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The Australian Royal Commission into banking malpractice is considering submissions now, so it seems an appropriate time to link back to my story from 2012 about our own very special experience with the NAB (National Australia Bank).

“In 2007 Kathy and I needed to buy a new home. We had banked with the National Australia Bank for over fifteen years, so it never occurred to us to go anywhere else. This would be our fourth home loan with the NAB. All of our previous loans had been at the variable rate, or with very short fixed terms. This time we had no idea how long it would be before we needed to move again, so the flexibility of a variable rate loan was even more important.

We met with bank staff twice, and explained our needs. We were especially careful to make it clear that we did not know how long it would be before we needed to sell, and that we needed as much flexibility as possible. We finally agreed to a fixed term of one year, then moving to the standard variable rate.

Documents were given to us to sign with representations that they expressed the agreement we had made. Because we had banked with the NAB for so long we had no reason to doubt what we were told. But six weeks ago, we found that the documents we had been given did not express the agreement we had made. Instead of a loan with maximum flexibility, we had been signed up for the exact opposite; a loan with a higher interest rate, for a fixed term of ten years.

When we discovered this, we assumed it had been an honest mistake, and that the bank would be anxious to fix it. We could not have been more wrong. The reaction to our concerns was hostility, delays, and finally an outright refusal to consider anything we said. We even told them we did not want back the extra interest they had charged us, we just wanted the mistake, their mistake, to be fixed, now that it had been discovered.”

At the time I wrote that story, we had already been defrauded of between $3000 and $4000 in excess interest over a five year period. The National Bank also told us that instead of being able to pay out the loan or refinance with minimal costs, they would charge us nearly $8000 to make any changes, on a loan of just over $100,000.

Three years later, when we finally decided that despite the cost, we could no longer do business with an organisation so completely contemptuous of its customers, we had to pay some $3,000 in fees to the NAB for early release from the loan. Frustratingly, this was at the same time as the NAB was spending a fortune on TV ads claiming to be able to liberate people from locked in home loans with other banks, on the promise that its own loans were completely flexible. Hypocrisy is a grossly inadequate word to describe the National Bank’s attitude.

Nothing much has changed since this graph was published by business day more than ten years ago:

The NAB Leads in Customer Complaints

National Australia Bank Leads in Customer Complaints

It is not too late to make submissions to the banking Royal Commission. I plan to. A strong and profitable banking sector is vital to our economy. But for too long in Australia banking malpractice has been common, with banks like the NAB using their size and power over consumers in an immoral and bullying fashion. Time for some accountability.

Twice as many black men and women are killed by other blacks every year in the US than were killed by lynching in every year combined since the end of the Civil War.

Forty times as many black babies are destroyed by abortion every year as black lives were lost to lynching.

Blacks make up about 12% of the population of the US, but are the victims and perpetrators of 20% of all abortions, and 50% of all murders.

If black lives really mattered, as opposed to being an opportunity for political grandstanding and excusing riots, these are the issues that would be being addressed.

Reporting being threatened, on the other hand, is not acceptable.

Black conservative women Diamond and Silk were recently banned from Facebook because their support for President Trump made them a danger to the community. Yes, really. Even though they are polite, funny, clever as heck, and have never threatened anyone.

But when Jamie Glaznov, editor of Frontpage Magazine is actually threatened, by someone who does seem to be a danger to the community, guess who is banned?

What an astonishing achievement this is.

China will soon complete the world’s longest sea bridge.

A fifty-five kilometre sea bridge, and a six and a half kilometre under-sea tunnel.

“The engineering challenges have been immense.

The soft — and in some places deep — seabed meant engineers had to drive more than 100 huge steel cylinders into the sandy bottom to form the foundations for two artificial islands.

The flight path for Hong Kong International Airport also cuts right across the bridge, meaning engineers had to contend with height restrictions.

They also needed to ensure the huge number of ships that carry exports from “the world’s factory” are not impeded.

They solved this by building an undersea tunnel for more than six kilometres.

Environmental concerns around dredging also flared up, with engineers needing to factor in a white dolphin population that had already begun declining before construction even started.

“At the peak of construction, there were about 14,000 workers building this bridge, and 300 ships. It was an extraordinary construction site,” said Yu Lie, the deputy director of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority.

The bridge has also been designed to withstand earthquakes and seasonal typhoons that lash cities around the Pearl River estuary each year.”

