Wake Up! Uranus, Pluto and the Libra New Moon

Dear Friend and Reader:

The ongoing government shutdown drama was punctuated by the shooting of a woman who led police on a high-speed chase from the White House to Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon. She was shot and killed by police near the Capitol Building. Though she was unarmed, she injured two police officers, and had a one-year-old child in the car with her.

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Back off. We are on furlough and coming to work anyway. Photo by Alex Leary/Tampa Bay Times.

Authorities are saying nothing about her motives, if they know anything. We are being told that she had no criminal record or history of violence, that she was suffering from postpartum depression and that she recently fell down a flight of stairs.

She’s identified as Miriam Carey, 34 years old, and from Stamford, CT. She was the same age as Aaron Alexis, the named perpetrator in the Navy Yard shooting just over two weeks ago.

Witnesses and the police say she tried to ram a barricade at the White House, and was ordered to stop and get out of the car. She then struck an officer with her car before leading the police and the Secret Service on an 80 mph chase down Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House, where she was shot. A second officer was also struck by her vehicle.

Meanwhile, the conspiracy websites are running with this seemingly true fact: Thursday, Oct. 3, was the final day of an interagency training exercise “hosted by the Joint Force Headquarters — National Capital Region. It brings federal, state, local and municipal agencies together to realistically test interagency operability during a crisis impacting the District of Columbia.” There does seem to be a pattern of training exercises coinciding with nearby events of a similar nature. That kind of detail only serves to instill doubt that the event in question actually happened the way we are told it happened.

The second shooting in Washington, DC in as many weeks did a good job of shaking up Congress. The Capitol was put on lockdown and a shelter in place order was issued. At that time, it was not known whether the gunfire was a shooter or from the police.

Yet the shakeup apparently did little to get the contingent of congressional members who are holding the country hostage to change their game, at least so far.

We know that story by now: since Tuesday morning, per mainstream liberal news word of mouth, a group of fringe Republicans, aided by John Boehner, have been throwing a tantrum over the possibility that a lot of uninsured people will suddenly be able to get medical insurance coverage. They’ve issued a series of demands including defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act (because it’s so terrible, the very week that its public access services opened up), claiming that if this does not happen, they will not allow Congress to pass what’s called a continuing resolution (CR) to allow the government to do business.

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Speaker of the House John Boehner is holding up the whole government by using a procedural maneuver. A law allowing the government to re-open would likely pass if it went to the House floor. Image via CBS News.

The current crises may soon be followed by another: the federal government reaches its borrowing limit, called the debt ceiling, in two weeks. Congress must raise this, a routine action, so that the country can pay its past bills. While some Republican pols are getting on TV and saying this is about a balanced budget, actually it’s about the U.S. having the borrowing power to pay its old bills.

Many are concerned that the same contingent currently enforcing a government shutdown will also push the country into default on its obligations, something that has never happened before in American history.

The twisted part is that the shutdown is being enforced not by a majority of the House of Representatives, but rather by the use of a procedural rule being invoked by Speaker of the House John Boehner, preventing the issue from getting to the floor for an up or down vote.

There is apparently a majority of congressional reps willing to end the showdown, when you add the Democrats to the few remaining moderate Republicans — but Boehner is blocking the issue from getting to the floor.
Then if you watch cable news, you will see a parade of Republicans turning this around and claiming that Pres. Obama is the one who is not negotiating.

This complicated high-tension legislative drama — to which was added a police chase, and the suspect killed at the foot of Capitol Hill, the very spot where the government shutdown is happening — unfolded with absurd precision as the Sun squared Pluto when the government could not do normal business, and as the Sun opposed Uranus on Thursday as the shooting took place.

It is tempting to see these incidents as separate, but they are joined by the astrology — the aspect between Uranus and Pluto, with which the Earth and Sun are now aligned. The New Moon will happen within this alignment later Friday (today). We don’t know the woman’s motives and we may never, yet on the most basic symbolic level, her attempt to bash through the barriers can be interpreted as an expression of the rage and frustration that many people are feeling toward government.

Pluto in Capricorn Rising, The Sun opposite Uranus

The chart for the shooting is rich, and seems to provide a map to the whole scenario unfolding in DC at the moment. Ultra slow-moving Pluto in Capricorn was rising to the degree at the moment shots rang out. That kind of ominous placement makes me think we got a mitigated version of the karma involved — something a lot worse could have happened.

Pluto in its current sign placement is about the inevitability of change to society’s most established institutions; we have seen plenty of this since 2008 when the transit began. Where there is inevitable change, there are people who resist change, and that creates tension, and can cause fear to spread. And Pluto was the planet rising to the degree (which lasts about four minutes out of every 24 hours) — that is emphasis.

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The grand cross in the cardinal signs was exactly aligned with the horizon at the moment of the gunshots. On the left side of the chart, Pluto is rising to the degree. The Sun is opposite Uranus, square the horizon. Jupiter is in the 7th house.

