Counting to Zero

Good thing we’ve still got politics in Texas — finest form of free entertainment ever invented.
— Molly Ivins

The last time I witnessed a countdown to zero that meant anything to me was when I was a child, watching as the Apollo rocket to the Moon was launched. It felt then like I was watching the buzzer sounding the beginning of the future.

It took over 40 years, but last night while watching the live blogging on a Daily Kos thread that witnessed the proceedings in Texas, I finally experienced a countdown just as riveting, with personal implications for all our futures: Texas state senator Wendy Davis’ heroic 13-hour filibuster that ultimately tabled approval of an onerous anti-abortion bill, Texas Senate Bill 5 (or SB5).

If Davis’ filibuster had failed and the vote took place before midnight CST, our counting to zero would have been a launch to the past. Davis’ filibuster had to hold the floor of the legislature’s chambers to prevent the senate from voting on the 25th of June, the last day of a special session called for this senate bill to be approved. If the bill was approved and signed into law — a certainty given the Republican majority in the Texas state legislature, Texas would have closed almost every abortion clinic in the state.

SB5’s primary provision was that abortions would only be performed at surgical centers. This meant that only five of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics would have been designated to remain in operation. A woman living along the Mexico border or in western Texas would have to drive hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion if the law had passed.

According to Texas senate filibuster rules, Davis had to stand the whole time she spoke, forbidden to take bathroom breaks or lean on anything to support her physically. By 10 pm CST, she already had two strikes against her procedurally according to the legislature’s filibuster rules and a disputed third. After three strikes, her filibuster would have had to end.

It was then that she got the support of her colleagues, fellow Texas senate Democrats, some of whom were members of the infamous Texas 11. These are the same senators whose delaying tactics in 2003 included hiding out in Oklahoma to prevent a quorum and therefore the passage of a state redistricting plan that would have disenfranchised largely Hispanic congressional districts, thus favoring the Republicans. These were state politicians who knew the rules about quorums and parliamentary procedures enough to maneuver them for their purposes.

At roughly ten minutes to midnight, it appeared time was up on the Democrats’ procedural challenges that had allowed Davis to remain on the floor and delay the vote past midnight. It was then that the people sitting in the audience above the chambers would not have it. A spontaneous demonstration of jeering the chair of the legislature broke out, calling “Bullshit” on the call to end the challenges and to commence the vote, and chanting “Wendy-Wendy,” making it impossible to hear the call to order, let alone conduct a vote, or clear the chambers of the audience.

Yet, two minutes past midnight, the chairman called a vote. Though there was no way an audible vote could be heard, he declared that SB5 had passed. It took the Senate Democrats with their iPhones on satellite time to counter that the vote happened past midnight. The Republicans tried everything they could, even setting the clocks back, to try and ram the bill through. But as of the early morning hours of June 26, the Republicans conceded. SB5 was dead. At least for today.

I digress from my usual Fe-911 op-eds and general musings to make this report because this is not just a news story. It’s a road map for the next few years. From Turkey, Bulgaria, Brazil, Cambodia and now Austin, Texas, Uranus square Pluto is erupting in cities around the world, and the USA wake-up call is getting louder. Whether it is for the SCOTUS striking down the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, NSA tapping into your privacy, or politicians telling you what you can and cannot do with your vagina, now is as good a time as any to ride the global waters of this astrological signature.

Movements are afoot not only to dismantle the New Deal but also the Great Society with the Civil Rights Movement, and the Woman’s Movement, inch by inch. It should give us pause that Rep. John Lewis, a survivor of the violent police push back against civil disobedience for voting rights in the 1960s, is alive to witness as Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts strike down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act — an act he put his life on the line for.

Had it not been for the success of Wendy Davis’ heroic stand, the last minutes of yesterday’s Mercury shadow period before stationing retrograde would have been the tragic beginning of a long and terrible slide backwards. Just because Uranus in Aries (the sign of ME) is squaring up against Pluto in Capricorn (the sign of big intrusive government and business) doesn’t mean that the big guys are always going to win. I hope with these planets it really means that the battle lines are sharp, crisp and clear.

