The Ramapo: The Sixth Seal Fault Line (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for ramapo fault lineThe Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults 

 Map depicting the extent of the Ramapo Fault System in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region, but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

They will tread under foot the holy city for 42 months (Revelation 11:2)

At least 58 Palestinians killed and thousands injured by Israeli forces amid protests at US embassy in Jerusalem

Bethan McKernan, Samuel Osborne, Clark Mindock, Jeremy B White

15 hours ago

At least 58 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 people wounded in protests at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, according to Palestinian officials, on the same day the US fulfiled its controversial promise to move its embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem.

Thousands of demonstrators set fire to tyres on Monday, sending thick plumes of smoke into the air to deter Israeli snipers. The Israeli military said the protests were being used as cover for attacks on soldiers.

It marked the deadliest single day of protests in a weeks-long campaign from Hamas in the run up to the US embassy move and the Nakba, or ‘Catastrophe’, on Tuesday – celebrated in Israel as the country’s 70th birthday.

Gazans protest as US embassy moves to Jerusalem – in pictures

The order given to Israeli soldiers was to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel at any price, including direct live fire. Israel has also warned Hamas that any mass breakthrough will result in airstrikes on the group’s infrastructure inside the Strip – with a number of targets hit by Israeli forces by the afternoon.

We are on the Path to War (Revelation 8)

By ending the Iran deal, Trump has put America on the path to war | Bernie Sanders

Bernie SandersMon 14 May 2018 12.44 EDT

We need to try to talk with Iran’s government, seek a better relationship with the Iranian people, and a more constructive role for Iran in the region

Last week, Donald Trump made one of the most reckless moves of his presidency: withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement. With this decision, the president discarded years of hard work by our diplomats, who had obtained an extremely rigorous set of restrictions and inspections guaranteeing that Iran would not obtain a nuclear weapon. He also slammed the door on a once-promising possibility of detente between the US and Iran.

It’s important to understand that the JCPOA is not just an agreement between the US and Iran, but one negotiated alongside our partners in the P5+1 – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – and endorsed by the United Nations security council. Trump’s withdrawal further deepens tensions with our most important democratic allies, France, the UK and Germany, who all continue to support the agreement and have consistently said that it is in their own national security interests to see it upheld.

Trump also rejected the advice of his own top national security officials like the joint chiefs chairman, Gen Joseph Dunford, and defense secretary, James Mattis, both of whom have repeatedly stated that staying in the agreement is in the national security interests of the US. Nuclear non-proliferation and national security professionals around the world share that assessment. Just as he has done on the issue of climate change with his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Trump has chosen to ignore the overwhelming expert consensus and sided instead with a small ideological faction, with disastrous consequences for our global security.

Bluster and Iran-bashing will not get us to a better future

Withdrawing from the JCPOA also seriously harms the US’s ability to negotiate future non-proliferation agreements, such as one with North Korea. Why would any country in the world sign such an agreement with the US and make the tough concessions that any such agreement requires if they thought that a reckless president might simply discard that agreement a few years later?

To be clear, Iran is engaged in a lot of bad behavior, including backing dictator Bashar al-Assad’s war against the Syrian people, support for violent extremist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, and human rights abuses inside Iran. However, if we are genuinely concerned about these Iranian policies, as I am, this is the worst possible course. It will make addressing all of these other issues harder. Unfortunately, we heard no strategy from Trump when he announced his decision, just the usual bluster.

Bluster and Iran-bashing will not get us to a better future. We need to continue to try to talk with Iran’s government, seek a better relationship with the Iranian people, and a more constructive role for Iran in the region. Trump’s approach makes achieving those goals more difficult. It has already emboldened the regime’s hardliners, who are much more comfortable dealing with a hostile America than with a reasonable, peace-seeking one.

After 17 years of war in Afghanistan and 15 years of war in Iraq, the American people do not want to be engaged in never-ending wars in the Middle East. They do not want to drawn into a Sunni-Shia, Saudi Arabia-Iran regional conflict. But I am deeply concerned that that is exactly where President Trump is taking us. If anyone were inclined to dismiss those concerns, I would remind them that Trump’s newly installed national security adviser, John Bolton, wrote an article a few years ago entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”. By withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, and making clear their goal of escalation, Trump and his administration seem to be creating their own excuse for doing exactly that.