Meanwhile, the Sun was exactly — within 11 arc minutes, a small fraction of a degree — opposite Uranus. It’s challenging to think of a way to place greater emphasis on the Uranus-Pluto square in one chart. Sun opposite Uranus is high-voltage, it can be erratic and there is the surprise element.

This happened just one day ahead of the Libra New Moon opposite Uranus and square Pluto (exact Friday evening in PDT/EDT and early Saturday morning in Europe). Also in the mix is Typhon, another ultra slow-mover (in Libra, close to the Moon and the Sun) and Jupiter (in Cancer), which is providing protection, emotionalism or both, depending on how you look at it.

Making things more interesting in the shooting chart is Mercury in Scorpio snugly on the 10th house cusp — the government angle, in the sign of death and taxes — exactly what was happening at the time.

Mercury is about to make a conjunction to Saturn in Scorpio. That Mercury-Saturn conjunction can be frustrating, but amidst plenty of chaos and confusion, it is demanding inner attention.

In particular, it’s calling for emotional maturity of a kind that we don’t see very often. Being spiritual will not substitute (if we are looking for an answer on the level of human relations, honesty about sex, vis a vis Scorpio, would be a lot more valuable).

Being intractable will not substitute. The government angle in the chart for an attempted attack on the government reveals what I can only describe as a parent-child dynamic — Mercury in Scorpio, the inquisitive, astute child, coming up against Saturn, the emotionally frozen parent.

What is necessary in this situation is some form of actual communication and adult behavior. But the Scorpio alignment is so cloaked in secrecy or veiled in taboo that it’s going to be challenging to find that patience and maturity or go through the layers to get to the underlying issue.

All Republicans are Not Necessarily Crazy, but They are Scared

The Uranus-Pluto square is, if nothing else, a harbinger of change. When people are scared of change, the sensation of all that is moving, developing and crumbling around them is exaggerated.

One documented expression of Uranus-Pluto aspects is the desire for radical change. We might be wondering where the activist spirit is; at the moment, most of it is coming from those who cling to the past — we are witnessing a passionate desire for the liberation from progress.

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In the Sixties, young people staged protests against the government, the draft and an illegal war. Now the government is staging a protest against the people. Photo by Robert Lamb.

When Bob Dylan wrote the line, “There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air,” he was describing the sensation of what it was like to go out during the peak of the 1960s, when there was a Uranus-Pluto conjunction happening (this happens less than once per century).

Yet the revolution is not always waged by those who would set humanity free. Under Uranus-Pluto aspects there’s always a mix of influences. In many ways the Sixties were full of breakthroughs and liberation; and in the same era, the Kennedy brothers were shot, as were Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King.

This really is not about the pendulum swinging one way or the other; Uranus-Pluto is always a blend of elemental forces operating in society. This is described to some extent by the sign or signs involved. Uranus is in Aries and Pluto is in Capricorn. These are high-energy signs, both on the cardinal cross of the zodiac, which is like a vast crossroads of the private and the public (associated with the Aries Point).

On the Uranus in Aries side of the square, we have the illusion of a ‘we’ (Uranus can represent groups, but that’s unlikely in Aries, the sign of ‘I am’). But it’s easy to pretend that you’re with others, or speaking on their behalf. Uranus is, more often, presenting itself as the erratic individual, willing to stage an ambush and/or use a group for its own private purposes.

One pitfall of Uranus in Aries is the obsession with glamour and attention. Another is militancy. Both Uranus and Aries can be willing to get things done by any means — and there will be fewer exceptions when the two are in the same place.

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Many are feeling the pressure or the need to reinvent themselves. A makeover is a lot easier. Photo: Oprah.com.

Another potential issue with Uranus in Aries is the willingness to cheat or connive. At its best, Uranus in Aries could bring a spirit of inventiveness or self-recreation.

Many people are feeling that and don’t know quite where to go with it. Pressure from society has forced so many people to become so stiff, the concept of “personal reinvention” can feel like their head exploding. Better to opt for a makeover.

The shadow element of that is a kind of bipolar narcissism, similar to the shadow element of Pluto in Leo. So we have a personal dilemma here: how to express one’s existence, one’s sense of ‘I am’. Is this going to be in a purely self-serving way, or a way that is inclusive and co-creative?

On the Pluto in Capricorn side of the square, we have an image of the inevitability of change, in particular, enforced changes influencing the kinds of institutions and organizations represented by Capricorn — corporations, banks, governments, religious institutions (a form of corporation). Pluto does not determine the direction or quality of change — only that it will happen.

Depending on how it’s directed, Pluto can be reactionary and destructive, or it can be evolutionary and creative. You might say that Pluto presents people with the evolutionary dilemma, including the opportunity for people to use what they know, and to act as if they know it — or the opportunity to seize power in what looks like an unconscious way but which is in fact fully sentient.

