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Monday, November 29, 2010

Warnie - be a man and suck it up!

Jonathan Philip Agnew

What is this nonsense between ex-cricketer Shane Warne and commentator Johnathon Agnew?

As I understand things, Warne offered Aggers a bet at the start of the tour on which bowler would take the most wickets for the Australia v England Test Series. Warne took Aussie Nathan Hauritz and Aggers selected the Pom quick, Steven Finn. The loser was to take the winner for a meal at a restaurant of their choice. However once Hauritz was left out of the team for the First Test, Warne has apparently bailed on the bet.

Fair suck of the sav, Warnie. If you make a bet, you take the rough with the smooth and don't go changing conditions after the fact to suit yourself. By Warnie's apparent logic, you should be able to bet on a horse race but if your nag fails to get a good jump from the gate, you go and ask the bookie for your money back as your horse is now unlikely to win. Yeah. Like that's going to happen.

Come on, Warnie. Stop acting like an idiot and take it like a man rather than a whiny six-year old.

Here endeth the rant.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Thieves Gather

First up, a correction.

In my wrath the other day, I incorrectly stated that the Commonwealth Bank had raised its base variable interest rate by 0.45% more than the recent Reserve Bank increase. In point of fact, the CBA's total increase was 0.45%. But that is still a long way over the actual RBA increase.

All of the Big Four Thieves have now increased their base rates considerably more than the recent RBA increase. They continue to argue that this is a result of the cost of raising funds to lend out.

Give me a damn break. The F.B.T. are all making literally multi-billion dollar profits. They are purely and simply profit-gouging.

Blubberguts Joe Hockey, Shadow Treasurer, is naturally blaming the Gillard government for this, claiming it to be proof that they are useless, pathetic etc etc. OK Joe - just exactly what do you expect them to do? The Gillard goverment is operating under the same conditions that your lot did. So you would not have been any more successful than Gillard and co. And don't forget that in your time as a junior finance minister, you were no more successful in pulling banks into order despite your public 'putting them on notice'.

It is interesting to note that of comparable economies, Germany is the only one that similarly allows banks to have variable interest contracts ie charge what they want, when they want. The US, Japan, Korea, Canada, Spain, France and Holland - those countries do not allow banks to engage in this variable rate profit gouging. The Brits only allow it to happen in certain circumstances.

The reality is that both main political flavours have failed the Australian society at large by creating this monster and refusing to do anything to pull it back into line.

With the mining industry making massive profits as a result of high commodity prices, the Labour government wanted to introduce a super-profits tax on the miners. How about penalising the banks for their making excessive profits that are being taken straight out of the pockets of ordinary Australian consumers, not taken from foreign multinationals who are purchasing minerals etc. Of course this would need to be done with care to avoid them simply passing that straight on to consumers.

How about a massive fine per basis point above rate increases that the banks institute? Make it non-tax deductible. And give the ACCC or another authority the power to monitor and implement further retrospective major fines for any increases in charges beyond reasonable CPI-related increases in fees. Then another whacking great fine for every basis point that banks fail to pass on when prime rates are reduced by the RBA.

These thieving bastards MUST be brought into line. This profit-gouging CANNOT be allowed to continue.

I reiterate a statement I have made before: the objective of de-regulating the banking industry was not intended as a free ride for profit gouging.

C'mon Ms Gillard - give us something positive in response to this unconscionable behaviour. And you too, Blubberguts Hockey - quit grandstanding and offer up some positive suggestions.

And that's my rant.

Calling all pedophiles

This is simply unbelievable - except that it has in fact actually happened.

Amazon are selling an ebook entitled The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct.

Unbelievable. Un-be-fucking-lievable. But it gets worse. Amazon have defended their selling this piece of filth. Don't believe me? Here's the report.

What in the blue blazes of hell is Amazon thinking about? There is the possibility that it is a sting operation, but all the same... Amazon even agree to have their name associated with this garbage?

Not happy, Jan. Not bloodywell happy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Chief Thief Speaks!

From the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph:

Commonwealth Bank CEO Ralph Norris has conceded his bank’s mammoth 0.45 per cent interest rate rise will cost some of his customers their homes, a reality he says causes him immense angst.

But in defence of his bank’s Melbourne Cup Day rise, Sir Ralph said it was better to see “a few” foreclosures than have an economy hamstrung by a low-profit banking system.

In an exclusive interview yesterday, the $16.2 million a year man also urged customers feeling mortgage stress to contact the bank and seek temporary relief from their monthly payments.

