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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Cardinal Crisis -> Astrological Outlook: March 2012 > Cruise Ship Danger Takes Lives > Uranus Square Pluto: Qur'an Burnings Incite Afghanistan & Pakistan > Iran-Israeli Tensions Rise in The Middle East > Also, Path To Persia: U.S. & Israel Point Toward Iran... But Did They Do It? > Gas Prices To Go Up In Wake Of Iranian Oil Embargo > Featuring: Astrologer Peter Stockinger Forecasts On Europe's Spring 2012 > Plus, Federal Reserve Bank Warns On U.S. Economy

The Cardinal Crisis
A man aims a slingshot towards U.S. soldiers firing rubber bullets at crowds gathered outside the Bagram military base north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Feb. 23, 2012. The mass unrest began on the New Moon of Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 when Afghan workers at the sprawling American base noticed that Qur'ans and other Islamic texts were in the trash that NATO troops dumped into a pit where garbage is burned. Some Afghan workers burned their hands and fingers as they tried to salvage the holy books. Afghan government officials said initial reports indicated that four Qur'ans were burned.
Image: Shah Marai/AFP

Uranus Square Pluto: 
 Qur'an Burnings Incite Afghanistan & Pakistan
Activists of Pakistani political and Islamic party Jammat-e-Islami (JI), set fire to an effigy of the U.S. President Barack Obama at a protest in Peshawar on February 24, 2012, over the burning of Qur'ans at a U.S.-run military base in Afghanistan.

Astrologer Peter Stockinger Forecasts On Europe's Spring 2012


Path To Persia: 
U.S. & Israel Point Toward Iran... But Did They Do It? 


Cruise Ship Danger Takes Lives


Federal Reserve Warns On U.S Economy

Global Astrology

Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

Peace & Goodwill To Humanity

Praise & All Glory Be To The Immortal God

In my March 2012 edition of Global Astrology we look at the trends and events inclined by global transits that dominate world events as we near a new astrological year marked by the vernal equinox which officially opens the solar year of 2012.

Current World Events

This edition of Global Astrology features a look at the Middle East, where a standoff between Iran, Israel and the U.S. are becoming more tense.

We also explore the rage in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the burnings of the holy Qur'an at a NATO military base.

We examine the cruise ship disasters that have taken lives this year.

Mundane astrologer Peter Stockinger forecasts on the transits of Spring 2012 in Europe.

And, we hear why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Warns on U.S. Economic Growth in 2012.

Astrological Outlook
March 2012

Forecast by Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

The next six months, from March to August 2012 feature the world entering the second phase of the Cardinal Crisis transits. Much of 2012 by mid-May reveals inclinations that are mainly unfavorable. 

There are distortions and confusion over the right direction in society with deterioration of the broader economic and social climates worldwide during a time of major generational transition.

The Jupiter-Saturn opposition that defines the second decade of the 21st century depicts individuals, groups, organizations and populations in transition, as one generational establishment leaves while another enters.

General elections, popular hue-and-cries, economic crisis along with geopolitical changes and social stresses will combine into a fiery mix of discontent, confusion and unfavorable reactions during 2012.

The months of May, June and July 2012 are hectic months worldwide. Positive activity in March and April will help to lighten the load through the months of May, June and July.

Setting a balanced tone early helps others to clear away the static and barriers by focusing early on objectives and practical goals.

Last year, I forecast that an earlier than normal spring will be on tap in 2012. Expect springlike temperatures in northern hemisphere with signs of what will be an early and warmer than average year ahead.

March 2012

The month of March begins on a Thursday and ends on a Saturday. Ruled by Jupiter, the month carries the tone of Pisces, Aries and Virgo. 

A Mercury retrograde begins March 12th at 6-Aries. The retrograde extends to April 4, when Mercury stations direct at 23-degrees Pisces. This retrograde back into tropical Pisces by late March shows a month to redo, review and re-schedule plans for the month of April.

It is important to mind health during March and April. Proper diet, exercise and rest can work wonders during the season of Lent through spring break into early April.

Favorable influences of March will be those of Jupiter and Venus, which will conjoin in tropical Taurus by March 14. The energetic tone of March will have been set by the new moon that took place on Feb. 21, 2012 at 2-Pisces.

Mar. 1 - First Quarter Moon at 10 degrees Gemini
Mar.1 - Mercury turns north by declination
Mar. 2 - Mercury enters Aries
Mar. 5 - Venus enters Taurus
Mar. 8 - Full Moon at 18-Virgo

March 12 - Mercury retrograde (until April 4)
Mar. 13 - Jupiter trine Pluto
Mar. 15 - Last Quarter Moon at 24-Sagittarius

Mar. 20 - *Vernal Equinox - Sun enters Aries - new astrological year
Mar. 22 - New Moon in Aries
Mar. 23 - Mercury re-enters Pisces
Mar. 28 - Mercury south by declination
Mar. 30 - First Quarter Moon at 10-Cancer

Worldwide, the month of March is that of two halves. March is a slightly busier month than February's planetary inclinations. Unfavorable inclinations associated with Mars and Saturn are in play.

The first half of March continues that of mid-February. Northern hemisphere residents will observe earlier than normal spring weather conditions evident since February.

Climate conditions will return to a late winter/spring mix by the second half of March into early April. This is evident by Mercury's retrograde on March 12, re-entering Pisces March 23rd, bringing with it some late winter storms into early April. But overall, an early spring is ahead with sometimes violent thunderstorms and tornadoes for the southern and mid-western American states.

The planet Mars, shining brighter in the night skies since February, will be at its brightest magnitude as the reddish-orange planet conjoins the Earth during the first week of March.

The inclinations of Mars in conjunction with Earth features events associated with the child sex abuse scandals rocking the world.

Mars in Virgo is also associated with the worsening economic climate. The Sixth Mundane House of Virgo highlights the challenges of Work & Careers for billions of people worldwide.

Mars' transit in Mercury-ruled Virgo, along with Mars' conjunction within three degrees of orb to the fixed star Regulus influences the major generational transformations underway.

Mars' role in Virgo is more of an irritant and inflames  in the field of work than anything else. It's retrograde period would feature increased job redundancies - lay-offs - of tens of thousands of people worldwide.

After Mars turns direct in April 2012, the planet will resume motion in tropical Virgo - indicating lay-offs to continue straight into early July.

There is a need for patience while working steadily toward positive progress into the new astrological year. A Jupiter-Pluto trine in earth signs by March 13 helps stabilize March enough in the wake of Mercury's retrograde a day earlier.

Jupiter in Taurus trine Pluto in Capricorn can be applied by working with others to set a strong spiritual and practical tone in devising goals and objectives.

A shared interest in positive human interactions and relations applied spiritually, under this major inclination, is greatly helpful for individuals, family, groups and organizations.

This earth trine helps relieve some of the unfavorable atmosphere represented by the recent Jupiter-Saturn opposition.

Jupiter picks up speed in tropical Taurus in March. But before the trine to Pluto is exact, Jupiter will trine a retrograde Mars in Virgo [Mar. 8-21] - helpful for progress in business operations and project expansion.

The Mars-Jupiter earth trine favors projects related to cultural institutions, practical design, management, along with improvements made in educational and domestic affairs.

March and April are the last best months astrologically until the end of August 2012 when the transiting Lunar Nodes shift from mutable quality on the Sagittarius-Gemini axis to the fixed quality of the Scorpio-Taurus axis.

The Cardinal Crisis
Cruise Ship Danger Takes Lives
The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia is shown partially sunk just off the eastern coast of Isola del Giglio, Tuscany. The cruise ship hit a reef on the night of January 13, 2012 and ran aground forcing the evacuation of 4,252 people on board. The ship was on the first leg of a planned 6-port cruise from Civitavecchia when it hit a reef off Isola del Giglio and started to take in water - flooding the engine room and generators. This caused the ship to drift for more than an hour off Isola del Giglio. As of March 1, 2012, at least 25 people are known to have died with 64 injured. 
Image: Luca Zennaro/EPA

By Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

Back in late 2009 and again in 2010, I warned of troubles in the cruise ship industry on Global Astrology. My warnings were issued because of the proximity of transiting Uranus to the fixed star Scheat, as well as the entry of Neptune in tropical Pisces.

The dangers at sea, especially for holiday travelers, have proven out in the January disaster of the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia

The ship's captain, Francesco Schettinoleft, left the Costa Concordia during a hasty evacuation and did not  re-board despite being ordered by maritime officials to do so.

Laurie and Alan Willits from Ontario, Canada, had just settled in their seats to watch a magic show after finishing dinner on the Costa Concordia. Then the lights went out.

“They told us over the PA system that they were having an electrical problem, but then there was a jolt and it felt like the ship lurched and you just heard this shuffling, scraping sound,” said Alan Willits, “Then I slid off my seat onto the floor.”

The Willitses were among the 4,234 passengers and crew whose Mediterranean holiday turned into a life and death fight for survival when the massive luxury liner ran aground about 10:30 p.m. on Friday, January 13, 2012.

Costa Concordia: Year Entered service: 2006 - Gross tonnage: 114.147 - Passenger capacity: lower beds: 3,004 - All berths: 3,780 - Passenger decks: 13 - Length: 290,12 meters - Beam: 35,50 meters - Stories: 17 - Drive: diesel/electric: 6 diesel engines make Wärtsilä total output 75.600 kW. - Propulsion: 2 Fixed propellers 34.000 kW each - Service speed: 19,5 knots - Max. speed: 23 knots - Built: Fincantieri, Italy - Yard #6122 - Classification: Rina - Flag: Italy

Veteran cruisers, the Willitses said they had never been in such harrowing situation that was exacerbated by the fact that the ship's authorities didn’t tell them anything. 

