November, 2008

Mythic Prelude:

Comfortable with Chaos

Hello, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for November, 2008. As time is of the essence, we go at once to the United States House of Representatives, now convened in an extraordinary night session.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Hermes 3.
Dan Furst: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Esteemed members of the House, ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to address this body at a time that is not just a "defining moment" in our nation's history, as one of this year's presidential candidates has called it, but truly a deciding moment in which we, our colleagues in the Senate and in American government at all levels, and ultimately the people of our country will determine not just our best chances for prosperity, law and order, peace and national security. As important as all of these things are, there is not one of them that matters as much as the urgent question we will all face in the years to come, the months ahead, and even in the weeks before our next election. Not even all of these great values that we hold essential to the preserving of our civilization and our national life, not all of them put together, are as absolutely crucial in deciding who we are, and what kind of country we choose to have, as this one overriding question: is the United States now able to continue as a republic that guarantees its people's liberty under constitutional law, or will we go the way that every republic before us has gone?
Will we allow men of high ambition and doubtful character to slice and tear the Constitution, to corrupt our institutions and disempower our people, and to bundle us all toward the tyranny of a police state under a dictator who spends all of our resources not on the health and happiness of our people, but on perpetual war and preparation for war? We're heading in that direction fast. While no one ever expected America to be Athens, we'd hoped that we would not turn into Sparta, at least not in our lifetimes. But the ominous trend is well underway, and it is gaining momentum. In recent weeks we have passed the largest military budget in our country's history. It adds up to well over one trillion dollars, if we add to the official military budget itself the various black operations and other mysterious budget lines that have been kept secret for years even from the ladies and gentlemen in this chamber, whose responsibility it is to oversee, and investigate when necessary, any and all matters of military appropriations.
The American military budget for the fiscal year of 2008 - 2009 is the richest windfall in our planet's history for death merchants whose continuing and rising profits depend on more war, in more places, with more armaments costing more money, as though the prime duty of our citizens were only to toil and bleed for nothing more than the dream of a few weapons makers to be richer than Croesus, richer than the robber barons of the Rhine, richer than the titans of industry who perfected in America's own Gilded Age an art of commerce that is responsible to nothing beyond itself, and must in the end, like a subtle, wasting illness, suck into itself our people's money, their self-worth and their dreams, their very lives.
Very few of us even had time to read this military budget, preoccupied as we were by the astounding financial crisis that compelled, coerced or bamboozled this Congress to pass into law, by a vote that was anything but a consensus, a $700 billion package for the benefit of the same criminals of great wealth whose arrogance and greed created this catastrophe, though of course the responsibility for it rests with us all. If we had all been honest and awake, we could have acted to prevent this nightmare that violates the very dream and destiny of our country as an enduring, sacred idea of freedom and human dignity that has lived in the mind of God from before the beginning of human, historic time.
In the last few weeks we have debated this Pranks for Banks measure from what seems to be every conceivable point of view. But there is one angle of insight from which we have not yet examined this matter. It is a point of view which, I dare to say, has never been represented in this chamber in the entire history of the American Congress. Ladies, and gentlemen, I would like to explore the Bank Bailout Boondoggle within the context of astrology.
(A low commotion of gasps, groans, giggles and sighs, a creaking of chairs and rustling of paper and whispers soughs through the chamber. It sounds like a swamp at night.)
I freely confess it. I have been an astrologer for decades. Some of you already know the value of this, as I have read for you, and you well know that one doesn't have to be John Pierpont Morgan to know that millionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do. Is there any chance at all that I will reveal the names of men and women here present who are my clients, or with whom I've had casual discussions of astrological science? Of course not. Even though the strategic leakage of information is an art form among some politicians, an honest astrologer, like a principled attorney or a true physician, preserves confidentiality as a point of honor. I propose to read into the Congressional Record an excerpt from the article "$700 Billion Bailout and Mercury Retrograde," circulated as an e-mail newsletter by my colleague Rick Riedel on Oct. 6.
"The drama is beginning to unfold," he wrote, "as the U.S. and world financial crisis dominates the headlines. In a surprise move, on September 29th, the first day that Saturn and Uranus were within 5 degrees (effective orb) of each other, Congress rejected Bush's Bailout Bill. This was the first breath of the inclination to tackle old problems a new way. The following day the Dow Jones average dropped 777 points.
"If we back up a little bit, we see that Mercury turned retrograde on September 24th. . . . At this writing, Mercury is still retrograde. It is common knowledge that it is not a good idea to sign important documents while Mercury is in this mode. This is a great time for re-evaluating and re-considering things, but not very good for taking action. Our leaders have just signed a $700 billion document under this condition. When Mercury turns direct, the "uh oh" phase begins and the problems that are not visible now will start to become apparent. That day is October 15th." The very day, we might observe in passing, of the next presidential debate.

