Planet Waves Daily, May 15-31, 2002


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By ERIC FRANCIS | Daily Edition through the June 10 Solar Eclipse.

Daily Editions from April 2002 | From May 1-15 2002 | From June 2002

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our
number one priority and we will not rest until we find him!"

-GW Bush, September 13, 2001

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and I really don't
care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."

-GW Bush, March 13, 2002, at the solar opposition to the first quote.

Friday, May 31 | In the News

For those of you who rely on hard-hitting Planet Waves coverage as your only source of news, I am reporting in from the supermarket checkout aisle, where I have scanned over the front pages of Thursday's New York Times. So, it's day-old news. So is USA Today. Have you ever noticed that everything printed in USA Today happened yesterday? They need to change the name of their newspaper.

When it comes to newspapers, I am a tough customer. People who have the paper delivered purchase a product before they knew what they're actually getting. This is extremely risky. I, on the other hand, scan the newspaper and make sure its contents are up to snuff before putting my money on the barrel.

As for the New York Times, this was a keeper, and it was a photo on page one that got my attention. I mean, what a great picture. It was, um, Mister, it was old Robert Mueller le Trosiemme, good old Whatshisname himself, director of the Federal Bureau of Instigation, pointing to this sign listing the agency's new priorities post-9/11, post-10/11, 11/11, 12/11, 1/11, 2/11, 3/11. 4/11, 5/11 and almost but not quite post-6/11. It's damn near the anniversary. The first newly announced mission of the agency: PROTECT THE UNITED STATES FROM TERRORIST ATTACK.

Thank you! It seems that the thousands of agents were so busy with the War on Drugs that they didn't notice that Mohammed Atta was issued a few visas, and was probably on the federal payroll. But that was a different agency's job.

Mueller, who looks more like the CEO selling the board on a new salary package for himself than the nation's most powerful cop (a difference?), is depicted pointing to a blue sign board on an easel, gesturing with his hand, caught mid-word, looking like he's supposed to be saying something really important. He actually did say something really important: that the FIB screwed the pooch on the early warning issue. The agency should have "connected the dots." He was candid. He answered reporters' questions. He was self-critical. He took risks. The bureau is cleaning up its act so it doesn't fall for it again, all says the Times.

Are we buying it? My theory? It's damage control, right down to the letter from Agent Colleen so-and-so. The FIB is the "fall guy" in the whole early knowledge scenario. In other words, the Shrub & Co. saw it coming, and the government pulled back on counter terrorism operations in the months prior (there have been many reports of this, but newspapers have amnesia). And as punishment, the FIB's budget goes up a few billion and everybody gets some new folders, training meetings and tons of memos. The main idea is to keep everything as far away from Bush and Shrub as possible. They learned this from the old Iran-Contra scandal and from Watergate before that. The president always knows. But the trick of politics on this level is to make up the most artful pile of bullshit that will convince the public that he had no clue, or at least confuse the public. Even the question, "Did the president know?" insinuates that he might not have known. Who the freak is the public? Your parents, of course!

Attorney General John "Let the Eagles Soar" Ashcroft, meanwhile, has "decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying." (Once upon a time, boys and girls, there was a program called COINTELPRO, the counterintelligence program, which, from a political standpoint, ended the dissent of the Sixties.) We do in fact learn, I am shocked, before the jump, that the limits which Ashcroft has relaxed "were adopted after disclosures of domestic FBI spying under the old Cointelpro program, and for 25 years they have been among the most fundamental limits on the bureau's conduct."

Dig it, man.

The bureau's priorities also include combatting public corruption (we feel so much better, don't we?), fighting cyberterrorism and... drum roll please... protecting civil rights. That is priority No. 5, which they can get around to after spying on everyone, holding them without warrants, etc. etc. etc.

Okay, enough of that.

Below the fold is a beautiful photo (I say this with irony, but it has a certain beauty to it) of four past secretaries of state lined up with their hands on their hearts, Pledge of Allegiance-style, from left to right: Madeline Albright, Warren Christopher, Alexander Haig and Henry Kissinger, who was Nixon's guy. He's still around, bless him. They all look so dignified. They look so serious. So mean. And truly miserable. Like... like... shrunken heads from a 1950s horror flick. In fact, they look like they're taking part in a federal program to embalm people before they're dead. The pain on their faces is palpable. The bitterness and the resentment. It must not be so healthy after all to supervise military operations against civilians, like, in Vietnam, or to starve Iraqui children, or blow up farming coops and schools in Nicaragua, for instance. We pray for their souls, correct? We pay their pensions? Correct?

In other news, the US fund for World Trade Center victims will write checks to some lesbian and gay partners, as long as their families don't object. And then, and then... there's the Osbournes. I don't have a TV. I missed this altogether. They got a new contract for their "reality series" about their family life, as in Ozzy, and his wife Sharon, whose face looks like she's pictured having her temperature taken rectally (86F!), and two kids, Kelly and Jack, who are the very image of... there's not really a word for it... but the closest word is smug. Reality! Pretty good for a has-been rock star: he's got something to do.

