About Thundering Heard


Thousands come forward — From Shock to Awe

It’s been over two years since I posted here, last posting about the continuing acceleration of conflict in our world. It’s difficult to make any statement these days without being pegged as taking one side or the other of some divide that has a firm grip on the mind of the listener. It seems that our world is truly divided-and-conquered—or very close to it.

But we can observe evolutionary events, turning points leading to an unstoppable movement toward truth. Here are two:

In May, the US Army flushed some propaganda down their official tweetlet about the wondrous effects of life in the Empire’s Army on one soldier, and then asked for comments on how life in the Army had impacted others.

Instead of the cheerleading they anticipated, thousands replied with experience: broken bodies, minds, and hearts; PTSD; drug and alcohol addiction; depression; rage; suicide. Some of it was captured by Caitlin Johnstone in the post The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching. It’s a difficult read but I recommend it. Expect to shed a few tears

Here are just a few examples of responses:

“Left my talented and young brother a broken and disabled man who barely leaves the house. Left my mother hypervigilant & terrified due to the amount of sexual assault & rape covered up and looked over by COs. Friend joined right out if HS, bullet left him paralyzed neck down.”


“I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years…”


“i met this guy named christian who served in iraq. he was cool, had his own place with a pole in the living room. always had lit parties. my best friend at the time started dating him so we spent a weekend at his crib. after a party, 6am, he took out his laptop. he started showing us some pics of his time in the army. pics with a bunch of dudes. smiling, laughing. it was cool. i was drunk and didn’t care. he started showing us pics of some little kids. after a while, his eyes went completely fucking dark. i was like man, dude’s high af. he very calmly explained to us that all of those kids were dead ‘but that’s what war was. dead kids and nothing to show for it but a military discount’. christian killed himself 2 months later.”


“My parents both served in the US Army and what they got was PTSD for both of them along with anxiety issues. Whenever we go out in public and sit down somewhere my dad has to have his back up against the wall just to feel a measure of comfort that no one is going to sneak up on him and kill him and walking up behind either of them without announcing that you’re there is most likely going to either get you punch in the face or choked out.”

When thousands who were deployed in the service of divide-and-conquer come forward and speak truth, it creates a real conundrum for the senders. When it isn’t just a Manning or a Snowden or an Assange that has the shining courage to reveal truth, when it’s tens of thousands or many more, can we all be imprisoned? I guess they could try, but it seems unlikely. Sure, they killed Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King as soon as he started speaking repeatedly about the war in Viet Nam, John Lennon who asked that they “give peace a chance.” Now they label anyone who earnestly calls for peace a “Russian asset.” Maybe they do realize they can’t jail or kill all of us.

I guess they can delete all the truthful tweets like they ban online accounts for offering unwelcome views. Likely the Empire’s Department of Defense will increase its movie/television budget to take their propaganda game to a higher level:

A year ago we featured a detailed report by authors Tom Secker and Matthew Alford exposing just how vast the Pentagon and CIA programs for partnering with Hollywood actually are, based on some 4,000 new pages of formerly classified archived documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The report noted at the time that “These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles.

Here Are 410 Movies Made Under The Direct Influence And Supervision Of The Pentagon

With thousands of people stepping up, you can see why the Empire so badly wants to throttle Assange. Perhaps they can frighten the rest of us into silence?

But back to our overwhelmed soldiers: The tragedy for many is that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), which is supposed to help US soldiers hurt by war, tells them to straighten up and fly right—as a way of denying them coverage or any help with their difficulties. The tragedy for many others is that the VA does agree to help them:

Above is a screen shot from the magnificent documentary From Shock to Awe. That’s a real photo of the medicine cabinet of a veteran treated by the VA for PTSD: they gave him ninety different mind-altering pharmaceuticals over four years. This fellow is very strong: he survived years of war duty in Afghanistan; and then survived four years as a testing ground for Big Pharma’s mind crushers. But just barely. He was nearly dead when he made contact with the makers of From Shock to Awe.

This is the second outstanding film on this problem from director Luc Côté. His first, Operation Homecoming – Crash Landing, now available on youtube, was an account of the damage done to Canadian soldiers who survived the horrors experienced on peacekeeper missions in war zones around the world.

For From Shock to Awe, Luc teamed up with content producer Janine Sagert to show that there are ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with great success, allowing people to move beyond trauma to liberating connection with the vastness of their mind. However … these methods are illegal in the US. If they were legal, a great deal of pain and many suicides could be avoided; but the owners of the pharmaceutical companies might make just a little less money from supplying traumatized people with drugs that attempt to deaden their spirit.

Few of us are aware of the pervasiveness of the difficulties experienced by war veterans. Here is an article published this month in the Chicago Tribune36,000 veterans were asked if they’d recently considered suicide. A third of them said yes.

For those unaware, the Tribune is no “radical anti-war rag.” It’s been the voice of conservative politics in Chicago for decades. But more are realizing: This problem is an epic tragedy as the inhumanity of war extends far beyond its battlefields in both space and time.

Please see the movie From Shock to Awe, available now for streaming on Vimeo, Amazon, iTunes, and on DVD. It shows that, like all of the problems we face on this planet, there are amazing solutions, but the owners of our society prevent these solutions because they might bring people liberation, and might slow the hyper-flow of money from the rest of us to them. And such solutions might show people the falseness of so many of the divides at the base of the furious conflicts plaguing our world, helping people realize: We’re all in this together, folks.

(I have no financial interest in From Shock to Awe.)