From Australia’s ABC News.

She prefers her real name, Temperance. This is lovely. No matter how small you are, or how young or how old, or how little you think have to offer, you can still make a difference.

There is a never-ending parade of new share and currency trading scams. Bitcoin scams are the latest; they won’t be the last.

Geoffrey Luck tells the story of a friend who was convinced by a tale that (as usual) involved some well-known people and trade names to give the con-men added credibility.

It is easy to mock those caught by these criminals as stupid or greedy. They are not. The scammers are well-organised, slick and professional, and they target the vulnerable, including older people and single parents.

This is part of the story. Go to Quadrant Online to read the rest:

“Quite by accident my friend (let’s call him Arthur) came upon a news website previously unknown to him and saw the headline: “The Biggest Deal in Shark Tank History, That Can Make YOU Rich in Just 7 days! (seriously)”  That it carried that day’s date added to the appearance of authenticity.

The story explained that two young graduates from the Queensland University of Technology had developed an automated investment trading platform that would allow an ordinary investor to benefit from the ability to arbitrage between volatile and often rapidly changing bitcoin prices without having to buy the cryptocurrency. They called it ‘Bitcoin Trader’. An algorithm based on data and machine learning would issue ‘buy’ orders when the price fell and ‘sell’ orders when it rose, also taking advantage of short selling opportunities. There was nothing revolutionary about the idea – it appeared to him to be similar to the program trading systems widely used by institutional investors, hedge fund managers or mutual fund managers to execute large volume trades on stock markets. The only new angle was that it was applied to bitcoin trading.

The pitch said to have been put to the Sharks in the TV programme sought an investment of $200,000 for 25% of the company, valuing the business at $800,000. The initial skepticism at the idea of getting rich quickly was dispelled (the story said) when one of the panel, Janine Allis, was induced to try the trading platform on air, there and then. To her amazement, her initial investment of $250 rose to $323.18, a profit of $73.18 – in three minutes!

What then ensued (according to the report) was a frantic bidding war between competing investors. Said Steve Baxter (purportedly): “Bitcoin is so hot right now and if even somebody like Janine, no offence Janine, can make money from it, I’m all in. I need to have a piece of this. I’m going to make a huge offer, $2 million for 25% of the company.”

At this point, Janine was said to have interrupted to observe that her trading account had gone up again – to a profit of $148.42, all in eight minutes. Glen Richards then bid $2.5 million for 25%, upon which Baxter came back with the winning bid of $2.5 million for 20% of the company. This valued it at $12.5 million. The deal was celebrated as the biggest in the history of the Shark Tank.”

Of course, none of this was true…  Shades of JBC, Eurosoft, CFS, etc, etc.

Looking North from my house across to the mainland, and looking South across Pelican Lagoon.

Looking North from American River, SA.

Looking North from American River, SA.

Looking South from American River, across Pelican Lagoon.

Looking South from American River, across Pelican Lagoon.

I will be making some changes to the layout and overall look of Qohel over the next few days.  These are to improve readability overall and especially on mobile devices.

Thank you for being patient!

Air-dry, fan type hand dryers in public toilets spray particles of faeces and bacteria over your hands and into the air:

” … potential human pathogens were recovered from plates exposed to hand dryer air whether or not a HEPA filter was present, and from bathroom air moved by a small fan. Spore-forming colonies, identified as B. subtilis PS533 averaged ∼2.5-5% of bacteria deposited by hand dryers throughout basic research areas examined regardless of distance from the spore forming laboratory, and these were almost certainly deposited as spores. Comparable results were obtained when bathroom air was sampled for spores. These results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers, and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers.

Importance: While there is evidence that bathroom hand dryers can disperse bacteria from hands or deposit bacteria on surfaces, including recently washed hands, there is less information on: i) the organisms dispersed by hand dryers; ii) if hand dryers provide a reservoir of bacteria or simply blow large amounts of bacterially contaminated air; and iii) if bacterial spores are deposited on surfaces by hand dryers. Consequently, this study has implications for the control of opportunistic bacterial pathogens and spores in public environments including healthcare settings. Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria including bacterial spores may travel between rooms, and subsequent bacterial/spore deposition by hand dryers is a possible mechanism for spread of infectious bacteria including spores of potential pathogens if present.”

I have always detested them; useless, noisy things.

