Banning Fracking: New Jersey Should Follow Vermont

At a time when the economy of New Jersey seems to be heading south, it is very important that we do not succumb to the temptation of dismantling environmental protections in a futile attempt to reverse the tide of economic bad news. Trampling on our own natural habitat is not good economic policy.

While the conservative (?) government of Canada is revising (see diluting) all environmental laws to favor the oil and gas industries in Canada, the State of Vermont has given us an example of what is essentially the right course of action: Sustainable growth.

Vermont first state to ban fracking –

I can not imagine a government that calls itself conservative (Ottawa) failing to conserve the pristine quality of the Canadian land. I presume conservative means different things to different people.

Hydraulic fracturing – I have written about this before – is the threat of our time against underground water sources. Water – potable water that is – will be among the priciest commodities in one or two decades. We already buy huge amounts of bottled water because we do not trust our tap water.

If elected governor of New Jersey in 2013, I will not rest until hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling are banned from New Jersey.


War with Iran Unjustifiable and Would Be Disastruous for the United States Economy

There is no way that an attack on Iran will be limited to a few air strikes and then the conflict will fizzle out. If israel or the United States – or both – attack Iran, we will be opening the Pandora’s Box of war in the entire Middle East. In such a conflict, it is more than likely that the bulk of our allies will stay neutral. Many Iranians who oppose their current tyrannical regime will rally to defend their country from Israeli and U.S. attack.

Among the steps that Iran may take to respond to our attack are stirring up the secession of Shiite southern Iraq thus cutting off access of the rest of the country to the Persian Gulf, disrupting Iraqi oil production, sinking ships in the relatively narrow and shallow Strait of Hormuz to block Kuwaiti, Bahraini, Qatari and Saudi oil exports, mine-laying in the Persian Gulf and even in the adjacent Gulf of Oman, unleashing Hezbollah on the northern border of Israel, opening a front on the western border of Afghanistan which is relatively quiet now, etc

Disruption of the commercial traffic through the Strait of Hormuz will send the price of oil sky high. Needless to say what effect that would have on New Jersey’s economy and the entire country.

Notice that in the data below there is no box indicating how many times the two nations have been attacked: Israel was attacked in 1948 – right after declaring independence – and in 1973 – the Yom Kippur War – but Iran was not among the aggressors in either conflict.

Iran, on the other hand, was occupied by the Soviet Union and Great Britain during WWII, saw a coup d’etat engineered by the CIA and MI6 in 1953, and was invaded by Iraq in 1980.


Population Israel: 7.2 Million Iran: 70 Million
Wars launched on neighbors: Israel: 1956, 1967, 1982, 2006, 2008-9 Iran: 0
Nuclear Warheads Israel: ~200 Iran: 0
Military Budgets: Israel: $13.4 Billion * Iran: $7.4 Billion
Per capita military expenditure: Israel: $1,805 Iran: $105
Total Aircraft Israel: 1,220 Iran: 84***
Active Military and Reserve Personnel Israel: ~600,000 Iran: 875,000
Total land-based weapons: Israel: 14,200 ** Iran: 5,499 **

* Includes $2 Billion in U.S aid.

** May include tanks, pieces of artillery, rocket launchers. etc

*** Most Iranian aircraft are pre-revolution models, such as the Phantom-4 of the Vietnam War era.

The AIPAC (American Israeli Political Affairs Committee), which is essentially a super PAC, has strong influence in Washington and is pushing the U.S. closer toward the Israeli position of taking military action this year. We should be committed to Israel’s defense; not to Israel’s aggression. I have zero sympathy for the tyrannical regime of Iran. But that is not the point here. The President of the United States should never subordinate the interests of this nation to those of others.

War with Iran is not in the interest of the United States even if Iran develops a nuclear weapon. We are living with countries such as Pakistan and North Korea with nuclear arms. That is why the United States (and Israel) have a nuclear deterrent for.

Of War and the Reign of Fear – Forever

Todd : «La réalité de l’Amérique est qu’elle est toujours en guerre».

“The reality of America is that she is always at war”

Do not take me for a dove. I was going berserk – in Old Blog – last year when Obama and NATO were hesitant while the forces of Libyan dictator Kadhafi approached Benghazi. I implored for supporting the rebels and almost threw a party when I heard that the French planes had begun attacking the advancing army in the desert and that we were about to help too. I supported president Obama in that moment as I had supported him in November 2008.

I opposed, and still oppose communism.  I was a political prisoner in Cuba. Those times deeply marked me. I believe we must have a strong defense. But there are limits. We have clearly gone over those limits with the Indefinite Detention Clause in the NDAA.  And the bellicose atmosphere is pervasive. Even the mainstream media is always talking about powerful weapons and the warfare of the future. Point in case: The NYT yesterday. NYT: Take a chill pill. Will there be a future if we go on this path?

Guns or Butter?

We have over 1000 military bases in the world. But many of our young are unemployed or underemployed. Many veterans too.

I am supporting Ron Paul today because every other candidate out there, including the incumbent president, are bent on maintaining a state of constant war and fear which is redefining the country not only in substance but in our minds and the minds of the rest of the world. I do not support Paul in everything but he resonates in the most important factors: Liberty and Peace.

