Monthly Archives: February 2012

George Osborne: UK Has Run Out of Money

By Rowena Mason | From http://www.telegraph.co.uk | Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Government ‘has run out of money’ and cannot afford debt-fuelled tax cuts or extra spending, George Osborne has admitted.

In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy.

Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers.

“The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.”

Mr Osborne’s bleak assessment echoes that of Liam Byrne, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, who bluntly joked that Labour had left Britain broke when he exited the Government in 2010.

He left David Laws, his successor, a one-line note saying: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left”.

Mr Osborne is under severe pressure to boost growth, amid signs the economy is slipping back into a recession.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has urged him to consider emergency tax cuts in the Budget to reduce the risk of a prolonged economic slump.

But the Chancellor yesterday said he would stand firm on his effort to balance the books by refusing to borrow money. “Any tax cut would have to be paid for,” Mr Osborne told Sky News. “In other words there would have to be a tax rise somewhere else or a spending reduction.

“In other words what we are not going to do in this Budget is borrow more money to either increase spending or cut taxes.”

The strongest suggestion of help for squeezed family budgets came from the Chancellor’s claim that he was “very seriously and carefully” considering plans to help lower earners by raising the personal allowance for income tax, a proposal that has been championed by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.

But he implied there would be no more help for motorists struggling with record petrol prices this spring. “I have taken action already this year to avoid increases in fuel duty which were planned by the last Labour government,” he said.

The Chancellor’s tough words were echoed by Liberal Democrat Jeremy Browne, the foreign minister, who warned that Britain faced “accelerated decline” without measures to tackle its debt and increase competitiveness.

In an article published today in The Daily Telegraph, he writes that Britain’s market share in the world used to be “dominant” but was now “in freefall” compared with the soaring economies of Asia and South America. “This situation has been becoming more acute for years,” he adds. “It is now staring us in the face. So we need to take action.”

Mr Browne writes that reform of pensions, welfare and defence is essential to stop the departments “collapsing under the weight of their own debt”. “Just because the spending was sometimes on worthy causes does not in itself mean it was affordable,” he says.

“Doing nothing when your prospects are at risk of declining is not the safe option. More of the same may be superficially more popular in the short-term but that does not make it right.”

Amid warnings that Britain urgently needed to adopt a more pro-business outlook, senior Conservatives have urged the Government to get rid of the 50 pence top rate of tax.

Figures from the Treasury last week suggested the policy was not raising the expected amount of revenue and was threatening to drive leading business people and entrepreneurs away from Britain. Dr Liam Fox, the former Conservative Defence Secretary, yesterday argued for the top tax rate to be scrapped, but added that cutting taxes on employment was even more important.

“I would have thought the priority was getting the costs of employers down and therefore I would rather have seen any reductions in taxation on employers’ taxation rather than personal taxation,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Politics show.

Any efforts to scrap the rate this parliament would face severe opposition from within the Coalition.

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat deputy leader, said yesterday that keeping the current 50p rate was “the right thing to do”. He told the BBC: “I represent people in a pretty solid working-class community. What they’re concerned about is what happens to ordinary people out of work and where they get jobs.”

Last night, Labour argued Mr Osborne needed to take a more proactive stance on boosting growth by increasing public spending.

Chris Leslie MP, the shadow Treasury minister, said it was wrong of the Chancellor to argue that Britain was broke and to rely on business alone to create economic growth.

“George Osborne can’t complacently wash his hands and claim the lack of jobs and growth in the economy is nothing to do with him,” he said.

“He needs to realize that government has a vital role to play in creating an environment where the private sector can grow and create jobs.”

Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, urged Mr Osborne to cut VAT.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor made it clear he was resisting pressure to hand over up to another £17.5billion in taxpayers’ money to help bail out struggling European Union countries.

He said Europe had not “shown the colour of its money” by taking measures to help itself tackle its debt problems.

Until that happens, Britain will not give any extra funds to the International Monetary Fund.

The Chancellor was speaking as finance ministers from the world’s 20 most powerful economies met in Mexico.

Mr Osborne said: “While at this G20 conference there are a lot of things to discuss; I don’t think you’re going to see any extra resources committed (to the IMF) here because eurozone countries have not committed additional resources themselves, and I think that quid pro quo will be clearly established here in Mexico City.”

This article originally appeared at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9107485/George-Osborne-UK-has-run-out-of-money.html

PG
About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

S&P Declares Greek ‘Selective Default’ After Bailout

From BBC News Business | February 28, 2012

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s has classified Greek debt as in “selective default” following the deal it made with creditors to reduce its debts.

S&P says the terms of that deal triggered the latest downgrade. Greek debt already had a “junk” grade rating from the agency.

