Monthly Archives: August 2012

Obama’s real legacy – $10 trillion in new federal debt over just four years

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) As Election Day nears, Americans certainly have some sobering choices to make. Whoever wins the White House has a monumental fiscal crisis to deal with – one that makes losses incurred during the Great Recession of 2008 look like pocket change.

Either way you cut it, the country has been, and will remain, on a path of unsustainable debt. Federal spending under George W. Bush added some $4 trillion dollars to the country’s already burgeoning national debt, but under President Obama that debt has skyrocketed to a staggering $16-plus trillion, and, if the current administration’s budget projections remain unchanged, Obama will have added an unprecedented, mind-numbing, calculator-busting $10 trillion in federal government debt that your children – and their children and their children – will likely have to pay off.

It’s stunning, really, to sit back and watch the country being spent into oblivion, but that’s what’s happening.

Modest growth + increased debt = insolvency; the question is when

“By the end of this year, the federal debt is expected to be $16.2 trillion, which is $6.2 trillion more than when President Obama first came into office four years ago,” says The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication, in a recent blog which included a graphic projecting record budget growth between now and Fiscal Year 2017, the end of a second Obama term if reelected.

Starting at an estimated $15.2 trillion of debt currently (which is about $5 trillion more than when Bush left office), federal debt is expected to rise to $17.5 trillion by next year, then rise by roughly a trillion dollars a year until 2016, when the federal debt is expected to exceed $20.3 trillion.

This isn’t hyperbole; under the current regime, the country has suffered through four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, and there is no reason to expect, given its history, that the current administration would change much.

“The Congressional Budget Office also says it expects the economy to continue recovering at only a modest rate the rest of this year, growing at a modest annual rate of 2.25 percent. The slow-moving economy and massive federal deficits are top-flight issues in this year’s presidential and congressional campaigns,” The Associated Press said in parsing a CBO estimate on current budget projections.

“Federal debt will increase to $25.4 trillion by the end of 2022, an increase of $10.6 trillion (72 percent) under the president’s budget policies,” adds the Senate Budget Committee.

Budget? What budget?

Part of the problem is unrestrained spending. As in, Congress has not voted on, and Obama has not signed, an actual budget in more than three years. According to the Standard, it’s been more than 1,212 days since Senate Democrats allowed a budget vote on the floor of their chamber.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to pass a federal budget. Despite the clear priority the Constitution gives to maintaining discipline in federal spending, the last time Congress enacted a budget was April 29, 2009,” more than three years ago, noted Mathew Staver, chairman of the Liberty Council.

Here are some more staggering numbers:

  • — Under current figures, the U.S. debt-per-person exceeds $50,900; U.S. debt per taxpayer; however, climbs to a staggering $140,000 each
  • — The current national debt is slated to surpass $16 trillion before Election Day
  • — The country’s Social Security liability is in excess of $15 trillion; the prescription drug liability is more than $20 trillion, and Medicare’s unfunded liability is $83 trillion, for a total unfunded liability of a massive, country-shattering $120.4 trillion – or every dollar in gross domestic product the U.S. will generate for the next eight years. And in case you’re interested, that’s a total debt of more than $1 million per taxpayer.

As Americans, we have some very important fiscal decisions to make when we go to the polls in November.
Sources:

http://www.weeklystandard.com
http://content.usatoday.com
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Pacific Drilling Orders Kongsberg IMS System for its Drillship

Pacific Drilling Orders Kongsberg IMS System for its Drillship| Offshore Energy Today

Kongsberg Maritime will deliver a sophisticated new Information Management System (IMS) as part of a ‘Full Picture’ Integrated Automation System (IAS) delivery to the Pacific Drilling owned Samsung 12000 design dynamically-positioned drillship, Pacific Santa Ana.

The IMS, which will be shown on the Kongsberg Maritime stand at ONS is a new development, which uniquely, facilitates consolidation of all control system data into a single, role-based secure web-portal. In practice, the IMS enables enhanced information sharing and better insight into operations for offshore and shore-based teams. This will result in improved decision support and safety of operations in addition to better troubleshooting of systems on board, maintenance planning and a reduced need for service personnel aboard service vessels.

Based on a suite of integrated applications offering improved information management and sharing possibilities, the new Kongsberg Maritime IMS is a modular system with a highly scalable infrastructure, enabling it to be deployed to very specific operational requirements. The Pacific Santa Ana delivery features a datalogger covering all datasources on board the drilling rig and replication of data to an onshore fleet database.

All data can be accessed in a role based web portal for offshore and onshore users. The core application is the user-defined dashboard in the web portal, which allows users in different roles to customise their views according to their specific needs and job roles. Uses for this application range include domain-specific information views and management fleet KPI views.

The new Kongsberg maritime IMS will join the already installed Kongsberg Maritime K-Pos Dynamic Positioning, K-Chief 700 automation, K-Safe safety system and K-Thrust thruster control already installed. The Pacific Santa Ana commenced drilling operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in Spring 2012 under a 5 year contract with a Chevron subsidiary. The IMS project started at the beginning of April 2012 with a Factory Acceptance Test at Kongsberg Maritime in June. The Customer Acceptance Test is at the end of August. The system is expected to be fully operational during September 2012.
Press Release, August 28, 2012

Pacific Drilling Orders Kongsberg IMS System for its Drillship| Offshore Energy Today.