Or does he? The family seems really bored.

"The deal did not come easily," the paper wrote yesterday. "In fact, negotiations for 'The Osbournes', MTV's biggest hit series ever, turned out to be every bit as bizarre as the series itself, featuring such plot developments ad demands by the Osbournes for a new house and lifetime psychotherapy for the family's herd of cats and dogs; promises by the Osbournes to sign the contracts in blood; and offers from competing networks to steal the show away from MTV." Including undisclosed offers from the Planet Waves Network.

Link du Jour


Thursday, May 30 | Take it from a Skunk

Hello Eric,

I have to say I am very happy to hear you start talking about real relationships, not that I'm any kind of expert. It's just that I've always been confused why so few people really are talking about what it is to be in a relationship. It is usually assumed that you are in one already, or you somehow can easily find one like buying a new car or something. To me the question is, how are we supposed to relate to and love all of humanity when it is so difficult just to get one person to really appreciate who we are? Do you understand what I mean?

So I've been reading your column for years now waiting patiently for you to get around to addressing one-on-one relationships instead of multiple partners and solo sex. I hope you don't just write the subject off as some codependent plague and decide to really tackle what it means to find that one soulmate/spouse relationship. It can't be the bad deal some psychologists and sex-perts make it out to be. Lord knows there are many like myself who desperately need the help. Besides isn't lack of real relationships what is destroying the world today? Imagine if this story were true.

-- Carlos

Thank you Carlos.

To recap: In introducing the subject of relationships on Tuesday, I wrote below, in reference to the Sixties, "What went wrong was ultimately a failure of relationship: people's relationships to one another (especially men and women during the sexual revolution), between people and their institutions (government, for example, and the media), and between people and the ideas they were espousing."

And yesterday: "There is really one thing that never fails to astound me, which is the extent to which so many hide so much of who they are from the people they claim to be the closest to."

In presenting these ideas, I am not aiming at any specific kind of relationship. The basics of relating to people (let's keep this discussion on human-to-human experiences and leave the government and the media out of it for today -- but they do count for a lot, and affect our relationships profoundy) exist across the social cultures. It does not matter (to me anyway) if you're gay, straight, polyamorous, or monogamous; it does not matter if we're talking about platonic situations, which are never really platonic because sexual energy, feelings, and pheromones move through the environment whether we're aware of them or not, and whether we act on them or not. Ultimately, we are always challenged to do the same thing in any relationship: be who we are. Or, in the alternate, do our very best not to be who we are.

Neither is especially easy. It is not easy to fake your whole life away, to lie to your spouse, your parents and your boss, and to pretend you're someone you're not. By lie, I also mean hide away. To do this, it's necessary to lie to oneself, to hide from oneself. And that takes a lot of energy. This why the Queer coming out ritual is so powerful. It releases oneself to be free, and releases all the energy it took to hide for all those years in the first place. This is why I advocate heterosexuals coming out of the closet. (Do we want an essay on this?)

On the other hand, it's theoretically not so easy to be yourself all the time, or as much of yourself as much of the time as you can muster. We are just about all taught that we're too much if we're really real. Too much for ourselves, too much for the family and hence too much for the company, and too much to be taken seriously in a relationship. Okay, yes, sure, yes, it's hard fucking work. One must pay attention and be careful and consider so many things, and so many people, and so many feelings, and where feelings are concerned, there are just those times when nothing seems right.

The antidote? Shut down, of course! While I recognize that there is a tiny percentage of the population that actually needs psychiatric medication, the hundreds of millions of pounds of "antidepressant" meds consumed each year in the United States, and the tons of Ritalin served with school lunches, are simply and plainly designed to shut people down and space them out. Liquor, hard drugs and, quite often, cannabis, do the same thing. Television shuts people down and spaces them out, rather violently, actually. And from what I understand about the way sex is practiced most of the time in our culture, it often functions as a drug as well. A drug is anything that gets you to stop paying attention to how you feel.

And if we feel how we feel, that can compel us to change. Not necessarily with finesse. Not necessarily in a nice, neat package. But necessarily, and really.

One thing I notice is that a lot of people in "monogamous" relationships desperately crave contact with other people besides their partner. I've been there quite a few times myself. This is largely (my take) because marriage and monogamy are so isolated from the community, and the morals governing monogamy (American-style) are so strict. At least in lots of other places, it's understood you get to have a mistress or lover as well as a spouse. But then there is the social aspect of life. We no longer have extended families most places, with millions of cousins running around; we no longer have towns and villages to socialize in; so we get lonely. Two is the loneliest number after number one, as the song goes. And naturally, monogamous people often want sex with other people, and if they have to hide that fact, life gets even more lonely.

That they (or you) may want sex outside a monogamous partnership is not right or wrong, it just is.