Separately, the European Central Bank said it was suspending the eligibility of Greek bonds as collateral for loans to commercial banks.

It said this would run until mid-March.

The ECB explained that by the middle of next month it would start to accept the bonds again, because a programme for eurozone nations to provide supplementary collateral to insure the ECB against losses is due to come into effect.

‘No impact’

Banks and other financial firms are being asked by Greece’s government to take a 53.5% loss on their Greek sovereign bonds.

The plan was agreed by the Greek parliament last week, and, if backed by Greece’s creditors, it would wipe out 107bn euros (£90bn; $142bn) of the country’s debt.

S&P said that when the debt exchange was complete it would assess Greece again and possibly raise its rating.

The Greek government said S&P’s move had been expected and added it would not hurt the banking industry.

“This rating does not have any impact on the Greek banking system since any likely effect on liquidity has already been dealt with by the Bank of Greece,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

Last week, rival credit rating agency Fitch also downgraded Greece’s debt.

This article was originally posted at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17187068

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About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

What About Psych Patients When SHTF?

As a professional, I have often come in contact with people in my medical career as well as my personal life that have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. Fears abound in the general public regarding people “coming off their meds.” Fictional representations are even more disturbing and tend to fuel this fear. As the fear that some have related to psychiatric patients in a SHTF scenario are somewhat disproportionate, I feel it necessary to offer some balance to the subject.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that only a small minority of mentally ill people are dangerous to others. The vast majority of people who have a diagnosed mental illness have mood disorders or anxiety disorders. These disorders can be very difficult for the individual and may require medication or even hospitalization. When hospitalized, these people are typically dangerous only to themselves. That means they may be suicidal or engaging in negative behaviors. Most seek treatment because they do not feel they have a good quality of life. Medications can make symptoms more manageable so that a person can lead a more productive and happier life.

Stopping these medications suddenly may make the person irritable, nervous, depressed or sleepless. Some may have physical symptoms like high blood pressure, heart palpitations, nausea or dizziness. These will pass in a short time. These people will not “go psycho” and start chopping up other people. In a SHTF scenario, these people may not have the inner strength that it takes to survive. Rather than interfere with others, it is more probable that these individuals will simply withdraw and die. A common complaint of depressed patients is that life doesn’t seem to have a purpose and they feel unfulfilled. With survival at stake, it is entirely possible that these individuals may find a purpose and a strength they never knew they possessed.

Other patients have the more serious thought disorders characterized by hallucinations or delusions. Without medication, they are likely to be so far removed from reality that they can’t function. However, depending upon the exact nature and extent of their illness, some could potentially be able to survive and even to thrive. For example, those with severe paranoia may be particularly adept at survival. To reiterate, these people are unlikely to pose a threat to any but their closest associates.

Bipolar Disorder has captured a lot of attention in recent years. This is a disorder characterized by mood swings that are greatly exaggerated from what “normal” people have. The depressed phase is identical to what those with [major depression] experience. (Emphasis added.) The difference is that the manic phase is characterized by elated or angry mood, decreased sleep, increased energy and racing thoughts. Similar to some types of schizophrenia, those with severe mania may hear voices or have delusions, especially of being omnipotent or immortal. Although this disorder is believed to have a genetic component, it is also closely connected to the environment. The fast pace of modern life is believed to be a major contributor to the increase in this problem. Lack of electricity’s artificial sleep cycle combined with decreased stimulation of constant media, computers, music, and et cetera may help to decrease manic episodes. Those with slight to moderate mania can be an asset with their abundance of energy. Individuals who are severely affected with this disorder may be too unaware of risks that may result in death. Those plunged into depression, such as those with regular depression, may lose the will to live. In either phase, the only potential danger to others I could foresee in grid down situation would be that an extremely manic person may inadvertently give away the location of their group to marauders. They may be hard to live with, but unlikely to pose a threat.

Those who are most likely to be a danger to others are the least likely to be found in a psychiatric ward. It is more probable that they will be found in prisons or hospitals for the criminally insane. These are the people who have no conscience, no morals, no respect for life. Their diagnosis may be psycopath, sociopath, anti-social personality disorder, malignant narcissist among others. They can’t be helped by medication or therapy. More importantly, they do not want nor do they feel they need any help. Access to unregulated drugs or alcohol may further incite such individuals to violence. Currently, there are no accurate counts available of how many of these people exist since they are typically without diagnosis until they have been apprehended by law enforcement, charged, and then convicted for some unspeakable crime. Some go to prison while others plead insanity and are remanded to hospitals for the criminally insane. Countless others are cunning enough to hide their true nature and blend in with the rest of humanity. They obey laws only because they fear loss of their freedom. Without legal authority, commonly known in the preparedness community as WROL or “without rule of law,” their true selves will emerge.