Acceleration of Conflict, Part 2

When I posted Acceleration of Conflict, Part 1 in July of 2016, the result was not what I hoped. In an attempt to show the breadth of conflict acceleration, I over-emphasized its global versus its personal dimension. From speaking with readers about the post later, the effect had been for them to see this rise in conflict as taking place “on distant shores,” that is, it had little to do with their life. But by the time of the US presidential election, mentioning the rise of conflict had people immediately realizing its personal impact. Most had been involved in heated and often irrational political discussions with friends, neighbors, and loved ones. It was that type of full-spectrum pervasiveness of conflict energy that I had hoped to convey.  It is described well in this transcript of a talk given on June 12, 2016, that is, well before the US presidential election:

There will be continued mass confusion. The American elections will witness this confusion. And there will be battles that are really unprecedented between the parties and between those elements that are involved in the political system. And this goes for every single country in the world…

Now, what type of conflict is this going to be? I can tell you it’s conflict on every level. Mamas will be fighting with their sons, siblings will be fighting among themselves. It will just be scrapping on every level of society, all the way up to outright military confrontation. And this is something I must ask you to grin and bear for the next few years. And life will not be easy because, in addition to the collapse of the financial and economic system, we will have every type of conflict going on. We will be struggling with our own conflicts … The rest of the world will just melt under these conflicts, or they’ll just go crazy.

So what is a person supposed to do about this? That too was well covered in the same transcript:

  • Be one of those who rises above this scrapping conflict by staying in contact, staying aligned, with one’s soul, one’s higher self or essence, whatever you prefer to call it. People who can stand above the fray will be beacons of light in difficult, possibly dangerous, times.
  • Realize that this generalized energy of conflict is required to shake apart those forms in our world that keep humanity enslaved; that once the conflict has served its purpose, we will emerge into a far more peaceful, free, and beautiful world.

Does that mean injustice should go unopposed? Not at all. What I am talking about is avoiding the “identity theft” of getting so swept up in the energy of conflict that one forgets one’s true identity.

Everyone has heard of the opioid epidemic sweeping the US. Recent reports have shown that more people are dying each year in the US from opioid drug overdoses than US soldiers were killed during the entire War in Vietnam. And alcohol abuse is skyrocketing:

     Study Warns Of Binge-Drinking “Crisis” As Alcoholism Rates Spike 49%

Clearly, many people are trying to deaden themselves to the impact of accelerating energies, with some succeeding all too well. This is unfortunate since these energies can be used like an inner “alarm clock” reminding one to use their attention to get back into contact with who they really are.



Acceleration of Conflict, Part 1

Sometimes, the principles of life seem veiled in obscurity. At other times, the demonstrations are clear. Let’s see what principles are shown by these events of just the last six or seven weeks:

July 27, 2016, Syria:

IS Suicide Attack in Mostly Kurdish Syria Town Kills 44

July 26, France:

2 Islamic State Hostage Takers Killed After Slitting Priest’s Throat In Assault On French Church

July 25, Japan and USA:

At Least 19 Killed, 45 Injured By Knife-Wielding Man In Japan

2 Killed, Up To 17 Injured In Fort Myers, Florida Nightclub Shooting

July 24, Germany (twice) and Iraq:

Attacker Dead, 10 Injured After Blast “From Explosive Device” At Major German Music Festival

21 killed in Baghdad suicide blast, weeks after deadliest in years

Machete-Wielding Syrian Refugee Kills Pregnant Woman; Injures Two In Southern German City

July 23, Afghanistan:

At Least 80 Killed After Suicide Bombing Attack In Kabul Claimed By ISIS

As a side-note, if you think Afghanistan has always been a hell-hole of conflict, here is a what it looked like around 1970: before the “great” powers decided it was an important country in their quest for domination:


July 22, Germany:

18-Year-Old German-Iranian Is Behind Munich “Shooting Rampage” Which Killed 10 Including Gunman

July 20, Ukraine:

Prominent Journalist Killed In Ukraine When Car Bomb Explodes In Broad Daylight

July 18, Germany and USA:

Axe-Wielding Afgan Refugee Shot Dead After Slashing 14 People On German Train Screaming “Allahu Akbar”

Man Dies After Being Shot In The Head At “Stop The Violence” Rally In Ohio

July 17, USA:

29-Year-Old Black Male Dead After Killing 3 Cops, Wounding 3 More In Baton Rouge “Cowardly” Ambush

July 15, France:

84 Dead, More Than 100 Injured After Truck Plows Into Crowd In Nice, France

July 14, USA:

Police Release Dramatic Footage Of Deadly Shooting Of Unarmed White Man

July 10, USA:

115 Shot This Week In Chicago As ‘Gun-Free-Zone’-City Continues Death Spiral

July 9, USA:

Two Houston Police Officers Kill Gunman Who Aimed At Cops

July 8, USA (twice):

Deadly Dallas Standoff Ends After Final Suspect Dies From Explosion; Five Policemen Killed

4 Shot, 1 Killed After Black Gunman Fires At Passing Cars On Tennessee Highway, Targeting Police, Whites

July 3, Iraq:

“It Was Like An Earthquake” – Over 91 Killed After Two ISIS Suicide Bombings Rip Through Baghdad

June 28, Turkey:

At Least 28 Killed After Suicide Attackers Set Off Blasts At Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport 

June 23, Germany:

Heavily-Armed Gunman Killed After Opening Fire In German Cinema

June 16, England:

Brexit Campaigns Suspended After British Lawmaker Shot Dead By Mentally Ill Assailant

June 14, France:

ISIS-Linked Islamist Kills Two French Policemen In Latest “Abject Act Of Terrorism”

June 13, USA:

Orlando shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance

Yikes. These were just the “newsworthy” items that found me on the sites I typically read, I did not go out looking for them. It’s very likely that some searching would turn up more of the same, especially in the Middle East, which often receives scant treatment in the Western press. As an indication of that, according to the Washington Post:

Since the beginning of 2015, the Middle East, Africa and Asia have seen nearly 50 times more deaths from terrorism than Europe and the Americas.

