Predictions & Forecasts

The financial outlook for 2018: more Saturn, less Jupiter

(15 January 2018) After a banner year in 2017 which saw US stocks gain more than 20%, the financial outlook for 2018 looks decidedly more difficult.  The stock market is a forward-looking discounting mechanism as investors have bid up stocks in anticipation of higher growth from the pro-business policies of the Trump administration.  Tax cuts and reduced regulation are key reasons why markets are expecting corporate earnings and GDP to enjoy more robust growth in 2018.  While the promised infrastructure program may well give an additional boost to the market, many analysts are suggesting that the outsized gains of 2017 cannot be repeated in 2018.  But just what can investors reasonably expect? 

The astrological indications tend to concur with a view of diminished expectations.  The Trump rally in stocks can be analyzed in various ways but I find the simplest way is to look at the key financial horoscopes.  If we look at the chart of most widely cited stock average in the world, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), we can see the reasons for why 2017 was such a bullish year and why 2018 may be more problematic.  (N.B.  I am using an estimated time of 5 p.m. based on the historical evidence; the precise time is less important for my analysis in any event.)  Read more...

North Korea: the shadow that hangs over 2018

(5 January 2018) With the arrival a New Year, most people look forward to a fresh opportunity to realize their hopes and aspirations as they put the past behind them.   The forward passage of time is one of the sources of human resilience as the inherent optimism of our species is born anew. And yet, this year the specter of conflict with North Korea hangs over the world. 

The war of words between the two bellicose leaders of the US and North Korea that began last year has continued into 2018.  Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump have both boasted about the nuclear buttons while strategic analysts have put the odds of military action near 50%.  And with military action comes the very real risk that nuclear weapons could be used by both sides.  

Interestingly, in his New Year's speech North Korea's Kim Jong-un has extended an olive branch to South Korea over his country's participation in the Winter Olympics which will be held in Pyeongchang.  Read more...

The Trump tax bill: will it save the GOP in November?

(27 December 2017) With the first year of his presidency almost done, President Donald Trump finally scored a much-needed legislative win with the passage of his tax overhaul bill.   As Trump signed the bill into law last Friday, the GOP have turned their sights to next November's midterm elections.  Trump is betting on the tax cut to win back voters who have thus far been alienated from his tumultuous and divisive presidency.  

There is a lot riding on next year's midterms.  With Trump's approval ratings still below 40%, the Democrats are favored to win the House of Representatives and to have a decent chance of winning back the Senate.  If the GOP loses control of both Houses of Congress, the Trump agenda would effectively be neutralized until 2020.   Also, a Democrat-controlled Congress would very likely move toward impeachment of President Trump. 

So will Trump's tax cut achieve its desired ends and help the GOP hold onto Congress next year?  One perspective on this question is to examine the horoscope for the time that Trump signed it into law.  Read more...

Mars sideswipes Bitcoin as price falls 20%

(20 December 2017) The Bitcoin mania continues after the cryptocurrency traded near $20,000 over the weekend.  Bitcoin's profile was further heightened on Sunday as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) began to offer BTC Futures following the lead of the CBOE which initiated futures trading last week.  While there is some variation in prices depending on the exchange, BTC hit about 19,700 on Sunday, 17 December before pulling back.  The past few days has seen Bitcoin trade below $16,000 although currently trading near $17,000. 

This 15-20% pullback closely coincides with a prediction I made about the price of Bitcoin last week.  I had suggested that a series of transits involving the planet Mars to key planets in the BTC first trade chart could bring about some declines.  I had had some doubts about the usefulness of the first trade chart (12 January 2009), but the current pullback seems to line up well with the planetary influences. 

I had thought that the Mars-Moon square (i.e. when Mars was 90 degrees from the natal Moon) on 19th December could coincide with some nervousness in the bitcoin market.  Read more...

Bitcoin goes mainstream as futures trading begins

(12 December 2017) The incredible story of Bitcoin began a new chapter on Sunday as futures of the cryptocurrency began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange at 6.00 pm EST.   Suddenly, the hitherto cultish Bitcoin has burst onto the mainstream as a testament to its relevance in our wired world.  2017 may well be remembered, among other things, as the year of Bitcoin as the computer-based open source currency has risen from $1000 in January to over $18,000.  Bitcoin has attracted huge interest from both novice and institutional investors alike as a possible alternative to government-based fiat currencies. 

While many analysts think it is in a bubble, no one is quite sure when that bubble may burst.  And even if it is a bubble, there is a growing consensus that Bitcoin and its blockchain technology is here to stay.   With the start of futures trading, it seems there are two schools of thought about the future direction of Bitcoin's price.  The optimistic bulls see this mainstreaming of the cyptocurrency as an opportunity for demand to rise as a wider range of people and institutions try to get a piece of the action.  A more cautious, bearish view is that the introduction of futures trading will give larger investors the means to short, or bet against, Bitcoin and this could tank the price in the coming weeks and months.   Read more...

Flynn pleads guilty as Mercury turns retrograde on Trump

(4 December 2017) The Russia investigation dominated the news cycle again last week as former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts shortly after the election.  Robert Mueller's investigation has taken a significant step forward as it reaches Trump's inner circle for the first time.  Stock markets sold off sharply, although only briefly, on the news of Flynn's plea on Friday.  The odds that Trump would still be president on 2018/12/31 fell from 72% to 66%.  Investors are only now beginning to consider the possibility of a worst-case scenario in Washington where Trump is forced out. 

Obviously, this kind of uncertainty is bad for financial markets.  To be sure, Mueller is long way from implicating President Trump himself and the chances of finding the proverbial smoking gun remain fairly remote.  And yet the more the investigation reveals this kind of deception on the part of Trump's associates, the more it could gradually undermine the presidency.  Ironically, this political setback for Trump arrived in the same week that his bold tax overhaul bill passed its Senate vote.  This is one reason why stocks recovered on Thursday afternoon as the bill now seems certain to be signed into law in the coming weeks, perhaps before Christmas.   Read more...

Women speak up: the sexual misconduct allegations in the US

(23 November 2017) The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of sexual misconduct allegations.  Since the New York Times expose of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on October 5th, there has been a steady stream of women (and some men) coming forward with accusations against the likes of actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis CK (pictured here), Minnesota Senator Al Franken, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and most recently Charlie Rose.  Dozens of high profile men in the fields of politics, entertainment, and journalism have been accused of various types of sexual misconduct, up to and including sexual assault.

It has been a time of reckoning for powerful men who have long enjoyed legal and moral immunity from similar accusations in the past.  Previously, they could use their power to protect themselves by either threatening to blackball a young, aspiring actor or staffer or by buying silence through payoffs and non-disclosure agreements.   But recently something seems to have changed.  As a reflection of women's increased status and confidence, 21st century American society as a whole has become less willing to look the other way or dismiss the accusations merely as a private matter between adults.   Read more...

Stocks off all-time highs as House passes Trump tax bill

(16 November 2017) US stocks rebounded today on positive corporate earnings and news of the passage of the GOP tax bill in the House.  Markets had been somewhat weaker over the past two weeks on growing doubts that Trump's business-friendly tax bill could pass both houses of Congress by the end of the year.   Most global markets have also moved lower since early November after rallying higher for almost a full year following the election of Donald Trump.   But is the recent decline evidence that the Trump rally is running out of steam or is this just another brief pause before stocks eventually move to higher highs?

The natal horoscopes of key financial entities like stock exchanges and stock indexes can provide clues for future trends in stocks.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the most well-known index in the world and its horoscope offers a plausible account for the pullback in November.  From the chart below, we can see that Saturn (2 Sagittarius) has been opposite Mercury (1 Gemini) for the past two weeks.   Read more...

After Manafort: what's next for the Mueller investigation?

(8 November 2017)  The Mueller investigation continues to keep Washington on edge.   Five months into the job, special counsel Robert Mueller has brought down his first indictments against members of the Trump campaign on the question of Russian involvement with the 2016 election.  Last week, former campaign chair Paul Manafort and top aide Rick Gates were both indicted of several charges including tax evasion, money laundering and  conspiracy against the United States.  Notably absent was any explicit mention of possible collusion with Russia during the election, however.

In a previous post, I thought the alignment of planets in late November and early December suggested that might be a more critical time for the investigation.   I wondered if Mueller's first indictments might have actually be more likely come down at that time.  On that question, I was off the mark.  But I would still think that there is much more to come from Bob Muller and that the early December Mercury-Saturn conjunction could still coincide with an even more significant development in the investigation.  Let's see how the Manafort indictment manifested in the key charts to get a better sense of how this drama could play out.   Read more...