Indifference is not an option. We cannot tolerate it, cope with it or allow it to happen within ourselves any longer. The big overreach is everywhere, from both sides of the aisle, and from within the public and private sectors. If we ignore it or distance ourselves from it because it may not matter to us, we do so at our collective peril. It does matter to us, to others and to the rest of the world. Equal opportunity and equal rights. Our individual privacy. Who makes decisions on what my uterus is for? What of these things would you feel indifferent about? Would you care if this was denied to someone else?

Last night in Austin felt like that rocket launch of Apollo 11 — the first ship that landed on the Moon in 1969. We watched the machinery of democracy at work where it must, and it was relentless, exhilarating and as creative as our friends in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. It was heart opening. But this cannot be the exception. It better not be.

We need to continue. The forces we are up against have the time, the lawyers, the politicians, the guns and the money with no less than Jesus on their side. Or so they say. This time we need to be the rocket. We need to break free of the moorings, because the countdown is beginning and the forces we fight are pushing hard: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2…It’s time to push back. Push. Push. PUSH.

16 thoughts on “Counting to Zero”

  1. Be, thanks so much for the in-depth information on the Jupiter-Saturn cycle. I too, have copied it for future reference and study. Your analysis has certainly taken away the pain of disappointment and given hope regarding the bigger future picture. I’m still trying to find out the exact time Kevin Rudd won, wondering if it may have been just as Mercury turned retro.

    Really, really appreciate your depth of knowledge, Be. Like all the bloggers here, I learn so much from you.

    Have a blessed weekend,

  2. bkoehler,
    I liked what you wrote about the Jupiter Saturn cycle……….copied it into my notebook for future study.

  3. And……………. .another State heard from
    “AUGUSTA, Maine — A clearly frustrated Gov. Paul LePage told a group of State House reporters Wednesday that his future in politics was uncertain.

    Speaking on the Legislature’s override of his veto of a state budget bill, LePage ruled out a U.S. congressional bid, which he hinted at last week in the dust-up over comments he made about state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash.

    LePage said he would be consulting more with his family before deciding whether he would seek a second term as governor.”

    reading the comments after the article makes me weep for joy too….After 8 years of reading and replying to the majority of BDN comments by knuckle dragging sleep walking morons in the area……………..NOW THEY GET IT! THEY AWAKE,! THEY HAVE RISEN!……It gives me great hope for the future.

  4. Sina, Thank you for keeping us abreast with what’s happening down under. It helps me maintain my perspective to read here (and on Len’s blog too) about Julia Gillard’s achievements for Australia during her term. It is very disheartening to see her defeated I know, but change comes slowly in some things, even after breaking through the initial defenses of the patriarchy as she has done in your country.

    As a teen during the late 1950’s I spent many hours one night with a girlfriend who had just had an abortion. There were no open “clinics” to provide this service then and abortion was TOTALLY illegal. My friend got a room in a motel on a busy highway and waited it out. It was frightening, even for me, and I didn’t even stay with her until it was “over”. Another friend had to relieve me so I could get home and avoid getting in trouble with my parents. The idea of women having to go back to those terrible times sickens me. I understand why you would fear losing the gains your (and your daughter’s) country have made in women’s rights, and I would like to comment on something you said in your Anne Summers quote regarding what the future of abortion would now likely become . . “the political plaything of men who think they know better”.

    Last Saturday when trans. Ceres entered Leo she was accompanied by the trans. asteroid Hybris. This conjunction starts a new cycle between them and I would say that not only will watching the Mercury retrograde period prove interesting but so too will this cycle of Ceres and Hybris be worthy of watching. We all know the popular Ceres mythology regarding motherhood and we are aware that Hybris is associated with the term hubris. A keyword for hubris is “arrogance” and I’ve also seen the phrase “when one thinks they know better” as a way to understand hubris. Asteroid Hybris also represents “hybrid” a way to mix one element with another and get a third element that contains more-or-less equal parts of the other two. The word hybrid has a bad reputation but it doesn’t have to always be that way.