The most beautiful thing about the discussion of polyamory is that it calls monogamy on the carpet. And monogamy, as it is, deserves to be called on the carpet. In actual fact, it's practiced as serial polyamory. In actual fact, it's pretty rare that there are just two people involved at a time, whether emotionally or sexually. We know that our relationships are more complex than that. We all know about that secret inventory of affection, love, need, longing and desire. And what we tend to do, and we're well trained to do it, is to tune out the complexity, deny how we feel, and go on pretending we're fine. It's lonely.

But then, so is the discovery that someone we want really might not want us in the same way. Part of being open means being understanding when people around us aren't turned on the way we want them to be. And that, we all know, hurts. And in a strange way, we need to have compassion for the people who might desire us but can't have us, and for those we want and cannot have, and for ourselves through the whole process. Tricky! Harder than watching TV. Harder than writing this essay.

Today is the last day of Masturbation Month, so I'll close with one last comment on that theme. The reason, if you can call it that, that I really like the idea and experience of sharing masturbation, particularly within "romantic" relationships, is that it WAKES US UP to how we feel about ourselves and our partners. If we dare to share our private fantasies with the person we call our intimate partner, if we dare to share our deepest surrender, if we dare to look and to see, we grow closer to ourselves and one another. Or maybe it's just more real.

If we don't know the person, it's a test of whether contact sex is appropriate. Granted, a daring one, but contact sex is pretty daring as well, and a lot harder to go back on.

Or, at other times, we might grow apart, because it's just not right, but the tropism is usually pretty clear in both directions. And that is really helpful. In the same way, being real about our values can "skunk" away the people who don't belong in our lives. Take it from a skunk.

In the end, I think it's far easier to be real than it is to fake, and I do my share of faking. Or, maybe it's just more satisfying on the soul level to make actual contact. It requires practice, and that practice -- hopefully -- draws other people into our lives who also want to be real, and relate to us, and can accept both of us for who we are. Slowly, we find one another, and wake up.

The Final Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Masturbation Humor | at Jackinworld


Wednesday, May 29 | Minute by Minute, two

So, a failure of relationships, or, you could say, brilliant potential. In my travels on this planet, there is really one thing that never fails to astound me, which is the extent to which so many hide so much of who they are from the people they claim to be the closest to. I am not raising this as a moral issue, I am raising it as a practical one. We go to enormous lengths to hide our seeming vulnerabilities, dancing around one another in an endless waltz. We also have feelings, desires, needs, resentments, ideas, passions, fantasies and dreams that much of what we call our "personality" is designed to conceal. And to do this, we need to hide who we are from ourselves. Isn't it painful? Can you really stand it? We usually say our reason for doing so is to protect others from the shock of finding out what we really feel or who we really are. But I don't accept this reasoning. We do it, usually, to protect ourselves from our own potential, because potential is, as they say, "scary." We hide our power from ourselves, believing that our power is scary, or somehow bad. But today, I offer you a different viewpoint. Who you are, who you really are, is beautiful, real, and completely necessary. Who you are not cannot live for long in the face of your true self. You can share your truth with yourself, and you can share yourself with the world.

Masturbation Month Link du Jour | Joseph Kramer's homepage


Tuesday, May 28 | Minute by Minute

I have just slept for about 16 hours, after returning from the Northwest Astrological Conference (Norwac). I don't sleep so well when there are full moons or eclipses in the neighborhood, but after arriving home yesterday afternoon, I fed my fish and passed out. I am not big on conferences, but Norwac is a friendly, high-quality and relatively small one, and I got paid to be there, to boot. It happened during a very intense weekend -- as you may know, we have experienced the first of three eclipses in the next six weeks, and the third of three oppositions of Saturn and Pluto that have been unfolding over the past year. So, some sparks were flying and there was a touch of chaos in the air, but it was a good time.

My talk on Sunday was called Born in the Sixties, in which I presented ideas and information about the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965 and 1966, which is active in the charts of people born between about 1960 and 1970, give or take a few years. One of my favorite colleagues, Rick Levine (co-creator of the StarIQ web page) gave a talk on the Saturn-Pluto opposition through thousands of years of history. His research is excellent and the tape is worth getting. What we see are highly predictable shifts in empire, religion and politics, and a lot of people getting killed -- sometimes millions, sometimes tens of millions (plagues, crusades, wars, etc.). What we see with the Uranus-Pluto opposition are equally predictable periods of Power to the People-type uprisings. Unfortunately, Uranus-Pluto happens less than once per century, while Saturn-Pluto happens every 33 or so years.

What we saw in the Sixties was an event or growth stage happening to people. But people born in the Sixties, as I explain in this month's column, carry the codes of those events with them in their astrology. The 1960s was a beginning of something that, on one level, does not seem to have gotten as far as it could. What I'll be developing in my next articles in the series is the idea that what went wrong was ultimately a failure of relationship: people's relationships to one another (especially men and women during the sexual revolution), between people and their institutions (government, for example, and the media), and between people and the ideas they were espousing. Ideas take work to integrate and make real and viable. That work can require many years of devotion. Relationships, too, require developing skills, putting one's own needs on par with those of partners (interesting ring between par and partner that I never noticed) and working for clarity, honesty and true acceptance (as opposed to tolerance).

