The Digital Impeachment of a Reality TV President

Originally published November 14, 2019

Dear Friend and Reader:

It’s difficult to know what to expect from the public impeachment proceedings that began Wednesday. The chart at least shows some promise; it’s one of many charts for this sequence of events [covered in a separate article, below]. What we need to remember is that this is the first time such a governmental and cultural process is occurring under full digital conditions.

Planet Waves
Digital illustration from an AP photo.

Every person who experiences the impeachment, except for those who are physically in the room, will be getting their news or witnessing remotely via digital technology.

Everyone else will be equally under the spell of a medium that breaks everything down into zeros and ones.

What we are experiencing today is not your parents’ version of polarity, the one with shades of gray. Rather, we’re being projected into a cosmos of zeros and ones, where there is no oxygen, no DNA, no shades or tones, and where everything is so fragmented and scattered as to be meaningless.

Donald Trump himself is the product of the world of television. His particular form of glamour was suited for the little screen: the seemingly important guy, the social archetype, the cliché. He was a pseudo “news” figure, but really, he was a character akin to J.R. on the TV series Dallas, which is from approximately the same vintage.

Many are still wondering how the “pussy grabbing” remark did not finish off Trump as a candidate. In any other era, it would have taken far less. That incident was unsuited for television, but it was not enough to render him unsuitable for digital. It may have made him more appealing. In digital, we can watch the video of someone fucking a horse, or “Two Girls, One Cup.” Can you imagine such things being broadcast into the orderly living rooms of 1973 America? On a TV inside a mahogany cabinet?

Television’s Aura of Respectability

In Richard Nixon’s time, his conduct was finally seen as so perverse and contrary to accepted social norms that he was not suitable for television. In fact, all the newspaper articles in the world could not end his administration. It was Edward R. Murrow on CBS who finally had the honors.

At the time, TV still focused an aura of respectability and formality. Yet television was also provoking involvement and response from people. It was urging them to take action and “complete the picture,” which in TV Land was a grainy sketch of reality. We had to fill in the rest.

Planet Waves
Digital is in charge. Even on the front page of a newspaper’s website, reporters with computers are part of the news.

The impeachment proceedings of the early 1970s worked. There was enough public involvement that Republicans in the Senate broke ranks with the president, and he had no choice but to resign.

Television also fosters and favors the notion of ritual. It’s excellent for covering sports events. Baseball players standing at attention for the Star Spangled Banner is still moving — on television. It falls flat in digital; it barely exists.

This particular amplification gave the Nixon proceedings a more formal and ceremonial quality. It seemed like something important was happening. It helped that news coverage was not delivered around the clock.

Turning on CBS Evening News at 6:30 or 7 pm each night to see Walter Cronkite deliver the established facts was itself a kind of ritual.

That meant it carried an aura of importance, which today’s cable news programs try to emulate. But because there are so many of them, you never quite know who is supposed to be the voice of authority. In truth none of them are, and none carry the gravitas of a Cronkite or an Ed Murrow. Those days are gone.

An argument can be made that the Clinton impeachment was a product of the digital era. The internet was coming into its own in 1999. It was a thing, and though it was a different thing than it is today (there were only websites and email; there were no blogs, no social media, no YouTube, etc.), new media are indications that values and attitudes have already changed. Portraying the president of the United States and his intern as porn stars did not work.

No Signal That ‘This Is Meaningful’

Today, with news flowing through every crack and crevice of reality, on a hundred kinds of feed, from email alerts to RSS to Twitter, and around the clock on several cable channels, there is little opportunity to identify something as “important.” It’s almost as if the concept no longer exists.

We have also lost the notion of “established facts.” It seems the primary defense that Trump and his supporters are taking to his conduct is “this is all a hoax.” It’s still fairly easy to get to the truth of something, but not if you don’t care enough to find out. And not if the truth is inconvenient, or means that a president who would appoint pro-choice justices to the Supreme Court might hold office.

Planet Waves
George Kent, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, and William B. Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, get sworn in to the House Intelligence Committee’s first public inquiry into President Trump’s interaction with the government of Ukraine. Photo by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades.

Under digital conditions, anything seems plausibly deniable. It’s as if the whole world has been turned to an underground newspaper, leaflets handed out on the street, or a poster glued to advertisements in the subway.

The subject matter of the impeachment is the president courting foreign interference with his reelection. The internet has dissolved international boundaries, so in a sense, this seems normal and even acceptable. These days, everything comes from abroad, grandma likes reggae, and “Made in America” has about as much value as murmuring the Pledge of Allegiance before the Planning Board meeting.

Trump is accused of extorting a new government in Ukraine into smearing the reputation of a political adversary. He used federally approved military aid to an ally to do this. He’s also trying to blame Ukraine for Russia’s meddling on his behalf in the 2016 election. After binge-watching umpteen seasons of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, many people are thinking, well, I’ve seen a lot worse.

So how, exactly, do we convey that what’s happening is actually relevant, meaningful and urgent? And moreover, nonfiction? How do you explain what a constitutional principle is, when the Constitution is a sheet of parchment hanging in a museum?

Easier to See on a Smaller Scale

On a smaller scale, the crime is easier to see. Imagine a school teacher who is running for chair of the PTA. She tells her students to go home and tell their parents that her opponent is a child molester and should be arrested — oh, and post that to Facebook, too. Do it or I will fail you. Anyone can see that’s wrong. She is abusing her official public position as a teacher for private political gain, and also coercing people she has power over to lie (Trump did both of these things).

