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 on: Jan 24, 2015, 07:16 PM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Linda

. . . it has been always good time to study when mercury go retrograde, easier for me to focus and attract all kinds of information i need, i wonder if it's because mercury is retrograde in my progression chart, i feel more like a mercury retrograde person?

Hello Kelly,

Thanks for your feedback.

In answer to your above question:  yes, you are feeling the retrograde archetype because not only is your Progressed Mercury now Retrograde, but transiting Mercury is Retrograde too.

Let's examine your Mercury archetype!   Cheesy

-  Your North Node Taurus is in the 3rd house.

-  Your Pluto Polarity Point Taurus is in the 3rd house.

-  Due to the Jupiter skipped steps, you have done your 3rd house before, but it is not fully developed.

-  Uranus is currently transiting your 3rd house and will do so for many years.

-  The South Node of Chiron Aries is in the 3rd house.

-  Your Chiron Gemini 5th is Retrograde (meaning a re-do situation in order to heal the wound of self-expression via communication).

-  The North Nodes of Mars and Uranus in Gemini are conjunct Chiron Rx in the 5th house, a desire to express your individuation, create a "new" you, and bring healing to your communications.

-  You have just one planet that is retrograde in the chart:  Chiron Gemini 5th Rx.

-  Your Mercury makes only one major aspect to another planet - a conjunction to Saturn.  Mercury is not an "unaspected planet" (operating in a Uranian-like way) because Saturn is "conditioning" it.

-  Ruler of your Mercury is Pluto Scorpio 9th. 

-  Sedna conjunct North Node in the 3rd house means that communication has been "frozen" for a long time (perhaps being mute in a past life).

-  The 3rd house is ruled by Mars Libra 8th - you desire to share, compare and communicate your thoughts and ideas with others who symbolize the knowledge that you seek.  In the past you have felt the powerlessness associated with the 8th house and so have desired to merge with others who are more powerful in order to evolve your intellectual structures.  These can be knowledgeable people, a philosophy, or a body of work, eg EA.

-  Transiting Mercury is currently at 16 deg Aquarius Rx transiting your 1st house:  a new evolutionary cycle bringing new experiences on the heels of revisiting/revising/re-doing, de-conditioning and individuating your natal Mercury via this retrograde cycle.

-  Current Mercury Retrograde 21 Jan to 11 Feb @ 17 Aqu 05 to 1 Aqu 18 – communication issues, reflection on the past, taking an objective stance, dispassionate observation, detachment, de-conditioning, liberation, shock, trauma, questionings, false assumptions, taking shortcuts, re-checking important details, re-evaluations, processing, past-life memories, repeating messages, insights.

-  Transiting Mercury in its current retrograde cycle will conjunct your natal Jupiter in the 1st house.  Jupiter is your skipped step planet!  You will have another opportunity to "resolve" this skipped step - something was skipped, missed, or not understood in the past - by consistently focusing upon the South Node Scorpio 9th (conjunct the MC).  We have all fallen away from Natural Laws due to the distortions of the Patriarchy.  You are recovering your Jupiter skipped step by sharing, merging and osmosing yourself deeply with people whom you are attracted to in an instinctual way, and aligning your Soul with a philosophical system that is based on Natural Laws. 

-  It's very interesting to note that every single Planetary Node in the Northern Hemisphere (bottom) of the chart is Retrograde, including Chiron and Sedna, emphasizing an introverted nature where you feel very different within yourself. 

Hemispheres of the Chart
Eastern (left):  Focus on self.
Western (right):  Focus on others.
Northern (bottom):  Impact of family.
Southern (top):  Influence of outer conditions.

Natally, your Southern Hemisphere being more emphasized than the others correlates to society, the father, authority figures, career and your contribution to society.  Perhaps you felt burdened at an early age to grow up quickly, with the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Although you were born with Mercury Direct, your Progressed Mercury Jupiter 10th (conjunct the MC) is now Retrograde. 

Kelly's Progressed Chart @ 25 January 2015

-  It's interesting to note that three bodies are Retrograde in your Progressed chart:

   (1)  Mercury Sagittarius 10th Rx.       (2)  Chiron Gemini 4th Rx.      (3)  Pallas Cancer 5th Rx.

-  The kite pattern, coming from Gemini on the IC, is pointing to Uranus, a very dynamic outlet for the energies of the chart.  The Progressed chart provides opportunities for Uranian individuation and Mercurial self-expression on the MC.

-  The yod with Moon at the apex (and Neptune/Natural Lilith and Pluto) correlates to crisis with a need for adjustment (pointing to Natural Laws).

Retrograde archetype, and progressions

Retrograde is always the R words – redo, renew, review. A person could be born before Mars turns retrograde and it would be direct in natal and go retrograde by progression during their life. Or they could be born with Mars retrograde and Mars goes direct by progression during their life. Or they could be born with Mars retrograde by progression for the entire life. These are going to be distinct conditions for that Soul. Some of it undoubtedly relates to where that Soul was prior to the present life. (Steve)

Retrograde planet at birth, by progression or transit

The intent of the retrograde as an archetype is to re-live, re-do, repeat. And the intention within that, the reason for that, is to INDIVIDUATE. Any retrograde planet either by birth, or going retrograde in the context of a lifetime, is not only to repeat, re-live, and re-do, which can have many reasons, but one of the core reasons is to individuate. It accelerates the evolutionary process of individuation. Thus the Soul desires to withdraw from ANY external circumstance or condition that is attempting to define, through expectations, how the archetype of the planet that is retrograde, at birth, progression, or transit, how that archetype (planet) is ‘meant’ to be actualized or lived out. And that is because the Soul is desiring to individuate its function which, in turn, allows for an acceleration of the Soul’s development because of the effort to individuate. In its own way it ignites a deep feeling in the Soul that says, ‘not this, not that, so what is it?’ (Rad)

Do you recommend any books on counseling techniques?

I will open up your question regarding astrological counseling techniques to my EA colleagues and others reading this thread.

Thank you!


 on: Jan 24, 2015, 05:21 PM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Linda
Kelly's Chart

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 01:50 PM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Kelly
Thanks for your insight Linda!
The New Moon created a temporary skipped step with your Lunar Nodes in Scorpio/Taurus in effect for a month.  The resolution node is South Node Scorpio 9th.

That's why i am flip flopping again, the pressure comes from the need to study deeply like you suggested to take courses, read books, it has been always good time to study when mercury go retrograde, easier for me to focus and attract all kinds of information i need, i wonder if it's because mercury is regrograde in my progression chart, i feel more like a mercury retrograde person? If you are there for the right reasons, then
If you are there for the right reasons, then God is with you, helping you in your work. It is necessary to have faith.

I really resonate with this!
Do you recommand any books on counseling techniques? Appreciated for all your help!

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 10:37 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is under siege

British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is under siege. And a new book pleads for the preservation of its rugged beauty.

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Ian McAllister / “Great Bear Wild”

Spirit bears, also known as Kermode bears, are a rare subspecies of black bears that have white fur due to a rare genetic trait. The greatest concentration of spirit bears is in the Great Bear Rainforest.

About the author

Ian McAllister is a co-founder of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild. He is an award-winning photographer and author of five books, including “The Last Wild Wolves” and “The Great Bear Rainforest.” He and his wife, Karen McAllister, were honored by Time magazine as “Leaders of the 21st Century” for their efforts to protect British Columbia’s endangered rain forest.

I first visited the wild Canadian Pacific Coast in 1993, when protesters in Clayoquot Sound on central Vancouver Island were making international headlines.

Environmental and native groups were challenging MacMillan Bloedel, a large timber corporation that was illegally logging native lands, clear-cutting the last of the island’s untouched coastal rain forest. Some of the area’s ancient trees — towering 300 feet with a girth of 30 feet at the base — had been seedlings when Jesus walked the earth. MacMillan Bloedel was converting them to paper and boards. Anyone who’d witnessed the spectacular beauty of that B.C. coastal wilderness would have felt compelled to join a fistfight to save it. Predictably, a mass protest sprang up.

Government enforcers arrested 800 people engaged in peaceful protests, 300 alone on one notorious August day in 1993. The Nuu-chah-nulth people who’d lived there for thousands of years banded with environmental organizations to raise international awareness about the logging.

The battle to save Vancouver Island’s remaining old growth soon moved to boardrooms. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental organizations began pressuring high-profile customers of MacMillan Bloedel, including phone-book publishers and The New York Times, to stop buying its newsprint. The protests were, in many ways, successful. In 2000, UNESCO designated large parts of Clayoquot Sound an international biosphere reserve. Much of the area is a protected haven for tourists and boaters wanting to experience the incomparable majesty of the Vancouver Island wilderness.