“We really didn’t have any information,” Mrs. Willits said. 

“We knew the ship was in trouble because we felt the impact and then it was listing so badly, but they weren’t calling us to the evacuation areas so we made our way on our own. We went to our cabin to get our coats, but it was all dark. There were no staff members anywhere to direct us.”

What the couple felt was the ship hitting a rocky sandbar that ripped a 160-foot gash in the ship’s hull, similar to the damage that sank the Titanic. 

The hull started to fill with water that quickly tipped the gigantic cruise liner - effectively rendering the lifeboats on the lower side ineffective. 

Several passengers and crew members jumped scared into the chilly waters and swam to shore while others climbed on ropes to the rocks below. 

Nareen Fauled, from South Africa, ran to the top of the ship and hurried into a lifeboat, but as the ship tilted to its side, they were suspended midair or nearly 45 minutes. “It was so terrifying,” said Fauled. 

“We didn’t know if we’d be stuck in the lifeboat as the ship sank or how we’d get out of there alive.”

Eventually all the surviving passengers were evacuated by either lifeboat or by helicopter and ferried to the tiny island of Giglio, about 18 miles from the Tuscan resort village of Porto Santo Stefano, before being brought to the mainland. 

 Once on land, they found themselves in a chaotic limbo, huddled in a school gymnasium with few facilities and only cookies and water. Eventually they were dispersed between Rome, Civitavecchia, and Savona to await word on what to do next. 

click on graphic to enlarge

Throughout the next day, scuba divers from the Italian Coast Guard searched the area around the sunken cruise ship in search of survivors, but as night wore on it became apparent that some reports of those missing had been the result of poor information. 

“We can’t be sure if the numbers are hard numbers or bad record keeping,” an anonymous member of the cruise company said, “But we don’t rule out that the death count will climb.”

Among the dead  were a 65-year-old woman who died of a heart attack when she reportedly jumped into the water. Reports suggested another victim may have been a Russian climber whom one passenger said had descended to the lower decks to help other trapped passengers.

More than 50 people were injured with broken limbs and concussions suffered as they scrambled to leave the ship. Passengers recalled stories of panic as they lifted babies and the elderly to the lifeboats without any direction from the ship’s crew.

For surviving passengers, the experience was something they said they not forget anytime soon. “We don’t have our passports or credit cards,” said Mrs. Willits. “But we might not have made it off that ship at all, so we are lucky.”

Captain Schettino was arrested on preliminary charges of multiple manslaughter in connection with causing a shipwreck, failing to assist 300 passengers and refusing to be the last person to leave the wreck as ships captains are supposed to do. 

A month later, in February 2012, Captain Schettinoleft was also charged with failing to describe to maritime authorities the scope of the disaster. At least seven other officers and managers of Costa Cruises are now under investigation by authorities.

Seven people remain missing and are presumed dead. Scuba divers searched for and retrieved the dead as they searched inside the massive labyrinth of the partially submerged cruise ship.

Two scuba divers searching for bodies inside one of the MS Costa Concordia's massive dining rooms meet above water in front of a replica painting of the Sistine Chapel in the background.
Image: AFP

For Susy Albertini, the wait for her 5-year-old daughter Dayana was finally over. On that fateful mid-January 2012 morning Italian emergency workers searching the wreckage of the Costa Concordia found the remains of Albertini’s beloved daughter along with seven other people trapped in the submerged section of the ship’s lifeboat deck. 

When bad weather forced scuba-divers to suspend their sub-aquatic search for victims on January 31, Albertini was still waiting on the island of Giglio. She pleaded with workers to let her on to the ship. “Let me on board to find my daughter!” the distraught mother said, “She will answer when I call her.” 

The discovery of the latest victims brought the total to 25 of confirmed dead from the fatal shipwreck.

Americans Gerry and Barbara Heil from Minnesota are among the missing, but authorities have not yet positively identified any of the victims found except the young girl. 

Gerald and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minnesota have been presumed dead by authorities inside the sunken cruise-liner Costa Concordia. Gerald, 69, and Barbara, 70, were the only Americans unaccounted for as rescue and recovery operations continued near the island of Giglio off the Italian coast. In interviews with Chicago radio station WBBM, Sarah Heil and her brother John, who live in the Chicago area, said their parents had bypassed luxuries for most of their marriage. "They raised four kids and sent them all to private school, elementary to college, so they never had any money," Sarah Heil said. "So when they retired, they went traveling. And this was to be a big deal - a 16-day trip. They were really excited about it."
image: The family of Gerald and Barbara Heil

Relying on information garnered from thousands of surviving passengers interviewed during the investigatory phase of the criminal manslaughter and shipwreck case against the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino and seven others who now also face similar charges, emergency workers were also able to determine that many passengers were waiting for lifeboats on the ships third and fourth decks.

But these decks, near the top of the 17-story ship, have been nearly impossible to access. 

 Not only were they submerged at the very bottom of the 140,000 tonne wreckage, the decks were also smashed into rocks that cracked under the ship’s immense weight. A recent video shows clean breaks in the rocks that widened under the cruise-liner's massive weight.

Families of some of the missing wondered if the suspension of the search for survivors was not due to weather alone, but also to allow salvage crews to begin the delicate process of defueling the ship. The Costa Concordia was carrying 500,000 gallons of gas and oil when it hit the rocks off Giglio. 

Defueling efforts began the first week of February 2012 with the first phase completed on Feb. 20, the day the search for victims resumed. During that first phase, almost two-thirds of the fuel were extracted from the above-water tanks and taken back to the mainland. 

The fuel belongs to the Costa Crociere cruise company, which payed for the salvage operation. A worker with the SMIT salvage company in charge of operations said the fuel could easily be reused in other cruise ships. 

 The next phase of the defueling process is far more delicate because it involves tapping the underwater tanks. 

It was expected to take three weeks to remove the remaining fuel from the ship and only then can a different salvage crew, yet to be named, begin the process of removing the wreckage, which may take up to 10 months to complete.

Italy’s civil protection agency always maintained that defueling operations and rescue efforts could be carried out in tandem - yet not one of the dive team leaders agreed. This is why the underwater search was suspended when defueling began and the search for survivors resumed only when it ended. 

Above the water level, fire fighters continued to search the ship's cabins; even pinpointing a stateroom by its room number and retrieving a teddy bear a young Italian boy had left aboard the ship the night of the crash.

But divers were unable to continue the underwater search because conditions had deteriorated and the risk involved with the dual operation was too great to send any divers down. 

The ships’ watertight doors had all been closed, blocking access to divers - creating cesspools of stagnant water mixed with toxic chemicals and rotting food. 

Even the slightest shift of the gigantic ship could create a trap for scuba divers. They have also had to don specially-sealed dive suits because of the high level of contamination in the ship's sealed areas that forced divers to use cutting equipment to bore access holes.

The last known survivors to leave the ship alive from Deck 4 described watching the Costa Concordia sink to its final resting place. 

 They said the lights went out and that the water level rose as the ship made its final tip into the sea. Those victims were found on the deck from where the last lifeboats left - this meant that the victims were waiting there in good faith - but were waiting in vain for someone to come back to get them.

The Concordia cruise liner was also a hotbed of rampant sexual and drug activity right from the top.

According to the British Telegraph, two female ex-crew members reportedly told Italian prosecutors leading the investigation into the Concordia disaster that they saw officers snorting cocaine, drinking to the point of inebriation and sexually harassing female staff.

Capt. Francesco Schettino 52, was born in the Mafia enclave of Castellammare di Stabia, south of Naples. His parents were sailors and he followed the same course as many of his contemporaries, attending the nearby naval academy in Piano di Sorrento - eventually finding work on a tourist boat. After putting in his time cruising super-yachts around the Mediterranean Sea, he landed a job at Costa Crociere as head of security in 2002. He was promoted to captain four years in 2006. In his five years at the helm of the Costa Concordia, he earned a reputation not only for womanizing, but also for his insubordination. A month before the disaster, he allegedly left the port of Marseilles in 60 knot winds against the port authority’s orders. When the Concordia skimmed the rocky reef in January 2012, lodging a giant boulder into her hull, Schettino made his second mistake. Several passengers said they felt a “shuffling sound” as the electricity went out. Some passengers even called the emergency services on the mainland. But Schettino seemed in denial.

Captain Francesco Schettino, commander of the 950ft-long vessel, "used women as goods to be exchanged," said one of the women, according to two Italian dailies, La Stampa and Il Messagero.

The two ex-crew members, a nurse and the other a passenger representative, worked on the Costa Concordia and other ships owned by Costa Cruises in 2009 and 2010.

Their claims are reportedly contained in 5,000 pages of evidence gathered by prosecutors in Grosseto, Tuscany, where the investigation into the Jan 13 disaster is based. 

The nurse, identified only as Valentina B., said she worked with Capt. Schettino on the Costa Atlantica, another ship in the fleet, in January and February 2010 but resigned because she encountered "corruption, drugs and prostitution."

Another Costa Cruise Liner Has Problems

A little over a month later, another cruise ship, the MS Costa Allegra, owned by the same company, Costa Cruises, suffered power loss on February 27, 2012. 

Reportedly, a fire broke out in the generator room. The fire was put out, but left the massive ship without power.