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Politics is a glamour profession because it involves extolling the individual ego as triumphant hero. If you don’t want to do that, and/or have your face on buttons and billboards, or worship the greatest guy in the world, stay out of the game.

Today there is an event that brings the whole story together — a conjunction of the Moon and the Sun in Libra. This is potentially an image of harmony and, at least, an image of human contact. There is a quest for fairness — in relationships.

But those relationships are set in a context: the New Moon is opposite Uranus in Aries (illustrating the glamorous egotism that makes actual relating impossible).

The New Moon is square Pluto (demanding authentic inner vision and the willingness to shift and evolve emotional patterns). Pluto in Capricorn is making it nearly impossible to be beholden to the past, no matter how much someone tries to cling to it, obsess over it or inflict it on others. The more one clings to the shore, the more one feels the rushing of the river. The more you cling to the past, the more violently you will feel the passage of time and the progress that it can bring.

The Moon and Sun are also square Jupiter in Cancer (a reminder that you have to do more than wish to get what you want; and that emotional presence is about giving and receiving). There is a reminder to keep your sense of scale.

And finally the New Moon is conjunct the Pluto-like minor planet Typhon, which in this expression is the inner storm blowing inside everyone, or perhaps the inner monster we harbor who is always on the prowl — think of this as the impulse to fear.

Put this all together and we get a real wake-up call. And that, cousins, is where we stand at this particular here-and-now.


Note to Readers: News items below are written and edited by a team consisting of Anne Craig, Eric Francis, Amanda Painter, Susan Scheck and Carol van Strum, with research assistance by the Planet Waves staff. Special thanks to the Fact Checkers List, which goes over each edition on Thursday night — and to our main astrology fact-checker Alex Miller, and Amanda, who goes over all their suggestions. Our editions are also proofread and fact-checked by Jessica Keet.


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Libra New Moon and Government Sociopaths

As the Sun moved into a square with Pluto earlier in the week, the lunatic fringe that’s trying to take over the government sort of succeeded in doing so. In describing the Uranus-Pluto square, many times I’ve called our era the anti-Sixties.

It’s not the kids who have protests; it’s a bunch of rich old white men with government cars, government health insurance, nice government salaries, up to four government-sponsored offices each, complete with staffs, and very easy jobs, who stage a building takeover. Well, a little more than a building — a lot of federal departments.

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My chart of the Libra New Moon, used for this week’s horoscope and for the Libra birthday reading, showing the positions of Typhon in Libra, asteroids Industria in Capricorn and Hera in Aries, plus Kronos and Cyllarus in Cancer. Many of these points add to the grand cross.

If a bunch of anti-fracking activists tried anything of the sort, they would be carted off in handcuffs before you could say, “Don’t tase me, bro.”

It takes a combination of personality traits to do this kind of thing — immaturity, extreme insensitivity, an agenda and a God complex. Being stupid helps.

As I’ve been writing lately, this is one of those Really Interesting Weeks — which comes to a crescendo with the Libra New Moon today at about 8:35 pm EDT. Accompanying this, there will be a number of surprises. The New Moon is opposite Uranus, who is the king of the unexpected. In Aries he’s also the queen of glam — and a lot of what you see going on in politics is a twisted kind of image-driven mania: the drive of the politician to survive.

We will see how that works with so much self-destructive activity. It’s possible you’re seeing events that look more like an explosion than a power struggle.

Meanwhile, among other current events is the approach of Mercury to Saturn in Scorpio. Mercury ingressed Scorpio recently, where it will be for the next two months, due to the retrograde between Oct. 21 and Nov. 10.

The conjunction to Saturn looks like the revelation of secrets, curiosity about taboo subject matter and hot talk. Try it and see. Find someone you trust, who likes to whisper wholly inappropriate things to you, and start talking. Say what you would never say. You may find yourself inspired to do what you never thought you would do.

Venus is still in Scorpio, and the fact that she’s drifting out to the edge of that sign is suggesting that edgy activities will be all the more fun. With so many planets currently in water signs — in order of speed, Mercury, Venus, the lunar apogee (also known as Black Moon Lilith), Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron and Neptune, we are living through a moment that’s all about feeling.

Of course you don’t want to let this run away with you, or suck you down the whirlpool. Grounding is essential right now, with all this water in the sky and not so much earth; in fact most of our earth-grounding is coming from Pluto in Capricorn, which is saying: focus on change and you will keep your feet on the ground.
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The Idiot’s Guide to Creating An Economic Tailspin

At midnight on Sept. 30, the federal government shut down for the first time in almost 18 years, closing national parks, putting some 800,000 employees on unpaid leave, impairing the functioning of the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and numerous other agencies, and making the websites of most government agencies non-functional.

Consequences will continue to unfold over the next couple of weeks as programs like Head Start and WIC (supplemental food assistance for women and young children) run out of state-level funds. The estimated cost to the taxpayers is $300 million a day.

