A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011
The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.
In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.
“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”
Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.
“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.
Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.
“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Antichrist Condemns Nimr’s Execution

Sun Jan 3, 2016 9:49AM
HomeMiddle EastIraq
Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has condemned as “unjust aggression” the Saudi regime’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Ayatollah Sistani expressed regret over Sheikh Nimr’s killing and offered condolences to the families of all those executed unjustly along with the top Shia figure.
“We have received with much sorrow and regret the news of the martyrdom of a number of our brother believers in the region whose pure blood was shed in an unjust aggression,” the said.
In a similar stance, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday decried the move, stating that, “Violating human rights…will have repercussions on the security, stability and the social fabric of the peoples of the region.”
Sadr: Nimr’s killing ‘shameful’
According to the Saudi Interior Ministry, Sheikh Nimr along with 46 others, who had been found guilty of being involved in “terrorism” and adopting a “Takfiri” ideology, were put to death in 12 different cities across the kingdom.
Saudi authorities even refused to hand over the cleric’s body to his family and buried him at an undisclosed cemetery.
The execution has drawn angry reactions from people of the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, where Sheikh Nimr used to preach, prompting Riyadh to dispatch reinforcements to the mainly Shia-populated area
Shia Muslims around the world have also staged large protest rallies to show their anger at the new Saudi crime, with many governments and prominent human rights groups also condemning the executions and voicing concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
In the wake of anti-Riyadh demonstrations, Saudi Arabia has beefed up security at its embassies in a number of countries.
The staff of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Lebanon were advised to stay inside, while the kingdom’s mission in Iraq came under a rocket attack.
An outspoken critic of Riyadh’s policies, Nimr was shot and arrested by the Saudi police in the Qatif region of the kingdom’s Shia-dominated Eastern Province in 2012.
He was charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security, making anti-government speeches, and defending political prisoners. He had rejected all the charges as baseless.
In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced the clergyman to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. The sentence was upheld last March by the appeal court of Saudi Arabia.

The Shia and Sunni Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 7)

Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

Saudi Arabia announced Sunday that it was severing ties with Iran, hours after Iranian protesters set fires in the Saudi embassy compound in Tehran to protest the execution the day before the Shiite cleric, Sheik Nimr al-Nimr.
At the root of their rivalry is Islam’s centuries-old schism between Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority in the oil-rich Saudi Kingdom, and Shiites who dominate Iran. Their enmity has exacerbated conflicts in the Middle East and U.S. efforts to bring peace to the region.
Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s holiest city of Mecca, where millions of the faithful journey for the annual Hajj. Iran, the world’s leading Shiite powerhouse, is governed by radical clerics.
Both are vying to extend their influence across the volatile Middle East. Here are five sources of new collisions between the two:
As America’s closest Arab ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has enjoyed massive U.S. military aid and has long influenced American foreign policy. An added bonus for the Saudis has been America’s estrangement from Iran since the 1979 revolution there that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.
The power balance shifted in 2015, however, when President Obama reached a historic agreement with Iran that limits Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons. In return for Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal, the U.S. and other world powers must lift crippling economic sanctions on Iran, something likely to occur this year.
The Saudis fear Iran will use the tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets and new business opportunities to support Shiite rebel groups in the region to destabilize Sunni-led governments, as well as use the new revenue to buy weapons in support of its expansionary goals. The Saudis also fear Iran will cheat on the nuclear deal, fueling a Mideast nuclear arms race.
Saudi Arabia’s poverty-stricken southern neighbor at the foot the Arabian Peninsula has become the closest example of a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran.
The Saudi Kingdom is leading a local military coalition aimed at defeating Shiite-dominated Houthi rebels who are threatening to unseat the government. The Houthis have received direct military aid from Iran.
Iran is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime in his nearly 5-year-old civil war by providing both financing and fighters from Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shiite militant group based in Lebanon. Assad, a longtime Iranian ally, received a boost in 2015, when Russia sent in military forces to assist him.
Saudi Arabia, along with the United States and Turkey, is backing Sunni rebel groups opposed to Assad. The U.S. is concerned that some of those groups are too extreme and might team up with the Islamic State, the Sunni radical group that a U.S.-led coalition is trying to repel from Syria and Iraq.
Although the population is mostly Shiite, Iraq had been ruled for decades by Saddam Hussein and his Sunni minority until the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 ousted Saddam’s regime. The current, predominantly Shiite government has been heavily influenced by Iran, which has provided support for powerful Shiite militias in Iraq. Saudi Arabia is wary of the Iraqi government and is sympathetic to Sunnis who feel alienated by the government. Some of those Sunni residents are backing the Islamic State militant group.
As the leading global exporter of oil, Saudi Arabia has refused to cut production in the face of plummeting oil prices to defend its market share. As a result, the world is now awash in cheap oil. The drop in prices already has forced the kingdom to slash its government budget.
The glut may soon worsen — and the value of Saudi Arabia’s virtually sole source of revenue further diminish — once sanctions against rival Iran are eased under the nuclear weapons deal. Iran, estimated to have the fourth largest oil reserves on the planet, is ready to export 500,000 barrels a day once it is given access to the world market. That figure could grow as Iran rehabilitates its aging oil industry infrastructure.B

Planning for Armageddon (Revelation 16)