We all know we may face danger from dangerous felons who are able to escape when the collapse occurs. They will be no more or less dangerous if they escape prison or a hospital for criminally insane. The other major danger is not the hapless mental patient or the housewife on Prozac; it’s the monsters that have blended in with us until all societal restraints are removed. They will take joy in killing, raping, and otherwise terrorizing anyone they encounter. Many have charismatic personalities and may become leaders of criminal gangs. What makes them most dangerous is that they are rational, logical, even methodical. They are not hampered by mood disturbances, anxieties, phobias or obsessions as are those whom we count among the mentally ill now.

So, do not fear the pathetic schizophrenics who can’t function because of the voices or the chronically depressed. In a world where survival of the fittest is the rule, it is most likely they will not survive. Be forewarned, however:  if you know anyone who seems cruel, sadistic or amoral, be certain to keep them out of your circle. Be prepared for the monsters that live among us to come out of the shadows. There may be only one thing you can do to protect yourself from them.

PG
About The Author: Mama (Catherine) believes in preparedness as a way of life. Special emphasis on health as well as preparedness for women, families and communities. You can follow her on Twitter @MamasGotAGun.

Wyoming Advances ‘Doomsday Bill’ to Help Residents During Possible Collapse

By Billy Hallowell | From TheBlaze.com | On February 27th

Over the past few years, economic woes have led to both fear and uncertainty. The Blaze already told you about what “preppers” are doing to ready themselves should disaster become reality. GBTV, too, has brought you “Independence USA,” a reality show featuring a family trying to live off the grid. But now it seems even some politicians are getting in on the preparatory spirit, with officials in the State of Wyoming advancing what many are calling a “Doomsday Bill.”

In the event that America’s political system or economic stability collapses, some Wyoming lawmakers contend that a viable plan must be in place. Enter Bill 85, which passed its first vote in the state’s House on Friday. If advanced, the “Doomsday Bill” would create a state-run government task force that would explore and handle energy supplies, food shortages and other needs related to a potential nationwide governmental collapse.

“The task force would include state lawmakers, the director of the Wyoming Department of Homeland Security, the Wyoming attorney general and the Wyoming National Guard’s adjutant general, among others,” reports Trib.com.

And here’s the kicker: If, indeed, such a horrific incident takes hold, Wyoming would potentially be able to issue its own currency — an action that would allow the state to isolate and self-contain, while continuing its commerce and operations. Additionally, WTOP.com reports that the proposed task force will examine the conditions under which the state government would need its own army, aircrafts and other materials.

While the state’s Department of Homeland Security already has a crisis management plan on the books, it doesn’t cover what would happen if a nationwide political or economic disruption or collapse takes form. In the past, at least six other states have attempted to create state currency; all have failed.

With Occupy Wall Street continuing to have a nation-wide presence and with the economy still on shaky ground, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. David Miller (R-Riverton), sees the proposal as a common-sense move. That being said, Miller also contends that he doesn’t anticipate any catastrophic event in America in the near future. For him, the bill is more about protection in the case of a massive emergency.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today [that] would come up here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,” state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis) said on Friday. “To put your head in the sand and think that nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.”

Before going to the Wyoming Senate, the bill must clear two more House votes. Originally, it called for $32,000 in state funds to be allocated to the task force; last week, this number was cut in half, which could make it a more palatable measure for lawmakers who are operating in cash-strapped times.

This article was originally post at http://www.theblaze.com/stories/wyoming-advances-doomsday-bill-to-help-residents-during-possible-collapse/

PG
About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Getting Started

There comes a time when people look around and start to see through the complacency that most of the population is guilty of.  With that first realization that things might not always go as planned comes a little bit of panic.  All of a sudden you feel inadequately equipped to take care of yourself and your family.  If you let the unease or panic influence your decisions, you’ll start spinning your wheels or even worse, you’ll spend a bunch of time and money in ways that don’t offer much benefit.  I’m sure there are a lot of people out there with a case of MREs in a closet somewhere that don’t feel any better about their situation.  Then there are folks that do what modern people do when they don’t know something; hit Google and start reading.  The are tons of great resources on being prepared, but there is a lot of chaff to sort through.  I visited hundreds of website, blogs, and online stores before I started getting relevant information.