The Middle East and northern Africa account for over two-thirds of terrorism deaths since January 2015, with multiple attacks occurring daily, each claiming on average at least a dozen lives.

So what principles are being demonstrated through these events? First, we are seeing:

Acceleration of insanity, which has been mentioned and documented, especially including excruciating detail of insanity in the financial world.* It is difficult to not see rampant examples of insanity on this planet at this time so that documenting them seems almost needless to say.

Next, we are seeing:

Acceleration of conflict. Conflict is on the rise in so many (all?) fields of human endeavor. We may even find ourselves in scrappy conflicts these days, even with loved ones, often with trivial causes. (We’ll talk about what to do about that in Part 2.) In public, we see political parties, and factions within political parties, at each other throats, with the factions screaming each other down at political conventions; governments seemingly at war with their own people; inter-racial hatred; religious wars;  police versus citizens; hackers waging cyber-warfare with governments, corporations, anyone; environmentalists versus resource extractors and polluters; organic growers versus Industrial Food; Big Pharma versus the alternative health care field; Monsanto versus democracy; global warming versus global cooling factions…well, it goes on and on. Read the seething Comments sections on popular internet sites…on second thought, don’t!

Acceleration of the Wheeler Cycle of War and Political Change, described here and updated here.

And because this is another principle in play:

The transition through which we and the planet are going is taking place across the energetic spectrum.

that war energy from the Cycle of War does not impact only the military and political spheres, it impacts nearly everything, as we are seeing.

Worse still, as explained in a previous post on the Cycle of War, this instance of that cycle began around October, 2014. However:

The worst part of this is: major wars begin around the cycle date, but the fighting generally builds to its greatest intensity four to six years after the start date.

So perhaps general conflict will finally peak and then start to wind down sometime between late 2018 and late 2020. Until then, the likely scenario is accelerating intensity of conflict. If things play out that way, then two other principles are being demonstrated:

  • Life moves in cycles, not straight lines.
  • Based on past repetitions, the starting points and duration of some cycles can be usefully estimated.


The Military Conflicts

What about the military aspect of this conflict energy?

Global Peace Index 2016: There are now only 10 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict

So only 10 countries can be found that are not currently somehow involved in military conflict.

Here’s an article (hat/tip to JS for the link) that appeared right at the start of this instance of the War cycle, in October, 2014:

     Pentagon readying for long war in Iraq, Syria

So much for “no boots on the ground.” You may have heard that military spending is decreasing. Of course, it isn’t true. The war profiteers show no sign of letting up:

Thanks America: Spending On Military Weapons Saw Its Largest Yearly Increase In A Decade

The world defense market climbed to $65 billion in 2015, up by $6.6 billion from 2014 the consulting company IHS Inc said in its Global Defence Trade Report. That’s the largest yearly increase in the past decade, led by Saudi purchases which jumped about 50% to $9.3 billion in 2015 according to Bloomberg.

the United States was the top weapons exporter in 2015, supplying almost $23 billion in goods and equipment, of which $8.8 billion went to the Middle East.

Yes, that’s the same Saudi Arabia that beheads more people than Daesh (IS), but it’s a US “ally” (or does that mean good weapons customer?), so few in the press will discuss it.

What are they spending all that money on?

US Has Spent $11.5 Million A Day For Past 542 Days Straight In Fight Against ISIS

After two years of bombing, the U.S. recently marked a horrendous milestone in a war with no clear end in sight. Vocativ reported that the American-led coalition in the Middle East has now dropped 50,000 bombs in the ongoing campaign against ISIS that began in August 2014.

Russia Is Developing Gliders That “Guarantee Penetration” Of Any Missile Defense System

The US is very interested in so-called directed-energy weapons:

Navy Laser Weapon System–this 1+ minute video shows the US Navy’s existing 30 kilowatt laser weapon:

But of course they are moving on to stronger versions:

Navy to Test Powerful 150-Kilowatt Laser

The U.S. Navy, which has already developed a 30-kilowatt laser that has been used operationally, will soon test a new directed energy weapon that is five times more powerful, said the vice chief of naval operations July 23.

The Office of Naval Research “will perform a shipboard test of a 150-killowatt laser weapon system in the near future,” said Adm. Bill Moran during a speech at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Directed Energy Summit, which was held in Washington, D.C.

The Navy’s 30-kilowatt laser weapon is currently onboard the USS Ponce. The system, which has been used operationally in the Persian Gulf, offers military leaders precision accuracy at a low cost, Moran said.

The laser weapon system, or LaWs, “has an extremely low-cost per engagement ratio,” he said. “We’re spending pennies on the dollars … every time we use that capability.”

While the U.S. military is developing laser weapons that can be installed on platforms across the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, military leaders must be cognizant that potential adversaries are as well, Moran said.

“These technologies are being developed and fielded by a growing number of countries all around the world, it’s not just us,” he said. “If we don’t get ahead of that capability by our adversaries, we’re going to find ourselves in a very difficult position in the future.”

As the Navy considers its future fleet design, laser weapons must be a part of the equation, Moran said.

“If we have to continue to rely on projectiles, propellant-driven projectiles, we will run out of our ability to defend ourselves over time,” he said. “This capability in directed energy is incredibly important.”

Note the military-industrial-complex’s ever present excuse for developing deadlier weapons: if we don’t do it, somebody else will.

And of course, drones. Here’s a 6 minute video that shows how weapons are now marketed. The only thing missing is a Hollywood star or two. This one advertises the latest drone in General Atomics product line:

That video was found at Activist Post:

Global Drone Arms Race Spreading Quickly

The US wants unmanned robot fighting ships cruising the ocean for months at a time without anyone on board. The guy who runs this program calls the Earth “the battlespace”:

DARPA Unveils Plans For World’s First Flotilla Of Killer Robot Warships – “Sea Hunter”

Remember that support for all this comes from the major political parties in each country. That’s where money gets spent to assure that candidates are placed in office who will support these programs.

