Dear Friend and Reader:
Maybe it was the rare-to-find Orange Toastees, or maybe it was the world-famous date nut bread. Howard Johnson’s in Arlington, Virginia, might have seemed like an odd place for a conclave of the captains of industry and the stewards of government, though that’s where it happened.
From the transcript alone, you would probably never know the apocalyptic, species-threatening nature of the meeting, nor from the location, or the tone of the conversation. From the stenographic word-for-word account that somehow emerged, it seems as if spoken in whispers.
It’s a panel discussion, with microphones at the dais, presumably in a motel’s conference room, away from government property. No reporters were present; none know about it, or they surely would have been there.
Participants include government environmental regulators from the US and Canada whose names we know, along with their clearly identified lawyers and consultants.
Then there are a bunch of anonymous chemical industry representatives, all of whom manufacture pesticides and herbicides. They are each referred to as “A Voice.” Their names are lost, assuming they were ever recorded.
It was a tight bunch; it’s probable that anyone at the meeting could have recited the names of all the others. These are people who knew one another well and who did business together all the time, like the neighborhood business association of supertoxins manufacturers.
Someone in the room, whose role is unclear, was named Diane, an echo of the mystery secretary in Twin Peaks. We may assume the only other woman present was the stenographer, Elizabeth Ann Tipton.
A Monday Almost Like Any Other
The time was a Monday morning in late 1978, the day of a solar eclipse. Why these people are meeting is to address how the entire universe of industrial and agricultural chemical safety testing — decades of allegedly scientific studies claiming that poisons such as pesticides are suitable to be sprayed on your food — had exploded in revelations of fraud and incompetence.
Two years earlier, someone intelligent at the FDA — Dr. Adrian Gross, a staff scientist there — figured out there was a problem, after actually looking at the data behind one of the studies and noticing that it seemed like fiction.
One testing lab was implicated, then the scandal spread to about 80 others. Newspapers and independent journalists were onto the story.
It would become the subject of Senate hearings called by Ted Kennedy. In 1983 there would be one of the longest criminal trials in American history, for fraud, involving the lab’s top executives, conducted at the federal courthouse in Chicago.
The 130-page IBT-HoJo Transcript is part of The Gemstone File, a digital library of historic documents that chronicle the chemical industry and its supposed government regulators from about 1930 forward. The library will be made available for free to the public sometime in the next week.
Mostly emerging from a barn in Oregon and a storage unit in rural New York State, its documents cover numerous agricultural compounds, industrial chemicals and ingredients of household products, all of which are still on the market. In other words, even though the health and safety studies were voided, the products remained in production. Many products currently in your home could be involved.
Its depositions, memos and scientific records contain many examples of regulatory failure, fraud and deception of the public: proof that what passes for science often is nothing of the kind.
It’s a mine of missing information and details on compounds including Agent Orange, DDT, dioxins, furans, glyphosate, PCBs and other chemicals in your food, under your sink and in your bathroom. This resource will serve environmental activists, scholars and contamination survivors for generations, particularly as many of the same companies are now involved with genetically modified agriculture.
The Decryption Key
You might say that the IBT-HoJo Transcript is the key to understanding the whole sprawling Gemstone File. By key, I mean a mental decryption key, a bare exposition of the central pattern of every chemical scandal that ever was or is.
IBT stands for Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories, or IBT Labs, which was the name of a company and also the name of the whole affair, even though numerous other testing labs were found to have been involved in fraudulent or incompetent testing in the same era.
The IBT-HoJo Transcript starts slowly, like a Russian novel. At first, the only thing that keeps it interesting is if you know the context, which is impossible to overstate: all of the most commonly used pesticides and herbicides have been revealed as having fake toxicology studies backing up their use.
The goal of the meeting is ostensibly to address how to sort out all the data and make sense of it, and reconstruct something acceptable to public scrutiny. Then it becomes clear that’s simply not possible, so you get a step-by-step demonstration of how to fudge over a canyon of missing data and make it seem plausible.