Twenty years later that battle is being re-enacted in the vast and spectacular Great Bear Rainforest region of B.C.’s north coast. Roughly 27,000 square miles — about the size of West Virginia — the Great Bear is home to thousand-year-old trees, about 10 First Nations who have lived there for many thousands of years, and globally unique subspecies, including a rare white coastal black bear called the kermode, or “spirit bear.” I visited the Great Bear in 2000 for a longhouse opening near Hartley Bay, home of the Gitga’at people, where much of Ian McAllister’s book, “Great Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest” takes place.

Talk to anyone in the Great Bear about wildlife, and eventually Ian’s name will come up. His life’s work has been documenting the region’s astonishing biodiversity through award-winning photographs in an undaunting campaign to protect the region he calls home. Ian, co-founder of the conservation organization Pacific Wild, has spent 25 years crawling through thick underbrush, crouching under giant cedars in the driving rain, and sailing through every kind of ocean current to capture his subjects: wild wolves, orcas, grizzlies, and the fascinating underwater world. He knows as intimately as anyone the treasures of this region. And, like other locals, he knows the threat it is facing now.

Ian and I first met during the Clayoquot clashes. In 1997 I contributed a piece to his book “The Great Bear Rainforest.” Since those challenging and often combative days, we have seen remarkable, positive change.

Over the past decade, the B.C. government has signed a series of conservation agreements committing to preserving more than 30 percent of the area. These agreements have made the Great Bear Rainforest a template for responsible resource management and indigenous stewardship. The landmark settlement brought First Nations together as equals with the provincial government to plan local forestry in a way that respected First Nations cultures and title to the land, with the intention of promoting sustainable economic development for the region’s inhabitants.

These coastal communities have been making a vital — and at times difficult — transition from economies based on industrial resource harvesting to sustainable practices. Tourists travel from all over the world to view bears and other wildlife in this pristine landscape, and expanding ecotourism has exposed the fallacy of the industry mantra that pits jobs against a wholesome environment.

But at a time when we should be celebrating the protection of one of the most significant stretches of forest on the planet, trouble is on the horizon. This time the issue is energy.

The Great Bear Rainforest sits between the world’s second-largest known oil reserves, Alberta’s infamous tar sands, and Asia’s hungry oil markets. In-between lies this rain forest of globally rare species and some of the world’s most fiercely independent native people fighting for their way of life.

In 2013 a Canadian government-appointed panel recommended the approval of the Northern Gateway, a pipeline that would carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands to the coastal community of Kitimat, in the heart of the Great Bear. The petroleum moguls would then ship the bitumen down the coast in giant tankers — each hauling 2 million barrels — bound for the United States and Asia, traversing notoriously tempestuous Pacific waters important to many marine mammals, including the humpback whale.

Environment Canada ranks the tanker route among the most dangerous sea passages in the world, making navigation treacherous to behemoth tankers measuring 1,000 feet. Gales and hurricanes can drive wave heights upward of 100 feet.

The pipeline is not the only peril. In 2012 the B.C. government, bargaining the future for the promise of immediate financial gain, announced the export of liquefied natural gas to China as an economic priority. The greenhouse gases emitted by the LNG plants are comparable to that of the coal industry. Water contamination and other environmental impacts associated with the fracking process make LNG as dirty an option as the tar sands.

As they did in the 1990s, environmental groups, First Nations, and concerned citizens are mobilizing to fight these cataclysmic energy transport projects. Continued protests both in Canada and abroad against the Northern Gateway have resurrected passions of Clayoquot. Once again, First Nations leaders are battling the provincial and federal governments over stewardship of their lands.

These aren’t isolated issues, relevant only to small communities in northern Canada. They pose some of the most important questions Canadians have ever faced about their nation’s economy, environment, moral authority and once-vaunted role as a leading global citizen.

Will Canadians allow unbridled expansion of the world’s dirtiest energy projects? Or will Canada reclaim its soul and show global leadership by choosing a path that helps the country make the transition to a clean energy future?

As Ian McAllister shows in this stunning book, through his photos and compelling narrative, this is a battle that pits apocalyptical forces of ignorance and greed against the welfare of our children and the rest of humankind. “Great Bear Wild” vividly demonstrates the high stakes in this battle.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 61, is an environmental activist who co-hosts the syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire.”

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 10:03 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Hi All,

The following is a lecture that JWG gave on one of the core archetypes of the 6th House, Virgo, and Mercury that is rooted in the need within all Souls for self improvement.

God Bless, Rad                            

                                    The Sixth House & Issues of Self-improvement

                                                                   Jeffrey Wolf Green

                                                          Norwac 1987

    Good morning. You all awake and ready? Yes? This morning’s talk is on the sixth house and the theme is issues in self-improvement. The first thing to know about the sixth house and/or Virgo is that it is a transitional archetype, a transitional archetype between houses and/or signs of houses one through five and then seven through 12. And as in all my lectures, if you have questions, go ahead and ask them at the point you have the question.
    The twelfth house, which is the natural polarity to the sixth house, is itself a transitional archetype.  So then we can ask the logical question, what’s that about? What’s the transition about? The point here is that from the first house and/or Aires to the fifth house (Leo) the whole focus is on subjective development. In other words, the first house correlates to the instinct in all folks to initiate experiences through which they begin to arrive at their own essential individuality. That journey continues right on through the fifth house in which that individuality is now known and creatively actualized in a strictly egocentric subjective way. The fifth house, as an example, can be correlated to what is called delusions of grandeur or the peacock syndrome. And thankfully we have a sixth house and/or Virgo.  
    From the sixth house and/or Virgo point of view there’s a great Taoist saying that applies here called “the axe falls on the tallest tree”. The axe falls on the tallest tree, meaning if you’re projecting yourself via delusions of grandeur and/or in a Leonian way, expecting all things to revolve around you or acting like you are the center of the universe, then the axe will fall on the tallest tree. How does that happen?
    Keep in mind that the sixth house in and of itself is a naturally Yin house, a feminine house. Virgo is naturally mutable, naturally earth orientated. This correlates to inner self-analysis. Through that self-analysis you’re mentally aware of that which you need to improve, perfect and/or adjust and/or eliminate in order for the journey of perfection to occur. What is being analyzed is the ego, the self-image. And then the effort is made to perfect it. This then creates an inner criticism--An inner criticism. I mean all of us are aware of our junk right? So, of course, this is also projected, meaning in a typically yin-like way we can receive criticism.
    So in respect to the axe falling on the tallest tree, needing to go through ego blows at some point in our life, we simply create situations through which we attract the appropriate circumstances to receive the appropriate messages, keeping in mind that Virgo is naturally ruled by Mercury. So we get the appropriate messages at the appropriate time. But since you have a naturally introspective archetype this then means that most of us are already aware of what we need to fix and where our deficiencies are. So the point here, since we are already aware of these things, is that we will naturally have a critical and/or defensive response with respect to received criticism. We don’t need to hear it, we think.
    So what then happens if we drop into too much of a negative spiral with the thing? Via the twelfth house polarity we can begin to feel victimized or persecuted or conspired against, somehow thinking that things are happening to us in an unjust way, and we don’t receive the message. We now use this as a typically sixth house excuse to justify what we’re maintaining.
    So the archetypes of the sixth house are yin, earth, mutable. So on the one level you’ve got the mutable archetype, i.e. the need to grow the ever shifting spiral, and yet earth in and of itself wants to give definition and structure to reality and, therefore, security. And you have a naturally yin archetype which means energy returning to the center, i.e., your core. So where does the growth then occur? Can’t you see the basic symbolism here where the growth occurs through self-introspection and by adjusting ourselves in this self-analysis and trying to become inwardly aware of that which not only needs to be adjusted but also becoming aware of the specific strategies, sixth house—strategies--Mercury ruled, that we must actualize in our life to affect ongoing self-improvement?
    So the key becomes this: You have this natural mutable yin conflict taking place on earth, and one of the inherent traps because of this archetypes is to induce procrastination and/or laziness. Creating mental reasons, rationales/excuses of why you’re not going to do the thing that you know you should do when you should do it. You have this natural twelfth house polarity creating that sense of self-undermining. So then we can ask this question, why? Why does this happen?
    One of the basic issues in Virgo and the sixth house that most of us don’t realize is that Virgo/sixth house correlates to a sense of guilt that cannot be intellectualized, cannot be rationalized. You can’t put your conscious finger on the thing and say that’s why.  And because of this inherent guilt--keeping in mind that one of the archetypes of the sixth is purification--when any time you set up the need to purify, it implies something else, doesn’t it? Impurity, which itself can be connected to this sense of guilt.  So what happens is that the sixth house via the twelfth house polarity creates the need to atone. One of the acts of atonement is not to do the thing for yourself you should do when you should do it. It’s a subconscious voice that says I need this state of crisis, you see? I need this sense of pain. I need to have this sense that my life is not working quite right.