I haven’t found many sources for a new “prepper” to get information on where to start, so that prompted me to put one together.  I’m sure there are things I’ll miss, and some folks will think my priorities might be a little off.  I’ll take that risk to do my best to help someone new get started without feeling overwhelmed.  We’d all like to have a zombie proof compound in the Rockies and provide for all of our own needs, but that’s not a realistic short term goal for most of us.  Starting small and working up is the only way to approach being prepared.  If you start big and plan for massive global disaster, you’ll always feel inadequate and burnout will set in pretty quickly.  Starting small in your own home will give you a feeling of security and give you a base to build on. By starting small, you won’t prepare for any one specific disaster.  There are a lot of ways that things can go wrong in life.  It’s best to have basic levels of preparedness that will cover a lot of bases.  I’ll approach this as a step-by-step plan.  This might evolve into an easy to follow checklist with some input from others in the survival community.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of gaining that warm and fuzzy feeling we get when we know we are better prepared than most to weather the storms life might throw at us.  We all have basic needs to meet to maintain our basic survival like air, water, food, and shelter from the elements.  Air is pretty easy; if we don’t have it we are toast within a couple of minutes.  For simplicity, we’ll assume air will be available.  Water is the next important need to meet.  We can only go a couple of days without water before we expire, so it needs to be taken seriously.  Food rates really high on the list as well.  We can go a few weeks without it, but those will be a few miserable weeks.  Hunger leading into starvation is probably one of the worst ways to die.  We’ll address these needs in our first step.

Step 1. Getting Our Homes in Order.

Being ready at home is as easy as having the things we need available to us every day.  Water and food storage is the best place to start.  Having a year of food and water put away is nice, but a giant step for any household.  Start smaller and look at having a week or two of reserves.  We live in a society that allows easy access to grocery stores and a seemingly endless supply of clean water from the tap.  Everyone takes this for granted.  If we need something, it’s a short trip to the store.  Maybe we do this several times a week.  At some point, there might be a situation where we can’t get to the store or delivery trucks can’t get to the store to restock.  It doesn’t take a massive disaster to cause this.  Maybe it’s something as common as a winter storm that makes driving unsafe for a few days.  A lot of times, most people never have food to go more than a couple of days.  If you have 2 weeks of reserves, you won’t even notice in your daily life.

The easiest way to approach building this reserve is to look in your pantry and determine what foods have a long shelf life.  Once you have an idea, start buying one or two extra items when you grocery shop.  It starts to add up quickly.  It is easy to start looking at all sorts of stuff at the store to find the longest shelf life, but limit it to foods you like to eat. A case of SPAM doesn’t matter much if you hate the stuff.  “Store what you eat and eat what you store” is a common saying in the survival community.  If you like beans, then that makes a great item to have extra on hand.  Pasta is another favorite that stores well and a lot of people eat regularly.  Keep in mind that you aren’t looking for large amounts that will last for years.  This is stuff you like to eat, so you’ll be using it and replacing it when you go to the store.  This way you have food reserves, but they are constantly being rotated as you prepare meals. Use the oldest first and put the new to the back of the pantry. Now you are not only storing a little extra food, you also have a rotation system in place to make sure you always have fresh food if you need to rely on your storage for any reason.

Storing water often gets overlooked because we often have complete faith in our water supply systems.  Every time we turn on the faucet, clean water comes out.  Water is bulky and heavy, so why would we want to store it?  Simply put, our water system can, and has, failed in the past.  It might be a major catastrophe or something as simple as a water main break that interrupts service to a part of your town.  If you’ve ever had this happen, you know how quickly grocery stores run out of bottled water.

You can store bottled water in individual bottles or in larger containers if you would like. I do this myself, but I also have some regular tap water stored.  Water from the tap is usually clean and very cheap.  It can be stored in 2 liter soda bottles or in specific water storage containers.  I use 7 gallon water containers with a spigot on the lid so it is easy to pour.  I got mine in the camping section of a big box store for less than $10 a piece.  How much you store is up to you and how much room you can spare, but a good rule of thumb is a gallon per person per day.  It never hurts to have more stored for washing dishes, ourselves and for flushing toilets.  Now for a word of advice that I learned the hard way… Don’t store water in milk jugs.  The plastic they are made from is designed to be biodegradable and they will start to break down after a short period of time.  Also, protect your water containers from freezing.  Some are not durable enough to handle the expansion that occurs when water freezes, and they can crack or rupture.

Step 2. Prepared on the Go.

There might be a time where we have to leave our home to escape a disaster.  I’ve seen personally the effects of someone having to leave their house in a rush.  In a panic mode, most people will not be thinking clearly and will forget crucial items, or they will try to get too much and won’t end up getting much at all in the rush.  This is where the often mentioned Bug Out Bag (BOB) comes into play.  If you have to “bug out” in a hurry, you need a bag that is already put together that you can grab on the way out the door. I like to keep mine in my vehicle, but it’s up to you so long as you can get to it quickly.