Then even that wears thin and it’s apparent they’re devising a plan to convince the public and the press that business should go on as usual: “to get on with the normal marketing of pesticides,” as one participant put it.
There’s no reconstructing anything. They’re dealing with two decades of chaotic, make-believe, incomplete or missing data; practices like replacing dead test animals with live ones, but counting it as the same animal; and no integrity whatsoever in the most important kind of studies: those involving long-term exposure. The problems of the long-term studies are so endemic that the whole category is deemed unreliable, not even subject to audit. One problem IBT faced was that the situation in the lab was such a disaster, they could not keep most of the test animals alive for the whole study.
At first, you may hear someone say something that seems credible, such as “we are not proceeding” with evaluating the status of a chemical “until we have had a chance to examine all the studies.”
‘It’s That Kind of Situation’
Then you might read, “We would proceed regardless of whether it was IBT data or not with the assumption that there is a certain market for the pesticide.”
Then you might read, “As you are all aware, the cancellation and suspension actions talk about unreasonable adverse effects, and lack of a data base is unreasonable but it’s not an adverse effect by itself.”
Or, “We are going to be very flexible. We’ve got to. It’s that kind of situation.”
Then, soon, your mind is swimming in statements like, “raised extremely serious questions for the pesticide regulation process” or “there are 4,500 tests in our files from IBT, all of which are subject to some scrutiny” or “not in EPA’s, public’s, and registrants’ interest to require registrants to replace all IBT data.”
You read that there’s “no reasonable way the Agency can proceed, either in re-registration efforts or in making regulatory decisions on the safety of the compound” or “would tie us up for years and also tie up the re-registration process” or even “very few long term tests followed original protocols.”
Then you read that the EPA expects “validation to be completely accurate…and certainly not falsified in any respect.” We learn that 80% of the studies were invalid for one reason or another. But it will all be completely accurate.
At one point, the top EPA official in the room says, “That is precisely the reason that we didn’t suggest that everyone go to the level of examining the pathology material because, unless you first do the review of which animals you can describe the tests on, there is no sense attempting to check pathology.”
Once You Know IBT, Nothing’s Shocking
We also know from the IBT-HoJo transcript that IBT conducted 4,500 studies in total. Yet the final report prepared by EPA and Health Welfare Canada five years later claims that IBT conducted only 800 studies. So what happened to the other 3,800 studies?
Once you understand what happened at IBT, you understand the method and see an extreme example of what’s possible. Nothing really seems shocking by comparison, though it all rightfully is. And that is The Gemstone File, consisting of approximately 20,000 individual documents, on about 200,000 sheets of paper, weighing in at three tons, all of which was scanned the past 18 months.
The effort was headed by Peter von Stackelberg. Most documents came from the collection of Carol van Strum in Tidewater, Oregon. About 75,000 pages came from the files of Chiron Return, the nonprofit organization that publishes Planet Waves FM, of which I am executive director.
An Ominous Eclipse:
Charting the IBT-HoJo Meeting
Because a court stenographer, paid for by IBT Labs, was present at the Howard Johnson’s meeting, we have an exact time that the proceedings began: 9:45 am on Monday, Oct. 2, 1978, in Arlington, VA. [View the full chart here.]
I’ve said before: there are some charts that tell you about an event, and others that teach you astrology from scratch. This chart works both ways. It contains so many interesting patterns it would take a full-length article to describe them all. If you’re an astrology student, print the chart, then read the transcript, and get the best astrology lesson of your life.
However, several patterns stand out; and what really blazes out is that the meeting happens just hours after an eclipse of the Sun in Libra. The eclipse is like an epicenter, rippling out in all directions. Depending on your viewpoint, the eclipse either magnifies the effect of the meeting, or describes something with far-reaching consequences.
In astrology, nothing says “ominous” quite like an eclipse the morning of some huge event; so first, let’s look at the aspect pattern surrounding the eclipse. That’s in the chart right below this section.