The US sends so much military hardware to the Middle East that there are battles where both sides have had their armaments supplied by the US. Sometimes US troops are being killed by US-made weapons. This is from one of the most conservative newspapers in the US, the Chicago Tribune, not some anti-war site:

CIA-armed militias are shooting at Pentagon-armed ones in Syria

Daesh is regularly found using US-manufactured weapons:

ISIS Is Converting 2/3 Of US Humvees Given To Iraq Into Car Bombs

Islamic State militants have not only stolen a majority of the military Humvees provided to the Iraq Security Forces (ISF) by the U.S., they are now re-purposing them into car bombs.

No one is sure where some of the arms shipments go. This is from the NY Times:

C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say

Weapons shipped into Jordan by the Central Intelligence Agency … intended for Syrian rebels have been systematically stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, according to American and Jordanian officials.

Despite all the spending, according to NPR, the US nuclear arsenal is controlled by systems with floppy disks (hat/tip to RG for the link):

Report: U.S. Nuclear System Relies On Outdated Technology Such As Floppy Disks

The U.S. nuclear weapons system still runs on a 1970s-era computing system that uses 8-inch floppy disks, according to a newly released report from the Government Accountability Office.

That’s right. It relies on memory storage that hasn’t been commonly used since the 1980s and a computing system that looks like this:

nukes-computer_custom-3a63e1e3a491a02d1115c44175aff93752086b78-s800-c85 (1)

Well that’s comforting.


Major Jockeying for Advantage

Also not at all comforting is the maneuvering and saber-rattling of the major military powers:

Tensions Between US/NATO & Russia Are Flaring Dangerously

“The US Is Sleepwalking Towards A Nuclear Confrontation”

US Sends Another 1,000 Troops To Poland As Part Of NATO Effort To Counter Russia

How The Pentagon Is Preparing For A Tank War With Russia

Putin Orders Military To “Immediately Destroy” Any Threat To Russian Forces

Obama Slams Door In Putin’s Face, Refuses To Discuss “Very Dangerous” Missile Defense System

Hacked Emails Confirm NATO Push To Provoke, Escalate Conflict With Russia

U.S. Deploys Two Aircraft Carriers To Mediterranean To “Send A Clear Message To Russia”

US, Russian Warplanes “Clash” Over Syria

US Spy Plane Disrupts Civilian Flights While Spying On Russia

NATO Says It Might Now Have Grounds To Attack Russia

Perhaps this should be prefaced with, “of course,” that is, of course there is conflict within the conflict makers:

Huge Scandal Erupts Inside NATO: Alliance Member Germany Slams NATO “Warmongering” Against Russia

NATO General Admits Russia Is Not A Threat To The Region

Over the course of the past few months, the United States has pushed NATO to build up troops on Russia’s border, held war games in its backyard, and deployed aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean. The rationale for such actions has always been very vaguely communicated, but as NATO European Command General  Philip Breedlove saidit has all been to send a signal of deterrence to Russia. However, the reality is that, according to General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, there is no intelligence that suggests Russia is planning any broad-scale aggression whatsoever.

The UK certainly doesn’t want to be left out of all the “fun”:

UK To Stockpile Tanks, Heavy Equipment Close To Russia’s Border

France, as well:

France Escalates – Sends Aircraft Carrier To Fight ISIS

The US and China are doing some serious sparring as well:

China Says Military Will “Stand Up And Use Force” If US Sends Warships To Islands

U.S. Warships Surround Disputed Chinese Waters, Prepared For War: “WWIII At Stake”

Chinese Military Vice Chairman Urges Troops to Get Ready For Combat: Xinhua

China Warns US Patrols In South China Sea Could End In “Disaster” As It Launches Navy Drills

South China Sea Tensions Surge After Taiwan Deploys Frigate, China Warns Of “Air Defense Zone”

Can it be even worse? Sure, with ominous echoes of conflicts past:

German Arms Exports Nearly Double In 2015

After a Televised Brawl, Japanese Lawmakers Vote to Allow Military to Fight Overseas

Once in awhile, someone stands up against all this:

1,400 US Mayors Just Slammed The White House For Risking Nuclear War With Russia

In a unanimous decision at their 84th annual conference, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) passed a resolution condemning President Barack Obama’s decision to set the U.S. on track to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to “maintain and modernize its nuclear bombs and warheads, production facilities, delivery systems, and command and control.”

Stay tuned for Part 2.


*Speaking of insanity in the financial world, between the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the central banks of the world are now printing up $180 Billion per month. There are only two national governments in the world that spend that much per month, the US and China. And what are they doing with all that new money printed from nothing? Buying bonds and stocks! A billion people on the planet don’t have clean water (half the hospital beds in the world are occupied by someone with a water-borne illness) or enough food each day, not to mention reasonable health care, and these bozos are printing up money to prop up asset markets, making the rich richer, to get everyone to think that everything is OK. The BOJ is one of the Top 10 shareholders of 90% of Japanese companies and the ECB is buying bonds with negative interest rates. That’s the best thing they can think of to do with $180 Billion per month. And these are allegedly intelligent people? Sane people?


Earth changes update for 2015 and into 2016

During the first twenty days of April, there were eighteen earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater, and a deadly flood almost every day.