The basic concept of a BOB is a bag that can sustain you for 3 days.  The contents should be able to meet your basic survival needs. Food and water is a must.  Enough water for three days is heavy and hard to carry, so I have some water and a few means to source water wherever I might end up.  Water filtration and purification means are important.  Hiking water filters and purification tabs serve well.  I also keep a 1oz bottle of bleach with me.  One ounce of bleach will purify more what than you can imagine, like hundreds of gallons.  I also have a means to prepare and eat the food I have in my bag.  You will probably want a way to start a fire and shelter yourself  in case you have to spend the night outside. Having a change of clothes and extra socks and underwear will go a long way toward making a survival situation easier to bear.  It would be easy for me to go into great detail on what the perfect BOB should contain, but a lot is personal choice and there are so many resources on the web that cover it better than I can.  I’ll post links at the end of the article to help you get started.  I’ve also covered overlooked items in a different article, which you can read about here.

Step 3.  Your Vehicle.

I’ve already written an article covering vehicle preparedness that you can read here.  A lot of people feel better about having their house and BOB ready, but overlook the vehicle.  Most of us will take our vehicle if we need to get out quickly, so having what we need there is important.  During the widespread evacuations of the Houston area preceding Hurricane Rita, countless motorists got stranded in the gridlock that resulted on every major road out.  Most people weren’t prepared to evacuate, so they were at the mercy of others for help to get out of harm’s way and off the road.  If you’ve read this far into the article, I’m assuming you don’t want to be one of these people any more.

Step 4. Defense.

In a perfect world, defense would just be limited to keeping the snakes and bears away while we’re in the woods, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  In fact, we live in a world where people will literally try to kill others over a sale item at a store the day after Thanksgiving.  I’m a firm believer that, in most cases, the majority of people are good. They will help others and work together to make the world a better place. There are those that are out to hurt, kill, and steal, but I think they are the smallest percent of our population.  BUT, when there is a disaster, people panic.  When people panic, they do things they would normally never do.  The mild mannered accountant might just shoot you in the face to take food if his children are starving.  I’m not saying this to scare anyone, and I don’t believe it is the norm, but the threats are there.  There are those that would do you harm, either out of malice or out of fear.  All of your best preparations are useless if you cannot defend yourself when a wolf is at the door.  I know some of my readers live in areas where gun ownership might be difficult or impossible.  For most of us it is a right, and one that should be exercised. However, ownership is not enough.  Training on the safe and proper use is a mandatory responsibility of all gun owners.  Additional training on defensive uses is highly recommended.  Most of us might never have to defend ourselves, but it is our responsibility to do so if the time comes.  It is also our duty to do so in a means that is appropriate to the level of threat we are faced with.  There are personal, societal, and legal ramifications with this subject that I am not qualified to comment on, so I’ll leave it up to each individual.

Step 5.  Feel Better and Start Learning.

Once you have the basics of being prepared underway, you should start to feel a little better about where you are.  Knowing that you are better prepared to face what life might throw at you is a liberating feeling.  I know how I felt when I knew that something as simple as an ice storm wouldn’t make my life miserable.  I’m not saying that having to face a disaster would be fun, but it’s a little less scary when you can rely on the steps you’ve taken so far.  Most of us at this point begin to feel empowered.  We know we can’t control the world around us, but we know we can take steps to handle a lot more than we could before.  For me this was the catalyst to start exploring other ways to take back control.  This was my first step in self reliance.  Now I focus on learning skill and gaining knowledge that will help me as I strive for more freedom from dependency.  Which steps you take next are up to you.  For me it was learning ways to remove dependency.  Growing a garden to provide my family with real, healthy food was a great step in that direction.  I was lucky to grow up in a family that placed a lot of emphasis on providing for ourselves.  We always had a garden.  Now I’m looking at ways to do it better.  Every skill you learn should have a benefit.  In my life, learning simple things like how to preserve food or fix a vehicle has not only saved me a ton of money, it gives me a feeling that I am in better control of my life.  It’s these little skills that tell me I can handle problems as they arise.  There is a feeling of freedom there that I hope each and every reader of Surviving Modern Life will grab and make their own.

Links for the Bug Out Bag:

The Art of Bugging Out

Bug Out Bags, Family Style

RS Video: Bug Out Bags For Kids

FEMA has some thoughts on how to prepare.

PG
About The Author: SML is the editor of the SurvivingModernLife.com blog site and a Contributing Columnist for Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Human Superbug Started On Farms

By Julia Whitty | From http://motherjones.com | On Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

It’s long been suspected that administering large amounts of antibiotics to livestock promotes antibiotic resistance.