After three days sitting in the middle of  the Indian Ocean in stifling heat, more than 1,000 people on board the stricken cruise liner arrived safely in the Seychelles on Thursday, March 1, 2012. 

Passengers reported that they were ready to abandon ship as the ship's crew fought a fire that left the vessel adrift and powerless.

One passenger said he and his terrified wife had contemplated jumping into the sea as the Costa Allegra stalled in an area of the Indian Ocean where Somali pirates prey on merchant shipping.

"We thought the worst had happened. I couldn't believe it, after what happened to the other cruise ship. I could just picture having to jump for it into the water - my wife was terrified," he told reporters as angry and exhausted passengers disembarked in the Seychelles.

"Guests were prepared to disembark, they put on life vests and were taken to lifeboats," the captain, Niccolo Alba, told a press conference after docking in Victoria.

"Obviously all the passengers were assembled at the muster stations to prepare to board the lifeboats," after the fire broke out in the engine room, he said.

"The emergency situation lasted for three hours to make sure the fire was completely out."

The ship drifted for several hours before being taken into tow by a French deep sea fishing boat, and limped into Victoria port on Thursday, March 1, 2012 after the three-day ordeal.

Frightened passengers spent most of the time crowded on the Costa Allegra's decks fighting sweltering temperatures after the fire had knocked out the ship's power - leaving it without lighting, electric toilets and air-conditioning.

Worried passengers are seen here aboard the crippled Costa Allegra cruise ship. The ship arrived at the Mahe Port in Seychelles Island on March 1, 2012 as hundreds of tired passengers ended their three-day ordeal on the Indian Ocean after a fire knocked out the vessel's main power supply.
Image: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

"The fear was that we would have to abandon ship with all these children and elderly people in the middle of the Indian Ocean," said the ship's chaplain, Father Camillo Testa.

"The worst moment was when I heard the coded alarm. The emergency procedure was implemented immediately," he told Italy's Sky TG24 news channel.

"Not being able to go back into the cabins sparked a bit of panic on board."

Once the panic subsided, however, others were determined to enjoy their holiday as best as they could.

"We kept the bar open the whole time, there may not have been much water but there was plenty of alcohol," said Gino, a barman from the Philippines.

An executive of the ship's owners Costa Crociere, which also operated the doomed Costa Concordia that ran aground in January off Italy with the loss of 32 lives, was on the dock to welcome the passengers as they came down the gangway.

"This has a risk of damaging our brand. These incidents don't often happen but there's a law of probability," said Norbert Stiekama, executive vice president.

The captain, who insisted he had followed "all the international rules on emergencies," said a diesel-powered generator designed to take over power generation in an emergency had worked for only a few hours before breaking down.

"It's been a rough ride, we had to sleep on deck because there was no air conditioning and the cabins stank, because we couldn't flush the toilets," said Alena Daem, a 62-year-old passenger from Belgium.

"There was food, but nothing that had to be cooked - we ate a lot of bread. I'm exhausted and pretty glad the whole thing is over," Daem added.

Helicopters had been delivering fresh food to the ship over the last few days.

"It was absolutely atrocious," said Henri, an 82-year old Frenchman, his voice breaking with emotion, as he arrived on the chaotic dock, crowded with passengers, piles of luggage, officials and journalists.

"No lights, no toilets, I could hardly sleep up there on deck with so many people all crushed together . . . The first day was fine but it got steadily worse, it was awful."

Medical teams and ambulances were on standby as tired passengers stepped onto the dock. However, the only reported injuries from the crisis were two elderly women, who had hurt their wrist and shoulder when they fell.

Italian investigators were also dockside waiting to question the crew of the ship, a converted container vessel.

Passengers appeared tired and disorientated as they arrived on land, although some in apparently better spirits had waved and cheered from the ship's decks as they arrived. Long lines of buses waited to swish them off to hotels.

Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam was also one of the welcoming officials.

"They've had a tough experience on board that ship, but hopefully they'll feel a lot better once . . . we look after them," Adam said.

Costa Crociere said in a statement that around 70 per cent of the 627 passengers had taken up its offer to continue their holiday in the Seychelles for one or two weeks.

All the passengers will get their ticket, travel costs and on board expenses refunded and will receive "an indemnity equivalent to the amount of the fare paid for the cruise and associated travel expenses", Costa Crociere said.

The 30 per cent who are not staying on will also receive a voucher for the same value as their unfinished cruise for a free trip on any Costa cruise.

The Costa Allegra had left Madagascar last weekend and was on its way to the Seychelles when the fire broke out. After the Seychelles, the liner had been due to travel through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

More Baby Boomer Madness

As if the world doesn't already have enough stupidity and madness from the baby boomer generation we find the following coming from Montana's most senior United States federal judge - Richard Frank Cebull, a boomer born in 1944, 

Montana’s chief federal judge admitted Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 that he forwarded an email to friends about President Obama that equates African-Americans with dogs and raises questions about the president’s mixed racial ancestry.

The email was sent from the judge’s court email account and immediately ignited a firestorm in Montana, where there were calls on social media sites for his resignation.

Cebull, who has been Montana’s chief federal judge since 2008, was appointed to the bench by former President George W. Bush and took his seat in 2001. He is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Law and a former tribal court judge.

Montana's Great Falls Tribune, which first obtained the email and interviewed Cebull about it, said the judge conceded the content was racist but insisted he had forwarded it to six “old buddies” and acquaintances because he doesn’t like President Obama. He said he doesn’t consider himself a racist.

On February 29, 2012, it was reported that Cebull had sent friends a racially-charged email containing a "joke" about President Barack Obama. 

The subject line of the email, which Cebull sent from his official courthouse email address at 3:42 p.m. on Monday, February 20, reads: "A MOM'S MEMORY.

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull

Cebull forwarded the email to seven friends and prefaced it saying: 

"Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine."

The rest of the email reads, "A little boy said to his mother, 'Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?' His mother replied, "Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!'"

“It was not intended by me in any way to become public,” Cebull said. “I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended.”

“The only reason I can explain to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” Cebull said. “I didn’t send it as a racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

McAdam said Montana's code of judicial conduct, which applies to state court judges, not federal jurists, requires them to behave impartially both in and out of the courtroom.

“Somebody of that stature, a federal judge, if they want to express their dissatisfaction with the president, you would assume they would do it about policy and issues, not circulating an email that is racist and vulgar in content,” he said.

“We really feel that by circulating an email like this it really flies in the face of maintaining the honor and dignity of the position,” Travis McAdam, executive director of the Montana Human Rights Network, said in an interview. He said the organization had not yet decided on an official response to the issue.

Human idiocy knows no bounds. 

It is a fact that ignorance causes the great majority of the world's troubles and until companies, organizations and governments learn to separate Gilligan from Captain Kirk; we can continue to expect ever more troubles - started by yo-yos without a clue - who cause troubles but never resolve them. 

In light of this, we now head to Afghanistan and Pakistan where geopolitical and religious tensions - to say the least - are running quite high.

The Cardinal Crisis 
Qur'an Burning Incites Afghanistan & Pakistan
A demonstrator holds a copy of a half-burnt Qur'an at a mass demonstration in Afghanistan
Image: Massoud Hossaini/AFP

By Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

I provide most of my astrological mundane forecasts for free here on Global Astrology. Those who are in positions of power can easily read - for free no less - and make adjustments according to world transits.

Yet, we continue to see how ignorance - rather than gnosis of the transits that affect all life on Earth - runs rampant worldwide.

Often, what happens is that ignorance of the cultures of the earth turn out to inflame situations where people lose their lives to the ignorance perpetuated, in this case, by some who are in the U.S. military and intelligence services - and by those who react to events by inflaming passions for ideological and personal gain.

This total lack of gnosis, even of Mother Nature all around us, also leads to reactions that are sensitive to the stupidity of religious intolerance that continues to plague our world. 

In time, the Immortal God will set everyone straight. Better believe it people.

Once again we see the inclinations of the cardinal crisis world transits, on individuals as well as masses of people. 

The idiot (s) who ordered or allowed the burning of holy books such as the Qur'an - in a Muslim nation no doubt - have got to be the dumbest person (s) on the face of this earth. 

Both oars definitely not in the water on this one - and surely not playing with all 52 cards in their decks.

This is what we know:

The mass unrest began on Tuesday, Feb. 21 when Afghan workers at the sprawling American base north of Kabul noticed that Qur'ans and other Islamic texts were in the trash that coalition troops dumped into a pit where garbage is burned. 

Some Afghan workers burned their fingers and hands as they tried to salvage some of the books. Afghan government officials said that initial reports indicated about four Qur'ans were burned.

Military officials said the materials had been taken from a library at Parwan Detention Facility, which adjoins Bagram base, because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions. Writing inside a Qur'an is forbidden in the Islamic faith, and it is unclear whether the handwritten messages were found in the holy book or other reading materials.

A military official said it appeared that detainees at the prison were exchanging messages by making notations in the texts. A delegation of Afghan religious leaders, lawmakers and government representatives visited Bagram as part of the investigation. 

They issued a statement late Thursday, February 23, 2012 calling for an end to protests and accused insurgents of infiltrating the gatherings to foment violence. They also said they expected those responsible for the Qur'an burnings to be prosecuted through the U.S. military court system.

The Taliban used the opportunity to incite more attacks on foreign forces. In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid described the burning as an "unforgivable crime." He urged Afghan army and police to become "real sons of the nation" by turning their guns on coalition forces.

