Wednesday, August 12, 2009
1. Bring back the Barter system
Use your skills & time as currency: I have a friend who owns a hair salon, and trades haircuts for all sorts of things - her website, artwork for her salon, even legal work. I trade my tech services for everything from free drinks at the local pub to free petcare at the vet.
Estimated value of bartered services/month: $200+
2. Grow your own food
It's 3.99 for one red bell pepper in the grocery store... it's free in your back yard garden. Enough said.
Estimated savings/month: $30
3. Buy day old baked goods from your local bakery
My bakery sells their day old items for $1. Even a day old, their bread is fresher and better than the stuff they sell in the grocery, plus about $4 cheaper for a loaf.
Estimated savings/month: $20
4. Cancel Your Cable TV
Most shows on network tv are available online for free, and if not, you can always have viewing parties at a friend's house or the local bar.
Estimated monthly savings: $125 - $175
If you're a meat eater, buying a share of a whole cow from a local farmer is less expensive than buying individual cuts of meat from the grocery. Typically, You'll get a variety of cuts, with the average price per pound around $3. Plus you get the benefit of knowing where your meat is coming from, and what practices are used.
Estimated savings per 50 lb. of meat: $150
Oh, and added bonus? If you do these things, you'll be opting out of systems that are dysfunctional - like the mainstream food system - and supporting new and/or local systems that are better for all of us.
Here's how bartering is taxed (thanks to Doug Ghizzoni on Facebook for looking it up):
“If you conduct any direct barter – barter for another’s products or services – you will have to report the fair market value of the products or services you received on your tax return.”
So, what are YOUR tips for saving money?
MSG is even in your favorite coffee from Tim Horton's and Starbucks coffee shops!
I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of America.
In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: "MSG-Treated Rats."
When I heard this, I was shocked. I went into my kitchen and checked the cupboards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything – the Campbell 's soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the "healthy low-fat" ones.
The items that didn't have MSG marked on the product label had something called "Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein," which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate.
It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff. MSG is hidden under many different names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they don't catch on. (Other names for MSG are "Accent, "Aginomoto," "Natural Meat Tenderizer," etc.)
But it didn't stop there.
When our family went out to eat, we started asking at the restaurants what menu items contained MSG. Many employees, even the managers, swore they didn't use MSG.
But when we ask for the ingredient list, which they grudgingly provided, sure enough, MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were everywhere.
Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, every restaurant – even the sit-down eateries like TGIF, Chili's, Applebee's, and Denny's -- use MSG in abundance. Kentucky Fried Chicken seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG was in every chicken dish, salad dressing. and gravy. No wonder I loved to eat that coating on the skin -- their secret spice was MSG!
So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative, or a vitamin?
Not according to my friend John Erb. In his book The Slow Poisoning of America , he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body.
Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.
A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?
"Betcha can't eat [just] one," takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight!
MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added.
Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance. Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the pre-packaged meals, soups, snacks, and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.
The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim it's safe to eat in any amount. But how can they claim it's safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these:
"The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity." Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT , Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002.
"Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats." Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori C, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro. Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug.
'Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: An animal model of multiple risk factors." Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima. Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar.
"Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity." Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K Kusunoki. Exp Neurol. 1978 Oct.
No, the date of that last study was not a typo; it was published in 1978. Both the "medical research community" and "food manufacturers" have known about the side effects of MSG for decades.
Many more of the studies mentioned in John Erb's book link MSG to diabetes, migraines and headaches, autism, ADHD, and even Alzheimer's.
So what can we do to stop the food manufactures from dumping this fattening and addictive MSG into our food supply and causing the obesity epidemic we now see?
Several months ago, John Erb took his book and his concerns to one of the highest government health officials in Canada . While he was sitting in the government office, the official told him, "Sure, I know how bad MSG is. I wouldn't touch the stuff." But this top-level government official refuses to tell the public what he knows.