Can stocks rise indefinitely? The astrology of the bull market

(27 October 2017) As most global markets continue to set new all-time highs, some financial analysts are trying to make the case that stocks are not overvalued and are not in bubble territory. Even if stocks suffer from a pullback or correction they argue, there are many reasons why stocks are still a good buy and should continue to rise for the forseeable future. The Federal Reserve and other central banks have essentially now included stock prices in their mandates since their loose monetary policies explicitly intend to increase the value of assets like stocks in order to increase economic activity. As long as central banks can navigate between creating excessive inflation (from interest rates being too low) and boosting sagging demand (from rates too high), the argument goes, stocks are unlikely to suffer a serious bear market as they did most recently in 2008 and in 2000.

My own predictive record has been inconsistent recently. In previous weekly updates, I had expected the US stock market to have moved lower by October. The period from August to October featured a number of apparently bearish alignments which I thought would outweigh other bullish patterns in the charts. Alas, this has not been the case as September saw a rebound from the initial August pullback and October has seen even higher highs. How can we explain this relentless bull market?   Read more...

Waiting for Mueller: will his investigation damage Trump?

(12 October 2017) How long can this go on for?  As the Trump presidency enters its 9th precarious month, there seems to be no end to his unpresidential behaviour, his picking of fights with everyone who disagrees with him, and his childish and petulant fact-free tweets.   Even his own Republican party is showing more signs of wavering, as Senator Corker has accused him of risking World War III with North Korea.  And so America's descent into authoritarian populism continues as Trump cultivates chaos and division in order to distract attention from his own ethical shortcomings and inability to actually do the job.

Many on the Left are hoping that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller can produce sufficient evidence against Trump to run him out of office, either through resignation or formal impeachment.  Indeed, many opponents of Trump see Mueller as the only real hope of forcing Trump from office since the GOP may not have the spine to commit political suicide over their President.  Therefore we need to ask: what are the chances that the Mueller investigation will damage the White House enough to force Trump out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

There are several ways we can go about answering this question.  Read more...

NRA on the defensive in the aftermath of Las Vegas shooting

(3 October 2017) After the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of 59 people and injured another 500, the inevitable question arises once again: why is America so incapable of addressing its unique gun violence problem?    The short answer is that the Second Amendment's "right to bear arms" is an unassailable principle in US society which legitimizes gun ownership, seemingly without limits.  The high levels of gun fatalities are rationalized as "the cost of freedom".   As a non-American, I would suggest that despite its veneer of modernity, the US is very much captive to its traditions which date from more than 200 years ago.  The Constitution is regarded with a near-religious reverence which makes changes to it extremely difficult.

But this constitutional right has also been buttressed by active advocacy by gun owners.  The culture of unrestricted gun ownership has been fervently supported and lobbied for by the National Rifle Association (NRA).  Over the past 40 years, the NRA has poured considerable money and resources into the political arena to make gun control more difficult despite obvious data that show the number of gun-related deaths are spiraling higher as guns become more pervasive. 

From an astrological perspective, I have to think that the horoscope of the NRA must be both powerful and somehow closely intertwined with the chart of the USA.   Read more...

Bitcoin retreats from record highs

(21 September 2017) The Bitcoin roller coaster took another wild turn this week as the cryptocurrency gained more than 10% and moved back to $4000 USD.   It's been a volatile year for Bitcoin which has skyrocketed from in value from less than $1000 in February to a high of $5000 on 1st September.  While it is designed to replace government-issued fiat currencies, it's current claim to fame is as a vehicle for speculation. 

Is Bitcoin a tulip-like bubble waiting to burst, or the wave of the future that can only climb higher in value, or something in between?  After the Chinese government shut down its bitcoin exchange, there are more questions about its viability as other governments could also move to prevent competition from this unregulated upstart cryptocurrency.  

I've been meaning to post something on Bitcoin for the past couple of months.  However, I have run into difficulty finding a workable horoscope that seemed to accurately reflect some of the recent price moves.  In my only other post on Bitcoin back in December 2013, I used the "Genesis Block" which marked the founding of the blockchain technology on 3 January 2009.   Read more...

US stocks approach record highs as Jupiter enters Libra

(13 September 2017) US stock indexes again approached record highs this week as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Hurricane Irma proved less damaging than feared.  And with North Korea receding from the news cycle and Trump's surprising debt ceiling deal with the Democrats, markets are looking quite strong.  The Dow closed above 22,000 on Tuesday while the Sensex is again challenging its previous high as it finished above 32,000 in Wednesday trading.

This bullish outcome appeared to contradict my fairly pessimistic outlook for August and September.  I thought the effects of the late August solar eclipse, the Saturn direct station and the Saturn-Rahu alignment would likely dampen sentiment and increase the odds of declines.  However, I did note that these negative influences were more specifically focused upon the month of August and into first week of September.   While we didn't see anything too dramatic occur, stocks were somewhat weak throughout August and early September did see a modest pullback on renewed North Korean tensions. 

Once we were past last week's Mercury-Mars conjunction, there was a better chance for some upside.   Read more...

North Korean missile over Japan raises tensions

(30 August 2017) Tensions on the Korean peninsula escalated again this week after North Korea fired a missile over Northern Japan.   The unprecedented missile launch over Japanese territory briefly shook financial markets and again brought Pyongyang's nuclear threat into focus.   Unless China can be more effective in reining in Kim Jong-un, US military action is looking more likely.  And with tough-talking Donald Trump looking for something to boost his failing presidency, the probability of some kind of conflict is higher than in recent memory. 

As I noted several weeks ago, the August 21st solar eclipse strongly hinted at some kind violent or military event in late August or more likely, in early September.  The horoscopes of some of key players appeared to be very active during the first week of September, especially around the time of the Mercury-Mars conjunction. 

The USA chart showed the natal Mars (0 Gemini) aspected by Saturn, Ketu (South Lunar Node) and Jupiter all at the same time.  Mars is the planet of war and conflict, of course, and these aspects indicate a much higher probability that the energy of Mars will be released in some obvious way in the days ahead.  The eclipse at 4 Leo is opposite the USA Moon (7 Aquarius) and it could be triggered around the time of the Mercury-Mars conjunction on Sep 4-5, and indeed for several days afterwards as the Moon-Mars opposition aspect becomes exact.   Read more...

Dysfunction in DC: the Trump-McConnell feud

(24 August 2017) With Congress set to return after the summer recess, US president Donald Trump is looking increasingly weakened and isolated.  As he tries to shake off the Charlottesville controversy, Trump is now insisting that he will shutdown the US government if Congress does not approve funding for his border wall with Mexico.  The shutdown threat comes as Congress enters into its annual negotiations to raise the debt ceiling which is required under US law.  If Congress cannot strike a deal by the September 29th deadline, the government will default on its debt.

Negotiations will be made more complicated because of an ongoing feud between Trump and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.   There is no love lost between these two men and recent reports are they haven't spoken for weeks.  McConnell has even gone so far as to speak publicly about whether Trump's presidency can survive.  Trump's problem is that he needs McConnell onside to have any chance of passing his administration's agenda.  And yet it seems less the case that McConnell needs Trump, however, as the GOP risks losing seats in the 2018 midterms due to Trump's low popularity. 

While we don't know McConnell's time of birth, his horoscope cast for noon shows how he can act as a thorn in the side of Trump.  Read more...

Charlottesville aftermath: Trump defends white supremacists

(16 August 2017) The shameless presidency of Donald Trump appeared to hit a new low this week in the wake of ugly racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.  A rally of alt-right white supremacists degenerated into a riot following clashes with anti-racist protesters which saw three people killed and many more injured.  Trump was widely criticized for his initial Saturday statement in which he did not clearly blame the neo-Nazis as the instigators of the violence.  Bowing to pressure, he was forced to issue another more pointed condemnation on Monday although to many it sounded scripted and hollow.  But then yesterday's rambling and angry press conference saw Trump incredibly revert back to his original view which held that "both sides" were equally culpable.

Trump has come under widespread criticism from many quarters including many from within his own party, and now seven CEOs have chosen to quit the President's Manufacturing Council rather than risk being associated with the White House.  As the Trump presidency becomes more toxic one may well ask what will happen next.  Will Trump become so besieged and isolated that he has to resign or can he get a much-needed political "win" to arrest the current downward spiral of his chaotic, failing administration?

I think things are going to get worse for Trump before they get better.  Read more...