(Audience): Is that then the motivator to make the change? That things get so heavy that you finally turn around and make the change?

(Jeffrey): No, the key is to understand why it’s happening. And the point here is that if we degenerate into a state of crisis, i.e. not doing the things we know we should do for ourselves when we should do them, and/or attracting circumstances in our life which make us feel like we’re not working in all cylinders, feeling contained or inhibited or trapped by, this will always enforce a sixth house analysis. And it’s through the analysis that one becomes aware of the dynamics generating the crisis in the first place. So crisis then serves--sixth house, serves--as a vehicle through which self-knowledge (Mercury ruled), takes place, because it puts the light of day, i.e. the crisis, upon the dynamics, through the analysis.  

    So, when you just break this down to basic astrology, whatever sign you have on your sixth house (inherent implication of negative, yin) implicates that the negative associations correlated with that sign are the very dynamics, and/or characteristics, and/or orientations, that have to be adjusted, improved. Because you have a natural polarity involved, the sign on your twelfth house will represent the unconscious ideal to you, that which implies perfection. You see? And you always have this natural polarity back and forth.
    So as an example, if we have Aires on the sixth house, what do you feel the inherent negatives would be that would have to be purified, adjusted, and improved? Don’t you think it would be gross, egocentric displays? You see my point? Arian displays, the Me syndrome. And what’s the idea implied on the Libra/twelfth house? Equality. Not who’s superior, not who’s inferior, not who’s leading whom, not who’s following, but equality: individual equality, and social equality. The ideal of giving rather than taking. The negative application of Aires is to take, isn’t it? Give to me! Whereas the implied idea of Libra on the twelfth would be—let’s give first, then we receive.  
    If you break it down to a basic sixth house issue of work and/or service, the negative Aires says what? With respect to employment and/or work issues, what do you think it would say? Look, Aires is the instinct in all people that makes you feel that you have something special to do that is unique to your own individuality. So if you link this to the sixth house, what is now instinctively related to that which is special? Can’t you see the scene now? The negative Aires emerging in the work place. Here I am, you see! I am here! And of course, the projected criticism. Libra/twelfth house, all these other voices going, “Well, so what?”
    The point is that Aires on the sixth is going to be learning how to work to cooperate in an equal way in the work space. Not wanting to dominate it, not wanting to be the superior. So the point here is that until such a realization is made via the sixth house Aires, that special work which is implied there will be denied. And it’s that kind of crises, i.e. the denial, that enforces the analysis leading to the awareness of the dynamics, hopefully creating the reasons as to why, which then effects self-improvement and adjustment. Do you see what I’m getting at? Is it clear? I mean it’s ten in the morning, is it clear? (Laughter) Where’s my coffee?
    You see, one of the problems that can be generated because of this self-analysis and this awareness of imperfection, and need to improve, is that it can also create the inner feelings of self-doubt—self-doubt. So when you start talking about work issues, if the individual excessively drops into these negative correlations, self-doubt or self-analysis, it can then lead to the feeling of, “I’m not ready”, “I’m not prepared to do what my work capacity suggests”. And through excuse making I only minimally develop the maximum of the potential. You see, you have a whole realm of potential there. But forever focusing on what I need to fix creates this self-doubt, which then creates the necessary excuses to justify the non-performance leading to minimal actualization of that which could be. Yet another crisis!

(Audience): How do you move through that without getting totally bottled up?

(Jeffrey): The key through the sixth house--keeping in mind you have this mutable, yin, earth archetype--one of the keys is to follow instinctual rhythm. In other words, the key to perfection lies through action, not sitting in one space analyzing it to tears.  So what you have is that you have to be in conformity with the archetype. In other words, on a cyclic or rhythmic basis it will be appropriate to step back and to introspect, and then just as appropriate in the other rhythm to act and to follow those instincts. Too much of either equals being out of balance.

(Audience): If there is a stellium in the sixth house and nothing in the twelfth house to balance that, does that imply a different approach?

(Jeffrey): No. It gives it a specific structure that is unique to that person. But here comes your answer from another point of view. The natural planetary ruler of the sign on your sixth house, where it’s located by house and sign, the aspects to it, are the specific strategies that you must implement to effect on-going self-improvement that is continually developed through action. This is also true with respect to the planetary ruler on the twelfth house. Because you’re going to have the ideals implied on the sign on the twelfth house which, through follow-through, are also linked to its planetary ruler through house and sign. So you have, on the one hand, the practical strategies of the sixth house to consistently actualize, act upon. And you have the planetary ruler of the twelfth house having this total connection to the ideal. You see? So these themselves become areas of experience to act upon. And then you unite or synthesize the opposite. So as an example let’s say we have Aires on the sixth house, and we put the planetary ruler Mars in Cancer, and we put that in the ninth house. Now what would you feel to be specific strategies--concrete, practical strategies--that the individual could actualize to affect its on-going self-improvement. What do you think?

(Audience): Listening, studying.

(Jeffrey): What would be listened to and what would be studied? Couldn’t we just simply suggest to the person, no-matter what their evolutionary state was, to just simply invest themselves in reading literature of a higher-mind nature? In any given dynamic and/or structure, and/or form, it makes no difference. And by simply exposing the self to these higher mind ideas, what happens? You satisfy all the requirements. You have, of course, the requirement of humility (sixth house). So what happens if I expose my ego to higher mind ideas? You see? Does this not begin to place some proper perspective on my sense of individuality in a metaphysical or religious context? You see?

    I’m expanding my horizon, which through necessary cycles of reflection, i.e. self introspection, I also back off now and then and reflect on what is happening here, which itself creates adjustment of what is happening when I’m reading and/or going to school. And is this not going to have an impact on the emotional structure implicated in the security associated with the negative Aires ego? I mean just the basic strategy. Can’t we also say that another practical thing to do in that kind of symbolism, because of the connection to the ninth house, Aires, action itself, when you feel like getting in the stupid car, GO! Don’t make excuses for it. Meaning that, if you place yourself in physical motion—travel, ninth house--this will promote an inner processing that can only occur because of the physical motion, rather than sitting in the chair all the time and trying to analyze it to death, in which you just get lost in mental collapse.

(Audience): You’re saying action is the method because of Aires. Would it be a different method with another sign?

(Jeffrey): No, we’re giving you an archetype. By placing a sign there we’re illustrating that archetype. As an example, take the same Aires and put Mars in Libra in the eleventh house. You still have this archetype of Aires needing to be purified, but now what are the specific strategies? They change from the ninth/Cancer to the eleventh/Libra. So, what are the strategies? Can’t you see the classic case?

    The individual instinctively (Aires) attracts to itself a diversity of people (Libra/eleventh house) who now all begin to have all these messages apparently (eleventh house) out of the blue, and yet here they come.  What is the challenge? Are you going to tell the Aires/sixth house, “Yes, these people are just conspiring to come down on your case”? Or are you gonna say, “Objectively listen to the messages that you’re receiving”?  And maybe also suggest that the individual get involved with some sort of social cause and/or group of people who share a common purpose. And by creating this interaction effecting equality--Libra in the context of relationship to which individuality (Mars)--is adjusted. You see, basic things. Then you satisfy this Libra/twelfth house.  

