Well, that was a depressing kick off to 2012. Have you ever seen so much doom and gloom in New Year forecasts, starting with our own Prime Minister and on out to every pundit, analyst, politico, clergy and media outlet?

Here it is Tuesday morning after the bank holiday and the BBC’s Blues Combo is already in full throat with fraught reports on “failing” social care, private pension “collapse” and more hand wringing about the catastrophic consequences of a eurozone break-up. We’re quickly off to a long year of seeing every last bit of hope and optimism ground out of us.

So here’s a couple of quick antidotes that may help deflect at least some of the negative waves. It’s the Iowa caucuses today and long-time libertarian Ron Paul is doing well in advance polling. The Iowa caucuses are a poor indicator of ultimate presidential candidate winners but, if you need a caffeine hit on this miserable, storm-tossed day, spend some time at Ron Paul’s official 2012 campaign website. Realistic libertarians know we can never get everything we want in any single candidate but there’s a refreshing consistency to Mr Paul’s agenda of truly bold alternative thinking.

And in preparation for the end-of-day optimism-pummelling from Newsnight, try business news channel CNBC at 8 pm London time for its Closing Bell show (Sky channel 505 and Virgin channel 613). It’s a riotous and frenetic look at the state of the world from the financial markets’ perspective and kicks off with reports from the stock, commodities, currency and bond markets. Oh, they’re all unashamed hucksters for capitalism and the American dream but at least the show features people who actually put their own money where their mouth is, not taxpayer money where somebody else’s mouth is.

Mr Paul may soon fade away and the financial markets may lose all your money but we can all use the sugar hits they offer. 

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