This is a moment-to-moment activity. We need patience for ourselves and for one another. I can see, looking at my own life, that this web page, and the experiences you read about here, are the result of my continuing dedication to make these possibilities real. If we cannot live in a "perfect world," I feel deeply that we can create communities, out of the reach of empire, where we can explore who we are, experience a level of creative and emotional freedom, and really feel a deeper, much deeper, level of what it means to be human.

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Compulsion | from Somewhere


Friday, May 24 | A Weekend

Well, I've had it for the week, cousins. I have nothing to say! But I better, by Saturday, when I'm presenting my talk on Chiron at 25, and Sunday, another called Born in the Sixties, at the Northwest Astrological Conference here in Seattle. The second theme is a column in this month's edition, and Chirion at 25 will be covered in a series in upcoming columns or articles. If you're one of my students or colleagues who has helped prepare these projects, THANK YOU.

We are now in the middle of some astrology-of-a-lifetime; this is the moment of The Great Curve and it lasts for a few more weeks, but this weekend is one of the peak moments. Take it easy, please. And while I don't know how you're feeling, I can tell you one thing: this is likely to be one of the most interesting, unique and -- with any luck -- amamzing times of your life, and a real doorway to the future, or so it will seem from the vantage point of time beyond. So much is possible right now. You may not feel it; or maybe you do. Sometimes we don't notice these things. Even if your life totally sucks right now, there is so much potential it's nearly impossible to overstate the equation.

Please pay attention, it just may become really obvious.

Like that song, if you listen closely: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Double or Nothing Two | from Solo

and in Queer News... will the next Jackie Robinson please
step up to the plate...
Let's do the Time Warp Again

Back Tuesday!


Thursday, May 23 | It's Still Masturbation Month

People who have been hanging around Planet Waves for a few years may have noticed that I've shifted the emphasis in my sexuality writing from polyamory to masturbation. Polyamory is another word for committed, honest multiple-partner relating. Masturbation is, in theory, the sexual relationship we have exclusively with ourselves. Are dildos more interesting than orgies? On some days, but that's not why I took my new direction, and incidentally, most poly people seem to be far more interested in the details of relationship than they are in the details of sex. Me? I'm a Fish. I want it all. Including monogamy.

What motivated my shift in journalistic direction showed its face, in one form, a couple of years ago on one of the poly e-lists. There was a debate cooking: should the definition of polyamory include people who have multiple relationships that are based on non-sexual intimacy? Or do we need to define our community, our sub-culture -- our special kind of Queer -- based on having or desiring multiple erotic relationships, since in reality, isn't that what really distinguishes us from all the normal people?

Ryam Nearing, the Poly-elf who co-founded Loving More magazine, takes the view that we need to include nonsexual intimacy in our definition of polyamory. We need to be inclusive of all relationship lifestyles and lovestyles, she proposes. And she makes sense, as ever. A real life example: a man's lover could reasonably be expected to get jealous if his best friend is female, even if they have no interest in sex with one another. Is this actually reasonable? Well, I don't think so, but who asked reason? We're talking about emotions here. And that could take a very conscious process to work out. And that is polyamory.

The sex-only definition people make fine arguments as well. If we define polyamorous as including people who have intimate friends, then that (theoretically!) includes everyone in the world, and the word polyamory is rendered meaningless because it does not describe a difference. Sex, besides, is THE hot-button issue, and it's the main thing that people lie about to their lovers. In the poly community, our emphasis is mainly on telling the truth, about sex and about our emotions, but sex is, in practice, clearly the dividing line. Sex is what makes something an "affair" or a "relationship" and if we choose to keep this aspect of our lives honest, particularly, desiring or sharing emotional and sexual intimacy with more than one partner, that is polyamory.

Well, normally I am not a fence-sitter. I usually can see which argument of two is weaker, invalid or dumb. But I could not cancel out either side of this particular discussion, and I noticed this fact. It started to drive me nuts that I could not resolve the issue. I could not make sense of the whole thing. I struggled a long time with the dilemma, until I remembered something I learned in my high school logic textbook: when struggling with a dilemma, check to see if it's a false dilemma.

So I decided to turn it on its ear. What if the issue is this word "monogamy"? Because the real debate is allegedly "which is more legitimate, monogamy or polyamory?" Which is an incredibly annoying, endless drone of a discussion as well. So, I put the microscope on monogamy. What is this concept? Why is everyone's definition different? Why, for some people, can a guy be monogamous and slurp down on his girl-buddy and his girlfriend thinks it's cool, or alternately, another man can glance at the adorable waitress a little too adoringly and find himself sleeping on the couch? Now I was entertained.

I felt like I had my mind wrapped right around the core hypocrisy. It became super clear that the main distinction in any relationship, the true radical honesty, is can we be honest with ourselves? And, more to the point, can we be honest with ourselves about how we feel? Because if we can, we can relate that to other people. If we're comfortable in our own skin, or seek this, if we're comfortable in our sexuality, or just simply seek to be, we can then establish relationships on another basis entirely.