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Rand Paul’s coffee klatch on the Capitol steps. The boys had fun talking NASCAR and baseball until Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) made them get serious about the shutdown.

Congressional Republicans, who got us here out of terror over the possibility that grateful health-care recipients might join in rejecting the Republican agenda, spent Wednesday offering up piecemeal proposals that would re-open war memorials and fund cancer treatment for sick kids.

A growing number of them began to break ranks and criticize their ‘kamikaze’ colleagues from the Tea Party detachment. Kentucky Republican Rand Paul suggested everybody drink coffee together.

Irish coffee, maybe. Reports surfacing on Twitter over the weekend, suggesting that more than a few representatives were fortifying themselves with booze as the clock ticked toward shutdown, received hardly any follow-up coverage aside from a mention by Rachel Maddow and articles in London’s Daily Mail.

Democrats want Congress to pass a ‘clean’ continuing resolution that will reopen the government across the board without restrictions on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed more than three years ago. Republicans have failed more than 40 times to overturn the law through normal channels. ACA websites, which went live October 1, have been swarmed by people seeking health-care options.

Analysts are pointing to gerrymandered districts, in which Republicans are unlikely to face any challenges (except from primary opponents even further to the right), as one reason the Tea Party crew remains confident. Wall Street interests, meanwhile, are exasperated with the shutdown, leading to speculation that deep-pocket interests have lost control over the Tea Party they instigated and nurtured.

Certainly the far-right scream machine that has been ramping up the fear of Creeping Socialism ever since Obama took office bears considerable blame for the grandstanding now taking place, from the Ted Cruz marathon speech to the (possibly drunken) battle cry of “Let’s roll!” heard on the House floor over the weekend.

Meanwhile, business interests — and President Obama as well — are saying that the real crisis will come in about two weeks if Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, which could cause an economic tailspin that would crush the modest progress made toward recovery from the 2008 recession.

Way to crash the plane, dudes.

New Hope for Iran-U.S. Relations?

New developments in the past week between Iran and the United States offer hope for new beginnings in a relationship that’s been awful since Iran shed its U.S.-backed Shah, and worsened when the second President Bush declared Iran part of the “Axis of Evil.”

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Iran’s Pres. Hassan Rouhani addressing the 68th U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. Photo: Reuters.

In his first appearance before the UN, President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that his government had no intention of developing weapons-grade plutonium and would allow inspections to verify compliance, in exchange for lifting some of the economic sanctions that Iran has labored under since 1979.

Back in 2009, when official Iranian election results gave the win to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his reformist opponent, the streets of Tehran filled with students and intellectuals claiming that the election had been stolen; before the government shut down their social media options, many of the protesters sent messages to the American people expressing their desire to be better friends.

Rouhani’s olive branch is supported by 230 out of 290 members of the Iranian parliament and by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well as the majority of his people. Although a few Iranian Tea Partiers did hurl eggs and a shoe in his direction, many more were said to be celebrating. The fact that an Iranian attack on Israel would be suicidal is well understood on the street.

Rouhani and Obama spoke on the phone early this week, the first dialogue between heads of state from these two countries in more than thirty years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly declared the whole thing a scam, calling Rouhani a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and a “cult leader.”

Iranian vice president Massoumeh Ebtekhar published a piece in The Guardian on Wednesday underlining Iran’s sincerity and commitment to a peaceful way out of the stalemate. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that to completely reject the possibility of better relations with Iran would be “diplomatic malpractice of the worst order,” adding that actions, not words, would be the measure of Iran’s good intent.

Plans are underway for a mid-October meeting in Geneva between high-ranking officials from Iran and the five member nations of the UN Security Council.
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Banking on the Consumer’s Right to Know for GMO Labeling Win

GMO-labeling foes Monsanto and DuPont are facing off against Dr. Bronner’s and other “right to know” advocates at the polls — again — this time in Washington state. The three companies are the major donors in record-setting fundraising campaigns on either side of Initiative 522, a GMO labeling bill very similar to one that failed last November in California.

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Due to multimillion-dollar contributions by Monsanto and DuPont, the No on I-522 Committee has taken second place all-time for fundraising by a campaign opposing a statewide ballot measure. When combined, totals from both sides in late September pushed the campaigns into the top five of collective fundraising totals.

The No on I-522 committee has so far raised $11.6 million from eight donors. Monsanto and DuPont gave single contributions of $4.6 million and $3.2 million, respectively.

Meanwhile the Yes on I-522 committee has raised about $4.4 million to date, according to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps has contributed about $1.5 million. Other contributors to the Yes on I-522 campaign include Mercola.com and Nature’s Path Foods USA, according to the organization’s website.

Both sides have started airing television spots that echo some of the same rhetoric as California’s campaign.

While it’s unlikely the Yes side will be able to match the No side’s money, it’s counting on the strength of one argument to win the measure: consumers’ right to know.