The celestial inclinations show turbulent and passionate demonstrations took place inside the capital and throughout seven of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

New Moon Over Afghanistan - February 21, 2012
click on mundane chart to enlarge

The New Moon over Afghanistan at 2-Pisces conjoined the fixed star Fomalhaut in the Second Mundane House on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012.

Fomalhaut is the brightest star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. It is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and can be observed transiting low in the southern sky of the northern hemisphere during the autumn and winter evenings. 

Fomalhaut originates from the Arabic فم الحوت (fum al-ḥawt) that translates to the "mouth of the Southern Fish." 

The Archangel Gabriel is associated with Fomalhaut, known as the 'Watcher of the South' in Mundane Astrology. As one of the four royal stars, Fomalhaut, according to Muslim tradition says that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (570-632) by Gabriel for over two decades.

The mundane transit chart over Afghanistan shows Neptune, the Sun, Moon, Pallas and Chiron conjoined to Fomalhaut in opposition to the fixed star Regulus at 00-Virgo.

The inclinations are those that are unfavorable with people suffering from acts that cause trouble and enmity. The government involvement to control a situation gets out of hand with narrow escapes for some and death for others under the influences of the New Pisces Moon conjoined to Fomalhaut.

The IC, or 4th Mundane House is at 20-21 degrees Aries is where the fixed star Baten Kaitos is found in the constellation of the monster Whale Cetus

Cetus swims in the River Eridanus as it rests on the bank with its forepaws sitting in the water. The head of Cetus lies directly under Aries and the constellation is marked by an irregular pentagon of stars. 

Cetus stretches from the bend in Eridanus to that in the Stream from the Urn. 

Image: Hevelius, Firmamentum, 1690

Sidereal observations show that it occupies a space that is 50° by length by 20° in breadth - a significant extension of the sky. 

The IC - 4th Mundane House, where the star Baten Kaitos sits in the February 21, 2012 mundane new moon chart for Afghanistan contains 50% of the power and in mundane astrology this star portends serious blows and fatal falls.

According to the mundane astrologer Claudius Ptolemy, Baten Kaitos is of the nature of Saturn. It reflects a powerful emotional nature - giving the ability to command in war. 

The inclinations of this star forces compulsory modes of rushed transportation, a significant change to emigration as well as tragic misfortunes by physical force and accident.

The Mercury-Mars opposition, with Mars retrograde in Virgo clearly inclines towards disagreements, fighting words amid extreme emotional aggravation. 

Transiting Mars in the Feb. 21, 2012 new moon over Afghanistan holds two 150-degree quincux aspects to the Aries IC and Venus at 15-Aries - this represents the U.S. attempting to rectify the mistake that incited the masses (Venus.)

Frustrations with identification to a stubborn point of view easily leads to a lack of objectivity heightened by intolerance that sparks violent attacks based on ideological furor. These events will turn out to be more significant than first believed and will cause policymakers to redraw their long-term goals and objectives.

A protester points at a U.S. soldier as crowds mass outside the Bagram Military Base in Afghanistan.
Image: Musadeq Sadeq/AP

Transiting Pluto in Capricorn prepares to rise applying in square aspect to Uranus in Aries as the luminaries conducted their conjunction at new moon. 

What we are witnessing here coming out of a winter of discontent is the rise of a spring of violence. Astrologically, the burnings of the Qur'an in Afghanistan could not have come at a worse time.

The deadliest protest was held outside an American base in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. Two protesters were killed by Afghan police and an Afghan soldier turned his gun on American troops, killing two.

It was the latest in a rising spate of incidents where Afghan soldiers or police or militants wearing their uniforms, have shot and killed U.S. and NATO service members.

District chief Mohammad Hassan said the two Americans were shot by a member of the Afghan National Army stationed at the base. Pentagon press secretary George Little later confirmed the two U.S. troops had died.

In northern Afghanistan, more than 10,000 people demonstrated at four locations in Baghlan, the capital of Baghlan province. Sayed Zamanuddin, deputy provincial police chief, said protesters tried to burn down a police office and then fired at police. He said police returned fire. One person was killed.

Afghans raise sticks during an anti-U.S. protest in Baghlan, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012.
Image: Javid Besharat/AP

In the south, two people were killed in Dihrawud district of Uruzgan province, said Fareed Ayal, a spokesman for the provincial police. He said insurgents infiltrated the demonstration and shooting broke out between the police and those in the crowd of about 2,000.

Also in the north, protesters hurled rocks and tried to remove the razor wire from the perimeter of a U.S. base in Mehterlam, the capital of Laghman province.

"The burning of Quran broke our hearts," protester Mohammad Issa said.

Police broke up the demonstration by using water cannon, batons and by firing above the heads of the demonstrators.

Hundreds of other Afghans protested peacefully on the eastern outskirts of Kabul, outside Bagram Air Field, in Jalalabad in the east, in Faryab province in the west and in Khoshi district of Logar province, where demonstrators burned a U.S. flag.

"Apologies are not enough," declared Mohammad Qasim Sediqi, leader of the Khoshi district council. The culprits "have to be put on trial and culprits should face the law."

Two American Officers Assassinated?
image: Rahmat Gul/AP

On Saturday, February 25, 2012 two senior U.S. officers were reportedly shot dead inside Kabul's heavily fortified Interior Ministry and 28 others were said to have died in street protests and violence that has convulsed Afghanistan after the burnings of copies of the Qur'an at NATO's Bagram airbase.

Sources say that the gunman killed the two American military advisers with shots to the back of their heads Saturday inside the heavily guarded ministry building. This spurred NATO command to order all military workers out of Afghan ministries as protests raged on over the burning of copies of the Qur'an at Bagram base.

According to the Associated Press, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack at the Interior Ministry, and said it was retaliation for the Qur'an burnings, after the two U.S. servicemen - a lieutenant colonel and a major - were found dead on their office floor.

The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces immediately recalled all international military personnel from all Afghan ministries. 

This is an unprecedented action in the decade-long war that highlights the growing friction between Afghans and foreign partners at a critical juncture in the war.

The U.S.-led coalition has been trying to mentor and strengthen Afghan security forces so they can lead the fight against the Taliban so NATO troops can go home. That mission, however, requires a measure of trust at a time when anti-western sentiment is at an all-time high.

Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak called U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta to apologize for the shooting and offer his condolences, Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement released in Washington DC.

"This act is unacceptable and the United States condemns it in the strongest possible terms," Little said.

Security is very tight in the capital of Kabul, covered in snow, as  foreigners working at the U.S. Embassy and at international organizations have been banned from leaving their compounds.

U.S. officials said they were searching for the assailant, who has not yet been identified by name or nationality.

From what was known on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, both American service members were found by another foreigner who went into the room - a room only accessible by people who know the correct lock combination, according to an anonymous Afghan official who had inside knowledge of the event.

Both the American Lt. Col and major were shot in the back of the head, according to western officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information. Authorities said that they were poring over security camera video for clues.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid identified the shooter as one of their sympathizers, Abdul Rahman. He said an accomplice inside the ministry helped Rahman get inside the compound to kill the Americans in retaliation for the Qur'an burnings.

"After the attack, Rahman informed us by telephone that he was able to kill four high-ranking American advisers," Mujahid said. The Taliban often inflate death tolls and sometimes claim responsibility for killings they did not conduct.

Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said Wardak indicated that President Hamid Karzai was assembling religious leaders and other senior Afghan officials to take urgent steps to protect coalition forces.

U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, met with Afghan Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, who offered both his condolences to the families of the victims and his apologies, Little said.

Afghanistan's interior and defense ministers are expected in Washington next week.

Allen said he recalled all NATO personnel from the ministries "for obvious force protection reasons" but also said the alliance remains committed to its partnership with the Afghan government. NATO forces have advisers embedded in many Afghan ministries. 

The advisers are helping to develop the ministries so that Afghans can take the lead by the end of 2014, when foreign combat forces are to transfer control of security to Afghan security forces.

At least 28+ people have been killed and hundreds wounded since Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 when it first emerged that Qur'ans and other religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, the large U.S. base north of Kabul.

President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have apologized for what they said was a mistake, but their regrets have not yet quelled the deadly protests.

The news is very unsettling in light of the world cardinal crisis transits:

An Afghan soldier turned his gun on foreign troops, killing two American soldiers, during one riot outside a U.S. base in Nangarhar province on Thursday. It was the latest in a rising number of incidents where Afghan soldiers or policemen, or gunmen wearing their uniforms, have killed NATO forces. 

A month ago in January 2012, France suspended its training program and threatened to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan a year ahead of schedule after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers on a base in the east.

Karzai has said that the Afghan people have a right to protest the Qur'an burnings, but he urged them to demonstrate peacefully and refrain from destroying property. In a statement on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 Karzai urged Afghan security forces to be patient with the protesters.

Hundreds of demonstrators staged peaceful protests in Afghanistan, but protests in Laghman, Kunduz and Logar provinces turned violent.

"The culprits of the burning of the holy Qur'an should be arrested and hanged to death in public," said Mohammad Karim, one of 1,000 protesters who burned tires and threw stones at Afghan police in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province, south of Kabul. 

"We don't accept it when they say 'We apologize. We apologize.' We don't want Americans here at all."

Laghman provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang said about 1,000 protesters threw stones at Afghan security forces, smashed windows of government buildings and tried to attack the nearby governor's house in the provincial capital of Mehterlam.

In Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province in northeastern Afghanistan, more than 1,000 protesters threw rocks at government buildings and a U.N. office, said Sarwer Hussaini, a spokesman for the provincial police. 