    Now most of us have learned that when we say transitional archetype this means that transition is taking us into the seventh house and beyond. So what the transition amounts to is an adjustment from excessive ego-centric self identity, i.e. delusions of grandeur. We have to then experience the inherent lack and/or inferiority associated with the sixth house in order to reenter the world, i.e. seventh house and beyond, hopefully as equals--not as inferiors, not as superiors, but as equals.  From the fifth house point of view this correlates to what we call the pyramid archetype, in which the individual is sitting on top of their own pyramid expecting all things to revolve around it.  Whereas the sixth house is what we call the inverted pyramid, in which all things are sitting on you, (laughs) and you’re serving it.  And this is why the sixth house correlates to the work issue.  
    Work obviously implies self-sacrifice.  The fifth house wants to do its own trip;  I’m on the stage of life. And yet the sixth house demands work and/or commitment and/or service to a larger whole, keeping in mind that the sixth is naturally linked to the twelfth, society. In the twelfth house commitment to a larger whole and the self-sacrifice of egocentric whims creates the necessary analysis, adjustments, humility, purification, and so on, and leads to the inverted pyramid. Now, obviously, in some societies the work assignment is fixed; i.e. in your more authoritarian regimes and/or in your caste systems, like in India, it’s fixed, and you can see if it’s fixed. But what if I feel I have the capacity to be some administrator at a government level and yet by coming into a fixed nation, fixed class, fixed caste, I’m required to be a welder? Or if I come into freer worlds in which I have the option of actualizing the work that is relevant to Me. Then what happens?
    We have to submit ourselves to the Earth archetype--second, sixth, and tenth--the customs, norms, taboos, laws, and regulations of the specific society that we’re born into. In other words, if I want to be a psychologist, and I feel I have the inherent capacity to be a psychologist, if I am born into this country, this country says what?  “Well far out, but you go to school for eight years, and you get your Ph.D!”  Do you see my point now? The ego is submitted to a larger source or force of power that it cannot control, and it is the submission to that source that leads to the very same effects. And if I don’t submit to it, I may still want to be a psychologist, but if I don’t do what is required, what happens?
    This issue in self-improvement is going on all the time. In other words, the planets that rule your sixth and second houses are always transiting some place through your chart all the time. And this means all you have to do is locate the current transitory position of those two planets, and you will specifically find the issues, dynamics or experiences that are occurring that come under this theme of self-improvement and where the current strategies will lie to affect it, as well as where the current external criticism can occur--where the current inner criticism can be affected. Where the current sense of lack can be felt. Now just take a moment to ponder on your own charts right now.  Locate the current transits to those points and see if you can identify this in your life.

(Audience): In my case I have Cancer on the sixth house cusp, which is ruled by the moon and the moon moves around the chart at such a rapid rate.

(Jeffrey): What does that suggest to you in terms of your own information?  It suggests that you have a nature that is perpetually trying to catch up. And by always having the sense that you don’t have enough time in your day and are always trying to catch up, how does this implicate and correlate to your sense of emotional security? Isn’t the larger teaching: What is security in the first place? And the twelfth house ideal becomes responsible for establishing your security, instead of trying to find your security linked with the work space, or trying to find your sense of personal authority projected only in what?

    Now, of course, the sixth house itself can be transited; the natal ruler itself can be transited, and it can be progressed to, and it can progress. You’re going to have a solar return sixth house and so on. In other words, if you look at it this way, you’re going to have a tremendous volume of information to deal with at any moment in time. The point here, obviously, is that self-improvement correlates to the issue of growth, so that the journey of perfection can be realized.

    To me, the 29 degree symbol is obviously a very potent symbol, just as zero and the one degree are; these come under the archetype of mutation. With respect to the 29 degree symbol, this correlates to culmination: an entire evolutionary cycle with respect to the sign on that sixth house at 29 degrees that’s coming to culmination in this life. It implies whole evolutionary lifetimes before this that you’ve been dealing with it, and it’s come into a point of culmination this time, and it’s beginning to mutate. And because it’s culminating, it means that whatever you haven’t dealt with, all of that is re-experienced in this life.  

    We also must talk about this natural relationship i.e. mutable grand cross, between the sixth, twelfth, third, and ninth.  The basic thrust of this archetype is for self-knowledge, self-expansion with respect to self-improvement.  So, if you start with the third house, the natural Gemini house, you have a situation which is also Mercury ruled, and this side of Mercury (in Gemini) sets us in motion to simply collect information about the nature of reality in general--the need to collect information, facts, and data. The need to give names to what we call phenomenal reality. In other words, from the point of view of the ninth house, this is phenomenal reality. This is not called a lectern in and of itself. The human mind projects a name upon it in order to connect it to another name, which is called a platform, in order to connect it to another name, which is called a floor, which is connected to the wall and so on. And we create intellectual structure: One fact leading to the next fact—logic--in order to feel secure. How many of us could live happily in a phenomenal universe, giving names to nothing, simply living in existential voids our whole life? Not many of us.  So my point is that via the third house, we do all this collection. We create our own unique intellectual structure, which creates the very basis of our opinions.
    So via the sixth house, the Mercury function here, analyzes. It analyzes what it’s taking in. One of the functions of the sixth house from another point of view is what is called discrimination: What facts am I going to take in, and what am I going to reject? And through classification and analysis, we put it together, making compartments, files and all this. This fact goes here, this fact goes here. And if that fact doesn’t agree with my existing intellectual structure, I criticize it and reject it.
    The point of view from the sixth house, the Mercury side, is that it correlates to the intrinsic capacity, through analysis, to pinpoint the weakest link in any intellectual argument, and by finding the weak link, tear the remaining argument down in order to justify its own existing point of view. And via the ninth house in its negative state, this now correlates to what we call the Billy Graham complex: the need to indoctrinate, convince or convert other people to your point of view in order to feel now intellectually and philosophically secure.  Does this not now give rise to sectarian philosophies and religions that have ordered it in their own little ways?  Now creating the Mercury voice, “We’re right, you’re wrong”?  
    The point here is that the ninth house of itself correlates to the archetype of intuition, what others like to call the sixth sense.  The point here is that we’re all linked to the universe, the galaxies and so on, and because of this very basic fact,  most people at most times will (ninth house) ponder or speculate or wonder what it all means. What does it all mean from a phenomenal point of view? And so with respect to our third and sixth houses we create our convenient intellectual structures to put it together. Now check this thing out.
    We all have intuition, so the point here is that which we call truth, i.e. ninth house, exists. We have a created universe so there must be some law, some truth to explain that which exists. In other words, truth can’t be invented, it can only be realized.  So whatever my specific intellectual orientation is, whatever my specific intellectual/emotional needs are, whatever kinds of questions are generated, my intuition is orientated to the universe in that way. In other words, if I think of religion from an agnostic point of view and that constitutes the basis of my intellect, then my intuition is tapped into the universe to intuit the structural truth of agnosticism. Do you see my point? And this is called picking up a portion of the truth.

    Intuition is that part in all of us that simply knows what it knows without knowing how it knows it. It is the wisdom that is inherited from your own prior lives and bring in to this life. But then we ask the next question: Is what you know the whole truth or part of the truth? So this sets in motion--keeping in mind the twelfth house polarity--the need to understand the whole truth, you see, not a portion. And you have this natural mutable grand cross so now what happens? We start to attract to ourselves intellectual and philosophical confrontations, arguments and disagreements. Now why is this happening? To make us aware of the limitations in our own intellectual orientation? And can this not create cyclic philosophical and intellectual crisis when my own points of view have now become criticized or attacked or exposed for their limitations? Does this not then enforce analysis? Does not the analysis now lead to the dynamics creating the situation? Can this now not be adjusted?  
    The problem from the point of view of the sixth house, in this culture, is that it correlates to what, philosophically speaking, is called deductive logic: trying to build the whole out of the parts.  You know you read in your happy astrological calendars--can’t see the forest for the trees. And the twelfth house polarity: what is it trying to teach from a philosophical point of view? To learn how to transfer into inductive logic: Identifying the whole first--the whole--so that its specific parts are revealed in their natural order.
    So what we’re now talking about is the inherent conflict or discrepancy between opinion and truth. Approaching it from the ninth house point of view, if I’m teaching from the point of view of self-righteousness, i.e., “My point is right and yours isn’t,” is this really teaching or is it indoctrination? If I teach from a Socratic point of view, is this real teaching?  

