Jan. 5, 2004
MARKET NEWS DIGEST
->Gold futures end 2003 up nearly 20% -CBSMW
->Stocks Fall Despite 20-yr high Manuf. -Bloomberg
->Dow 10,000 May Remain Ceiling for Years -FOX
->G7 to discuss dollar's slide -CNNfn
->Weak Dollar Has Put U.S. Assets on Sale -NYT
->Early Coinage, Saints & Morgans - All Hot -CDN
->Easy credit, temptations lure many to edge -DFP
->Ten top trends for 2003 -CBSMW
->WHERE GOLD IS HEADED ...AND WHY! -CRS
->Record lottery...just like stocks -Editor
->Voters want lies, not the truth -Bill Bonner, DR
->Follow The Money to China -Derry Brownfield
->Spiritual Progress Hard to Find in 2003 -Barna.org
->Putting God Back in Politics -JIM WALLIS, NYT
->2004 New Year's Message from Michael Savage
MARKET NEWS DIGEST
Gold futures end the year up nearly 20% -CBSMW
Metals indexes poised for advance of as much as 66%
By Myra P. Saefong, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Dec. 31, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Gold futures closed lower Wednesday in shortened pre-holiday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but prices ended the year with a nearly 20 percent gain.
Uncertainty surround Iraq, prospects for recovery in the U.S. economy, and the steep decline in the dollar during the year kept investment demand high for the precious metal.
Overall, "gold is strong and getting stronger," said Kevin Kerr, a senior trading director at KWEST Trading International.
He expects the market to see "pockets of resistance" as prices approach the $420-an-ounce level, but "the upside potential seems unlimited," he said.
The February gold contract closed on Nymex at $416.10 an ounce, down $1.10 for the session.
But the closing level is nearly $68 an ounce above the $348.20 close for futures prices on Dec. 31, 2002.
"A drive to $422 to $425 could well be on the cards as full trade resumes next week," said James Moore, an analyst at TheBullionDesk.com in London, in a note to clients. In observance of New Year's, regular trading in the Nymex futures pits isn't scheduled to resume until Monday, Jan. 5.
Stocks Fall Despite 20-yr high Manufacturing -Bloomberg
Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks fell, led by shares of financial companies, on concern interest rates will rise. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index headed toward its longest weekly winning streak since 1998.
AmerisourceBergen Corp. and other drug distributors dropped as analysts lowered their ratings on the companies, citing concern about declining profit margins.
A gauge of December manufacturing was the highest in two decades, boosting speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the first half of this year. Stocks sensitive to changes in interest rates including banks, retailers and homebuilders declined.
``Long-term interest rates are rising,'' said John Burbank, who helps manage $330 million at Passport Capital in San Francisco. ``There's going to be pretty serious inflation and most equities do not do well with inflation.''
The S&P 500 shed 5.24, or 0.5 percent, to 1106.68 at 3:15 p.m. in New York, with financial companies contributing the most to the drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 54.89, or 0.5 percent, to 10,399.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.07 to 2003.30.
Dow 10,000 May Remain Ceiling for Years -FOX News
Monday, December 29, 2003
NEW YORK — Although the Dow has closed above the 10,000 level 11 times so far this month, it's likely to be years before the oldest and most widely watched U.S. market measure stays over the mark without falling back.
In fact, the average could rise and fall from the 10,000 level a number of times before it enters a sustained upward rally, based on trading patterns seen when the 108-year-old Dow Jones industrial average first crossed the 100 mark and later surpassed 1,000.
"If there is a possible correlation, we can expect essentially a trading-range bound progression that could indeed last up to 20 years, or towards the years 2015-20," said Alan Shaw, a technical analyst at Smith Barney, in a recent study.
[Ed. Note: Alan Shaw of Smith Barney isn't the only one who sees stocks rangebound until 2016. Bestselling author Bill Bonner details the reasons for a long, drawn out bear market in his book, Financial Reckoning Day. Read Review.]
G7 to discuss dollar's slide -CNNfn
Falling currency has some finance ministers from the Group of Seven richest countries concerned.
