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Kingston, NY, Friday, Nov. 28, 2008

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Thanksgiving Day in the United States

Dear Friend and Reader:

Waking up this morning, feeling the fragility of the world, I am so grateful to be safe at home, with good friends nearby, on the East Coast and in the United States this Thanksgiving. For most of these years I've been writing and editing (or co-editing, as is the case now) Planet Waves, I've often been far from familiar faces and a secure sense that the land is holding me. I can honestly say I feel that now.

Planet Waves
Coney Island. Photo by Eric Francis, with Danielle Voirin.
I slept home last night and woke up at 6:30 am knowing that I can go down to Peter B's Deli next to my apartment and not only get some great American jus de chausette (coffee) but also visit with Mrs. Barak, the owner's mom, and Mo, her other son, and flip through the Post for my Sally Brompton horoscope.

It was a feeling of shock and grief about the bombings in Mumbai (Bombay) that in part fed the wellspring of that gratitude. I didn't hear about Mumbai on the news -- rather, Priya Kale, who wrote our blog for a couple of years and still contributes, IMed me somewhat frantically last night -- so it came with a personal connection. Her family is there. I've been invited there a dozen times and met her mom and brother, and so Mumbai is a real place to me. We worked through the astrology, with Philip Sedgwick helping us out, for a couple of hours. [Read Priya's essay here and our coverage from last night here.] Note, the city was taken just as Pluto was in the last arc minute of Sagittarius; literally hours before it entered Capricorn.

Mumbai still under siege. There were new bombings today; there is still gunfire; hundreds are dead and injured. Whoever orchestrated this attack, reasonably described in today's Daily News as an invasion of the city, fancies himself a master of the universe. If the psychological warfare implication of staging the attack the day before Thanksgiving is not apparent, take a look; because we are all connected by the nervous system known as the media, this is a worldwide event, and it will weigh on the mind of everyone taking a day with their family today.

That to me is the somewhat more frightening part: that anyone with a computer or TV can be dragged in, even if the hostages are being held 5,000 miles away. This is a global attack. Westerners were targeted as hostages; there is a room full of Israeli hostages. It was not a suicide mission or random killing of people in trains.

Some of the most elegant spots in the city (in a total of 11 initial assaults) were targeted. The top antiterrorism official in India was assassinated.

The charts for this attack and other recent India terrorism have a strong signature of the sign Cancer. The leading terrorist has mommy issues, and there is something here about rage at women. I think that most violence is about rage at women. So far as I understand it, the basis of male violence is rejecting part of themselves, usually the feminine aspect, and then projecting that onto women first and the world, generally, second.

Planet Waves
Mumbai in better days. Photo is Priya Kale in the back area of where she went to college -- Sir. J. J. Institute of Applied Art. She writes, "The terrorists ran through here to get to the Cama Hospital which is directly outside the back gate -- about 20 feet from this photo, where college students hang out and drink tea."
For anyone lacking the capacity to nurture and nourish, attack and murder are the natural consequence. We need to be careful because there is a pattern developing in our current decades of making sure that women pick up the same habit. We need to be careful every time the issue of power is imposed on sex or food or the right to have a safe place to be. This is precisely where we run into the most serious problems.

Last night in the midst of this, my fellow Planet Waves blogger, Fe Bongolan, called me up as I was doing the dishes and making dinner. We now have these calls fairly regularly to put it all in perspective, and plan the strategy of how we handle coverage on this page. Fe is fun because all I have to do is start talking and she's laughing hysterically. She appreciates my balls to the wall sense of humor, and her own perspective comes in on an angle a little like Chiron -- off the normal plane of perception, shining a bright light.

We talked for a long time about the last days of Pluto in Sagittarius: in particular, the Mumbai attack, and the news, according to Wednesday's New York Times, that the bailout of the financial "services" industry is now at $7 trillion dollars. Not $700 billion, but 100 times higher. Is that right? Let's write out the numbers.

We were told it's $700,000,000,000.

In reality, it's $7,000,000,000,000 (fully 100 times higher, or about $28,000 for every person in the United States including all little kids and great grannies), once you add up guarantees, payouts, loans, purchasing of bad debt and a variety of other things that affirm that "the business of America is big business." As Uranium Jane put it to me in an email the other day, now we can spend the rest of our lives paying off the jobs we have rented. Remember, the federal government was already about $10 trillion in the hole when this all started. Who did you vote for in 2004? I knew -- with the certainty of my heart and soul -- that when the war in Iraq was started, the aim was to bankrupt the country.

You might not think of this as a matter of life and death, but slavery truly is such. It is the consumption of life, on a wholesale basis. The United States was founded so that we could end economic enslavement from the crown of England, its national bank and its trading companies. We founded our country on the basis of "no taxation without representation," a radical idea at the time. We even managed to free the slaves who were the economic basis of our country for the first two centuries of its foundation and growth. We now face being economic slaves to a grotesquely unfair system -- something called usury, or loansharking on a massive, officially implemented scale -- and the truth is, this is about our children and their children too.

Given this, I am particularly grateful not just for the fact that I am still in business, surrounded by a lot of intelligent, talented people almost all of whom are younger than me; but that I can apply my industrialist tendencies to doing something useful for you.

Even if, on this Thanksgiving Day, that means describing the sorry state the world is in, and reminding myself of the roof that keeps my photo paper dry and the bed where I am warm at night. I don't know if you're one of the people grateful every night for that dry bed, but I am.

Eric Francis

PS: Walk right in it's around the back, just half a mile from the railroad track…

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