"On October 16th," Mr. Riedel continues, "the Sun will be at the 23 degrees of Libra spot where Mars and Mercury conjoined. The harsh lights of realization will shine on the real implications of the bailout deal. Mercury will make it back to the spot where it turned retrograde on Halloween and this is when all the implications of what we have signed up for become apparent. This is only 4 days before Election Day when Saturn and Uranus are exactly opposite. There is no telling what will happen then. It's mind-boggling to imagine what kind of fallout will come from a financial agreement of this magnitude when these times are upon us. . . . Hold on to your hats, the ride is just beginning!"

Indeed it is, and it is careening in such amazingly weird directions that we can't help but wonder at the sanity of our political and business leaders, as this exhibit shows.

(There is louder murmuring as this image appears in the air above the Speaker's podium:)
On ABC News, Brian Ross and Tom Shine reported in "After Bailout, AIG Execs Head to California Resort," that weeks after the US government saved the AIG insurance firm from massive losses that its executives incurred from betting on credit default swaps -- a topic on which Mr. Kucinich here has been working bravely to alert those who will listen -- the top management of AIG felt a need to recuperate from all the recent stress. So they repaired to the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California. They certainly played like monarchs. As Mr. Waxman has noted, they stayed in rooms that cost over $1,000 a night. They spent a total of $440,000, including $150,000 for meals and $23,000 at the spa. I do not remember whether the spa fees included manicures and pedicures.
And they are not the only ones who have been living in monarch mode lately.
If his attire in this picture is anything to go by, then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who proposed in his original bailout plan that his actions and those of his lieutenants not be subject to judicial review -- so they would have exercised dictatorial power for an indefinite term -- may be preparing for his desired new role by costuming himself in the manner of the Grand Mogul. Yes, it is obvious to us, even if we're not in the American media and endlessly fixated on trivia, that Akbar and Shah Jahan would never have worn a shirt and tie under their silk tunics.
But such fashion notes are secondary. What matters more to us now, or should, is that when officials at the highest levels of government and business begin behaving in so unfastened a manner that one can actually begin to question their sanity, then such lunacy, even if it is not truly madness but only appears to be, can get dangerously contagious.
And it can happen fast, as we see here. Public fury at the thoughtless actions of our leaders is rising, and though we don't know yet how to gauge the rage, our response to it is already well in hand. As you know, an active unit of the US Army has now been stationed on American soil for the first time in our nation's history. The duties of the 8,000-man 1st Brigade Team, now back from Iraq and training for domestic assignments, include action in response to large-scale emergencies and disasters.
These emergencies are said to include an attack with weapons of mass destruction, an event that is still conceivable to those who fear that America's Middle Eastern enemies possess a nuclear, chemical or biological device, or at least a parcel packed with tons of TNT, and could deliver it against us on something more sophisticated than the back of a camel. What is of much greater interest to us, though, is that the Army Times newspaper reported last month that the newly named Consequence Management Response Force, CCMRF, may also "be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control." Is it curious that we did not see this very intriguing item anywhere else, in media aimed at a wider audience, even though the First Brigade Team is part of George S. Patton's favorite outfit, the famous 3rd Infantry Division? Not really. America's national media will definitely get interested in the activities of the CCMRF -- it is fetchingly pronounced "Sea-Smurf" -- as soon as one of its men begins dating a celebrity. Until then, the only reporters who will notice what Sea Smurf is doing are ones like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, who asks, "Is Posse Comitatus Dead?" The best answer to her question is the one favored by Warren Beatty's fictional Sen. Jay Bulworth: Isn't That Obvious?
Of course posse comitatus is dead. It passed away two years ago when the Congress prior to this one passed the National Defense Authorization Act on Oct. 17, 2006. This incredible legislation, which has been renewed in both subsequent years, authorizes the President, without gaining the concurrence of Congress or even notifying anyone here of what he intends, to "employ the armed forces to restore public order in any state of the United States the president determines hinders the execution of laws or deprives people of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws." What could possibly have moved Congress to give away the store on this one? Who knows? All we can be sure of is that the original Posse Comitatus Act, passed in 1878 to protect the people's liberty by restraining the federal government from using the US Army to quell civil unrest in the time of Reconstruction after the Civil War, is gone for good, as dead as independent national media and any hope of gaining legal redress from a corporation that has wronged you.
What is posse comitatus, and why is it so inestimably important? The Latin words mean "power of the county" because since the time of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote and said much about the danger of a standing army on American soil, local law enforcement bodies formed by local officials have been responsible for handling local emergencies. It has always been understood that while the army must clearly be mobilized at home in response to an invasion, its presence within the country's borders during peacetime is an obvious threat to liberty, especially when, as is the case with us now, incredibly enough, the executive is empowered to use the army as he wants without the approval of Congress. What happens when an active military force is stationed within the country? The Romans knew, and they addressed the question in their constitution, which is the main model of the American Constitution.
