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New York, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012
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The Affairs of Captain America

Dear Friend and Reader:

Everything in the world was proceeding normally and calmly as usual, and life was simple -- that is, until Andrea Mitchell, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, interrupted MSNBC's regular programming last Friday afternoon (Nov. 9) at 2:51 pm EST with the news that David Petraeus, the chief of the CIA, had resigned due to an extramarital affair. This is an unusual kind of news for the days after a presidential election, which are usually pretty sedate.

Planet Waves
General David Petraeus and his biographer-turned-mistress, Paula Broadwell, in July 2011. Photo: U.S. Navy photographer.
Were we to have heard no more, had it all ended there, that story would be pretty interesting. Petraeus, described as a well-respected retired four-star general who had overseen the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, had resigned from his relatively new job as the head of one of the world's top spy agencies -- over an affair?

Can't the chief of the CIA keep that kind of thing quiet? Wouldn't he have lots of help doing so?

If you follow astrology, you know that this is a fitting story to have breaking just before a total solar eclipse in Scorpio, one that had additional impact due to being the first solar eclipse in that sign in 17 years. I said in that morning's edition that this eclipse would dredge up the ancient silt from the bottom of the Scorpio lake, and spread it all over the land.

The timing, less than three days after Pres. Obama won re-election, was also interesting and to many suspicious, giving rise to a diversity of theories as to what might have happened (most of the more paranoid ones are being proffered by FOX News and some Republican politicians).

It's worth considering: was this news delayed to protect the president's re-election bid, or was it a botched attempt at an October surprise that happened a week too late? Was it a ploy to drag down his newly won second term?

Or was it a diversion from the fact that Petraeus was about to testify before members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees the following week, speaking on the CIA's role in the attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, this past Sept. 11? Would the scandal discredit Petraeus, who had promised to tell the truth? [Despite having resigned, he was scheduled to testify at 7:30 Friday morning in a closed session.]

The Benghazi attacks were supposedly prompted by a video making fun of Mohammed, resulting in a protest at a consulate where things got out of hand [covered in Planet Waves]. The attack turned out to be a pre-planned military assault on the compound, which killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three members of his staff.

One right-wing theory is that the State Department intentionally neglected security at the consulate, resulting in the deaths of Stevens and his staff -- or worse, that someone on Obama's team ordered the guards to stand down and let the attack happen.

This is being ascribed by some to be the product of "some insane political motive" of Obama's, as one conservative characterized it, though few want to state it out loud. The clear implication of this viewpoint is that Obama is a pro-Jihad Muslim sympathizer or actual Muslim -- and an enemy of the United States, aiding the enemy. In case you're wondering what part of the fuss is about, and what some are blaming Obama with, this mindset is lurking just below the level of what's broadcast on the news. It's also an indicator of how much can be made of how little, and the ways in which these events might be further politicized.

Yet considering this theory, what purpose would have been served by allowing Stevens to be killed with the election just two months off? And what about all that money the Republican-controlled House of Representatives did not approve for embassy security? It would seem more likely to be either a colossal screw-up of a covert operation, or potentially the work of Obama's enemies in the CIA or the military.

For its part, the CIA stirred up suspicion when it 'got the story wrong' in the days after the event. They originally went with the ridiculous out-of-hand protest over the Mohammed movie version of events, an obvious cover story, then the story morphed a few times -- and now the CIA seems to have been directly involved in Benghazi.

Two of the security agents killed were CIA contractors. Reportedly only seven members of the 30-member 'consulate' staff were part of the State Department. By some reports the 'consulate' that was attacked was actually a CIA compound involved in a program to buy back weapons sold to the Libyan government before they got into the wrong hands -- and it was holding Jihadist prisoners there. (Paula Broadwell spoke about the prisoners in a public presentation recently, information that she presumably got from Petraeus.)

In a similar version of events, the CIA had the prisoners at what's called a 'forward observation post' (FOP) involved in the weapons buyback program (called "locate and neutralize," or LOCNEU) just half a mile away from the supposed consulate. In any event, the CIA was closely involved with this supposedly diplomatic outpost, the primary mission of which may have been to funnel the weapons out of Libya and into the hands of Syrian rebels.

The Benghazi controversy was brewing through September and October, though the only notable time it came up during the campaign was in the second debate, when Romney tried to claim that Obama hadn't acknowledged that the incident was terrorism. In fact he said it was terrorism on Sept. 12, which moderator Candy Crowley confirmed. That was pretty much Obama's knockout punch of the evening. (This also reveals how superficial the debates really were.)

On Tuesday afternoon Nov. 6, just before Mercury stationed retrograde on Election Day, we're told that Petraeus was informed by his boss, a guy named James Clapper, Obama's director of national intelligence, that he should resign due to the scandal. Here, we have a manifestation of the Mercury retrograde factor on Election Day, though it was temporarily behind the scenes.