The big media doesn't want to tell the public either, fearing issues with their advertisers. It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may hurt their profit margin. The food producers and restaurants have been addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price for it. Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive.
But what can I do about it? I'm just one voice! What can I do to stop the poisoning of our children, while our governments are insuring financial protection for the industry that is poisoning us?
This message is going out to everyone I know in an attempt to tell you the truth that the corporate-owned politicians and media won't tell you.
The best way you can help to save yourself and your children from this drug-induced epidemic is to forward this article to everyone. With any luck, it will circle the globe before politicians can pass the legislation protecting those who are poisoning us.
The food industry learned a lot from the tobacco industry. Imagine if big tobacco had a bill like this in place before someone blew the whistle on nicotine?
If you are one of the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us and you don't believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself. Go to the National Library of Medicine at www.pubmed.com .
Type in the words "MSG Obese" and read a few of the 115 medical studies that appear.
We the public do not want to be rats in one giant experiment, and we do not approve of food that makes us into a nation of obese, lethargic, addicted sheep, feeding the food industry's bottom line while waiting for the heart transplant, the diabetic-induced amputation, blindness, or other obesity-induced, life-threatening disorders.
With your help we can put an end to this poison.
Do your part in sending this message out by word of mouth, e-mail, or by distribution of this printout to your friends all over the world and stop this "Slow Poisoning of Mankind" by the packaged food industry.
Blowing the whistle on MSG is our responsibility, so get the word out.
Starting today, Treasury will begin it's monthly sale of $75 billion notes and bonds. Today they will auction off $37 billion 3-year notes, followed by $23 billion 10-year notes tomorrow and finally $15 billion 30-year bonds on Thursday. The Financial Times, Record $75 Billion Treasury Sale to Test Bond Investors. reports;
While the central bank is expected to reiterate that rates will remain low for an extended period, investors are focused on the outlook for the Fed's policy of purchasing Treasuries and mortgages.
The Fed has nearly completed meeting its target of buying $300bn in Treasuries, with about $250bn already purchased. But last week, the Bank of England decided to boost its quantitative easing limit. That has some people thinking the Fed could seek to buy more Treasuries in order to keep market rates low.
At its current pace of buying, the Fed's Treasury programme should finish in six weeks, while the purchase of $1,250bn in mortgages should be completed by the end of the year.
Some analysts think the Fed should adopt a flexible approach and extend the terms of the Treasury buying programme until the end of the year.
That way, the Fed could buy fewer mortgages and more Treasuries, should yields rise sharply in the coming months.
Have things been screwed up for so long that the we just don't see the insanity and the futility of this exercise? Every month, due to our sky-rocketing deficits and the official government policy on capping mortgage rates, the Fed has to run around like the Keystone Cops trying to offset the effect of new treasury supply. They do this by buying some concoction of Treasury notes and Mortgage Backed Securities, taking losses all the way, as the natural effect of supply and demand, as well as increasing market duration, takes yields higher and higher. The Federal Reserve has become a comedy act, running around on a gigantic "Fools Errand" at least once a month.
How long will it take before the institution of the Federal Reserve loses all its credibility? Their willing involvement to participate in a political program to artificially cap key interest rates and pump up, or at least artificially support the value of gigantic asset classes like residential and commercial mortgages is both futile and embarrassing. Is anybody keeping score as to whether any "gains" we might be getting by keeping primary residential mortgage rates low has offset the losses the Fed has taken on their MBS and Treasury portfolios? I don't think so.
Yesterday, Maguire Properties, the largest office landlord in Los Angeles, handed the keys to seven properties over to their creditors (special purpose CMBS vehicles). This is starting to go on all over the country. The commercial real estate sector in this country is now suffering from the same things that residential mortgages have already suffered;
- The loans were horribly underwritten.
- The borrowers were a combination of bad and over-leveraged.
- The borrowers had little real skin in the game.
- The value of the underlying collateral was driven up by extremely cheap credit, provided in large part by the Wall Street securitization machine.