    The problem when you were born into the Western world within the last 300 to 400 years is that the whole emphasis was on empiricism, you see, scientific fact, which promotes a linear intellect, a fact oriented intellect. It emphasized deductive logic. So from the point of view of the sixth house in this kind of world, the twelfth house is perceived as irrational, contrasted with what is called rationalism or pragmatism or that which is practical. According to whom? That’s my question! You’re going to tell me what’s practical? That’s your form of practicality. You see what I’m getting at?  
    If you were born in the East, I mean even the language structure of the East is character, whole concepts--abstract principles are reflected--versus just a word, like in the West. And from the point of view of the East, that which is called rational in this culture is called irrational. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? You see? So all we’re trying to suggest is that you all have a third, sixth, ninth and twelfth house. The signs that you have on this natural grand cross, their planetary rulers, and the aspects that they may be making, will show you specifically in your own case, how you experience this archetype and the inherent conflict within it. The ultimate challenge of any mutable archetype is to synthesize, so that this finally leads to a vision or the knowledge of the whole truth.
    Now from a more individual point of view, this also means your own truth.  The point here is that this natural mutable archetype (the grand cross implied) is trying to teach every single one of us to identify our own natural truth, our own natural law and to actualize it. Not to live somebody else’s truth, but to identify your own. So the signs that you have on these points, the planets, show you the kinds of experiences that you inwardly orientate to and externally draw to enforce this realization. So when you try to illustrate these things, what if an individual had Capricorn on the third house, Cancer on the ninth, Aires on the sixth and Libra on the twelfth? What kinds of inner experiences/outer circumstances would the individual effect in order to arrive at his/her own natural truth? Let your intuition guide you now. Don’t get hung up in sixth house analysis. (laughter)

(Audience): The action to search.

(Jeffrey): The action to search for what? This combination, in general, would tend to create the affect in which the individual would want to try and establish its own authority (Capricorn) its own voice (Aires) through which its self-image (Cancer) and security (Cancer/ninth house) was realized, and via the Libra/twelfth house, how would this search for personal truth be projected on to the external environment?  

(Audience): So you’re saying in an enlightened sense the individual would project his or her own natural truth from the point of view of relativity (twelfth house/Libra), “This is my version of the truth I’m just trying to share with you, and this is your version of the truth and we respect individuality (Aires/sixth house).

(Jeffrey): And could we not also say with respect to Capricorn on the third house, what the natural intellectual orientation of the individual would be with respect to collecting what kinds of information? What would be the natural draw here?  

(Audience): Business

(Jeffrey):  That’s a bit specific. Can’t we just generally say--because we have to speak in generalities--couldn’t we say, in general, that at least the individual would orientate to tradition, established authority. So then the question becomes, in a potential crisis, what authority and what tradition?  And by aligning its own individuality with some existing tradition, this becomes the basis for its own authority because its connected to something other than just itself (Capricorn) through which its own individuality (Aires) is realized, which constitutes the element of inner security (Cancer/ninth house), which constitutes the element of its beliefs, which is intellectually justified through the tradition itself.  

(Audience): I have exactly the opposite of that.

(Jeffrey):  What it that trying to suggest? Clearly with that combination you must learn to establish your own voice by breaking free from tradition and reformulating your sense of security in that individual discovery--learning how to honestly express to people (Libra on the sixth), at all times what is really on your mind.  

    Is this something you think you can apply in your own work now? I mean is it practical enough for you (sixth house)? (laughter)

    So my basic point is very simple.  Because you have this natural mutable archetype, you will have key cycles in your life in which you experience philosophical or intellectual crisis or for some spiritual crisis and for others religious crisis when the ideas that your orientated to become crystallized (Earth) no more productive - counter-productive, which then sets in motion this natural crisis, i.e., the search for new information (third house/ninth house/twelfth house), which will add to your existing intellectual/philosophical foundation so that you can grow, with respect to the search for the whole truth. The point of view from the twelfth house is to dissolve all intellectual and philosophical limitations which prevent knowledge of the whole truth. So we have these key cycles of crisis in which this happens. This can be measured through transits. It can be measured through progressions. It can be measured through solar returns. We all go through it.  

    So in terms of strategies of self improvement, just locate the ruler of your sixth house, locate the natural ruler of your twelfth house, determine the aspects therein, focus upon the specific experience and activities that they suggest to be consistently acted upon, so that if this is done, it will minimize the intensity of any given crisis that you have to go through.  

(Audience):  What if you have planets in the sixth house?

(Jeffrey):  Obviously, if you have planets in the sixth house every one of those psychological correlations or functions is being acted upon with respect to these archetypes throughout life.  The signs that they naturally correlate to or rule, and their own house locality are, in effect, brought into this sixth house and acted upon throughout life. Throughout life.  It’s one of the life intentions.  

(Audience): So what would happen if you had the ruler of the twelfth house in the sixth? I think it would help you by bringing it out because the twelfth house is unconscious, so with the planet in the sixth wouldn’t that externalize it?

(Jeffrey): Yes, but you also have this problem: The sixth house is naturally inconjunct the ascendant and naturally opposed the twelfth house, so with respect to the inconjunct, i.e. the Yod, the ideal implied in that twelfth house planet being located in the sixth can seem so pure, so idealized that with respect to the individual self-analysis and the focusing on the lack, not feeling ready, do you see what I’m getting at? That it seems almost unattainable, and as a result generates the necessary excuses or reasons to not develop it. That is, in fact, the most common application. It is the rare individual who can consistently act, i.e. put one step in front of the other, to realize the full potential of that planet. As Brian was saying in his lecture, it becomes a projected phenomenon when you are trying to seek that sense of perfection in something else--It can be another person, it can be a family member, it can be a work structure--without developing it within. It’s a very common problem.  

    But then you ask the question, “Why did that individual choose to be born with that kind of planetary placement, from an evolutionary point of view?”  Nevertheless, that planet locality suggests the appropriate activities to initiate for what needs to be realized, and it just requires one step in front of the other. There’s an old philosophy that came out of Taoism, China, one of the ways they would illustrate principles is through analogy or stories. So one of the stories they have that applies to the sixth house is the story of the centipede. Imagine now the centipede has a thousand legs and it’s fine as long as it keeps walking, but as soon as it tries to figure out how leg 46 works it becomes catatonic. So the little moral (ninth house) is one step in front of the other. This is how perfection is realized. Not through excessive inaction, not through excessive analysis. Mutability requires action.  

Any more questions? Ok, thank you for coming this morning!

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 08:34 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad

The White House Makes It Clear That Netanyahu Will Pay For Disrespecting President Obama

By: Jason Easley
Friday, January, 23rd, 2015, 6:04 pm   

The White House has been publicly calm about the blatant act of disrespect to President Obama orchestrated by Speaker Of The House John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but privately administration officials are warning that there will be a price to be paid for his actions.


    “Senior American official” as quoted by Haaretz: “We thought we’ve seen everything. But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

In a separate article on Haaretz an unidentified Democratic lawmaker suggested that was shooting himself in the foot by forcing Democrats to choose between Boehner and President Obama on the Iran sanctions bill, “Netanyahu is shooting himself in the foot, because by turning this into a partisan issue, he may be forcing some Democratic members to choose between Boehner and Obama, which, for them, is no choice at all.”

Republicans and conservative media are trying to twist this story to feed their narrative that President Obama hates Israel, but a more accurate description of what is happening is that Boehner and Netanyahu have conspired to disrespect the President Of The United States. The Israeli Prime Minister will likely regret his behavior because what goes around comes around.

Netanyahu openly buddied up to Mitt Romney in 2012, did everything that he could to get a fellow conservative war hawk elected president. Netanyahu’s antics aren’t playing well with American Jewish groups and his willingness to use his power as a foreign leader to get involved in a dispute between the executive and legislative branches of the United States government is almost as troubling as the the fact that John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress for exactly this reason.

Barack Obama isn’t a president who bellows and rages. He doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, but his administration doesn’t forget. When they say that there will be a price to be paid, that price will not be cheap.


Republicans’ Allegiance Is to Israel; Not America

By: Rmuse
Friday, January, 23rd, 2015, 7:13 pm      

Since the new Koch Congress has already solved every one of America’s pressing issues and desperately need cheerleaders to advance their agenda, Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis to address Congress.  No doubt the two ‘religious’ leaders will inspire a rousing standing ovation from Republicans, and then they will launch into discourses that are so typically Republican it will indeed be painful to watch. In fact, it will be torture to listen to Netanyahu impose his foreign policy recommendations on America, but it will be particularly arduous to listen to Pope Francis do his imitation of a conservative Republican; more on that later.

It is obvious now that America is not in an ‘official war,’ Republicans need a fear-mongering diatribe from Netanyahu on the pressing necessity for anything to draw America into another Middle East war. Republicans beholden to Israel, and not America, have panted for a war with Iran since before 2008, and with a fair number of Democrats have sought desperately for any means to derail the United Nations negotiations to roll back Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu will dutifully do his part as fierce opponent of the nuclear agreement with Iran and will lend his voice to Republicans and some Democrats rebuttal to the President’s diplomacy first policy; because they are in lock step with Israel’s foreign policy that according to their mindset is in America’s best interest.

