Politics & Society

Justin Trudeau: Canada's new Prime Minster

(21 October 2015)  Canada elected a new Prime Minister on Monday as voters sent Liberal Party newcomer Justin Trudeau to Ottawa to serve as the country's 23rd Prime Minister.   The charismatic 43-year old son of former PM Pierre Trudeau ousted Conservative Stephen Harper in a stunning victory as Trudeau brought the 3rd place Liberal Party back to power with a majority government.  Although he was initially seen as inexperienced and trading on his father's fame, Trudeau gained support through the campaign as he focused on positive change for the country after nine years of often uninspired Conservative rule.

So what kind of leader will Justin Trudeau be?  His horoscope suggests he is may a natural gift for political life, irrespective of his family background.  Leo, the sign of leadership, rises in the 1st house.  His Ascendant at 10 Leo is just four degrees from a conjunction with the fixed star Regulus.  Traditionally, Regulus has long been regarded as one of the four royal stars in the sky and is said to confer leadership qualities.  The lord of the 1st house is the Sun and it is powerfully placed in the 5th house of politics in Sagittarius.   Read more...



New House Speaker Paul Ryan faces US debt ceiling showdown

(26 October 2015)  And so it begins again.  The annual political wrangling to raise the US debt ceiling is now in full swing as both parties vie for advantage before the November 3rd deadline.  Since the US government must rely on borrowed money to stay solvent, Congress's failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause a default.  Previous debt ceiling crises occurred in 2011 and 2013 and brought sharp declines in the stock markets before 11th-hour compromises were finally found.  As always, Republicans are loathe to sign off on the ever-increasing debt load and are seeking fiscal concessions from the Democrats.  Of course, many Republicans also do not want to to see the US default on its debt as the financial consequences could hurt the whole country in the form of financial instability, lowered credit ratings and higher borrowing costs on its bonds. 

As an added wrinkle, this year's game of political chicken in Washington, DC will feature a new Speaker of the House.  Paul Ryan will likely be formally elected on Thursday as he replaces outgoing John Boehner.  Read more...


Germany welcomes Middle East refugees

(9 September 2015) As the European refugee crisis continues to dominate the headlines, Germany has emerged as the world's conscience in responding to the scenes of desperation played out in various locales.   The Merkel government has pledged to accept at least 500,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq as the flood of displaced persons from that war-ravaged region shows no signs of abating. 

The refugee crisis is still a divisive issue within the European Union as some countries have been more open to receiving refugees than others.  Even within Germany, significant parts of the population are skeptical about the ability of the country to absorb such a large number of newcomers who differ from natives in terms of language, religion and culture.  But for now, it seems most of the German people are welcoming the refugees with open arms in an inspiring display of their common humanity.

When this story first drew worldwide attention last week, I wasn't sure what the astrological angle might be.  Read more...


The rise of Donald Trump: Jupiter meets Mars

(11 August 2015)  The race for the nomination for US Republican Party entered a new phase last weekend after the first televised candidates debate on Fox. The ten leading candidates participated in the debate but in the end it was all about Donald Trump, the outspoken real estate mogul and reality TV star who has unexpectedly emerged as the frontrunner in the polls.  Despite widespread criticism for his comments, Trump's combative exchanges with debate moderator Megyn Kelly seems to only have re-affirmed his role as the dominant candidate in the GOP race as his lead in the polls has widened even further.  Clearly Trump's message is resonating with many conservative Americans who feel angry about the state of the country and alienated from their own government.

Not only is Trump a party outsider and a loose cannon on many issues, the possibility that he could win the nomination would probably be bad news for Republicans since polls show that Trump does worse when matched head-to-head against the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton compared with almost all other GOP candidates.  Read more...



Hillary Clinton announces her campaign for President

(12 April 2015)  Hillary Clinton finally ended the pseudo-suspense today and announced her candidacy for the nomination for the Democratic Party in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Ms. Clinton made the announcement via a Youtube video that was released shortly after 3 p.m.  The exact timing of the announcement is important for astrological reasons since the timing of the launch of the campaign marks the official beginning of her endeavour to become President. 

In my experience, the horoscopes of these launches reveal important information about the nature of the candidacy as well as providing clues about the eventual success or failure of the campaign.  Clearly, Ms. Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner at this point as no serious challenger has yet stepped forward.  She also stands a decent chance of winning against any Republican candidate according to recent polls.  So what does this campaign launch chart tell us about her chances?  Read more...



The Hillary Clinton email controversy

(10 March 2015)  Hillary Clinton has been back in the news recently, but for all the wrong reasons.  The frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination has come under scrutiny for her emails during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Ms. Clinton apparently did not use government email as required by the rules and instead used a private email address.  In addition, she sent and received emails through a private email server located in the Clinton house in New York.

It's really the last thing she needs right now as rumors were rife that she was on the verge of formally announcing her candidacy for President.  She is likely to speak publicly about the email controversy soon as she hopes to clear the air in order that she can declare in the coming weeks.  Whether or not she can quickly douse this fire remains to be seen, however.   Read more...



