AlJazeera | No details revealed on his capture.
AlJazeera | No details revealed on his capture.
AlJazeera | No details revealed on his capture.
Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily
Cold Climate: In an event chock-full of bitterly cold irony, perhaps even Al Gore has noticed that multiple icebreakers couldn’t free a boat stuck in Antarctic ice that global warming was supposed to have melted.
Few of the media reports on the plight of the Russian-flagged research vessel MV Akademik Schokalskiy have noted the irony of a ship full of climate scientists getting stuck in an Antarctic ice sheet so thick that early attempts at breaking through the ice to free them were failures.
“We’re stuck in our own experiment,” the Australasian Antarctic Expedition said in a statement. “We came to Antarctica to study how one of the biggest icebergs in the world has altered the system by trapping ice. We … are now ourselves trapped by ice surrounding our ship.”
In a statement only climate-change die-hards could make, the group said, “Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up.”
A Chinese icebreaker was unable to reach the ship, and another vessel, the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, got within 10 nautical miles of the stranded ship but couldn’t see it through a driving blizzard and had to turn back to open water, Fox News reported.
A makeshift helicopter pad on the ice sheet was being readied for a helicopter rescue.
“A decision has been reached to evacuate 52 passengers and four crew members by helicopter from China’s Xue Long ship, should the weather allow,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement which did not note whether it was solar-powered or not.
Expedition leader Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at Australia’s University of New South Wales, dismissed the irony of their situation, claiming the ice they were trapped in was old ice likely formed from an iceberg that broke away years ago, and proves nothing.
But Titanic-like icebergs have been forming since long before the Industrial Revolution, and in our view an inconvenient truth is that ice is ice.
The 2004 science fiction movie “The Day After Tomorrow” — and the operative word here is “fiction” — opened with a portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet shearing off as a prelude to planetary doom.
But as we recently noted, while the global-warming alarmists obsess about ice sheets breaking off, Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record-large extent for a second straight year.
A review of the Icesat satellite data from 1992 to 2008 showed a net gain in ice mass in Antarctica — not a decline.
In 2013, the ice reached 19.51 million square kilometers, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center website.
That number topped the record-high level set in 2012 of 19.48 million square kilometers. The Australasian Antarctic Expedition has now found itself trapped in some of that ice as its leaders try to explain away the ice’s presence.
Dr. Don J. Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, points out that the East Antarctic sheet, which contains about 90% of the world’s fresh water, is not melting, but expanding.
Rather than look at the much bigger picture, the alarmists selectively focus on the West Antarctic Peninsula, which holds less than 10% of Antarctic ice. South Pole temperature data show no warming since records began in 1957.
The facts are that global temperatures have flat-lined for the last 15 years, the sun has entered a solar lull in terms of sunspot activity and both the Arctic and Antarctic are gaining record amounts of ice.
Himalayan glaciers that were supposed to disappear and islands that were supposed to sink under rising sea levels are still there.
These explorers are not only trapped in Antarctic sea ice, but in a climate myth of their own making. Al Gore, call your office.
Read more at Investor’s Business Daily
(Washington, D.C.) — As the last of U.S. military forces departed from Iraq one year ago, al-Qaeda and other Radical Islamic movements have launched the worst wave of violence in Iraq in five years.
All Iraqis need our prayers, including the Christians who have been repeatedly targeted by the jihadists.
Two bombing attacks on Christians in Baghdad alone on Christmas Day left 37 people dead and scores wounded.
“Violence in Iraq has reached its worst level since 2008, the UN mission to Baghdad has said, reporting that more than 8,800 Iraqis were killed in 2013,” reports the UK Guardian. “The UN said 7,818 civilians died last year. The total including members of the Iraqi security forces surged to 8,868, with 759 people killed in December alone.”
“Al-Qaida in Iraq has found fertile ground in all this discontent and has attacked the Iraqi government …by killing members of its army, its police forces, its politicians and journalists, as well as its Shia population,” an NGO told the Guardian. “The last six months have seen the massacres of entire families as they sleep or travel to a holy place, sometimes five, sometimes 12 family members at a time….The faults are now as wide and deep as trenches.”
“The spike in violence can be attributed to several factors, including the crackdown by Iraq’s Shia-led government on a Sunni protest camp last April, in which 49 people were shot dead,” the British paper noted. “These killings spawned numerous revenge attacks against Shia targets in Baghdad and across the rest of Iraq. Amid discontent from Iraq’s Sunni minority and Shia majority, the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has in effect given up on cross-sectarian politics. He imprisoned high-profile Sunni politicians and forced others into exile.”
Is the U.S. consumer tapped out? If so, how in the world will the U.S. economy possibly improve in 2014? Most Americans know that the U.S. economy is heavily dependent on consumer spending. If average Americans are not out there spending money, the economy tends not to do very well. Unfortunately, retail sales during the holiday season appear to be quite disappointing and the middle class continues to deeply struggle. And for a whole bunch of reasons things are likely going to be even tougher in 2014. Families are going to have less money in their pockets to spend thanks to much higher health insurance premiums under Obamacare, a wide variety of tax increases, higher interest rates on debt, and cuts in government welfare programs. The short-lived bubble of false prosperity that we have been enjoying for the last couple of years is rapidly coming to an end, and 2014 certainly promises to be a very “interesting year”.
