Center of the Cyclone

Dear Friend and Reader:

For as long as we’ve been alive, American elections have been a swindle. There is nothing enlightened about them, nothing productive. I would be surprised that anyone cares anymore, except for the connection of politics to unresolved family issues. The very most neurotic realm of life, electoral and governmental politics is the projection of personal drama onto the national and international stage.

As such, it is an empty exercise, demonstrably incapable of producing any positive result. It seems that in every election, politicians win and people lose. Celebrities jump into the “get out and vote” campaign, the orchestra is struck up, and we experience the illusion of a democratic process.

The Mueller probe into Russian election meddling and the Ukraine affair that led to Pres. Trump’s impeachment give you a clue what is going on behind the scenes. We might recall that Trump lost the “popular vote,” meaning the election, but took office. When I learned that was possible as a child, I thought the American people would never stand for such a thing. It has happened twice in recent memory, with little objection and with catastrophic results.

Planet Waves
Behind the scenes of a Greg Crewdson photo. Greg was one year ahead of me at John Dewey H.S. in Brooklyn. Greg has said that his vision was inspired by the work of David Lynch. 

Is Local Government Better?

Local governance has more potential than state and national. At least it’s possible for citizens to get involved, and to run for office. The issues are comprehensible, and the impact is local. However, fans of the TV program Parks and Recreation know that even when people are reasonably honest and have “good intentions,” they are driven by ambition and other personal motives, and subject to the flaws of human nature.

In reality, local governance tends to be stunningly corrupt. I once dated the daughter of the mayor of a town I was covering, who said her father was regularly offered “chicks and vacations” to approve luxury real estate developments. The purpose of his involvement in government was specifically to block development. So far as I know, he was one of the honest ones.

I currently live in a small city where the corruption is so pervasive that it’s laughable. Deals are cut on every last issue of consequence, including individual criminal and civil cases. To know about this, you would have to be hanging out in the back of the Speakeasy and hear what present and former public officials say.

The problem magnifies radically as you ascend the ranks of governmental structure. We forget quickly that most people who aspire to government roles are driven by power and greed. There are a rare few motivated by service, who are, sadly, influenced by their environment. Nearly all are fantastic actors. Politics demands that. The environment demands being able to look people squarely in the eyes and lie to them. You might think: but they seem so sincere. Yes, exactly.

This is an art form, utilizing the very best of psychology, persuasion, salesmanship, theatrics and charisma, all designed to give the impression of the “human touch.”

Planet Waves
Amy Poehler and Joe Biden in Parks and Recreation. 

Congressmen for Rent

As my old boss Joel Whitaker loved to quip, you cannot buy a congressman, but you can always rent one.

Earlier in my writing career, the longtime chairman of the Committee on Environment of the New York State Assembly was running for Congress. I was given documentation that he was getting campaign contributions from executives of Waste Management, Inc. — not exactly a green company. They are (to put it politely) polluters, including illegal dumping and dioxin created from burning trash.

The contributions all came from Illinois, that is, far from home. There were often several per household. Without the internet, we had to figure out who the donors were. Nobody locally wanted to run the story. The local newspapers were either supporting the candidate, or afraid to publish the information.

So I called my editor at the Village Voice, which was interested, and ran my article, at about 300 words. The candidate was forced to give back the donations the very next day, and the local press finally had to report it as a page one story. He won and served for 20 years, during which time we had a cordial relationship. His voting record as a U.S. representative was (in my view) impeccable, and his public image was sterling. I was aware of much more going on behind the scenes which would not be in the interests of my personal safety to write about.

Maybe this will give you a clue as to whether the press is doing its job, and how much it takes to get the truth into the newspaper.

What we see on C-Span and the news is a facade, no more real than a wild-west town in a cowboy movie. If it appears real, that’s because there is a tremendous investment in having it seem so. There are stylists and set designers and dressers, and script writers, and spin doctors, and wheelers and dealers, and production crews, and inside connections and talking points memos, and what we finally see is in actual fact a form of entertainment.

Planet Waves
Lining up the shot with miniature train set, BTS, Legendary Pictures 2006, Superman Returns. 

The Ghosts of Presidents Past

The United States has a sordid history. This we know. The president is always involved. Yet since the Kennedy assassination, the presidency has been particularly vapid. In my reading of history, JFK was the last decent president — the last who did not want to buckle under to the much larger power structure and its agenda. Any president knows that if he (or, eventually, she) does not do the exact bidding of the power structure, their next physical exam could be an autopsy. This seems to be an old situation.

Generally, the presidency serves the interests of arms dealers and other heavy industry related to warfare. Even the venerated Franklin Delano Roosevelt could not get the nation out of the Great Depression without entering World War II, during which he famously aided the Nazis, including authorizing the sale of fuel to them by Standard Oil. The situation was actually much worse than this — most of industrial America was in some way invested in Germany at the time.