He said the police fired into the air to try to disperse the crowd. Dr. Saad Mukhtar, health department director in Kunduz, said at least three protesters died and 50 others were injured in the melee.

In a statement, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said the U.N. had deep respect for the Islamic faith and understood why Muslims were upset about the desecration of their holy book, but urged the demonstrators to exercise self-restraint and not let militants use the protests to foment violence.

In response to the killings, which show foreign troops may be at risk even in the most protected parts of the Afghan capital, the NATO-led coalition pulled out all their advisers from ministries across Kabul. 

Afghan policemen watch as thick smoke billows from a fuel tank supplying NATO troops after it was set on fire by protesters at a demonstration in Jalalabad Province on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. Gunfire wounded at least 26 people during fresh protests in several cities across Afghanistan over a Qur'an burning at NATO's main base in Afghanistan.
Image: Parwiz/Reuters

NATO gave no date for their return. The move will undermine NATO's efforts to train and strengthen Afghan forces ahead of the expected withdrawal of western combat troops by the end of 2014.

Afghans burn an effigy representing President Obama during Friday's protest over Koran burning at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, in Ghani Khail, east of Kabul.
Image: AP

Demonstrators who gathered outside Bagram Air Field, one of the largest U.S. bases in Afghanistan, shouted, "Die, die, foreigners!" Some fired rifles into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base and set tires on fire.

U.S. General John Allen, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the books had been mistakenly given to troops to be burned at a garbage pit at Bagram, a sprawling military base north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

"It was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials," Allen said. "It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it we immediately stopped and we intervened."

Demonstrators show copies of the Qur'an allegedly set alight by U.S. soldiers
Image: Shah Marai/AFP

"They said it was just a mistake, but it should not have happened," said Khawani, an elderly protester who uses just one name. "We want the government to take the foreigners out of our country. We don't need them. We can look after ourselves."

The Qur'an is the most sacred object in the daily lives of Muslims and burning it is considered an offense against God. The Qur'an is so important in the faith that Islamic teaching spells out how it should be handled, including directing anyone who touches it to be in a state of ritual purity. 

Muslims can only dispose of Qurans in very specific ways, including burning or burying those that have been damaged or corrupted to prevent God's word from being defiled.

unnamed Western military official with knowledge of the incident said it appeared that the Qur'ans and other Islamic readings in the library were being used to fuel extremism and that detainees at the Parwan Detention Facility, which adjoins Bagram, were writing on the documents to exchange messages. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

The military official said several hundred Islamic publications, including Qura'ns, were removed from the library. Some of the publications had extremist content; others had extremist messages written on their pages by detainees, the official said. The official said the documents were charred and burnt, but none of them were destroyed.

"We will look into the reason those materials were gathered," Allen said. "We will look into the manner in which the decision was made to dispose of them in this manner."

Allen issued a new directive ordering all coalition forces in Afghanistan to complete training in the proper handling of religious materials no later than March 3. The training will include the identification of religious materials, their significance, correct handling and storage, he said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the killings of the two senior American officers or if they were linked to days of protests over the burning on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 of copies of the Qur'an, but they added to the very tense atmosphere engulfing Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"For obvious force protection reasons, I have ... taken immediate measures to recall all other Isaf personnel working in ministries in and around Kabul," said General Allen.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter to President Karzai apologizing for the unintentional burning of the Qur'ans at NATO's main Bagram air base, just north of Kabul, after Afghan workers found charred copies while collecting trash.

The letter, which the White House said was a follow-up to a phone call earlier in the week between the two leaders to discuss a "long-term partnership" between Washington and Kabul, was delivered to Karzai by American Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

"In the letter ... the president also expressed our regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled at Bagram Airbase ," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

The Taliban urged Afghans to target foreign military bases and kill Westerners in retaliation for the Qur'an burning at Bagram airfield near Kabul on Tuesday.

Men armed with sticks and stones, sometimes carrying guns or the white flag of the insurgent movement, have targeted foreign missions and their own government's offices across eastern, western and northern provinces since the New Moon of Feb. 21, 2012. The usually more restive southern regions, the Taliban's birthplace and spiritual heartland have been largely calm.

The violence had been expected to peak on Friday, the day of prayer, but protests continued into Saturday morning as hundreds had gathered in the once peaceful northern city of Kunduz, heading for a United Nations's compound.

The assault stirred up memories of similar riots last year after a U.S. pastor burned a copy of the Qur'an in Florida. Then, angry protesters overran a UN office in another northern city, nearby Mazar-i-Sharif, and killed seven foreign employees. The Afghan security forces were accused of not doing enough to prevent the deaths.

In Kunduz on Friday, Feb. 24, Afghan forces opened fire and at least five people were killed with more than a dozen injured, the deputy provincial governor, Hamdullah Danashi, said.

The United Nations offered condolences to the families of the dead but described the use of guns as "legitimate defense" of its staff, and thanked the army and police for holding back the crowd.

More than 1,000 people also took to the streets of the eastern city of Metherlam, heading for the offices of the provincial governor, the intelligence service and the provincial chief of police. 

"They attacked them with stones, and security forces resisted for half an hour, but then they opened fire to control them," said Abdul Rahman Sarjang, the provincial police chief. "Twenty people were wounded, five very seriously."

The violence began Feb. 21, 2012 as word spread that troops at Bagram airbase had tried to burn copies of the Qur'an and other religious literature with piles of waste paper. 

The books and papers had been removed from detainees in Bagram jail because they were used for secret communications or had extremist content, said NATO officials.

NATO-led forces rushed to apologize for the burning, which they said was an error, but violence erupted within hours; since then more than 30 people have died and dozens more have been wounded. Many were hit when security forces opened fire on demonstrators they feared were getting out of control.

But after a decade fighting in Afghanistan, many Afghans struggle to believe foreign forces could do something as offensive and dangerously provocative as burning a Qur'an by mistake. 

At Friday prayers, preachers questioned the motives of NATO forces, although fears they would heighten anger and unleash violence across the country were borne out only in a handful of places.

"First the Americans shook our hands as friends and helpers, but then they invited our young people to become Christians and now they have burned our holy Qur'an," said Sheikh Zada Amad Ali Khan, in a sermon at Kabul's Hossania Qalay Fatullah mosque. "Americans are the enemy of our holy Qur'an and holy religion."

On Friday, February 24, 2012, Reuters reported 12 people killed in the bloodiest day yet in protests that have raged since February 21 across Afghanistan over the burning of copies of the Qur'an at a NATO military base. Afghan riot police and soldiers were placed on high alert as they braced for more expected violence.

The American commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, apologized and ordered a full investigation into a report that his troops “improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Qur'ans.” 

Allen did not confirm the reports of the burnings, but made an apology for the “large number of religious materials which included Qur'ans, ” improperly disposed of by personnel at the base.

General Allen’s statement reflect the wider fears over the impact of the latest incident in the country, where U.S. troops have been fighting against a radical Islamist Taliban insurgency for more than 10 years and supporting President Hamid Karzai’s government.

“I have ordered an investigation into a report I received during the night that ISAF personnel at Bagram Airbase improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Qur'an,” the NATO genearal explained.

“When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities.

“I offer my sincere apologies for any offence this may have caused, to the president of Afghanistan, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and most importantly, to the noble people of Afghanistan,” he expressed. 

“We are thoroughly investigating the incident and we are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again. I assure you – I promise you – this was NOT intentional in any way.”

Allen’s remarkably candid statement, apparently aimed at damage limitation after similar incidents led to violence and attacks on foreigners, was played repeatedly on Afghan television.

Hundreds of Afghans marched toward the palace of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, while on the other side of the capital protesters hoisted the white flag of the Taliban.

Chanting "Death to America!" and "Long live Islam!," protesters also threw rocks at police in Kabul, while Afghan army helicopters circled above.

President Obama apologized directly to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. military pledged new training to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

But the outreach has done little to quell the passionate anger that has surged through Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the world over an act Muslims consider a desecration. 

Interviews with several Afghan police officers indicated a deep level of sympathy for the protesters and a shared sense of outrage among the demonstrators and those charged with keeping the peace.

“Afghans and the world’s Muslims should rise against the foreigners. We have no patience left,” said a Afghan police officer at a checkpoint in central Kabul. He looked at his colleague, who stood next to him, nodding. 

“We both will attack the foreign military people.”

Friday is a holy day and the official weekly holiday in Afghanistan. Mosques in the Afghan capital drew large crowds as Afghan angled themselves on nearby streets.

Some armed protesters took refuge in shops in the eastern part of the city, where they killed one demonstrator, according to police at the scene. In another Kabul rally, police said they were unsure who fired the shots that killed a second protester.

Seven more protesters were killed in the western province of Herat and two more in eastern Khost province along with another in the relatively peaceful northern Baghlan province. In Herat, around 500 men charged the the American consulate.

Muslims consider the Qur'an to be the literal word of God and treat each copy with deep reverence. Desecration of the Qur'an is considered one of the worst forms of blasphemy.

Afghanistan wants NATO to put those responsible on public trial.

Dr. Peter Lavoy, the U.S. acting assistant secretary of the defense for Asia & Pacific security affairs, speaks to Washington DC Muslims at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) as Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Director of ADAMS (left) listens on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, in Sterling, Virgina. Lavoy officially apologized for the burning of Qur'ans at a NATO military base in Afghanistan, Lavoy said the U.S. military is investigating and that all troops are being retrained in the handling of religious materials. "I come here today to apologize on behalf of the Department of Defense for the incident that took place in Afghanistan this week," Lavoy told worshipers the burnings were done "unknowingly and improperly." The mosque's imam called on Muslims to respond peacefully and with tolerance.
Image: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, about 400 members of a hard-line Islamist group staged protests. "If you burn the Qur'an, we will burn you," the demonstrators were heard to shout.