“They [opponents] can’t take on the right to know, because it’s a loser for them,” said David Bronner, CEO of the organic soap company.

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The fearless Elizabeth Warren now seems to be cooperating in the effort to block the rights of states to identity GMO foods for consumers.

Last week we reported that Elizabeth Warren was supporting a measure that would, in effect, ban states from being ble to require labeling when she revived a 2001 “draft guidance” by the FDA. A guidance is like the FDA giving non-mandatory advice, but it has the effect of blocking states from over-riding it with their own policies.

According to an FDA website, a “guidance document represents FDA’s current thinking on a topic. They do not create or confer any rights for or on any person and do not operate to bind FDA or the public.”

It’s a federal voluntary labeling plan — one that plays right into the hands of the biotech and big food industries because it has the effect of blocking local state policies on the same issue.

Currently, states have the right to enact GMO labeling laws precisely because the FDA has not formally ruled on GMO labeling. Without the finalized guidance, companies would have to use stricter state mandates if they become law, like the ones proposed in Washington and California.

We’re wondering why Warren — who was elected senator in Massachusetts this year on the strength of her reputation for consumer advocacy — is suddenly doing a 180, siding with those who would keep consumers from knowing what’s really in their food. Has she been persuaded by Monsanto et al — now that she’s on Capitol Hill — that too much knowledge is a bad thing?
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Fracking Wastewater Found Highly Radioactive In Study

The fracking nightmare continues, reflecting Saturn in Scorpio dredging up toxic (even deadly) watery secrets — while oil and gas companies sidestep the Clean Water Act and other environmental directives. A study published on Wednesday found river sediments from wastewater downstream of a Pennsylvania fracking plant contained 200 times more radium than in mud that’s naturally present upstream of the plant. In high doses radium can cause cancer and other long-term health effects.

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Water contaminated by fracking operations in Pennsylvania. Photo: Melanie Blanding.

Radioactive waste levels found in the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility are higher than those found in some radioactive waste dumps, according to Avner Vengosh, a co-author of the study and a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University.

They exceed the minimum threshold the federal government uses to qualify a disposal site as a radioactive dumpsite, he said.

Levels of salinity in the plant’s discharge were up to 200 times higher than what is allowed under the Clean Water Act — and 10 times saltier than ocean water, Vengosh said. But fracking wastewater is exempt from that law, he said.

Researchers say they are sure the contaminants are coming from fracking because the Josephine facility treats this oil and gas wastewater, and the water contains the same chemical signature as rocks in the Marcellus Shale Formation, Vengosh said.

“The occurrence of radium is alarming — this is a radioactive constituent that is likely to increase rates of genetic mutation” and poses “a significant radioactive health hazard for humans,” said William Schlesinger, a researcher and president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in Millbrook, New York.
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In Rare Move, Top Generals Told to Retire

Citing negligence and a “pattern of failure,” the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps told two two-star generals on Monday, Sept. 30, that they were relieved of command, the first time such high-ranking personnel have been let go since the Vietnam War era.

Charles Gurganus and Gregg Sturdevant had been in charge of Marine operations at Camp Bastion, a NATO base in Afghanistan. In September of 2012, fifteen Taliban operatives dressed in U.S. Army uniforms entered the base via an unguarded entrance.

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Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, left, and Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, who have been ‘asked to retire’.

Two Marines were killed, eight wounded, and $200 million worth of NATO Harrier jets destroyed.

Patrols by Marines and British soldiers around the perimeter of the base had been cut back as troop withdrawals proceeded; the guardhouse had been turned over to Tongan soldiers. General Gurganus investigated the security failure and expressed his opinion that the insurgents “just got lucky.”

Not so much, decided the high command, saying that security should have remained a higher priority than it evidently was, especially at the same base where an Afghani translator had rammed a van into a plane carrying Leon Panetta, then Secretary of Defense, and attempted to run over Gurganus himself. During the investigation of the September 2012 attack, officers testified that Marines who could have been walking perimeter control were taking online classes or extra workouts instead.

A Washington Post article about the lack of security on the night of the attack triggered the renewed investigation.

Despite the widespread use of the word “fired” in reporting the story, “asked to resign” is the more accurate phrase. The Secretary of the Navy is now responsible for determining the rank at which the two will be retiring. If allowed to retire as major generals, each will still receive an annual pension of $145,000.
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War: Pentagon Goes on Eve-of-Shutdown Shopping Spree

What to do to keep busy in the Pentagon the night before a governmental shutdown that will furlough 400,000 Defense Department employees? Why, spend more than $5 billion on military-related contracts, of course.

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But honey, the old one was getting shabby — and this was such a great deal! The adorable MH-6 Little Bird helicopter; photo: militaryfactory.com

The end-of-the-fiscal-year action is an annual occurrence, but sometimes context is everything — and Monday night the number of contracts awarded jumped from 14 on Sept. 3, the start of the work month, to 94.