What I’m calling the eclipse is four points to the upper left side of the chart: The Sun in yellow, Mercury in green, the Moon in gray and Pluto in red. They function as one entity, and together make up one corner of the grand square aspect. You can see that outlined in orange.
Adding Pluto to an eclipse illustrates the depth and impact of the situation, and Mercury says that it’s about messaging. In the IBT-HoJo chart, the eclipse has moved into the 11th house of groups, on the cusp of the 12th house, representing the whole population — everyone is affected. Note, because Scorpio is rising, using whole sign houses, the whole cluster of Libra planets can be counted as being in the 12th — veiled from view, which is accurate, and affecting everyone. It’s so wide, you can’t get around it; so high, you can’t get over it.
Other Points in the Grand Cross
Now let’s consider the other points that are connected to the eclipse in the grand square (also called a grand cross) pattern. There are three: Nessus, Ceres and Eris. Let’s take them one at a time. Remember, they are all acting upon one another, and part of the same story.
Ceres represents agriculture, and is the root of the word cereal. She is all about grain, though has many other sublime implications, often describing the grief we experience here on Earth, particularly around our children. Ceres is the Roman evolution of the Greek goddess Demeter; she is Earth Mother or Gaia.
The conversation is mostly about agricultural chemicals that are being sprayed on grain. Ceres is in Capricorn, rooted into the Earth. She’s in the 3rd house, meaning all of this is ultimately a local affair. It comes home to your village, and your local grocery store.
Next is Eris, in the 6th house, which you might think of as the laboratory or work space. Eris can represent sheer chaos, and in this chart, that’s what it’s about. This chart presents Eris in her most destructive form.
The eclipse was in an opposition to Eris, and the incident is unfolding at the time of a rare, major, outer-planet aspect: Pluto in Libra, opposite Eris in Aries. (We are now experiencing Pluto in Capricorn, square Eris in Aries.)
Finally, the last leg of the square is Nessus, a centaur planet related to Chiron. The story of Nessus involves a systemic poison that is delivered at the bidding of someone else. Nessus also represents a sequence of events that unfold in a karmic chain reaction, sometimes coming back to the person who first set things in motion.
Note how close the Libra Moon is to the rest of the grand cross. The Moon is at 12+ degrees, about to knock on Ceres, then the Eris-Nessus square, immediately. Reading charts like this, always study what the Moon just did, what it does next, and what it does last before changing signs.
We pretty much have the whole story summed up in just the eclipse pattern. Now, let’s look at a second version of the chart: one with even fewer planets, highlighting the ascendant and the descendant.
Mars Rising, Opposite Chiron Setting
Another aspect pattern that highlights the urgency and the intensity of the situation is Mars opposite Chiron. Mars is in red to the left, Chiron is in orange, to the right. The opposition is exact to a small fraction of a degree. In fact, it’s the closest aspect in the chart, and despite much other interesting stuff, the real distinction of this horoscope.
Mars rising has a violent feel. Mars rising in Scorpio takes things to the hormonal level. Note that Mars is joined by Venus; and both are conjunct Uranus — another planet that can represent chaos and disruption.
With Venus, Mars and Uranus all rising in Scorpio, what we get is a picture of the hormonal chaos that these chemicals are inflicting on the planet. The astrological reference is that Scorpio represents the biological basis of sex, which is hormonal and genetic. Many of these compounds’ worst effects, including cancer, have their roots in causing hormone mayhem. This was not understood at the time; that will take another decade or more.
There are clues available, though the idea of an endocrine disruptor is not focused at the time of this meeting. Rather, the term “endocrine disruptor” was introduced at the historic Wingspread Conference in Wisconsin, in 1991.
All of the pesticides and herbicides being discussed in the IBT-HoJo meeting — though we don’t know their chemical names — will eventually be categorized as endocrine disruptors, a fact which is somewhat shockingly predicted by the ascendant of this chart.