Activists of Pakistani political and Islamic party Jammat-e-Islami (JI), hold up an effigy of the U.S. President Barack Obama they later burned as they shouted anti-US slogans during a protest in Peshawar on February 24, 2012, over the burning of the Qur'an at a U.S.-run military base in Afghanistan.
Image: A. Majeed/AFP

To Afghanistan's west, Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami said the U.S. had purposely burned the holy books. "These apologies are fake. The world should know that America is against Islam," he said in a speech broadcast live on state radio.

"It (the burning) was not a mistake. It was an intentional move, done on purpose," he said.

The inflamed passions have caused westerners to confine themselves. For instance, in heavily fortified compounds, including the sprawling U.S. embassy complex and other diplomatic missions, protests have killed a total of 23 people - including two U.S. soldiers - into its fourth day on Friday, Feb. 24.

The American embassy, in a message on Twitter, urged American citizens to "please be safe out there," and expanded movement restrictions to relatively peaceful northern provinces, where large demonstrations also occurred Thursday, Feb. 23, including the attempted storming of a Norwegian military base.

The Taliban urged Afghan security forces called for people to "turn their guns on the foreign infidel invaders" and repeatedly urged Afghans to kill, beat and capture NATO soldiers.

Germany, which has the third-largest foreign presence in the NATO-led war, pulled out several weeks early of a small base in the northern Takhar province Friday, Feb. 24 2012 over security concerns, a defense ministry spokesman said.

Back in Pakistan, Hundreds of Pakistani activists took to the streets chanting death to America, demanding that their leaders resign and setting fire to a U.S. flag over the burning of Korans in Afghanistan.

Upwards of 300 people blocked the main Grand Trunk road in the northwestern city of Peshawar, as they stomped on and set fire to the American flag, and kicked a dummy representing America while they beat it with sticks as it burned..

“The ugly face of America has been revealed with the desecration of holy Qur'an,” a banner read.

Image: A. Majeed/AFP

The foreign ministry strongly condemned the burning, stressing that “utterly irresponsible and reprehensible things” do not happen again.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, we condemn in strongest possible terms the desecration of Holy Qur'an” in Afghanistan,” spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters.

In Islamabad, the general secretary of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) told the crowd that the Islamic world should review its relations with the United States.

“We will not allow Americans to ridicule our religion and our holy Koran,” Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri told the crowd, asking the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to convene a special session to condemn the incident.

In Karachi, hundreds of activists of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, blacklisted as a terror organisation for associations with Al-Qaeda, chanted “Death to America.”

“There is just one remedy for America — jihad and only jihad,” the crowd shouted. “Death to America, death to America’s friends,” echoed slogans.

The demonstrators were carrying flags with black and white stripes and inscribed with Koranic verses.

They also held up banners, one of which said: “The defeated Americans are bound to bite dust in their war against Allah and His Book.”

President Barack Obama apologized for the incident, which the Afghan presidency blamed on a U.S. officer at the Bagram airbase.

“We don’t accept Obama’s apology. The Muslims don’t accept his apology, as it is nothing but a farce,” said Naveed Qamar, the head of JuD in Karachi. “The Americans are deliberately provoking us through shameless sins,” he added.

“It is now up to our rulers whether they continue to be slaves of America or become slaves of our beloved prophet,” he said.

Pakistan’s relationship with the United States drastically deteriorated in 2011 over the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden along with U.S. air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border.

The Cardinal Crisis
Iran-Israeli Tensions Rise in Middle East

by Theodore White, mundane Astrolog.S

This first week of March 2012 will see Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a U.S. visit clouded by a deepening rift with Washington D.C. - pressing Israel to hold off on any attack against Iran's suspect nuclear program.

Although Israel says it hasn't decided whether to strike, it has signaled readiness to do so - a move that would have worldwide implications.

Senior Israeli officials say Israel would have to act by summer 2012 in order to be effective, according to sources. 

U.S. officials are wary that an Israeli strike could drive up oil prices and entangle the U.S. in a new Mideast military confrontation during the general election season. They want to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work.

These differences have created tensions just ahead of Netanyahu's arrival at the White House. Aides to the Israeli leader would not say what he plans to tell President Barack Obama.

"The meeting will be a good opportunity to clarify both sides' stands on ... how to act against the Iranian nuclear threat, which both sides agree is grave," Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon told Israel Radio.

Israel's Haaretz and Israel Hayom newspapers reported that Netanyahu wants Obama to deliver an explicit military threat to Iran in a joint statement to be issued after the meeting.

Differing assessments of urgency underlie the disagreements on Iran.

Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be a threat to the existence of the Jewish state. 

It cites Iranian leaders' repeated calls for Israel's destruction; support for anti-Israel militant groups and its arsenal of ballistic missiles that are already capable of striking Israel. 

It also fears a nuclear Iran would touch off an atomic weapons race in a region hostile to Israel's existence.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here with nuclear scientists, was born October 28, 1956. Wikipedia says he is the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country. An engineer and teacher from a poor background, Ahmadinejad joined the 'Office for Strengthening Unity' after the Islamic Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching. Tehran's council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes and he became President on August 3, 2005. His second term ends on August 3, 2013. He is not eligible to run for another term under the current Iranian constitution.

Israel itself is thought to have a significant arsenal of nuclear weapons, though it does not admit that as a matter of policy.

Israel takes little comfort in the U.S. assessment, reiterated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, that Tehran has not decided whether to build a nuclear bomb. Iran denies it is making nuclear weapons.

Israeli officials note that the U.N. nuclear agency said recently that Tehran is rapidly moving ahead with a key elements associated with bomb making, and Iran is moving its nuclear operations deeper underground. They believe these developments are strong signs of Iranian intentions.

Experts say work on a bomb could begin within a year, if not earlier, but Israeli officials who favor a strike do not want Iran to reach that point. Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently fueled speculation about an Israeli strike by warning the window of opportunity was closing.

Israeli officials have told the U.S. it will not give any warning of an impending attack - a development confirmed by a U.S. intelligence official this week.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress this week he has not counseled Israel against attacking Iran. 

Instead, he said, "we've had a conversation with them about time" and added he would "absolutely not" take military force against Iran off the table.

Dempsey, U.S. national security adviser Tom Donilon and director of national intelligence James Clapper have all been sent by Obama recently to pressure Israel to hold off.

The U.S. and Europe have approved tough sanctions on Iran's central bank and its key oil sector that are to go into effect this summer. They believe these measures must be given time to work.

Israel has welcomed the sanctions, but it is skeptical they will persuade Iran to back down. Israeli officials believe that by the time the toughest sanctions go into effect this summer, it may be too late to strike.

U.S. officials and others think an Israeli attack could set back the Iranian program a few years at most.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has expressed reservations about the effectiveness of an attack on Iran's heavily fortified nuclear facilities and Dempsey has publicly questioned whether it would be worth risking the cascade of consequences liable to follow.

The Iranian nuclear threat is a world problem and not Israel's alone, said Danny Yatom, a former head of Israel's Mossad spy agency. Even a temporary setback to the nuclear program would be useful, Yatom said, because it would buy the world time to try to knock it out entirely.

Iran has warned it would pummel Israel with missiles if attacked, and it could also recruit its allies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, to attack Israel with rockets and missiles from closer range.

Tehran could also block the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for the world's oil tankers, or strike Gulf targets such as Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Either move could send global oil prices skyrocketing and draw the U.S. military into the conflict.

The disagreements over Iran have stoked the tensions that have characterized relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments, primarily over frozen Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, which pointedly seems to be a non-issue in the upcoming visit.

U.S.-Israel Tensions on Iran flares ahead of Netanyahu visit
Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran's President Ahmedinejad

By Laura Rozen

The Obama White House vigorously defended its tough policy toward Iran on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, saying it saw no need to issue more hawkish threats when the President addresses the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC this weekend and meets with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on March 3, 2012.

"We are committed, as Israel is, to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," White House spokesman Jay Carney told journalists at the White House press briefing.

"We do, however, believe that there is time and space to pursue diplomacy," he continued. "And we believe that the policy that we have pursued with our partners has put unprecedented pressure on Tehran, on the regime, has put great strains on the Iranian economy, great strains on the Iranian political leadership, and that is a course that we will continue to pursue."

The administration's Iran strategy is aimed at "buying time and continuing to move this problem into the future, and if you can do that - strange things can happen in the interim," said Tony Blinken, national security advisor to U.S. vice-President Joe Biden. "You never know."

The remarks come at a tense moment in ongoing consultations between the two close allies about the timeline for pressuring Iran to curb its nuclear program

Israel has repeatedly asserted that it reserves the right to strike Iran's nuclear facilities - if need be, without approval from, or advance warning to, the United States to protect the tens of thousands of U.S. personnel and assets in the region that could be targeted in revenge attacks.

The Obama administration counters that it has led a broad international coalition to pressure Iran with unprecedented economic sanctions - which it believes shows possible signs of yielding results. 

The administration noted that Tehran this month expressed readiness to return to the negotiating table - an offer the international community has not yet formally responded to but seems likely to accept. 

The Treasury Department on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2012 announced yet newer sanctions targeting a Dubai bank it said served as a chief vehicle for Iran to evade sanctions.