Some people think that earthquakes measuring 6.0 are no big deal, but residents of Taiwan might disagree. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake in February killed 27, injured 500, and collapsed this 17-story apartment building:


Southern Japan had over 600 earthquakes, a volcanic eruption, and several landslides in just five days:


     6.4 quake strikes southwest Japan (photos, videos)

     Second large earthquake hits Japan measuring 5.9 in magnitude as rescuers battle to free people trapped in rubble

     Japan earthquake update:Tens of thousands flee in fear of aftershocks and volcanoes


     New powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes near Japan’s Kumamoto, tsunami warnings issued


I don’t know that anyone has yet figured this one out:

     Japanese city of Fukuoka, covered in mysterious foam after earthquake (VIDEOS)

     Update: 32 killed, 70,000 evacuated as Japan hit by 2 powerful earthquakes & devastating landslides (photos & videos)

Ecuador had the largest earthquake during this period:

     7.8 Magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador

     Ecuador quake deaths pass 500 with hundreds still missing


     Magnitude-6.1 aftershock hits Ecuador following deadly earthquake

The Pacific island Vanuatu has been hit five times by magnitude 6.0 or greater quakes in the last several days:

     7.2 magnitude quake strikes off Vanuatu islands

     Magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes northwest of Vanuatu

     Magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes Vanuatu; THIRD large quake in region this week

     6.0 earthquake strikes off Vanuatu coast; 4th quake in a week

     Magnitude 6.5 earthquake strikes off Vanuatu Islands; FIFTH + 6.0 quake in recent days

And deadly quakes have struck around the globe:

     Myanmar earthquake: Two killed, 70 injured in Assam

     Magnitude 6.6 earthquake strikes Afghanistan: Strong tremors felt in India and Pakistan capitals

     Magnitude 6 earthquake shakes Zamboanga, Philippines

     Strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake shakes Alaska, no tsunami warning

     6.2 magnitude earthquake strikes off coast of Guatemala

     Barbados rocked by magnitude 6.9 earthquake


In the 20th Century, there were 35 volcanic eruptions on average over the entire year; this year, there are 38 volcanoes in an active state of eruption right now! This is non-trivial. Mitch Battros posted this today:

     BREAKING NEWS: Volcanoes Responsible for Climate Change Through Much of Earth’s History

A new study in the April 22 edition of the journal ‘Science’, reveals that volcanic activity associated with the plate-tectonic movement of continents may be responsible for climatic shifts from hot to cold throughout much of Earth’s history. The study, led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, addresses why Earth has fluctuated from periods when the planet was covered in ice to times when polar regions were ice-free…

…cooling periods tended to correlate with the assembly of Earth’s supercontinents, which was a time of diminished continental volcanism, Horton said. The warming periods correlated with continental breakup, a time of enhanced continental volcanism.

So enhanced volcanism leads not only to the melting of the icecaps and thus strongly rising sea levels–sea levels would rise over 200 feet if the icecaps melted–it is also “correlated with continental breakup. In such a situation, one would expect a big increase in earthquakes, which is occurring, as demonstrated above.

     Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano erupts sending ash almost two miles into the sky

     Are we paying attention? 3 volcanoes erupt simultaneously on April 16, 2016: Villarrica (Chile), Mt. Cleveland (USA), Colima (Mexico)

     Yellowstone Volcano: “Whole lot a shakin’ goin’ on”


This April period has had a deadly flood somewhere in the world nearly every day. This record storm is expected to dissipate in the next couple of days:

     Cyclone Fantala: Indian Ocean’s most powerful storm on record


     28 people killed by floods in Ethiopia

     24 killed as torrential rains wreak havoc in northern Pakistan

     Update: Rains, landslides and floods kill over 200 in northern Pakistan


     Floods in Malawi leave at least 12 dead and force thousands to evacuate

     Malawi declares ‘State of Emergency’ as flooding kills dozens

     23 killed by flooding in Afghanistan


     Flooding hits Nairobi, Kenya after 96mm of rain in 6 hours

     Flooding displaces thousands after 4 days of heavy rainfall in Argentina and Uruguay

     Severe weather leaves 7 dead and over 3,000 displaced in Uruguay

     Tornado kills 4, injures hundreds in southwestern Uruguay

This was the first deadly tornado in Uruguay in 30 years…

More than 200 people suffered injuries and about 400 structures have been affected, said Uruguayan Sen. Guillermo Besozzi. Images from the city showed overturned cars piled on top of one other, shattered windows and decimated buildings…The National Institute of Meteorology has yet to determine the scale of the tornado. “There are businesses in the center of the city, completely destroyed. Schools, churches destroyed. This is something never seen before. This is something out of the normal for our country,” Besozzi said.


     Heavy rains and flooding kill 18 people, with 900 rescued from cars in Saudi Arabia

     Cars swept away as Arabian peninsula is slammed with deluges of rain and hail

     Devastating mudflow sweeps cars away and destroys shops in Jizan, Saudi Arabia

     Several killed as heavy floods hit Iran

     Flash floods kill 2 during rain storm in Oman

     Four killed as torrential rain, hailstorms lash southern China; hailstones the size of eggs hit Hunan

     Floods hit Santiago, Chile; water service to millions cut


     Houston flooding: 7 dead, 1,200 rescued — and more rain to come

     3,500 evacuated following widespread flooding in Fiji

     Record breaking rain causes flash floods in Las Vegas, over a hundred road crashes


Sinkholes are becoming so commonplace that they have been draining small lakes and ponds, and now they have drained three rivers in Mexico. The photo below shows the before-and-after of the Atoyac River:

     New sinkholes drain 2 more rivers in Mexico

     Segments of Atoyac River in Mexico disappear overnight after giant crack opens



I found nine headlines about deadly lightning strikes in April such as:

     Update: 30 killed by lightning strikes within 10 days in Bangladesh


If you find yourself in a hailstorm, take cover! These things are getting increasingly nasty:

     Hailstones the size of BASEBALLS pound Texas, smashing windows, cars and buildings



     Baseball-size hail slams Texas for second consecutive day


     4 inch hailstones damage 1,000 houses in Vietnam

     Freak hailstorm drops several inches of ice on Darjeeling, India

     Freak hailstorm strikes Saudi Arabia

Thundering Heard

Does this give you an idea of why this site is called Thundering Heard? Each heading in this post could have been shown as “Thundering Heard: Earthquakes” or “Thundering Heard: Volcanoes,” but that would have been annoying. Still, the idea is always there. There is thundering heard on the horizon across much of the energetic spectrum. Beyond earth changes, think about national politics, geopolitics, the state of the oceans, the financial system, health care, the legal system, the oil business, education, and so forth. All systems seem to be experiencing convulsions; many are being shaken to their core. We are now all accustomed to hearing words like deflation, decline, destruction, failure, and collapse in a variety of contexts.