    We are entering a tumultuous period of what will be regarded someday as a radical change in the course of history. A huge part of that change could come under the heading of the Fall of the Patriarchy. It will affect religious organizations as well as governments, and other cultural/societal systems. No longer will people have to live under the control of these institutions in fear of retribution for their so-called “sins”, including abortion.

    The Jupiter-Saturn cycle pertains to this subject too. The 20 year cycle we are in now started in 2000 in the sign of Taurus. There are many layers of cycles in the Jupiter-Saturn relationship and one of them covers multiple 20-year cycles within a particular element – we being at the end of a multi-cycle period of the Earth element now. In 2020, we will begin a new 20 year cycle as well as a multiple 20 year cycle period in the Air element, starting with Aquarius. Because astrology views Jupiter and Saturn as symbols of cultural and societal evolution, their relationship at any given time will show us how the balance between growth and containment is progressing. This week trans. Jupiter entered Cancer for a lengthy period of being in trine with Saturn, as well as with Neptune. Jupiter expands, Saturn contains and Neptune forgives. To use this time advantageously we must not forget that change is the hardest thing for Saturn to do, and something he fights it furiously. Water patiently wears down the hardest rocks over time so as Neptune in Pisces washes away the so-called sins of man (under Patriarchy), Jupiter in Cancer must nurture. This is a swelling rush of energy that doesn’t depend on critical analysis so much as feeling another’s pain. And love.

    In due time, Saturn will find ways to re-structure (re-birth) these old institutions so they will include the feminine perspective equally with the masculine. A hybrid you might say. As Jupiter and Saturn conclude their long stay in the earth signs cycles and prepare to move to their new start in the air cycles, it has this brief respite in the water element to re-adjust and refresh for that transition. From so-called “solid” earth views to a “lighter” mental/air view of things. It’s not mental yet so don’t look for these changes on the surface, but underneath and inside, things are changing. We can thank the likes of Julia Gillard and Wendy Davis for that.

  5. yes the come and take it banner brings life to the phrase “she has the ovaries to…”

    Maybe she can be the profile pic of the day on July 1st in social media.

  6. Hi Fe,

    So very happy for the people of Texas, but as you say, we have to continue. There are many battles to be fought still.

    It was a very different story in Australia last night, when the former PM, Kevin Rudd, launched his third challenge against Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, and won. The backwards slide is truly beginning for the government there, in my humble opinion.
    As Anne Summers wrote today, “We treated our first female prime minister disgracefully while she was in office, and now that she has been driven out, it seems she is going to be denied even the solace of having her extraordinary raft of achievements recognised. Julia Gillard has paid a very high price for warning us that abortion is once again set to become “the political plaything of men who think they know better”.

    As prime minister, Gillard passed 532 pieces of legislation had passed both houses of parliament, the most of any Australian government in the last three years and two days of her leadership, most of them requiring painstaking negotiation, including disability allowance for carers, carbon tax, education reforms keeping her promise that every child would get a good education. She changed the role of prime minister through her hardworking ethics and being prepared to answer the hard questions, among her many other achievements.
    With some family still living in Australia, including my daughter who just moved there, I feel saddened that the Australian Labor Caucus have treated their leader so badly. The new Rudd-led Australian government is a grand style back-pedal for Australia, and I for one will be watching the Mercury retrograde period with interest.

    Thanks Planetwaves

    Read more:

    Julia Gillard passed through 532 pieces of legistr

    Read more:

  7. Gumbybug:

    Thank you for the Battle of Gonzalez and the historic significance of the star that resides over the uterus on the black banner. It is absolutely perfectly timed. I am holding the women of Texas–which includes some of my own family members, close to my heart. We need to support and emulate their courage.

    Ann Richards and Molly Ivins are pouring themselves big shots in the afterlife. And now, on to July 1!!

