Unfortunately, Indian Point is NOT Prepared for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

By County Executive Ed Day

Last week we activated Rockland County’s Emergency Operations Center in Pomona, thankfully not for an actual emergency but for an Indian Point disaster drill. Rockland was one of four counties that practiced emergency responses in case an incident ever happened at the Indian Point nuclear power plant located just across the Hudson River in Buchanan.

Westchester, Putnam and Orange counties, as well as the State of New York also participated along with Entergy, the plants owner. For Rockland’s part, officials from County and State departments gathered at the fire training center in Pomona where they were graded by monitors from New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services on how well they responded to the scenario in the exercise.

Let me be clear; Rockland is ready to respond should a major crisis arise at the nuclear power plant owned and operated by Entergy. These exercises are held multiple times a year to ensure all first responders, and employees are well prepared in the event of an emergency.

The drill was led by our Office of Fire and Emergency Services but included the Departments of Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Planning, Transportation, Highway, Office for the Aging, Highway Department, Sheriff’s Department, Purchasing, and numerous other agencies from around the region and state.

Through coincidence a heavy thunderstorm struck during the drill, disrupting communications and injecting a real-world situation into this mock exercise. As a former law enforcement professional, I understand just how important it is to maintain our readiness for anything the real world may throw at us.

During the drill, Rockland employees tracked wind direction, radiation levels, implemented protective actions, tested communications, held media briefings, and issued updates about evacuations.

Rockland County stands ready to handle whatever comes next, but I sincerely hope we never have to put these skills to the test. Thank you to all the employees, first responders and especially our Office of Fire and Emergency Services for cooperating and coordinating so well before, during and after this drill.

For more information on what you should do in the event of a real emergency at Indian Point, including evacuation routes, emergency planning and ways to receive notifications visit the Fire and Emergency Services section of Rocklandgov.com.

Building up the Ten Nuclear Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 7:7)

Why America’s Allies Should Develop Nuclear Weapons

By Doug Bandow • August 9, 2018

 

Germans are losing their trust in America’s security guarantees. Believing that U.S. troops would always defend Europe, Berlin has allowed its military outlays and capabilities to wither. German defense spending at present barely breaks 1 percent of GDP. With only slight overstatement, political scientist Christian Hacke recently said of the German military, “nothing flies, nothing floats, and nothing runs.”

For years, Washington officials have whined about Europe’s and especially Germany’s failure to take defense seriously. Yet the U.S. also continued to spend money and deploy troops to “reassure” its allies, giving them less incentive to do more.

Despite his tough rhetoric, in practice, President Donald Trump’s policy has proven to be more of the same. He criticized America’s defense commitments to Montenegro, yet allowed it to enter NATO. At the latest alliance summit, his subordinates advanced new subsidies for member states. This year the administration is putting another $6.5 billion into the European Deterrence Initiative, formerly called the European Reassurance Initiative.

Nevertheless, the president’s crude hostility and unpredictability have set him apart from his predecessors. Thus, many Germans and other Europeans worry that he might walk away from NATO.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been particularly vocal. Last year she defiantly responded to President Trump’s criticism by calling on Europeans to “take our fate into our own hands.” She remains committed to bumping her country’s military outlays up to 2 percent of GDP, despite opposition from her coalition partners.

Other Germans want to do even more. For instance, shortly after Trump’s election, Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the Bundestag and former German general staff officer, suggested creating a European military budget to expand the French and British nuclear arsenals. Berthold Kohler, publisher of the influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, urged direct German support.

Two weeks ago, the Welt am Sonntag ran an article by Christian Hacke that argued Germany was no longer under America’s nuclear umbrella and that “national defense on the basis of a nuclear deterrent must be given priority in light of new transatlantic uncertainties and potential confrontations.” Criticism of his idea was fierce—a former intelligence official denounced it as “reckless, foolish, and incendiary.”

U.S. commentators also dumped on Hacke’s proposal. Jim Townsend, a one-time deputy defense secretary, argued: “Trump notwithstanding, the U.S. nuclear guarantee is not going anywhere.” That, of course, is the conventional wisdom inside the Blob, as the Washington foreign policy establishment has been called, which also believes that America must forever defend Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; fix failed societies and sort out foreign civil wars everywhere; and underwrite every authoritarian regime that claims to oppose Washington’s enemy du jour.

But it isn’t just the Germans who are considering nuclear options. Jarsolaw Kaczynski, former Polish prime minister and dominant figure in Poland’s current government, has suggested developing a European nuclear arsenal to confront Russia.