And, where sex and emotions are concerned, it's like this, if you ask me. We hold our real feelings, our secret feelings, our deepest feelings, around masturbation and all its attending emotions. Masturbation is the most true, most honest, most primal form of sex, and the one that is least weighed down with cultural expectations. It is also where we hold the most damage, shame and guilt, but we seem to coexist with it the most peacefully and honestly. And what I see, when I look at this, is the potential for sexual healing, and deep sexual sharing. I see a means for we humans to express who we are, who we really are, into our emotional and erotic sharing, with one or many, queer, straight or any shade of green.

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Organic Love | from Loving More


Wednesday, May 22 | Kashmir

Preferring as I do to get any bad news from good friends, I landed at my desk this morning met by a link sent along by Christopher Grosso about what is unfolding on the India-Pakistan border. His email simply said, "Nice knowin' ya, kid." He thinks he's funny!

Now, personally I don't have a (real) clue why a million soldiers are piled up on the border (they must have a reason, and it seems to involve a dispute over the independence of Kashmir, a region between India and Pakistan), but I do know who I can call later to have it explained in context, and I'll pass it on to you. But the rather delicate thing here is that neither country seems to be in the mood to negotiate, both have nuclear weapons, both are showing signs of desperation.

So, while The Boys play their oil games (which include -- rather optimistically, you have to hand it to them -- opening up war-torn Pakistan and impoverished India to that nice Afghani anti-terrorist oil pipeline that is coming soon), a few other lunatic world leaders are gearing up for World War Three. A million troops? Excuse me? I've never counted higher than 200.

Have these yokels consulted their astrologers? I can pass along some phone numbers. If you look at the Vedic charts, that is, the Indian astrology, it's pretty hairy. There are red stars involved, and images of broken food wagons, and the dragon is angry and Saturn is getting an eclipse, and the malefic planets got together for a party last month, and so on, all in the sign Taurus, the cow, food and security (according the sidereal, or stellar, horoscope; for us, it's Gemini) and it's all a big mess, and what they need to be doing, according to their astrological tradition, is praying -- and I am told that, in ashrams around the world, the supplications to the gods are made. I am very glad. (Ammachi! Ammachi! Help us!)

Now, I am not here to give you things to worry about. After all, you can't do much in the face of a million guys with guns getting ready for a rumble five thousand miles away. But this falls under the general heading of Wake Up Call.

I needed to get some suits fixed up for my astrology conference this weekend, and the local lady who does tailoring is one of those advanced souls, and we were sitting there on her porch discussing the ascension yesterday afternoon. Now, you don't read a lot about bimbo new agey stuff on this web site -- have you noticed? So if somebody is talking to me about the ascension and I'm listening, it better be good, and she grounded me right back in the reality of what I am doing and why I am doing it, and here is what she said, or rather, what I heard.

Many, many people are living illusions. We typically respond to the realities of life like groundhogs (her image), and dig a hold and crawl inside. But the planet, per an earlier agreement, an original contract, if you will, is going through an awakening process. You could say we are starting to awaken from whatever spell enslaved us in the first place. And that takes a lot of work and a lot of awareness and is a very big responsibility, and it's not so appealing to many people. And, for another segment of the population, spirituality and religion are quite enough (they are a good start, but not the whole trip because they are basically abstractions, not experiences).

Awakening takes work. We have tools, we have support if we ask for it, we have resources available, and we have whatever willingness we can muster. Mainly that willingness needs to be directed at letting go of ideas about ourselves that are not true, particularly how much we judge, shame, guilt and hate ourselves. There is another way.

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Off I Go | from Clean Sheets


Tuesday, May 21 | Wake Up and Smell the Bullshit

Everyone is paying attention, right? I know it was a long time ago, but through the weekend, the big news was that President Bush had various forms of early knowledge of terrorist the attacks on Sept. 11. The White House and other agencies said that he didn't have enough information to "connect the dots." It seems like most people think that while the president can't draw a real picture, he should at least be able to connect the dots, if a grownup helps him follow the order of the numbers. What do we pay Dick Cheney for, I ask you?

And Democrats and Republicans finally got back to feuding. What a freaking relief.

But the fun could not last long. Just as this rather juicy, highly entertaining story was spinning out of control in the national media and letters to the editor were pouring into newspaper offices around the country (there were some Pissed Off people here in Seattle), with Mercury spinning retrograde, something shocking happened. Cheney started in with the "not if, but when" stuff, saying that we're sure to be attacked by those terrorists again. Big news, man! I have just perused a few random news portals on the net -- MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, Reuters -- and the "Bush Knew" story is gone. Even the infamous Drudge Report's homepage links one to a New York Times article telling us that Bush didn't know. Why on Earth is Matt Drudge, the great independent slime-chucker, plastering The New York Times as his top story? Somebody please tell me.

Anyway, presto: new chapter in history: "Worries Widen." We have a lot to worry about. Reuters is leading tonight with a piece on Egyptian and Israeli terrorists being our enemies, too:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Militant Islamic groups like Hizbollah and Egypt's Islamic Jihad could be planning to attack the United States and may be more able to do so than the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Monday.

