed to be in inverted commas, curious as to why ordinary working men and women fighting for their rights are suddenly “radicals” and targets for his mockery. They took strike action because management refused to talk to them. It’s one of the sad new features of the new industrial landscape; bosses no longer have to negotiate in good faith or indeed negotiate at all. The ABC staff are not seeking much, just some extra money that would top up their weekly pay packets after years of falling behind. Dyer’s remark about giving money back if oil prices fell is sad. It is hard to understand what prompted this attack on decent Australian workers just trying to keep pace with the cost of living. I should declare an interest: I hold a leadership position at the journalists’ union, the Alliance. I am delighted that the ABC’s pay offer has been upped and hope that it will be increased further if the staff feel it is not sufficient. I am proud of their actions and their overwhelming vote to take industrial action. I know they love their ABC and were saddened that their actions affected the output of the network for 24 hours. But they were forced to do so by the ABC management running scared of the IR ideologues who now run this country. And I am saddened that some peanut feels he has the right to take cheap shots at the ABC staff from the sideline. I suppose he was just being a smarta-se. Does that make it forgivable? I would think not.

Martyn Smith writes: Let’s leave aside whether those pesky radicals at the ABC deserve their pay rise and whether they accept or return it in a fit of conscience. I want to borrow Glenn Dyer’s crystal ball from which he confidently predicts that petrol prices will continue to fall over next year and the CPI continue to ease. If Glenn can predict stuff like that, Henry Thornton move over.

Andrew Elder writes: Re, your piece on David Jones vs the Australia Institute (yesterday, item 16): I realise that you may not have read the paper in detail, and that you cleave to academic freedom as a matter of principle. The paper says: 1) Some clothing manufacturers are producing clothing for pre-adolescent children that could be s-xually suggestive. 2) Those retailers print images of those clothing being worn that could be considered s-xually provocative: lots of bare skin, pouty models etc. 3) David Jones sells those clothes. However, despite not being a lawyer, I’d say that this delicate piece of reasoning does not necessarily mean that David Jones is participating in the s-xualisation of children. My fiancee pores over the DJs catalogue and she did not identify any pose by the child models which was inconsistent with the sorts of things little children do naturally (eg a fully clad and non-provocative little girl standing with her feet apart: cries of “open legs” are a little silly in this context). Imagine the impact on DJs if it developed a reputation inimical to children’s interests, especially as retail sales are down anyway. I don’t know who’s right, and I don’t know who’ll win, but Clive Hamilton should be damn sure of his facts and not cry victim. If there is any capitalist enterprise with a warm-and-fuzzy image it’s DJs, and it is totally understandable that they’ll fight to protect it. If Hamilton wins, let him crow then. If he wants to be an anti-corporate martyr he can do it in his own time. If Windschuttle vs Lyndall Ryan has taught any academic anything, it is: check your facts, then check them again. No, I don’t work for DJs and I don’t particularly have anything against Hamilton.

Craig Berkman, an ABC staffer formerly based in Israel, writes: Some of yesterday’s comments about Tuesday’s articles by Loewenstein and Burchill demonstrate the irrational, unthinking and blind devotion to the “perfect” state of Israel which is so much a part of the problem in the Middle East. Do people like Alex Lubansky, Lionel Kowal and Grant Ye ever acknowledge any wrongdoing by the state of Israel under any circumstances? Is it a perfect state which has never made a wrong move? Certainly the US administration and John Howard appear to think so. And of course when it comes to arguing when you have at best a dubious argument, Lubansky, Kowal and Ye resort to the standard and pathetic political method of attacking the person rather than the issues. In my opinion, Israel, the USA and the rest of the international community failed badly when they missed their greatest ever opportunity to move forward in the Middle East with Hamas winning the January elections. Hamas had spent over a year not firing rockets at Israel and not sending suicide bombers to kill innocent Israelis. This was the time for Bush to put pressure on Israel to sit down at the negotiating table with a democratically elected Palestinian government which had the support of the Palestinian people. That would have been an incredible step towards peace but they blew it completely. The diabolical question is: did they do it on purpose to inhibit the peace process?

Michael Jones writes: Scott Burchill is entirely correct that states do not have a “right to exist” (10 October, item 12). The last 20 years have seen changes in the political geography of the planet unmatched since the end of the First World War. Despite no one ever coming up with a convincing answer to the question “What is the point of Belgium?”, it is universally recognised. On the other hand, practically no one recognises the Republic of Northern Cyprus. For a state that demands not only recognition of its existence but also of its “right” to exist, Israel behaves rather oddly. It has no constitution. It refuses to define its own borders. It also refuses to define itself as a state of all its citizens, while insisting on the right to control the lives and livelihoods of people it does not recognise as its citizens, including collecting and withholding their taxes. It builds roads that only its (Jewish) citizens can use outside of what the rest of the world considers to be its borders, to link the settlements that they claim a right to build even in contravention of Israeli law. It prevents the spouses of its non-Jewish citizens from living in the country while extending citizenship rights to every person of orthodox Jewish descent anywhere in the world. So what is the Israel that has a “right to exist”? Is it the entirety of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, the Litani and the Gulf of Aqaba, or the land within the Green Line? Or something else? Is it the Jewish State, or the State of the citizens of Israel?

