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Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM PDT

Beyond the Shadow Feminine

by Planet Waves

From Planet Waves by Eric Francis

It's been easy to notice the misogynist rampage of the Republicans lately. Watch cable news for 20 minutes and you get inundated with it.

Last month, for example, the Republican-controlled Senate in Utah successfully pushed through a law effectively banning sex education courses from covering the subjects of contraception, premarital sex and homosexuality, forcing schools to teach only abstinence and heterosexuality or not have any sex education program. Note, this crap has been going on since 1981, costing American kids worlds of pain and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.

In South Carolina, some politicians tried to make a rule that nobody who has had premarital sex can run for office. This is the kind of thing I would think of for an April Fool's Day prank and be rather pleased with myself; but it seems like many politicians are hell bent on outdoing the cartoonists who ridicule them.

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Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 09:17 AM PDT

A Vast Left Wing Conspiracy

by Planet Waves

This week I've been enjoying the stream of paranoid emails and Facebook messages that have started to reach me, wherein people are freaked out about how there is actually a populist uprising going on the United States. I concede that we have good reason to believe that the power brokers will be nervous that someone is actually noticing that the average Goldman Sachs employee makes $292,000 per year. This is the same company that placed bets that an oil rig would blow up in the Gulf of Mexico. Remember that? Fabulous Fabrice and his infamous, "Suck it up, fishies and birdies"?

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This article, written by Eric Francis, appears in today's Planet Waves

Wednesday night I had dinner with a friend who’s an experienced homeopath and teacher, helping me fill in some gaps in my studies. He was describing what homeopaths call the cancer miasm: that is, the whole thought form and energy pattern associated with the disease cancer. We Americans live in what may be the most carcinogenic society on Earth, and homeopathy proposes that this is as much about our mentality as it is about toxins in the food and water. Even mainstream medical practitioners note that one thing many cancer patients have in common is the habit of suppressing their emotions.

My friend described the cancer miasm as being about a psyche gripped by intractable ideas; that is to say, a mind that will not budge. This is the essence of fundamentalism, a mode of thinking that currently has the United States Congress and thus the world economy by the throat. Everyone on the majority side in the House of Representatives pretty much agrees that any raising of additional revenue is out of the question, and that they’re going to cut benefits from people living on government pensions they paid into for decades.

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By Eric Francis, crossposted at Planet Waves  

If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake.
   -- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Conservatism is all the rage. I guess it has been for a while. I'm usually late picking up on trends; I finally joined the New York State Conservative Party a few weeks ago, with a plan to reform the organization from within.

I got out of politics in the mid-1980s (when I was an aspiring campaign writer) because in that role, one of your daily tasks is to lie to the public. I got sick of having to make false statements of various kinds. For example, to get your candidate elected, it's generally necessary to tell the public what they want to hear, or what gets them to vote the way you want, rather than what your candidate actually stands for.

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Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM PST

Mr. Handsome and Mystical Longing

by Planet Waves

Cross posted from Planet Waves

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the 2012 Republican candidate for president: Mr. Handsome. Or he will be, if he can stay out of the sex scandal business.

But first, psychology class.

Dr. Wilhelm Reich, renowned as Freud's brightest student, and notably the one who rebelled against him with the most precision, said that politics was the very pinnacle of neurosis.

We have options for understanding the current state of politics, other than psychoanalytic. We can look at the election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate as a backlash against the failings of the Democrats, and Obama's seeming failure to live up to his campaign promises. Then again, Brown campaigned with a promise to be the 41st vote against health care reform in the minority rules Senate (where you need 60 votes to get anything done). So the public is pissed off that Obama and the Dems aren't doing enough; and the answer is to scramble the little that they have got done; which sounds more terrible twos than adolescent. The only reason I buy that analysis is the chart -- which I'll come to in a moment.

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Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 09:56 AM PST

Updated: The Religion of Debt

by Planet Waves

This article, excerpted here, grew out of an ongoing email correspondence on banking and economics between me and it's author, Kelly Cowan. Kelly is an artist, investor and observer of the economy and capital markets. Although she left the professional investment world behind long ago, she is a close watcher of economic and market trends. She maintains close contacts with a number of individuals in the investment world. The full article can be found at Planet Waves--Eric Francis, editor

FROM THE TEMPLE OF DEBT a prayer rings out. It is the busiest time of year for the Cathedral of Commerce. 'Tis the season of Debt.

A critical issue facing this nation is our debt problem. Excessive levels of both private and government debt exist today. There are two ways to deal with debt: service the debt or default on the debt. With default can come deliberate debt reductions or bankruptcy. Current debt levels are unsustainable and there is no way to service all this debt. The debt cannot and will not be repaid. The wealth just isn't there. We are living in an era of negative equity.