Sen. Bob Graham, speaking amid new warnings of attacks on the United States, confirmed reports that about two dozen "extremists" had recently entered America hidden in container ships and were now on the loose.

So, let's recap the past nine months of American history. A big surprise terrorist attack happens on Sept. 11 about which the president or at least his people (the president, such as Nixon or Reagan, never knows anything directly) were warned in advance. Jeb Bush down Flor'da issues an executive order Sept. 7 joining the police and the National Guard in case of terrorism. The US responds with a war (already in the planning since July) against the entire nation of Afghanistan, allegedly designed to catch Osama bin Laden, who may be hiding there, but he escapes and is still in business, while the starving nation and all its food supply networks, bridges, infrastructure and so on, are blown to bits. Just in case Osama is hiding under a bridge, I guess. The Taliban, the latest "boomerang effect" fuckup of the CIA, is flushed. The way is paved for a long-planned central-Asian oil and gas pipeline, opening up India, Pakistan and other huge fossil fuel markets.

Pop quiz: What business is the Bush family in?

Meanwhile, the convenient side-effect of the "war on terror" is more global hostility. Pop Quiz 2: What other business is the Bush family in?

Something like $40 billion is allocated to "fight terrorism," military spending soars to a record high in the history of the known universe even though the last time around, the enemy was allegedly armed with box cutters, laws are passed bringing back pre-Watergate policies allowing phone taps and spying on Americans, racism is back to being the national pastime, Arab people are held without bail or charges pending against them, guys with machine guns are posing in airports just like in Egypt, Greece or Italy, cars may be searched on ferry boats, national ID cards are proposed again, etc., etc., etc.

And in the end, we are no safer, because any lunatic with a bomb made from Radio Shack components can blow up whatever he wants, especially if you figure that airport security still sucks. So exactly what just happened?

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
He'd Rather Masturbate! | from Jackin'World

PS, the punch line: "All elections in Castro's Cuba have been a fraud," Bush said. "The voices of the Cuban people have been suppressed and their votes have been meaningless. That's the truth."

I just received a note from a friend who works at a military-related business in the East, where security was decreased at the beginning of May and has not been increased since these latest "terror warnings." ID is no longer checked and visitors no longer must sign in. So I ask you: What are you noticing in your neighborhood, your business and your building? Please pay attention! Please take notes. Please clip interesting articles from the paper, save interesting memos, take notes on, or record, news broadcasts that seem to contain information that might disappear tomorrow. The real story of 9-11 was 9-10, and right now, it seems, we may be in just such another moment of mystery. Please tell us what you find out. Email us at with what you notice.


Monday, May 20 | Yellow Alert

We've all heard the name Tom Ridge. He is the chief of the folksy Office of Homeland Security, which has given us the fabulous color-coded terrorist alert system. America is presently on Yellow Alert, meaning either we have to pee urgently, or there is an "elevated" level terrorist threat, so please, keep a close eye on your neighbors, and don't pee in the pool. The vice president, Dick Cheney, is, in between denials that the White House knew about 9-11 on 9-10, telling us that another attack is imminent. Isn't that interesting? All of a sudden? Just as the news starts getting out of hand and The Chief's popularity starts to wane?

And despite this, the alert level has not increased any time recently. In other words, Cheney is getting on Meet the Press or whatever on Sunday morning, telling us that another attack is imminent, and they don't even change the alert status. So I ask... Who is full of it? Cheney or the alert system?

But I digress.

Has anyone made the connection between Tom Ridge and Mumia? Tom Ridge is the former governor of Pennsylvania (he resigned to help protect the homeland), who was the most recent person (the second, actually, and the last) to sign a death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal, the black radio journalist currently on Pennsylvania's death row (his unbroadcast commentaries, originally prepared for NPR but pulled from the air at the last minute, are assembled in a very fine CD called All Things Censored). There is overwhelming evidence that Mumia's trial, nearly twenty years ago, was a sham, and no solid or credible evidence that he actually shot a police officer, or shot anyone. But this didn't stop Mr. Ridge from signing a death warrant.

Now, Mr. Ridge knew full well that Mumia's case was coming before a federal court, and that the warrant would be stayed almost immediately. It was a public relations gesture on Mr. Ridge's part, designed to grab some headlines, appease the lunatic right wing and fan the flames of racism. But let's take the symbolic gesture for what it's worth. He signed a decree allowing the state to kill an innocent man.

I do not say this lightly. Everyone familiar with the trial knows that Mumia is either innocent (I would say white as the driven snow, but the metaphor would not work) or that he was convicted amid such insane corruption that the trial should be thrown out, which still means he's innocent since we live in this country under a presumption of "innocent until proven guilty" (except in traffic court). And yet old Tom signed the death warrant.

Currently, his job is to protect the whole country from terrorist attack. Don't you feel better?