Now a new paper in mBio describes how a particularly nasty strain of MRSA—the CC398 strain found primarily in pigs but also in cattle and poultry—likely did that.

Sequencing the genomes of 88 closely-related strains of S. aureus, the researchers found the CC398 strain likely originated as a harmless bacterium living in humans, which acquired antibiotic resistance only after it migrated into livestock. From there it migrated back to humans, where it now causes skin infections and sepsis, mostly in farm workers.

So far the strain has not evolved the ability to transmit between humans.

Modern food animal production is characterized by densely concentrated animals and routine antibiotic use, which may facilitate the emergence of novel antibiotic-resistant zoonotic pathogens. Our findings strongly support the idea that livestock-associated MRSA CC398 originated as MSSA in humans. The jump of CC398 from humans to livestock was accompanied by the loss of phage-carried human virulence genes, which likely attenuated its zoonotic potential, but it was also accompanied by the acquisition of tetracycline and methicillin resistance. Our findings exemplify a bidirectional zoonotic exchange and underscore the potential public health risks of widespread antibiotic use in food animal production.

Last month the FDA announced new restrictions on antibiotics in livestock. But New Scientists reports these rules cover only 0.2 percent of antibiotics used on farms in the US.

This article was originally posted at http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/02/superbug-bred-farms.

PG
About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Marc Faber Discusses The Timing Of The Coming Collapse

Marc Faber, investment analyst and entrepreneur, discusses the current state of the global economy and his prediction that there will be a global financial collapse.

From his blog MarcFaberBlog.blogspot.com: Faber has a reputation for being a “Contrarian” investor and has been called “Doctor Doom” for a number of years. Faber is a regular speaker on the investment circuit, often quoted in the financial press for his non-conformist viewpoint and alternative investment philosophies. His current tag-line is: ‘buy a $100 US bond and frame it to teach your children about inflation by watching the US bond value diminish to almost nothing over the next 20 years’

PG
About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Bob Janjuah: “…I Have No Meaningful Insights To Offer”

From zerohedge.com| by Tyler Durden | February 12, 2012

Bob Janjuah

Bob Janjuah

Bob Janjuah is back.

Bob’s World: Monetary Anarchy

Since my last note from early January I have spent the last few weeks assessing data and price action, as well as spending a lot of time talking to clients and trying to analyse the words and deeds of policymakers. In no particular order, my takeaways are as follows:

1 – Greece (and the whole eurozone story) continues to lurch about, seemingly perpetually, from Farce to Tragedy. Policy seems to be focused on protecting and preserving vested interests, with little consideration given to the dreadful conditions the people of Greece and other “peripherals” are being forced to live with. However, it seems that eurozone leaders may be about to pour even more taxpayer money down into the black hole that is Greece, primarily to help the banks in Europe, at the expense of perhaps a decade of suffering by the Greek populace. For my part, I am now consigning the Greece/Peripherals/Eurozone story to the box marked “self-serving political debacle” and from here on in I will simplify Europe as follows: Until, and unless, Germany signs up to full fiscal union, a eurozone breakup is likely. And depending on how long we can continue to “kick the can” down the road in order to protect the eurozone banks, the eurozone will be consigned to an extended period of weak growth, which in turn means ever decreasing debt sustainability. Ultimately this means that the end game will simply be more devastating for us all the longer we are forced to wait. Investors should be fully aware that “home” bias amongst real money investors is now “off the charts”. This is not a good development for the eurozone, unless of course our leaders are preparing for break up, or at least considering it as a viable option.

2 – I am staggered at how easily the concepts of Democracy and the Rule of Law – two of the pillars of the modern world – have been brushed aside in the interests of political expediency. This is not just a eurozone phenomenon but of course the removal of elected governments and the instalment of “insider” technocrats who simply serve the interests of the elite has become a specialisation in Europe. Many will think this kind of development is not a big deal and is instead may be what is needed. Personally I am absolutely certain that the kind of totalitarianism being pushed on us by our leaders will – if allowed to persist and fester – end with consequences which are way beyond anything the printing presses of our central banks could ever hope to contain. Communism failed badly. Why then are we arguably trying to resurrect a version of it, particularly in Europe? Are the banks so powerful that we are all beholden to them and the biggest nonsense of all – that defaults should never happen (unless said defaults are trivial or largely meaningless)?