Mars in Scorpio is opposite Chiron in Taurus. Chiron, discovered only 11 months before the date of this meeting, is setting on the western horizon. It’s as prominent as the Sun at sunset. You cannot miss it; it speaks for the whole environment, the whole scenario. Chiron is a healing factor, but it can also represent a healing crisis. The thing that must happen to tap into Chiron is that one must raise awareness: gain knowledge, understand the situation, and see one’s options.
Chiron’s story, as well, includes the same systemic poison that’s in the Nessus myth. You might say that “something is going around.” That includes toxins, and it also includes a growing awareness of the holistic principle: that all life is related to all other life. With Chiron, we either get the crisis on its own — a dense reaction — or we get the healing crisis and associated awareness.
If you’re even vaguely interested in this issue, the document to start with is an eloquent book called Silent Spring . This is a book that’s on everyone’s reading list. Forget your list and read this book, so you understand these issues, their early history and why this matters so much.
There’s just one last thing. In the 2nd house of this chart — the one representing money — there’s a nifty little conjunction. That is between Neptune, the planet of dreams, delusions and deception, and Pallas Athene, the asteroid of law and government. This meeting is about money, and government collusion with industry to make sure the cash keeps flowing: getting back to marketing pesticides as usual, as the man said.
That’s the driving force. It’s not about people and their health.
We are the ones who must make it so. And we can.
The Gemstone File will soon be available to everyone.
Your Weekly Horoscope for July 17-23, 2017, #1159 | By Eric Francis Coppolino
Aries (March 20-April 19) — This week will be full of surprises, with Mars starting off the festivities by making a square to Uranus. I’m ethically obliged to give the accident warning associated with this aspect: if you’re doing something like climbing a ladder, make sure someone spots you. If you’re chopping vegetables, stay off the phone. That said, take any sudden alteration of plans as an opportunity. Shorn of your previous intentions or attachment to outcome, pause and ask yourself, OK, what do I really want? Where can I go from here? Then choose what would be most fun, most productive, or both. Where professional activities are concerned, your leadership role will be highlighted by your ability to think on your feet. Just make sure you do a quick once-over of your plans (taking from 15 seconds to 15 minutes) to check for unintended consequences.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Give close partners or loved ones plenty of room to be themselves. It’s possible to take pleasure in this gesture of supporting the individuality of others. Rather than feeling like you have to compromise, be negotiable and take the opportunity to do your thing if someone else is unavailable, whether mentally, physically or emotionally. Soon enough they’ll circle around back your way. Meanwhile, your solar chart is full of aspiration and intrigue: you’ll likely cross paths with people who have important roles. When you meet them, keep the conversation friendly and light. Being respectful as a matter of daily practice opens up a special door: you can trust yourself speaking to anyone, treating them as a person rather than personage, and exchange ideas. You might use the cocktail party rule: keep the conversations short, and keep circulating.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Normally astrologers look to Mercury for the story of your sign, but this week we’re looking at Venus, currently traveling through Gemini. It’s making some interesting moves, too: first Venus will make a square to Neptune, then a trine to Jupiter. Translation? As my old tripping partner Scott Grace used to say, “Confusion is the state before enlightenment.” Therefore, welcome any state of not knowing, not understanding or uncertainty about your feelings. Rather than trying to make yourself sure, let the boat of your mind drift for a day or so, and you’ll find yourself in an entirely new place. Just remember that essential spiritual move of holding open your space of not knowing, with some reverence for this as the prerequisite of learning. When you discover something that’s true, you’ll feel it in your mind and your body.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Stay in contact with your desire. Try to go to the most sincere level you can; that is, not influenced by advertising, trends or what your friends are up to. Connect with what you actually want, however you may feel about it, whether or not you think it’s appropriate. This will be a sweet spot of aligning with yourself. Particularly if you’re judging what you want, whether you think it’s too expensive or like someone might judge you, stick with yourself. You have a discovery ahead of you; a mystery will unravel. Be patient, and allow yourself to be instructed by your circumstances rather than by opinions or supposedly spiritual values. This process will likely include a point of contact in the sexual realm; you know intuitively and from much experience that the truth contains a wholesome streak of erotic feeling.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Over the next few days, Mars and the Sun will enter your sign, followed by the Leo New Moon Sunday, July 23. This is good news many times over, initially coming as relief from anxiety, followed up by an energy surge. I would suggest, however, letting yourself get a slow start on your new plans — particularly if they involve self-improvement. Mars is going to be pushing you to “do it now,” though the New Moon is saying, “begin gently and gradually build momentum.” There’s power in solid beginnings; that is, ones marked not just by a statement of intention but rather with concentrated action. Before that phase, you may find that odd things happen to existing plans, which will offer opportunities to clear the deck of priorities that are no longer valid or that no longer serve you.