Dec 272010
 

The former president of Shell oil is predicting that the United States will face 1970s-style energy shortages and rationing by the end of the decade, accusing the federal government of turning its back on the country’s domestic oil supply.

The dire prediction comes as energy analysts toss out a string of frightening predictions about the rising price of oil in the short term. Oil has topped $90 a barrel, and JP Morgan Chase & Co. earlier this month predicted oil could hit $120 a barrel by the end of 2012. At the same time, the national average gasoline price is about $3 a gallon for the holiday season

But former Shell executive John Hofmeister offered a more aggressive estimate, saying Americans could be paying $5 a gallon in two years. And he predicted that sometime between 2018 and 2020, supply and demand will become so out of balance that gas stations in several regions of the country will simply start to run out.

“I think it’s going to be a cumulative problem that won’t happen suddenly,” Hofmeister, who now heads Citizens for Affordable Energy, told FoxNews He predicted the problem would start with “stockouts” at select gas stations during the summer and during bad weather and then spread. He said those states farthest from refineries would get hit the worst and that in order to maintain some consistency, local and state governments might resort to the kind of rationing they employed in the early ’70s — when drivers with even-numbered license plates would buy gas on even days, and vice-versa.

With this kind of possibility on the horizon, Hofmeister, who earlier aired his concerns in an interview with Platts Energy Week, criticized the administration for cracking down on domestic oil drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It is pure politics that keeps us from drilling more of our own resources,” he said.


The Interior Department announced earlier this month that it would not pursue any new drilling off the East Coast or in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for at least seven years. Planned lease sales would be pushed off until late 2011 or early 2012.

“As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill we learned a number of lessons, most importantly that we need to proceed with caution and focus on creating a more stringent regulatory regime,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a written statement at the time, calling the new plan a “careful, responsible path.”

The April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and opened up a leak that gushed oil into the Gulf for months. The decision to tighten Gulf drilling regulations was cheered by environmental groups. The Sierra Club said the BP disaster showed how “dirty, deadly and dangerous offshore drilling is,” applauding the administration for heeding those lessons — the group praised the administration for moving to support alternative-energy investment like wind power.

It is all about 'Control'


While clamping down on domestic energy production, the Obama administration has invested billions in renewable energy sources via last year’s stimulus bill and has pushed improved energy efficiency for a range of products in a bid to at least keep demand a bit lower in the long term. New emissions standards for cars and trucks will soon mandate an average fuel economy of just over 35 miles per gallon for new vehicles by 2016.

In addition, the Interior Department is continuing to honor leases for oil drilling in the Arctic.

But government-fueled investment in alternative-energy research takes time, while other options, like nuclear energy, are slow and costly to get off the ground. Hofmeister, noting that domestic oil production has dropped from 10 million barrels a day just a few decades ago to about 5 million a day, said the United States could address its short- and medium-term energy needs by expanding drilling at existing sites and exploring new sites. He said that could help bridge the gap toward ultimately implementing alternative energy sources on a wide scale, as well as improving mass transit.


Oil industry organizations joined together this month in predicting the new regulations on domestic oil production would hurt the economy and increase dependence on foreign oil. The president of the American Petroleum Institute plans to deliver a speech next week in Washington, D.C., on how domestic oil and natural gas production can help stabilize the country.

Oil and gas magnate T. Boone Pickens is likewise pushing for U.S. production of both those energy sources in his high-profile campaign to pry the country off foreign oil. But that’s just one component. His Pickens Plan organization argues that while the U.S. needs every ounce of domestic energy it can muster, there’s not enough oil in all the potential U.S. deposits combined to make up for the 12 million barrels the United States imports every day.

~Yes friends, the same monster that is literally stealing our water & buying up surface water in Texas…

Let’s begin with the biggest criminal. First when T. Boone Pickens was lauding how to use a new energy, he portended to be a savior. This old clown went from oil to water in his ‘thirsty’ hunger for greed & power.

From Bloomberg June 2008:

T. Boone Pickens thinks water is the new oil—and he’s betting $100 million that he’s right

—> “Great Lakes” “Blue Gold”

Wars of the future will be fought over water, as they today over oil, as the source of all life enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling fresh water supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive?

No screenings of Blue Gold are currently scheduled. Host one yourself ~click image…

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Dec 272010
 

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Dec 272010
 
broken_piggy_bank1

H/T JihadiHunter

~ provided by WSJ ~ by Michael Rapoport–Number of Shaky Lenders Rises to 98 as Bad Loans Pile Up; Smaller Institutions Hit Hardest

Nearly 100 U.S. banks that got bailout funds from the federal government show signs they are in jeopardy of failing.