The game is over now. The government's answer is to expand the Fed's TALF program to commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS)? This isn't a liquidity problem! The bonds and loans are bad! They have learned NOTHING from the residential mortgage crisis! How is the Treasury's Public Private Investment Partnership (PPIP) going for residential mortgages? It's NOT EVEN GOING! The only way TALF can work even a little bit for CMBS is if somehow the rating morons can keep the "AAA" CMBS AAA. How are they going to do that when commercial real estate is down at least 30% from when most of the loans were made and borrowers are failing by the dozens? Unless they commit fraud (which isn't beyond the realm of possibility for them) they can't.The question now is, will the Fed help Treasury engage in another Japanese style exercise wherebye putrefying assets are kept on bank books at cost, clogging up balance sheets and creating a legion of zombie banks? Everything that I have seen in the last twelve months tells me that they will and that scares the crap out of me.
by Monkey Business Blog
During the last world economic depression, the first wave came in the form of the famous New York Stock market crash of October 1929. But this was only the beginning, and hardly the main event. The world depression of the 1930s was made irreversible by the British bankruptcy of September 1931, when the Bank of England ceased gold payment. At that time, the vast majority of international trade was financed by pounds sterling bills of exchange drawn on London. When the British Pound began to float through a series of competitive devaluations, the lack of a stable reserve currency — and not the US Hawley-Smoot tariff — strangled world trade, thus making that depression as severe as it was. British default in turn undermined the US banking system, setting the stage for the banking panic which ravaged the United States in 1932 and 1933, to the point that not a single bank in the country was still operating by the time Franklin D. Roosevelt assumed the presidency in March of 1933. The United States would almost certainly have been lashed by additional waves of depression had it not been for the banking triage implemented by the Roosevelt administration during the bank holiday, and for other New Deal measures which succeeded in mitigating the Depression. Other countries, notably Germany, went into a permanent depression which was expressed in a series of military campaigns which aimed at the economic looting of the other countries of Europe. Whatever the ideological fanatics of the discredited Austria and Chicago schools of economic analysis may claim, there is no automatic business cycle capable of lifting the modern world out of serious economic disintegration. The depression will end when adequate New Deal style policies are implemented, and not before, as I show in my new book, the second edition of Surviving the Cataclysm.
TODAY: BETWEEN 1929 AND 1931
Today, therefore, we are, so to speak, in the trough between the October 1929 wave (which corresponds to the derivatives crisis and banking panic of 2008) and the September 1931 wave, which this time around is highly likely to take the form of a hyperinflationary dollar crisis, or in other words a hyper stagflation and depression of the world economy radiating out from Wall Street and the City of London. What then might be the leading characteristics of the next wave of the current world economic breakdown crisis?
The next wave is likely to involve a worldwide dollar panic. Using ballpark figures, we can say that there are about $4 to $5 trillion sloshing around the world in the form of hot money, US Treasury securities, Euro dollars, and various forms of zeno-dollars. Japan has about a trillion, China almost $2 trillion, and so forth. It is naturally very unwise for a developing country like China to hold so many dollars rather than using them to purchase needed infrastructure and capital goods, and the Chinese leaders are now very uncomfortable with their own foolish decision, which was of course taken under heavy US pressure. But the point is that this $4.5 trillion overhang is by its very nature exceedingly unstable. Every country that holds large sums of dollars or US Treasury bonds is nervously eyeing every other such country to see if they show signs of bolting for the exit. Up to now, so far as we know, no large holder of dollars has attempted to reduce its exposure to the battered greenback by dumping these dollars on the international market. If anyone did so, it would cause a true universal financial panic which would create chaos and mayhem not just in the United States and Great Britain, but in the vast areas of the rest of the world as well. This is concretely how hyperinflation could now very well arise: if one or more US creditor nations attempts to abruptly lighten up on dollars, the value of the US currency could undergo a catastrophic collapse, and that would spell runaway hyperinflation on the US domestic front.
World Dollar Panic Imminent?