  8. Fantastic work Fe!

    After living in Austin for almost 20 years (and now living about 35 miles away) I finally had tears of JOY after seeing Texas in the spotlight, instead of wanting to crawl under the nearest rock after years of watching Rick Perry and his cronies continually spouting their ridiculous brand of “good ‘ole boy” political “Bubbaville” nonsense.

    I grew up 60 miles from the place where the “Come And Take It” logo was born (see Battle of Gonzales on Wikipedia for nice, longish article.) LOVE your logo–tattoos, anyone!!

    Yes, I feel like our women’s voices in Texas have gotten a huge burst of pure energy infused with a hefty dose of pride in our uteruses (or uteri).

    My Uterus, My Vote

    Thanks to you all for being here and opening my eyes and heart continually!

  9. And i choked up and cried like a baby reading your blog to a friend just now. Wow, Fe, we are so lucky to have you.

  10. Fe: Thank you. Once again you raised goosebumps and provoked chills for me as i read through the blog. It’s not just the subject matter (worthy of a script), not just State Senator Davis (worthy of a medal), it’s indispensably you. Then i started reading the comments and saw your own about Governor Perry calling a special session – it hit me, it’s true, we are all being called to exhibit the same vigilance, diligence and effort as State Senator Davis, all the time. Kudos to the citizens unfairly characterized as just “thousands of jeering protesters” – they are the example for all of us, not the exception. Wow, Fe, a great moment captured and conveyed to us by the best possible person to do so.

  11. Texas Governor Rick Perry calls for second session:


    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Wednesday called for a special legislative session to address an abortion bill, the funding of transportation infrastructure projects and legislation to establish a mandatory sentence of life with parole for a capital felony committed by a 17-year-old.

    The announcement follows State Sen. Wendy Davis’s (D) more than ten hour marathon filibuster to block a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy from passing before the legislative session officially ended at midnight Wednesday.

    Although the Republican supermajority was able to stop her filibuster before the deadline, they were not able to conclude the actual voting before the clock struck twelve as thousands of jeering protesters drowned out legislative proceedings.

    “I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas,” Perry said in a statement. “Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”

    The special session will start Monday, July 1. Watch Tuesday night’s pandemonium here.

  12. Love it Fe! Just been prattlin’ on about Ms. Wendy in a previous comment (on Len’s blog) and comparing her to the warrior goddess Pallas-Athene. Would you believe that yesterday she was opposite Arachne, the OTHER mythic ace weaver?

    What’s so great about these dramas playing out in the public/political arena is how they are such good examples of the astrology that relates to the times. By extrapolating from them we can get a handle on how they play out in our personal experiences too. There was so much we couldn’t know when Venus occulted the Sun last year (June 5, 2012) but now “stuff” can be connected to those aspects, like yesterday it was Texas relating to Mars square Venus and Sun, and Venus – Sun opposite Pholus (leads to big disruption), and Jupiter quincunx the GC and Saturn (making a yod), and Sedna and Ceres conjunct each other (environment issues) and also in a wide (5 degree orb) to Jupiter (and also forming a yod with GC and Saturn).

    There is also the USA Sibly Moon-Pallas Athene conjunction highlighted by the Venus occultation because Nessus (in Venus chart) was conjunct the U.S. Moon-Pallas Athene. and the Venus chart’s Nessus (rape) was square Jupiter (law) in that chart. Scenes like what happened in Texas yesterday are making the Venus “story” come to life. It’s finally happening! Thanks for this great piece showing how it all fits together Fe.

  13. Your writing brings tears, Fe. Yesterday, there were tears of outrage, and today reading you, tears of hope and awe, that Davis could hold the floor like that. Hope and Awe. Now that’s a slogan. That’s what it will take. Beautiful analogy to the moon rocket. I remember the feeling of awe and possibliity that we could send a rocket and a human (man) to the moon. The possibility fulfilled rocked my young mind.

    Now the threat is to take us back to the dark ages, and only the determined human spirit, one prepared to stand and hundreds, thousands, millions prepared to stand behind and beside her will save the day.

    Well done, Wendy and Fe.

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