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Thursday, February 10, 2011

WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

Aerial View of Oil Refinery
The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.
The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.
The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.
However, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco's 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached.
According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as "peak oil".
Husseini said that at that point Aramco would not be able to stop the rise of global oil prices because the Saudi energy industry had overstated its recoverable reserves to spur foreign investment. He argued that Aramco had badly underestimated the time needed to bring new oil on tap.
One cable said: "According to al-Husseini, the crux of the issue is twofold. First, it is possible that Saudi reserves are not as bountiful as sometimes described, and the timeline for their production not as unrestrained as Aramco and energy optimists would like to portray."
It went on: "In a presentation, Abdallah al-Saif, current Aramco senior vice-president for exploration, reported that Aramco has 716bn barrels of total reserves, of which 51% are recoverable, and that in 20 years Aramco will have 900bn barrels of reserves.
"Al-Husseini disagrees with this analysis, believing Aramco's reserves are overstated by as much as 300bn barrels. In his view once 50% of original proven reserves has been reached … a steady output in decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. He believes that what will result is a plateau in total output that will last approximately 15 years followed by decreasing output."
The US consul then told Washington: "While al-Husseini fundamentally contradicts the Aramco company line, he is no doomsday theorist. His pedigree, experience and outlook demand that his predictions be thoughtfully considered."
Seven months later, the US embassy in Riyadh went further in two morecables. "Our mission now questions how much the Saudis can now substantively influence the crude markets over the long term. Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period."



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Social Security a Ponzi Scheme

Social Security goes bankrupt
Administration to post $600 billion deficit over 10 years
Social Security will post nearly $600 billion in deficits over the next 10 years as a result of the most prolonged economic downturn suffered in the United States since the Great Depression in the 1930s and the millions of baby boomers who are beginning to reach their 65th birthday this year.
This year, Social Security is estimated to pay out some $29 billion more than is taken in.
Social Security last ran in the red during the stagflation years of the 1970s, characterized by Democratic Party President Jimmy Carter and his inept economic policies that generated both high unemployment and high inflation.
Under current actuarial assumptions, the Social Security trust fund is expected to be completely exhausted by 2037.
Social Security unfunded obligations amount to trillions of dollars
WND has also reported that the true negative net worth of the federal government was $70.7 trillion in 2009, largely because of unfunded obligations in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
In other words, the total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, have effectively placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before we take into consideration any future and continuing social welfare obligations that may be embedded within the Obama administration's planned massive overhaul of health care.
Under cash accounting, the government makes no provisions for the future Social Security and Medicare benefits in the year in which those benefits accrue.
The approximately 76 million U.S. children born between 1945 and 1964 represent some 28 percent of the U.S. population.
In 2008, baby boomers born in 1946 will be able to receive at 62 years old their first Social Security payments.
"Simply said, holding revenues constant, required Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending and the related deficit financing costs will far exceed the government's ability to pay," the Citizens' Guide to the 2007 Financial Report of the United States Government concluded.
"The spending for social insurance programs," the Treasury's Citizen Guide noted, "is projected to grow at an alarming rate under current law."
The concern about the debt rating of the U.S. makes more problematic the future payment of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security obligations that today are being accrued by about-to-retire baby boomers.
Moreover, the future obligations due retiring baby boomers will have to be paid by a smaller group of U.S. workers who will have to pay higher yields to sell downgraded, possibly junk-bond rated U.S. Treasury debt to attract potential buyers.
Social Security a Ponzi scheme
As Red Alert has previously reported, Social Security has become nothing more than a federal government-run Ponzi scheme.
That Social Security has perhaps irreversibly become a bankrupt Ponzi scheme was revealed last March by an Associated Press article that revealed the Social Security Administration has finally begun trying to cash in the $2.5 trillion in IOUs the federal government has placed in the Social Security "lock box."
In a 2000 presidential debate, Democratic contender Al Gore argued with Republican contender George W. Bush that if he were elected president, he would make the Social Security Trust Fund into a "lock box" that Congress could not invade to fund other programs.
What is clear now is that Social Security has become a Ponzi scheme in which the payroll taxes of those currently working are applied immediately to pay the retirement benefits of those already receiving Social Security.
A Ponzi scheme, named after the Boston-based swindler Charles Ponzi who in the 1920s launched an investment scam in which the money of later investors was used to pay off earlier investors, with Ponzi himself pocketing most of the proceeds.
For decades, Congress has routinely raided the Social Security Trust Fund, taking the cash and leaving behind IOUs in the form of Treasury bonds.
The problem is that with a $1.5 trillion budget deficit already projected by the Obama administration, the only way Congress has to cash in the $2.5 trillion in federal IOUs owed the Social Security Administration is to borrow yet more money.
Curiously, the AP article pointed out the records of the Treasury debt in the Social Security Trust Fund in a three-ring binder locked in the bottom drawer of a white metal filing cabinet in the Parkersburg, W.V., offices of the Bureau of Public Debt, a division of the Treasury Department.
The AP reported the Treasury Department opened the Parkersburg office in the 1950s as part of a plan to locate government functions outside Washington, D.C., to protect the federal government in case of a Cold War nuclear attack.