We need to recall that the value of a modern currency is not determined inside the country, but rather on the international foreign exchange markets. This is where the fatal vulnerability of the US dollar is located. In the ruined form of the Bretton Woods system which has prevailed for almost 40 years since Nixon‘s colossal historical vandalism of August 15, 1971, the US has emerged as the only country with a permanent license to finance imports by simply printing more of its own currency and sending those banknotes overseas. Every other country has to manufacture and export something that others want to buy in order to earn the necessary foreign exchange to pay for its own imports. The US license to print has made this country the buyer of last resort and the dumping ground for the unsold junk of the world, leading in the process to high permanent unemployment here. There are many signs that this inherently unworkable arrangement has now reached the breaking point.
International Currency Relations, Not Money Supply, Are The Key
Ms. Ellen Brown, who apparently supports the doctrines of the social credit movement of the 1930s, has recently argued that deflation is now on the agenda, and that hyperinflation can be ruled out. She bases this analysis on the fact that the private credit markets in this country have largely collapsed, and on the contention that the M1 and M2 money parameters have either declined or increased only slightly. But all of this is beside the point. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury have so far provided almost $13 trillion of new loans to banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, and other purely financial institutions. This is being done in an effort to bailout the $1.5 quadrillion world derivatives bubble, of which something like two-thirds or more, meaning one quadrillion dollars, can be located inside the dollar zone. The world depression started when this derivatives bubble went into reverse leverage, meaning that super losses instead of super profits were generated at the apex of the speculative pyramid, as seen in the case of the $3 trillion AIG hedge fund located in London. The Obama regime is engaged in an hysterical attempt to restart derivatives production in the form of securitization, i.e. the creation of more and better asset backed securities derivatives. At the same time, the Obama regime has cynically and deliberately driven the Detroit automakers into bankruptcy, destroying hundreds of thousands of the few remaining industrial jobs here in the United States. This means that US industrial production continues in drastic decline. The mere mention of production reminds us that the assorted Austrian, Chicago, and social credit schools are predominantly or exclusively concerned with money and banking, and pay little or no attention to industrial, agricultural, and infrastructural production, meaning of course that they neglect the creation of those tangible physical use values, capital goods, and related forms of real wealth upon which human existence depends. With bailouts increasing and all forms of commodity production declining, we have the classic situation of far too much money chasing too few goods. Internal pressure towards hyperinflation comes from the fact that the bailout and public debt lending, on top of the bloated, fictitious, and exponentially growing mass of kited derivatives, are all charges which must be added to the prices of commodity production. Add this to the more important factor of looming dollar panic in the international exchanges, and the preponderance of the evidence points towards hyperinflation. “Helicopter Ben“ Bernanke got his name from his famous recipe of throwing bales of dollars out of helicopters onto the lawns of bankers to stimulate the economy out of a depression, and this reminds us that the profile of the Anglo-American financial leadership from Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, and Mervyn King to Summers, Geithner, and Bernanke is decidedly hyperinflationary. Ms. Brown’s belief that hyperinflation is impossible is therefore mistaken.
The German 1923 hyperinflation was generated internationally, not within Germany, as a campaign of economic warfare by Britain and France against their defeated rival. Germany had signed the Rapallo agreements with Soviet Russia, creating an economic combination which was more than a match for the Anglo-French. To abort the potential of Rapallo by creating chaos in the German economy, the Anglo-French systematically destroyed the value of the German Reichsmark on the international exchanges, taking advantage of the Versailles reparations system and the French occupation of the industrialized Ruhr area. The mark went down every day when the London exchange rate was announced. Today, it is the enormous international dollar overhang which threatens to annihilate the US greenback.