It is folly to imagine that, having unleashed these problems through the misuse of military force, we can solve them in the same way

We should remember that the road to the Iraq war did not simply begin in 2003. It was laid down brick by brick over a number of years with policy decisions that might have seemed relatively small at the time, but that ultimately led us to the worst foreign policy blunder in our history. The Iraq war had enormous unintended consequences that we are still dealing with today, and will be for many years to come. Indeed, one of those unintended consequences was the empowering of Iran in Iraq and elsewhere around the region.

It is folly to imagine that, having unleashed these problems through the misuse of military force, we can solve them in the same way. Yet President Trump’s bellicose speech last week clearly seemed to shift American policy toward the same goal of regime change that underlay the Iraq war. Real American leadership, and real American power, is not shown by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to bring parties together, to forge international consensus around shared problems, and then to mobilize that consensus to address those problems. That is what the JCPOA did. Unfortunately, President Trump has now chosen to put us on a very different, more dangerous path.

Bernie Sanders is hosting a town hall on the Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement on Monday 14 May at 7pm before a live audience in the auditorium of the US Capitol. It will be live-streamed on the Guardian’s Facebook page

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The Antichrist surges into the lead

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr takes surprise lead in Iraq’s election as prime minister falters


An electoral ticket backed by the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr emerged as the early front-runner in Iraq’s elections, according to preliminary results released late Sunday, dealing a significant blow to the reelection campaign of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

If the results hold, Sadr, a strident critic of the United States who commands a militia that fought American troops during the occupation of Iraq, could be in a position to determine Iraq’s next leader. Sadr did not run in the election but holds sway over the electoral ticket, which has defied predictions by amassing the largest number of votes across 10 of country’s 18 provinces.

Sadr’s coalition, called Sairoon, won by a large margin in the capital, Baghdad, which accounts for the largest number of seats in Iraq’s 329-seat parliament. A ticket led by the commander of a Shiite militia close to Iran came in second.

Abadi’s coalition, which had been forecast to win and was Washington’s choice, came in fifth in the capital and was running third overall, according to the preliminary results.

The final official results are expected Monday, after which a long process of allotting seats in the legislature will begin, followed by members electing a president and a prime minister.

Voters line up to cast ballots Saturday at a polling site in a camp for displaced people in Baharka, Iraq. (Bram Janssen/AP)

Sadr’s surprise early lead sets up the prospect of Iraq’s government being headed by someone both hostile to the United States and opposed to Iran’s spreading influence in the country. Sadr has recently campaigned against corruption and can summon millions into the streets to protest policies he opposes. He surprised Iraqis by forming a cross-sectarian, non-Islamist electoral coalition for Saturday’s vote that includes Iraq’s communist party.

Before the release of the preliminary results, the conversation on Iraq’s airwaves, social media and streets had revolved around the historically low turnout at polling places.

Fewer than 45 percent of Iraq’s 22 million eligible voters turned out for the parliamentary election, held five months after the Islamic State militant group’s three-year occupation of major Iraqi cities was ended in a costly and bloody war. The low turnout was at odds with predictions that voters would flock to the polls in a harbinger of a new era in Iraqi politics.

The number reflects a steep decline in the rate of Iraqi voter participation, which was 62 percent in the 2014 and 2010 elections after a peak of 70 percent in 2005.

Many of those who stayed home said it was an act of protest. They cited displeasure with Iraq’s complicated election system, which rewards name recognition over political platforms, and a lack of confidence that the same old faces that led the ballot lists would deliver on job opportunities and lasting security.

Others said they hoped their boycott would force a national reckoning over what they regard as a stagnation of Iraq’s political and social order in the years since dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

“I participated in all the previous elections, yet there was no change. We demonstrated against the electoral system, but no one listened,” said Mustafa Sadoon, a Baghdad-based writer. “I didn’t find any other choice to express my rejection except to boycott.”

Iraq’s government celebrated the election, however, citing the absence of any terrorist attacks at the polling stations and any reports of widespread irregularities or fraud.

Officials administering the vote attributed the low turnout partly to increased security measures and confusion stemming from the first-time use of an electronic voting system.

Several voters in the city of Najaf said in interviews that they were turned away when the biometric voting machines couldn’t recognize their fingerprint or for showing up with an old voter ID card.

Boycotters said none of those reasons could account for the sharp decline in participation — which many analysts and Western diplomats had expected to top 60 percent.