August eclipses and the markets: echoes of the 1998 Russia crisis?

(9 August 2017)  They say history doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes.  At its core, astrology is the study of repeating planetary cycles.  Since the motion of each planet adheres to a predictable pattern, so too may symbolic correspondences of planets manifest in events of a similar nature according to a predetermined time frame.  Predictions are therefore rooted in the presumption that the clockwork-like repeatability of each planetary cycle can form the basis of the understanding of future trends.

Eclipses also follow their own cycle.  Every 18 or 19 years, the lunar and solar eclipse pair returns to the same place in the sky.  Monday's lunar eclipse occurred at 21 degrees of sidereal Capricorn and the much-anticipated total solar eclipse will take place across the continental US at 4 degrees of Leo.  As it happens, this is exactly where the eclipses occurred 19 years ago. almost to the day, in August 1998.  A lunar eclipse happened on August 8th at 21 Capricorn and a solar eclipse followed on the 22nd at 4 Leo -- just one day after this year's eclipse pair. 

One very important event took place in August 1998 during this eclipse period.  Russia suffered a major financial crisis in which its currency lost 75% of its value within just a few weeks.   Read more...

The Eclipsing of Trump? What to expect from the August 21st eclipse

(1 August 2017) Off the top, I want to apologize to my non-American readers who may be getting tired of these constant posts about Donald Trump and the current state of US politics.  And readers hoping for more explicitly financial content may be feeling similarly indifferent to my interpretation of the never-ending melodrama that is taking place in Washington, DC.  And yet, I find there is no more important story going on in the world right now as it has major ramifications far beyond the borders of the US. 

The United States seems to be descending into a state of political chaos as the Trump administration continues to struggle.  The once-great superpower and beacon of democracy now seems intent on its re-invention as dysfunctional authoritarian state as the Trump presidency is in danger of coming off the rails.  Trumpists knew that "Making America Great Again" wasn't going to be easy given the entrenched interests on the other side but his sagging approval ratings even among conservatives now suggest his hold on the office may be in jeopardy.

Where does it all end?  Each day brings news of a fresh White House dismissal (turn the Mooch loose!) or revelation of transgressions or misdeeds with respect to the ongoing Russia investigation.    Read more...

GOP health bill fails as Mars undermines Trump

(19 July 2017) The besieged Trump administration suffered another setback this week as the Senate health care bill failed to come to a vote.  Despite taking extra time during the early July break, Mitch McConnell's Republicans could not find the 50 votes to get it passed.  The failure highlights the divisions in the GOP and the inability of President Donald Trump to bring together the moderate and far right wings in the party. 

This latest failure may also be seen as a consequence of the difficult transit of Mars through sidereal Cancer in Trump's 12th house of loss.  As noted last week, Mars entered Trump's 12th whole sign house (as per standard Vedic astrology parameters) on July 11th just as the scandal involving a meeting between his son and the Russians exploded in the media.  The health care morass indicates that Mars is continuing to undermine Trump's hopes and ambitions.   Mars will remain in the sign of Cancer until August 26th and could therefore exert an extended negative influence on Trump.  With Saturn stationing on his volatile Moon-Ketu conjunction (and Rahu aspecting it also) also through that time, the summer looks pretty stressful for him.  Read more...

Trump's Russia troubles deepen with son's emails

(12 July 2017) The ongoing Russia controversy involving President Donald Trump has taken center stage again this week.  Following a story by the New York Times,  Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.  released emails that revealed that he had met with a well-connected Russian lawyer before the election in order to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton.  

The details of the emails make the strongest case yet that the Trump campaign had knowledge of the Russian hacking efforts intended to get Trump elected.  While this may or may not not qualify as a clear case of collusion, it raises more questions about the legitimacy of Trump's presidency, to say nothing of his political viability as the head of the executive branch.   And if these emails have come out as the result of an investigation by the NYT,  one can only imagine what the ongoing FBI and Senate investigations may find down the road.

This is a clear setback for the Trump administration.  Not surprisingly, the planets were negatively aligned against the key players here: President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., himself and yes, even Vladimir Putin.   Let's take a look at these horoscopes one at a time.   Read more...

Defiant North Korea tests ICBM that can reach US

(5 July 2017) Geopolitical tensions are on the rise this week after a successful test launch of an ICBM by North Korea.  Pyongyang claimed the missile could reach as far as Alaska and had the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.  The test is a potential game-changer in the ongoing stalemate between the renegade communist state led by President Kim Jong-Un and its increasingly alarmed neighbours.  China remains the key to any solution to the stand-off as it is North Korea's only substantial trading partner and foreign sponsor. 

After trying the softer approach under Obama, President Trump has tried to turn up the heat with tougher talk but so far has little to show for it.  In fact, Trump's tough approach may well have made things worse by pushing North Korea to test even more aggressive weapons against what it perceives to be a more imminent threat.  The problem for the US and its Asian allies is that there is no viable military option in the region.  Any pre-emptive attack on North Korea would result in tens of thousands of South Korean casualties at a minimum. 

As I have written previously, I don't foresee a major war happening this year.  Read more...

GOP postpones Senate healthcare vote

(28 June 2017) The Trump agenda suffered a major setback yesterday after GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell was forced to postpone the vote on the controversial Better Care Reconciliation Act.  The GOP had drafted its bill to repeal Obamacare in secret and allowed less than a week for public scrutiny, a move with later backfired after a damning report from the CBO on Monday compelled several Senators to remove their support. While McConnell intends on bringing it to a vote by mid-July, it is unclear if the differences between the moderate and conservative wings of the party can bridged by that time. 

The failure to get the much-hoped for "big win" for Trump's legislative agenda has again put this administration back on its heels. There are large fissures in the GOP which not even the famously deal-making Trump can easily fix.  The larger problem for Trump and the GOP is that without passage of the health care bill, the more important tax reform bill likely cannot move forward either. 

Last week, I suggested that Trump's fortunes were improving in the month of June as evidenced by the special Congressional election wins and the absence of any personally damaging revelations in the Comey testimony and the Russia investigation.  Read more...

GOP wins Georgia special election: charting Trump's ups and downs

(21 June 2017) Donald Trump scored another "win" yesterday as the Republicans narrowly won the hotly contested special election in the Georgia 6th Congressional District.  The election was widely seen as a referendum on the Trump administration as Democrats were hoping for an upset in the traditionally GOP district.  The victory will help boost the GOP's legislative agenda including the controversial healthcare bill that is currently in the Senate.  A Senate vote on the bill is expected before the recess at the end of June although it is unclear if the GOP bill can pass given its secretive and controversial nature.

Trump's improving fortunes likely began with the Comey hearings where the former FBI chief did not provide clear evidence of a smoking gun with regard to Trump's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.  While the investigation is far from over, the absence of any shocking revelations at that time was seen as a plus for Trump as it took a lot of the pressure off.

In a May 10th post, I offered that June could bring some improvement for Trump as Jupiter stationed direct on June 9th.    Read more...

UK politics in chaos as May loses majority in early election

(14 June 2017) UK politics has been thrown into a state of chaos after last week's unexpectedly close election has resulted in a hung parliament.  Conservative PM Theresa May had called an early election in order to strengthen her hand ahead of Brexit talks due to begin this month.  But the gamble backfired with May's government losing its comfortable majority so now it has to form a coalition with the far right Northern Ireland DUP in order to cling to power.  Even if May manages to secure a functioning agreement (likely but not a certainty, especially given the pro-Labour planets on June 19-20), her status as leader is now in jeopardy as other Tories are now positioning themselves for a new leadership contest.  She has been described as a 'dead woman walking' as both her leadership and her government may not last another election.

How did it all go so wrong for her?  One reason lies in the respective planetary alignments for both her and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The stars aligned against Ms. May and shone brightly on opposition leader Mr. Corbyn who was seen as a surprise winner of sorts.  As is often the case when we suffer failures or setbacks, Saturn was front and center in Theresa May's chart (1 October 1956, no time).  Saturn (0 Sagittarius) is casting its full strength square aspect to her Mercury and Sun in Virgo.    Read more...

Trump pulls US out of Paris Agreement on climate change

(1 June 2017)  Well, climate change just got Trumped.  President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from Paris Agreement today fulfilling a key campaign promise.  The US joins a tiny group along with two other nations (Syria and Nicaragua) out of 190 which has rejected the climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to reduce global warming.  Trump intends to renegotiate the deal on more favourable terms to the US.  Early reaction from other signatory countries suggests this may be wishful thinking. 