First, Boehner’s inviting a foreigner to address a joint session of Congress without consulting or notifying the President or the State Department is considered “a departure from usual diplomatic protocol, and bizarre.”  Boehner blew off normal diplomatic protocol and said, “Congress can make this decision on its own. There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president last night just papered over it. The fact is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.” Of course, when it comes to pushing for another Middle East war; who better to provide Americans with a “serious conversation” that warmonger Netanyahu? Apparently Lindsey Graham and John McCain are losing their luster.

In Israel, the opposition parties have remarked, loudly, that Netanyahu is “trampling on the framework of our relations with the U.S. for political gain ahead of a general election.” The Meretz Party in Israel said it was filing a complaint with the Central Elections Committee to prohibit Israeli television and radio stations from broadcasting Netanyahu’s “campaign speech” and “rebuttal to President Obama’s foreign policy” it claims is a “blatant violation of campaign laws;” so typically Republican. It is also another opportunity for Netanyahu to pressure the United States Congress into furnishing more of Israel’s military funding courtesy of the American taxpayers.

According to a deputy minister close to Netanyahu, “it’s the prime minister’s right to stand by ‘his’  position as much as President Obama has a right to stand by his, and to demonstrate how we think about how to deal with Iran.” Let that sink in for a moment. Republicans are allowing a foreign leader to not only campaign in front of joint session of Congress, but to lay out Israel’s proposals for America’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Boehner is not about to allow America, or President Obama set the nation’s foreign policy and complained that “the president warned us not to move ahead with sanctions on Iran. His exact message to us was, ‘Hold your fire.’ He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words: ‘Hell no!’ … We’re going to do no such thing. I am specifically asking him (Netanyahu) to address Congress on the threats posed by radical Islam and Iran to send a clear message to the White House about our commitment to Israel.”

Boehner’s rhetoric is pathetically sickening; although not surprising. If anyone does not need a foreign warmonger to inform him about the threat from radical Islam it is President Obama. The President has been decimating radical Islamists to great effect without taking counsel from Netanyahu. In fact, the President takes a world of criticism for ordering “too many” drone strikes killing terrorists and their leadership.

As reported yesterday in the world press, “Over the last 24 hours, ISIS has been defeated in every front in Iraq in unprecedented way. From Mosul to the north to Anbar to the west and Diyala to the east, Iraqi government forces, Shiite militias, Sunni tribes and Kurdish forces were all victorious in battle. Since the start of the U.S.-led air campaign, ISIS has lost its momentum in Iraq and lost some of the cities and towns that it captured in June 2014.”

According to a statement by Secretary of State John Kerry, “Two days after President Obama told Congress that Islamic State’s advances in Syria and Iraq were being halted, thousands of the fighters had been killed and 270 square miles recaptured in Iraq.” Barack Obama does not need Benjamin Netanyahu to “send a clear message to the White House” about the threat of radical Islam; or the need for more hundreds-of-millions of American taxpayer dollars to fund Israel’s military.

So there it is. Speaker of the House Boehner is calling in a foreign leader and war monger to send “a clear message to the White House” about “Republicans commitment to Israel;” not to America, not to the American people, and not to American interests in peaceful negotiations and diplomacy as opposed to another preemptive Middle East war in Israel’s best interests.

One wonders, seriously, if Boehner and McConnell will task federal park employees to remove all American flags in and around the nation’s Capital and festoon the area with Israeli flags because it is painfully obvious Boehner and Republicans’ allegiance is to Israel; not America. It is entirely plausible, and likely that John Boehner has Republicans brushing up on the Israeli national anthem for a rousing rendition to impress Netanyahu with just how devoted to Israeli national interests Republicans really are.


Mitch McConnell Cut Off Keystone XL Debate So Republicans Can Meet With The Koch Brothers

By: Jason Easley
Friday, January, 23rd, 2015, 2:07 pm

Outraged Senate Democrats are livid because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly cut off debate on the Keystone XL bill so that Republicans could attend a weekend conference with the Koch brothers.

    Blindsided Democrats accused the Kentucky Republican of shutting down a Senate that he had promised to run in a more open way than their own leaders did. They also wondered aloud if Republicans were trying to wrap up all Keystone business to accommodate a conference scheduled for this weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., that’s affiliated with the billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch.

    “Senator McConnell’s rush to vote on amendments without providing time to read or debate them could have something to do with this Koch retreat tomorrow, which a number of Republican senators are reportedly attending…,” Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said by email.

    Jentleson and several other Democratic aides suggested that McConnell might have acted to let the Senate GOP’s trio of expected White House hopefuls, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, make their way to the conference.

The open amendment filled Senate process that Mitch McConnell promised when he became Majority Leader evaporated as soon as the Koch brothers came calling. What McConnell doesn’t want to admit is that the Democratic strategy to turn Keystone XL into a real jobs/climate change bill was working. Senate Democrats were going to keep holding Republican feet to the fire, and they didn’t like it.

There is no way that McConnell was about let anything get in the way of the Republican Party’s real duty of serving the Koch brothers. When push came to shove, McConnell quickly went back on his word and shut down the so-called “open” process. McConnell behavior is evidence of the Republican-run Senate’s real priorities. Nothing is more important to Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans than the Koch brothers.


The Kochs Call In Their Chips


Charles and David Koch paid good money for that fresh-faced Congress, and now they expect to see some results, stat.

    At the National Press Club yesterday, AFP president Tim Phillips and several officers with the group laid out their agenda. The group is calling for legalizing crude oil exports, a repeal of the estate tax, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking any hike in the gas tax, a tax holiday on corporate profits earned overseas, blocking the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with a specific focus on the medical device tax.

    The announcement was touted by NPR as a “conservative agenda for Congress.” But it’s also a near mirror image of Koch Industries’ lobbying agenda. Koch Industries — the petrochemical, manufacturing and commodity speculating conglomerate owned by David and Charles — is not only a financier of political campaigns, but leads one of the most active lobbying teams in Washington, a big part of why the company has been such a financial success.

To their credit, the minions are stepping to. We have a Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline coming up, and the first Senate hearing on the ACA took place last week. Unfortunately it didn't go well for conservatives, whose own hand-picked witnesses gave testimony doing harm to their own case.

    Puzder and Webb were in a tough spot: They were there to talk about how onerous the 30-hour workweek definition was for their enterprises, but what that really meant was having to explain why they were not providing health coverage to so many of their workers. This task was made more difficult by the contrast with the Democrats’ lone witness—Joe Fugere, the owner of a small pizzeria chain in Seattle who has, even before the passage of Obamacare, offered generous benefits to any of his employees working more than 24 hours a week.

Even conservative pundits aren't helping, particularly with the proposal to redefine 'full-time employee' from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week:

    Even worse, perhaps, several prominent conservatives have come out against the revision—notably Yuval Levin, one of the right’s most influential policy wonks, who wrote in National Review that changing to 40 hours would inevitably cause more Americans to lose hours than the 30-hour rule does, because there are far more workers just at or above that threshold than at the 30-hour threshold. “By setting the definition lower, Obamacare’s architects were trying to mitigate the damaging effects of the employer mandate some,” Levin wrote in a burst of intellectual honesty, “and by setting it higher Republicans would be worsening those effects.”

But fear not, little Kochheads, because the United States Supreme Court is about to hear the Most Bogus Challenge Ever to the Affordable Care Act, based on a premise that makes absolutely no sense and has even been contradicted by Orrin Hatch and Scott Walker in columns slamming the ACA. That's right. Both Walker and Hatch used the fact that the federal government would establish exchanges in states that opted out as arguments against the ACA, which is exactly opposite of the argument they're trying to make before the Supreme Court.

It hasn't been a terrific week for the Koch Congress, but they're just getting warmed up.


The ever-growing list of Obama veto threats

By: The Associated Press (AP)
Friday, January, 23rd, 2015, 11:52 am   

If these bills reach his desk, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto them:

—Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Would ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

—No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Would ban taxpayer funding for abortion, a prohibition that is already largely in effect.

—Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. Would accelerate the approval of natural gas pipeline projects by requiring a decision on applications within 12 months.

—Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Amendments would overturn Obama’s executive actions on immigration and expose hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants to deportation.

—Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015. Would establish tougher requirements for writing federal regulations, which critics say would create confusion and delays.

—Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. Would weaken requirements under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, which put banks and Wall Street under the most sweeping rules since the Great Depression.

—Keystone XL Pipeline Act. Would approve construction of a long-stalled oil pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

—Save American Workers Act of 2015. Would narrow the definition of fulltime workers who must be offered employer-provided health insurance from those working at least 30 hours weekly to those with a 40-hour minimum.