His administration concluded with dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki just a few months after his death. That event usually gets Harry Truman’s face on it. The Manhattan project was a creature of the Roosevelt administration. This in turn led to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race.

In recent decades, presidential administrations have been like an endless true crime series. We call them scandals; they are the revelation of criminal enterprises, arms for hostages deals, terrorists funded, opponents’ offices bugged, deals cut with foreign powers, the private companies of presidents and vice presidents enriched by endless wars, public agencies used as private intimidation goons, and so on. Most of all, we see business interests in full command and control of the presidency, which always hedge their bets by betting on both sides, such as by selling weapons to both sides in any war.

It is amazing anyone falls for the whole value proposition of the election, but many people are dragged in every time. The stakes always seem to be higher, and the results more dismal.

It is with great irony that I observe that members of the criminal political class (many of them not elected) have taken up the role of guardians of the public health and welfare. Neither they nor their counterparts in the state-controlled media are even meekly admitting how sold out they are to their overlords in the pharmaceutical industry. They are the ones running the show right now. Our failure to see the connections between government, the media and corporate agendas that keeps us looking at the illusion of “public interest.”

Right now, we are in the midst of a campaign where both sides are sure that if the other candidate wins, society will crumble. What if they are both right? Society has been doing a fantastic job of falling apart the past eight months or so, and it was doing a pretty good job before that.

Planet Waves
Behind the scenes of The Irishman, 2019. Niko Tavernise. 

The Election Chart, Encore

I covered the election chart a few weeks ago; that might be worth a review. To sum up, Mercury stations direct on Election Day, which is supposed to be the end of the election. It looks more like everything comes to a halt, and gets mired in more complexity than anyone imagined possible.

Mercury stations direct right in the middle of the Aries-Capricorn pattern, featuring Mars, Pallas, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto and Eris. These are all clustered in a square aspect with a narrow range of degrees. It is quite phenomenal.

It’s one of those patterns that would be impressive any day, but is more impressive on the stated date of the election. It would be less relevant the day before or the day after. The day of has the feeling of throwing a dart at a dartboard hung on a moving train and hitting the bull’s eye.

The election is likely to go to court and the matter is likely to persist for a while. People other than astrologers are saying this, though you can be assured it is right in the astrology. There are many large forces competing against one another. Among the things that Mercury represents is the message and the messaging. Mercury, what ever it represents, is at the mercy of all of these large forces.

The interesting thing about Mercury stationing direct is that it represents an interval where the truth comes out. It’s like a little door opens, and there’s the sound of a belch, and you get a revelation (if you’re paying attention). There is likely to be a huge fuss, and yet the whole day has an anticlimactic feeling to it.

This does not look like an election chart with a winner.

Planet Waves
Behind the scenes of the Paramount Picture 2017 film, Mother!  

The Inauguration Chart

The U.S. presidential inauguration is fixed by the Constitution, currently at noon on January 20 after an election. The chart is always Taurus rising with the Sun in the first degree of Aquarius, in the 10th house. On one level this is an image of how stable the presidency is, whether we are talking about the persistent quality of Taurus or the pattern-fixing quality of Aquarius.

The variables are the planets and the Moon. We get a rather strange chart for the inauguration of Jan. 20, 2021. I have been looking at this chart for years. It looks mean, with an exact conjunction of Mars and Uranus (which has the feeling of sudden, unexpected violence). In Taurus, Mars and Uranus could also represent an economic shock. It could also represent public outrage.

The 10th house of the presidency is loaded, with Mercury, Pallas, Jupiter, and Saturn along with the Sun. These are all in Aquarius. This will be the last inauguration with Pluto still in Capricorn. (The 2025 inauguration has the Sun conjunct Pluto in the 10th.)

Here is what I think is the most interesting thing. In the 2021 inauguration, the Moon is void-of-course, in the last degree of Aries. That is to say, the Moon makes no more aspects in Aries before moving onto Taurus, where it soon forms a conjunction to Uranus and Mars.

Any astrologer who studies Moon voids knows how strange they can be. They can feel like a foul ball — the batter makes contact, the ball sails through the air, and goes just to the wrong side of the pole. They can feel like the movie Star Wars, which was supposed to be a laughingstock, but which became one of the most successful (and I dare say entertaining) movie franchises of all time. Not only that, it created its own new Hollywood with Industrial Light & Magic, the animation studio of George Lucas.

Planet Waves
Braving frigid temperatures, Architecture Office of the Capitol employees install carpet on the inaugural platform in 2009 for the first inauguration of Pres. Obama. 

Moon Void: First Cousin to Mercury Station

More than anything, the Moon void presents an unpredictable situation, about which the predictions will come out some other way. It is the first cousin to Mercury stationing retrograde and its odd, unusual outcome quality.

In this chart, it is the escape hatch. Or rather, potentially so. It represents the possibility that the plan might not work out. It’s as if there is a flaw of some kind. That is only one possibility, yet at least it exists. There are many evil plans afoot right now, and usually, they go badly.