This site tries to remind of some of these thunderings as food for thought.

As Lao Tsu said:

Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.

Part 2 will cover major developments and earth change statistics for 2015.


New Heights of Wacky

If you would like indications–some from the true but lighter side–of just how wacky things have become, read on.

We’ve all heard that 2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History, Scientists Say, but it’s been so warm in the UK this “winter” that:

“It’s bloomin’ incredible” say botanists: More than 600 species of British flowers were in bloom on New Year’s Day – usually it’s 20-30

Our last post described–with world trade volume collapsing–how inexpensive it has become to ship things around the globe, leading to this:

It Is Now Cheaper To Rent A Dry Bulk Tanker Than A Ferrari


From Bloomberg:

Rates for Capesize-class ships [pictured above] plummeted 92 percent since August to $1,563 a day amid slowing growth in China. That’s less than a third of the daily rate of 3,950 pounds ($5,597) to rent a Ferrari F40, the price of which has also fallen slightly in the past few years, according to Nick Hardwick, founder of supercarexperiences.com.

In China, these three photos from Red Ponzi Ticking show:

A full-size Chinese replica of the Pentagon. To house the Chinese military brass? Nope, it’s a shopping mall, which currently has no tenants and no customers:


Here’s a Chinese full-scale copy of the buildings of Lower Manhattan. Construction cost? $50 Billion:


But here’s what it looks like at street level, since it also has no tenants:


But these types of expenditures make it seem like the economy is humming along, that is, it’s great for the economic statistics, even if the activity makes little or no sense.

So what is a developer with no tenants to do? Apparently, take action: “This 27-storey high-rise building which was completed on November 15th 2015 was just demolished, ‘having been left unused for too long.’ ”



And from Could China’s Housing Bubble Bring Down the Global Economy?:

Many people claim the estimated 65 million empty flats held as investments by the middle and upper classes in China will be sold to new buyers in due time. But these complacent analysts overlook the grim reality that the vast majority of urban workers make around $6,000 to $10,000 annually, and a $200,000 flat is permanently out of reach.

Average flats in Beijing now cost 22X annual household income — roughly six times the income-price ratio that is sustainable (3 or 4 X income = affordable cost of a house).

Perhaps we should send that Chinese demolition crew to Vancouver. If you think you’ve seen a real estate bubble where you live, check out this one:



I hope that plastic chair is included in the price. OK, so the Canadian Dollar has lost 26% of its “value” over the last two years. But still, $2.4 million? Checking the listing, one finds:

Excellent locations within walking distance to Lord Byng Secondary, Jules Quesnel, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, West Point Grey Academy & 10th Avenue shops.

Whew, now it makes sense! And here I thought it was overvalued. Being near those 10th Avenue shops must be worth at least a million.

This month, the US bought the most military aircraft and parts since just after 9/11/2001:

USdefense aircraft and parts


I guess when the economy is tanking, what’s a government to do but buy more death machines. And they do have to put something in all those military bases out there:


In keeping with the great economic recovery meme, this is what’s happening to the formerly ever-expanding global octopus Wal-Mart:

WalMart To Fire 16,000 As It Closes 269 Stores Globally

Speaking of “always low prices”:

 This $250,000 Caterpillar Bulldozer Can Be Yours For The Low, Low Price Of $55

These normally sell new for $1 million, used for $250,000, but here’s one where the high auction bid is $50 at a site in Lousiana, USA:


And it has companions, with a high bid of $100 for this:


and this one has a high bid of $10:


I guess the oil and real estate businesses are not exactly booming in Louisiana. Though it isn’t just Louisiana. Here is a chart of worldwide sales by bulldozer-maker Caterpillar for the last six years. It shows that their sales have been declining for 36 months in a row. All of those bars, starting in 2013, that extend below the zero line (shown in the red oval) show the percentage decline in sales. And this is during the alleged “economic recovery.” I wonder what this chart will look like next time the authorities admit to the anti-recovery:

CAT retail sales nov

Here are two charts from a Jeremy Grantham article “Give Me Only Good News” in which he documents how easily manipulated and delusional Americans can be. You know how business people who call themselves “job creators” often claim that America is so much better for business than France since France is run by a bunch of socialists who are bad for business? And that “bad for business” means bad for people since only ever-expanding and profitable businesses can create jobs and grow wages for people in the long run? And people believe all that? Well here’s a chart showing what they actually mean. It shows that real (adjusted for inflation) wages in France are up 2.7-fold since 1970, whereas US real wages are actually lower than they were in 1970. Wage growth in the US badly lags that in other countries:


So, it’s good for business owners in America, not so good for the workers. Want more proof? Here’s a chart of the gini coefficient for industrialized countries. The gini coefficient measures wealth disparity, that is, it is taken as the best measure available for income inequality. Here is Grantham’s “At Least We Live in a Fair Society” delusion chart showing that only Turkey and Mexico have greater income inequality than the US, and that the US is much worse now than it was in 1980:


Speaking of easily manipulated, you know how Wall St always tells people to not worry about stock market declines, that “stocks always make money in the long run”? And most people believe it. Well here’s a chart of the stock market of Cyprus for the last nine years:



That’s a 99.986% loss, folks. One has to wonder how long the “long run” will be in Cyprus. Of course, the EU and the IMF famously “fixed” Cyprus with the first of the bank bail-ins, in which depositor money was confiscated to keep a large bank from insolvency. Good thing for non-Cypriot stock markets that there won’t be any more bank bail-ins. Oh wait: this is from EU takes six countries to court over bank bailout scheme

The EU on Thursday said it would take six member states to court for failing to implement a European-wide plan…

for bank bail-ins. (All industrialized economies now have bank bail-in rules on the books.) In other words, the authorities are trying to get ready for the inevitable next time things really hit the fan.