December 30, 2003
BERLIN (Reuters) - Finance ministers from the Group of Seven richest nations will discuss the dollar's slide when they meet in February, as Europeans become increasingly worried it may hurt economic recovery, a G7 source said Tuesday.
A euro level clearly higher than $1.20 could not be good for Europe's economy, while a level of $1.30 represented a "pain barrier," the source said.
A stronger single currency, which broke the $1.25 barrier for the first time Monday, can erode the euro zone's competitiveness by making goods produced there more expensive to customers outside the 12-nation region.
But the source said the United States should also not be happy with a sharply weaker dollar, which could lead to a flight of capital from the country, depressing stock markets and pushing up long-term interest rates.
Weak Dollar Has Put U.S. Assets on Sale -NYT
By DANIEL GROSS, The New York Times
December 28, 2003
IF currencies were basketball teams, the dollar could be this year's version of the New York Knicks, which have lost about two-thirds of their games this season. With each passing week, the once-mighty franchise slips further in a league increasingly populated by European and Asian talent.
In 2003, the American dollar has fallen about 19 percent against the euro, and around 10 percent against the British pound. And the dollar has not fared much better against other currencies of major trading partners like Japan and Canada. Bond market analysts worry that a weak dollar and low interest rates will encourage foreign investors - particularly Asian and European investors who finance so much of our government debt - to invest elsewhere.
That would be disastrous. With the overall trade deficit widening, securities are among the most significant American exports.
Selling government bonds is just one of many ways we repatriate capital. The dollars we send into temporary exile come home in the wallets of British tourists at Disney World, or through stock purchases by European pension funds. Dollars also return when Japanese golfers buy villas in Hawaii or when German companies snap up American competitors. And with the dollar significantly weakened, all these assets are effectively on sale.
Some indicators point to an increase in cross-border investment of late. For 2003, European companies announced acquisitions of American companies worth $13 billion, compared with $44 billion in 2002, according to Thomson First Call. But nearly 40 percent of the year's total - or $5.1 billion - came in the fourth quarter, more than double the pace of the third quarter.
Many deals have occurred this month. Henkel, the German consumer products company, agreed to buy the Dial Corporation for $2.9 billion, and announced last week that it was buying the hair care company Advanced Research Laboratories for an undisclosed price. Also last week, a federal bankruptcy court judge approved the sale of assets of Rouge Industries to the Russian steel maker Severstal.
Rebecca McCaughrin, an economist at Morgan Stanley, suggests that these deals are a harbinger for 2004. "We've seen domestic mergers and acquisitions activity rise, and that generally leads to spillover in cross-border deals," Ms. McCaughrin said.
Early Coinage, Saints & Morgans - All Hot -CDN
Baltimore Bowers & Merena Sale Nabs $3.9 Million
Dec. 12, 2003
The last major rare coin show of the year was held December 4-7 in Baltimore with less than the usual number of public in attendance. Nature served up a nice helping of an early winter's snow preventing the normal crowd from making the drive. Despite the inclement weather and cold temperature outside the convention, inside was quite hot according to those dealers that made the trip.
Demand was very strong for $20 Saint-Gaudens. Saints are hot! Buyers were omnipresent with many trying to latch on to a few better date Saints. Saints that are just a bit scarcer than common were doing real well. For example, transactions took place for 1914-S, 1915-S and 1926.
Proof Gold coins was also in strong demand at Baltimore. Proof Gold activity has been picking-up over the last few weeks. Early Gold, the pre-1834 examples are realizing very strong interest at the moment. Buyers are willing to pay strong money for this hard to locate material. Early Gold isn't the only area receiving attention. Dealers said that early coinage of all metals is among the hotter areas of today's market. 1793 Half Cents and Large Cents are very hot items today.
Bust Dollars continue to receive exceptional demand despite strong increases over recent months. These rarities seem to be "almost defying gravity," refusing to drop in the face of precipitous increases since January. Bust Half Dollars are also a current favorite among the more knowledgeable collectors. Dealers know that many of these early coins are very tough to find today. One dealer said that he can locate no 1796 Quarters, even from those that usually have the stuff. Morgan Dollars continue to generate strong interest and Bids. Scarce date Dollars were actively sought-after in Baltimore.