Quitting, Clapper said, would be the noble thing to do, despite this ending a long and storied career by one of the most respected generals in recent history. (Even Jon Stewart portrayed Petraeus as Captain America in a way designed to be flattering rather than mocking.) Petraeus submitted his resignation, Obama is said to have taken a day to consider it, and news that Petraeus was stepping down broke Friday afternoon.

For years, it seems like going back to childhood, I have been ranting about how the Aries Point, the first degree of the zodiac (00+ Aries, the location of the Sun on the vernal equinox), has a theme of "the personal is political." This chart for the news breaking, posted below, has the Aries Point rising -- to the degree, describing an event that's both personal and political and which as a result is likely to have a far-reaching effect.

Any one degree of the zodiac rises for just four minutes each 24-hour period, and when Andrea Mitchell went on the air in Washington, DC, the Aries Point was precisely the degree that was rising, indeed to one-sixth of a degree. The chart is an Aries Point bull's-eye. The position of the ascendant depends on the location of the chart; the chart is cast for where Mitchell was at the time of the newscast.

We were about to see just how personal the political could become. Petraeus (as the story goes) was discovered by the FBI to be having an affair with his biographer -- intelligence analyst Paula Broadwell, West Point graduate and daughter of the military academy's superintendent. She would be the central casting mistress for a four-star general. As it happened, he became chief of the CIA and was taken out by an FBI investigation into the affair, despite the fact that everyone acknowledges that no crimes had been committed.

Planet Waves
Chart for Andrea Mitchell breaking the story about CIA chief David Petraeus. Notice the Aries Point on the far left side of the chart -- the 00 and the Aries symbol in the outermost wheel. That is the Aries Point rising, exact to one-sixth of a degree. Each degree of the zodiac rises for about four minutes a day. Mars, the ruler of the ascendant, can be seen on the top right of the chart. It's conjunct the Galactic Core, which is not shown in the display. See full chart here. See glyph legend here.
Then over the following 48 hours, the story became more complex, when we were told how this information got out in the first place. Apparently the scenario comes back to Tampa, Florida -- home of porno shops, fried chicken and the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), the center from which the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are being run. Lots of generals hang out there.

A socialite named Jill Kelley, who with her husband hosts parties for dignitaries visiting CENTCOM, was friendly with some of those generals, perhaps a little too friendly, and she got some threatening, jealous emails telling her to keep away from Petraeus.

Kelley had a friend in the FBI and he got an investigation going. She turned over her computer to investigators. By tracking internet addresses (called IP addresses), and prying into one inbox after the next, FBI agents discovered that the threatening email sender was Paula Broadwell, a famous author. They discovered that she was having an affair with Petraeus, about whom Broadwell had written a book.

Emails from the same address -- KelleyPatrol -- had also gone to a diversity of generals, warning them of Jill Kelley's seductive and flirtatious ways.

With access to the email accounts, the FBI kept fishing, and discovered that Kelley was involved in a salacious correspondence with another four-star general, John Allen, commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Allen was, this very week, up for promotion to the top NATO job in Europe; that appointment was put on hold and is unlikely to materialize. For what it's worth, all of these people are married to others not named in this story. So it's a pretty good sex scandal, with an impressive cast of characters, set within a sensitive, potentially explosive moment in history.

While it's possible to describe, the problem with this whole scenario is how few of the facts add up to something cohesive. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but as one of my readers said, as you study the facts, it's not like putting together a puzzle; it's like sifting through the pieces of five different puzzles mixed up in a box.

Or it looks like we are peering into the rarely seen private world of military aristocrats as it goes through the upheavals of a power play of some kind, in a morph of Peyton Place and the myth of Pandora's box.

It remains true that a sex scandal is just about the only thing left that can rivet the attention of American media consumers, and sex scandals are always worthy of suspicion. One of the reasons that sex scandals are so appealing is because few people feel sexually clean, or right with themselves. When the drama gets projected outward, we get some relief from that pain. So it's possible to get a real hook into the public with one of these dramas.

Yet as the fireworks go off and the clouds of hazy smoke rise, I keep wondering what exactly is all of this drama designed to obscure? And at the same time, what message is it sending?

A general having a mistress is about as surprising as teenagers making out on Saturday night. It is not a national news story, not a crime and not inherently a breach of national security. Then that general became CIA chief. So what is the FBI, which is supposed to be protecting us from kidnappers, the mafia and terrorists, doing investigating him, especially if no crime was committed? There would seem to be some kind of war going on inside the government. It almost looks like a mob bloodbath -- or a total farce.

Are we to believe the head of the CIA to be so feckless that he forgot about the numerous programs designed to spy on American citizens, which copy every email and text message, and may record every single phone call? All of that is well documented; it's old news.

Are we to believe that a woman reared in the household of a top military officer, who graduated West Point and was trusted with security clearance, would actually send anonymous, potentially harassing emails to top-ranking military officials -- while in the midst of an affair?

Are we to believe that the FBI can get a federal warrant to enter the private email inbox of the CIA chief, who is not suspected of a crime? Who signed that warrant? Was there even one?