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Where professional matters are concerned, take things one step at a time this week. Be certain you trust the person you’re speaking to — not merely based on your intuition, but rather based on a track record. If you don’t have experience with someone, I would urge you not to trust them with sensitive information, ideas or your professional plans. The thing is, you may be inclined to make misjudgments about this very thing, particularly early in the week. I suggest you make a firm policy of sharing information on a need-to-know basis, if at all. That said, you’re in full-on creative mode where this area of life is concerned. Let yourself dream of the abundant possibilities. Look at your current situation and imagine how you would develop it to its maximum potential. That, however, will call for leadership.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You have a guardian angel with you, though you won’t know unless you ask for its help. Try this, on matters that seem to be small, or that seem to be great; on personal subject matter and that of people you care about. Make direct requests, whether for protection, an outcome, or wisdom. You’re also in a position to stand up for people, whether you know them well or not. You are a natural-born advocate, and with Jupiter in your sign — beautifully aspected by your ruling planet Venus all week — you have some persuasive ability in your hands. So your advocacy can be gentle, but make sure you’re clear about your views on right and wrong. The world needs moral guidance right now, from people capable of some mental and intellectual balance. You have a good bit more than that going for you.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Conserve your energy this week, as Mars and the Sun prepare to cross the most visible angle of your solar chart — Leo, the mighty 10th house of your solar chart. A series of events between now and next Sunday will place you in a position of authority, which I would suggest you handle gently and collaboratively. Rather than being the boss, be the coordinator. Ask others to help you supervise whatever situation you’ve got on your hands. Rather than setting goals unilaterally, get as many opinions as you can and make sure that everyone has an investment stake. If you have to take charge, then do it. Till then, key planets, including your ruling planet Mars, remain in water signs, heightening your emotional sensitivity. Get some rest, eat well and get ready for an adventure.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Go light on emotionally charged discussions. Even if you have concerns, considerations or issues, take a circumspect view of yourself and of others. You may feel like you’re really, really right, only to get it all off your chest and wonder what the heck you were thinking (or feeling). Rather than assume you know how someone feels, listen for clues, and ask questions that draw them out. Over the next few days, planets will begin to move into fire sign Leo, which will lift your spirits, and reveal all these seemingly complex emotional situations as being much less meaningful than they have seemed. Yet don’t fall for any traps late in the week or into the weekend, as you may be feeling the pressure. How would you do that? Don’t blame anything on a relationship. Just feel what you feel.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Consider yourself the equal of the people around you. I don’t mean this in theory, and it doesn’t just apply to those younger, less knowledgeable, or less accomplished. It also applies to those you think of as superior in any way. Now, this must be done subtly. Here’s how I mean it: If you’re a guitar player and you meet Mark Knopfler, you can greet him as your fellow guitarist. If you’re a photographer and you meet Annie Leibovitz, honor her as your sister photographer. Not better, not worse, neither above nor beneath, but as someone you share something with. This would go for the younger and less experienced ones you may meet: recognize their potential, honor their intention to succeed, and be available to them. If equality exists, it’s subtle, and it lives surrounded by terms and conditions.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Toss any notion that money is related to the meaning of life, or somehow related to success. The latter might be true in some sense, but not the kind of success you are seeking as a humanitarian-leaning Aquarian. Money is a tool, a resource and in some ways a reward. There are many more meaningful factors that will determine whether and how you find your way in the world, the most significant of which is self-respect. Though this is in short supply in the world, it’s abundantly available for you. You will know you’re there based on how you feel. The positive emotions associated with respecting yourself come from below, and from within. It’s not a cerebral thing. As planets enter your relationship sign Leo, love and admiration will enter your life — though only if you feel worthy.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — This week wraps up a long phase of high-energy points — the Sun and Mars, to name two — moving through the most creative, passionate angle of your solar chart. As they make aspects to deep and soulful Chiron in your sign, you’re likely to find new outlets for your talent and your capacity to love and appreciate life. These may come by surprise, or they may open up as an easy flow; a combination of influences may be present. Leave yourself open; leave yourself time, space and bandwidth to explore what you want. Even more significantly, bring a spirit of curiosity and expression into everything you do, no matter how seemingly boring it may appear at first. Your astrology is such that you can make anything interesting, and anything that’s already alive can morph into something brilliant.
