Election 2008: Trick or Treat?

When I started this blog, I decided to call it Astrology Mundo (world) in the hopes of taking a broad view and attracting readers and commenters from all over the world. Obviously, my mandate is limited by the fact that this is an English-language blog.

As we count down to the U.S. election, a lot of allegations about the candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, are spreading like wildfire through the blogosphere, and I don’t want to get burned. I’m interested in truth and transparency, but I’m not going to be the vehicle to spread rumors. Therefore, I’m not approving comments that appear to be motivated purely by political concerns, despite my desire to be broad-minded.

For the record: I don’t know who will win the Presidential election. Because of the aspect between revolutionary Uranus and restrictive Saturn that is exact on Election Day, there could be an “upset” of some kind.

The potential for a grand deception or a perfect storm also exists, as Mars in Scorpio will be squaring a stellium of Neptune, Chiron, and North Node in Aquarius, as Neptune turns direct.

Ray Merriman, the dean of financial astrology, decided to stop talking about the election in recent weekly columns because of the angry e-mails he was getting from folks who disagree with him. He’s got a forecast up this week, though, that reverses his earlier prediction that McCain will win.

His feeling is that Obama has become more Saturnian (responsible, conservative) and McCain more erratic (Uranus) as we’ve moved closer to the election.

As I mentioned earlier this year, I was fascinated by the premise of the underrated Kevin Costner film Swing Vote. In that movie, the Republicans start acting like Democrats and the Democrats espouse policies normally associated with the GOP, all in an effort to win the vote of one man (Costner).

Since the financial crisis erupted on Sept. 9, the Republicans have pushed through a program of government intervention that appears to take a page from the Democrats’ playbook. Although Congress, at the behest of President George Bush and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, has spearheaded what I’ve dubbed “welfare for Wall Streeters,” Republican voters continue to rail about possible “socialism” under Democrat Obama. They don’t seem to understand that government control of our financial system is accelerating under a Republican Administration.

As Nancy’s Blog has astutely observed, the culture wars are back in full force as Pluto makes its last pass through Sagittarius before entering Capricorn for good on Nov. 27. So the fur is going to continue to fly.

Rest assured, though, the Saturn/Uranus opposition will be informing politics for the next few years. If McCain and his vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin win the election with their “maverick” persona, the people will react in a Saturnian (conservative) way.

Likewise, if Obama is elected, I predict he will be too conservative for his supporters, who may be disillusioned as Neptune conjuncts the U.S. Moon in Aquarius during the next two years. Indeed, the financial crisis and the amount of money pledged to prop up the fragile banking system may put the kibosh on any plans that Obama had to bolster social welfare. This typically means using government money to improve services for seniors, children, the disabled, and the needy.

A huge problem with both candidates, who are in overdrive trying to woo Main Street with a populist (from populi, Latin for the “voice of the people”) message: The political system in the U.S. and our politicians are beholden to powerful corporations.

Sure, I think it’s great that Joe Biden is from Scranton, my Dad’s gritty hometown. Trouble is, Biden represents Delaware in the Senate and has strong ties to the credit-card companies based in that state that have raped consumers with interest rates of 30%.

As informed voters know, McCain was caught up in the savings-and-loan scandal of the late 1980s and was one of the Keating Five, a group of Senators punished by their colleagues for improper conduct in connection with Charles Keating, the former head of Lincoln Savings and Loan. The New York Times has also exposed McCain’s ties to lobbyists from the Indian casino gambling industry.

While candidates of all political stripes go out of their way to cast themselves as ordinary guys and gals for fear of being labeled part of the “elite,” the reality is they are dutiful servants of our plutocracy.

With Pluto in Capricorn, the bottom line is: We’re all on our own. Our government will not be able to help us — either because it goes bankrupt trying to honor its overly optimistic financial promises or because it’s dismantled by radicals on the right or the left, or by a fringe coalition.

It’s interesting when you read about home-schooling and private school vouchers, both of which take kids out of public schools, to see that supporters range from conservative Christians to lefty tree-huggers.

Sarah Palin’s fellow travelers in the Alaska Independence Party, who are working for the state’s secession from the Union, are the harbingers of this anti-government sentiment on a federal level. What’s going to be amusing is when the folks who have been preaching that it’s time to “get government off our backs” will be begging for handouts. It’s going to get ugly, no matter who is elected.

Still, the optimist in me says we’ll go back to the spirit of Yankee mutual aid celebrated by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America. A case in point: When I was recently was cat-sitting for a friend in New York City, I discovered a whole lending library of books that the co-op has in the basement. At least people the people in that building will have something to read after the local library shuts down because of government cutbacks.