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Emergency Alert System, Direct from President


The familiar emergency alert system, the one where we in the U.S. occasionally hear a radio or television broadcast interruption that reassuringly reminds us that ‘this is only a test’… well, it has just been upgraded to enable emergency alert messaging direct from the President, or FEMA, and is ready to be tested soon in the U.S. The timing for the test is now being worked out.
From federalnewsradio.com, Lisa Fowlkes, deputy chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC, “The primary goal is to provide the President with a mechanism to communicate with American public during times of national emergency.”
From the Homeland Security Bureau,
The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers, and direct broadcast satellite providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency.
They are also working on a Next Generation EAS system that will become operational soon. It will complement other public alert and warning systems and will enable consumers to receive alerts through a variety of multi-media platforms on their smart-phones, blackberries and other mobile broadband devices.

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Studying how snakes got legless

Genesis 3:14 KJV

14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

So the punishment for what the snake have done was to walk upon thy belly....then before that the snake had legs, so since then the snakes have been eaten dust. 

Look what science said today....they use to have legs!!!!

Fossil snake (Alexandra Houssaye)

A 95-million-year-old fossil is helping scientists understand how snakes lost their legs through evolutionary time.
Found in Lebanon, the specimen is one of only three examples of an ancient snake with preserved leg bones.
One rear leg is clearly visible but researchers had to use a novel X-ray technique to examine another leg hidden inside the fossil rock.
Writing in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the team says the snake records an early stage in limb loss.
The scientists' high-resolution 3D images suggest the legs in this particular species, Eupodophis descouensi, grew more slowly, or for a shorter period of time.
It is a conclusion made possible only after seeing all the bones obscured inside the limestone, and determining that although the creature possessed ankle bones, it actually had neither foot nor toe bones.
"This study reveals the degree of regression of the legs," said Dr Alexandra Houssaye from the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in Paris, France.
X-ray of bones (ESRF)
"This could not be clearly determined based only on the visible leg, as some tiny bones such as ankle and foot bones might have been broken or removed from the surface. However, as all the second leg was preserved in the rock, we can now be almost completely sure of the degree of resorption of the leg," she told BBC News.
Current evidence suggests that snakes started to evolve less than 150 million years ago.
Two theories compete. One points to a land origin in which lizards started to burrow, and as they adapted to their subterranean existence, their legs were reduced and lost - first the fore-limbs and then the hind-limbs.
The second theory considers the origin to be in water, from marine reptiles.
This makes the few known bipedal snakes in the fossil record hugely significant, because they could hold the clues that settle this particular debate.
But Dr Houssaye says Eupodophis descouensi of itself cannot resolve such arguments.
"This study does not enable us to choose between the two hypotheses," she told BBC News. "In fact, a true answer might not be brought before 10 years.
"That is why our role now is to try to get as much information as possible from the few important fossil remains we have. Hind-limbed snakes are key fossils in this debate and that is why we really need to study them in detail."

Finger pointing to the leg attached to the pelvis of the ancient snake (C. Argoud/ESRF)A finger points to the visible leg of the ancient snake
The BBC was with Dr Houssaye in 2008 when she took the fossil to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France.
The machine produces a brilliant X-ray beam that can pierce just about any material, revealing its inner structure in incredibly fine detail.
For this study, the fossil snake was clamped to an inclined table and rotated in front of the X-ray beam.
In a process known as computed laminography, many hundreds of 2D images were produced which were then woven, with the aid of a smart algorithm, into a detailed 3D picture. The scientists can see features on the scale of a few micrometers.
Eupodophis descouensi was just under a metre long. It would have slithered along the ground during the Late Cretaceous, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.
It is unlikely the animal would have used the legs for moving, although it is possible they could have served some other function.
In a number of modern snakes, such as boas and pythons, tiny "spurs" are evident near their rear ends that are used as grippers during sex.
The Eupodophis descouensi fossil was unearthed near the Lebanese village of al-Nammoura and was first described in 2000.
Its remains are divided across the two interior faces of a thin limestone block that has been broken apart.
A portion of the vertebral column is missing; and in the process of preservation, the rear end - with the legs - became detached and positioned near the head.
"It will be interesting to make comparisons now with other fossil specimens but also with [living] lizards and snakes with regressed pelvic and limb elements," Dr Houssaye said.

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