There are several interesting astrological angles worth exploring here.  The most important is the horoscope of the Paris Agreement itself which was passed by unanimous vote at the COP 21 conference on 12 December 2015 at 7.26 p.m CET.   With the future of the agreement now in doubt after the withdrawal of the world's greatest contributor of greenhouse gases, we should expect to see malefic planets like Saturn and Mars more prominently placed.  And that is exactly the case. 

The horoscope for the Paris Agreement currently has Saturn sitting on the cusp of the equal 6th house of conflict.  Read more...

ISIS attack kills 22 at Manchester concert in UK

(24 May 2017)  As the planet of violence, Mars has no mercy.  On Monday, the UK became the latest target of ISIS as a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Manchester Arena shortly after a pop concert.  The attack was apparently perpetrated by a UK citizen of Libyan descent, Salman Abedi, and arrests have made in both in the UK and Libya.  The UK is now on high alert with troops stationed at key locations in the aftermath of this second attack of 2017.

There are several possible ways to look at this event.  It is possible to focus solely on the transits for the time of the explosion (10.30 p.m.), but in my experience this provides only limited information.  In hindsight, we can see whatever we want to see in transits and the resulting chart is usually not conducive to prediction.  In my view, a more compelling approach is to use the relevant national chart, in this case, the UK national chart, dated 1 January 1801 at midnight.  While hindsight is always 20/20, at least we can make a better assessment of how the chart is operating and whether such an event was predictable. 

For all violent attacks, we should see Mars very prominently placed in the chart by transit.   And we do.  At the time of the attack, Mars was just one degree past an exact opposition aspect to Mercury.  Mars-Mercury aspects usually coincide with tense or stressful situations of all kinds.   Read more...

Stocks fall as Trump crisis deepens

(17 May 2017) When it rains, it pours.  The embattled presidency of Donald J. Trump appeared to enter a new and more tumultuous phase yesterday with the revelation that he may have asked FBI chief James Comey to stop his investigation into pro-Russia former cabinet member Michael Flynn.   If proven true, the attempted intervention in the FBI's work could amount to an obstruction of justice.  This would be an impeachable offense under US precedent as president Richard Nixon was forced to resign for a similar intervention during the Watergate cover-up.  And tonight there is word that a Special Counsel has been appointed to Russia inquiry to clear the air.

The possibility that Trump obstructed justice comes after a very difficult week following the firing of James Comey after he asked for more resources for Russia-Trump probe and the controversial sharing of classified intelligence with Russia during an unprecedented visit by Russian officials to the White House.   All this turmoil in DC is finally taking a toll in financial markets as stocks fell sharply today as markets began to factor in the possibility that Trump may be unable to push through his pro-business tax and regulatory reforms.   For the first time, investors (and betting markets) are now seriously assessing the odds that Trump will be impeached.  Of course, the irony is that Wall St. would likely prefer a President Pence anyway.   Read more...

Trump fires FBI's Comey: Nixon revisited?

(10 May 2017) The Trump presidency took an unexpected and disturbing turn on Tuesday with the surprise firing of FBI chief James Comey.  Comey has been a controversial figure on both sides of the aisle in Washington since his very public investigation of Hillary Clinton and her private email server and then later with his unprecedented intervention in the election.  It now seems likely that Comey's letter to Congress on October 28th cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.   Recently, Comey and the FBI had been leading an investigation into the alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.  It has now come to light that Comey's dismissal came just days after he requested additional resources to probe more deeply the Trump-Russia connections.

While his firing of Comey may solve one of Trump's imminent problems, it is unlikely to boost his political fortunes in the short run.   The optics are terrible for Trump as it now looks like he is a man on the run desperately trying to silence further questioning about possible collusion with Russia.   Where this all is leading is hard to say although the astrological perspective suggests that Trump is unlikely to find solace for the rest of the month of May at least.   The problem would appear to center on Rahu, the North Lunar Node. 

Trump's horoscope is strongly influenced by Rahu at the current time.  Rahu is a malefic planet by nature and is symbolically linked to situations that disrupt the status quo.  Read more...

Shiller, Saturn and the NASDAQ: perspectives in market timing

(3 May 2017) Conventional wisdom is that the stock market is the best place to put your money for the long term.   While periods of volatility can cause some sleepless nights, it is hard to argue with the basic premise that stocks do better in the long run than most other assets like bonds, cash, or even gold.  A case in point is the NASDAQ, the US-based technology index. If you had invested just $100 at the time of its inception in 1971, your investment would have increased 60-fold as the NASDAQ is now trading at a record high above 6000.  Even adjusted for inflation, the investment has grown impressively by 10 times over that 46-year period, which amounts to a 5% return compounded annually.  That's definitely way better than holding cash when you think about what $100 would have bought back in early 70s. 

But just how long is the long term?  It you had been unlucky enough to have bought a basket of tech stocks in 2000 at the very top of the tech bubble, your investment would only have begun to show profit in 2016 in what would certainly have been a long and painful exercise in investor patience.  Actually, when corrected for inflation that ill-timed investment in 2000 would still be down 10%.  Similarly, money invested the stock market in 1929 before the crash would have taken at least 25 years to have shown a positive return.  Clearly, the long term is sometimes a very long time indeed.

How long will the Trump rally last?

(25 April 2017) Most global markets were strongly higher this week after the win by pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the French election.  The narrow defeat of anti-EU right wing populist Marine Le Pen allowed investors to breath a sigh of relief as the status quo carried the day.  Many stock markets are now at or near new all-time highs.  Much of this bull market can be explained by the deliberate attempt by the Fed to increase asset prices (read: stocks) through its zero interest rate policy and later its experimental QE program after the 2008 financial crisis.  But the most recent upward leg in the markets have been as a result of the election of Donald Trump and his pro-business agenda.  Since the November 8th election, US stocks have risen almost 15%, with similar gains posted in Europe and some emerging markets such as India. But how long can this Trump rally last?

There is no single chart that can answer this question simply or unequivocally.  One difficulty lies in translating planetary positions with market moves of a specific size.  Even if we can isolate a future bearish planetary alignment, for example, it is unclear if it will produce sufficient downside that would negate the rally (i.e. -15%).   A bearish alignment involving  Saturn or Mars may only coincide with a minor 5% pullback rather than a full-blown 10-20% correction.   Therefore, even when we get some garden variety bearish planetary patterns, the Trump rally is likely strong enough to withstand some downside without seriously underlying its upward momentum.   Read more...

North Korea's Kim Jong-Un under pressure from US

(18 April 2017) What to do about North Korea?  US President Trump is now confronted with the same thorny question that has confounded most of his predecessors.  The hermit kingdom of North Korea has long operated outside the norms of international politics and has frequently resorted to threats of war in order to secure any strategic or economic advantage.  Under the uncertain leadership of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program aimed at providing the ultimate bargaining chip with any hostile foreign powers.  By most accounts, the isolated totalitarian regime only survives through the largesse of its only patron, China, through generous trade and aid agreements.

Recent missile tests have provoked a more assertive reaction from the Trump administration.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and now Vice-President Mike Pence have both argued for a tougher stance again the North Korean regime which may well be approaching a critical moment in its push for nuclear weapons.  For the US, the time for diplomatic talks and negotiations may be coming to an end as military options have now been put back on the table.  This tougher stance and the possibility of a unilateral US strike against weapons installations has, in turn, angered Kim Jong-Un, as tensions have increased to a dangerous and unpredictable level.   Read more...

China's Xi meets Trump as Saturn turns retrograde

(5 April 2017) The leaders of the two most economically powerful countries on the planet are due to meet tomorrow.  US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet Thursday and Friday in Mar-a-Lago, Florida to discuss a range of issues from global trade to North Korea.  There is some trepidation that the meeting could be rather tense given Trump's often blunt and hostile comments about China and its economic practices.  Trump's unpredictability means anything is possible, although it seems more likely that everyone will be all smiles in front of the cameras.  What insights does astrology offer on this meeting?

While we don't know President Xi's birth time, we do know he was born 15 June 1953.    As it happens, Xi's birthday is just one day after Trump's so both men will have a close conjunction of their Suns, although Xi's is in the first degree of Gemini and Trump's is in the last degree of Taurus.   Right there, we may note a small difference in approach. Trump is the sensualist and assertive bull (Taurus) while Xi may be more the intellectual data-collector typical of many Geminis.   Xi is much more the thinker of the two due to his very strong Mercury in its own sign of Gemini in a close conjunction with Uranus.  The wider conjunction with Mars and the Sun also boosts his rational thinking capacity (Mercury).  Xi can think quickly on his feet and may be quite open to innovative solutions where they are deemed necessary.   Read more...