3 – More broadly, with Mr Draghi now in situ, it is clear that I misread and misunderstood two things. First, I am simply stunned that our  policymakers seem so one-dimensional, so short-termist, and so utterly bereft of courage or ideas. It now seems obvious that in response to the financial crisis that has been with us for five years and counting, we are being “told” to double up on these same policy decisions. The crisis was caused by central bankers mispricing the cost of capital, which forced a misallocation of capital, driven by debt/leverage, which was ultimately exposed as a hideous asset bubble which then collapsed, destroying the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of relatively innocent people. Well now, if you listen to the latest from Bernanke and Draghi, it seems that the only solution they can offer up  is to yet again misprice the cost of capital, in the hope that, yet again, through increased leverage/debt, we are yet again “greedy” enough to misallocate capital, which in turn will lead to yet another round of asset bubbles. Such asset bubbles are meant to delude us into believing that we are now “richer”. When – as they do by definition – these bubbles burst, those who have been suckered in will realise that their “wealth” is instead an illusion, which in turn will be replaced by default risk.

Secondly, I have clearly underestimated the ‘market’s’ willingness, nay desperation, to go along with this ultimately ruinous policy path. Personally, I think this is extremely worrying – the number of clients who tell me that they know they are being forced into playing a game that will end in disaster, but who feel they have to play along and who hope they will get out before it turns, is a depressingly familiar old tale. Some such folks hang onto the idea that Draghi/LTRO changed the asymmetry of risk from deeply negative to positive. Yet even these folks know that printing more money/more liquidity/more debt/more leverage is not a viable solution to our ills, and in fact will mean true supply side reform and the search for true competiveness and sustainable growth will be further cast aside, as the focus will be on the “easy gains” to be made in markets.

4 – Assuming that we are in yet another liquidity fuelled rally courtesy of Bernanke and Draghi, then there are some key things to remember. First, such rallies can last days, weeks, months, perhaps we could even extend into 2013. And – to give a proxy guide – the S&P could end up in the high 1500s again if this current binge lasts into 2013. The problem with such liquidity fuelled set-ups is that they can last longer and get bigger than any reasonable logic would dictate. The issue here is not what central bankers say – it now seems clear that Bernanke and Draghi will say whatever it takes to keep the market supplied with ample liquidity – but what they can do. In this respect one either believes that central bankers can do whatever they like whenever they like, or one believes there are limits. I think there are limits to what Bernanke and Draghi can do, and once we hit those limits these bubbles will burst, with increasingly greater consequences the longer we are forced to wait. Do I know when we may hit these limits? I hope that it is sooner rather than later, but I have no real conviction.

Secondly, when looking for where the bubbles may be, realise this: in this current cycle, where central bank balance sheets are at the core, the bubble is everywhere – in stocks, in bonds, in growth expectation, in credit spreads, in currencies, in commodity prices, in most real asset prices – you name it! This is why I think that this current bubble, if it is allowed to fester and develop into 2013, will have such widespread consequences when it bursts that it will make 2008 feel, relatively speaking, like a bull market.

Third, when this bubble bursts, I don’t think there is an easy way out. Who will be the bail-out provider? We already have extraordinarily weak and fragile government balance sheets, ditto banking balance sheets and consumer balance sheets. The big cap corporate balance sheet is sound, but it already worries about how bad the real economy hit will be when the next bubble bursts. As such, the corporate sector – which has a huge degree of “control” over the political classes – will keeps its powder dry until asset prices fall to clearing levels. When this happens they will be the biggest buyer of truly cheap assets in town, but not before then. The really dangerous thing about this next bubble is that it will likely ruin current central bank credibility, as their balance sheet expansion, accumulating ever more “toxic” assets, is at the centre of the current cycle. As a result, the central bank decision-making function is now (increasingly) deeply compromised, if not utterly at odds with its own raison d’être. This of course means that if/when the current cycle implodes, central banks which have seen explosive balance sheet growth will add to the problems, rather than being able to act as credible lenders of last resort. A resulting consequence is that we will, at that point, usher in a new era of central banking and policy settings, where the key will be to regain a semblance of credibility and independence. This will be good news. But we will likely have to go through the “bust” first.

5 – I am not well equipped to navigate bubbles where tactical views and secular views are all thrown into the melting pot together, where there is no visibility, where – as one client put it to me recently – we have Monetary Anarchy running riot, where the elastic band between the ‘real’ economy and the current liquidity-fuelled markets is stretched further and further beyond credulity, and where history tells us that policymakers will happily stand by whilst bubbles are being pumped up, and hope that they are onto their next job before it all comes tumbling down. It seems that the 07/08/09 part of this crisis has resulted in zero lessons learned. In fact it is much worse than that as we are instead being asked to double up on a strategy which I fear will end in failure. As such, clearly my outlook in my last note needs to be re-assessed in terms of the latest developments. Whilst equity market levels are still within the tolerance limits set out in this previous note, my timing is clearly being “stretched”. Unfortunately for me, and as warned in the prior note, if my outlook set out therein is proven to be wrong, it is because I am overly cautious. I say “unfortunately” because the longer we have to wait for the “final” resolution to the global financial crisis, the bigger and more devastating the final leg lower will be. I have an extremely high level of conviction on this point.