On what planet did the CBA find this dipshit? Let us review a few facts:
1. A bank is admitting that its actions will be forcing people out of their homes;
2. Since when is making multi-billion dollar profits, a low-profit banking system?
3. Since when would failing to increase rates 0.45% more than the last Reserve Bank increase, hamstring the Australian economy?
4. What the fuck does someone on $16.5 million a year know about the reality of making ends meet?
5. What ‘temporary relief’ will the CBA be giving? One thing is sure as shit after breakfast – they will be making sure mortgagees catch up any payments and don’t forget that any slackening on making your mortgage payment just increases the amount of interest being generated on the balance, to the bank's benefit of course.

How much more is it going to take before our piss-weak governments will act on these thieving bastards?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Legalised Theft!

Let’s face it. The big four main Australian banks have really been copping it of late. A senior industry representative (unfortunately I cannot now locate the reference for just which of the Big Four Thieves he was representing) has claimed this is just populist bank-bashing. In other words, there isn’t really anything in it.

What a load of crap.

I am an ex-banker. It has been years since I got out but even back then they were rapacious in their fee-gouging and things have gotten considerably worse.

The BFT have decided that they need to back off a bit. They have announced intentions to remove a fee. But exactly what fee are they proposing to do without? Answer: the fee for early mortgage loan exit. This is supposed to be a reduction on the impost on Australians who are already paying ludicrous levels of bank fees. What’s more, this is somehow supposed to increase competition in the industry. What utter A-grade crap!

Oh give me a frigging break. Just how many people are charged that particular fee? What proportion of their overall fee base does this actually represent? Infinitesimal, that’s what.

This is a nothing response. The Big Four Thieves will continue to gouge the Australian public to the tune of multi-billion dollar profits. It is basically legalised theft.

When the banking industry was de-regulated, the intention was not to create an oligopoly that seemingly answers to nobody other than shareholders, and what shareholders are going to be complaining about their dividends from multi-billion dollar profits? Other industries had regulation forced on them. When will our government act in the interests of all Australians and introduce appropriate regulation to make the banks act in an economically and socially responsible manner?

And that's my rant.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I HATE agreeing with Joe Hockey

If there is one thing that I really, REALLY, hate, is being forced to find myself on the same side of an argument as the likes of Joe Hockey. But, like Hockey, I find the behaviour of the major Australian banks simply unconscionable. However it should also be remembered that back when Hockey was a junior finance spokesman, he publicly put the banks ‘on notice’. The reality of course is that they didn’t take any notice of him then and shall be taken even less notice of him now.

It must be remembered that the major Australian banks are making quite literally billions per year in profits. These profits come largely from the seemingly never-ending scale of fees being introduced. The basic operations are traditionally funded by the difference between interest received and interest paid to depositors. But for the last couple of years the banks claim that the cost of raising funds is so high now that they cannot afford to pass on the full extent of any cuts interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Yet, just as the oil companies play silly buggers with petrol prices at the pump, the banks are equally as quick to pass on the entirety of any increase in interest rates. Until now that is. Now that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has passed increased rates by more than the latest rate increase by the RBA.

The bottom line is that the banks are allowed to get away with such behaviour for several reasons. Deregulation of the banking industry years ago, freed the banks from the last of such regulation that could have controlled such behaviour. The Commonwealth Bank used to be a publicly-owned asset (note – contrary to public perception, CBA staff were not public servants as they were not paid from the public purse). However following the privatisation of the CBA, like all the other banks, the CBA has to look after the interests of and respond to shareholders. Thus the minor curbing effect the CBA used to have on the market is now gone. Finally, government has absolutely no power to force the banks into line.

Sure, there is plenty of rhetoric, but the Coalition proved unable to stop the banks (Malcolm Turnbull’s boast of 2008 that the banks were scared of them has been proven the load of shite that anyone with half a brain knew it to be). The current Labour government seems unable to do so either.

It must not be forgotten that the recent Global Financial Crisis was caused by a poorly regulated banking sector. That Australia came through the GFC in pretty good shape was no thanks to the Australian banking sector. As the banks have now well and truely shown themselves to be the school ground bullies we all suspected they were, the time has come to really draw a line in the sand. While other sectors were being forced into greater regulation of their activities, the banks were given less.

What is needed now is a re-introduction of a degree of regulation. Please note that I am not advocating governmental control of interest rates that was the logical extenstion of Hockey’s recent public announcements. However legislating that banks are not allowed to exceed the prime rates as determined by the RBA is not an unreasonable thing. Legislation forcing them to pass on all of any rate reductions in prime is similarly reasonable.

Clearly the banks are not prepared to act in a socially and economically acceptable manner, therefore the school principal needs to step in.

As I said, I really hate being on the same side of an issue as Joe Hockey, but in this instance his basic principle was right on the money.

And that’s my rant.