Lehman’s Fuld on the Hot Seat

Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and other members of Congress have been raking Lehman Brothers CEO Richard S. Fuld Jr. over the coals for the generous bonuses that were paid out by his firm as the investment bank was teetering on the brink of insolvency.

Lehman filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, just a few days after the board approved $20 million in “special payments” to three executives, according to the Associated Press.

Evidently, some managers at the firm’s Neuberger Berman money management unit had the temerity to suggest that bonuses be dispensed with, given the firm’s precarious economic situation. The AP quotes Fuld as saying in one document, “Don’t worry,” to the idea that execs go without bonuses.

I don’t have time to do a full treatment of Fuld’s chart right now. According to the Wiki, he was born April 26, 1946 in New York. The time of birth is unknown. Here is his chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

You can see that Mars in Scorpio is moving to an exact opposition to Fuld’s Taurus Sun, so the heat isn’t going away. Fuld was born with Mars in Leo square his Taurus Sun so he’s used to taking flak, but he may not be prepared to become the poster child for greed on Wall Street.

Stern Saturn in Virgo is squaring his Uranus/North Node (public) conjunction in Gemini, by the way. So he’s going to be getting a lot of negative publicity from electronic media — from C Span to the Internet.

By Waxman’s calculations, Fuld has earned $400 million in executive compensation since the year 2000.

Wall Street Weather has a good post up on the grilling Fuld got in Congress.

Remembering Kondratiev, the Martyr Economist

Back in the early 1990s, when Uranus and Neptune were conjunct in Capricorn, I became quite interested in the work of Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also spelled Kondratieff), who was born March 4, 1892 in Kostroma, Russia..

How about that? I’m writing about Kondratiev the day before the anniversary of his death, Sept. 17, 1938.

Kondratiev got in trouble with his Marxist bosses for positing the existence of a “long wave” that surfaced every 60 years in capitalism. The Marxists believed that capitalism was hurtling toward its end, not that it was an enduring system racked by periodic turmoil. As a result, Kondratiev suffered for his theory. He was sent to the dreaded Gulag and was sentenced to death.

As this chart from Astrodienst (with transits of today) shows, Kondratiev was a visionary Pisces Sun conjunct Mercury. He had a T-square in mutable signs — Jupiter in Pisces opposing Saturn in Virgo both square Mars in Sagittarius.

This is a personal observation, but I’ve noticed Jupiter/Saturn contacts in the charts of several noteworthy economists — Nouriel Roubini, the latest “Dr. Doom,” has Jupiter sextile Saturn, as did John Maynard Keynes. As Liz Greene has noted in her research on the Jupiter/Saturn cycles, these two planets have a lot to do with socioeconomic trends.

Many economists are hoist with their own petard, to quote the Bard, but Kondratiev’s death sentence was a cruel fate indeed for a practitioner of the Dismal Science. Without an exact time of birth, it’s hard to determine exactly why it happened.

I need to do more work on the chart, but I can see that Neptune was at his Sun/Jupiter midpoint when he died, as this chart shows. Reinhold Ebertin, in The Combination of Stellar Influences, says this aspect can result in “the undermining of the health, material loss.”

Back when I was reading about Kondratiev, I knew a fair number of commodities traders. They were followers of Robert Prechter, a devotee of the Elliott Wave, as well as W.D. Gann, a legendary trader who reportedly used astrology to time the markets.

I became a member of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, a group that publishes Cycles magazine. Alice had indeed fallen down the Rabbit Hole!

As technical traders in the commodities markets know, you can become enmeshed in a net of confusion studying various cycles and waves. As computer screens of stochastic oscillators and Fibonacci numbers give way to a metaphysical discussion of the Golden Mean and fractals, the lines between the fields of finance, science, and the occult become quite blurred. Ah, Neptune in Capricorn: I remember it well!

Followers of Kondratiev like myself were waiting for the bottom to drop out of the U.S. economy in the early 1990s because it was roughly 60 years after the Great Crash of 1929. But though the economy suffered twin recessions in the early ’90s following the Crash of 1987, a Thirties-style Depression never materialized. What happened instead was globalization (Pluto into Sagittarius in 1995) and the advent of the Internet (Uranus into Aquarius, also in ’95) combined to usher in a new era of expansion.

As much as I believe in Kondratiev’s 60-year cycle, I also subscribe to the idea of a roughly 100-year cycle operating in U.S. history. A few quick examples: War of 1812 and World War I, Civil War in the 1860s and upheaval and Vietnam War in the 1960s, financial panics in 1873 and 1973.

When Pluto went into Sagittarius, I got back into the business of trying to earn a living and put my cycles studies aside. But this week’s events are bringing me back to the 100-year cycle.

Market maven Barry Ritholtz has blogged on a book called The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm by Robert F. Bruner and Sean Carr (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

Now, Wall Street Weather is making the connection between 1907 and yesterday’s bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the merger between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America that occurred under the “Harvest” Full Moon in Pisces.

You may know that the Panic of 1907 led to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. You can see the Fed chart here. The Fed’s natal chart is being transited through the end of the year by expansive Jupiter. Then, it’s going to be activated by Pluto in Capricorn, as it was earlier this year.

Remember, things don’t always work perfectly, so the Panic of 1907 and the Collapse of 2008 are 101 years apart, not a century. It’s close enough for me. If readers have any ideas about the astrological aspects that might produce a 100-year cycle, I’d be very interested to hear about them.

Wall Street Weather is My New Favorite Blog

I linked to Wall Street Weather when Hurricane Gustav was approaching Louisiana last week. I just read such a great post on how the Republicans are exploiting Bristol Palin, the pregnant daughter of Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, that I must link again for the second time in less than week.

I was struck by how tired Bristol looked carrying her baby brother last week. She has been forced to assume extra responsibilities since her younger brother, who has Down syndrome, was born in April and her mother quickly returned to work.

Wall Street Weather makes the same observation in this post.

Eric Francis at Planet Waves has an excellent post on the Palin follies, too. Check it out here.

Too bad David Brooks of The New York Times doesn’t read the astrology blogs. I was amazed how he blithely dismissed the tragedy of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy at 17 in his Sept. 1 column. Brooks wrote: “…most Americans will understand that this is what happens in real life…”

If you’re a conservative, you might argue that Bristol would not have gotten pregnant in high school if her mom were home and watching over her instead of serving as governor of Alaska.

If you’re a liberal, you might posit that Bristol wouldn’t be expecting if she had taken sex education in high school, had easy access to contraceptives, and had been raised by a mom who encouraged her to protect herself against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

If you’re an advocate for the rights of young women (and men), you might agree with my contention: Bristol wouldn’t have gotten pregnant if she had a plan for her future and parents who were actively involved in helping her fulfill her hopes and dreams.

David Brooks may characterize children raising children as “what happens in real life,” but it doesn’t have to happen.

Is Gustav Another Katrina?

It’s a chilling thought and one that I don’t have time to fully analyze right now. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is taking the threat seriously and is leaving the Democratic National Convention in Denver, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

If you want to learn more, please read this excellent post from Wall Street Weather, which notes the upcoming New Moon in Virgo is conjunct the Sun of the Hurricane Katrina landfall chart.

Even though it’s said that lightning can’t strike twice in the same place, evidently hurricanes can.

If you’re a weather freak and want to keep an eye on the Big Easy, the ultimate source is  Mark Schleifstein, who writes for the Times-Picayune. Here’s his one of his latest articles.