There are other freaky twists. Supposedly, the FBI agent who spurred the investigation went to Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, at least 11 days before the election -- because he thought the investigation had stalled. FBI agents are supposed to stay far away from political activity. They are not freelancers. Yet this tells us that Cantor knew about this for at least 11 days and sat on the information? He knew about the situation before Obama did?

Are we to believe that the timing of this whole thing is an accident? It strains credulity -- all of it. One thing to remember is that people involved in espionage and intelligence-gathering are accustomed to leading lives woven of deceit. Many of them know nothing else, and as a result don't even know who they are. When the lid is lifted off of that box, it's almost always disgusting in there.

There are plausible elements to the narrative; secret love affairs are common, especially among wealthy men. Women can get catty and competitive. Powerful people make mistakes and can get in beyond their depth, thinking they're invincible -- such is the nature of hubris. All of this adds intrigue and aura to the story. It has a kind of universal appeal, especially when we get to see the mighty and the powerful fall from supposed grace.

Let's take a closer look at the chart, and then consider a real conspiracy -- the biggest one of all.

As mentioned, the chart has the first degree of Aries rising. That gives the chart far-reaching impact as well as describing an event with staying power. The Aries Point is also an image of how all this personal baggage is being unpacked before the world. The private emails of top generals and people they're intimate with are at this moment being read by investigators. (There is some irony here in that American citizens have been spied on in the name of supposed national security, and now a spy chief and top general have been ensnared in the same rationale.)

Planet Waves
Chart for the news of the Petraeus resignation breaking on MSNBC one week ago today. Saturn, which represents Obama, is in the 8th house, to the right side of the chart, in mustard yellow. (It's just outside the 8th but it's within five degrees of the cusp, making it part of the 8th.) It's in Scorpio. This suggests that we're looking at a scandal that Obama could be dragging through much of his second term, if it's exploited. See full chart here. See glyph legend here.
This is a chilling reminder that there really is no such thing as privacy, and chill us is precisely what it does. We're reminded again when we see scenes of FBI agents carting off Paula Broadwell's iMac and file boxes, during a "visit" to her home (that's what it keeps being described as), supposedly with her permission.

Setting aside the narrative (which is easy to get lost in) these facts and images are designed as a kind of threat to the public. The message is that there's is no inner sanctuary, no place where we're safe from scrutiny, no space for intimacy in the world. Every keystroke is recorded and can be used against us. It's as horrifying as the telescreens on the walls of every room in the novel 1984, recording everything that happens.

The ascendant of this chart is Aries, so we can look to Mars for more information. The Mars/Aries thing is appropriate for a scandal focused on the military. We find Mars in Sagittarius in the 9th house -- with global influence. There is no doubt that this is an international military issue. It's not merely a case of the spy who loved me, though we do see the mistress/lover looming over the western horizon -- that's Venus in Libra in the 7th house (blue planet on the right, above the dark line). She looks like a decoy.

Mars (and the question of what happened) has even wider influence due to the fact that it's in a conjunction to the Galactic Core. Think of the GC as being so high you can't get over it, so wide you can't get around it. To me this says, "this issue -- whatever it is -- lurks behind everything."

If we are looking for the involvement of, or impact on, Obama, we can look to the 10th house, the house of "all the way to the top." This is the house of high office, admiralty and the presidency. The 10th house has Capricorn on the cusp -- indeed, the first degree of Capricorn, an extension of the Aries Point. For more information we look to the ruler of Capricorn, which is Saturn -- which represents the president.

Saturn is in Scorpio and the 8th house. The 8th is the house of death and transformation. This describes a troubled presidency -- unless it's handled cleverly, this whole issue could follow Obama through his entire second term. The Republicans have lost everything, and they have nothing to lose. They have no other issues to work with, except to go on the offensive against Obama.

The problem is that he may be involved -- at least in the sense that he's the political arm of the Military-Industrial Complex, which I wrote about two weeks ago. He has a secret role in this, or at the very least he knows a lot more than he can say at the moment; Saturn also rules the 12th house, because Aquarius is on the cusp (Saturn is the traditional ruling planet of Aquarius). It's as if his hands are not clean of the karma of this chart -- or he may be playing two roles, or being influenced by forces much larger than he is. We know from the history of the Kennedy administration that this is true of any president.

The Common Thread

One thing that everyone involved in this scenario has in common is involvement with the military or some spy organization. Everyone is involved with warfare. And the minds of all media consumers are consumed by the notion that some people had sex or sexy email exchanges. This romanticizes things, which in turn conceals from thought that in the background of everything is warfare.

Planet Waves
Frame of Collateral Murder, the video of the U.S. ambush on unarmed civilians in Baghdad in July 2007. The voice from the helicopter is saying, "Light 'em all up. C'mon, fire!" Photo from Collateral Murder.
Petraeus is being presented to us as a hero who fell from grace. In fact, he presided over the fraudulent, botched and illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have killed, injured and displaced millions of people the past 11 years. Everyone in the media seems to be missing this point -- what sponsors all of this madness is murder.