The one way deflation might actually come about is if someone like the self-professed Austrian school ideologue Ron Paul were to take power. Ron Pauls “libertarianism“ alternative to Obama‘s continued bailouts of Wall Street is evidently an immediate deflationary crash, which he asserts will be followed by an automatic recovery. Ron Paul is a modern representative of the so-called liquidationist school to which 1920s Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon belonged. Mellon demanded the liquidation of stocks, bonds, real estate, and labor. German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, another liquidationist, savagely cut German unemployment benefits (Ron Paul’s “nanny state“) at the height of the Depression, helping to bring on the debacle of January 1933. Liquidationists tend to be people who have money and who believe they will continue to have money even after an all-out crash, when they will be able to buy up distressed assets and desperate unemployed workers for rock-bottom prices and cash in. But liquidationism obviously cannot be a solution to depression of the entire society.
The recent meetings of the leaders of the expanded G-8 countries in L’Aquila, Italy were marked by a growing awareness that the US dollar, because of the criminally irresponsible policies of the Wall Street financiers who have dominated the Bush and Obama administrations, can no longer play the role of the single world reserve currency. Russian President Medvedev showed off a sort of future world coin to try to prod the Obama regime in the direction of serious world monetary reform, which is of course the urgent task before everyone. Naturally, finance oligarchs like Summers, Geithner, and Bernanke want to continue to play the role of world currency dictators, and not be forced to negotiate the end of Anglo-American hegemonism. The world needs to go toward a new pro-growth world monetary system in which the euro, the yen, the dollar, the ruble, the Chinese yuan, a possible Latin American monetary unit, and a possible Arab monetary unit would all be included. It will be important to make the transition toward such a new system as orderly as possible, since a catastrophic collapse of the dollar in the short term would be to no one‘s advantage, and would rather represent a sure path to universal ruin. World economic growth rates under the 1944 to 1971 Bretton Woods system were the highest in recorded history before or since. This was accomplished through statism and dirigism in the form of narrow bands of isolation among the currencies, combined with gold settlements of surpluses and deficits among the nations, which provided an indispensable reality principle to restrain the hyperinflationary tendencies of the Anglo-Americans. The new world monetary system should include the abolition of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in their current forms, since these institutions have strangled the economic progress of the developing sector. Rather, the goal of the new monetary system should be to restart the export of high technology capital goods of the most modern type from Europe, Japan, and the United States toward the impoverished countries of Africa, South Asia, and certain parts of Latin America.
The Federal Government Should Stop Borrowing And Start Lending
Here in the United States, we need to wipe out the derivatives bubble with the help of a 1% Tobin tax or securities transfer tax, on all speculative financial transactions, including futures, options, stocks, bonds, commodities, foreign exchange, and so forth. A California Tobin tax would solve the state budget crisis. The top 16 Wall Street banks are zombie institutions that need to be seized and liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy at once, with all of their derivatives going into the shredder. Foreclosures on homes, farms, and businesses should be banned outright for five years or for the duration of the depression, which ever lasts longer. To provide a credit supply, the Federal Reserve should be seized and nationalized, and used as a vehicle to issue 0% Federal credit for productive activities only, not for speculation. To revive credit demand, state and local governments could then take out 0% Federal loans for such long overdue projects as the construction of 1,000 hospitals, the building of 50,000 miles of modern maglev rail systems, and 100 fourth-generation, high temperature, pebble bed nuclear reactors, plus the rebuilding of water systems and the interstate highway network. Idled auto plants should be reconverted for these purposes. Science drivers in the fields of space exploration and colonization, high energy physics, and biomedical research should also be fully funded in this way to provide technological modernization. The social safety net needs to be expanded and developed, with larger Social Security pensions for a generation whose 401(k)s and IRAs have been largely destroyed, along with increased Medicare and Medicaid benefits for those whose insurance companies are insolvent, like AIG and The Hartford, which have been devastated by derivatives speculation. These are quite simply the requirements for the maintenance of human civilization in this part of the world. Until measures like these are carried out, the United States and the world will continue to sink deeper into the bottomless pit of economic depression.
Webster Tarpley is an economic historian, radio host and author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Obama, The Postmodern Coup and Surviving The Cataclysm and other books.
By Webster Tarpley