Uranus re-enters Aries: beware the black swan

(28 March 2017) It's that time again.  Once every seven years, the planet Uranus changes its sidereal sign.   In keeping with its symbolism of rapid change and rebellion, the Uranus sign changes or ingresses often mark instances of instability and sudden black swan-type developments in world affairs.  To that end, Uranus is due to leave Pisces and re-enter the sign of Aries next week on April 5th according to the Krishnamurthi aynamasha.  The ingress happens two days later according to the more widely-used Lahiri ayamamsha. 

The last time Uranus changed signs was last year on June 23, 2016.  The next day the UK shocked the world by voting for Brexit, thereby launching the beginning of a populist rebellion in the Western world.  The similarly shocking election victory of Donald Trump in the US soon followed as the anti-elite, nativist rebellion evolved into a wider movement.  The rise of right wing populism can't be explained solely in terms of this Uranus ingress but it certainly played a role. 

The important thing to note about Uranus ingresses is that there are usually clusters of two or three ingresses over a one-year period due to its retrograde motion.  The previous cluster of Uranus sign changes occurred in 2009-2010 when it entered Pisces.  Since Uranus moves forward on average of four degrees per year (8 degrees of forward motion followed by 4 degrees of backward motion), it takes about 7-8 years for it to transit through each 30 degree zodiac sign.  We are therefore in the middle of another cluster of a sign ingress.  Read more...

Trump's troubles as seen through the PEOTUS chart

(15 March 2017) One of the most fascinating aspects of astrology is how horoscopes belonging to different people, institutions or events can confirm the same reality.  All other things being equal, these different sources of confirming evidence can boost our predictive accuracy about the future.  Like all other human sciences, astrology is not perfect and astrologers make their fair share of mistakes.   But when considering the future prospects of one President Donald J. Trump, it's helpful to be able to go beyond his personal chart and refer to other relevant horoscopes.

This week I wanted to look at the horoscope for the moment when Trump was declared the winner in the November 8th election.   This is the chart of the President-elect of the United States (PEOTUS).  Due to the closeness of the race, Trump was actually declared the winner first by Associated Press at 2.31 a.m. in the early morning of the 9th.  But the first major television network that declared him the President-elect was Fox at 2.40 a.m.  The other networks quickly followed suit a few minutes later.  As a median time, I will use the Fox call at 2.40 a.m. as my working chart for the moment when America and world realized that Donald Trump was the new president.   The total Ascendant range between the different media calls is about three degrees (4 Virgo - 7 Virgo)

We can see how this chart works by seeing the transit hits of significant events in his administration.   Read more...

GOP introduces new AHCA health bill to replace Obamacare

(8 March 2017) Amid a circus-like atmosphere in Washington, DC marked with wild accusations, calls for investigations and a simmering sense of chaos, the Trump administration and the GOP finally announced their plan to replace Obamacare.  The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was unveiled by Speaker Paul Ryan as a plan which would eliminate the controversial individual mandate and reduce costs without compromising the nation's quality of health care.  So far, there has been strong criticism of the proposal by both left and right wings of the Republican Party with the Democrats rejecting it outright.  The right wing opposition may well be more salient to this equation as their votes could be more important for the bill's passage in the House of Representatives.  Many political observers are skeptical the bill can pass in its present form, if at all.

So the question for us this week is: will Obamacare really be repealed by this less-than-perfect GOP proposal and if, so, when?  There may be a few ways to look at this question astrologically but I think the most direct way would be to look at the horoscope of Obamacare itself which was signed into law at 11.56 a.m. on March 23, 2010.  When that chart comes under intense affliction, then we should assume that it is being replaced by a new health care law.  In that sense, the "death" of Obamacare should manifest as multiple simultaneous afflictions of the highest order.   However, if we can see favourable alignments in the Obamacare chart, then the new replacement bill may be seen to be running into legislative roadblocks which may allow Obamacare to remain intact.   Read more...

Stocks at record high ahead of Trump speech and Venus retrograde

(28 February 2017) The US stock market continues to make new all-time highs with each passing day as the Trump rally moves into its fourth month.  The promise of a business-friendly administration featuring lower taxes, less regulation and massive infrastructure spending has fueled the rally which has also boosted stock prices across most global markets.  But how much longer can it last?

In practical terms, investors will soon demand to see tangible evidence of Trump's promises in the form of detailed plans and actual legislation.  Perhaps Trump's speech to Congress tonight have go some ways to that end.  But the plan will still need to come to fruition in terms of real growth and rising corporate earnings.  For now, stocks are trading only on the future prospect of higher economic growth.

One possible detour for markets will be the upcoming Venus retrograde period.  Venus turns retrograde once every 19 months or so, as it traces a backward path through approximately 16 degrees of the sky.  The Venus retrograde period lasts on average 41 days.  Venus is due to turn retrograde this Saturday, March 4th at 19 degrees of Pisces.  Its retrograde cycle will end on April 16th at 2 degrees of Pisces at which point Venus will again begin to move forward.    Read more...

The US economy in 2017: the Sun-Jupiter forecast

(21 February 2017) Despite all the chaos and controversy of the first month of the Trump presidency, the larger US economic picture is still basically positive.  US stock markets are trading at record highs as many investors are anticipating the benefits of the administration's business-friendly agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, and infrastructure.   For now, the US economy continues to chug along at the same modest growth rates that marked the Obama administration but with signs that consumer spending may be on the rise. 

But the outlook still contains some uncertainty.  Trump's border tax plan is problematic as it would increase the cost of imported goods and could thereby stoke inflation.  Moreover, the plan is politically dubious and lacks clear support in Congress as members are wary of a possible trade war with its trading partners.   Many economists wonder if Trump is more likely to enjoy the initial benefits of his populist "America First" policies for a year or two but then will have to face the negative consequences of his anti-globalization protectionist bias.

This uncertainty makes economic forecasting all the more valuable.   Economists themselves do not have a good track record in forecasting, as the old joke tells us: "economists have correctly predicted nine out of the last five recessions."  And neither do most astrologers for that matter.  It's a complex area of human affairs that resists simple explanations no matter what paradigm one uses.   Read more...

Trump's trial by Saturn: Flynn resigns from WH post

(14 February 2017) The Trump presidency is still less than a month old and there are growing signs of chaos and conflict within the administration.  Yesterday, national security advisor Michael Flynn  resigned amid suspicion that he was vulnerable to Russian blackmail after discussing the lifting sanctions before he had been sworn-in and lying about it to VP Mike Pence.  And President Trump's travel ban remains in limbo awaiting further judicial clarification.  Meanwhile, a chaotic picture of insider leaks, backbiting and factional conflict within the White House is emerging. 

While much of the his ad hoc shock-and-awe governing style may be welcomed by supporters, there is a sense that all is not quite right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Polls shows Donald Trump is less popular than he was on Election Day while 40% of the country want to see him impeached already.   Some of this is due to growing pains, perhaps not unexpectedly given that Trump and his inner circle have no experience in government and are trying to implement historic changes in DC.   Creating chaos may not even a bad thing for Trump, Bannon et al., as it keeps the establishment off balance and guessing as to their next move.  With so many storylines injected into the news cycle every day, Trump can evade closer scrutiny, especially since the media has been given reduced access to the administration.

But my understanding of these chaotic early weeks for President Trump is informed more by some difficult astrological alignments.  It's impossible to say if things are unfolding as Trump would like them but the planets are suggesting that life in the Oval Office is proving more difficult than a reality TV show.  Read more...

US checks and balances stifle Trump: court blocks travel ban

(6 February 2017) After giving up the freewheeling celebrity lifestyle of a billionaire businessman, Donald Trump is facing a more constrained range of action in his new job as president.   His controversial travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim nations has been put on hold by a Washington state judge who declared Trump's executive order did not adhere to the principles of the Constitution.

However deep his authoritarianian impulses may run (thanks to his angular Mars), Trump must now learn to work within the US political system with its elaborate system of checks and balances.  The US Constitution was written specifically to prevent a dictatorship as power is divided between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.  The Trump administration has appealed the stay of the judge but it is unclear when the case will finally be settled.  Many observers now think it could go up to the Supreme Court within weeks, if not days, in order to produce clarity on the matter.