In advance of the Netanyahu delegation's arrival in Washington, however, the United States and Israel have traded a flurry of messages through the press, lawmakers and senior diplomatic channels seeking to shape expectations for the visit - and gin up pressure to each side's advantage.

A delegation of mostly Republican lawmakers led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) met last week with Netanyahu in Israel. 

The Israeli leader complained about top U.S. military officer Gen. Martin Dempsey commenting to CNN last week that military strikes on Iran would be premature and assessing that the Iranian regime is a "rational actor."

Notably, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak similarly described Iranian leaders as "radicals but not total meshuginah," in a 2010 speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy using the Yiddush word for "crazy."

Sen. McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), however, this week echoed the Israeli leader's criticism, saying Dempsey's comments cautioning against military strikes only embolden Iran. 

"The Israelis are unnerved," Graham said, "They think the administration is sending the wrong signal, and I do too."

Biden's advisor Blinken alluded to the seemingly coordinated echo chamber effect of some of the election year criticism of the U.S. administration as insufficiently hawkish on Iran. 

But he suggested that Israel's leaders may want to consider the odds that they will be dealing with the Obama-Biden administration after the presidential elections next year.

"There are individuals on all sides who unfortunately use the debate over policy toward Israel for political purposes," he told the Israel Policy Forum.

A new poll released of Israeli public opinion found that only 19 percent of Israelis support Israel carrying out a strike on Iran without U.S. support. 

The poll, conducted by Shibley Telhami, of the Brookings Institution and University of Maryland, found that 42 percent endorsed a strike only if there is at least American support. A third of Israelis - 32 percent - opposed an attack altogether regardless of American support.

The Cardinal Crisis
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Path To Persia:
U.S. & Israel Point Toward Iran,
But Did They Do It?

By Barry Ritholtz
The Big Picture

Car bomb attacks which occurred this week in India, Georgia and Thailand are being blamed on Iran by the U.S.Israel and their allies.

If Iran, in fact, carried out the attacks, it will provide a justification for war against Iran.

But did Iran actually carry out the attacks?

And put aside for a moment the following facts:

The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
American and Israeli officials admit that they have repeatedly carried out terrorism and then blamed it on Arabs (and see this)

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told the Senate that a terrorist act might be carried out in the U.S. and falsely blamed on Iran to justify war against that nation.

Daniel Ellsberg, the famous Pentagon Papers whistleblower, said “if there is another terror attack, “I believe the president will get what he wants”, which includes war with Iran.

Robert David Steele – a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer – says that elements within the U.S. government are trying to carry out a false flag operation and blame it on Iran

Scott Ritter, the former UN Weapons Inspector (an American) – who stated before the Iraq war started that there were no weapons of mass destruction – is now saying that he would not rule out staged government terror by the U.S. government to justify war against Iran.

Ron Paul has warned of a “Gulf of Tonkin type incident” in Iran.

Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says many ideas have been proposed for provoking a war, including building boats that look like Iranian boats, and then putting Navy Seals on them to “start a shoot-up”

The highly influential Brookings Institution wrote a report in 2009 called “Which Path to Persia?” which states (pages 84-85): It would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. 

Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. 

Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game; which would then undermine it. 

(One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

Ed Asner says that members of the elite Navy Seal team told him that the U.S. would carry out a false flag attack and blame it on Iran to kick-start the war.

The U.S. planned regime change in Iran 20 years ago

The war against Iran has already begun. See thisthis and this

Why Would Iran Bomb One of Its Most Important Trade Partners … Who Is Helping Iran to Escape from Sanctions By the West?

India has become one of Iran’s most important trading partners, and has been increasing its ties to Iran since sanctions have been imposed by the West. 

Indeed, India has agreed to use creative payment methods for Iranian oil. See thisthisthis and this.

Why would Iran carry out a terror attack on one of its most important trading partners … one which has agreed to help help Iran escape from sanctions?

As Finnian Cunninham notesWhat would Iran gain from such action, only grief and trouble?

This is especially true with regard to India and Thailand. Both Asian countries have become major trading partners with Tehran in recent years. India, along with China, is Iran’s biggest customer for its vital oil industry.

Thailand is of growing importance as a trading partner with Iran for oil, mining, heavy industry, services, technology and agriculture especially after both countries set up a joint business council five years ago.

For Iran to carry out such attacks, as is being claimed, would be like shooting itself in the foot, particularly because both Asian countries have refused to join in the US-led campaign to isolate Iran economically and diplomatically.

Put the other way round, it is much more in the interest of Washington and Israel to destabilize relations between Iran and its Asian partners. The repercussions from the blasts in India would appear to be having that desired effect.

Take this Reuters report: Up to now India has not gone along with new financial sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union to punish Iran over its disputed nuclear programme. 

Instead, New Delhi has come up with elaborate trade and barter arrangements to pay for oil supplies. 

However, the president of the All India Rice Exporters’ Association said Monday’s attack on the wife of an Israeli diplomat in the Indian capital will damage trade with Iran and may complicate efforts to resolve an impasse over Iranian defaults on payments for rice imports worth around $150 million. 

“The attack and its political fallout have clearly vitiated the atmosphere. Traders who were already losing money due to payment defaults will be extremely wary of continuing their trade with buyers in Iran,” Vijay Setia told Reuters.

So add it up. Bomb teams with proven US/Israeli assassination expertise and methodology; target countries that are major Iranian partners; desired effect of further isolating Iran internationally; and, to cap it all, a long sought-after pretext for Israel to attack Iran with America’s blessing.

When logic and facts coincide like this, it’s usually more prudent to engage in reason than to indulge in lurid claims.

Simiarly, Arshin Adib-Moghaddam writes in the Guardian:

Let’s assume that sections of the military and security apparatus in Iran are responsible for the string of bombings in Georgia, Thailand and India. What would be the motive? 

The argument that Iran is retaliating for the murder of five civilian nuclear scientists in Iran is not plausible. If Iran wanted to target Israeli interests, it has other means at its disposal. 

It is hard to imagine that the Iranian government would send Iranian operatives to friendly countries, completely equipped with Iranian money and passports – making the case against them as obvious as possible.

If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are as professional, highly trained and politically savvy as we have been told repeatedly by Israeli politicians themselves; if they have successfully trained and equipped the cadres of Hezbollah and other movements with paramilitary wings in the region, then why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation?

And why India, Georgia and Thailand, three countries that Iran has had cordial relations with during a period when Iran is facing increasing sanctions spearheaded by the United States? 

A few days ago, India agreed a rupee-based oil and gas deal with Iran and resisted U.S. pressures to join the western boycott of the Iranian energy sector. 

As a net importer of 12% of Iranian oil, India’s total trade with Iran amounted to $13.67bn in 2010-2011. What would be the motive for damaging relations with one of Iran’s major trading partners and regional heavyweights?

For Iran it doesn’t make sense to risk alienating India by launching an assassination attempt in the capital of the country. Similarly, Iran has good economic and political relations with Georgia and Thailand. 

Why would the leadership in Tehran risk a major crisis with these countries during this sensitive period when IAEA inspectors are moving in and out of Iran to investigate the country’s nuclear programme?

And Juan Cole points out:

India has suffered from both Hindu and Muslim terrorist groups. So the attack on an automobile outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi could easily have been carried out by an Indian group. Israel’s government, a master of spin and propaganda, immediately blamed the bombing on Iran and Hizbullah. 

But there is no evidence for this cynical allegation, which makes no sense. India is Iran’s economic lifeline, and Tehran would not likely risk such an operation at this time.

India gets 12% of its oil from Iran and sees an $8 billion annual export opportunity in filling the trade vacuum left by unilateral US and European boycotts of Iran. 

Contrary to a bad Reuters article, Indian officials denied that the bombing would affect trade ties. (Logical because no evidence points to Iran.)

Indian investigators are first rate. Based on the modus operandi, their initial thesis is that the attack was the work of the “Indian Mujahidin” group. 

It had used a similar remote controlled sticky bomb, placed by a motorcyclist, in an attack on Taiwanese tourists outside the Jama Masjid cathedral mosque in 2010. IM is a Sunni group, not connected to Iran, and doesn’t like Shiite Muslims (Iranians are Shiites). 

IM like other Sunni radicals support the Palestinians and they are unhappy with increasingly close ties between India and Israel.

American media that just parrot notorious thug, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in this unlikely allegation are allowing themselves to be used for propaganda. 

Why not interview Indian authorities on this matter? They are on the ground and have excellent forensic (“CSI”) abilities. Stop being so lazy and blinkered; that isn’t journalism.

Gas Prices To Go Up In Wake Of Iranian Embargo?

If you thought gasoline prices were high the crisis building over Iran in the Middle East will certainly push prices higher as spring break approaches in March and April 2012. 

Drivers may see prices at the pumps as high as $4.00 a gallon before the Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.

According to industry watchers, several things play into the price hike: 

Consumers since winter 2012 are reportedly using less gas, so manufacturers have been producing less as spring break season nears.

 "Every metropolitan area in Texas is going to be observing spring break the same time,"  said Sarah Schimmer of AAA. "So retailers are going to be raising their prices a few cents and consumers are going to notice."

But, as we know the problems are in the Middle East. The U.S. and Europe want Iran to stop building nuclear plants. The Iranian government says the nuclear plant is meant for peaceful purposes.

So American and European Union sanctions on Iran have led to the Iranian government stating that in return they will no supply oil to Europe. Moreover Iran's government threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major point for the world's oil supply.