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This article first appeared Friday, April 3, 2009 as part of Planet Waves' weekly publication, available to subscribers.

By ERIC FRANCIS

Today, Venus retrograde is in an exact square to Pluto, inching her way toward the Aries Point. The square was exact at 6:21 am ET and because Venus is slow and powerful in the sky, it's within exact orb as you read this.

Venus is visible above Earth's moon, which is illuminated solely by light reflected from Earth. Because of Venus' nearness to Earth and the way its clouds reflect sunlight, it appears to be the brightest planet in the night sky.

I've been working up to this aspect in previous columns all year, and the Venus retrograde series of events are described in the most precise astrological and psychological detail in the Next World Stories editions for Taurus and Libra (the signs with which Venus is most closely associated).

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Carol Van Strum is a contributing writer at Planet Waves.

by CAROL VAN STRUM

As we have been reporting throughout February, the U.S. Navy has declared dominion over all waters and air space along the Pacific coast from the Canadian border to northern California and inland to Idaho.  With either totally incompetent or deliberately deceptive notice to coastal residents and state legislators, the Navy announced this move in a nearly invisible Environmental Impact Statement.  

Coastal Oregon residents, learning by word of mouth of the Navy's plans, raised enough hell to alert Oregon's Congressional delegation, which – with increasingly outraged letters to the Secretary of the Navy – forced the Navy to concede, very grudgingly, to a half-hearted delay.

Oregon's legislators should not be the only ones raising questions about Navy activities.  For one thing, the Navy's planned playground extends well into northern California waters, as well as air space.  Moreover, the Pacific Northwest "Training Range Complex" is only one of many such extensions of Navy dominion.  

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Originally posted at Planet Waves.

by ERIC FRANCIS

There is an idea going around that the economic crisis is the result of the misconduct of markets, banks and financial institutions, and that the solution will come from the government providing relief or taking action.

Like all lies, there is an element of truth here. Banks have been reckless. Enormous, unnecessary risks were taken with investor assets, and millions of people who could barely afford to rent were sold homes. Fraud on an incomprehensible scale was and still is being perpetuated, enough to make the Enron scandal seem quaint. The government does need to intervene in a variety of ways, and a lot of people need help; of the many who need that help, most will not get it.

It's also true that our system as we think of it is a dinosaur, which serves little purpose other than to feed itself. We are watching it begin to stumble over.

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Carol Van Strum is the author of "A Bitter Fog: Herbicides and Human Rights" a book documenting the use of Agent Orange in the Pacific Northwest. She has written exposes on chlorine and dioxin contamination in feminine hygiene products for Greenpeace, as well as book reviews on environmental, history and children's  books for the Washington Post, USA Today and the New York Times.

Below is a letter by Carol, responding to the Navy's Environmental Impact Statement on its proposed expansion of the Northwest Weapons Training Range Complex (NWTRC) along the Pacific NW Coast, where she lives.

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Originally posted at Planet Waves.

Feb. 17, 2009. In response to pressure from Oregon residents and state Congressional delegation, the Navy has agreed to extend the deadline for public review and comment on the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for expansion of its Northwest Weapons Training Range Complex (NWTRC) along the Pacific NW coast. However, instead of a sixty day extension for public comment requested by Oregon's congressmen, the Navy proposed to extend the deadline by only thirty days to March 11, 2009.

Last Friday, Feb. 13, 2009 Oregon's Congressional delegation sent a follow-up to its first letter to the Secretary of the Navy. The delegation again reiterated sixty days was needed for public review, and called the Navy on a lie:

(Bolded emphasis by Planet Waves)

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Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 08:41 AM PST

All of Us Here

by Planet Waves

Originally posted at Planet Waves.

by ERIC FRANCIS

Imagine you're sitting in a restaurant with a group of your friends, and a discussion about a potentially sensitive subject comes up. A few of your friends express their views, and you decide to take a turn, something you don't usually do. You speak your mind and the room goes chilly. There are stares in your direction. Your stomach turns; you've crossed the line of social appropriateness.

It's like a nightmare: you've revealed yourself and been rejected for it. In a single moment you realize that in order to maintain your social relationships from this point onward, you would have to ignore the difference in values and suppress your views and, in reality, yourself. If you were to be open about them, you would basically be unacceptable. Suddenly you feel very alone in the world. Could it be that these people were not your friends at all? What is a friend? And could it be that you really need to invest more energy into actually expressing who you are, rather than in conforming to what other people think for their convenience?

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