Besides those specific bills, Obama has also threatened to veto any bill that places new sanctions against Iran, saying they would threaten ongoing negotiations over its nuclear program.


Washington Post/ABC Poll Shows Hillary Clinton Crushing Every Potential GOP Candidate

By: Keith Brekhus
Friday, January, 23rd, 2015, 4:13 pm      

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Thursday shows Hillary Clinton crushing the entire GOP field. The poll, drawn from a representative sample of 843 registered voters, conducted January 12-15, finds Clinton leading five prominent Republicans by double digits. The survey found Clinton with the largest lead over Mike Huckabee. She leads the former Arkansas Governor, turned pop music critic, by an immense 56-39 margin. She posts a similarly large lead (55-40) over 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are just slightly more competitive than Romney and Huckabee. Rand Paul and Jeb Bush each trail Clinton 54-41, while Chris Christie is down 53-40.

Women voters give Clinton a 20-point margin or greater, against each of the Republican candidates. Male voters also prefer Clinton, but by a considerably smaller gap. Clinton also performs exceptionally well with minorities, young people, and low-income voters. Many GOP hopefuls will be spending their Saturday afternoon courting House Republican extremist Steve King at his Iowa Freedom Summit. While this may improve their visibility with socially conservative Iowans who dominate GOP caucus events, it is not likely to help them achieve the mainstream appeal needed to defeat a formidable candidate like Hillary Clinton in a general election.

If Clinton were to maintain her double-digit lead, she would be in position to win in the largest presidential landslide since Republican Ronald Reagan’s 1984 drubbing of Democratic nominee Walter Mondale. A double-digit popular vote advantage would project out to approximately 400 electoral votes, potentially putting a number of reliably red states into play. For example, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri would become clear pickup opportunities in such a blowout.

In our current hyper-partisan political environment, such a landslide seems improbable. As the 2016 election draws nearer, Republicans, with help from talk radio and FOX News, will do everything they can to smear Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee. Her popularity would probably drop some in the midst of a polarized political campaign. However, she currently is in an unusually strong position to become the Democratic nominee, and to convincingly defeat whichever Republican candidate is chosen to run against her.

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 08:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Horses’ Deaths at Aqueduct Prompt New Rules

JAN. 16, 2015

It was Shewreckstheplace’s 36th start, and second in seven days, and she had yet to win a race. In a bottom-level race at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens on Jan. 4, she was pulled up at the eighth pole, taken away in a van and subsequently euthanized. Five days later, the gelding Apex, another old warhorse, broke a leg near the three-eighths pole and was put down on the track.

On Thursday, You Take the Cake, after finishing third in a low-level sprint, fell to the ground and unseated her rider, Wilmer Garcia. The mare was taken to Ruffian Equine Medical Center in Elmont, N.Y., with a fractured neck, and she, too, was euthanized.

You Take the Cake was the 12th horse in 22 days of racing to die at Aqueduct, a neighborhood track for working-class horsemen and horses at the sport’s lower levels. The Big A, as it is known, has never been one of the nation’s most glamorous tracks, but lately it has been among its deadliest.

At its current meet, which started Dec. 3 on its winterized inner dirt track, the breakdown rate of 7.8 fatalities per 1,000 starts is more than four times the national average of 1.90, according to the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database.

“It is unacceptable,” said Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York State Gaming Commission, which regulates racing in the state.

On Friday, the New York Racing Association announced emergency measures intended to prevent horsemen from running unaccomplished and at-risk horses indiscriminately. A horse is no longer allowed to be entered in a race if it has competed within 14 days. A “poor performance” list will be kept of horses that lose by 25 lengths or greater. To enter a future race, those horses must complete a half-mile workout in 53 seconds.

The weekday racing card will be reduced to eight races from nine. The bottom level of maiden claimers — races for horses that have never won — will be raised to $16,000 from $12,500. In claiming races, horses are grouped by ability and price. In a $16,000 claiming race, for example, any horse can be “claimed” or bought for that price.

The measures were announced after The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information request asking for the names of the more than 20 horses that the racing association said last week had been deemed noncompetitive and had been prohibited from competing at Aqueduct.

“The safety of our equine athletes and jockeys at Aqueduct Racetrack is a high priority,” Christopher Kay, president of the racing association, said in a statement.

Richard Violette Jr., president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, declined requests to answer questions about the fatalities. On Jan. 10, he and a small group of New York-based trainers met for two hours with racing association officials. Afterward, Mr. Violette urged jockeys and his fellow trainers to be more vigilant.

On Friday, after the death of You Take the Cake, Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, examined the track for the fourth time since Dec. 1 and found nothing structurally wrong with the racing surface. Neither trainers nor jockeys have blamed the racetrack as the casualties have mounted.

In the winter of 2011-12, not long after the Resorts World Casino opened next to Aqueduct and allowed it to offer vastly richer purses, 30 horses died at the track, a 100 percent increase in the fatality rate over the same period the previous year. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appointed a task force that found that many of the deaths could have been prevented if the racing authorities had more closely monitored the horses’ health and the liberal use of prescription drugs to keep them racing. The report also faulted racing officials and regulatory veterinarians for often ignoring signs that horses were ailing and allowing them to race for purses inflated with casino money.

Dr. Palmer was a member of that task force, and over the past two years, the New York Gaming Commission has enacted some of the most aggressive drug rules in horse racing. Still, Dr. Palmer said horsemen have been slow to embrace the changes.

The commission requires all trainers or veterinarians to log all injections of corticosteroids to ensure they are administered within the allowable time frame. For the past year, Dr. Palmer said, he has charted more than 6,000 injections.

The commission also requires that the past 30 days of a horse’s corticosteroid history be passed from one trainer to another after a horse changes hands by a claim. That aspect has been less successful.

“We did it on the honor system, and not a lot of trainers called and asked for the horses’ history,” Dr. Palmer said. So this month the data will be transferred automatically to a trainer who claims a horse.

Regulators have also ruled that purses at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga cannot be higher than double the claiming price. Still, the average daily purse given away at Aqueduct is $410,979, according to the Jockey Club Information Systems Inc., or more than 20 percent higher than the $334,552 average at Gulfstream Park in South Florida, where most high-end New York stables relocate over the winter.

There is little doubt the claiming races are the lifeblood of Aqueduct. Since Oct. 29, more than 200 claims on horses have been made, and more than $5 million in horse flesh has changed hands.

It may be a lucrative few months for horsemen, but the New York Racing Association has not fared well. It lost $22.7 million last year and $23 million in 2013, according to the association.

State law and regulation require that 120 days of racing be scheduled at Aqueduct during the winter months, but racing association officials have said that they might ask the Legislature to cut back on winter racing or eliminate it all together.

NYRA asked for and received two breaks in its Aqueduct schedule — one in December and one in March — in the hopes of resting a dwindling horse population. It also has canceled multiple days of racing because of cold weather.

“Racing in the winter is difficult,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president for racing operations. “There are a lot of challenges.”


Raced to Death at the Big A

JAN. 23, 2015

The tragic degradation of thoroughbred racing continues at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack, where the fatality rate for horses — 7.8 per 1,000 horses — has reached more than four times the national average as heedless owners put unproven horses at risk for lucrative purses. Twelve horses broke down in competition and had to be put to death in just 22 days in the track’s current winter meet.

The alarming rate prompted officials of the New York Racing Association to issue emergency measures this month to crack down on horsemen who indiscriminately run weak and unaccomplished horses in races that can prove lethal.

The track has always been more blue-collar than blue-chip as an attraction for bettors and the industry’s lower-rung horses. This year’s winter meet threatens a new low in a thoroughbred scandal first uncovered three years ago by a Times report that the death rate at Aqueduct had doubled after the opening of the adjacent Resorts World Casino. The booming casino’s gambling revenues have inflated the racetrack’s purses, heightening the lure for owners and trainers to put horses at risk.

The new emergency measures cut the weekday card from nine races to eight and mandate a two-week layoff between races to keep horses off a competitive treadmill. A “poor performance” list is being created for horses that lose by 25 lengths or greater. These horses must now complete a half-mile workout in 53 seconds to show minimal stamina for racing before being allowed to go back to the starting line.

New York officials have taken aggressive measures to deal with a parallel problem of horses being abused by drugs to boost their performance at American racetracks. They should be similarly aggressive if exploitation of weaker thoroughbreds continues at Aqueduct — severely cutting back on winter racing, or eliminating it altogether.