Among the items purchased in the weapons shopping spree were: $2.5 billion worth of “various weapons system spare parts” used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, from aircraft-engine maker Pratt & Whitney; $40 million worth of Finnish hand grenades that allow “users to choose the level of blast needed for the situation”; and spy gear for the Air Force, including satellites, drones and drug-dealer hunting planes.

Defense-related research was funded, too: the Air Force Research Lab gave Johns Hopkins University $7 million to develop software that can scan raw communications signals and images “to detect significant ‘events’ in real time,” and Boeing received a $49 million contract to upgrade the Army’s MH-6 Little Bird helicopter.

But don’t think for a second the Pentagon ignored ‘the little people’: janitors at Navy medical centers in San Diego got $9 million added to their existing nine-figure contract; and militaries in other countries will receive $200 million worth of Interceptor-brand body armor made by Federal Prisons Industries (perpetuating the exploitation of the incarcerated, one foreign war at a time!).

It’s ok, though, since nine companies are sharing $900 million to figure out alternative energy projects to keep the Army Corps of Engineers busy. Apparently it’s easy to be green in D.C. — as long as it means giving money to the military.

Peace: Yousafzai, Snowden Nominated for Human Rights Award

Edward Snowden, the American NSA contract worker who blew the lid off his employer’s widespread spying activities, and Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl who was attacked by the Taliban for promoting education and women’s rights, are both finalists for the Sakharov Prize.

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Malala Yousafzai, left, and Edward Snowden.

Awarded by the European Parliament, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought honors “exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression,” according to the parliament’s website.

The front-runner is widely seen as Yousafzai, who was nominated by six different parties.

Yousafzai spoke for the first time last July at the UN Youth Assembly, saying, “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world,” and “There was a time when women asked men to stand up for women’s rights. This time we will do it for ourselves.”

Snowden was nominated by Europe’s Green party and a leftist group, GUE/NGL.

“The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time,” he said in a statement that was read aloud in the Parliament on Monday, according to The New York Times.
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The Koch Brothers Don’t Want You to Have Health Care

The Koch brothers — oil oligarchs trying to dismantle government to escape regulation — have been funding the anti-Obamacare camp for months, if not years. Now their tactics are hitting people (and especially young adults) where they’re most vulnerable: their rape fears.

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You may have already seen the two creepiest anti-Affordable Care Act ads out there. In one, a disturbing Uncle Sam pops up between a woman’s feet, clutching a speculum, as she lies on an exam table in stirrups; in another, he arrives behind a man who’s curled up awaiting a prostate exam, donning a latex glove.

The ads do exactly what they are intended to: prey on anyone who finds these basic medical procedures even a little uncomfortable, upsetting or invasive. “Don’t let government play doctor,” the ad ends. “Opt out of Obamacare.”

The ads conflate government involvement with rape, distracting viewers from the fact that any form of universal health care coverage requires intergenerational participation to be sure the system works for all. It’s like how everyone who works pays into Medicare to support those who need it, on the understanding that the next generation will do the same, and that those now dependent on these services have already paid for things like public education for younger generations.

Generation Opportunity, the supposed youth political group responsible for creating the ads, has made it their mission to derail the Affordable Care Act by killing off enrollment by healthy Millennials. According to an Alternet article by Marty Kaplan, along with the TV ads “the Kochs are funding a propaganda blitz at town fairs, tailgate parties and on 20 campuses, where pizza and lies will be handed out to young Americans.”

More like ‘Generation Opportunist’. And they’re just one of many groups that either receive significant donations from the Kochs to kill off Obamacare, or which are outright front groups for their economic policy bullying, raping and pillaging.


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Planet Waves

Who defines what counts as artistic collaboration — those involved or those watching? Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but music lives in all parts of the body. Video still: Bottom Percussion 2.

Getting to the Bottom of Things, Drummer-Style

When the band Patax released its first Bottom Percussion video on YouTube, some people loved the playful ingenuity of Spanish jazz fusion percussionist Jorge Perez as he drummed on four toned (and tuned) derrieres. Others leveled accusations of misogyny and objectification at him for apparently treating women as objects. But was he? Or were viewers making gross assumptions based on partial information?

In response, Patax released a short secondary video showing that all was not as it seemed — then quickly realized the conversation swirling around issues of creativity, sexism, racism, degradation and more deserved a more comprehensive, beautiful and articulate response. Be sure to watch all the way to the end.


Planet Waves

Government Shutdown, Libra New Moon and The Mars Effect

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I cover the shutdown of the U.S. government [link to chart on Facebook here]. Is this really a shutdown? How is it happening and how long is it going to last?

Planet Waves
Erica Quitzow played Backstage Studio Productions on Sept. 20, 2013. Photo by Eric Francis.

I also cover the Libra New Moon [view chart here] that happens today, with the Sun fully involved in the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto-Typhon grand cross in the cardinal signs.