In his defense, I will say that Mr. Ridge was -- so I have read -- passed over for a real cabinet appointment in the early days of the Bush administration because he's pro-choice, that is, he supports women's right to make decisions about their own bodies. Not bad for a guy who would blend into a wallpaper pattern nicely with some Rush Limbaugh drapes and a Barry Goldwater recliner. Apparently, being pro-choice meant that he was not moral enough to be on the Bush Goon Squad. This is not a question of civil liberties, feminism, family planning or anything like that. We're talking morality. Abortion is immoral, here in America, where every day is Sunday. It's a little like in Alice's Restaurant. If you've ever littered, you're not moral enough to kill people in Vietnam.

...and I was just having a tough time there, and they was inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there, and I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got one question. Have you ever been arrested?"

Now, I am not saying or suggesting that abortion is not serious subject matter, worthy of extremely careful thought by any woman, and her responsible man, who considers it. But men (as in judges and legislators) deciding in advance that all women, or certain classes of women, do not have this option is just a little too much for me to accept. And hey, Tom Ridge agrees.

So, we have to hand it to him for being too much of a wimpy Republican to get picked in the first go-round to be one of the Big Kids; and for not being afraid to stand up to the "Religious" "Right" -- he wasn't needed till 9-10, or rather, 9-11.

And anyway, another federal court threw out Mumia's death sentence because the trial was such unadulterated bullshit, though the same judge left the conviction in place, where it stands, for now. Eventually, based on this ruling, Mumia will be taken from Death Row, where he still lives, and put in "population," where he can at least socialize with other prisoners and get outside, as his appeals grind through the court system, and I do plan to buy him a beer in Philadelphia one day, if he drinks beer, and if not, an organic lemonade.

By the way, since 1973, according to the Death Penalty Information Center,101 people have been released from death row because, after all their trials and appeals and convictions and for all their legally established guilt, they were actually found to be innocent. (Oops.) Several of these cases were brought to light by journalism students at Northwestern University under the guidance of Prof. David Protess, who is on my short list of heroes. As a result of his work -- backed by lots of other people, but he's really accomplished stunning things with his undergraduate students -- two states have now placed moratoria on the death penalty, others are considering it, and there is a movement afoot to put a stop to the new federal death penalty till the whole mess can be straightened out.

Remember, it's all one issue.


One - two- three

What're we fighting for?

Don't ask me, I don't give a whack

Next stop must be Iraq...

-- (apologies to) Country Joe

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Friend Helping a Friend | by Kala Hill


Thursday/Friday, May 16-17 | Mercuriouser | View Chart

Interesting that just as Mercury stations retrograde (see May 15 edition), we start to get some confirmation in the mainstream press that the Bush Administration had early knowledge of terrorist activities that "took America totally by surprise" on Sept. 11. This notion has been flying around the alternative media for months and months, and has been a topic of conversation in this office since Sept. 11, i.e., that day. It was just a little too obvious to miss, and the chart for the incident was a little too weird [see Mercury Also Rises, published around Sept. 22]. This is, after all, an astrology office. The insinuation in the chart is that Mercury and Saturn, who represent the terrorists and the power establishment, respectively, switch places following an old astrological rule called mutual reception. If they switch places, then who is who?

Bush's people are passing the reports of early knowledge off, saying they notified appropriate agencies, which is the perfect bureaucrat's answer, but unfortunately not in the wake of what happened shortly after. What we know so far is that there was an FBI warning of terrorists enrolling in flight schools, as well as the notion that al-Qaida would be attempting to place its operatives as pilots, maintenance workers and airport security agents. Then there was a second warning, in the form of a top secret briefing, that there would soon be hijackings, which was received in August [related article in the Mercury News].

On April 11 (that is, 4-11, the day I proposed we would be getting a lot of "information" after a big emergency on 9-11) US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) called for a federal investigation into George Dubyas early knowledge of the terrorist attacks [link here to Washington Post article]. We might think, big deal, a congress person calls for an investigation. Well, it's a very big deal, because, first, she is sworn to uphold the same oath of office as is the president. Second, it enters the issue into the public record, that is, the newspapers, Google, various official government agencies which must make note of such things and so forth. Third, it forces Bush and his administration officials to make denials that they may have to eat in a few weeks or months. That is a big one. Denials are always good to get on the record. They look all the more stupid in the face of documented evidence of crimes. And the call for an investigation apparently struck a nerve with public opinion. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution online poll (in the representative's home state) posted with the article revealed that 46% of the newspaper's readers believed that Bush was involved in a 9-11 plot. The poll was promptly pulled from the internet. Bush administration flacks accused McKinney of being a conspiracy nut.

The actions or lack thereof by the Bush administration around 9-11 events look really interesting if you consider that the Bush family is set up as the military's private quartermaster, in the form of an investment firm called the Carlyle Group, headed by former Bush administration flunkies James Baker and Frank Carlucci, and "advised" by George Herbert Walker himself. McKinney makes this connection; in doing so, we are merely following the money, in the words of Watergate secret informant Deep Throat. When there is war, indeed, when there is any military spending at all, the Carlyle Group makes money, and lots of it. In addition, the Bush family is in the oil business, and there is that pipeline to consider, the one that's supposed to go across Afghanistan... and the Enron connection to that pipeline... and the many Enron connections to the Bush Administration... and to think that we had a presidential impeachment several years ago over what? Somebody denied getting a blow job?