Obamacare Rate Shock
Most middle class families are just scraping by from month to month these days.
Unfortunately for them, millions of those families are now being hit with massive health insurance rate increases.
In a previous article, I discussed how one study found that health insurance premiums for men are going to go up by an average of 99 percent under Obamacare and health insurance premiums for women are going to go up by an average of 62 percent under Obamacare.
Most middle class families simply cannot afford that.
Earlier today, I got an email from a reader that was paying $ 478 a month for health insurance for his family but has now received a letter informing him that his rate is going up to $ 1,150 a month.
Millions of families are receiving letters just like that. And to say that these rate increases are a “surprise” to most people would be a massive understatement. Even people that work in the financial industry are shocked at how high these premiums are turning out to be…
“The real big surprise was how much out-of-pocket would be required for our family,” said David Winebrenner, 46, a financial adviser in Lebanon, Ky., whose deductible topped $ 12,000 for a family of six for a silver plan he was considering. The monthly premium: $ 1,400.
Since Americans are going to have to pay much more for health insurance, that is going to remove a huge amount of discretionary spending from the economy, and that will not be good news for retailers.
Get Ready For Higher Taxes
When you raise taxes, you reduce the amount of money that people have in their pockets to spend.
Sadly, that is exactly what is happening.
This tax season, millions of families are going to find out that they have much higher tax bills than they had anticipated.
If you are a worker, you might want to check out the chart that I have posted below to see where you stack up. In America today, most workers are low income workers. These numbers come from a recentHuffington Post article…
-If you make more than $ 10,000, you earn more than 24.2% of Americans, or 37 million people.
-If you make more than $ 15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans.
-If you make more than $ 30,000, you earn more than 53.2% of Americans.
-If you make more than $ 50,000, you earn more than 73.4% of Americans.
-If you make more than $ 100,000, you earn more than 92.6% of Americans.
-You are officially in the top 1% of American wage earners if you earn more than $ 250,000.
-The 894 people that earn more than $ 20 millionmake more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $ 37,009,979,568 per year.
It is important to keep in mind that those numbers are for the employment income of individuals not households. Most households have more than one member working, so overall household incomes are significantly higher than these numbers.
Higher Interest Rates Mean Larger Debt Payments
On Tuesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries rose to 3.03 percent. I warned that this would happen once the taper started, and this is just the beginning. Interest rates are likely to steadily rise throughout 2014.
The reason why the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is such a critical number is because mortgage rates and thousands of other interest rates throughout our economy are heavily influenced by that number.
So big changes are on the way. As a recent CNBC article declared, the era of low mortgage rates is officially over…
The days of the 3.5% 30-year fixed are over. Rates are already up well over a full percentage point from a year ago, and as the Federal Reserve begins its much anticipated exit from the bond-buying business, I believe rates will inevitably go higher.
Needless to say, this is going to deeply affect the real estate market. AsMac Slavo recently noted, numbers are already starting to drop precipitously…
The National Association of Realtors reported that the month of September saw its single largest drop in signed home sales in 40 months. And that wasn’t just a one-off event. This month mortgage applications collapsed a shocking 66%, hitting a13-year low.
And U.S. consumers can expect interest rates on all kinds of loans to start rising. That is going to mean higher debt payments, and therefore less money for consumers to spend into the economy.
Government Benefit Cuts
Well, if the middle class is going to have less money to spend, perhaps other Americans can pick up the slack.
Or maybe not.
You certainly can’t expect the poor to stimulate the economy. As I mentioned yesterday, it is being projected that up to 5 million unemployed Americans could lose their unemployment benefits by the end of 2014, and 47 million Americans recently had their food stamp benefits reduced.
So the poor will also have less money to spend in 2014.
The Wealthy Save The Day?
Perhaps the stock market will continue to soar in 2014 and the wealthy will spend so much that it will make up for all the rest of us.
You can believe that if you want, but the truth is that there are a whole host of signs that the days of this irrational stock market bubble are numbered. The following is an excerpt from one of my recent articles entitled “The Stock Market Has Officially Entered Crazytown Territory“…
The median price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P 500 has reached an all-time record high, and margin debt at the New York Stock Exchange has reached a level that we have never seen before. In other words, stocks are massively overpriced and people have been borrowing huge amounts of money to buy stocks. These are behaviors that we also saw just before the last two stock market bubbles burst.
If the stock market bubble does burst, the wealthy will also have less money to spend into the economy in 2014.
For the moment, the stock market has been rallying. This is typical for the month of December. You see, the truth is that investors generally don’t want to sell stocks in December because they want to put off paying taxes on the profits.
If stocks are sold before the end of the year, the profits go on the 2013 tax return.
If stocks are sold a few days from now, the profits go on the 2014 tax return.
It is only human nature to want to delay pain for as long as possible.
Expect to see some selling in January. Many investors are very eager to start taking profits, but they wanted to wait until the holidays were over to do so.
So what do you think is coming up in 2014? Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years. Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream. If you want to know what things in America are going to look like in a few years read his new book The Beginning of the End.
ABC News | Federal ruling may come in a couple of weeks.