The total, based on an analysis of third-quarter financial results by The Wall Street Journal, is up from 86 in the second quarter, reflecting eroding capital levels, a pileup of bad loans and warnings from regulators. The 98 banks in shaky condition got more than $4.2 billion in infusions from the Treasury Department under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

When TARP was created in the heat of the financial crisis, government officials said it would help only healthy banks. The depth of today’s problems for some of the institutions, however, suggests that a number of them were in parlous shape from the beginning.

Seven TARP recipients have already failed, resulting in more than $2.7 billion in lost TARP funds. Most of the troubled TARP recipients are small, plagued by wayward lending programs from which they might not recover. The median size of the 98 banks was $439 million in assets as of Sept. 30. The median TARP infusion for each was $10 million, federal filings show.

“We certainly understand and recognize that some of the smaller institutions are experiencing stress,” said David Miller, chief investment officer at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability, which runs TARP. He noted that Congress mandated that banks of all sizes be eligible for TARP, adding that the government’s TARP investment as a whole is performing well.

Chris Cole, senior regulatory counsel at the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade group, said small banks are “turning around slowly.” Smaller TARP recipients are in worse shape than larger banks because the larger ones got help in addition to TARP, Mr. Cole said. Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. tapped the Federal Reserve’s emergency-liquidity programs frequently during the crisis.

The troubled banks identified by the Journal all have either a Tier 1 capital ratio under the “well-capitalized” 6% level; both a total risk-based capital ratio of under the “well-capitalized” 10% threshold and nonperforming loans of over 10% of their portfolio; or a regulatory order requiring the bank to monitor or boost its capital.

A Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. spokesman declined to comment on the Journal’s analysis, which also calculated that 814 of the nation’s 7,760 banks and savings institutions are troubled according to these standards, up from 729 at the end of the second quarter. The FDIC’s official list of problem banks, which uses different criteria from the Journal’s analysis, includes 860 financial institutions. The banks aren’t publicly identified.

In October, the Government Accountability Office said 78 banks on the FDIC’s troubled-bank list as of June 30 were TARP recipients, up from 47 at the end of 2009. Dozens of TARP banks were “marginal institutions” that were financially weaker than other recipients and should have gotten more scrutiny before receiving taxpayer-funded infusions, the GAO said.

In a response to the GAO report, the Treasury Department said it would consider the GAO’s recommendations to improve its funding process if it ever has a program similar to TARP again.

In comparison, the first eight banks and securities firms receiving TARP got a total of $125 billion. All have repaid the funds

Arthur Wilmarth, a George Washington University law professor and expert on banking regulation, said a lot of smaller TARP recipients are burdened with risky commercial-real-estate loans tied up in troubled strip malls and the like, and that makes it hard for them to raise new capital. “A lot of them are in kind of a frozen position,” he said.

One example of a TARP recipient in deep trouble: closely held Legacy Bank of Milwaukee. The bank had $205 million in assets as of Sept. 30 and got $5.5 million in TARP funds in January 2009. But more than half of Legacy’s loans were in commercial real estate, and its nonperforming loans have escalated to 23% of its portfolio. It has posted eight straight quarterly losses, for a total loss of $11.6 million.

Last month, the Federal Reserve declared Legacy “significantly undercapitalized,” giving the bank until mid-January to either sell itself or raise more capital.

José Mantilla, Legacy’s president and chief executive, said the bank lends to an underserved, lower-income customer base. During the recession, those customers “have suffered, and they have fallen behind,” Mr. Mantilla said.

Legacy is working to raise capital, and “we still feel optimistic” about the bank’s chances, he said.

CommunityOne Bank of Asheboro, N.C., got $51.5 million in TARP funds in February 2009 through parent FNB United Corp. (NasdaqGS: FNBNNews) The company has suffered nine straight quarterly losses, sapping its capital. In July, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said the bank had engaged in “unsafe or unsound banking practices.”

—> Banks Got the Goldmine, Consumers Got the Shaft

R. Larry Campbell, the bank’s interim president and chief executive, said CommunityOne is “fully engaged” in efforts to boost its capital.

How the Journal Compiled Its List

The Journal’s list of troubled banks consists of all banks that met at least one of these criteria based on the most recent available data:


• Tier 1 capital—a measure of a bank’s most reliable and liquid capital—of less than 6% of risk-weighted assets, the level regulators require for a bank to be considered “well-capitalized.”

• Both total risk-based capital of less than 10% of risk-weighted assets—the “well-capitalized” level for that measure—and non-performing loans of at least 10% of total loans. That suggests a bank may have a potential drain on capital without the resources to cope with it.