Aside from the very predictable uphill (read: Saturnian) battles Trump is facing here, it is worthwhile to examine Trump's potential relationship with the courts from an astrological perspective. Can the courts keep the racist extremes of his "America First" agenda in check over the course of his four-year term?  More specifically, will Trump's executive order eventually be upheld by the split Supreme Court or will the ninth pro-Trump judge have to be appointed first?  I'm not sure astrology can answer all of these questions but some insights are still possible.   Read more...

Trump's Muslim travel ban sparks chaos and outrage

(30 January 2017) So it turns out that Donald Trump should be taken both seriously and literally.  As America's experiment with authoritarian populism entered just its second week, President Trump has sparked outrage and confusion with an executive order banning refugees and visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Trump campaigned on getting tough on terrorism and radical Islamists and he is following through on that promise regardless of consequences.  The new order was quickly stayed by Federal judges on constitutional grounds so it remains to be seen how this partial Muslim travel ban will play out. 

Certainly, it has added to chorus of anger and protest that has followed Trump since the election.  Emotions have become so inflamed that opponents of Trump now speak about organized resistance to his whole administration rather than merely single issue protests.  It is shaping up to be a long and loud four years as Trump tries to completely remake the US in the face of popular and institutional opposition.  Depending on one's point of view, this is either the thin edge of the fascist wedge or merely a necessary period of disruption as the post-war outward-looking Pax Americana is dismantled in favour of an inward "America First" stance. 

The protest, anger and conflict fit neatly with the ongoing Saturn aspect to Mars in the natal USA horoscope.  As I noted previously, the Saturn influence on Mars began in December and will continue for most of 2017.  Read more...

The Trump inauguration horoscope: more like Reagan or... Nixon?

(17 January 2017) The day is finally upon us.  On Friday, Donald Trump will be sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States.  The outspoken businessman and reality TV star will takeover as commander-in-chief and begin to undo not only the legacy of Barack Obama but much of the post-war global consensus.  It is a potential sea change in world affairs that cannot be underestimated in its historic magnitude. 

But how successful will Trump be in realizing his nationalist vision by reshaping the economic and political landscape?  There is no shortage of anxiety surrounding Trump who is threatening to end free trade and globalization and usher in a new period of protectionism.  Economists fear that Trump's policies may boost economic activity in the US in the short term, but may prove more damaging in the longer term as inefficiencies take hold and global trade declines. 

There are different ways to analyze this question.  The easiest is to look at the horoscope of the swearing-in at noon, January 20th in Washington, DC.   The inauguration chart doesn't supersede other charts such as the USA national chart or Trump's individual chart, but it can provide a quick snapshot of Trump's term in office in the White House.

Donald Trump will be inaugurated at a time when the planets are very unsettled.  Read more...

Trump poised to assume presidency amid controversy and opposition

(10 January 2017) There are just ten days before Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.  According to recent polls, Trump will enjoy the lowest popularity of any incoming president in US history.  The Trump transition from the November election to the January 20th inauguration has been as controversial as his campaign.  Despite Trump's initial dismissal of Russia's interference in the campaign, last week's US intelligence revelations confirmed that Russian hacking had been ordered by President Vladimir Putin and had been intended to favour Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton. Putin's logic was simple: undermine Clinton whose stated foreign policy sought to oppose Russian expansion and boost Trump who has been far more conciliatory towards Russia's strongman.  Mission accomplished: Moscow will now have a friend in the White House. 

I have previously written that Trump's problems would likely worsen in January and this difficult phase could well extend through the rest of the winter.  Trump survived December with little damage despite all the symbolic gnashing of teeth surrounding the Electoral College and the record number of faithless electors.  But the Russian hacking has been a significant embarrassment that has forced Trump to agree with the GOP Senate leaders and admit that it was real.  No matter what kind of gentleman's agreement he may have already struck with Putin, Trump knows that he needs Congress on his side or his legislative program will not succeed.  This means he may now have to actually punish Russia for its illicit actions in the US election.   Read more...

The World in 2017: the New Year's Horoscope

(20 December 2016) As 2016 winds down to a merciful close, it's time to reflect on the year that was and ponder what may lie ahead for the New Year.  2016 will likely go down in history as a year of popular revolt against the status quo and the rise of 21st-century nationalism.  It may also be remembered as a year that globalization died.  The Pax Americana that began with the Bretton Woods economic agreement in 1944 may well have run its course now with the election of the nationalist Donald Trump to the presidency.  Trump has vowed to tear up free trade agreements and renegotiate US treaty obligations in an effort to reduce its superpower footprint.  The isolationist and protectionist Trump has promised to "Make America Great Again" by raising tariffs on imports, and preferentially buying and hiring American in an effort to jump start the stagnant Main St. economy and narrow the wealth gap between the haves and have nots.

A major thrust of this popular right-wing revolt has been the re-assertion of power by nativist populations in the UK and the US against outsiders, both in terms of immigrants and international regulatory bodies.  In June, the UK voted to leave the European Union, driven in large part by a desire to regain control of its sovereignty in terms of law and immigration.  Immigration was also front and center in the US election as Trump used the resentment and fear of immigrants from Mexico and the Muslim world as part of his rallying cry for change.  In both instances, it was stunning rebuke to the political and financial establishments.  Read more...

Trump's Russia problem: Did Putin interfere with the US election?

 (13 December 2016) The Trump transition hit a major speed bump over the weekend as the CIA indicated there is now a strong case that Russia interfered in the US election.  The CIA stated that not only is there evidence of Russian hacking of the DNC and RNC but that the interference was intended to help Donald Trump get elected.  Although long-suspected by the Clinton campaign, the CIA Russia release has prompted calls for a bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill. 

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has rejected the CIA's assertion and has said there is no need for an investigation.  Some on the GOP side have even suggested the whole story has been concocted by sore loser Democrats.  But Trump is now at odds with many in his own party as the GOP Senate leadership has called for a formal investigation in the days and weeks to come.  This, in turn, has led some left-leaning Democrats to call for a delay in the Electoral College vote on December 19th.  Some Electors have also requested access to the CIA security briefing before they cast their vote on the 19th. 

So things are finally getting interesting ahead of the vote.  The swing state recounts were either blocked by state governments in Pennsylvania or Michigan or came to nothing as in Wisconsin which did not alter the original result.  But the possibility that the Russians actively helped to get Trump elected now raises the stakes significantly.   Read more...

US Electoral College to vote as Mercury turns retrograde

(5 December 2016) From the perspective of an outsider, one of the curiosities of American democracy is the Electoral College.   Originating in the Constitution of 1787, the Electoral College was a compromise designed to provide a buffer against direct democracy.  While some of the framers backed full and direct democracy, others were fearful of demagogues and mob rule and hence argued that political elites should have the final say in presidential elections.  The Electoral College was created to appease both sides of this debate as trusted, elite electors were chosen on the basis of the result of each state's popular vote. 

In most elections, this has been a mere formality as the popular vote and the Electoral College vote have only differed on five occasions, including three times in the 19th century before the advent of universal suffrage.  More recently, the Electoral College has come under increased scrutiny as Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the electoral college and the presidency to George W. Bush.  In last month's election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million votes but has lost the Electoral College to Donald Trump.  This discrepancy between the popular vote and the Electoral College has made the unexpected Trump election win even more difficult to accept for Clinton supporters. 

And this is one more reason perhaps why the US now faces the prospects of recounts in key swing states that went narrowly for Trump.   Read more...

India's Modi gambles on demonetisation

(28 November 2016) Short term pain, long term gain.  That is what India's PM Narendra Modi is hoping for following his bold move to remove 86% of the currency in circulation after his unprecedented 8th of November televised address to the nation.  Modi's courageous announcement to remove all 500 and 1000 rupee notes ($7 and $14 USD) from circulation is intended to rein in corruption, tax avoidance and the outsized role of "black money" in the Indian economy. 

This has created huge disruption verging on economic chaos in India where over 90% of all transactions are conducted in cash.  Economic activity is down for the simple reason that there isn't enough cash to pay for goods and services.  For now, most of the Indian people support Modi's noble effort as the government tries to force more people into the modern banking system.  But how long will the goodwill last?

Modi's demonetisation plan has been plagued with setbacks since its announcement.  ATMs were not adapted beforehand to dispense the new 2000 Rs notes.  There also weren't enough of the new 500 Rs notes to replace the old ones taken out of circulation.  And the government has been changing the rules and exemptions to the new law on an almost daily basis thus creating more confusion and consternation. 

By all accounts, the roll-out of demonetisation has been botched and Modi has been forced to appear on national television to plead for patience.  Read more...