Your Planet Waves Horoscope for July 21, 2017 | By Eric Francis Coppolino
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You have the power to free yourself from an emotional entanglement that has seemed persistent and difficult to define. The moment you figure out what it’s about, you’ll be liberated, and you’ll know what additional steps you’ll need to take in order to heal yourself and be shorn of the past.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You will be evaluated on the quality of your speech and of your writing. As informal as the world may seem, those with any power or influence are concerned with the words that people use, and their ability to be sincere. Come from your heart, and present yourself consciously and carefully.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re working with information that you didn’t expect to have. This puts you at a distinct advantage, but only if you’re careful about using what you know. Mostly, you’ve got the opportunity to follow the trail and learn even more. Proceed carefully, take one step at a time, and keep mum.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You have access to wisdom that’s coming from an unusual place; one could say that you’ve tapped a spiritual source. Yet this is subtle, and it will be easy to overlook, and equally easy to forget, even if you hear it. So you will need to listen carefully, and filter out negative inputs.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There are those times when something seems to be missing, like a nutrient in one’s diet. This is why it’s important to follow your cravings, and to get the messages of your dreams. Your body is telling you that you need something. With a little reflection, you’ll figure out what it is.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Take the opportunity to advocate for someone who needs help or support. You might help them directly, or you might take up their cause in some way. This could include introducing them to someone you know who you’re confident can and will help. Spread the positive vibes. Weave your community.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Your true profession involves being directly supportive of people, whatever the task at hand. This counts if you’re CEO of a car company, if you install cable TV, or if you teach sanitation workers how to do their jobs in south Brooklyn. Whatever you may do, offer the world your total support.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You have a brilliant idea brewing, though you haven’t quite put it into words yet. Feel the beauty of a concept about to be born. Trust that your mind is creative and that it’s leading you in the right direction. Have confidence that what you want for yourself is also good for the world.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You don’t need to cling to anyone, nor they to you. Yet you’ll benefit immensely from taking the approach that relationships are for nourishment, so let’s get the food on the stove. And for that matter, change the sheets and get ready to have some fun. Life is for living, not worrying about what’s next.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — When a relationship is right, it will feel good. There won’t be a sense of strain or urgency. You will feel a sense of ease from the first moments of your encounter, a feeling of exchange and a sense of humor. Ask yourself which circumstances in your life match this description, and which do not.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Sometimes all of your effort put into one direction gets a result entirely different from what you were expecting. And sometimes that’s just the right thing. It would seem that you were working for one result though what actually manifests will teach you to set your sights even higher next time.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Too often, healing is associated with a massage table, an operating table or a therapy chair. For you right now, healing is about letting your ideas and your love flow through you and into your work. Your charts are calling to your artistic, musical, poetic and erotic nature. Carpe diem.