• An enforcement order from regulators, issued since the 2007 beginning of the financial crisis, requiring the bank to monitor or boost its capital levels—suggesting regulators are already concerned about a bank.

Well over 90% of the banks that have failed since the beginning of the financial crisis met at least one of these three criteria. Banks that trip all the criteria may be at highest risk: Of those that have done so at any time during the past 18 months, more than 60% have since failed.

SNL Financial, a financial-information firm, assisted the Journal with the data screening; the Journal is responsible for the methodology and analysis.

The Journal’s methodology differs from bank regulators’ method of coming up with their official problem bank list, which is based on banks’ low ratings from examiners on the so-called CAMELS scale—capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity and sensitivity to market risk.

—> Michael Rapoport

Write to Michael Rapoport Email

New Ways Bankers Are Spying on You

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Dec 272010
 
LVX

H/T Bill Turner

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Flickering ceiling lights are usually a nuisance, but in city offices in St. Cloud, they will actually be a pathway to the Internet.

The lights will transmit data to specially equipped computers on desks below by flickering faster than the eye can see. Ultimately, the technique could ease wireless congestion by opening up new expressways for short-range communications.

~As Bill relayed to me what ELSE will it be used for considering we have a diabolical regime? ~JP

The first few light fixtures built by LVX System, a local startup, will be installed Wednesday in six municipal buildings in this city of 66,000 in the snowy farm fields of central Minnesota.

The LVX system puts clusters of its light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, in a standard-sized light fixture. The LEDs transmit coded messages — as a series of 1s and 0s in computer speak — to special modems attached to computers.

A light on the modem talks back to the fixture overhead, where there is sensor to receive the return signal and transmit the data over the Internet. Those computers on the desks aren’t connected to the Internet, except through these light signals, much as Wi-Fi allows people to connect wirelessly.

LVX takes its name from the Latin word for light, but the underlying concept is older than Rome; the ancient Greeks signaled each other over long distances using flashes of sunlight off mirrors and polished shields. The Navy uses a Morse-coded version with lamps.

The first generation of the LVX system will transmit data at speeds of about 3 megabits per second, roughly as fast as a residential DSL line.

Mohsen Kavehrad, a Penn State electrical engineering professor who has been working with optical network technology for about 10 years, said the approach could be a vital complement to the existing wireless system.

He said the radio spectrum usually used for short-range transmissions, such as Wi-Fi, is getting increasingly crowded, which can lead to slower connections.

“Light can be the way out of this mess,” said Kavehrad, who is not involved in the LVX project.

But there are significant hurdles. For one, smart phones and computers already work on Wi-Fi networks that are much faster than the LVX system.

Technology analyst Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group said the problems with wireless congestion will ease as Wi-Fi evolves, leaving LVX’s light system to niche applications such as indoor advertising displays and energy management.

LVX Chief Executive Officer John Pederson said a second-generation system that will roll out in about a year will permit speeds on par with commercial Wi-Fi networks. It will also permit lights that can be programmed to change intensity and color.

For the city, the data networking capability is secondary. The main reason it paid a $10,000 installation fee for LVX is to save money on electricity down the line, thanks to the energy-efficient LEDs. Pederson said one of his LED fixtures uses about 36 watts of power to provide the same illumination that 100 watts provides with a standard fluorescent fixture.

Besides installation costs, customers such as St. Cloud will pay LVX a monthly fee that’s less than their current lighting expenses. LVX plans to make money because the LED fixtures are more durable and efficient than standard lighting. At least initially, the data transmission system is essentially a bonus for customers.

Pederson said the next generation of the system should get even more efficient as fixtures become “smart” so the lights would dim when bright sunlight is coming through a window or when a conference room or hallway is empty.

Because the lights can also change color, Pederson said they could be combined with personal locators or tiny video cameras to help guide people through large buildings. The lights could show a trail of green lights to an emergency exit, for instance.

While Kavehrad and Mathias credited LVX for being the first company in the United States to bring the technology to market, Kavehrad said it trails researchers and consumer electronics companies in Japan and Korea in developing products for visible-light networks.

Pederson’s previous company, 911 EP, built high-powered LED roof lights for squad cars and other emergency vehicles. He said he sold the company in 2002. He said the visible-light network grew out his interest in LEDs that goes to the mid-1990s.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which pays for 24-hour lighting and replacing fluorescent bulbs on high ceilings, is considering an LVX system, said Jeffrey W. Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

The system might include mounting cameras on the light fixtures to bolster the airport security system, but the real attraction is the savings on electricity and maintenance.

“Anything we can do to save costs is worth consideration,” he said.