SOURCE: Coin Dealer Newsletter
Read 2004 Rare Coin Market Trends by Kevin Liptom.
Easy credit, temptations lure many to the edge -DFP
New year is a fine time to assess what you bring in and pay out
December 26, 2003 -- BY SUSAN TOMPOR, FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
For those who love to shop, the holidays are a marvelous excuse to luxuriate at posh department stores, chase deals, jog onto online shopping spots and spend money wherever they can.
Liz Dillard of Waterford remembers a time, and not too fondly, when she spent $1,500 to $2,000 a year on Christmas gifts. About five years ago, she gave her then 15-year-old daughter, Katie Lucas, a cell phone, clothes and a 27-inch color TV, and spent about $300 on her then 22-year-old daughter, Kristel Lynn.
"I was the shopping queen," she said. "The sky was the limit."
But her bills piled up. Her credit card interest rates were at 22 percent and higher. She got frustrated and figured out how much money she owed. Dillard, who for a time was a single mother taking care of two girls, had accumulated $10,000 in credit card debt and about $400 in doctors' bills. She also had a $354 monthly lease payment on a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup.
Dillard kicked the shopping habit nearly two years ago. She consolidated her debt about a year ago.
"I just faced reality and said, 'Hello, you've got to get this out of your life,' " said Dillard, who is a housing supervisor for the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency in Pontiac.
"I knew I was heading for bankruptcy."
Other consumers know the feeling. We're seeing another holiday orgy of spending by U.S. consumers. Everywhere we look, we're encouraged to spend, spend, spend. Budgets are being squeezed by mounting credit card debt, student loans, mortgage borrowing and, increasingly, by rising out-of-pocket health care costs.
The big question is: How much longer can we keep this up?
Experts have mixed views. But a few things are clear. "A lot of people are dangerously close to the edge and any minor setback could push them over," said Amelia Warren Tygai, coauthor of "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke," ($26, Basic Books).
And everyone should reassess his or her financial condition for the new year and cut back wherever possible.
Understand the big picture ... FULL STORY
Ten top trends for 2003 -Marshall Loeb, CBSMW
And what they mean for next year
Dec. 26, 2003
NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- The biggest stories of the year don't always command the boldest headlines.
Often the developments that shape our lifestyles and our pocketbooks are the result of myriad subtle changes that, over time, produce broad trends -- trends in science and medicine, politics, the arts and society at large. Most of today's hotshots are quickly forgotten. Who can recall the name of the man who was Austria's emperor during Mozart's heyday? (It was Joseph II.) But countless little known people create the real changes. As the economist John Maynard Keynes said, we are all prisoners of some long-dead economist.
Laboring away today in some lab or library, some business office or production line, some farm or service center are the people who are creating the most important trends of our time. Here are ten of the most important trends of 2003 -- not the ten most important trends (nobody knows that) but ten of the most important trends that I think may well carry on in 2004 and through the years ahead.
1. The U.S. made awesome gains in productivity.
2. The U.S. began to massively export white-collar jobs.
3. India emerged as a great economic power -- at last.
4. Spam, worms and viruses threaten the Internet.
5. Hostile powers showed signs of softening to escape the U.S. hit list.
6. Japan on the rise.
7. Europe on the decline.
8. Republicans on a roll.
9. Mutual funds fell from grace.
10. Life expectancy continued to rise dramatically.
WHERE GOLD IS HEADED … AND WHY! -Craig R. Smith, CEO SATC
Dec. 30, 2003
The beauty of a truly free market is that it is driven by the law of supply and demand. Sure, we could argue about whether large financial groups seek to control or manipulation this economic law, but over the longer term, the laws of nature (and of nature's God) always prevail. At least that is what our Founding Fathers believed. And I agree.
It is fact that gold's supply is very limited and the demand is growing so fast worldwide, that gold has risen over 50% since 2001 - despite attempts to keep the lid on gold prices by the powers that be … which are hoping that you will not take notice of this golden opportunity in the 21st century until it is too late.
Keep in mind that gold investments performed as well as the stock market in 2003, when you compare gold bullion to the Dow -- and compare rare U.S. gold coins to the Nasdaq. The only difference is that foreign entities are able to buy U.S. stocks at 26% discounts due to the drop in the dollar.
Therefore, do yourself a big favor: ignore Wall Street or any other pundits who tells you gold's rally is nearing an end. It may take a break for a few days -- even pull back -- but gold's new bull market is far from over. Here are four good reasons why …
GOOD REASON #1.
ALL PAPER CURRENCIES ARE BEING DEVALUED -THE US DOLLAR IS NOW LEADING THE DECLINE.
The US dollar has lost more than 26% of its value on foreign exchange markets since July 2001 ... 6.1% in just the last 4 weeks ...It's just plunged to all-time new lows against the euro and a 7-year low against the Swiss franc.
But it's not just the dollar that's weak. All around the globe, investors are jittery holding paper currencies of any kind. That's because nearly every government in every corner of the world, desperate to stay competitive in the global marketplace, now wants its currency to cheapen, too ...
-- Japan is selling its currency on the open market to try and hold down the value of the yen.
-- The governments of Korea ... Malaysia ... and Thailand are all starting to call for their currencies to also decline in value.
--In the European Union, government officials are prepared to start selling their euro, to drive it lower, hoping to boost its economy with a cheaper currency.
So it's no surprise that gold -- real money -- is benefiting in this environment. Nor should it be any surprise that gold should continue to soar.
GOOD REASON #2.
THE SUPPLY OF GOLD IS LIMITED - WHILE THE SUPPLY OF PAPER MONEY AND CREDIT IS UNLIMITED.
During the past year, money and credit are being created at an unprecedented pace.
Most of the new paper money has been recycled to purchase Treasury issues, to help fund the US' mounting debt. Economists call it "monetizing the debt." I call it "trying to inflate away the debt."
It's destined to continue -- to monetize what could be a $1 trillion deficit next year.
While money and credit supplies are huge and growing, the outstanding supply of gold is limited. There's only so much gold in the world. No matter how fast mining companies dig it out of the ground supply is outstripping demand.
GOOD REASON #3.
DEMAND FOR GOLD IS EXPLODING WORLDWIDE
In the first half of 2003, gold demand is up an estimated 117.6% in Saudi Arabia ... 90% in China ... 88.9% in Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar ... 86.8% in the US ... and 70.2% in Turkey.
And none of this includes the burgeoning demand expected from the Islamic dinar, where 57 Islamic nations could soon embrace the new gold-backed currency for international trade and even for everyday transactions.
Nor does it include massive new demand from Japan, the Middle East, or Latin America -- where currencies are still horribly weak. Nor does it include the expected demand from US consumers who, according to the US Treasury, are buying American gold coins in record numbers.
At the same time that demand is surging, gold production has a long way to go before it can even meet the appetite for the yellow metal.
GOOD REASON #4.
THE ONLY WAY TO MEET THE COMING SURGE IN INVESTOR DEMAND FOR GOLD IS FOR THE PRICE TO RISE.
The gold market is very small compared to other global markets. For example, the entire open interest in gold futures amounts to 28 million ounces or only $11.4 billion. Meanwhile, the open interest in Treasury bond futures totals $54.1 billion ... the S&P, $167.2 billion ... and eurodollars, a whopping $1.3 trillion!
In contrast to the huge supplies of money and paper investments, the supply of gold is microscopic. Reliable estimates put the total of gold mined in all of world history at about 94,000 tons, about 80% of which is accounted for.
At gold's current price of about $415 per ounce, that comes to just over $1.1 trillion -- about /one-fifteenth/ the value of US stock markets. Therefore, even a minor shift in portfolio allocations by investors could drive gold prices much higher. In fact, once gold breaks decisively though the $420 level, there's little in the way to prevent it from climbing to the $450 … $500 … even $600 per ounce.
CONCLUSION: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOLD!
Do not underestimate gold's new bull market! With the four forces I discuss above all converging at the same time -- and confirmed by the long-term charts -- gold is headed much higher in 2004.
Please don't miss out on the potential profits that gold's new bull market could hand you!
The gold bull market is still in its infancy. It's the fundamentals behind my convictions that fortunes will be made from the gold market IF you take action now.
Last time gold was in a full blown secular bull market in the mid-1970s it rose 600% in just a few short years, but rare U.S. gold coins rose 1000% -- almost twice as fast. Don't wait another day to get educated about the most exciting opportunity in the gold market in 2004 to have and to hold gold … for financial safety, financial privacy and financial profit potential.
Record lottery ... just like stocks -Editor
Dec. 28, 2003
POWERBALL JACKPOT AT $210M -NYP
New York Post, December 28, 2003 -- Hope remains alive for double-dipping lottery players looking ... The record win for Powerball occurred last December when $314.9 million went ... Seniors bet on lottery funding -GoMemphis.com
Residents rush to play Powerball -Iowa City Press Citizen
[Ed. Note: The majority of Americans still have an oversize appetite for gambling. No wonder lotteries are all the rage, as well as many overpriced stocks. In 2004 the stakes will grow higher, while the dollar goes lower. Which do you really think will stand the test of time ... electronic 'money', plastic, paper or gold? Stay tuned to watch the new gold rush unfold!]
Read more about why "stocks are just legalized gambling" at SwissAmerica.com
Voters want lies, not the truth -Bill Bonner, DR
Dec. 26, 2003
The rest of the world somehow knows.
They know it is all a fraud. The recovery... .the consumer economy... the Bubble Reloaded... something tells them that it is not going to turn out the way people think.
And so, day after day, they sell the dollar. Every U.S. company... and every U.S. asset... every paycheck... and every bottle of booze is calibrated in dollars. Selling the dollar takes them all down a notch. And people scarcely notice. At least, not at first.
The dollar is the 'Way Out' for everyone - or so it appears.
President Bush could do the honest and honorable thing. He could go on national TV and explain to voters that the nation is spending more than it can afford. "We're all going to have to cut back," he could say. "And we're setting the example here in Washington by cutting Federal spending by 15% next year...
"Plus, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but we're going to have to raise taxes, too. Otherwise, we're just getting ourselves further into a hole that our children and grandchildren will have to deal with."
You have not yet heard George W. Bush say such a thing?
Well, have you heard Alan Greenspan tell Congress that he has "reluctantly decided to raise interest rates in order to reduce consumer spending, lower debt levels, and protect the dollar?" You haven't?
No, and you're not likely to. Voters want lies, not the truth. They want to believe that they can continue to borrow, spend, and eat all they want without any ill effects. They know they cannot eat all they want; they see the results for themselves. But economics is confusing. If Alan Greenspan says the economy is in great shape, who are we to argue with him? If George W. Bush says the nation is better off with a $500 billion deficit, how could we know any better?
Bush supporters point out that the extra spending was made necessary by the War on Terror. But more than half the additional slop has gone directly into the usual domestic trough.
The president must know as well as everyone else that someone, somewhere, somehow will have to make up these deficits. Just so long as it's not his problem, now! And Alan Greenspan knows perfectly well that someday this whole consumer debt/paper money economy will blow sky high. He just wants to be sure it's not while he's on the job... or not in any way that people notice.
The charming thing about the dollar is that it can fall... and the voters don't seem to mind. In fact, they rather like it. For while all America's assets have dollar signs in front of them... so do America's debts. A 50% decline in the greenback, for example, wipes out more than $4 trillion worth of foreigners' claims on U.S. assets... while Americans think they are still whole!
Voilŕ! There goes a big slice of America's debt problem... stuffed down the gullet of foreigners. What an elegant solution! What a delightful outcome! The foreigners don't vote. They can't even complain - for it's clearly their own damned fault. Fed governor Ben Bernanke said right out loud that we would destroy the dollar rather than allow the consumer economy to slow down. We reported it right here in the Daily Reckoning. Weren't they paying attention?
But wait. Is it really that simple? That easy? The foreigners are wising up already. Day by day, the value of everything American goes down - its houses, its stocks and bonds, its hourly earnings and dividends. How can Americans continue living in the style to which they have become accustomed? Without foreign lending... where will they get the money? Where will the federal government get the wherewithal to continue squandering cash at the present rate? How will consumers go further into debt when no one will lend them money? What will the consumer's house be worth when neither he nor many of his neighbors can afford to make the monthly payments?"
We cannot wait to turn the page and find out.
Follow The Money to China -Derry Brownfield
December 27, 2003 -- NewsWithViews.com
While foreigners are flocking into the good ole' US-of-A in gobs and bunches, they are not bringing their money with them. Beginning with our early history and continuing through modern times "America has been the land of opportunity." It was the place to invest - to put your money for maximum returns. As people from all walks of life, the SMART MONEY from around the world found investments here that surpassed any other nation. Lives were changed and fortunes were made.
The US dollar was the most valued currency on the face of the earth and was preferred capital for moneyed people everywhere. But now we are involved in a GLOBAL neighborhood and that is all changing. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Foreign Direct Investment includes, "purchases of and mergers with companies outside one's borders and expansion of divisions of foreign-based firms in other countries." In the year 2001 this foreign-based investment into the United States was at $144 billion. One year later it had dropped 90 percent to only $30 billion.
While American jobs are disappearing and our economy is in the doldrums, China's economy continues to expand. An article appearing in USA Today states, "In recent years, China has become an attractive place to build up businesses and to invest because of cheaper labor costs - even for well educated workers, and because of liberalization of some policies as the country enters the World Trade Organizations. The rapidly growing economy also makes it a good place to set up shop to sell goods." China's foreign investment reached $52.7 billion last year, a 12% increase over the previous year.
While other nations are investing in China, China is continuing to invest in the United States. As I reported in last month's Chronicle, foreigners are holding 1.3 trillion dollars of our foreign debt and 43% of it is held by China and Japan. Not too many years ago America was the richest country in the world. Today, we are the world's greatest debtor nation and much of that debt is to foreigners.
While we are being told that the economy is gradually picking up, President Bush is assigning a new government official to address the vanishing factory jobs. Multinational companies are moving not only production facilities but also headquarters overseas, setting the stage for the globalization of corporate activity. These corporations are going where the labor is cheap, the taxes are low and government rules and regulation are non-existent. That ain't the United States!
William O. Dougals, Justice of the US Supreme Court once said, "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air however slight lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." Is it possible that our economy is RIDING OFF INTO THE SUNSET?
Putting God Back in Politics -JIM WALLIS, NYT
December 28, 2003 -- New York Times
WASHINGTON -- As the Democratic candidates for president attend religious services for the holidays, their celebrations may be tempered by an uncomfortable fact: churchgoing Americans tend to vote Republican.
An overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves to be religious. Yet according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, people who attend church more than once a week vote Republican by 63 percent to 37 percent; people who seldom or never attend vote Democratic by 62 percent to 38 percent.
This disparity should concern Democrats - if not as a matter of faith then as a matter of politics. More important, it should concern anyone who cares about the role of religion in public life. By failing to engage Republicans in this debate, the Democrats impoverish us all.
President Bush and the Republicans clearly have an advantage with people of faith as an election year approaches. Republicans are more comfortable talking about religious values and issues, and they are quick to promise that their faith will affect their policies (even if, like their Democratic counterparts, they don't always follow through on their campaign promises).
President Bush is as public and expressive about his faith as any recent occupant of the White House. Among his first acts as president was to establish the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helps religious and community groups get federal financing for some of their work. Although the "faith-based initiative" has turned out to be more symbolic than substantial, symbolism matters - in religion as well as politics.
The Democratic candidates, in contrast, seem uncomfortable with the subject of religion. (The exception is Joseph Lieberman, though even he seems less comfortable now than he was in 2000.) They stumble over themselves to assure voters that while they may be people of faith, they won't allow their religious beliefs to affect their political views.
For too many Democrats, faith is private and has no implications for political life. But what kind of faith is that? Where would America be if the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had kept his faith to himself?