The lies of Brian Williams

(9 February 2015) Brian Williams finds himself in a lot of hot water at the moment.  The respected anchor of the NBC Nightly News has been caught out in a lie, or as they say in current damage control media parlance, a "misremembered" fact about his experience in the Iraq War in 2003. He had claimed to have been shot at and forced down while riding in a helicopter only to have that story exposed as false by US servicemen who were present at the time.  The scandal forced Williams to make a on-air apology last Wednesday. 

Unfortunately, this seemed to only make matters worse as perceptions were that Williams did not come clean with the public. Other claims are now also being questioned as Williams may have embellished the truth while covering stories such as Hurricane Katrina.  Williams has taken a voluntary leave from NBC and canceled a Thursday appearance on the David Letterman show.   With their trust in him now broken, polls suggest that 80% of the public want him to resign.   Where did it all go wrong?    Read more...



Protests against police spread across US in wake of Garner decision

(8 December 2014) The nationwide protests over the death of Eric Garner has added yet another chapter in America's historical legacy of slavery, racial tension and civil strife.  Garner died from a chokehold administered by a New York police officer in August while being arrested for selling individual cigarettes on the street.  Despite the presence of video evidence of the police actions during the arrest, the officer was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by a Grand Jury.  This has sparked protests in New York and across the country as African-Americans voice their anger and frustration over what they feel as unfair treatment by the police and the justice system.   The protests come just a week after rioting in Ferguson, Missouri following a similar non-indictment of a white cop who had killed another unarmed black man.

These kinds of racially-based riots and protests have been a frequent occurrence in the US for over a century.  As an astrologer, I am curious to know if the current race-based unrest can somehow be a reflection of planetary placements in the horoscope of the USA.   Read more...


The Bill Cosby rape scandal: a case of Venus afflicted

(3 December 2014)  They say what goes around comes around.  That definitely seems to be the case here for beloved American comedian Bill Cosby whose squeaky clean image is now in tatters after the accusations of rape by more than dozen women.    The 77-year old star has is now the subject of  investigations over a string sexual assaults that date back as far back as 1960s.  After years of whispered accusations and formal denials, Cosby's luck may well have run out as he has seen his current television show abruptly canceled amidst this very public scandal.  While no criminal charges are pending at this time, the fallout thus far is such that Cosby has been forced out of the board of his Alma Mater at Temple University in Philadelphia.  The rape charges are a shocking contrast to the public persona of the friendly and avuncular Cosby whose appeal over the years cut across both age and racial lines.

It is hard to imagine how he can reinstate his name and reputation after this episode.    Read more...


GOP takes control of Senate

(10 November 2014)  Not surprisingly, the Republicans earned a solid win in last week's US midterm elections as the voting public delivered a stinging rebuke to President Obama and the Democrats.  The GOP now controls the Senate and House and will likely further hamper Obama's ability to implement his policies.  The GOP gains were fairly clearly seen through the horoscopes of the key players as Obama's chart continues to be weighed down by a stationary Rahu (North Lunar Node) and while the planets looked better for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  As I noted in a previous post, however, I think that McConnell will suffer some kind of major setback in early 2015 which could seriously diminish his leadership.  I'm not sure what form it will take, but it is likely to involve significant disappointment for GOP. 

The planets are looking increasingly tense this week and next.   Read more...



US Midterm Elections: Obama's bad timing

(13 October 2014)  The bad news keeps on coming for US President Barack Obama.  Not only has Ebola arrived on American shores in the face of his previous reassurances to the contrary, but now a medical worker in Dallas who treated the late Thomas Duncan has contracted it despite following all the appropriate safety protocols. Questions are now being raised about Obama's ability to lead the country amid this worsening crisis in addition to the CDC's competence in trying to keep Ebola under control.  If that weren't enough, reports are emerging about the ineffectiveness of the US air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  ISIS continues to advance on its targets and has now surrounded Baghdad.  If Baghdad falls to advancing ISIS forces, Obama may have no choice but to put US troops on the ground in order to protect its strategic interests in the region. 

The timing of these setbacks could not be worse for the President as the US prepares to go to the polls for the midterm elections on November 4th.  In a previous post, I suggested that the ongoing stationary transit of Rahu (North Lunar Node) on Obama's 9th house cusp was a plausible astrological explanation for his current troubles.   Read more...


Ebola arrives in US

(5 October 2014)  The deadly Ebola epidemic entered a new phase last week as the first case was recorded in United States.   On September 30th, the CDC confirmed that Thomas Duncan had contracted Ebola in his native Liberia and had become ill after arriving on a visit to his family in Dallas, Texas.  While Duncan is undergoing treatment, the CDC is scrambling to find all his contacts between September 24 and 28 when he was symptomatic but not yet quarantined in hospital.  This is the first recorded case outside of West Africa since the latest outbreak began in March in Guinea.   This Ebola outbreak is not yet under control and has killed more than 3000 people to date.