And I also introduce the 2014 annual edition of Planet Waves — called The Mars Effect. It will focus on Mars retrograde in Libra — the defining (extended) event of 2014. This will include written and audio readings for all 12 signs. It also includes articles and resources. I describe my method of casting and reading the astrology and explain why my readings work so well.

The annual is a Planet Waves tradition — this year is my 14th time doing the project (the first was in 1999, so it’s something that started in the 20th century). Before we offer it separately, we’re offering it as part of the All-Access Pass — our “you can have it all” option.

My musical guest is the magnificent Erica Quitzow, who performed recently at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY. I play three of Erica’s songs. Here is her Facebook page.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

We published the extended monthly horoscopes for October on Friday, Sept. 27. Inner Space for October was published Friday, Sept. 20. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Pisces Full Moon Tuesday, Sept. 16. Moonshine for the Libra New Moon published on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday but for now it’s substituting for one Friday horoscope a month.


Planet Waves

Weekly horoscope for Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 #969 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Look closer at what seem to be contradictory demands within a relationship, whether they’re being made on you, or you figure out you’re making them on someone else. Your chart suggests that you want perfect freedom for yourself and perfect fidelity from someone else. This would work in a perfect world where we understand that fidelity and honoring freedom are the same thing. It works less well when those you care about have to compensate for your position, make allowances and ultimately put up with some hypocrisy because they love you. However, sooner or later their goodwill may run out, and you may be seeing signs of it wearing thin already. To solve this, listen to what partners and loved ones say about what they need — and take the initiative to provide that. If a request or desire leads you to feel threatened or hemmed in, consider the specifics carefully, and by that, I mean in a way that is fair — as they see it, not just as you see it.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — On the outside you appear to be in a “get serious” moment, yet what you’re doing internally is trying to resolve a paradox. Taking things earnestly will help resolve the part about exterior boundaries and mutually agreed-upon rules of conduct. To work out the inner level will call for some subtlety of self-observation. You’re likely to see various unconscious patterns show up in your relationships — even things you thought you addressed years ago. The fact that they are showing up now does not mean that you’re back where you started. It means you get a new opportunity to look at them and make a decision about what they mean and whether you want to let them go. The theme once again is who has adult power in your life — and whether you’ve taken this authority in a meaningful way. As you do all of this, Friday’s New Moon in Libra is a reminder to keep things on the practical level. Look for real things you can do that are designed to get a noticeable, useful result.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Don’t overthink a work- or health-related problem — use your intuition (there is such a thing, and you have access to it) and your creativity (it’s good for more than making collages). I know there are many jobs, and tasks within those jobs, that seem routine — seemingly subject to no form of inspiration. There are plenty of bosses who want things done in the most straightforward way. The end product, therefore, must match what the task requires, but how you get there is your own process. One thing your charts are suggesting is your having access to information you might not be in line for, especially with the help of someone in a position of authority. If you’re taken into someone’s confidence, treat that as a sacred honor and protect your source. For you who already have considerable responsibility on your hands, the solution may come from someone younger and less experienced who just happens to know something or who can see the problem in a way that it can be solved.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Someone wrote to me recently and said there’s been too much mention of sex in the Cancer horoscope. Sex relates to just about everything, especially the things that people come to astrologers for the most often: money, creativity and relationships. Your chart is becoming increasingly focused on the topic rather than less so. Mercury is now in Scorpio (sex, emotional depth and transformation), which is your 5th solar house (erotic play and creativity). Soon it’s going to be retrograde in that sign, meaning it’s going to spend close to two months in one of the most sensitive regions of your chart. There are many messages here, especially this: what you think has nothing to do with sex is all about sex. And this: get ready to learn some things about your past that might surprise you. The most pressing question is: what do you need to feel safe, as a lover, as a member of a family or household, and as a person making your contribution on the planet? In two words, the answer is: no secrets.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The astrology of the moment suggests you could get involved in nearly anything with anyone — so use some discernment. The same astrology is also granting you leverage to open doors and the insight to look through situations, figure out what information is relevant and make decisions that have actual impact on your world and the world around you. It would help if you tuned in to the scale of your situation — to see what you’re working with, who and what is influencing you, and who you’re influencing. You seem to be walking a fine line, though you’re on much more solid ground than you may imagine, with many more options than you may think. The main asset I suggest you cultivate is flexibility. Start in small ways. Change your routines a little. Travel home a different way than you went someplace. Look from side to side instead of straight ahead. There is interesting and even useful information coming from all directions. Where any one task, project or commitment is concerned, you have many more options than you think.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Think of self-worth as human currency that you can trade for other experiences and opportunities. Well, you don’t really trade it, because you’ll end up with more of the stuff when you’ve accomplished something meaningful to you. Yet it is similar to credit in that the ability to ‘pay’ for an experience (which means to come through for yourself, to stand up to a challenge or to learn something that enriches your life) is what keeps you in the game. Start with the strength to dare. Allow yourself to experiment with something you think is over your level of talent or ability, or that you might not have the confidence to try. Then go for it. I don’t mean to say that all self-esteem is based on what you achieve, but I will say that a significant dimension of it is. This is especially true if you achieve something you thought you couldn’t do or didn’t have the guts to dare. Then you allow that to become a life lesson — or said another way, something you learn about yourself.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Planet Waves