Petraeus is offered to us as a venerated general, who served his country well. Consider this fact. Petraeus took command of operations in Iraq in January 2007. On July 12, 2007, there were a series of airstrikes in Baghdad conducted by a team of two U.S. Army Apache helicopters. Crew members reported that they had seen a group of nine to 11 men, two of whom were war correspondents for Reuters -- Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. They claimed the men were armed when in fact nobody was. A journalist's camera does not look like a rifle.

In three incidents concentrated within 20 minutes, helicopter snipers (firing 30mm cannons, bullets nearly two inches wide) shot the journalists, killed at least 12 civilians, fired on a man crawling for cover and fired on a van, killing two children, and fired a rocket at a building where people had run for cover. They acted with approval of their higher-ups. None of the people killed were militants.

This incident was revealed in the video Collateral Murder, given to WikiLeaks by Pvt. Bradley Manning, who is currently facing charges for turning over this and many other documents, without which the public would know little about the truth of the atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Baghdad helicopter attack, in which 12 to 18 or more civilians, including children and journalists, were killed, happened under the watch of David Petraeus. After an Army inquiry, there were no repercussions for those involved.

Commenting on the report, Julian Assange told Democracy Now! that, "The tone and language [of the report] is all about trying to find an excuse for the activity... It's very clear that that is the approach, to try and find any mechanism to excuse the behavior, and that is what ended up happening.”

Planet Waves
American helicopter about to fire on a van full of civilians, including several children. The voiceover on the cockpit video says, "Come on!" -- as in shoot. Photo from Collateral Murder, a WikiLeaks project.
Assange also said, "There were three families living in that apartment complex, many of whom were killed, including women."

The WikiLeaks files are brimming with incidents like this one -- thousands of them. And with the exception of the WikiLeaks files getting their brief moment in the sunlight, countless civilian murders and military atrocities have been concealed and unaddressed.

David Petraeus is not a guy who had an affair. He is a war criminal. It was on his watch that this massacre happened and was covered up. Often the tone of an organization will be set by its leader, especially in a strict top-down structure like the military. As the old saying goes, "Shit rolls downhill."

The nature of this whole love affair charade is to conceal that fact, and to conceal that many of the people involved are also war criminals, involved with mass murder. That Petraeus took a bright young woman as his lover reveals that he has human tendencies. It's the good part of the story, the part where there is a spark of life -- though in the context of things, just a little one.

It's also a ruse to cover up far more important events, their impact and the real motives behind what's happening. A lot of bad things happened when David Petraeus was on duty. That he covered his chest in an ever-expanding pile of medals and decorations is just more coverup.

And at the moment, war rages on and on -- in Afghanistan, in Iraq (by mercenaries known as contractors) and with Israel and the Hamas pounding one another.


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Planet Waves

Planet Waves
Mars Jumps Into the 2012 Aspect

Friday morning, the Moon made a conjunction to Mars, right before Mars enters Capricorn, which will continue to stir the pot. The world is still vibrating after the first solar eclipse in Scorpio since 1995. That happened Tuesday, and will help us set patterns for the coming six months or longer.

Planet Waves
Mars on the cardinal cross is one of those moments when the 2012 astrology, in particular the Uranus-Pluto square, might go up like a gas pipe. Mars first aspects Neptune (pretty mellow, imaginative, lusty) then over the week it will make a square to Uranus and finally, a conjunction to Pluto.

That's the moment when you may look out your window or turn on the TV and think you're living in the early 1960s, with all the excitement, or the early 1970s with all the scandal in government. That will be a switch -- all the recent retro movements have pointed us back to the days of slavery, the time before women's suffrage, prohibition and the 1950s.

As you feel that bust-loose, cut-loose energy of Mars setting off the Uranus-Pluto aspect (in effect from Friday through the end of the month), just make sure you direct your thoughts and your actions as consciously as you can, and make course corrections as early as you can, should you make an error.

On the immediate radar, Saturday is what's called the interior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun. This is the midpoint of the Mercury retrograde cycle we're in; it's a slightly shorter one than normal. This is a triple conjunction, actually, of Mercury, the Sun and the North Node. This looks like a morph of sorting out your purpose for being alive, searching yourself for some emotional clarity, and opening up the sexual dialog with yourself, with partner(s) and with anyone else who belongs in the conversation.

Mercury will station direct on Nov. 26, so from now we have 10 more days to go. That event will come with another new wave of intrigue, though let's read this book one chapter at a time. Remember that Mercury is making a series of squares to Neptune -- check your facts. Check your opinions. Don't take anything for granted.

Planet Waves
Hostilities Escalate Between Israel and Hamas

Israel and Hamas are on the verge of all-out war. Israel pounded positions in the Gaza strip after Hamas fired rockets deeper into Israel than it ever has, striking hundreds of times. Air raid sirens were heard in Tel Aviv for the first time since the Persian Gulf War.