Sounds like a good idea. Getting ready, that is. (Side note: Getting ready takes a good deal of thought. And work. And time.)

Currently, the world is experiencing the turbulence phase in this video. Sooner or later, the bridge will collapse:






Desperate, Delusional, Deranged

Most people likely heard that on December 15, the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nine years. Nine years! And by a measly 1/4 of a percent. With high Madison Avenue puffery, they called this “liftoff”!  And why now? Because, they claim, finally, after telling us at the end of every year, for the last six years, that the economy would accelerate in the new year and be able to grow on its own without their “extraordinary measures” (their phrase, not mine) of support, they are declaring, like Bullwinkle, “This time for sure!

Stock markets are, of course, throwing a tantrum, off to their worst start to a new year ever, screaming, “What?! No more free money for the rich?!  You mean we’ll actually have to do something to get money, like–uuuugh–poor people do?”


(Chart source.)

Worst start ever for other countries as well, including Europe as a whole.  The 600 largest European stocks (EuroStoxx 600) are down 21% from their peak in April, officially qualifying them for a bear market. Same with China, their stocks lost 21% in the last four weeks (since the Fed raised rates) and are down 44% since their peak in June:

     China Stocks Enter Bear Market, Erasing Gains From State Rescue

Stocks in emerging market countries (Brazil, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, etc.) peaked in Autumn 2014 (!) and are down 36% since then. This was posted in August:

     23 Nations Around The World Where Stock Market Crashes Are Already Happening

Still, many people, especially in the US, believe we are in a global bull market in stocks; despite the fact that US smaller company stocks (Russell 2000 index) are down 22% since their peak in June, 2015. And US Transportation stocks (truckers, airlines, shippers, etc.), which are an excellent barometer of economic activity, are down 28% since their peak.

Even in the midst of this stock market tantrum, a desperate US President said last week that everything is awesome and that “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” Forget about those 45 million US residents on food stamps, and a record number of homeless children, everything is supposedly great. And there was this desperation from the Fed on Friday:

January 15 – Bloomberg (Matthew Boesler): “The U.S. economy should continue to grow faster than its potential this year, supporting further interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve,” New York Fed President William C. Dudley said. ‘In terms of the economic outlook, the situation does not appear to have changed much since the Fed’s Dec. 15-16 meeting,’ Dudley said, in remarks prepared for a speech Friday… He added that he continues ‘to expect that the economy will expand at a pace slightly above its long-term trend in 2016…’

(Digression: Only someone involved in pseudo-scientific economics is typically deranged enough to try to explain how something can “grow faster than its potential.” Perhaps we should each send our favorite economist a dictionary.)

Why do I call these statements desperation?

For starters, the Federal Reserve’s best computer model for the economy says that the economy is growing at a 0.6% annual rate. That’s less than 1% a year, folks. In other words, stall speed.

JP Morgan says it’s less than that. They expect 0.1%:

     Recession At The Gate: JPM Cuts Q4 GDP From 1.0% To 0.1%

I’ve talked here before about the usefulness of economic statistics that governments don’t publish since the governments can’t fake them. I won’t bore you with a lot of them, but here’s one that will give you an excellent idea of the state of things. It shows, over the last 30 years, the cost to companies to transport bulks goods (wheat, copper, coal, oil, iron ore, etc.) by cargo ship around the planet:


(Chart source.)

The first thing to notice is that it costs less to ship cargo now than it has at any time in the last 30 years. And it’s cheaper by a wide margin. If the economy were doing well, cargo ships would be in high demand and charging high prices. That’s hardly the case now; quite the opposite.

Next, check that blue oval at the top of the chart. The index was over 10,000 in early 2008. That was a period of high demand for shipping. It’s useful to know that owners of large ocean-going cargo vessels currently break even when the price they can charge for shipping is between 800 and 1,000 on this index. So with shipping costs as high as they were in 2008, the owners of ships were making a LOT of money–they could charge more than 10 times their expenses for fuel, salaries, maintenance, etc. Now the price is below 400. So the ship owners lose money on every shipment. Competing owners of cargo ships continue to ship at these low prices, even though they are losing money, because they hope their competitors will go bankrupt before they do.

Why is it so cheap to ship goods around the world now? Because global trade and the global economy are tanking, and far fewer goods are being shipped than a few years back. Here’s a chart by HSBC of growth of the global economy calculated in US Dollars. Notice that the line is well below zero for 2015, just like it was in 2009:


Credit Suisse expects Brazil’s economy to have its worst downturn since 1901! That’s right, worse than the Great Depression. As shown by the chart at the link, India’s exports and imports both crashed by 25% over the last year. That’s a huge decline.

So the Fed and other cheerleaders might say: Yes, the world economy is down, but the US has “decoupled” from the world and is doing fine on its own. Well, here’s a perfect depiction of the US economy. It’s a chart of US Industrial Production over the last 45 years:


(Chart: Welcome To The Recession: Industrial Production Crashes Most In 8 Years)

Industrial Production in the US is down over the last year; there’s 1.8% less of it than a year ago. The red-shaded areas on the chart are past recessions. As the dashed line shows, whenever Industrial Production has been this low in the past, we have always already been in a recession. Always. No exceptions.