Trumponomics and the US economy: the next four years

(21 November 2016) Donald Trump is bold, if nothing else.  The incoming Trump administration intends to begin its term with a bang by boosting economic growth through a massive $1 Trillion infrastructure program in addition to re-negotiation several trade deals.  Financial markets have welcomed these plans as the stock market has risen alongside the US Dollar since the November 8th election.  Investors are expecting higher growth and more jobs from Trumponomics but it remains to be seen how effective it will be.  While infrastructure spending can raise growth, any interruption in trade could be more problematic as the experience of the 1930s reminds us.  The retreat into protectionism and nationalism not only exacerbated the Depression, but it may also have indirectly led to World War 2.

Whatever the merits of the plan, the planets do not offer support for significantly stronger economic growth over the next four years.  Indeed, there is a heightened risk of recession during this time.  We can see the potential pitfalls in the USA horoscope.  While there are any number of factors we could look at, let's simplify it to just two: dasha periods and transits.  When we analyze national charts, it is best to keep our variables to a minimum.  Economic activity is seen through the 2nd house of wealth and assets, the 2nd house lord, the 11th house of income and gains, and the 11th house lord.  The Ascendant, Sun and Moon may also provide supplementary information depending on whether they are influenced by benefic or malefic transits.    Read more...

Mr. Trump goes to Washington

(14 November 2016) We're now living in a brave new Trumpworld as the transition of power moves into full gear in the White House.  President-elect Donald Trump has begun making his key appointments to his inner circle and is discussing plans for the new administration.  Criticism and opposition to the Trump presidency are persisting as protests and riots have not ceased since election night. 

Some liberal commentators are now openly discussing the chances that Trump may not even finish his four-year term due to impeachment for criminal activities.  Trump has 75 law suits outstanding against him including the Trump University trial which is slated to begin November 28th.  Other observers are painting a more hopeful future as Trump's infrastructure  spending plans could well kick-start the sluggish American economy.  While media outlets are assuming an air of normalcy regarding the transition, uncertainty and trepidation are still very much in focus.

In my previous post after the Trump election win, I noted some puzzling alignments in the weeks ahead that suggested there may not be a simple path to the Trump inauguration on January 20th.  I outlined several anomalous alignments that not only reflected problems in Trump's chart at key moments such as the Electoral College vote on Dec 19th, but that Hillary Clinton's chart appeared to be more positive around those same key dates or at least they suggested some kind changes afoot.  If politics is a zero-sum game, then that could indicate some more strange twists and turns in this election before Trump is elected president.   Read more...

Will Trump be inaugurated?

(10 November 2016)  President Donald Trump -- the sound of it seems better suited to a dystopian science fiction novel than to our current reality.  No wonder protests have erupted throughout the US as angry and frustrated Hillary Clinton supporters take to the streets to voice their opposition to the new order.  As the second part of my postmortem penance, I am offering up some additional thoughts on the election and what may happen between now and the Inauguration on January 20th.  As I see it, there are some unanswered questions that relate to the election from the astrological perspective that are worth pondering.

1. If Trump is going to sail through this transition period without major incident, how do we then understand the strange planetary alignment that occurs the day before the Electoral College vote on December 19th?

The sensible response would be that the Mercury retrograde station conjunct Pluto will not pertain to the the Electoral College vote.  It is just a coincidence that it happens on December 18-20 around the same time.  (Thanks to Patrick Watson for pointing out to me the coincident timing of this conjunction with the EC vote.)  The key is that this very unstable alignment occurs exactly opposite the Sun of the USA at 22 sidereal Gemini.  Pluto has been in opposition aspect throughout 2016 and likely reflects the undermining of the political and cultural status quo by Donald Trump.  In yesterday's post, I thought this was more easily explained by the simple change in government from Obama to Trump.   Read more...

Trump wins in US election shocker: post-mortem

(9 November 2016)  Well, I wasn't expecting that.  After a long and divisive campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump has scored a stunning upset in yesterday's US election and is now the president-elect of the United States.  The billionaire real estate mogul's improbable anti-establishment candidacy harnessed white working-class discontent over the disproportionate impacts of globalization and a remote and resented urban elite.  While the margin of victory was small in the Electoral College -- Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote  -- the incoming Trump administration will wield considerable power given that both the House and the Senate are also controlled by the Republicans.   As I predicted yesterday, stock markets did decline sharply on news of the Trump win, although they recovered some ground after his generous victory speech.  We will see where markets go next.

Mea culpa.  I was dead wrong in my prediction of a Clinton win.  How did I miss it?  In hindsight, there were a few "sources of error".  In the USA horoscope, I had noted how tense and afflicted the Sun was at 22 Gemini from the Pluto opposition aspect and the Saturn quincunx (150 degree angle) at the time of the election.  Since the Sun symbolizes government and authority, I thought this might mean that government institutions would be under pressure and I suggested it could be the result of a very close and/or contested election result.  Trump had spoken often of the rigged election and if Hillary had won, he certainly would have challenged the results.   Read more...

Stock markets anticipate a Hillary win but post-election looks uncertain

(8 November 2016) Stock markets rose sharply on Monday after the FBI's exoneration of Hillary Clinton boosted her chances in today's election.   After suffering losses all last week on growing fears of a Trump presidency, the Dow gained more than 2% to 18,259.  Indian stocks have enjoyed a much smaller rebound early this week after last week's declines as the BSE-Sensex is still well below 28,000.  This down-then-up pattern closely adhered to my expectations in last week's market forecast as I thought the midweek entry of Mars into sidereal Capricorn would turn sentiment negative but that Monday's entry of Venus into Sagittarius would likely coincide with a recovery.  This has more or less come to pass.

The markets are counting heavily on a Clinton win and I think that is very likely going to happen. A Brexit-type Trump surprise win would likely tank stocks at least 5% in a single day. And yet, I do think that stocks have a growing downside risk here in November and December as Saturn (21 Scorpio) aligns with Pluto (21 Sagittarius) among other factors. 

This decline could be the result of purely economic factors but as I noted in yesterday's post on the election, there is a special risk of political uncertainty after Election Day.  Given he has already said the system is rigged and he may not accept the result, a market decline could also be due to a refusal by Trump to concede.   Read more...

Election Update: FBI exonerates Clinton as post-election uncertainty looms

(7 November 2016) Another day, another strange twist in the US election.  On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing in her emails with the release of another bombshell letter to Congress.  Two weeks ago, Comey had taken the unprecedented step of publicly notifying Congress that her email case would be re-opened given new evidence in the case. That has all come to naught apparently as we have returned to the status quo ante, albeit after the infliction of some political damage.  While Mrs. Clinton has suffered a 3 point decline in the polls after the first FBI letter, she retains a small 3-4 point advantage as the country goes to vote tomorrow.

Poor James Comey.  The embattled FBI Director has made a total hash of this but it's hard not to feel sympathy for him given his difficult planets.  Over the past few weeks, Comey has been undergoing a Nodal return as Rahu (North Node) is conjunct its natal position in Leo.  This happens once every 18 years and often marks an unstable time for most people although it should be said it is not always bad. 

In Comey's chart, however, his Rahu is with Pluto (=power) so that ups the stakes somewhat.  Also transiting Neptune was opposite his Rahu (i.e. conjunct Ketu) so that is another planetary burden on his nodal return that would tilt it towards significant difficulties.  He has been widely criticized from both sides of the political aisle for his recent actions.  But who knows what reasons he had to do what he did.  Read more...

Sun and Jupiter under pressure: FBI tightens US presidential race

(31 October 2016) The US election race has descended into chaos since the bombshell news Friday that the FBI has re-opened its investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.  Suddenly, her steady 5-10 point lead has shrunk to 2-5 points and polls have yet to fully reflect the impact of this latest revelation.  It's unclear how much of an impact it could have on the race, although it seems certain to further narrow Clinton's lead.  That means that the election could be very close indeed. 

Unfortunately, this only heightens my fears in last week's post that the post-election period could be mired in controversy.  In last week's post on Donald Trump and his possible refusal to concede, I suggested that the planets on Election Day looked tense and conflicted.  The horoscope of the USA had several alignments which were reminiscent of the contested 2000 election which ultimately saw George W. Bush prevail over Al Gore after the latter's challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court. 

The twist in this election is that we may well be seeing some of those telling planetary afflictions already playing out before the election has actually happened.  Two of the key alignments involved afflictions to the Sun (authority, government, leaders) and Jupiter (law, tradition, moral actions).  In 2000, the Sun was afflicted by Rahu (North Lunar Node) by conjunction which symbolizes disruptions in the normal affairs of government.    Read more...