Roman law stipulated that the commander of the Army of Northern Italy must not move his legions south of the Rubicon River unless the Senate expressly directed him to do so. A famous phrase we've all heard, "Crossing the Rubicon," meant that the army was now poised to march on Rome, and to install its general not just as dictator for "the present emergency," but dictator for good. As we all know, the first commander who made the perilous move, saying as he did so some other famous words -- "The die is cast" -- was Julius Caesar. In 49 BC, he crossed the Rubicon. Five years later, he was proclaimed dictator for life, and soon after that he was assassinated by republican senators determined to preserve their own privilege and their people's freedom at whatever risk to themselves. It did no good. After another 17 years of fevered cloakroom intrigue and civil war, Caesar's adoptive son Octavian had himself named Augustus, the princeps or first citizen who would no longer be constrained by the Senate or the constitution. The republic was historia antiqua. Twenty-two years after Caesar violated posse comitatus, the Romans now had an autocratic emperor instead of a government of laws.
How long will we have now, as history in our time moves so much faster? Not 22 years. Will it be 22 months? And as those who are determined to preserve control of our country by any means, from manipulation, lies and deceit, to the incarceration of their enemies in newly constructed camps and the use of deadly force, are opposed by others who are equally determined to save their liberty before it is gone completely, and both sides arouse allies every day to join them, is it any wonder that the impending clash between these two forces is expected to unleash the most dangerous and unpredictable events, even to plunge the country into chaos? What, then, is chaos?
F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI): Oh, please! Will the gentleman yield?
Dan: Only to the express wish of the Goddess herself.
Sensenbrenner: Will he yield for a question?
Dan: I hesitate at this time to say "Shoot," but yes, go ahead.
Sensenbrenner: Which goddess? Just curious.
Dan: The Great Goddess Gaia. The forgotten one. The Mother Lode of Love.
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO): Will he yield for another question?
Dan: No. We do not have as much time as you think, and I'll be done in just a few minutes more.
(Groans, growls and hisses, louder now.)
Musgrave: Blasphemy!
Duncan Hunter (R-CA): Outrageous!
Ike Skelton (D-MO): Let him speak!
Chaos is a Greek word that means the primeval dark formlessness of what was not even a cosmos until the Earth Goddess Gaia emerged, so there was a mass of land for the first time, then her son Uranus the Sky appeared, and they started the process of Creation. The sea, the sky and the land became distinct, and all the life forms that live in them now appeared, and the four elements of earth, water, air and fire, no longer jumbled together in confusion, were now well defined. There was order out of chaos, as "cold, and hot, and moist, and dry, / In order to their stations leap," in the words of the poet John Dryden. The Bible story of Creation is similar, as we know from the first chapter of Genesis, when "God divided the light from the darkness" and then "divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament," and so on.
So the grand drama of Creation comes down to a process of dividing elements, and cosmic forces, and living things, one from another, until they are all well defined and in their proper places, and we have order. When everything stays where it is supposed to be, then order is easily maintained. But we all know what the problem is. There are always those who want to exceed their boundaries. We know who they are, and we know the words they use when their aggression and greed stir the inevitable reaction from those they mean to rob and rule. So today, here and now in the USA, when captains of industry go beyond the boundaries that ought to restrain them, this is not called chaos. It's business as usual. But when these predators, and the government officials they own, proceed to oppress the citizenry, and push their backs to the wall so hard that they must either fight or die, this is called chaos. Or communism, or anarchy, or whatever other bogey word is needed to fool and scare those who crave certainty, and send them back to sleep.
Why are so many people talking about chaos now? Is it because things are about to get hairy in a hurry? Sure, that's part of it. But the more important principle of Chaos 101 is that the harsher the regime of the powers that be becomes, the more certain it is that before long, as Sheldan Collins put it in assessing the trend of the US dollar now, "Pan reigns."
Here he is. (Consternation in the chamber. Cries of "It's the Devil!" and "How dare you?") He loves it far away from the city, far from the archons and their laws, the merchants and their money, in the woods where the wild grapes grow. It's no wonder that people who want a simple life in nature, in sustainable communities, love him as much as those who want to control others fear him. The simple fact is that chaos must come now. Did Edward Lorenz, the great scientist who pioneered Chaos Theory, ever wonder before he passed on a few months ago whether such a thing as a theory of chaos has to appear now, at a time when a global corporatist system of domination and control has, for the first time, plunged billions of human beings into such misery that their lives can no longer be called even a struggle? Did he think, at a time when polluters have poisoned our planet and fished out our seas, that it's no longer a question of whether chaos will come, but when, so we'd best understand the science of it?