Democrats To Hold 2-Hour Muslim Jumah Prayers At DNC, Event To Be Led By Terrorist Supporters

August 28, 2012
By
 
The DNC is hosting an Islamic “Jumah” prayer for two hours on the Friday of its convention led by two people connected to terrorism, Jibril Hough and Imam Siraj Wahhaj.

Among the issues to be discussed are “Islamophobia,” The Patriot Act, “anti-Sharia laws,” and something called “masjid zoning laws,” which apparently refers to so-called anti-mosque zoning.

Terrorfest At The DNC!

Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Among his other activities,  Wahhaj has called for the replacement of the United States Constitution with Sharia law taken directly from the Koran.

Jibril Hough is a radical Muslim leader who, among other things, called the founder of the Congressional anti-terrorism caucus a “hatemonger.” His mosque, the Islamic Center of Charlotte, is owned and controlled by an organization that funnels money to Islamic terrorists, which has been identified as a front for Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood in America. Hough has said in the past that only America and Israel commit terrorism by retaliating against…terrorists.  Here’s Hough’s reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden. (video and more)

Read More:  Democrats To Hold 2-Hour Muslim Jumah Prayers At DNC, Event To Be Led By Terrorist Supporters | The Conservative Review.

Statoil stepping up in the Arctic

Statoil is stepping up its Arctic activities and will drill nine wells during a non-stop 2013 Norwegian Barents exploration campaign. The company plans to meet development challenges here by tripling its Arctic technology research budget.

 

Statoil’s exploration experience in the Barents is already extensive. Of the 94 exploration wells drilled in the Norwegian Barents Sea so far, Statoil has been involved in 89. Nine more Statoil-operated wells are on their way here next year.

“After our Skrugard and Havis discoveries we still see attractive opportunities here,” says Statoil Exploration executive vice president Tim Dodson.

“This is a less challenging area, as the Norwegian Barents is one of the only Arctic areas with a year-round ice-free zone. We also see the possibility of utilising knowledge gained here for Arctic prospects elsewhere later on – just like we’ve already done with Snøhvit.”

Statoil will start drilling in Nunatak in the Skrugard area in December, and will drill and complete four wells in this area over a six-month period.

“These wells are time critical, as any additional resources will make the Skrugard development even more robust,” says Dodson.

The campaign will then continue with the drilling of two-three wells in the Hoop frontier exploration area further north in the Barents in the summer of 2013. These will be the northernmost wells ever drilled in Norway.

The 2013 Barents drilling campaign finishes in the most mature province of the Barents: the Hammerfest basin. Statoil will carry out growth exploration close to the existing Snøhvit and Goliat discoveries here.

Arctic drilling unit

In addition to increasing its drilling activities, Statoil has created a technology road map to prepare for activities in even harsher Arctic areas.
This includes:

  • A tripling of the current Arctic research budget – from NOK 80 million (in 2012) to NOK 250 million (in 2013)
  • A research cruise to north east Greenland in September
  • The maturing of an Arctic drill unit concept

Some of the technology highlights include work to allow for cost-effective 3D seismic for exploration prospect evaluation in ice, and the continuing development of a tailor-made, Arctic drill unit.

The work on the future drilling unit is based on Statoil’s experience with developing specialised category rigs for the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The unit will be one that can operate in a wide range of water depths across the Arctic, and will involve integrated operations in drifting ice.

Functions here are to include a management system to reduce ice impact, an optimised drilling package for faster drilling and increased rig availability, and solutions to ensure that the rig maintains its position. At present no robust solution for dynamic positioning dedicated for ice operation exists.

“When we see a technology need, we try to fill the gap ourselves. We have now directed our strategic focus towards developing technology for exploration and production in ice. A new dedicated unit has been established to solve these challenges,” says Statoil Technology, Projects and Drilling executive vice president Margareth Øvrum.

Capacity is key

“We’ve secured a five-year contract for Seadrill‘s West Hercules drilling rig. The rig is currently being prepared for Arctic conditions, and can be used to drill consecutively in the region for years to come,” Dodson says.

Broad exploration experience in the Barents Sea and available rig capacity make Statoil well prepared for the 22nd licence round on the NCS. Applications are due in early December, while the awarding of new licences will take place in spring 2013. Seventy-two blocks in the Barents will be on offer.

“The Skrugard discovery has reignited interest in the Barents. A number of major companies that had left the area will be looking to make their way back in. The competition will be fierce, but we’ve built up a strong track record here, and our application will reflect this,” Dodson says.

Source

Arctic: The Final Frontier

By Tim Dodoson, Executive vice president, Exploration, Statoil ONS201

Amaralina Star Drillship Arrives in Brazil

Amaralina Star Drillship Arrives in Brazil| Offshore Energy Today

QGOG Constellation announces the arrival to Brazil of the ultra-deepwater drillship Amaralina Star on August 25, to be operated by its subsidiary, Queiroz Galvão Óleo e Gás (QGOG).