Michael Williams, the city administrator in St. Cloud, said the city had been considering LVX for some time.

“It’s pretty wild stuff,” he said. “They have been talking about it with us for couple of years, and frankly it took a while for it to sink in.”

By CHRIS WILLIAMS AP

~ Is it a communications research project or a doomsday weapon that can change the weather, shoot satellites out of orbit – and trigger mind control across the globe? Jesse Ventura and his team head north to a remote region of Alaska to confront the military installation called HAARP ~ Jessie Ventura

~click image for mind blowing data…

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Dec 272010
 

~ Thank you Steve, your are invaluable! ~JP

Threat of Homegrown Terrorism
Dec 27, 2010

C-SPAN | Washington Journal

Steven Emerson talked about the growth of Islamic radicalism within the United States in the wake of Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent warning that some elements within the U.S. may be prepared to launch attacks. He also responded to telephone calls and electronic communications.

Emerson on Fox News discussing current U.S. vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks

Interview on Fox News
December 27, 2010

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Dec 272010
 


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Dec 272010
 


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Dec 272010
 


THIS is no biggie?! Gov. Richardson to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state


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Dec 272010
 

World Trade Center allowed Mohammed T. Mehdi to bully it into flying the symbol of Islam

“A flag bearing a crescent and star flies from a flagpole in front of the World Trade Center, next to a Christmas tree and a menorah.”

New York Times, 1997

In 1997, Mohammed T. Mehdi, head of the Arab-American Committee and the National Council on Islamic Affairs, lobbied to have a crescent and star go up at the World Trade Center during the holiday season. His wish was granted, despite the fact that Mehdi had been an adviser to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the religious leader behind the original bombing of the World Trade Center.

Long before the Ground Zero Mosque was even a twinkle in the eye of a violent ex-waiter (El-Gamal has a history of thuggishness) and a slumlord Imam,( Feisal A. Rauf ) the World Trade Center allowed Mohammed T. Mehdi to bully it into flying the symbol of Islam.

By 1997, Mohammed T. Mehdi had become an unambiguously ugly public figure. He had been fired by Mayor Dinkins in 1992 for anti-Semitic remarks. The year before he had proclaimed that, “Millions of Arabs believe Saddam stands tall having defied Western colonialism”. In 1995, the US Attorney’s Office in New York had listed Mehdi as one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the trial of Sheik Rahman. Mehdi had already published a book titled “Kennedy and Sirhan: Why?”, which argued that Robert Kennedy’s assassin had been acting in self-defense.

Considering Mehdi’s role in actively working on behalf of the Sheik behind the wave of terrorism that included the original attack on the World Trade Center, if the WTC should have turned down anyone’s request for an Islamic symbol at the site, turning down Mehdi should have been a no brainer. And yet when all was said and done, in the winter of 1997 there was an Islamic star and crescent at the World Trade Center. And another one at the park in front of the White House. No one in the media thought it at all odd, that a man who had a long record of blatantly supporting terrorists should get his way. They thought it was just great.

Read on…

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Dec 272010
 

Posted by Jim Hoft

Russian immigrants in New York City believe the socialist policies of today’s democrats are like the former Soviet Union.

~click image for Pat Dollard…

Many New York City Russians are reportedly flocking to the Republican Party, claiming that the national Democrats’ “socialistic” policies remind them too much of Mother Russia’s top-down oligarchy they fled from in the past.
SILive reported, via The Blaze:


Many Russian immigrants to the “red borough” of Staten Island are flocking to the Republican Party, saying that the national Democrats’ “socialistic” policies remind them too much of the top-down oligarchy they fled in their native land.

With many of the borough’s Russian arrivees already owning businesses and active in civic organizations, their muscle could help the Island GOP solidify electoral gains made this year, when the party took back congressional and Assembly seats.

Businessman Arkadiy Fridman said that the newly formed Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club (MRC) in an effort to increase the Russian community’s political and economic clout.

CLOSE TO OWN VISION

“We decided we had to support this club,” said Fridman, a former Soviet Army officer who came to the United States in 1992. “They are very close to our political and business vision.”

In the wake of the national GOP’s big wins this year, when the party took back control of the House, Republicans everywhere are more confident that their bedrock message of smaller government and lower taxes will resonate with American voters.

Fridman said that the Democrats “are going in an absolutely different direction,” focusing on “income redistribution” and rich-versus-poor “class war.”

“It’s too socialistic,” said Fridman, head of the non-profit Staten Island Community Center and president of Citizens Magazine, a public affairs publication. “It’s very painful for us to see.”

Funny, the Russian media believes the US is moving rapidly towards socialism too.

Maybe they’re onto something?

Gateway Pundit

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