6 – So, in terms of markets, be warned. My personal recommendation is to sit in Gold and non-financial high quality corporate credit and blue-chip big cap non-financial global equities. Bond and Currency markets are now so rigged by policy makers that I have no meaningful insights to offer, other than my bubble fears. Real assets are relatively attractive. But I am going to wait for this current central bank bubble to burst before going all in. I may be waiting 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, perhaps 5 quarters. It all depends on when and how our central bank leaders are exposed as lacking credibility and/or lacking the mandates to keep pumping liquidity into the system. The end of the bubble will be sign posted by either monetary anarchy creating major real economy inflation or by a deflationary credit collapse (if they run out of pumping “mandates”). The end game is incredibly binary in my view, but in between it is pretty much a random walk. Either way, “bonds are toast” in any secular timeframe (due either to huge inflationary pressures, or due to a deflationary credit collapse), which in turn means that asset bubbles in risky assets will get crushed on a secular basis.

My colleague Kevin Gaynor has a more nuanced view and he feels that we may well avoid the bubble outcome, as political hurdles, political changes, growth and earnings data will all very quickly undermine central bankers and their bubble vision. For all our (long term) sakes, I hope I am wrong when it comes to fearing another round of liquidity-fuelled bubbles, and that he is right that “good sense? will prevail soon.

I will continue to use the Dow/Gold charts to continue to guide me going forward. The USD price of an ounce of gold and the Dow will, I believe, converge at/around 1, at some point over the next 2 years or so. I have extremely high conviction on this. What I am not sure on is whether we converge at 7000+/-, or at 14000+/-. Because I do believe that even Bernanke and Draghi cannot do as they wish and that there are some limits to the recklessness of policymakers, I still lean towards a deflationary resolution at/about 7000 in the next year or two. Pretty vague, I know, buts it’s the best I can do right now, and what is clear is that, in the world I fear ahead, gold is a winner either way – remember, gold is a great (monetary) inflation hedge, and in a deflationary credit collapse gold works as a store of value/wealth as it carries zero credit risk.

As a “credit” guy at heart I see more likelihood in a deflationary credit (i.e., a “real”) collapse rather than a real economy inflationary (nominal) collapse. Either way however, what is clear is that if Bernanke and Draghi are allowed to continue on their current policy path for much longer, then whatever the final outcome will be, it will likely leave a deep scar on us for decades. Which on a ten-year timeframe may not be such a bad thing as it should kill off monetarism and usher in a new era of monetary and fiscal prudence? In the near term, LTRO2 at month-end is the next clear focus for markets, more so than Greece. If LTRO2 is USD1trn or more, the market will take that as a signal to load on more leverage, more risk and more ‘carry’. If LTRO2 is in the order of USD250bn to USD500bn, Risk Off will be the order of the day as markets will start to fear that central bankers are having to reign back-in their current policies, and that as a result we face another period where central bankers and policymakers fall back behind the curve. LTRO1 clearly took policymakers from behind to ahead of the curve, but this is an extremely fluid situation, where doing nothing is, in reality, the same as going backwards. As the skew of expectations is to a large LTRO2, a LTRO2 take-up in between these ranges is likely to be viewed with neutrality/mild disappointment.

This article was originally posted at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/bob-janjuah-markets-are-so-rigged-policy-makers-i-have-no-meaningful-insights-offer

PG
About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

America: Taxed To The Hilt

If you are an American, and are gainfully employed, you probably pay most of the following taxes:

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
Capital Gains Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Court Fines (indirect taxes)
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest expense (tax on the money)
Inventory tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax Local
Income Tax Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Septic Permit
Tax Service Charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Road Toll Booth Taxes
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Toll Bridge Taxes
Toll Tunnel Taxes
Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
Trailer Registration Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

What on Earth have we done to ourselves?

PG
About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Surviving The Coming Collapse w/ Survivalist James Wesley Rawles

February 17th, 2012, Infowars Nightly News, co-host Rob Dew interviews New York Times best-selling survivalist-fiction author, blogger, and survival retreat consultant James Wesley Rawles about his latest book, Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse. The novel combines useful “how to” information with a compelling fictional storyline that not only entertains but also informs.

 

 

PG
About The Author: RSOPerator is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine.