Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Stock Market

Is the stock market real? Not according to consumers.

With the stock market steadily marching higher and setting new all-time highs (on a nominal, not inflation-adjusted basis), does this reflect what’s really going on in the economy? Not according to 5,000 households who

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The numbers behind the Dow are simply awful

Just as the Dow and the S&P 500 are reaching new highs, many are suggesting further gains are possible. That’s why this summary of how things look when compared to October, 2007, the day the Dow hit its previous all-time high, is more than a little unnerving.

  • Regular Gas Price: Then $2.75; Now $3.73
  • GDP Growth: Then +2.5%; Now +1.6%
  • Americans Unemployed (in Labor Force): Then 6.7 million; Now 13.2 million
  • Americans On Food Stamps: Then 26.9 million; Now 47.69 million
  • Size of Fed’s Balance Sheet: Then $0.89 trillion; Now $3.01 trillion
  • US Debt as a Percentage of GDP: Then 38%; Now 74.2%
  • US Deficit : Then $97 billion; Now $975.6 billion
  • Total US Debt Outstanding: Then $9 trillion; Now $16.4 trillion
  • Labor Force Participation Rate: Then 65.8%; Now 63.6%
  • Consumer Confidence: Then 99.5; Now 69.6
  • S&P Rating of the US: Then AAA; Now AA+
  • Gold: Then $748; Now $1583

Years ago when I was on a speaking tour for the American Opinion Speakers Bureau, I showed a cartoon of a man climbing a ladder. On his back were the words “stock market.” The first panel showed him climbing. The second showed him climbing higher. The third panel showed him reaching the top of the ladder. The fourth panel showed him continuing to climb, without the ladder. It always brought a laugh. Everyone understood that the market had become totally detached from reality. So it appears to be today.

Here’s where the Dow has to be in inflation-adjusted terms in order really to break a new high. Using an inflation calculator (which assumes that the CPI is a fair measure of price inflation – a dubious assumption), in order for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to equal its high of 14,164 touched in October, 2007, it would have to be at 15,630. At the moment, following the bad news out of Cyprus, the Dow is at 14,473. It would have to gain 1,157 points, or another 8 percent, just to get back to where it was, in real terms, in October, 2007, five and a half years ago.

The stock market might just continue moving higher, just like the man in the cartoon. But at some point reality is bound to kick in.

Another 1987 black Monday coming?

Mark Hulbert has expressed serious doubt about the stock market’s ability to continue it climb upward.  As the Dow touches the magic 14,000 mark, it hesitates, pulls back slightly, and then tests that ceiling, only to repeat the process. Much is being made in the news that this is a “new high” in the Dow and things can only go higher:

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The Gloomy Report from the CBO is Too Optimistic

On its face the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office is gloomy enough, but careful sifting through it reveals

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Where Are the Spending Cuts?

Cutting your Spending

Cutting your Spending (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

The fiscal cliff “deal” about to be signed into law by President Obama is all about tax increases. This is what The One has wanted since he got into office. He wanted to overload the system so much that taxpayers would be forced to pay more. It’s more of the “leveling” required to push the US down relative to other deadbeat nations who also can’t pay their bills. The easier to be “absorbed” into the new world order run by non-elected elites. But I digress…

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the “deal” consists of $15 billion in spending cuts (over the next ten years, mind you) compared to $620 billion in new taxes – a ratio of 41:1. What a deal!

“We’ll address spending cuts later” is now the cry from sycophants like Grover Norquist. “We got a deal we can live with,” they say. “Now let’s get down to business.”

Sorry. Business is already done. That window of opportunity to hold the government accountable is closed. Obama got what he wanted. Boehner caved in. End of discussion.

I’m biased (!). But I think the fiscal cliff turned out to be a speed bump on the road to more

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Senator Harkin Tries to Revive High-Frequency Trading Tax Bill

Senator Harkin Visits Downtown School

Senator Harkin Visits Downtown School (Photo credit: Phil Roeder)

More than a year ago Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) introduced legislation to impose a tax on high-speed trading and it has languished in the Senate ever since. On Thursday he had a chance to breathe some life into the measure in an interview at MarketWatch.com during which he offered the same platitudes from a year ago.

High-frequency trading, he said, generates no benefit to the economy and therefore could be taxed with little negative impact. Such a tax could raise an estimated $350 billion over the next ten years, he added:

 I really don’t see any evidence that these high-speed traders add anything to the economy, but they do also create some aberrations in the market that have led to some disturbances.

On the one hand, my transaction tax doesn’t put them out of business but certainly they would have to pay 3 cents on every $100 in transactions they do. That’s really not very burdensome.

But also we need revenue. We have to get out of this deficit hole we’re in and this transaction tax is estimated to raise about $352 billion over ten years. That’s pretty substantial. And I don’t think it will do anything at all to hurt trading, what I call “real trading.”

This is a rehash of statements he made on his website back in November, 2009 when he, along with Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), introduced his bill. He explained then that it would be

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Pro Teams Losing Games and Fans

Miami Dolphins fan / Torcedor do Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins fan / Torcedor do Miami Dolphins (Photo credit: marciofleury)

In an interesting study, 247Wallst.com counts 13 professional sports teams that are losing games, fans and money, and that many appear to be in a death spiral: they don’t have the money to hire the best players, so the players they are able to hire don’t play as well, so they lose games, and the fans lose interest, and so the owners have less money to hire the best players, and down and down they go.

Since this is football season, let’s look at the Miami Dolphins. During the 2001-2002 season, the team won 11 games and lost 5, putting them in first place in the AFC East.  The beat the Colts in the first playoff game but were shut out by

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Keynesians are Crazy! Here’s Proof:

English: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at...

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For 20 years the Japanese economy has languished. Its stock market, once at 40,000, now is below 10,000. The solution? More of the same medicine that hasn’t worked! It’s insane. At least one intelligent soul has written about it, in The New York Times no less. He calls such policies “unusual”:

For years, proponents of aggressive monetary policy have offered this unusual piece of advice as a way to end Japan’s deflationary slump and invigorate the economy. Print lots of money, they said. Keep interest rates at zero. Convince the market that Japan will allow inflation for a while.

It hasn’t worked. For 20 years it hasn’t worked. So now, Japan’s former prime minister has a great idea:

In a speech in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr. [Shinzo] Abe said he would call for the Bank of Japan to set an inflation target of 2 to 3 percent, far above its current goal of about 1 percent, with an explicit commitment to “unlimited monetary easing” — an open-endedness that has caused jitters among some economists. The bank’s benchmark interest rate should be brought back to zero percent from 0.1 percent, Mr. Abe added.

Abe wants to do even more. He proposes that Japan’s central bank buy construction bonds to

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Keynesian Economists Nervous About Fiscal Cliff

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 25JAN07 - Maria Bartiromo, ...

Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC’s Closing Bell, and Host and Managing Editor, Wall Street Journal Report, CNBC, USA; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maria Bartiromo is the majorette domo of television investment broadcasting. She is also a Keynesian. From her bio:

She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations [and] the Economic Club of New York… (my emphasis)

Bartiromo graduated from New York University, where she studied journalism and economics.

Rest assured good friends that NYU doesn’t teach Austrian School economics. And membership in the CFR guarantees that anything she says or writes will be the elite Anglo-American establishment’s view.

And she is getting nervous about the fiscal cliff:

The ongoing fight over the “fiscal cliff” may overshadow everything else as we get closer to the new year. Sadly, compromise seems hard to come by, even though the consequences of going over the cliff — hundreds of billions of dollars of spending programs that are set to expire, along with the largest tax increase since World War II for virtually all income levels — was specifically designed to force compromise.

Obama has dug in his heels: no deal unless

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One Bear’s Prediction: Massive Market Selloff Coming

Bear Market

Bear Market (Photo credit: AZRainman)

Hard-money adviser Marc Faber, best known as publisher of the Gloom, Doom & Boom Report and consequently often referred to as “Dr. Doom,” told CNBC on Tuesday that the stock market could decline by 20 percent. He doesn’t think it will have anything to do with the “fiscal cliff” but instead will reflect poor earnings as bellwether companies struggle to be profitable in the continuing recession:

I don’t think markets are going down because of Greece, I don’t think markets are going down because of the “fiscal cliff” — because there won’t be a “fiscal cliff.”

The market is going down because corporate profits will begin to disappoint, the global economy will hardly grow next year (or even contract)…

That is the reason why stocks, from the highs of September of 1,470 on the S&P [Standard and Poor’s 500 Index], will drop at least 20 percent, in my view.

Faber noted that shares of Apple, Inc. are already off more than 20 percent since September, while shares of Amazon.com Inc., McDonald’s Corporation and Google, Inc. have each lost more than 8 percent of their market value during that period.

Taking a longer look, however, Dr. Doom is even more bearish. He thinks equities could

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Obama Unleashed

The Debt StarAs if he ever intended to pull his punches in his continuing drive to establish a totalitarian state in America, newly reelected Obama has wasted no time in extending and expanding his illegitimate powers. As Mike Adams (one of the more astute and insightful of writers I try to read daily) noted in his daily blog on Wednesday:

He’s the one who issued an executive order claiming  government ownership over all farms and farm equipment, in case you forgot  that little fact.

He’s also the guy who just  recently issued an executive order merging Homeland Security with local  corporate entities to grant the executive branch of government a power  monopoly over the nation, bypassing the courts and Congress. You probably  haven’t even heard about that one, because he secretly signed it during  Hurricane Sandy.

From there, Adams speculates on Obama’s second term and his continuing attack on our freedoms:

  1. He sees an expansion of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the surveillance state by setting up arbitrary “check points” on roadways, at sporting events, at shopping malls, and other “surprise” locations. He expects to see even more belligerent and invasive  behaviors, conditioning us for the coming police state.
  2. He expects secret arrests of American citizens and even “kill orders” to be issued against his political opponents.
  3. He anticipates additional government spending without limit, the current debt ceiling notwithstanding.
  4. He thinks our foods will increasingly be modified genetically (GMO) while attempts to let consumers know about them will be overridden and rejected.
  5. He is sure that health care will look more and more like a government agency, with mandatory vaccinations and the war against raw milk continuing.
  6. His push to emasculate the Second Amendment will drive gun and ammunition sales much higher, along with prices for them. It’s interesting to note that Wednesday’s selloff in the stock market didn’t include shares of Ruger and Smith & Wesson, both of which rose substantially.
  7. He expects to see continued and accelerating disregard for the niceties contained in the Bill of Rights.
  8. Government expansion will include increases in food stamps and other entitlement programs.
  9. He expects more and more large employers to move their operations offshore to avoid the onerous demands and mandates under Obamacare which is now firmly cemented into place as a result of the election.
  10. Preppers and veterans will increasingly be targets for reprisals, with the government calling them “potential terrorists” for engaging in what he calls “fundamental preparedness strategies” such as storing water, food, medicines and ammunition.

There are millions of us who see clearly, some perhaps for the first time, exactly what’s coming. Adams just sees over the horizon a little farther than most.

Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on the Election

Hurricane Sandy (2012): 60 km Wind Area Forecast

Hurricane Sandy (2012): 60 km Wind Area Forecast (Photo credit: Canadian Pacific)

Hurricane Sandy is immense and could be the worst storm to hit the east coast of the US in 100 years, according to the Economic Collapse Blog (ECB). Michael, writing for the ECB, ticks off the remarkable impact the storm is having (or likely to have) on the 50 million residents living in the estimated impact area:

  • Tropical storm winds are being felt more than 500 miles away from the center of the storm
  • No reported storm recorded since 1988 has been larger than Sandy
  • Nearly 10,000 flights have been canceled as a result of the storm
  • New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has ordered the evacuation of all residents living in Zone A (a high risk low-lying area in the city)
  • The storm surge could be more than 15 feet above sea level in Zone A
  • The city could experience winds of 80 mph or higher
  • The city’s subway system is being shut down, and could be flooded by Sandy
  • Schools as far away as Boston are closed
  • The stock market is closed
  • Some parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina could get as much as two feet of snow
  • Damage estimates by AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions is projecting that Sandy could result in $100 billion in damage,more costly than Hurricane Katrina

But the impact could determine the outcome of the election, according to Josh Vorhees, writing for Slate, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the establishment mouthpiece Washington Post. For one thing, it has turned the campaign schedules of the presidential candidates upside down, with Romney canceling key visits to

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Hurricane Sandy Gives Obama an Excuse to Exercise Presidential Prowess

The latest from the Washington Times spells out just how large Sandy is:

Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it killed more than five dozen  people, and was expected to hook west toward the mid-Atlantic coast and come  ashore late Monday or early Tuesday, most likely in New Jersey, colliding with a  storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic. The  series of events has created a potentially devastating mix that could affect the  lives of 50 million people from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, forecasters said.

It was Rahm Emanuel who, early in the Obama administration, uttered these chilling words: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” And thus was unleashed the storm of totalitarianism that has flooded the halls of Congress and the main streets of America ever since.

Now that Hurricane Sandy has shut down the stock market and a large part of the economy along the East Coast, Obama is wasting no time: 

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Is QE3 a Myth?

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Graham Summers, writing for ZeroHedge, has pointed out that Fed head Ben Bernanke hasn’t done any new buying of securities despite his promise to do so back in September. The Fed publishes its balance sheet. You can see it here, in graphical form. As Summers said, if Bernanke was buying, how come the measure of money – the adjusted monetary base – is declining?

Would Bernanke lie? Oh, no!

The stock market jumped up nicely at the news, but has retraced most of those paper gains. Maybe the market has figured it out: it was

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So Romney Won the Debate? Whoop-dee-do.

Mitt Romney politely cleaned Barack Obama’s clock tonight. A lethargic and at times tired looking President Obama was out-hustled, out-facted, out-energized, and out-informed by Former Governor Mitt Romney. Completely unlike Romney’s convention speech, tonight he focused on strong economic issues, developed his philosophy of limited government, and convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in fact a pro-growth tax reformer who wants to lower the rate, and broaden the base in a revenue-neutral fashion that will actually create jobs and spur the economy.

This quote from Larry Kudlow removed for me all doubt – that Kudlow is a fool, a tool, a useful idiot promoting the party line.

Obama vs. Romney 2012

Obama vs. Romney 2012 (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

I like Kudlow and think that some of his commentary on the stock market makes sense. I like his perspective there. I think it is often reasoned and careful. And I’m glad he’s separated himself from “the Mouth” – Jim Cramer.

But this quote on last night’s debate is just too much for me. My problem is that I know more about Mr. Romney than I would otherwise know if I weren’t a writer. I’ve done some significant digging into Mr. Romney’s political history and into his Mormon faith, and I don’t like at all what I’ve found.

But not Mr. Kudlow. He is a cheerleader. That’s what cheerleaders do, they lead the cheers:

This is the first time I have been totally convinced of his tax reform bonifide and principles. Elsewhere in the debate, Romney had to correct President Obama on a number of issues, including oil tax breaks, healthcare issues, job training programs in the federal government and even how Obamacare works. Romney’s knowledge base was broad and deep, much broader and deeper than President Obama showed tonight.

Kudlow has no excuse for not knowing this about Romney:

Finally, Romney went toe-to-toe with President Obama and looked presidential every step of the way. Romney kept an even demeanor, and showed himself as a man who was in control. It was a different Romney than I saw at the convention. It was much more of the Mitt Romney that I have come to know through many interviews and personal conversations throughout the years.

Kudlow’s rant tells me a lot more about Kudlow than it does about Romney.

Growth in Money Supply: Mainlining Heroin

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Global slump risk falls as world money rebounds

The first green shoots have begun to emerge in money supply data from across the world, raising hopes of a tentative global recovery by later this year.

I don’t know why more economists (I am not one, just a wanna-be) don’t use an analogy that I find useful: money created out of nothing and injected into the banking system by buying government bonds is like mainlining heroin.

I have no experience with such activity, but the analogy is useful nevertheless. The addict (and we are addicted to easy money, aren’t we?) is seeking another “high” and shoots himself with heroin. Over time, however, it takes more and more heroin to achieve the same high.

Eventually, of course, the addict either dies from an overdose, or goes through rehab and suffers the painful inevitable withdrawal. The longer the addict puts off the day of withdrawal, the worse it will be.

And so we come to the whole point of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s article from the British liberal paper Telegraph: money supply is (and has been since the middle of June) increasing greatly. He provides a useful graph of world money supply and if you look carefully, you’ll see a sharp upturn in that supply taking place starting in June.

I went to the Federal Reserve charts available here and found the same thing: the Adjusted Monetary Base, which had declined sharply since the middle of February, has enjoyed a significant “bounce” upward, again starting at about the middle of June.

And the effects of that additional injection of money and credit is having its expected (temporary) effect. Evans-Pritchard quotes Mr. Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors who tracks these sorts of things:

Mr. Ward said global industrial output should start to “bottom out” by October. The rebound is a huge relief to monetarists following the sudden collapse of M1 growth from a peak of 5.1pc last November, a rare pace of decline with echoes of early 2008…

Any world recovery is likely to be very fragile as the US and Europe battle the headwinds of debt deleveraging, and China struggles to manage the fall-out from its last credit blitz. There is no margin for policy error anywhere. Yet the bulls have a nice puff of wind in their sails for now. Enjoy it.

At least he’s honest about one thing: the high will be temporary; our stock market just went over 13,000 on the Dow for the first time since April, after hitting a bottom of just over 12,000 in late May/early June. That coincides nicely, doesn’t it, with the increase in the supply of money beginning in early June?

But the heroin addict will enjoy another high, putting off the inevitable crash for another little while.

CalPERS Made a Paltry 1 Percent in Past Year

Stock Market

Stock Market (Photo credit: Ahmad Nawawi)

Monday’s report from the California Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) contained two numbers that are spelling out the death spiral of that plan: too little money making too little returns. How bad are the returns? According to the report, the plan made a paltry one percent in the past year (July 2011 – June 2012), far below what’s needed for the plan to be able to keep its promises to its beneficiaries

Joe Dear, the plan’s chief investment officer, sang a familiar refrain when he tried to explain the plan’s poor performance:

The last twelve months were a challenging period for all investors as the ongoing European debt crisis and slowing global economic growth increased market volatility and reduced equity returns. It’s a clear reminder that we must remain focused on performance, risk and internal controls in today’s financial environment.

It’s going to take much more than that to bring his plan back from the edge of oblivion. The plan, the largest public pension plan in the country, currently covers 1.6 million Californians but has only $233 billion in assets. At present it is paying out an average of $3,065 every month to each recipient who retired in the last year, but since the plan is at least 50 percent underfunded it won’t take long for those recipients to start seeing substantial cuts in those checks.

The problem is two-fold: The plan is underfunded because the state hasn’t been able to

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Experts Disagree on U.S. Economic Outlook

The Six Million Dollar Man

As soon as Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADPannounced that hiring slowed in April compared to March, with 199,000 new jobs being the lowest since last September, the experts began scratching their heads. Joel Parkken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors which produces the monthly reports for ADP said that “this deceleration seems consistent with other incoming data” and that it also means that Friday’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will show that the unemployment rate will stay at 8.2 percent, the same as last month.

ADP also revised downward last month’s jobs numbers from 209,000 to 201,000, and indicated that 123,000 service jobs were added in April while manufacturing lost 4,000 jobs. Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics who estimated that job growth would be 175,000 for the month, is now backtracking:

Obviously, the weak ADP reading means that there are now clear downside risks to our estimate…Indeed, it is possible we could see a repeat of March, when payrolls [reported by the BLS] increased by only 120,000.

Looking back over the last five months of ADP data, however, gives a better picture of the economy and jobs. Since November total payrolls have increased by 1 million, or about 200,000 jobs per month. Two-thirds of those jobs were created in the service industry while one-third was in the goods producing sector, with only about 15,000 jobs being created in the heavy manufacturing sector every month.

But this report from the payroll giant, which tracks job growth closely, differs from the survey of

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Friday’s Unemployment Numbers: Correcting the Corrections

English: President Barack Obama discusses his ...

The news released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday appeared to be all good: The unemployment rate was down by 0.2 percent to 8.3 percent, the lowest since the month after President Obama was inaugurated. November and December estimates were revised upward. Most private industries showed growth, including 70,000 new business services jobs, 50,000 new manufacturing jobs, and a remarkable 21,000 new jobs in the construction industry. The labor force expanded by 500,000 which appeared to indicate that more people are coming back into the market looking for work. But the skeptics were legion: the Wall Street Journal, while accepting the numbers at face value, said, “Even with the recent gains, this is by far the worst jobs recovery since the Great Depression, and the U.S. still has about 5.5 million fewer jobs that it did before the recession began in December 2007.” Across town, the Washington Times said the numbers looked better than they should because of the number of young people dropping out and the paper even found an economist at the Federal Reserve to agree with it. Brian Holter, who works at the Minneapolis Fed, said: “However these factors stack up, the improvement in unemployment is largely the work of declining participation rates and, unfortunately, not job growth.” John Ransom, writing at Townhall.com, was blunt in his assessment of the BLS report: 

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Not All Economic News is Bad News

English: There's a light at the end of the tun...

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul noted on Tuesday that efforts to rein in government spending appeared to be in vain, due to an agreement reached with the White House during the recent debt ceiling negotiations. Congress would have to pass a joint resolution to oppose any extension of the debt ceiling, which President Obama is free to veto. Said Paul: “A default is becoming more mathematically unavoidable with…every debt ceiling increase.”

Not only is the word “default” becoming commonplace but also the words “economic collapse.” A study conducted by Leflein Associates and published by EcoHealth Alliance showed that of the 1003 individuals interviewed for the survey, 63 percent—or more than six out of ten of them—feared an “economic collapse” more than a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or a global outbreak of disease. This study was picked up by Michael, the author of his Economic Collapse Blog, who piled on by adding a long list of reasons why concerned citizens should be afraid of such an event: 

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.

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