The same question also has arisen in Asia. The Republic of Korea embarked on a nuclear program in the 1970s after President Park Chung-hee doubted the Nixon administration’s commitment to the ROK’s defense. Seoul later abandoned the effort under U.S. pressure, though in recent years the North’s nuclear advances have fed popular support for a South Korean bomb. A poll found two thirds of South Koreans in favor and some newspapers and politicians offered their support.

North Korea’s new pacific course has reduced the perceived necessity of a nuclear arsenal and leftish President Moon Jae-in last fall declared, “We will not develop or possess nuclear weapons.” However, the future remains uncertain. Indeed, few Korea analysts believe Pyongyang will ever fully disarm, and President Trump has shown disdain for America’s defense commitment to South Korea.

Even more controversial is the case of Japan. The idea of possessing nuclear weapons remains anathema to much of the Japanese population, but they also remain sheltered beneath America’s nuclear umbrella. Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempt to tie himself to President Trump, an increasingly burdened America may tire of protecting its wealthiest ally.

So far the proliferation door is “ajar, even if no one is leading the way through it,” observed Llewelyn Hughes of GR Japan. The idea of a Japanese nuke was studied (and rejected) by military and civilian policymakers as far back as the 1960s. During the conservative nationalist Abe’s earlier stint as prime minister a decade ago, he appeared to offer indirect support for a Japanese nuclear weapon, though nothing came of that gambit. In April 2016, Abe observed that the Japanese Constitution does not preclude the country from possessing and using nuclear bombs, which reaffirmed a position going back to Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi in 1957. The same reasoning allows Tokyo to field a “Self-Defense Force” despite the constitution’s Article Nine, which holds that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

Most U.S. policymakers dismiss the idea of friendly proliferation in Asia, though analyst Ira Straus has proposed a nuclear loan by Washington to Japan and the ROK. Ultimately, however, there is no reason for the U.S. to remain entangled in those nations’ defense. Both are nuclear capable and could develop their own weapons if they desired. America should consider shifting—permanently, not temporarily—nuclear as well as conventional defense responsibilities onto its freeloading allies.

Uncle Sam has been profligate with his nuclear umbrellas. The 28 other NATO members—including Montenegro, President Trump’s bête noire—each received one. So did Japan and South Korea. Australia and Taiwan could also be seen as protected. Certainly Israel would be had it not developed its own arsenal. Perhaps Saudi Arabia would get one if Iran developed a bomb. Ukraine probably thought it had one after yielding its leftover Soviet nukes.

The presumption is that America’s commitments are costless since they will never be called in. Washington deters the bad guys while preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Whatever risk might exist, believes the Blob, it’s vastly exceeded by the dangers of proliferation. Under such assumptions, no wonder non-proliferation is one of foreign policy’s great sacred cows.

The problem with our promises to use nukes on behalf of other nations is that doing so costs nothing only so long as deterrence holds. And history is full of conflicts in which conventional alliances failed to prevent war. World Wars I and II are prime examples.

A nuclear guarantee that failed at deterrence would force either military action likely to result in destruction on the American homeland or humiliating retreat and a consequent loss of credibility and honor. What U.S. cities should be held hostage for Berlin, Taipei, Podgorica, Tokyo, Warsaw, and Canberra? Only an interest most compelling could justify taking such a risk. Yet Washington has opened its nuclear umbrellas casually, even thoughtlessly, without much regard for the consequences.

In fact, most of America’s nuclear guarantees are leftovers, tied to antiquated alliances created during a different time. But for those commitments, the U.S. would not be a nuclear target of so many opposing regimes. Through its alliances, Washington has needlessly turned itself into an adversary of nuclear-armed powers.

Hence last year’s bizarre nuclear scare involving North Korea. No serious analyst believed the DPRK planned to start a nuclear war with America. Nothing suggested that any one of the three Kims who ruled the North were suicidal. Yet in the event of a conventional war, Pyongyang could still be tempted to either strike out in desperation or threaten attacks on civilian targets to halt an allied advance. With South Korea well able to defend itself, Washington is risking nuclear attack for no good reason.

The dangers are exacerbated by the potential impact of nuclear guarantees on allied behavior, which can encourage intransigence and even recklessness. Conventional commitments are dangerous enough. In the early 2000s, Taiwan’s independence-minded Chen Shui-bian government appeared to provoke Beijing in the belief that the U.S. would deal with any consequences. In 2008, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili triggered a disastrous conflict with Russia, bombarding Moscow’s troops in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia, apparently expecting Washington to enter any war on his government’s side.