It's time to get comfortable with chaos, and to recognize its positive possibilities. Bob Dylan does. "Chaos is a friend of mine," he said. And Steve Martin, who understands a thing or two about the comedy of confusion called farce, said "Chaos in the midst of chaos isn't funny, but chaos in the midst of order is." There we are. We could look at more evidence, but the main point is already clear. The more rigid order is, and the more wretchedness it brings, the more necessary chaos becomes, and not just for comic relief. Chaos can be like oxygen, the breath of life itself, to one who is suffocating from much too much order.

How best to get through the turbulent times that are sure to come, as the weather forecast for late 2008 through mid-2010 calls for intermittent chaos, with widespread outbreaks of light and joy toward 2012? By remembering that chaos is hard to navigate only if you're all alone when you feel that terrifying sensation of the ground slipping out from under your feet, and everything you thought you knew is swirling off the walls that are no longer there. Our truest safety, like our truest wealth, is in our friends, our families and our communities. With their help, we can not only get through whatever comes. We can discover in ourselves resources that we never knew were there, just as a storm that scours the sand and soil can uncover buried treasure that would never have been found if the high, roaring wind had not come.
So join hands with the ones you love, and reach out to others who are ready to join you. Stand with them and sing with them, and bonded together as we are in love, there is nothing on Heaven or Earth that we will not have the courage to face. Keep Holding That Frequency.

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The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2012:
Prelude: The American Election of November 4, 2008
Prelude Supplement: And the Winner Is . . .
Act 1: Conflicts: The Neptune Return of April 11, 2009
Act 2: Complications: The Triple Chiron-Neptune-Jupiter Conjunction of May-August, 2009
Act 3: Turning Point: The Exact Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Feb. 16 - 17, 2010
Act 4: Crisis and Climax: The Crosses of Summer, 2010
Act 5: Denouement: The Near Chiron-Neptune Conjunction of Nov. 2 - 3, 2010

Copyright 2008 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.