So build and cultivate your networks (the U.S. Moon in Aquarius), folks. But that’s what’s going to get you through the next four years, no matter who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Addendum: I was Googling trying to find a de Tocqueville quote about volunteerism and mutual aid and I stumbled upon this one, which is quite apt as the Bush Administration starts talking about the need for another government stimulus package with the election less than a month away:

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

Full Moon in Capricorn: Christmas in July

When I was an Army brat growing up in the South and the Midwest during the 1960s, stores would run a “Christmas in July” sale to clear out the summer merchandise before the back-to-school fashions arrived. If you were lucky, you could pick up a bathing suit for a couple of bucks and you still had time to wear it for another month or so.

I’m not sure of the genesis of the expression “Christmas in July,” but it occurred to me that it might coincide with the Full Moon in Cap that occurs annually in July.

A Google search reveals a 1940 Preston Sturges film of the same name starring Dick Powell. I’ve actually seen this film, and it’s pretty sweet, if slightly corny. Here’s the link to the Wiki about Christmas in July: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_July_%28film%29

For civilians (non-astrologers) who need a little background to connect the dots on my theory about Christmas in July, the Sun moves into Capricorn at the Winter Solstice. That was when the Romans held their Saturnalia festival, which morphed into our modern-day Christmas when Christianity trumped paganism.

The Full Moon in Capricorn occurs when the Sun is in Cancer and the Moon is in the opposing sign of Capricorn, sometime between June 21 and July 20.

This morning, as I was reading the dour stories about gas prices right now and energy prices this winter, I got a Capricorn chill in my bones. Of course, the Moon went into Cap just after midnight early this morning and is making its way toward a Full Moon in the wee hours of Friday, July 18. Here’s the chart, courtesy of StarIQ: http://www.stariq.com/Main/Articles/P0003411.HTM

This year’s Full Moon in Cap chart is anything but festive, so don’t bother decking the halls for Christmas in July. The chart has Jupiter in Capricorn, but the Great Expander seems to be magnifying the financial problems in the economy, particularly in the housing sector ruled by Cancer.

Former Harvard Business School professor and author Shoshana Zuboff is calling the current state of affairs the “frozen economy” (that’s a frigid Full Moon in Cap for you!) and says that paralysis has set in among consumers. Sounds like a conjunction of Mars (energy) and Saturn (restriction), which is present in the Full Moon chart in the sign of Virgo.

Here’s the link to Zuboff’s story: http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/jul2008/ca20080714_683791.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_news+%2B+analysis

I got a chuckle becauses Zuboff bases her conclusions on the “reporting” that she’s been doing at Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine.

Why I am laughing? Because I’ve been hearing tales of woe on my own diner via dolorosa. I’ve been hanging out at the Blue Benn Diner in Bennington, Vt. with my niece and nephew. There was talk about high gas prices at the Blue Benn, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying pancakes packed with so many fresh blueberries that I could barely see the cake. Afterward, we drove to the Pine Cone Hill factory outlet store in nearby Lenox, Mass. and I bought a new comforter to help keep me warm this winter.

It sounds like I’m going to need it. However, I won’t be getting any sympathy from Hudson Valley astrologer Eric Francis, who’s almost a neighbor of mine. I’m just one exit down on the New York State Thruway and over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. Check out his riff on energy prices at Planet Waves: http://planetwaves.net/pagetwo/

Of course, Francis has spent a few years in Paris and is approaching this from a European point of view. But, yes, Zuboff and Francis are right: We’ve squandered our resources and now we’rve reached a point of reckoning. Because we didn’t save during the fat times for the lean years, the cupboard is bare.

I’ve been getting in the spirit of the coming Depression by reading E.L. Doctorow’s Loon Lake, which I found on the bookshelf at my friend’s house in Vermont. I’m a fan of Doctorow’s Ragtime, but I’d missed this one. The Adirondack lake setting is redolent of An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, one of my favorite books, which most people know as A Place in the Sun, the film adaptation starring Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, and the inimitable Shelley Winters.

No Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus to bail us out during Christmas in July, unless you dress Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in a red suit and tell him to grow his beard. As for the real Christmas, cue the Grinch.

Still, the tough times can bring new opportunities. The house may be cold and the car gas tank may be empty, but maybe we’ll get back to the community spirit that impressed Alexis de Tocqueville back in 1835, when he wrote Democracy in America. Hey, maybe we’ll even get back to democracy in America.