Review: Brad Roberts, ‘The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century’
BY: Aaron Kliegman
January 3, 2016 5:00 am
As the media and politicians in the United States are currently focusing most national security discussions on the Islamic State and the broader threat of terrorism, there is little public focus on other, arguably more consequential challenges for American foreign and defense policy. Interestingly, one of these challenges often ignored is the only tool capable of achieving the apocalyptic vision that ISIS so violently seeks: Nuclear weapons.
American nuclear policy and strategy has largely been marginalized since the end of the Cold War, regarded as a relic from another time. Brad Roberts thinks otherwise, however, and articulates in his new and important book The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century why nuclear weapons are still essential to America’s security and interests, as well as to global stability.
Having served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy from 2009 to 2013, Roberts has unique insight into how the United States utilizes its nuclear deterrent and, just as importantly, how America’s adversaries use their nuclear arsenals to further their interests.
The main argument of the book is that nuclear weapons still play a crucial and necessary role for U.S. strategic policy, and thus, Washington should not take any unilateral steps to reduce its nuclear arsenal beyond the levels set by the 2010 New START Treaty with Russia. This is mainly because the United States “is apparently alone among the states with nuclear weapons to believe that it has more nuclear weapons than it needs.” Roberts advocates for a balanced approach to nuclear strategy in which the United States utilizes political and legal means like arms control and nonproliferation to mitigate threats as it simultaneously uses military means to keep a strong nuclear deterrent while nuclear weapons exist.
He believes America’s long-term goal should be a world without nuclear weapons but is realistic about that goal, arguing that current conditions, and those of the foreseeable future, are not right for disarmament.
To advance his thesis, Roberts first gives a helpful overview of each presidential administration’s nuclear policy and posture since the end of the Cold War. He then discusses how deterrence can work effectively in the 21st century to create the circumstances required to decrease the role of nuclear weapons.
To this end, Roberts first turns to the threats posed by “nuclear-armed regional challengers” like North Korea before presenting U.S. strategic challenges with Russia and China. Roberts describes how there is evidence that these states have all formed what he terms “red theories of victory” in which they have thought to some degree about winning wars against the United States, with nuclear weapons playing a role. To match these adversarial contingencies, Roberts hypothesizes what the U.S. response would be, in what he terms the “blue theory of victory.”
But the United States is not alone in facing these adversaries. Roberts also analyzes how Washington can strengthen deterrence for its allies in Europe, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia to keep North Korea, Russia, and China at bay, all while maintaining strategic stability with the latter two. Roberts illustrates how the United States must not only deter adversaries but also assure its allies that it is committed to their defense. One difficult part for America is to show resolve, without leading to an escalation in conflict.
Roberts’ book should be required reading for policymakers involved with forming U.S. global strategy. The writing is informative and surprisingly concise for such a complex topic. Moreover, Roberts takes a balanced approach to nuclear issues, grounding his idealistic aspirations for a nuclear-free world in the realistic understanding that such an outcome is impractical and dangerous for the foreseeable future.
The book is not without its blind spots. Roberts does not include any discussion of India or Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals despite their ongoing conflict in South Asia being the tensest nuclear standoff in the world. Washington is not directly involved there and this book focuses on American policy, but a brief treatment of how India and Pakistan factor into U.S. nuclear strategy would have been appreciated.
This book bears a broader lesson for the public. Some commentators and analysts have argued that the 21st century is a new age of warfare when terrorists and non-state actors will be the primary problems for the United States. Such threats are no doubt worrisome, but Roberts’ book serves as a reminder that the greatest challenges to American national security and world order will continue to be from nation-states and traditional geopolitical tensions, with nuclear weapons playing a central role. The United States must be prepared.

Sixth Seal: New York City (Revelation 6:12)


(Source: US Geological Survey)
NY hazard
New York State Geological Survey
Damaging earthquakes have occurred in New York and surely will again. The likelihood of a damaging earthquake in New York is small overall but the possibility is higher in the northern part of the state and in the New York City region.Significant earthquakes, both located in Rockaway and larger than magnitude 5, shook New York City in 1737 and 1884. The quakes were 147 years apart and the most recent was 122 year ago. It is likely that another earthquake of the same size will occur in that area in the next 25 to 50 years. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in New York City would probably not cause great loss of life. However the damage to infrastructure – buildings, steam and gas lines, water mains, electric and fiber optic cable – could be extensive.
Earthquake Hazard Map of New York State
Acceleration of the ground during an earthquake is more important than total movement in causing structural damage. This map shows the two-percent probability of the occurrence of an earthquake that exceeds the acceleration of earth’s gravity by a certain percentage in the next fifty years.
If a person stands on a rug and the rug pulled slowly, the person will maintain balance and will not fall. But if the rug is jerked quickly, the person will topple. The same principle is true for building damage during an earthquake. Structural damage is caused more by the acceleration of the ground than by the distance the ground moves.
Earthquake hazard maps show the probability that the ground will move at a certain rate, measured as a percentage of earth’s gravity, during a particular time. Motion of one or two percent of gravity will rattle windows, doors, and dishes. Acceleration of ten to twenty percent of gravity will cause structural damage to buildings. It takes more than one hundred percent of gravity to throw objects into the air.