Attention Libras (and those with Libra rising or Moon): To get the best price on your 2013 birthday reading by Eric Francis, pre-order now here. Pre-ordering gets you $10 off the published price, and we’ll email the access info to you as soon as it is ready.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You stand at a crossroads, on a scale that you may not even dare imagine. It’s an inner intersection that joins together where you’ve come from with where you are now, and several potential realities that you have the option to manifest. Yet lately you may feel like it’s more of a crosshairs than a meeting of avenues. That sense of impending risk, danger or challenge is a slightly veiled sensation of your potential coming into maturity. This doesn’t necessarily arrive with the promise of how wonderful life will be when you step into a dream. It might arrive with a hint of how daunting it is to confront the truth of your own talent, or the potential to realize a desire. Whether you’re confronting a question, embarking on a mission or freeing yourself from a commitment that no longer works for you, your astrology is describing a sense of awe at what is possible. Now the key is to see this as something inside yourself rather than external to you.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Mercury in your sign is a wakeup call, which means an invitation to use your intelligence. You might be thinking that the mental and emotional challenges you face are beyond your ability to handle them, though this seems to be more about the influence of something from the past rather than a proven truth about who you are right now. How you handle this is a matter of psychological perspective. If you feel overwhelmed, you may be feeling like a child who is being asked to stand up to an adult, or who’s being expected to grow up too young. In a sense that is (or at least was) true, though the ‘adult’ is something that you’ve internalized. One of its messages is that change is impossible. Yet while that voice is whispering to you, you seem to be secretly dreaming of revolution. It is indeed when change seems impossible that revolution is the most necessary.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — I am sure you’ve had the insight that the world would be a happier place if more of us were as interested in what we could contribute to a situation as what we could get out of it. With Jupiter, your ruling planet, coming under focus in Cancer (the sign of nurturing) and in your solar 8th house (that of exchange), the question of what you offer and receive in your relationships is a top priority. Jupiter is suggesting that you have a lot to offer, and that at the same time, if you’re open, plenty is coming your way. You can therefore afford to be generous. Yet if you’re feeling resistant to sharing yourself in some way, I would propose that it’s the result of a deeper anxiety: something hinting at your relationship to existence. It’s difficult to get access to the source of this kind of issue, though you have it now, and will have increasing access over the next few weeks. You can understand this, and you can work it out.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Come on like a storm. Refuse to hesitate, to second guess, to equivocate. Present yourself at full strength and with your full intent. But let beauty and refinement be your camouflage. Set your goals, focus on what you want and actively take the steps to get there. Yet make sure everything is presented elegantly, diplomatically and in a way that honors the aesthetics that one might expect under the specific circumstances involved. Yes, there is a way to be radical and tasteful; revolutionarily beautiful. You can say just about anything you want, as long as you say it well, and proofread your copy. You can present any idea you want, as long as you make it easy for people to understand. You can do nearly anything you want, as long as you do it with some finesse. Beauty, finesse and clarity offer credibility, by demonstrating that you really do care about others. Perhaps it’s a trick of the mind, or a trick of astrology involving a magnificent Libra event in your chart. What matters is that you will get results, even if you think that’s unlikely.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — There is a spiritual solution to what you’re facing, which is to say that nothing is impossible and nothing is beyond the reach of healing. Yet two things are necessary. One is focusing on your relationship with your inner Source, wisdom and intelligence as a higher priority than focusing on a human relationship. This is not an either/or situation but rather an order of priorities in a moment when you are trying to work out something that may seem beyond human power. Allow the light to work through you, and then stand back and allow it to work through the situation. Ask for a change of perception, that is, to see the situation a different way. I suggest you not focus on the results, but rather on how you see things and how you feel. Your willingness is the essential ingredient. So be willing, state it to yourself out loud, take a breath and know that your next steps are guided.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You may find that unresolved circumstances and hanging questions progress rapidly over the next couple of days. I suggest therefore that you make no investment in what you don’t want, or in solving problems that have resisted your best efforts, and focus on affirming what you want. If you’re unsure of that in the ultimate sense, focus on what is working in your life by doing more of it. Emphasize the positive, and people who keep you in a life-affirming state of mind, if only to increase your chances of feeling good. If you find yourself resisting something, focus on something that is easier, more fun or more personally relevant. I would remind you of one other thing: you may be the missing presence in any situation that requires a catalyst, spiritual boost or infusion of energy. This is less about what you do and more about the fact that you show up with an open mind and consciously choose to allow the situation to unfold.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

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