The unit was built to operate in ultra-deepwaters to water depths of up to 10,000 feet and to drill wells depths of up to 40,000 feet. It will be able to operate in the Brazilian pre-salt area.

The Amaralina Star incorporates the highest technological standards and will contribute to expanding and diversifying QGOG’s expertise in ultra-deepwater drilling. QGOG differentiates itself through deploying cutting-edge technology and a specialized and well-trained workforce.

“Operating the Amaralina Star, a state of the art ultra-deepwater rig, is a key milestone for the Company, as it will be the first drillship we will operate, expanding our know-how in the area of offshore operations”, said QGOG President Leduvy Gouvea.

The Amaralina Star was built by the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard, located in South Korea. The shipyard is also currently building the Laguna Star drillship, which belongs to QGOG Constellation and will be operated by QGOG.

The two units have been chartered to Petrobras under a six-year contract, with options to renew for six additional years. Drilling services will be provided by QGOG.

Amaralina Star Drillship Arrives in Brazil| Offshore Energy Today.

Republicans Eye Return to Gold Standard

Published: Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | 6:39 AM ET
By: Robin Harding and Anna Fifield, Financial Times

The gold standard has returned to mainstream U.S. politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy.

Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.

The move shows how five years of easy monetary policy — and the efforts of congressman Ron Paul — have made the once-fringe idea of returning to gold-as-money a legitimate part of Republican debate.

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman from Tennessee and co-chair of the platform committee, said the issues were not adopted merely to placate Paul and the delegates that he picked up during his campaign for the party’s nomination.

“These were adopted because they are things that Republicans agree on,” Blackburn told the Financial Times. “The House recently passed a bill on this, and this is something that we think needs to be done.”

The proposal is reminiscent of the Gold Commission created by former president Ronald Reagan in 1981, 10 years after Richard Nixon broke the link between gold and the dollar during the 1971 oil crisis. That commission ultimately supported the status quo.

“There is a growing recognition within the Republican party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity,” said Sean Fieler, chairman of the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has pushed for a return to the gold standard.

A commission would have no power except to make recommendations, but Fieler said it would provide a chance to educate politicians and the public about the merits of a return to gold. “We’re not going to go from a standing start to the gold standard,” he said.

The Republican platform in 1980 referred to “restoration of a dependable monetary standard,” while the 1984 platform said that “the gold standard may be a useful mechanism”. More recent platforms did not mention it.

Any commission on a return to the gold standard would have to address a host of theoretical, empirical and practical issues.

Inflation has remained under control in recent years, despite claims that expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet would lead to runaway price rises, while gold has been highly volatile. The price of the metal is up by more than 500 per cent in dollar terms over the past decade.

A return to a fixed money supply would also remove the central bank’s ability to offset demand shocks by varying interest rates. That could mean a more volatile economy and higher average unemployment over time.

Copyright 2011 The Financial Times Limited

Source

ICE agents sue own agency over deferred deportations

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

A group of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents filed a lawsuit against their own agency Thursday, arguing that the Obama administration is not letting them fully identify and deport illegal immigrants.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says her department does not have the manpower or money to deport the 11 million illegal immigrants in the USA, so she issued a memorandum last year ordering immigration officials to focus their efforts on dangerous illegal immigrants. In June, Obama announced a program that will allow up to 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the USA as children to have deportations deferred for at least two years.

The 10 ICE agents suing Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton say those directives violate the Constitution and federal immigration law. “We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law,” said Chris Crane, an ICE agent and president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union for ICE employees. “This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position.”

ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein did not comment on the lawsuit but said more than half of the nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants deported in 2011 had been convicted of crimes, the largest number in the agency’s history. He said that shows the decision to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants is a policy that works, and June’s decision to defer deportation for young illegal immigrants enhances that strategy.

A spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Obama may have overstepped his authority by ordering the deportation deferments, and Romney would forge a long-term solution with Congress instead of relying on Obama’s “stop-gap measure.”

“The courts will have to sort this out, but this kind of uncertainty is unacceptable as these young people brought here as children are seeking clarity on their long-term status,” spokesman Ryan Williams said.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in a Dallas federal court, requests that a judge strike down the two directives and protect the agents from any retribution for their lawsuit.

The suit is funded by NumbersUSA, a group that proposes lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, and the attorney is Kris Kobach, the secretary of State of Kansas who has helped Arizona and Alabama craft strict anti-illegal-immigration laws. His work on this lawsuit is not part of his official state duties.

The lawsuit was supported by some GOP legislators who have criticized Obama’s immigration plans as “backdoor amnesty.”

“These agent’s mission is to keep our borders secure, but the head of their agency is directing them otherwise, telling them to undermine their missions and contradict immigration law,” Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said the program actually helps ICE officials by allowing them to focus on the most dangerous illegal immigrants. “Deferred action is a major boost to law enforcement who do not have to waste time on honor students and can do the harder work of actually tracking down and deporting criminals,” he said.

Source

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