Three Israelis and 20 Palestinians were reported killed, and 235 Palestinians have been wounded. The conflict began Wednesday when Israel killed Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike and destroyed dozens of rocket launchers.

An Israeli defense forces spokeswoman reported today they were "recruiting" 16,000 reservists in preparation for a ground invasion; there are already up to 2,000 troops at the Gaza border, according to an anonymous Israeli official.

World leaders are trying to stem the escalation. French President Francois Hollande has begun talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other world leaders, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. However, it would seem that that the two entities have irreconcilable differences, as Hamas is an Islamist terrorist group that does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

And in a conference call with reporters, Ben Rhodes, U.S. deputy national security adviser, said, "We've urged those that have a degree of influence with Hamas such as Turkey, and Egypt and some of our European partners to use that influence to urge Hamas to de-escalate."

A planned ceasefire set for today, to accommodate a visit by Egypt’s prime minister, failed when both sides reportedly continued fighting.

Planet Waves
It Ain't Over Till Mercury's Direct

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is facing a GOP vow to block her nomination by President Obama to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are leading the charge to obstruct any Senate confirmation of Rice, based on her handling of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Rice spoke on several Sunday morning news programs about the incident, citing information given to her in a CIA briefing. Republicans in Congress claim she intentionally lied to them.

Planet Waves
U.N. ambassador Susan Rice saying on ABC what she was told by the CIA -- that the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was not premeditated. Republicans are saying she intentionally lied, and is not qualified to be Secretary of State.
Omaba issued a challenge to the senators earlier this week. "If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me," the president said in his first post-election news conference.

"And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous."

Meanwhile, in Mercury retrograde style, Mitt Romney continued the campaign well past Election Day. Though Romney conceded the presidential race, he continued to campaign. In a leaked recording of a conference call with his donors, Romney blamed his loss on "gifts" Obama has given to supporters -- especially blacks and latinos.

"What the president -- president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said. "What the president did is he gave them two -- two things: One, he gave them a big gift on immigration with the DREAM Act amnesty program; number two, put in place 'Obamacare,' which is -- which basically is $10,000 a family. I mean, it's a proven political strategy, which is, give a bunch of money from the government to a group and, guess what, they'll vote for you. The giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with."

Romney goes on to whine about young people and college students, saying: "Forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, 'Obamacare' also made a difference for them because, as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people."

Not all Republicans are amused; even the governor of Louisiana has distanced himself from Romney's remarks, calling them wrong and divisive.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives kept its leadership on both sides of the aisle. John Boehner will retain his position as house speaker, and Nancy Pelosi will remain minority leader.

Planet Waves
BP's Payback: A Drop in the Bucket

British Petroleum (BP) said Thursday it will pay $4.5 billion in fines -- including a $1.3 billion criminal penalty, the largest in U.S. history -- and other payments to the United States government in connection with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the spring of 2010.

Early on Thursday, BP said it would plead guilty to 11 felony misconduct or neglect charges relating to the deaths of 11 workers.

Later in the day three federal indictments were handed down: two manslaughter charges for BP well site leaders and a charge of obstruction of Congress and lying to federal investigators for BP's vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico.

The explosion, coinciding with the first of two ingress of Chiron into Pisces, led to millions of barrels of oil leaking into the water. The health of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem was further damaged by the widespread use of Corexit, an oil-dispersant that caused oil to sink to the ocean floor, where it can enter the food chain when ingested by microorganisms.

The charges and fines do not address the widespread death of wildlife or any ongoing health problems being experienced by emergency workers and those in the Gulf fishing community. In March, BP agreed with plaintiffs' lawyers to pay claims from the local seafood industry and medical claims stemming from the oil spill, from a trust the oil company set up for such payments.

BP says it is in advanced talks with the U.S. government about settling criminal claims related to the spill. BP would still be subject to claims other than those pending criminal claims, including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources.

"In particular, this settlement does not include what is potentially the largest penalty: fines under the Clean Water Act," reported The New York Times. "The potential fine for the spill under the Clean Water Act is $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel spilled. That means the fine could be as much as $21 billion, according to Peter Hutton of RBC Capital Markets in London."

The news comes the same week that the Paris-based International Energy Agency says the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia's oil production by around 2020 with the aid of controversial extraction techniques such as "fracking" and horizontal drilling, which involve blasting rock formations with chemical-laden fluid.

Planet Waves
A Rolling Jubilee for the 99%

The Occupy Movement, criticized by many last year for being too diffuse and disorganized with its ideas, seems to be finding its stride in taking action -- first in quickly organizing post-Sandy relief efforts, and now with a movement to bail out people in debt. Called "Rolling Jubilee," activists are raising money to buy distressed debt from financial firms, often for pennies on the dollar, then canceling it so that borrowers don't have to repay.

Planet Waves
Video still from Rolling Jubilee video, courtesy of Democracy Now!
Usually the third parties that buy debt from financial institutions try either to collect on it or 'bundle' it for resale. The Rolling Jubilee, however, is acting to "liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal," according to an interview Thursday on Democracy Now! with Pamela Brown, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the New School and one of the organizers of the Rolling Jubilee.

"We came together, and we started to talk, and we realized that debt was really the tie that binds the 99 percent. It's the intersection of Wall Street and our lives," said Brown. Rolling Jubilee grew out of a coalition formed in the Occupy Movement earlier this summer called Strike Debt; debt is shaping up to be a virtual battleground, replacing Zuccotti Park. As of Thursday, Rolling Jubilee had raised over $185,000 in online donations -- a drop in the $13 trillion of U.S. consumer debt, yet still enough to buy $2.5 million worth of defaulted loans.

It's not enough to truly impact the system or jeopardize the cheap price of debt, but that's okay. The point is to expose the predatory debt system. Find out more at, where you can download The Debt Resistors' Operations Manual.

Planet Waves
Scorpio Eclipse Over Sesame Street

In a quick turnaround befitting a Scorpio New Moon during Mercury retrograde, a young man who had accused Kevin Clash, the voice of popular Sesame Street character Elmo, of having sex with him when he was underage has recanted his story. The man, who has not identified himself, now says the relationship was adult and consensual, in a statement released through the Harrisburg, Pa., law firm Andreozzi & Associates.

Planet Waves
Kevin Clash and Elmo survived the eclipse but are still on leave from Sesame Street.
The news broke Monday morning, and the accusation was recanted the following day. The original accusation that Clash had engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old was released by Sesame Workshop, which produces "Sesame Street" in New York, when they announced Clash would be taking a leave of absence.

Clash, who is gay, has a grown daughter from a previous marriage. He denied the charges immediately; soon after the accuser recanted, Sesame Workshop stated, "We are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."

The accuser first contacted Sesame Workshop in June. They immediately launched an investigation and met with the accuser twice and also with Clash. The unidentified man is currently in his 20s; sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is over 21.

Clash announced Monday he will follow through with his leave of absence "to deal with this false and defamatory allegation"; there has been no word from Clash or Sesame Workshop as to when he may return to the show.

Planet Waves
Russia Loses Contact With Satellites, ISS

In a classic case of Mercury retrograde mischief, a broken cable outside Moscow was the culprit behind the Russian space agency Roskosmos' loss of communication Wednesday with its civilian satellites and its portion of the International Space Station. State-run news agency RIA Novosti had cited an unnamed source as saying Russia lost the ability to control most of its civilian satellites and send commands to the space station. However, once communications were reconfigured, the space agency said, all operations were back to normal, and the departure of a Russian, an American and a Japanese astronaut from the station, scheduled for November 19, would take place as planned. Military satellites were not affected.

Planet Waves
Planet Waves
Planet Waves FM :: Blue Studio Series :: (sex conversations)

This week I introduced a new Planet Waves FM audio series: conversations with Planet Waves readers about sex. These are not really interviews; they are an exchange of ideas, in an informal, freeform format. We'll be hearing from people -- so far, women -- of a diversity of ages and sexual orientations. In the first installment, I speak with Nora, a 56-year-old mom and grandmother, who has discovered her freedom and is now exploring erotic adventures.

In the second edition of the Blue Studio Series, my guest Cat and I take up the question of what it means to be your own lover. Cat is one of many people who has a preference for being her primary sex partner. We talk about her selfloving journey, how she feels about it and how she relates to the world around herself as her own lover.

Here is would-have-been Senator Christine O'Donnell's anti-masturbation revival video from MTV's Sex in the 90s. Her last line really says it all...

Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes -- and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Tuesday, Nov. 20, we will publish the Moonshine horoscope for November by Genevieve Hathaway. Friday, Nov. 23 we will publish the extended forecast for December. There will not be a weekly horoscope that day. Inner Space for November was published Tuesday, Oct. 30. The November Monthly Horoscope was published Friday, Oct. 26. I recommend reviewing the monthly horoscope at the end of the month. The October Moonshine Horoscope was published Tuesday, Oct. 16. Please note that the longer monthly horoscope is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space still publishes on Tuesdays.

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Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 #926 | By Eric Francis

Scorpio Birthdays This Week

If you have a birthday anywhere in the neighborhood, or if you're born with Scorpio rising, this is the year that you have the opportunity to get clear with others. Get clear about what? Your shared priorities -- what some would call the most important things in life. They are also the most intimate. While this astrology suggests that you have a lot to discuss with partners about money, that's not really the issue -- the driving forces behind your values are the things to focus on. To do that, you need to be clear with yourself. You're in a position where the values of another person could be influencing who you think you are. It's easy to get lost in this maze, that is, to have others define you, without your even being fully conscious of that fact. This is the time to get conscious of the way these interactions work and the influences they hold over you. To do this will take some soul searching as well as some guts, but you're a Scorpio -- you have the strength to do it. Note -- I've prepared an extended birthday report for Scorpio and Scorpio rising, which you can get at this link.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- For a child, work is play. That's the space to get yourself into as you reach for some of your best accomplishments of the year, or indeed the past few years. It will be easier to use astrology to describe this. There are two things going on in your solar chart right now. One is that Mars is about to reach your midheaven, the career and achievement angle in a chart. Pluto has been there for a while, warming up the territory; Mars (the Aries planet) arriving there represents some tangible, conscious move on your part. There is the potential for you to over-reach or push a little too hard on the power attribute of Mars conjunct Pluto, so I suggest you take it easy and focus on the work at hand rather than making it about you. Meanwhile, the meaningful asteroid Child has arrived in your sign. This is suggesting to appreciate the moment you are in, to look at the world through young eyes, and to maintain what Buddhists call beginner's mind. There are several ways these points could interact: at worst, childish tantrums or control dramas, and at best, a fresh, ongoing appreciation of work well done.

Hello Aries -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). If you would like to hear your Aries birthday reading, please visit this link.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- Your charts continue to emphasize your current relationship situation(s), a fact that's not going to change for a while. Immediate factors suggest that it's time for a careful review of the past, including the way that mental habits have influenced your choices and in particular, the words you have spoken and the impact they have had. One choice you have is to build your new encounters on the heap of what has happened in the past. Another is to seek understanding about what has happened, and to re-evaluate your role, and that of everyone else. If you choose to camp out in a fixed point of view, you will miss the subtleties and indeed miss the many opportunities for nourishment that come from true understanding. It's worth considering the history of all the ways you orient your existence on relationships and in particular, your concepts about them. Life when actually lived is not scripted, the end is not pre-determined and it's not a role play. It's something different, indeed, something much easier.

Hello Taurus -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). If you would like to hear your Taurus birthday reading, please visit this link.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- You seem to be making a profound decision about yourself, though I suggest that as a metaphor you imagine that you're putting on a glove. That's the feeling -- it's a choice, and something that you slip into, contoured to who you are and what you want. It facilitates your dexterity rather than getting in the way. You can apply that image to everything you're trying to work out in your life right now. The slipping in and the dexterity are emotional rather than physical -- though the most physical aspect of the experience involves your use of time, and the way you fit your priorities into time. The conscious use of time is one of the distinguishing factors of maturity and adulthood. Factors in your chart are informing you that the time has come to get a handle on this aspect of your life, which also translates to knowing your priorities and then being in emotional harmony with them. The emphasis is indeed emotional; the hand slipping into the glove is your emotions fitting snugly into your mind.

Hello Gemini -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). Have you listened to your birthday reading? Click here for an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading by Eric.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- Remember that sex is an experiment. It's also an interesting morph of expressive, relational and introspective. It's not always easy to get your partner onto this page, or to find someone who is -- and it's easy enough for you to forget. Yet right now this experiment is calling you in a profound way. It's as if your fantasies are aching for exploration and expression, yet you are wavering in your balance between 'external' and 'internal' focus. This may manifest as questions about what you will and will not say -- about what you want, need and want to do. I recognize the potential delicacy of this situation, and the edge you may be perched on. What I suggest is this: get clear with yourself in words, over a series of days. Describe to yourself what you want, preferably in writing or recorded, that is, in a form you can retrieve. Then take the leap and share it with someone you trust. This may or may not be the person you would prefer to explore with; the first step is to transcend your inhibition about sharing. If you notice fear or shame, work with these things consciously, and tap the erotic energy they contain.

Hello Cancer -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). To hear your birthday reading for the year ahead, please visit this link.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- As you take care of the details of your home, perhaps digging yourself out of some physical or financial disarray, I suggest you consider as deeply as you can what it really means for you to feel safe in the world. I say this recognizing that there are many people who have not felt safe for one minute since the day they were born. Others have grown up in the midst of so much turmoil that it's difficult for them to have enough of a sense of what safety feels like to recognize it when it comes their way. Still others associate violation, pain or chaos with a kind of psychological 'safety' that's really just a form of familiarity. There are a scant few people who actually know what it means to be held. Current aspects are inviting you to sort out where you are along this spectrum. You're verging on a breakthrough of understanding what it really means to feel safe in your environment -- particularly emotionally. I would remind you that part of this involves knowing where your boundaries are, and knowing when you've reached one of them.

Hello Leo -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). To hear your birthday reading for the year ahead, please visit this link.

Planet Waves

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- I've been doing a series of interviews with my readers about how they feel about sex, and what they think about it. One impression I am getting is how vital it is that we know where we stand with ourselves, and that we be willing to push the edges of what feels good, of what we need and most of all, what we want. Your solar chart tells me this is a topic that may be on your mind. It seems like you may be wanting to come to terms with, or understand in a deeper way, something that you're not so sure about. You may be wrestling with a question from your past, or some element of your erotic psyche that is making you question yourself on a deep level. I recognize this may be uncomfortable at the same time that it's deeply alluring and inviting. I know that sex and sexuality are sold to us as controversial. I can tell you that when you are settled with yourself in this aspect of your life, you will feel much better -- and you have that opportunity now.

