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.

From Globalfirepower.com.

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.

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Christie N.J. Budget Proposal: I’ll Have One of What He’s Having

Gov. Chris Christie budget speech full text | NJ.com.

This a proposed budget; not the final budget. An over-optimistic proposal is not a capital sin but the main problem is that if this become the budget and the revenue does not meet the glossy expectations, of course the governor will rather sacrifice something else  than his pet-tax-cut experiment – not for any economical reason but for purely political and propagandistic purposes. And here are two further points:

First: The question if the governor is throwing this in to influence the VP selection in the event that Romney becomes the republican candidate in 2012. That would be the most unconscionable act but nothing surprises me. And anyway, I still believe it would be a futile sacrifice of New Jersey’s interests: I think that Romney – if he wins the nomination at all – most likely will choose a more conservative VP from the South or Midwest. A Northeastern ticket may not do very well in November considering that the bulk of the republican base is not in the Northeast.

Second: Every imponderable is against the prospect of a fast recovery: High consumer leverage, possible conflict with Iran, possible U.S. intervention in Syria (Obama may turn more hawkish if he sees re-election in doubt), China’s economy slowing down, political gridlock in Washington, more problems with the EU crisis  (Greece is not out of the woods and Portugal is beginning to show signs of distress again), New Jersey’s highest unemployment in the Northeast, wage stagnation, and the list goes on – all on the negative side.

The Straits of America – Nouriel Roubini – Project Syndicate.

I frankly can’t imagine how the administration arrived at this rosy forecast. As in “When Harry Met Sally”
I’ll have one of what he’s having.

Then, for the sake of argument, we must arrive at the best scenario – that everything goes well – and thus face the question: What does this tax cut accomplish – from the economic point of view? My answer is: Nothing, and the same goes for the democratic alternative. Both proposals are political; not economical measures. They are too small, would be applied in lieu of drastic structural reforms, and as they have been proposed are spread out – because the fat State of New Jersey is unable to do any better – so the input of cash in the economy is diluted to insignificance.

But we will see what comes out as final product at the end of June. By then, the French presidential election will be over and we may have a socialist government in France which may close the chapter of euro rescue. Or all hell may have broken lose in the Persian Gulf. And even if neither happens, we should be addressing our outstanding obligations before they compound beyond reach.

Solar, Wind Energy Vital for New Jersey

NJ Spotlight | Solar Sector Likely to Look for Stabilization by Regulation.

After the disdainful lame-duck session of our legislature ignored solar energy, other measures may be needed to sustain one of the very few industries growing in New Jersey.

It is in the interest of New Jersey to develop renewable energy,  not only for our environment’ and lungs but for the following:

Before the new year is over, we may be at war with Iran and oil supplies from the Persian Gulf may be disrupted. Venezuela could also boycott the U.S. if we attack Iran. Brent crude is more expensive. Nigeria, one of our suppliers, is convulsed by civil unrest between christians ans muslims. There could be a change of government in Canada, another of our suppliers, and Canadians may take a closer look at the devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing in Alberta.

Emerging economies will continue to increase their use of fossil fuels, driving up prices.

Furthermore, with start-up, help, both solar and wind can become as efficient as conventional forms of energy generation. As I have stated before in this forum and others, it all depends on the cost of capitalization. We are not going to to be here just today. It is about time we start thinking about tomorrow.

Both industries are labor intensive and that means good paying jobs for New Jersians.

2011 Ends in Flux

BBC News – Ireland faces new wave of emigration.

It is not only the Irish. There are also many young Spaniards, French, Portuguese, Italians, emigrating to Germany Australia, Canada, and the U.S. But the euro is dropping and that may mean that European exports will become cheaper. Italy’s bonds are selling at lower interest. There could be light at the end of the long eurozone tunnel.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/unemployment_claims_rise_after.html

Meanwhile, the U. S. economy continues to sputter. It is moving but painfully so.

Employment is a function of supply, which in turn is a function of demand, which in turn is a function of disposable, income, wages, wealth shaped in a reasonably low and widely-based  pyramid. Does anybody understand that concatenated relationship? It is of no use to have cheap credit if there is no demand.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/29/opinion/nasr-iran-oil-hormuz/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Another War?

Who cares if Iran develops a nuclear weapon? That is why we have a nuclear deterrent, isn’t it? North Korea and Pakistan both have nukes and the chances of terrorists getting their hands on one bomb are at least as great in those countries as it would be in Iran.

Is it in the interests of the United States to enter another conflict? My answer is a resoundingly no and I urge the president not to sign the law black-listing the Iranian Central Bank. The ICB sells the Iranian oil. The law would essentially be  an embargo against Iran. President Obama has said he does not like the law but will sign it anyway… Why is he doing it then for?

Every war-monger I have seen would not be doing the fighting.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/12/20111226145144638282.html

China is looking north. China does not invade anybody for oil. They simply buy it.

China is the largest trading nation and has the largest merchant fleet in the world.  While we develop the new super aircraft carrier, the Ford Class, they build the largest container ships.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/12/2011122944024838879.html

The Arab Spring stretches into Winter:

Fighting continues in Syria, Egypt, Yemen. Tunisia and Libya sound like success stories although un islamist party won the first elections in Tunisia – not a surprise considering they were the spearhead of the resistance for many years.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/during_radio_appearances_chris.html

And poor New Jersey, ends the year with the announcement – by the governor himself – that 2012 will be the year of education. It is ironic, Fidel Castro, a master of demagoguery, used to dedicate the years to some grand enterprise too, at least during the first decade of the revolution. Yes, we had an education year in Cuba too and if I remember well it was 1961.

So for New Jersey, 2012 will be the year of the dismantling of public education while the root factors in the failing districts are ignored. Why are they ignored? Because they are ideological taboos for this governor.

To educate more and better, we must have the children in an education-auspicious-setting for longer time; much longer time.

In the meantime, out New Jersey economy stumbles along at a languid pace, and a dentist in central New Jersey measures our decay in the teeth of his patients:

http://www.app.com/article/20111228/NJNEWS/312280045/Manalapan-dentists-offer-day-of-free-care?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFrontpage%7Cs

We are not only losing our jobs and our homes; we are losing our teeth too.