In a previous post in August, I offered an admittedly preliminary and somewhat speculative analysis of the current outbreak.    Read more...


Obama's war on ISIS and the perils of Rahu

(28 September 2014)  One of the ironies of American history is that the presidents who are seemingly the least inclined towards the use of military power end up being some of its main practitioners.  Woodrow Wilson (WW1), FDR (WW2), LBJ (Vietnam) are famous for campaigning against war but ended up in the thick of it despite their more humanitarian or isolationist impulses. Now it seems Barack Obama is the latest president to undergo this reluctant conversion to military force as he has committed US troops and air power into Iraq and Syria to fight the rising threat of ISIS.  In 2008, Obama campaigned on getting the US out of Iraq after a long and painful war and finally achieved this goal in 2011 to much popular fanfare and national relief. 

However, things haven't gone well since then as the Iraqi government has been narrowly dominated by Shiites and have therefore alienated much of the Sunni population in the north.  Read more...


Hillary Clinton's difficult summer

(18 August 2014)  It's been a tough summer for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.   The former first lady and Secretary of State published a political memoir that met with tepid reviews and poor book sales.   Many commentators saw it as thinly-veiled political ploy designed to boost her profile before her formal declaration for the race to the Democratic nominee for President for the 2016 election.  Her subsequent book tour did little to improve the the book's reception as Ms. Clinton tried in vain to deflect criticism.  Then in a magazine interview two weeks ago, she was openly critical of Obama and distanced herself from him over his handling of the Middle East and Syria in particular.  She was forced to awkwardly walk back her comments in order to appear less confrontational towards the Obama White House.  These missteps have seen her popularity fall 10% in the past two months although she remains the overwhelming favorite to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. 

We can see that Hillary Clinton has been suffering from a bout of "Saturnitis" for much of the summer.  The Saturn station in late July was just one degree off her natal Venus.  Saturn-Venus transits are often times when life feels like it is contracting rather than expanding.  Read more...


The MERS virus arrives in US: what is the threat?

(4 May 2014)  The US recorded its first case of MERS this week as an Indiana man returning from a visit to Saudi Arabia came down with the mysterious virus and was hospitalized.  He is said to be recovering and out of danger.  MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a new and deadly virus that has sickened more than 400 people, of whom a quarter have died since 2012.  MERS has similar features to the SARS virus that caused a worldwide travel alert in 2003.  While the MERS virus seems to be inefficiently transmitted and thus has remained fairly contained within Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, its high mortality rate is cause for concern.  But just how much of a threat is MERS?

In a previous article on SARS, I noted how global epidemics may be more likely to occur when the planet Neptune is prominent in some way, either by transit or within the national horoscopes of affected countries.  Although it is not always a malefic influence in our lives, Neptune is the planet most closely associated with disease and weakness.  Read more...


Putin calls Obama's bluff in Crimea

(2 March 2014)  Vladimir Putin apparently called Barack Obama's bluff this week as Russia prepared to invade the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.  Despite Obama's repeated warnings not to invade, Putin nonetheless received Parliamentary approval to send the Russian army into this predominantly ethnic Russian region in Eastern Ukraine. Putin has taken advantage of the instability in Ukraine which was just in the process of forming a new government after ousting President Yanukovych. With the US and the West seemingly reluctant to engage Russia militarily, Putin is taking a calculated risk that Obama and his allies will not be able to intervene.  And even if the West did decide to help Ukraine to defend its borders, any military aid may be too little and too late to stop the nearby Russian tanks.

We can see some clear sources of trouble in President Obama's horoscope that reflect his latest foreign policy problem.  Most crucial is that Mars, the planet of conflict and violence, had just stationed retrograde at 3 degrees of Libra on Saturday, the day after the covert invasion of advanced forces.  Mars is almost exactly aspecting Obama's Saturn at 2 Capricorn by square aspect.   Read more...



Edward Snowden receives support from NYT

(12 January 2014)  Things may be looking up for the former NSA employee Edward Snowden. The ex-intelligence analyst received support from The New York Times as its editorial of January 1 called for clemency in his case in light of his contribution to the preservation of individual privacy in the internet age.  This week the EU Parliament asked Snowden to testify via video in its investigation into US surveillance practices.  Snowden has been a polarizing figure since he revealed the extent to which the NSA was spying on its own citizens without proper legal oversight or controls. 

Although he considers himself a whistle-blower of illegal government actions, Snowden has been a fugitive from the US justice system since his daring flight from his home in Hawaii back in May 2013.  The Obama administration and many officials on both sides of the political spectrum consider him a traitor for having leaked state secrets.  However, he has become something of a folk hero amongst both right leaning libertarians and left leaning progressives for unmasking the full extent to which citizens are subjected to illegal cyber-surveillance.  Over the course of the past months, each new revelation of unwarranted NSA intrusion into the private lives of citizens has gradually shifted public opinion towards the need for greater privacy and stricter oversight of the US security apparatus.  This, in turn, has boosted Snowden's reputation as a legitimate whistle-blower.  Read more...