Part of a long and thoughtful article by Sohrab Ahmari, writing at Commentary Magazine.

” … the troubling outcome of the Iraq project doesn’t automatically vindicate the reflexive Christian opposition to today’s escalation in Syria. Christian supporters and critics of Trump’s move must apply public moral reasoning informed by the faith’s rich tradition of thinking about war and peace. The critics, I believe, have the weaker case—for two reasons.

First, Christians cannot remain ambivalent in the face of grave evil. This is true of the individual soul, who is called to wage spiritual combat against the evil within his heart (cf. Mt. 15:19), but it is also true of powers and nations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is instructive on this point: “Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes” (2313; emphasis added). And more: “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man” (2314).

It follows that Christians must support efforts to defang regimes that commit such crimes. According to the U.S. and numerous other Western intelligence agencies and civil-society organizations, the Assad regime is responsible for the vast majority of deaths in Syria’s civil war. It is the Assad regime that drops shrapnel-packed barrel bombs on densely packed civilian population centers. It is the Assad regime that runs industrial-scale torture facilities. And it is the butcher of Damascus who has used chlorine, sarin, and other chemical weapons against his own people, most recently in Eastern Ghouta.

Assad’s depravity goes far beyond cynical power politics and cruelty in wartime of which most nations through history have been guilty. Rather, Assad is racing for a place in the mass-murderer’s Hall of Infamy. Years from now, when the civil war is at last over and the West reckons with its failure to stop Assad’s killing machine in time to save half a million people and counting, it will not do for Christian opponents of military action to say: “But Iraq had gone so badly!” Or: “We couldn’t tell who was good and who evil in that fight!” Or: “Assad was fighting Islamists and protecting Syrian Christians!”

As Weigel wrote, “Whatever its psychological, spiritual, or intellectual origins, moral muteness in wartime is a form of moral judgment—a deficient and dangerous form of moral judgment.”

Second, Christians cannot remain ambivalent when the “minimum conditions of international order” are at stake. Christians, especially Catholic Christians, have spent two millennia thinking about world order. Through the ages, the Church and its greatest theological minds have constantly emphasized the need for a just, well-run, and peaceful order. As Weigel noted, however, the political peace that Christianity has in mind is not the permanent absence of conflict, a condition that is impossible to achieve so long as human life is disfigured by the mystery of evil—even after the Cross and the Resurrection.”


How to send a message that use of chemical weapons crosses a red line, as then President Obama insisted (and then, appallingly, failed to act), without involving the US in another pointless ground war on the other side of the world?

This article by Thomas Lifson on American Thinker makes the case that President Trump got this right. Let’s hope no further messages are needed.

“As the war drums were being beaten for an attack on Syria in response to its apparent use of chlorine gas, I shared some of the fears of such critics as Tucker Carlson and Michael Savage – that we were being led into a possible war that could end up a quagmire.  My greatest reservation was the possibility of toppling Assad and reaping another Libya or Iraq, with even worse enemies taking control.  And for all the brutality of the Assad regime, it has prevented wholesale religious massacres in a multi-religion state.

But so far, the strike on three targets in Syria appears to have been not too much, not too little, but just right to deliver the necessary message.”

Read the rest:



Paul Driessen pointed out years ago that green policies mean stopping developing nations from developing by depriving them of energy and clean water.

Viv Forbes lists the ways green policies also undermine the continuing growth of the West. Greens are not only traitors to the poor, they are traitors to the environment:

Greens hate individual freedom and private property. They dream of a centralised unelected global government, financed by taxes on developed nations and controlled by all the tentacles of the UN.

No longer is real pollution of our environment the main Green concern. The key slogan of the Green religion is “sustainable development”, with them defining what is sustainable.

Greens hate miners. They use nationalised parks, heritage areas, flora/fauna reserves, green bans, locked gates and land rights (for some) to close as much land as possible to explorers and miners – apparently resources should be locked away for some lucky distant future generation. And if some persistent explorer manages to prove a mineral deposit, greens will then strangle it in the approvals process using “death by delay”.

Greens hate farmers with their ploughs, fertilisers, crops and grazing animals. They want Aussie grazing land turned back to kangaroos and woody weeds. They plan to expel farmers and graziers from most land areas, with food produced in concentrated feedlots, factory farms, communal gardens and hydroponics.