Will Trump concede if he loses the election?

(25 October 2016) With just two weeks left in the race for the US presidency, polls are showing Hillary Clinton with a steady, if somewhat less than comfortable lead.  Last week's third and final debate was contentious but appeared to change little.  While the debate performances were fairly evenly matched, Donald Trump undermined his cause by insisting he would not necessarily accept the result of the election on November 8th. 

Ever since Trump has fallen behind in the polls, he has claimed the election is rigged against him and has railed against the media, the Washington elite and anybody else who disagrees with him.  He has since waffled back and forth on this question but there remains some possibility that he may not concede if he loses.  In a worse case scenario, he could even take the matter to the courts and somehow disrupt the transition of power that normally takes between the November election and Inauguration Day on January 20th when the next president is sworn in. 

Will Trump concede if he loses?   Astrology notwithstanding, life teaches us that betting on the status quo -- that things will probably continue as they are -- is usually the wisest choice.  Despite his bluster, the sensible view is that Trump will probably give in to pressure from his campaign and from what is left of the GOP and not legally contest the election results.  And yet the planetary alignments on Election Day and on Inauguration Day seem more active than they otherwise should be in a normal election cycle.  Read more...

Mars-Pluto promises fireworks at third presidential debate

(17 October 2016) The US presidential race is approaching a fever pitch now with just three weeks left to go.  Without risk of understatement, it has been the most bizarre contest in living memory, no doubt because of the presence of one Donald J. Trump.  Both candidates have been subject to character attacks in an attempt to undermine their credibility.   The Russian-hacked emails via Wikileaks have tried to make Hillary Clinton look corrupt and untrustworthy while the media has been full of a conspicuously steady stream of women who have accused of Trump of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.  October surprises, indeed!  One wonders how much nastier this already ugly race could get before November 8th.  Hillary Clinton is holding a lead in most polls by 5-8 points while political betting markets now put her chances of winning at 85% or better.

We're now in the home stretch as the third and final presidential debate takes place on Wednesday evening in Las Vegas.  Final debates are not usually decisive but anything is possible in this race given the unpredictable nature of Donald Trump.  Thus far, the race is going more or less as expected.  I previously predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the first debate and would go on to open up a lead in early October.  This has basically come to pass.  I still think she will win but I don't know by how much. 

Parenthetically, the margin of victory could actually be very important going forward in terms of the governability of the USA for the next four years.  As Trump spouts his sour grapes "rigged election" claims in the event he loses, he is fostering greater frustration with the US political system as a whole.  Read more...

America's love-hate relationship with Donald Trump

(11 October 2016) Donald Trump's campaign for the US president suffered a potentially fatal blow last week after an embarrassing tape surfaced where he made lewd and denigrating comments about women.  Already trailing in the polls, the revelation led to many GOP leaders to distance themselves from the New York real estate mogul.  Yesterday, House Leader Paul Ryan effectively threw in the towel on Trump's controversial Presidential campaign as he advised his House and Senate members to focus on re-election in their individual races rather than support Trump's efforts for the top job. 

This withdrawal of formal GOP support may well spell the end of Trump's chances.  Polls taken after the release of the tape now show Trump down by 11 points, a near-insurmountable deficit with only four weeks left in the race.  Monday's second debate is unlikely to move the polls much as Hillary Clinton largely held her own in the face of Trump's often over-the-top accusations. 

Hillary Clinton's lead is now widening.  This is more or less what I had predicted in previous posts given the changing influences in the horoscopes of both Hillary and Bill Clinton.  Since we don't really what time Hillary was born, I focused on Bill Clinton's chart for clues about her ups and downs.   I could see that Mercury conjoined Jupiter right on the Bill's Ascendant at the time of the second debate and that this would very likely help Hillary.  Well, it not only helped her debate performance, but it also reflected the huge gain from the Trump tape which was released just three days before the debate.   Mercury and Jupiter are both benefic planets and their conjunction near an important personal chart point like the Ascendant, Sun or Moon almost always coincides with "good news".  Read more...

Deutsche Bank: the canary in a coal mine?

(4 October 2016) Is Deutsche Bank the canary in the coal mine? Frightened investors are pondering this question as the venerable German bank is looking more fragile these days as its share price plumbed historic new lows last week.  Deutsche Bank profits have been squeezed by the ECB's misadventure into negative interest rates as well as suffering huge losses through its misguided derivatives trading.  The recent $14 Billion fine by the US Department of Justice for fraudulent practices has only compounded matters as analysts assess the probability of Deutsche Bank collapse.   A bank failure of this magnitude could start a chain reaction not unlike the Bear Stearns bankruptcy in March 2008 or worse, Lehman Brothers in September of that year.  It was the contagion effect from the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy which led to biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

No matter how difficult things may get for the over-leveraged and under-capitalized Deutsche Bank, some observers are counting on a bailout from the German government to avoid any worst-case Lehman-type scenarios.  And yet, the Merkel government is apparently loathe to throw money at the problem since it has taken a hard line against similar bailouts in other EU countries such as Italy.  Therefore, there remains significant risk that Deutsche Bank share price could fall further before any last-ditch rescue could even be attempted.  Read more...

Hillary wins first debate with Trump

(27 September 2016) Early indications are that Democrat Hillary Clinton was the winner of the first presidential debate against her GOP opponent Donald Trump.  A CNN-ORC poll showed that 62% of respondents thought she won the debate while financial markets offered even more evidence that Hillary bested Trump.  The stock market is well known to prefer a Clinton presidency and Dow futures rose throughout the debate.  Markets don't like uncertainty and Clinton is seen as a status quo candidate with close ties to Wall Street (Just ask Goldman Sachs!). 

Even more telling was the rise of the Mexican peso following the debate.  The peso has closely mirror the relative strength of Donald Trump, who is seen as a net negative for the Mexican economy since he wants to tax imports from south of the border and deport millions of illegal Mexicans living in the US.   The stronger post-debate peso was more proof that the market now sees Hillary Clinton as being one step closer to the presidency.

This outcome was not surprising as I thought Hillary Clinton would likely win in this first debate.  The alignment of the Sun, Venus and Jupiter to her Sun at 9 Libra was suggestive of a positive result from being in the spotlight.   Read more...

Trump pulls even with Clinton as Jupiter dasha set to begin

(21 September 2016) The improbable candidacy of Donald J. Trump continues to defy the odds as the US presidential election heads into its home stretch.   After falling behind by 6-8 points in July and August, Trump is now in a virtual dead heat with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.   He clearly has the momentum on his side as the candidates prepare for the first debate next Monday the 26th.  If he can even hold his own against his better-prepared and more wonkish opponent, it could be enough to put him in the lead and perhaps take him into the White House. 

Last week, I reiterated my skepticism about a Trump victory.  The first debate looked like it would be a clear Hillary win, or at least some event right around the time of the debate looked strongly favorable to her.  While Trump's horoscope for the second debate on October 9th looks much better, I'm still not convinced he will be able to go all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

In previous posts on the US election, I've outlined a number of reasons for Hillary's relative strength and Trump's relative weakness in November.  This week I wanted to focus on a single factor, dashas periods, to illustrate how the race could shift gears in the days ahead.   Read more...

Hillary's pneumonia is latest setback as debilitated Venus transits Virgo

(14 September 2016)  It's been a rough September so far for Hillary Clinton.  The Democratic nominee for president has watched most of her lead in the polls evaporate as her campaign has failed to capture the public imagination.  Last week's "basket of deplorables" comment about supporters of Donald Trump also put her on the defensive against charges of elitism.  And finally there was the disturbing video of her stumbling and collapsing into a waiting van after leaving the 9/11 commemoration in New York on Sunday.  She has been officially diagnosed with pneumonia and is taking a few days off although suspicions remain the possibility of a more serious health problem.  The whole pneumonia episode has not only brought the health question front and center but it has again raised doubts about her campaign's transparency.

This setback is not surprising given the difficult placements both in her horoscope and those of her family.  Back in April, I suggested that the late August Mars-Saturn conjunction would likely reflect some new difficulties for Hillary Clinton around that time.  That has largely been the case as she has watched her post-convention bounce disappear amid her lackluster and remote campaign style.  The Mars-Saturn conjunction occurred at 15 Scorpio and thus exactly squared daughter Chelsea's Sun (15 Aquarius) in late August.   With Neptune also conjunct the Sun, the Saturn influence is likely worse in terms of undermining vitality, status, and achieving goals.   Read more...