The campaign season was notable for politicians moving toward a centrist message of Iraqi nationalism over sect allegiances, a dramatic departure from the pervasive sectarianism that has defined Iraq’s politics since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Even Iraq’s traditionally right-wing Shiite parties with close ties to Iran embraced the message of all Iraqis being equal under the law and putting national interests above those of any regional or global power.

Abadi’s December declaration that the Islamic State had been defeated in Iraq sparked delirious celebrations and pronouncements that Iraq was about to usher in a new era. His electoral ticket campaigned on that theme, hoping the military victory would translate into a political victory.

Waseem Seizeif, a blogger who advocated a large-scale boycott of the election, said the lofty rhetoric masked the absence of what much of the voting public was looking for: a substantive policy debate that addressed the myriad problems Iraqis face.

“We believe in democracy, but we also believe that if we participated in the elections, it means we approve of this system, which we don’t,” he said.

Seizeif said the system forces desirable candidates to join party tickets headlined by established figures who rely on name recognition to garner votes — effectively eliminating any opportunity for others to run on a platform of reform.

That forces voters to cast ballots for a headliner politician they may despise as the only way to show support for a candidate they like.

“The whole system is broken,” Seizeif said. “Change won’t come through ballots. We should pressure them to change the entire system.”

Sadoon said that he knew of several “clean” candidates he wished he could have voted for but that they had joined “corrupt blocs.”

“That means my vote will help the thief who is heading this bloc, and I can’t be party to this,” he said.

Ahead of the election, even Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, signaled displeasure with the field of candidates, instructing followers not to support any hopeful who has failed the country in the past.

In a departure from his stance during previous contests, when he urged all Iraqis to vote, Sistani also said that there was no religious obligation to participate.

As candidates awaited the official results, some reflected on the unenthusiastic turnout.

One prominent candidate from the ticket headed by Ameri, Karim al-Nouri, joked that more people participated in the rapid dismantling of election billboards for scrap metal than in the election.

But he added a serious note, saying the low turnout was a warning to the political class.

“It’s an alarm,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s a reaction to the corruption since 2003 and it means that the government must reconsider the political approach.”

Approaching Nuclear Annihilation (Revelation 15)

‘This Is Not a Drill’: The Growing Threat of Nuclear Annihilation

By Retro Report

Iran, North Korea, Russia: How the Nuclear Threat Re-emerged

As more nations seek the bomb, and as the United States and Russia expand their nuclear arsenals, veterans of the Cold War say the public is too complacent about the risk of nuclear catastrophe.

Image by GraphicaArtis/Getty

By Clyde Haberman

May 13, 2018

If you were in elementary school in the early 1950s, chances are that you had the fear of nuclear holocaust drummed into you with fair regularity. Children were taught “duck and cover” techniques, which typically meant hiding under their desks as if that would save them from an atomic bomb landing nearby.

In big cities like New York, many pupils received military-style dog tags bearing their names and addresses — to help parents identify their bodies, they were told. (Of course, Mom and Pop had to survive themselves.) Some recall that the tags also listed the family religion. That, a teacher explained to one class of second-graders, was to guarantee their burial in an appropriate cemetery. Somehow, this was supposed to reassure them.

Those days are long gone. Or are they?

On a Saturday morning in January, Hawaiians scrambled for shelter after a state government bulletin that a ballistic missile was headed their way. Many of them were already on edge at the thought of a possible nuclear attack by North Korea. “This is not a drill,” a cellphone alert said.

Indeed it wasn’t. It was an error. During a test of emergency preparedness, someone had mistakenly activated “live alert” instead of “test alert.” It took more than half an hour for word to get out that there was no need for panic. But nerves remained frayed. In Hawaii and other parts of the United States, there has been, for example, a spike in sales of potassium iodide, a drug that can block the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine released in a nuclear attack.

It is an echo of the Cold War’s bad old days, and as this installment of Retro Report shows, some people worry that it is an omen of what may lie ahead, as the major powers resort to the sort of nuclear saber-rattling not seen for a long while. The concerns were hardly dispelled when President Trump announced on Tuesday that he was pulling the United States out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. That decision could remove constraints on the Iranian regime and impel it to restart a uranium enrichment program that it had agreed to curtail through the 2020s.