While friendly proliferation could create instability and encourage competing arms build-ups, it would also be the most effective way to constrain China without forcing the U.S. into a military confrontation over primarily allied interests with what will be soon a great power, perhaps eventually even a superpower. Enabling more nuclear states would be unfortunate, but it still might be the best among bad options.

If nothing else, Americans should debate Washington’s multiple nuclear guarantees. Recipient nations increasingly recognize that the nuclear umbrella offers an imperfect defense at best. And the U.S. government’s nuclear commitments create enormous, disproportionate costs and risks for Americans. When the issue is nuclear war, without question America must come first.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Three Dead Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

 

Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 180 rockets and mortars into southern Israel and the Israeli military has launched 150 airstrikes, as weeks of on-off violence came to a head.

Three Palestinians were killed, including a pregnant woman, a toddler and a Hamas fighter. Several Israelis were wounded, along with a 30-year-old Thai woman living in Israel.

The Hamas-run ministry of health in Gaza named two of the dead as Enas Khammash, 23, who was pregnant, and her 18-month-old daughter, Bayan. It said 12 others were injured.

The Israeli army said it had targeted “strategic military sites” including Hamas weapons manufacturing and training locations.

Late on Thursday, Palestinian officials said that Hamas and Israel had reached an agreement to end the violence. “Egyptian efforts managed to restore calm between Palestinian factions and Israel that will end the current escalation,” a Palestinian official told Reuters. “Palestinian factions will respect calm as long as Israel does.” There was no formal comment from Israel.

The bloodshed was the third severe flare-up in the past two months, during which the two sides have traded their most intense attacks since the 2014 war. There have been warnings of a possible fourth conflict in 10 years.

A long-range Grad rocket fired from Gaza on Thursday afternoon struck outside Beersheba, the largest city in southern Israel with 200,000 residents, 25 miles (40km) from the Gaza Strip.

Since late March, Palestinians have been protesting near the frontier, in part against an Israeli-imposed blockade that severely limits the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza. The response to these mass gatherings at the perimeter fence has caused a global outcry, with snipers shooting dead more than 150 Palestinians, including children, medics and journalists. Thousands more have been wounded.

Israel says the protest movement is being orchestrated by Hamas as a cover for attacks and points to shootings along the frontier that have killed one soldier. Palestinians have in the past few weeks begun to launch “flaming kites” into Israel, torching huge swaths of farmland.

In Gaza overnight and into Thursday explosions could be seen as bombs landed. Hanan Qishawi, 32, said she and her three children were up all night in “constant terror”.

“I do not remember experiencing such a terrifying night since the end of the 2014 war. When it was quiet, I fell asleep, and suddenly a big boom woke me up. I was waiting for daylight.”

In the Israeli city of Sderot, explosions smashed up cars and motorbikes, dented pavements and pockmarked buildings with shrapnel. Sirens sounded , sending residents to bomb shelters.

Oshrit Sabag, a resident from the Israeli community of Nahal Oz, a few hundred metres from the Gaza fence, said she spent much of the night in her children’s bedroom, which doubles as the family’s bomb shelter.

“We’re mostly scared that there will be another war,” she said by phone. “We’ve had tens of fires. Houses were burnt. Now rockets and mortar bombs. It’s chaos.”

Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the rocket and mortar strikes. It said Palestinian “resistance” had fired projectiles at “enemy positions in the Gaza envelope”.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, convened his security cabinet on Thursday and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, called on world powers to “immediately and urgently intervene”.

The back and forth attacks began on Wednesday and continued late into Thursday.

The latest round of attacks followed the killing of two Hamas fighters on Tuesday in what the Israeli army said was an act of retaliation for a shooting attack on its forces. The militant group said the two were involved in a training exercise, not an attack, and promised to retaliate in turn.

Asked about the incident, an Israel Defence Forces spokesman, Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, said: “Hamas operatives, terrorists, were in a known Hamas position and fired weapons in a general direction towards the fence.

“I won’t go into further details on whether we understand it was an exercise or it wasn’t. But I can say that our mission is to defend Israeli civilians and of course if our soldiers are fired upon, we respond.”

Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

 

The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NEW YORK IS 40 YEARS OVERDUE A MAJOR EARTHQUAKE AND AMERICA ISN’T PROPERLY PREPARED, ‘QUAKELAND’ AUTHOR KATHRYN MILES TELLS TREVOR NOAH

BY TUFAYEL AHMED ON 9/27/17 AT 9:28 AM

Updated | An earthquake is long overdue to hit New York and America isn’t prepared, author and environmental theorist Kathryn Miles told Trevor Noah on Tuesday’s Daily Show.

Miles is the author of a new book, Quakeland, which investigates how imminently an earthquake is expected in the U.S. and how well-prepared the country is to handle it. The answer to those questions: Very soon and not very well.

“We know it will, that’s inevitable, but we don’t know when,” said Miles when asked when to expect another earthquake in the U.S.

She warned that New York is in serious danger of being the site of the next one, surprising considering that the West Coast sits along the San Andreas fault line.

“New York is 40 years overdue for a significant earthquake…Memphis, Seattle, Washington D.C.—it’s a national problem,” said Miles.

Miles told Noah that though the U.S. is “really good at responding to natural disasters,” like the rapid response to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, the country and its government is, in fact, lagging behind in its ability to safeguard citizens before an earthquake hits.

“We’re really bad at the preparedness side,” Miles responded when Noah asked how the infrastructure in the U.S. compares to Mexico’s national warning system, for example.

“Whether it’s the literal infrastructure, like our roads and bridges, or the metaphoric infrastructure, like forecasting, prediction, early warning systems. Historically, we’ve underfunded those and as a result we’re way behind even developing nations on those fronts.”

Part of the problem, Miles says, is that President Donald Trump and his White House are not concerned with warning systems that could prevent the devastation of natural disasters.

“We can invest in an early warning system. That’s one thing we can definitely do. We can invest in better infrastructures, so that when the quake happens, the damage is less,” said the author.

“The scientists, the emergency managers, they have great plans in place. We have the technology for an early warning system, we have the technology for tsunami monitoring. But we don’t have a president that is currently interested in funding that, and that’s a problem.”

This article has been updated to reflect that Miles said New York is the possible site of an upcoming earthquake, and not the likeliest place to be next hit by one.

US Alliance with Iraq is Going to Hell

The competition in Iraq over the position of next prime minister has been narrowed down to current PM Haidar al-Abadi, leader of the Victory alliance, and Hadi al-Ameri, leader of the Fateh alliance that came second in the May parliamentary elections, revealed an informed source said.Abadi is, however, facing competition from a fellow member of his alliance, Falih al-Fayyad, his national security advisor, it added on condition of anonymity.

Ameri, who appears to be the Fateh’s only candidate, is facing competition from his closest ally, the State of Law coalition that is leaning towards nominating Tareq Najim as premier, said the source.

The victor in the elections, the Sairoun alliance of Sadrist Movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, has meanwhile, said that it will not focus on potential candidates for the position of prime minister, but rather on the ministerial program of the new government.

Since the election results were announced, political blocs have been exerting efforts to form the largest alliance in the new parliament. They have also been focusing on nominating a candidate for prime minister and forming a new cabinet.

The largest bloc will name the next premier, who will be tasked with forming a new government.

The race for the premiership between the Shiite Abadi and Ameri has left the door open for the Kurds and Sunnis to impose their own conditions to join either of the two alliance in order to form the largest bloc, continued the source.

The two alliances, for their part, have succeeded in driving a wedge in the Sunni and Kurdish ranks, both of which already suffer from clear divisions, it said.

Meanwhile, a statement released on Monday by a number of Victory alliance leaderships revealed sudden cracks in Abadi’s coalition.

The statement, issued a day after the coalition had met to reassert Abadi as its candidate for premier, was released by Fayyad, Khaled al-Obeidi and the Islamic party, all of whom are the PM’s most prominent allies.

The statement said: “Out of our keenness on the unity and sovereignty of Iraq and in compliance with popular demands for reform and the orders of the higher religious authority to form a new government, we believe that the blocs that enjoy the greatest representation should choose the next prime minister.”

It said that it will demand a meeting for the Victory coalition to discuss the issue.

A leading member of the Fateh coalition, Naeem al-Aboudi, said that the political blocs will intensify their efforts in the upcoming 48 hours to form the largest parliamentary bloc.

“Ameri is our only candidate for prime minister,” he stressed.

He also hoped that all five Shiite blocs, as well as the Sunni and Kurdish ones, must come together to the negotiations table to address these issues because “the situation is critical.”