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By Michael H. Brown

As we try to discern the "signs of the times" it's always helpful in the wake of a disaster to place it in perspective.

As pertains to Japan, in this regard, first, of course, is the magnitude of the quake, initially reported as 8.9, now set at 9.0 or 9.1.

That makes it the third most powerful since records started in the late 1800s, behind a magnitude-9.5 in Chile (1960), a 9.2 in Alaska (Good Friday, 1964), and tied or just below a 9.1 in in 2004 in Sumatra.

The next consideration is the probability of an event occurring through simple happenstance. The quake and tsunami are right where seismologists in Japan had told me, when I visited some years back, they most feared a major occurrence -- in the northeastern part of the country (a famous tsunami once struck north of Sendai in the Hokkaido region).

No surprise there. There have been tsunamis in that region in modern times (albeit smaller). Japan is famous for tremors -- and has what is probably the world's most advanced emergency quake center (in downtown Tokyo).

But put this horrible quake and mix it together with the recent quakes in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, China, and elsewhere (even Arkansas); toss in the increase in volcanic activity (most ominously, at Yellowstone -- though one can blow anywhere, including under the oceans); add the flavor of numerous reported "fireballs"; and serve it all in the broth of weather gyrations -- snow, floods, tornadoes, hail around the world, monsoons -- and now you indeed have what anyone could reasonably describe as "signs."

It is the aggregate -- the entire concoction of various disturbances -- that makes for the determination. And timing. There were 49 tornadoes in the U.S. between January 1 and March 12 last year, and 93 for that same period this year, including 55 in February, the month leading up to such world turmoil (versus one tornado in February of 2010). New York City had its snowiest January ever. Ditto for some other cities like Chicago and Moscow for certain other periods this year. England had its snowiest December. We go from setting records for warmth to setting records for cold. Meanwhile, there are strange animal deaths.  

As for quakes, reports a paper, "A seismology research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Gary Gibson, said the world averages one magnitude-8 quake a year, but the rate was inconsistent. The 1980s and 1990s had far fewer large quakes than average, for example. 'There is more variation than you would expect from a random occurrence of earthquakes, and we really don't have a mechanism to describe why that is the case,'' Dr. Gibson said. ''But there is no question that the last two years have been very active and well above average.''

To be fair, we must recognize that intense media scrutiny (especially in this age of blogs) can make disasters seem more prevalent. And you can make numbers work a lot of different ways. For example, while there have thus far been twice as many tornadoes this year than the same period last, January in 2010 had many more twisters than the same month this year.

But, it seems clear, the cycles are intensifying. There are lulls -- as in any series of cycles. There are flat spots. But now cook in the societal disquiet -- economic concerns as well as political ones (see: Mideast) and the pot is ready to stew.

It is the unrest -- upheaval -- that I am watching with particular scrutiny, for it was exactly the prophetic pulse we have been feeling for a year now, preceding what is now occurring in Egypt, Libya, Iran, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, and elsewhere (including, to a degree, the United States).

There is a spirit of disenchantment. There is a spirit of rebellion. There is a spirit of unease. Folks seem to sense things coming. There are "flash mobs" (groups that suddenly converge on a situation to commit a crime or to protest, this in the U.S.).

Will mobs one day maraud through our streets? (Without prayer and conversion: yes; Japan is one of the most materialistic and irreligious nations on earth. I once attended a Mass in Tokyo and was the only person in attendance, save for an altar-server who was assisting an old, crippled priest).

Look for confluence. Look for precursors in what already has occurred. Here are some headlines from just last Saturday:

Nearly quarter million stranded in shelters... 

Six million homes without power...

Survivors hoard food, supplies...

Hundreds line up at grocery stores, gas stations... 

Brussels Weekend: Broke euro countries plead for help... 

18 GOP senators in Wisconsin report death threats after union vote... 

Two dead in Yemen

Up to 100,000 protest in Wisconsin

Now, golf course shootings

Precursors. The images of many strolling the shocked streets of Tokyo are a preview. Also, we look at apparitions. Was there significance in the occurrence of the Akita revelations (whereby the Virgin spoke to a deaf nun not so far from Sendai, about 200 miles, back in 1973) and foresaw a "terrible punishment" and "fire falling"?

This event does yet come close to the Akita prophecy (which saw that punishment as "greater than the Deluge" and wiping out "a great part of humanity"). But one can ask: as elsewhere, might this good woman have seen a coming event and interpreted it through her own prism -- viewing a local event as global one? Might the "fire" be radiation (if one of the nuclear reactors there goes "critical")? At any rate: this is a seismic "911."