Hello Virgo -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). To hear your birthday reading for the year ahead, please visit this link.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- For Libra and Libra rising, I've been developing the theme of self-esteem in recent columns. This is because Saturn, the Sun, Mercury and a recent total solar eclipse have been dancing around the sign next to yours -- your solar 2nd house, Scorpio. As a matter of psychic structure, Scorpio is the region of the zodiac that holds the keys to how you feel about yourself, which includes the ways you can learn to feel better about yourself. Because Scorpio is involved, you have the special karmic mission of 'self-esteem' translating to making peace with some of the deepest matters we encounter in a physical lifetime: the mysteries of sex and death; questions about our cosmic origins; and the often contradictory nature of the human emotional body. Because the questions go so deep, they are not your average matters of self-respect. Yet what this gives you is profound access to your humanity. Libra is one of the most creative and multifaceted energies on the wheel of life. There is a reason: you are drawing from a deep well.

Hello Libra -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). To hear your birthday reading for the year ahead, please visit this link .

Planet Waves

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- You may feel like you don't understand yourself, or like you have so far to go before you do. If that's what's going on for you now, I suggest you take it as a reminder of how far you've come. Yes, your questions are real, and they may seem to lead to more questions rather than simple answers (or any answers at all). Yet while you're doing this, some things are available to you that are not available to others who do not get so deeply involved with the mysteries. One thing is that your self-inquiry provides you with energy that will fuel your passion and your art. You are capable of being free from the kinds of judgments that ensnare so many people. Perhaps most significantly, you can groom this into curiosity that gives you a truly interesting life. If there's a catch, here it is: this all becomes valuable and life-affirming to the extent that you put it to use. Guide these feelings into some tangible means of expression, thought or relating. For the next few weeks, writing may lead you to some deep spaces. Be generous with yourself.

Hello Scorpio -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- A lot is brewing inside that wide-open space you contain. Your imagination may be running away with you. The astrological picture is one of passionately emotional fantasy, the sensation of astral contact with others, or a driving urgency to connect with yourself. If you're on the edgy side of these emotions, you may be experiencing fear, self-doubt and uncertainty about existence. It's possible that you're feeling lonely and craving contact of a kind that you cannot describe, much less admit to someone else. I would propose that all the emotions I've described here are part of the same thing. Fear and passion are closer than we usually admit. They can masquerade for one another, they dance with one another, and one can lead you to the other in unexpected ways. You are safe feeling all of these things. You are safe in your longing and your desire for contact. It is safe to imagine anything you want, whether you think it's possible or not.

Hello Sagittarius -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- Mars is about to ingress your birth sign, and that's likely to arrive with a bolt of energy and the release from anxiety you may not have noticed you were experiencing. If you did, it may have come in this form: is anxiety the cause of inaction, or is inaction the cause of anxiety? When this riddle resolves itself, it suddenly may not matter which was the cause and which was the effect; action itself is a form of relief. Focus helps you clear up the blurry edges of your thoughts, and expressing energy gives you more energy rather than consuming anything. As the next week progresses, this sensation may build. I suggest that you invest yourself into your choices and actions without hesitation. Practice living as if you have total confidence in yourself. Think of it as a gift you give to yourself. Dare to go beyond any feeling of doubt, taking confident steps. Fear is an emotion and it rarely speaks the truth. What we think of as freedom always takes courage, and offers courage as its first reward.

Hello Capricorn -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- One purpose of this past Tuesday's total eclipse of the Sun in Scorpio was to blow through what felt like a glass ceiling that has held you down for so long. Yet what was this thing exactly? It was anything but transparent, so glass really isn't a good metaphor. This was really about coming to terms with the darkness of the world, including some of your worst fears, your struggles with authority in various forms, and your fear of your own power. You have a tendency to whitewash the world in a philosophy of love and light, yet this doesn't do anything to change the reality of a planet obsessed with control, survival and scarcity. The authentic expression of goodness depends upon a root into grief and suffering. Generosity depends upon awareness of the ways people deny one another. Freedom demands that you know how fragile freedom really is, how few people it actually exists for, and how much responsibility it entails. If you can do this, you will start to make contact with the true nature of trust.

Hello Aquarius -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- Be clear about what you want to do, and also about the results that you want. You are now in possession of your vision and you know something about the method you're pretty sure will get you there. Put all these ingredients together with faith in yourself. Remind yourself continually the ways in which you've succeeded at challenging things in the past, if you need a hedge against any lack of confidence -- the truth is, you can afford to believe in your abilities and the virtues of your mission. Now, however, is the time to get your traction in the form of results. Take action and trust the action that you take, and recognize when something you do bears fruit. This may come in many forms, so I suggest that you not be attached to any one -- at this point everything leads to one destination. Therefore, motivate yourself to be persistent, trust your passion and never let the hesitancy or self-criticism of others deter you.

Hello Pisces -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

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