Okay, well, let's go to the chart. The inner wheel is his natal; the outer wheel is the eclipse. The president's chart is a really interesting piece of work right now. Take a look, even if you're not an astrologer -- this will be your first step in that direction.

I am about to foray into Astrobabble, so follow along if you can. But to put it simply, the total solar eclipse on June 10 aspects Bush's chart about as intensely as an eclipse can (more is always possible), and this is no minor eclipse; but planetary events leading up to it, in particular, the current Mercury retrograde, slam, slide, bang and pop around the same angle of his chart: the one where he has his: 1) dealings with the public, and 2) where his income from professional activities (i.e., the oil business, Enron, etc.) shows up, and 3) where he has or does not have friends. That all would be the 11th house, the one with all those planets up in the left upper quadrant of the horoscope. I am aware of at least one other astrologer who said that this Mercury retrograde and eclipse looks a lot like egg on Bush's face (it's pretty vivid in the chart), but it may be a lot more serious than that. If you ask me, he's about to run out the reel on an aspect of his karma: this man was born to be free, and now it's become clear what he's done with that freedom.

We could see Uranus in Gemini in the 11th on the North Node as that free reign in his public life -- indeed, free reign in his life, period. He has had no serious responsibilities up until the presidency, and he's had lots and lots of privileges. Now that very aspect is, well, kinda slammed by an eclipse in conjunction with Saturn. Saturn to Uranus can be very frustrating because all that freedom you had gets stiffled, especially if you have no discipline. Saturn is just trying to reign in those free reigns if they are used irresponsibly. The eclilpse adds emphasis, power and the sense that it's time. We'll see what happens.

But it is the combination of Mercury retrograde in his 11th house of public relations, which can create all kinds of bungles, tangles and mangles in commuinication (we're talking about Gemini here) and the eclipse in that house that I find the most promising overall. I think we need this man to be president, we just need him and a few of his top hotdogs in a very compromised position so they get nothing done.

Now for his 7th house, the relationship house. This is mighty interesting, as Neptune is transiting the angle exactly. Neptune? It's about spirituality and compassion, but it's also about denial, delusion, drugs and deception (all the D words). We know he's a drunk. We know he's a liar. What I see with this Neptune transit is that he's being given alcohol and being told lies. Many people who voted for him said that Bush wasn't so smart but that he would be "surrounded by intelligent people." Well, those people are not just intelligent. They made it to the top levels of government because they like power, and why stop there? Why be content to have "the man" have the power when you can have it for your very own? So we keep The Man as far from the action, and reality, as possible. It is a bit Reaganesque; George Sr. has had a lot of practice at this particular set of moves.

In terms of his natal, I think it's pretty ominous, by itself, that Bush has Mercury conjunct Pluto rising in Leo. He is a death dealer; every time he opens his mouth, he is selling us more death. Now, Neptune is opposing that Mercury-Pluto conjunction, which is really out-there, all the more so for being angular -- exact on the horizon -- and for involving Aquarius, one of the more publicly-oriented signs. Yet the more he pursues his crusade, the more complex it's going to get, and at this point he really has no choice. He has no domestic policy to fall back on, and no foreign policy except murdering Arabs to fall back on. He literally has no demonstrated political agenda except to further the interests of the family business. It promises to be an interesting month.

Of course, let's see what kind of ruse issues surface -- one magic trick that The Boys always have at their disposal is to "make something happen" that distracts everyone's attention. Usually it's a war somewhere (in the case of 9-11, my feeling is that the anthrax was a ruse that pulled the media's and the public's attention away from the real issues, and provided them a test balloon to see how people would respond to domestic terrorism and, if you ask one PW writer, to test how their anthrax worked in real life). Who knows: may it all go wiggy.

Masturbation Month Link du Jour
Metroactive article about Masturbation Month

 Keywords and Key Phrases for Eclipses

o The first is concentration of experience. A lot happens in a short time; time itself becomes distorted. This works on an individual level, and on a collective level.

o Events seem karmic or predestined. They may not be, but they certainly seem that way. A lot of how that shapes up depends on your relationship to the ideas of karma and destiny.

o Add some discontinuity. The world always seems to plow forward on its crazy way, and yet nothing ever seems to really change. Life is genuinely different as eclipses approach, and then never quite returns to normal. In the process of the Soul evolution of the planet, and in our individual lives, these events represent critical transition points without which there would be very little progress at all.

o So, another characteristic is a distinct sense of sudden transition. We move from one space of life into another. Personal relationships, including marriages and lover-relationships, are particularly susceptible to rearrangement. The change can be deepening of stronger the relationships, and shake-ups in weaker relationships, many of which are likely to change dramatically.

Anything that's not working with the process of our personal and collective evolution is subject to disruption, and things that are working are subject to growth and challenge.

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