As for what comes next: my guess is that larger events loom and that there will be three or so major events in the world before one on the scale of Japan occurs in North America (just a "guess").

We think here of an addendum to the "1990 prophecy," which addressed a breakdown in our modern infrastructure and added (on September 25, 2010), "The trials of your time now head to the crescendo of meaning, whereby to each will be shown the imperfection of the past and the need for purification of the future. For these times, you have the Rosary, and even more so, the praise. In union with God comes all protection, as the dark spirits are now allowed to materialize in full due to the pretense and aspirations of man. Not until the initial event will the curtain be drawn that reveals the entirety of the plan, and even then, it will be parted only slowly, in the woes of purification."

Now pin that to the Mass reading last Saturday (from Isaiah 58):

"Thus says the Lord: If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up; 'Repairer of the breach,' they shall call you, 'Restorer of ruined homesteads.'"

[resources: Tower of Light and Retreat in Dallas: prophecy, current events]

[See also: From the archives: the mystery of Akita, Japan, Global superstorms, Video and occult watch: does Mayan calendar end in December of this year? Was it the 'super-moon'?, More signs: 800 rescued from Dakota blizzard, Video: raging water sweeps through New Jersey, Will Japan quake trigger others around globe?, and Protestant prophecy: author sees biblical signs, and Fire from the sky?]

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[Feedback: Do folks pick up the prophetic pulse? Here is an e-mail from a month ago from Paulette Kolmar of Crystal Lake, Illinois: "I just want to let you know about something that happened on 1/24/2010 at about 9:30 p.m. I wrote you before regarding very short visions I have as I fall asleep, but am still awake, just at that moment of going from awake to sleep. Every single time I have them, they happen. These events occur sometimes right away, but sometimes weeks later or months later. I just want to ask you to please ask your readers to pray very hard for people who are not prepared to die. I saw what I believe to be a huge earthquake and I believe it will happen in or by China, the magnitude of about 9. I feel as though the Lord has been calling me to pray for people who will be taken suddenly from this earth. Please ask your readers to pray: 'Merciful Jesus, turn back the hand of Your Father's wrath. Have mercy on people where destruction may come. Bring forth souls to God that they may not suffer despair.' I pray this prayer before going to sleep and every time I wake up in the night." And then this from a financial commentator for discernment only:

The markets are still in the process of topping.  Stocks may have topped already (when the Dow reached almost 12,400 on February 18).  Crude oil reached $113 per barrel on February 24, but this won’t last either.  Stocks, bonds, commodities, foreign currencies, real property and collectibles will all crash over the next 3 to 5 years, losing at least 97 percent of their current nominal value.


If by outside chance the Dow decides to make a new nominal high (i.e. 14,300 or more), this will not mean that “Happy Days are Here Again.”  It would merely mean that our world is setting itself up for the largest social crash in 2,000 years instead of “just” 300 years.  This is not likely, but I wanted to cover this probability.


Investors and average people should stay in US Dollar cash (literal cash notes if necessary), near-cash equivalents such as short-term national government obligations (stronger countries and currencies only), perhaps some gold (please remember that this will crash to at least $680 per ounce along with the rest of the market), some silver coins (similar crash case as gold), foodstuffs and whatever else you deem prudent.  The more independent and self-sufficient you are the better for you.


Preferred short-term currencies aside from the US Dollar include the Swiss Franc, the New Zealand Dollar and the Singapore Dollar.


When the crash resumes, we will come to a point when government or the public sector will be unable to provide the most basic services.  Prices will crash, businesses will go bankrupt, tax revenues will shrivel, credit will evaporate, and eventually governments themselves will face bankruptcy on all levels – local, state or provincial and national.  Many people will lose their homes, their savings, their jobs and their pensions.  Once again, I say that the more independent and self-sufficient you are the better for you – grow your own food, self-employment versus working for someone else, etc.


If you have unique talents, transforming those unique talents into a form of self-employment will not be a bad idea.  Government will go broke, as will many large industries.  Much of banking, insurance, construction, education, healthcare and manufacturing are already on public life support (i.e. welfare).


The unrest one now sees in the Middle East will by no means be confined to that area.  When the markets give way and people lose their livelihood, they will in turn become more desperate and violent in all countries.  These are not pleasant things to say, but one needs to plan ahead and be at least one step ahead of the crowd.]

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