When the Cold War ended nearly three decades ago, “we believed that the danger of nuclear annihilation had gone away,” William J. Perry told Retro Report, a series of video documentaries examining how major news stories of the past shape present events. Mr. Perry, an emeritus professor at Stanford University, was defense secretary in the Clinton administration from 1994 to 1997. “We’ve never been able to re-grasp that it’s come back,” he said of the risk, adding ominously that, if anything, “the danger of some kind of a nuclear catastrophe today is actually greater than it was during the Cold War.”

At the moment, it may seem as if reason to fear cataclysm has receded, given that the United States and the two Koreas are engaged in diplomatic maneuvering that could — at least from the American and South Korean vantage — lead to dismantling North Korea’s nuclear stockpile. But this is not the first new dawn on the Korean Peninsula. And a collapse of the negotiations would not be the first failure. There is no guarantee that North Korea and the United States will not return to the bellicosity of just a few months ago, when the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said that “a nuclear button is always on my desk” and President Trump responded in a tweet that his own nuclear button was “much bigger & more powerful.”

In the meantime, the leaders of the two countries most capable of mutual annihilation, Mr. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, have promised to modernize their own arsenals and make them more menacing. Publicly, neither man has shown much interest in renewing soon-to-expire agreements that impose checks on their capabilities, like on-site inspections. That has experts like Mr. Perry worried.

The decades of nuclear standoff between the United States and the old Soviet Union were premised on an assumption that neither side would dare launch an attack because it would invite a devastating counterattack and amount to committing national suicide. But a calculated launching of missiles by one side or the other is not the big scare, Mr. Perry said. What troubles him more is the increased potential for error inherent to increased weaponry: a misread blip on a computer screen or a false alarm like the recent one in Hawaii.

When international tensions are high, as they were in the depths of the Cold War and as they have at times been of late, the risk grows, Mr. Perry said, that “we would blunder into a nuclear war.”

That kind of fear all but defined much of the 1950s and 1960s, vividly captured in popular culture. At about the time that American grade-school children were ducking under their desks, the English author Nevil Shute wrote “On the Beach,” a best-selling novel about nuclear apocalypse that became a 1959 movie. As deadly radiation spreads from the northern hemisphere to the southern, a scientist in Australia explains how humankind stumbled to its doom:

“Everybody had an atomic bomb, and counter-bombs, and counter-counter bombs. The devices outgrew us; we couldn’t control them. I know. I helped build them, God help me. Somewhere, some poor bloke probably looked at a radar screen and thought he saw something. He knew that if he hesitated one-thousandth of a second, his own country would be wiped off the map. So he pushed a button, and the world went crazy.”

The world has come closer to such moments than many people realize.

In September 1983, East-West tensions soared after Soviet missiles shot down a South Korean civilian airliner, killing all 269 people aboard. Having somehow deviated from its charted course and entered prohibited Russian airspace, the plane may have been mistaken for an American spy plane. Less than a month later, a Soviet early warning system appeared to detect the launching of five missiles from an American base. Fortunately, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet air defenses, acting on intuition, decided after nerve-racking minutes that it was a false alarm.

In October 1960, American radar detected what seemed to be dozens of Soviet missiles headed to the United States. It turned out to be a moonrise over Norway, misinterpreted. In November 1979, someone touched off fears of a Soviet missile attack by mistakenly inserting a “war games” tape into a computer of the North American Air Defense Command. A similar foul-up occurred the following June; apparently a computer chip (cost: 46 cents) had malfunctioned.

“Machines do err, and will err again,” Mr. Perry said, “And humans will err again.”

For Alex Wellerstein, a specialist in the history of nuclear weapons at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., the enemy may be complacency. With the Cold War in the rearview mirror and the Soviet Union long gone, “people don’t think nuclear war is on the table at all,” Mr. Wellerstein told Retro Report. “We stop preparing for it, we stop talking about it for the most part.”

But people must remember, he said, that nuclear missiles are “actual things that might be used in their lifetimes — they’re not fictional creations, they’re not cultural metaphors.”

The panic in Hawaii was a reminder of how easily things could go wrong. It perhaps also reinforced a lesson imparted in another cultural touchstone about nuclear dread. This was the 1983 film “WarGames,” in which a military supercomputer is put in control of the American arsenal. Thinking it is conducting a strategic exercise, the computer prepares to launch actual missiles — until it comes to understand the global devastation it would inflict.

“A strange game,” it concludes. “The only winning move is not to play.”