Dr Andrew Jakubowicz writes: Continental Asia is now nuclear from west (Israel) to east (Korea) and north (Russia) to south (India); soon the gaps will be filled in when Iran goes nuclear as well. North Korea made a very sensible decision however nasty the regime is to its own people, and no matter that they turn off the lights at night. It saw what the USA and its acolytes did to another Axis of Evil country: lied shamelessly, bombed their way into the place, murdered the ruling elite, tore up the country and started an out of control firestorm. It looked at its neighbours and noticed that it was surrounded by people with nuclear weapons – including the tactical ones owned by the USA parked around its coast and in South Korea too. Faced with the reality – and backed by the fact that its closer friends were very happy to have their own weapons and had made no noises they would defend the regime, North Korea showed to the world that it could create a deterrent – one that Iraq would dearly have loved to have had, and which the USA lied that it was making. So North Korea tells the truth, gets on with the job, and makes itself and its regime more secure. Sensible people, given the Iraq alternative.

J Airey writes: With regard to Peter Faris’s item on Julian Moti (10 October, item 3), he might want to check his facts with regard to Mr Moti’s citizenship. Solomon Islands does not permit dual nationality: people seeking Solomon Islands citizenship have to surrender their original, cancelled passport (so judging by recent photos of his passport in the press, Mr Moti at least has the paperwork prepared!) before they can be granted citizenship. If Mr Moti is currently an Australian, he cannot be a Solomon Islands citizen.

John Kloprogge writes: Re. Victoria Collins (yesterday, comments), you try to explain Warren Entsch’s gay advocacy by suggesting he is after the pink vote in Northern Queensland, but it doesn’t hold up. This is Entsch’s last term in parliament: he doesn’t need any more votes. Perhaps his pro-gay antics of late can by explained by the fact he’s a genuine, fair-go Aussie, who wants to get rid of discrimination?

Wayne Sanderson writes: The sense of shock and surprise was complete, dear fellow reader: Christian Kerr got something wrong. (No doubt the error occurred “in the editing process” as they say.) In “Views from the left wing and from the left field” (10 October, item 8), Kerr referred to a quote which he said: “New Yorker extracted from an unnamed Bush White House aide”. In fact the quote was “extracted”, although that is hardly the word, by respected former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind (author of The One Percent Doctrine) for this article in The New York Times Magazine. There’s a handy reference to it in this article from The Boston Globe. Kerr’s version of the quote was: “You are irrelevant. We make our own reality.” In fact, a senior adviser to Bush told Suskind at a face-to-face meeting that he (Suskind) belonged to “what we call the reality-based community … [people who] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. We’re an empire now and when we act, we create our own reality. We’re history’s actors, and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Kerr also said “the left – properly – have fulminated” over the quote. Not just the left, dear boy. The quote and the attitudes it betrays (hubris and disdain for reason) terrified grown-ups everywhere, including at least some on both sides of US politics.

Mike Burke writes: David Flint is quite right (10 October, item 16). It is journalists, and journalists alone who determine the content of their news media. The whingeing of so many journalists about how they are forced to write (or not write) what their media proprietors dictate is just so old. If you don’t like what you are doing, or the party line of your employer, exercise your right to do something else for a living. “Oh, but”, I hear you cry, “there are no other jobs and I’ve got a spouse, three kids, two cars and a mortgage to support”. Well, so what? Since when did anyone twist your arm and force you to work for people you despise, doing a job you so obviously detest? This is a problem faced by people in all walks of life every day of their lives. Get up off your bellies and walk, people.

Adam Lyons writes: No doubt there must be many Crikey readers who didn’t like, or agree with the article regarding Joanne Lees (October 10, item 2), but to suggest that it should not have been published is pure censorship. Crikey is the only source of news in Australia, and one of only a few throughout the world, that publishes all the views. This is what makes Crikey true value for money. If one desires to be truly informed, one must be prepared to be told what they need to hear, not only what they would like to hear.

Bill Calvin writes: When I cancelled my free trial period I was asked to select from a drop down menu as to why. I had to select “other” as there was no “cancelling because this website is hopelessly bleeding heart, left wing Green/Labor – yay, John Howard/George Bush – boo hiss, with no pretence of balance” button.

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Peter Fray

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