Greens hate professional fishermen with their nets, lines and harpoons. Using the Great Barrier Reef as their poster-child, they plan to control the Coral Sea using marine parks, fishing quotas, bans and licences, leaving us to get seafood from foreign seas and factory fish farms.

Greens hate foresters and grass-farmers. They want every tree protected, even woody weeds taking over ancient treeless grasslands. Red meat and forest timber are “unsustainable”. Apparently they want us to live in houses made of recycled cardboard and plastic and eating fake steak and protein powder made from methane generated from decomposing rubbish dumps.

Greens despise the suburbs with their SUV’s, lawns, pools, rose gardens, manicured parks, ponies and golf courses. They prefer concentrated accommodation with people stacked-and-packed in high-rise cubic apartments, with state-controlled kindies in the basement, and with ring-roads of electric trams and driverless cars connecting apartments, schools, offices and shops.

Greens hate reliable grid power from coal, nuclear, oil, gas or hydro generators. Their “sustainable” option is part-time power from wind and solar with the inevitable blackouts and shortages needing more rules and rationing.

Greens lead the war on fracking and pipelines. The victims are energy consumers. The beneficiaries are Russian gas and Middle-east oil.

Greens think it is “sustainable” to uglify scenic hills with whining wind towers, power poles, transmission lines and access roads, and to clutter pleasant estuaries and shallow seas with more bird-slicing turbines. They think it is “sustainable” to keep smothering sunny flatlands under solar panels and filling the suburbs with extra power lines and batteries of toxic metals.

Greens think it is “sustainable” to clear forests for bio-mass to feed large wood-fired power stations, or for establishing biofuel plantations. They think it is “sustainable” to keep converting croplands from producing food for humans to producing ethanol for cars.

Greens hate free markets where prices are used to signal changing supply and demand. There is no room for fun, frills or luxuries in their “sustainable” world. They want to limit demand by imposing rationing on us wastrels – carbon ration cards, electricity rationing meters, water rationing, meat free days, diet cops and bans on fast foods and fizzy-drinks.

They also favour compulsory recycling of everything, no matter what that process costs in energy or resources. Surveillance cameras will keep watch on our “wasteful” habits.

None of this vast green religious agenda is compatible with individual freedom, constitutional rights or private property – and none of it makes any economic or climate sense.

Impressed by Criminal Minds? Don’t be. It was great television, but criminal profiling doesn’t work.

You might as well ask a psychic with a tea cosy on her head in a fairground tent. From time to time psychics and profilers make a lucky guess, and this is trumpeted to the media. But based in reality? Reliable? Scientific? No.

Criminal profiling is an illusion.

So called renewable energy is not renewable.

When you take into account the cost of construction, installation, maintenance, transmission, and the need to keep real energy sources running constantly to make up for fluctuations in supply caused by the unreliability of wind and sunlight, any wind or solar installation has a net cost in energy. No real contribution at all. Zero. Except to make governments and activist groups feel good about themselves. This is why, once the subsidies stop, wind and solar installations cease to function, and rust into the ground. The little they produce is not even enough to cover the cost of maintaining them.

Wind turbines produce less than one percent of the world’s energy, solar panels even less.

The cost of energy to consumers has to increase to cover the massive expense of these vanity projects. The more “renewable” energy in the mix, the higher the retail cost of electricity.

They are expensive and produce no net gain. Time to call it quits. Just stop taking tax-payer money to prop them up, and they will go away. And then private enterprise will have an incentive to invest in infrastructure that really works, and in researching new and efficient forms of energy production and distribution.

“Renewable energy” puts a brake on development in the West, and keeps millions of people in developing nations powerless and in abject poverty. Climate justice is exactly the opposite of justice.

Since the UK banned most personal ownership of firearms, its rate of knife crime has risen to the point where someone in Britain is attacked with a knife every four minutes. In addition, London now has one of the highest rates of acid attacks in the world. No mention in the Independent of the likely cause of this massive increase in recent years, of course.

A couple of days ago, Regents Park (London) police reported with pride that they had conducted a street search and removed and disposed of the following dangerous items.

Seriously? These are all normal, useful items found in almost every home. On any given day I would be likely to have two or three of them in my pockets, as well as my Leatherman multi-purpose tool which includes a knife and several other potentially dangerous tools.

Removing tools, including knives and guns and corrosive liquids, from everyone because someone might use them to harm someone else does not reduce crime. Some other object can always be found. Focusing on the object used in the crime is senseless.