Governments (and 99 out of 100 economists) announce recessions with a huge lag time. Leading up to the announcement, just when it would help people to be battening down the hatches, they always claim everything is fine and there won’t be a recession, so we should all hold onto our stocks, hold onto our real estate, spend, borrow, and spend some more. Then the long delay in admitting to the recession allows them to say, “Yes, a recession started 10 months ago, but now it’s either over or almost over, so don’t worry, everything is fine. Spend, borrow, and spend some more.”

The Fed’s Dudley also said this week that, if the economy weakened, they would consider negative interest rates for the US. Canadian central bankers say the same. And it has worked so well in Europe! (Ha!) Europe’s delusional central bankers thought that negative interest rates would spur people and companies to save less and spend more. What actually happened?  Bank of America explained here that as rates went negative and people couldn’t earn interest on their savings, they saved more, not less. In other words, people, unlike the delusional bankers, are being logical: if they can’t earn any interest, then they have to save more for their future plans, not less. Here are the charts showing exactly this relationship (as rates go down, savings go up) for the negative rate champions Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden:

europe savings vs rates (1)

European business also failed to fall for the negative rates trick. Instead of borrowing and spending more, they have been pulling in their horns and retiring some of their outstanding debt instead of borrowing more.

As Michael Burry of The Big Short said in his speech at UCLA:

The individual can think different and the individual can act different than those that got us all into this mess. No matter how the economic tides may sweep away the majority, an individual can stand clear.

More than ever, it is crucial to understand that “society’s sanctioned suits,” as Burry labels them so well, do not have your best interests in mind. They have their own interests in mind. Period. And their desperation, delusions, and derangements have created an inevitable economic calamity that will be the greatest in history.

Burry is right: Stand clear!


The Big Short

People told me they liked the recently-released movie The Big Short based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, so I did go to see it at a theater, something I’m loathe to do these days because the theaters seem determined to crush all human sensitivity out of their patrons during the overlong and overloud Coming Retractions segment that precedes the main show. Seems to me that earplugs are a better theater accessory these days than 3D glasses.

Anyway, the movie has been well-received by both critics and audiences. It is a well-crafted dramatization of the true story of a few traders who foresaw the collapse of the housing bubble and figured out how to make large profits from that event.  It shows aspects of the lead-up and crash that are not well-known by the public. And it shows the vitriol and threats directed at anyone who sees important events sooner than the general public, especially when what they see means that people are going to lose some or all of their elusive spondulix.

The main character is Michael Burry, who not only foresaw the coming real estate bubble collapse, but had a very good idea of just how devastating it would be for the economy. It’s exceedingly rare for the hero of a movie to be someone as intelligent as Burry.

But more important than the movie is what Burry is doing these days. Remember, Burry does intelligent things before the crowd. He’s a rather private fellow, but has made a few public appearances, one on 60 Minutes, and this one on Bloomberg where he talked about what he was currently buying–farmland with water on site, and gold:

Here is Burry giving a fabulous commencement speech at UCLA in 2012. Burry’s speech starts at the 2:15 into the video:

Selected quotes:

It’s an age of infinite distraction, for those so willing. You are the generation that has had instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, an angry bird nagging your fingertips at every moment. It’s been arguably as addictive as any drug throughout history, and I do imagine, it took some terrific will power during your studies … to study.

In 2010, I published an op-ed in the New York Times posting what I thought was a valid question of the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the President. I saw the crisis coming … why did not the Fed? Never did any member of Congress, any member of government for the matter, reach out to me for an open collegial discussion on what went wrong or what could be done. Rather, within two weeks, all six of my defunct funds were audited. The Congressional Financial Finance Inquiry Commission demanded all my emails and lists of people with whom I conversed going back to 2003, and a little later the FBI showed up. A million in legal and accounting costs and thousands of hours of time wasted – all because I asked questions. It seemed they would pump me at gun point or not at all. That summer the Federal Reserve put out a paper that concluded nothing in the field of economics or finance could have predicted what happened with regards to the housing bust and subsequent economic fallout. Ben Bernanke continues to backfill this logic and I fear that history is being written wrong yet again. The ignorance is willful.

And here is an interview he gave a week ago ago:

     Michael Burry, Real-Life Market Genius From The Big Short, Thinks Another Financial Crisis Is Looming

Selected quotes:

I am shocked that executives at some of the worst lenders were not punished for what they did. But this is the nature of these things. The ones running the machine did not get punished after the dot-com bubble either — all those VCs and dot-com executives still live in their mansions lining the 280 corridor on the San Francisco peninsula. The little guy will pay for it — the small investor, the borrower. Which is why the little guy needs to be warned to be more diligent and to be more suspicious of society’s sanctioned suits offering free money. It will always be seductive, but that’s the devil that wants your soul.

The zero interest-rate policy broke the social contract for generations of hardworking Americans who saved for retirement, only to find their savings are not nearly enough. And the interest the Federal Reserve pays on the excess reserves of lending institutions … handcuffed lending to small and midsized enterprises, where the majority of job creation and upward mobility in wages occurs. Government policies and regulations in the post-crisis era have aided the hollowing-out of middle America…These changes even expanded the wealth gap by making asset owners richer at the expense of renters. Maybe there are some positive changes in there, but it seems I fail to see beyond the absurdity.

All these people found others to blame, and to that extent, an unhelpful narrative was created. Whether it’s the one percent or hedge funds or Wall Street, I do not think society is well served by failing to encourage every last American to look within.

Americans have so much natural entrepreneurial drive. The caveat is that it is technology that should be a tool making lives better in the real world, and in line with the American spirit of getting better and better at something, whether it’s curing cancer or creating a better taxi service. I am less impressed with the market values assigned to technology that enhances distraction.

So folks, do you have your farmland with water on site and some gold? Are you looking within and working like mad to avoid formidable distraction? Or are you following a path designed by what Burry calls “society’s sanctioned suits” offering free money and a million tantalizing distractions?