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 08:07 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
New data reveals much about Rosetta’s comet

January 23, 2015
Chuck Bednar for – Your Universe Online

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has five basic but diverse categories of terrain type, as well as 19 distinct geomorphological boundaries, according to early data obtained by the ESA’s Rosetta mission and published in a special edition of the journal Science.

Several new studies based on initial results from seven of the comet-landing probe’s 11 science instruments have been published this week, the agency announced on Thursday. The preliminary findings, made during Rosetta’s approach to Comet 67P/C-G and shortly following its arrival in August 2014, include details about its surface features and its ongoing activity.

Measurements of the duck-shaped, dual-lobed comet revealed that the smaller portion measures 2.6 × 2.3 × 1.8 km and the larger one measures 4.1 × 3.3 × 1.8 km. The comet has a total volume of 21.4 km3; its mass is 10 billion metric tons; and it has a density of 470 kg/m3.

Furthermore, by assuming that its overall composition is primarily water, ice, and dust with a density of 1500-2000 kg/m3, mission scientists have determined that the comet has a very high porosity between 70 percent and 80 percent, and that its interior structure is probably made from weakly-bonded clumps of ice and dust with small void spaces separating them.

The terrain and regions

Thanks to the efforts of Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera, roughly 70 percent of the surface has been imaged, leading to the discovery of five terrain types: dust-covered; brittle materials with pits and circular structures; large-scale depressions; smooth terrains; and exposed, consolidated rock-like surfaces. Only parts of the southern hemisphere have yet to be imaged.

The 19 distinct regions of the comet have, in keeping with the ancient Egyptian theme of the Rosetta mission, been named for Egyptian deities. They have been grouped based on the type of terrain dominant within: Ma’at, Ash and Babi (dust-covered); Seth (brittle materials); Hatmehit, Nut and Aten (depressions); Hapi, Imhotep and Anubis (smooth); and Maftet, Bastet, Serqet, Hathor, Anuket, Khepry, Aker, Atum and Apis (rock-like).

The majority of the northern hemisphere is covered in dust, the ESA said. As comet 67P/C-G becomes heated, ice turns directly into gas, which escapes to form its atmosphere, or coma. Dust is carried along with the gas at slower speeds, and particles not travelling fast enough to overcome the weak gravity fall to the surface instead.

It’s not that kind of coma

In one of the studies, researchers from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio and their colleagues report that the coma is far less homogenous than expected, and that there is significant variation in the comet’s outgassing over time.

“If we would have just seen a steady increase of gases as we closed in on the comet, there would be no question about heterogeneity of the nucleus,” explained lead author and SwRI postdoctoral researcher Dr. Myrtha Hässig. “Instead we saw spikes in water readings, and a few hours later, a spike in carbon dioxide readings This variation could be a temperature effect or a seasonal effect, or it could point to the possibility of comet migrations in the early solar system.”

Dr. Hunter Waite, a program director and planetary scientist at SwRI, added, “Our whole concept of the variability of volatile release at comets will change based on this paper, which will have significant impact on our understanding of comet formation and evolution.”

In another study, researchers reported that Rosetta’s Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO) detected a significant increase the amount of water “pouring” out of 67P/C-G. From June through August 2014, the amount of H2O being released into space by the comet increased tenfold, to the equivalent of 40 ounces every second, according to NASA researchers.

“To be up close and personal with a comet for an extended period of time has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to see how comets transform from cold, icy bodies to active objects spewing out gas and dust as they get closer to the sun,” explained Sam Gulkis, principal investigator of the MIRO instrument at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

A third paper describes evidence for carbon-based molecules on the surface of 67P/C-G that was gathered using the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) instrument. Based on previous studies, the authors of that paper explained that they expected to see signs of more complex molecules, including alcohols, carboxylic acids and nitrogen-containing amines.

However, data obtained from VIRTIS suggests that the surface of the comet is actually made up mostly of simpler hydrocarbons – a discovery which could radically impact our understanding of how carbon-based molecules first developed and spread through our solar system.

“Comets have always surprised humanity. C-G seems to be no exception,” study co-author Murthy Gudipati, a part-time senior research scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Physical Science and Technology, said in a statement.

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 08:05 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Evidence of past water flows discovered on Vesta

January 23, 2015
Chuck Bednar for – Your Universe Online

Vesta, the propoplanet visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from 2011 through 2013, may have once been home to short-lived flows of water-mobilized material – a discovery which could have tremendous implications for the field of planetary science, according to the US space agency.

Experts previously believed Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the solar system behind Ceres, was unable to retain surface water due to low temperature and pressure. But new data from Dawn has led to the discovery of geological features indicating that it may not have always been completely anhydrous.

“Nobody expected to find evidence of water on Vesta. The surface is very cold and there is no atmosphere, so any water on the surface evaporates,” said Jennifer Scully, one of the authors of the study and a postgraduate researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. “However, Vesta is proving to be a very interesting and complex planetary body.”

Specifically, she and her colleagues identified a handful of young craters on the protoplanet that had curved gullies and fan-shaped (lobate) deposits. Writing in the February issue of the  journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, they proposed that transient water flowed on its surface in a debris flow-like process that left the distinctive features on its surface.

“We’re not suggesting that there was a river-like flow of water. We’re suggesting a process similar to debris flows, where a small amount of water mobilizes the sandy and rocky particles into a flow,” Scully said. “These features on Vesta share many characteristics with those formed by debris flows on Earth and Mars.”

She added that these curved gullies differ significantly from those formed by the flow of dry material. Combined with the recent discovery of water evaporation on Ceres and water activity on smaller asteroids, the authors report that their findings “support the new paradigm that water is widespread in the asteroid belt.”

The gullies are described as being fairly narrow, averaging just 100 feet (30 meters wide), and they are a little over one-half mile (900 meters) in length, the researchers said. Some of the best example of these curved gullies and fan-shaped deposits were found in Vesta’s Cornelia Crater, which is nine miles (15 kilometers) wide.

The other gullies

So what was the source of these curved gullies? Scully and her colleagues believe they came from small, localized ice patches in the subsurface of Vesta. The origins of this ice is unknown, but it is possible that comets or other ice-rich bodies impacted onto the asteroid and left some of their ice buried deep in the subsurface.

This would then be followed by another impact, which forms a crater, heats up some of the ice patches, and releases liquid water onto the crater walls. The H2O then caused sandy and rocky particles to flow down the crater walls, carving out the gullies and leaving the lobate deposits in their wake.

“If present today, the ice would be buried too deeply to be detected by any of Dawn’s instruments. However, the craters with curved gullies are associated with pitted terrain, which has been independently suggested as evidence for loss of volatile gases from Vesta,” Scully said. Also, evidence from Dawn’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer and other instruments indicates that some rocks on Vesta’s surface contain hydrated material.

The craters with curvy gullies appear to be less than a few hundred million years old, while Vesta itself is roughly 4.6 billion years old. Laboratory experiments performed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California indicated that there could have been enough time for the curved gullies to form on the asteroid before all of the water evaporated.

“These results, and many others from the Dawn mission, show that Vesta is home to many processes that were previously thought to be exclusive to planets,” said UCLA’s Christopher Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission. “We look forward to uncovering even more insights and mysteries when Dawn studies Ceres.”

 on: Jan 24, 2015, 08:02 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Bolivia's Morales Swears in New Cabinet

by Naharnet Newsdesk 23 January 2015, 17:58

Bolivia's President Evo Morales swore in a new cabinet Friday, one day after he was sworn in to a third term likely to be shaped by the impact of falling oil prices.

Morales kept on two ministers who have been with him since he first came to power in 2006, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, and Economy Minister Luis Arce.

The 55-year-old former coca-grower presided over an economic boom during his first two terms, reaping the benefits of high natural gas and commodities prices.

But the sharp drop in oil prices over the past six months presents a challenge to Morales, a lefist populist who nationalized the country's oil and gas and other strategic industries earlier in his presidency.

In an inaugural speech Thursday, he vowed to maintain high rates of growth and bring the percentage of population living in poverty down to single digits by the end of his mandate in 2020.

Bolivia projects 5.9 percent growth this year, a gain similar to 2014. The country's economy grew 6.8 percent in 2013.

With control of the national assembly, Morales should have a free hand to undertake reforms, possibly including a constitutional amendment to allow him to run for a fourth term.

Morales says he has not considered changing the constitution to open a way for a fourth term.

Source: Agence France Presse

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