I will say this. While politics itself tends toward total neurosis and often psychosis, one thing I have seen work to get a result is public involvement. Politicians are one and all afraid of what they think the public knows, which is why a free press is so crucial.

However, the Moon represents the public in a public chart. So you could accurately say, that is the very thing that is void-of-course. The public seems to be engaged, though it’s really a lot of people serving as extras in this cinematic production.

More than being disengaged, the public is in a state of shock from living through two decades of nonstop disaster capitalism — and a bit longer of total immersion in full digital conditions.

Planet Waves
Behind the scenes of independent film, The Underwater Realm, directed by D.M. Reynolds, 2012. 

Cultivating Sanity and Trust

What would peace and sanity look like on the other side of whatever we are experiencing? How can we build enough trust to get anything done, particularly anything requiring care and cooperation? It is difficult to imagine, particularly in a country where half the people are convinced that someone might kill them just by not wearing a worn out bandanna around their face.

This was sold to us as a war. We might question that, and also consider the idea of “collateral damage.” [For what I consider a very important and informed discussion of masks, please see this discussion with two OSHA-certified medical workplace safety consultants.]

As you know, planets are headed for Aquarius. The 10th house of the Inauguration chart is packed with planets in this sign, which has one potentially very positive reading: the involvement of the people, in a rather big way. That is the real distinction in this chart; that is the new element: Jupiter conjunct Saturn in Aquarius, plus the Sun and Mercury. To me this looks like the public is involved.

It would be wonderful if people understood the divide and conquer tactics being used against us. It would be wonderful if we could admit they exist. There is in fact a global conspiracy to drive people apart from one another, and to turn us against one another. Let’s call it what it is.

Meanwhile, I suggest going beyond putting one’s hope for salvation in a political candidate. That is not their business.

With love,

PS — We’ve just published a new edition of Planet Waves TV on the Libra Full Moon and the issue of figure and ground. Here’s a direct link to the program.

Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Monday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. News Editor: Spencer Stevens. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Amy Elliott and Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Senior Finance Minister, First Cavalry of the Local Economy: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Cate Ryzhenko, Emily Thing. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Rachel Chaput, Loreen Costa, Robin Dann, Yuko Katori, Kirsti Melto, Cindy Tice Ragusa, Abby Rohrer, and Carol van Strum.

Planet Waves

Coming Soon! News About All Of Us Here

In honor of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, the annual readings this year are called ALL OF US HERE. I will have information about this Friday or Saturday when the preorder begins. I am planning to have your extended audio readings (with a video introduction wherein I describe the charts) done by Dec. 21, the day of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. There is also a separate written reading called AN AQUARIAN ERA, which covers 2021-2023. Many of you are already subscribers. I plan to deliver the rest of that reading a little before ALL OF US HERE.

Planet Waves

Planet Waves TV: Libra New Moon; Figure and Ground

The new Planet Waves TV covers the Libra New Moon that takes place Friday at about 3:30 pm EDT. The New Moon is all mixed up in the Aries-Capricorn pattern, and is likely to be pushing many people emotionally. I develop the theme of figure and ground that is so beautifully fits the astrology. I also introduce my guest on Planet Waves FM, Dr. Peter Breggin, advocacy for sanity in psychiatry and now an investigator of Covid-19. Here is the link to Planet Waves FM.

Planet Waves

Friday on Planet Waves FM:
Dr Peter Breggin, Voice for Psychiatry Reform

Dr. Peter Breggin has led campaigns against the use of psychiatric drugs in children, lobotomies and electroshock “therapy.” Now at age 83 he is a leading investigator into the Covid-19. He will be my guest on the forthcoming Planet Waves FM. The new program usually posts on our new website at about 10 pm EDT.

Planet Waves
Contemporary Indigenous communities in Eastern Oregon are working to keep first foods practices alive, as seen in the documentary film Native Wisdom: The Peoples of Eastern Oregon.

Indigenous Filmmakers Share a Lifeline Through Native Lineage :: Eugene, OR Environmental Film Festival


Today, as the earth splits beneath our feet, water is siphoned by human whims, and we are thrown unprepared into the ether of digital conditions, not all that is sane and good is lost. A vast resource is emerging to guide us as we balance on the brink of humanity’s coming of age. Taking their sovereign place in global leadership, Indigenous communities around the world are offering their traditional ecological and cultural knowledge to address the crises humans have manifested on the planet.

One Word Sawalmem and Native Wisdom: The Peoples of Eastern Oregon are two recent documentaries that bring this essential perspective to the general public. In both, we see a contemporary incarnation of Indigenous storytelling traditions. Through the medium of documentary film, One Word Sawalmem embodies twenty minutes of the Winnemem Wintu worldview with a single word. Its early moments blend the rhythms of human song, waters heaving in the San Francisco Bay, and cries of seagulls, compelling us to resonate with the message before we can even name it. The individual voice of Michael “Pom” Preston, narrator and co-director of the film, carries many voices.

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