And it is time for Peace. The few thousand terrorists across the globe are a police, special forces, and intelligence matter; not an army and navy issue. In the case of Iran, we have a nuclear deterrent and it has served us well against more formidable foes.

The Marianne.Fr article above is a synopsis of a book which says precisely that. And the worse part is that we are NOT winning wars, or minds, or hearts. We are feared, hated, and losing: Iraq is again showing its fault lines.  There is also an attempt to justify the heavy military footprint with the argument that the military-related industry in vital for the economy: I do not dispute that. But the facts, the experience, history, all show that military expending generates much less growth than conventional, infrastructure, industrial, education, R&D spending.

I believe our defense budget is greater that all the other defense budgets in the planet combined. We have more people in jail than China, a communist country with 4 times our population.

To enhance the war, but also – I suspect – to squash any dissidence at home, Congress and Obama have teamed up to shred the 4th. Amendment of the Constitution of the United States on New Years Eve.

People, wake up! To allegedly protect liberty, our current government is suppressing it. We do not need or want a police state in what was the Land of the Free.

New Jersey Developer Giving Up on Offshore Wind

NJ Spotlight | New Jersey Developer Says It’s Giving Up on Offshore Wind.

New Jersey, under Christie, is not doing enough – even though he has probably done more that any other governor. This is an area where the state must step in even if for a decade or two, offshore wind power is more expensive than other means of generating electricity. We must understand that it will not always be that way and that the maintenance of offshore windmills would generate numerous well-paying jobs; just what New Jersey needs to revitalize the economy.

The concept that an emerging industry must pay off from day one is bringing this country to its knees. We are condemning the future.

I am committed to offshore wind power and in matters of energy, it will be at the center if I am elected governor in 2013. If necessary, I am willing to apply a “development surtax” on conventional forms of generation to be able to promote offshore energy wind farms.

The main obstacle to offshore wind is the initial capital investment, the construction of the windmills and their grid in the ocean.

New Jersey Energy Master Plan Just Adopted is Already Antiquated

Energy Master Plan

Is the promotion of wind mills in New Jersey Quixotic? I believe not. We need energy. Let’s obtain it in a safe and sustainable manner.

I am going to say, from start, that I am not an expert in energy not in the methods of generation. I am a chemist. However I do have a reasonably educated opinion on the matter at hand and I present it here:

1. The EMP promotes nuclear power. Unless we are ready to build the reactors below sea level so that they can be flooded by gravity in the event of a catastrophic accident – Fukushima style – I am inclined to disapprove of the method. I confess I did not think like that until Fukushima. I had always considered Chernobyl a Soviet problem. I supported nuclear. But Fukushima taught me otherwise. The foundation of most of my ideas today – in every field –  is empirical.  Experience should guide us on proven paths and inspiration should be explored with guarded caution, specially in public matters.

I am not sure that building nuclear reactors below sea level is feasible although I can not see why not. Sum pumps could be use to deal with groundwater seepage. Gated channels should connect the reactors to the open sea to be able to flood them if the cooling pumps fail.

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the continental U.S. and perhaps in the entire country. A nuclear disaster would be terminal for the quality of life here.

2. Gas and fracking: Methane (natural gas) is a relatively clean fossil fuel although its combustion still generates CO2. But I have more problems with the methods used to obtain the methane: Hydraulic Fracking, for what I understand, involves the injection of chemicals at high pressure underground. There is no way that those chemicals will not reach at some point the aquifers from which New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania obtain large portions of their potable water. That is big trouble in the long run and I am determined that no hydraulic fracking will take place in New Jersey, if elected governor, and I would certainly not encourage it elsewhere.

Although the hydraulic fracturing fluid is between 98% and 99% water, the chemicals added to it can “release” and get into solution (dissolve and make fluid) other organic chemicals found in the subsoil. That includes the very hydrocarbons we look for.

Imagine for a moment the cost of building desalination plants in New Jersey because we have contaminated our aquifers. Or the human toll and monetary cost of increased number of cancers due to consumption of contaminated water.

3. I do support wind power for three reasons: a) It is clean and sustainable; b) It can be placed out of sight – at sea; c) It is labor-intensive so it would generate numerous skilled jobs with very good salaries.

Find an example in Germany, which is in the process of de-nuclearizing herself.,1518,792918,00.html

I can not make a representation of the short-term cost of wind. There is certainly a substantial capital investment at the start. I am much more confident that it would be cost effective long term. Above all, it does not risk our not-unlimited water supplies and when compared to oil in particular and fossil fuels in general, it makes New Jersey impervious to increasing oil prices or political problems in oil-producing regions.

4. I do support solar although that has been a somewhat convulsed industry lately.

I oppose off-shore oil drilling on the entire east coast of the United States

Even drilling well south of New Jersey, in case of a spill, could affect New Jersey’s coast line rapidly due to the Gulf Stream.

Oil floating on the gulf of Mexico.

New Jersey: Hackensack river still in trouble

One of the main reasons why I oppose fracking in New Jersey is that consequences of environmentally destructive industries remain with us for a very long time – well after the industries have disappeared.

I am not sure there is a remedy for these sites. Disturbing contaminated mud flats and grounds often release even more toxicity into the surroundings.

But we must certainly reject any new myopic attempts to bring pernicious industries into our state. Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas is one of those. N.Y. appears to be in the process of allowing fracking. We must resist the temptation of following those steps.