Howard Dean, the leading challenger to President Bush, illustrates the Democrats' problem. Dr. Dean recently said he left his church in Vermont over a dispute about a bike path, and explained that his faith does not inform his politics. He has also said the presidential race should stay away from the issues of "guns, God and gays" and focus on jobs, health care and foreign policy.
By framing the issue in this way - declining to discuss overtly "religious" topics - Dr. Dean allows Republicans to define the terms of the debate. The "religious issues" in this election will be reduced to the Ten Commandments in public courthouses, marriage amendments, prayer in schools and, of course, abortion.
Spiritual Progress Hard to Find in 2003 -Barna.org
December 22, 2003
After analyzing more than 10,000 personal interviews conducted during 2003, researcher George Barna identified four critical outcomes that emerged from those interactions regarding faith and lifestyle.
Millions of Americans Are Spiritually Satisfied - and Confused
Contradictions and confusion permeate the spiritual condition of the nation. Studies conducted during 2003 indicate, for instance, that while 84% of adults say their religious faith is very important in their own life, 66% also say that religion is losing influence in the nation. While people are clearly spending less time involved in religious practices such as Bible reading, prayer, and participating in church activities, 70% claim that their own religious faith is consistently growing deeper.
Further, at the same time that 84% of adults claim to be Christian, three out of four say they are either absolutely or somewhat committed to Christianity, and three-fifths say they believe the Bible is totally accurate in all that it teaches, the moral foundations of the nation are crumbling. This year brought about increases in the proportions of people who contend that cohabitation (60%), adultery (42%), sexual relations between homosexuals (30%), abortion (45%), pornography (38%), the use of profanity (36%) and gambling (61%) are "morally acceptable" behaviors.
Even perceptions regarding eternal salvation reflect confusion. Nearly nine out of ten Protestant churches claim to be "evangelical," almost six out of ten born again Christians claim to have shared their faith in Christ with a non-believer during the past twelve months, and virtually every Christian church says it pursues the Great Commission (i.e., spreading the good news about the availability of eternal salvation through the grace of God via Jesus Christ's death and resurrection for those who embrace Him as savior). Yet, although just 38% of the adult public have confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior, 99% claim they will not go to Hell after they die. In fact, a majority of Americans do not believe that Satan exists and most adults are leery about the existence of Hell.
America's spiritual confusion undoubtedly relates to the fact that most people own a Bible but few know what's in it. Research showing that only 4% of adults, and just 9% of born again Christians, have a biblical worldview sheds light on the distorted viewpoints that reign in the U.S. http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID=154&Reference=F
Children Are Loved But Not Well-Served Spiritually... FULL STORY
2004 New Year's Message from Michael Savage
Dec. 29, 2003
Troubling times we are in. With a full scale religious war launched against Christianity and Judaism by Radical Islam and internal enemies anxious to overthrow all we have inherited and dream of, GOD must still be on our side.
We must all continue to pray for America, for our Families, and for Ourselves.
As we enter 2004, only GOD knows what fate will bring us. But, I believe we can determine our own fate, to a great extent. Likewise, I believe we, the real Americans, can and must determine the future of our country. We can do so by adhering to the Founding Fathers' genius, as well as by following the 10 Commandments.
And remember, there is now an 11th Commandment written by Michael Savage; Protect Our Borders, Language, and Culture.
GOD Bless America!
[Ed. Note: I'm waiting for my publishers review copy to write a book review ... but I understand SAVAGE new book is #1 ON AMAZON NOT-YET-PUBLISHED HARDCOVER List ... CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!
ABOUT THE EDITOR
David M. Bradshaw is Editor of Real Money Perspectives, publisher of Rediscovering Gold in the 21st Century: The Complete Guide to the Next Gold Rush (7/01) and has been an economic commentator since 1987, when he produced the World Economic Perspectives radio show. In 1997, he produced a one-hour TV documentary, "Preparing Wisely for the Next Millennium," which was distributed free of charge at Blockbuster Video nationally. In 1999, he produced a one-hour radio special, "The Big Picture: The Shape of Things to Come" discussing geopolitical, economic and spiritual trends in the 21st Century. MORE...