In advance of the 2012 summer driving season, AAA says, “anytime there's a potential tightening of supply or a limitation of supply, that is going to impact prices. 

" We just don't know how much or how fast that could happen.” Some fear prices could reach even as high as $6.00 per gallon. Better get training for long commutes on bicycles."

The Cardinal Crisis
Spring 2012 European Mundane Forecast

To give judgment of upcoming events, Traditional astrology advises us to look at the revolution of the world year - also known as the solar ingress - and the eclipses occurring during the year in question.

click on mundane chart to enlarge

The chart above is cast for Brussels, representing the whole of the European Union. With the rising sign in Pisces, this chart is valid until the 2012 Libra ingress on 22 September. 

Taking a look at Mercury as the natural ruler of the economy, it is easy to spot that there is trouble ahead. 

Mercury in the first house and therefore concerning all of the people living in the EU is combust and retrograde, moving towards the Sun and so symbolically speeding up the process of his own undoing. 

He is also in mutual reception by Rulership with Mars, the lesser malefic. Mars is in an applying opposition and in mutual reception with the Moon by Triplicity.

Looking at Jupiter, we see that he is Lord of the Ascendant, Lord of the 10th house and Lord of the hour. 

We can deduct therefore that the decisions of the shakers and movers of the EU will have an immediate effect on all members of the European Union.

In the ingress chart Jupiter, located in the 2nd house, and therefore concerned with wealth and income in general, is not in brilliant shape. 

He is in Taurus, an Earth sign, which shows that we are dealing with themes affecting everybody on a general and daily basis.

The Arabic Part of Mercury is in 15*06’ Capricorn, ruled by Saturn retrograde; casting another shadow on the future state of the economy. 

Abu Ma’shar says about this that it signifies poverty, wars and fear; also hatred and a multitude of contention in an hour of anger, and business dealings, buying and selling - also worries and cleverness. 

Furthermore the Arabic Parts of Tradesmen and those who work with their hands is in 26*49’ Capricorn and the Arabic Part of Work is in 28*53’ Capricorn, indicating more problems ahead. 

To clarify matters even more, it is elucidating to have a detailed look at the current eclipse charts.

The following chart is the solar eclipse chart for 20 May 2012, cast for Brussels:

click on mundane chart to enlarge

The conjunction of the Sun and the Moon, or eclipse point, is at 00*20’ Gemini, in the 3rd house. The Domicile ruler of Gemini is Mercury.

Ruler of the first decanate of Gemini is Jupiter. The famous 17th century astrologer William Lilly writes in his Annus Tenebrosus about this placement of the eclipse point: 

“… stirs up dissensions, strives, sedition amongst those we call Priests, and all manners of Merchants and Mechanicks of every Order or any Quality that is amongst them. Deadly hatred, contempt of Lawes, neglect of piety and holy duties, doth also follow, so also breach of Covenant.”

Although Mercury is not retrograde in this chart, he is still peregrine and combust. It is as well noteworthy that Jupiter is peregrine and combust as well in the eclipse chart. 

Looking at the bi-wheel of the EU Single European Act (inner wheel) and the eclipse chart (outer wheel) we can see the following:

click on mundane bi-wheel charts to enlarge

The lunar nodal axis of the eclipse chart is conjunct the lunar nodal axis of the chart representing the launch of the Euro. 

Experience shows that a contact of the lunar nodes by conjunction or hard aspect is an almost certain trigger point for important events to unfold.

Eclipsed Mercury, our indicator for the state of the economy in the ingress chart and one of the eclipse rulers, is opposing Mars and Mercury in the EU chart, raising doubt if the choice of electing the moment for the launch of the single currency was a wise one in the first place. 

Jupiter, the decanate ruler of the eclipse chart and important Planet in the ingress chart is conjunct eclipse Mercury and therefore opposing Mars and Mercury in the base chart as well. This seems to point to uncertainty, worry and decline, once more.

If we now have a look at the lunar eclipse, occurring on 4 June 2012, we can see the following:

click on mundane chart to enlarge

The eclipsed Moon is in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, which is in keeping with our ongoing theme.

The Sun and Mercury are in Gemini in the 10th house and although Mercury is domicile ruler, he is still under the Sun’s beams, a very crippling debilitation. 

Furthermore there is a trine aspect to Saturn and a square aspect to Mars, the greater and lesser malefics.

I would judge that, although it may look like a slight recovery, this may indicate a bit of plateauing or a short breathing space - but does by no means herald the saving grace of the EU and the single currency. 

We have to keep in mind that by September we have to look at the Libra ingress chart and there will be a solar and a lunar eclipse in November, giving fresh evidence of the events shaping the second half of solar ingress year 2012.

Lastly, we should have a quick glance at the bi-wheel of the lunar eclipse (outer wheel) and the EU Single European Act.

The chart above shows that the lunar nodal axis of the eclipse chart is again conjunct the lunar nodal axis of the other chart - an indicator for major changes to happen. 

The placement along the 4th/10th house axis suggests again that the upcoming events will be concerned with authorities and governments - but as well with possessions and resources of the general public. 

A fine mundane analysis by astrologer Peter Stockinger. 

As we can see, the economic crisis is far from over in the European Union and is not much better in the United States.

The Cardinal Crisis
Federal Reserve Warns On U.S Economy In 2012

Ben Bernanke, in a report, cites housing market woes and other issues and says that Federal Reserve policymakers do not expect 'further substantial declines' in the jobless rate this year.

By Don Lee
LA Times

 U.S. consumers and the economy started the year with more financial pep than previously thought, but Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned that economic growth probably would be modest through the rest of this year.

The nation's recovery from the brutal recession has been "uneven and modest," the Fed chief told Congress on Wednesday, February 28, 2012 and is being hampered by tight credit for borrowers, a depressed housing market, budget-strapped governments and uncertainties in resolving the European sovereign debt crisis.

Bernanke, in presenting his semiannual report on monetary policy and the economy, acknowledged recent improvement in the labor market, including the nearly 260,000 private-sector jobs added in January.

But he said that Fed policymakers did not expect "further substantial declines" in the jobless rate this year and that the sharp drop in the unemployment rate to 8.3% in January from 9.1% last August was somewhat out of sync with the moderate pace of growth.

"The job market remains far from normal," he told the House Committee on Financial Services. He said he remains especially concerned about near-record numbers of the long-term unemployed, whose skills tend to erode over time.

Bernanke had a more sanguine view of the recent increase in oil prices, which he said will pinch consumer pocketbooks, but only temporarily. He said inflation over the long haul probably will remain subdued, presumably at or below the Fed's 2% target.

He blamed the jump in crude prices on supply constraints stemming from tensions with Iran and elsewhere, but declined to say whether the U.S. should dip into the nation's strategic oil reserves, as some Republicans in Congress have urged.

Bernanke's remarks didn't seem to inspire confidence on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average opened moderately higher after breaking through 13,000 the day before, but then retreated. It closed down 53.05 points at 12,952.07.

Kevin Cummins, an economist at UBS Investment Research, said investors might have been hoping Bernanke would suggest that further monetary stimulus was on the way. But the Fed chief gave no such hint.

Investors were cheered earlier by a Commerce Department report that showed economic output in the fourth quarter grew at a 3% annual rate, slightly higher than the 2.8% initially estimated. 

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic output, increased at a 1.8% pace in the third quarter.

More significantly, officials revised sharply upward their data on personal income. The new report said that inflation-adjusted, after-tax incomes rose 0.7% in the third quarter, as opposed to shrinking 1.9% as previously thought. Incomes rose 1.4% in the fourth quarter, nearly double the first estimate.

With the higher income figures, the fourth-quarter personal savings rate - what's left after taxes and expenses — was revised to 4.5% from 3.7%.

"As a result, household finances look to be on a much firmer footing than we were previously led to believe," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a research note.

The Commerce Department's GDP report was released after the Fed had prepared its monetary and economic report.

In his prepared remarks to lawmakers, Bernanke cited flat household income and wealth last year as among the factors for the continuing weak "fundamentals" that support spending. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Final sales, which measure actual demand, rose slightly more than 1% in the fourth quarter, the Commerce report said. The bulk of the GDP growth came from an inventory buildup, as companies increased their stockpiles amid signs of stronger demand.

But a bigger-than-usual increase in inventories in one quarter tends to lead to slower activity in the next. Fed policymakers are projecting GDP growth of 2.2% to 2.7% this year.

That moderate pace isn't likely to bring down the unemployment rate much, assuming that productivity and the workforce population grow at average rates and more of the unemployed flood back into the job market.

Looking ahead, one of the biggest drags on the economy is budget-strapped governments. In the fourth quarter, reduced government spending sliced the GDP growth rate nearly a full percentage point.

Meanwhile, business spending remained solid and manufacturing was robust.

The Fed's so-called beige book released Feb. 28, 2012 showed factory output expanding at all 12 of its banking districts and signs of life in the housing market in most districts. On the whole, the report pointed toward an economy growing at a modest to moderate pace in January and early February.

As in his past appearances before Congress, Bernanke was caught in partisan wrangling over whether the Fed should focus on shrinking the nation's deficits or stimulating the economy.

Bernanke reiterated that it was important for Congress to develop a credible budget plan to bring down the nation's debts without snuffing out the recovery.

Under current law, "there's going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases" next Jan. 1, he said, referring to the scheduled expirations of the Bush-era tax cuts and the payroll tax holiday, among other things.

"I hope that Congress will look at that and figure out ways to achieve the same long-run fiscal improvements without having it all happen in one day," he said.