When you scale it up to the presidential level, people can pretend they don’t understand. As the author of Mein Kampf pointed out, big lies are easier to conceal than small ones. Usually, they conceal themselves.

For those who can see through Trump and his crass criminal antics, any reason to get him out of office will suffice. Trump, the person, and the TV character, is clearly unsuited for such an important position. But for people who are barely moved by brains and blood spattered all over the place, is anything enough? Possibly not. Could he really shoot someone in Fifth Avenue?

Planet Waves
Richard Nixon resigns on live television, Aug. 9, 1974. Everyone in the world understood this was an important moment.

That is the challenge he threw down: I could shoot one of my constituents and people would still vote for me. He has demanded that we accept death squads as acceptable. In essence, we already do.

I consider all these school and synagogue and workplace (or whatever) shootings to be the work of death squads supported by an official government policy (the 2nd Amendment).

One of the effects of digital has been to fragment reality; yes, into bubbles, but also into different dimensions. Republicans are playing the impeachment like it’s a hoax, or they are trying to. That is going to work for a lot of people, who have their own reasons to believe that.

It remains to be seen whether enough people have some grounding in the traditions of the past, some grounding in formality and civility, to move them in some way. One might expect that stoic Midwesterners who still attend church might have some semblance of moral sensibility.

The question is, how many show up on Sunday morning, and for how many is Christianity merely synonymous with being against abortion?

It’s unlikely that the impeachment will result in Trump’s removal from office. But digital or not, this is hardly the kind of thing that a candidate wants broadcast all over the place during a reelection campaign. Yet Trump of digital expression is very different from Trump of television expression. It may end up that his conduct is perfectly acceptable for an audience getting its information from the internet.

According to digital, anything might not be true. Old WalMarts being converted into prisons? Naaah. Not even possible. But then maybe it is.

If we speculate for a moment that the technology driving us today is not the internet as we think of it now, but rather artificial intelligence, and virtual/augmented reality, who’s to say that any of this is even happening at all?

With love,

This Is About Now: Saturn and Pluto are Rising

Dear Friend and Reader:

Wednesday’s commencement of public impeachment hearings provides one chart for the series of events associated with the impeachment of Donald Trump. We are not up to the most important chart, adoption of the Articles of Impeachment. Yet the chart for public testimony points the way there, and also tells us something about this phase of the proceedings.

Planet Waves

Everyone is wondering what’s going to happen. We don’t need astrology for that. There is approximately (but not quite) zero chance that the Republican-controlled senate will produce 20 members of its conference who break party lines — the amount necessary to remove the president from office. But the proceeding alone can do considerable damage.

Notably, this has never happened before: neither Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton were removed from office. I would say that resignation is the most likely way out of the White House for Trump. This could finally get all too messy for the people above him to support. It’s supportable for a while, but most things have their limits, natural or othewise.

For this reason, the more salient question involves the public relations impact of an impeachment process during a presidential election cycle. In the main article, I’ve looked at the issue of this being the first impeachment under full digital conditions; we may be in the first virtual/augmented reality impeachment, which essentially says that for many people, these events are not real. In truth, these proceedings only need to sway a few percentage points of voters, not 20 senators (who all need new jobs — them and a few others).

Looking at the astrology of this event requires some technical discussion. There is not a simple message of what this or any news chart “means,” unless the astrologer is grossly over-simplifying or dishing out pure spin. Read between the technical details for the interpretive substance; or study them and engage your learning process. I am leaving in most of my margin notes.

Gavel Strike: 10:06 am Wednesday

Proceedings officially began Wednesday at 10:06 am, giving us early Capricorn rising. (The stated time of 10 am had the last degree of Sagittarius rising.) I timed the chart to the sound of the gavel striking, in the hand of U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Planet Waves
Chart showing the eastern quadrant of the hearing chart. Capricorn is rising. The green body is Pholus. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction is below the horizon; Venus, Ceres, Jupiter and Pholus are above. Generally, what is contained in the 12th house represents something hidden.

Schiff is the congressman who is leading the impeachment proceedings, and who is likely to be the lead prosecutor (called a House Manager) during the probable Senate trial.

Capricorn is appropriate for a situation involving the government. Early Capricorn is somewhat packed right now, and it’s going to get busier over the next few weeks as additional planets (major and minor) arrive.

By itself, the early degrees of Capricorn are a sensitive intersection between public and private interests, though described in the context of government. This is called the Aries Point, due to its square aspect to the first degree of Aries (as are the first degrees of all the cardinal signs).

Then add the planets in Capricorn and this chart is describing a real show. The point shown closest to the ascendant is Pholus, the second centaur (discovered in 1992). I’ve documented some of the properties of this point as associated with mundane events in two articles: The World in a Grain of Pholus, and Beneath the Guns and Politics, Gender Rage.

The Pressurized Release of Pholus

The essence is that where Pholus is prominent, there is an energy release that keeps going for as long as it takes to burn itself out; that can go on for years. Pholus is the runaway reaction, or the genie coming out of the bottle. It cannot be stuffed back in.

Planet Waves
Mars, representing Trump, is on top of the chart, though it points to the contents of the 12th house (see above). Eris, on the lower right, represents mental chaos and identity crisis in the “homeland.” It also represents a destabilized situation.

Yet it also has another property: the small cause with the big effect. Either way, these hearings are likely to change something irrevocably.

There will be plenty of obvious contrast between shrill Republican yelping about how the witnesses are all a bunch of frauds driven by partisan politics, and the calm, cool, and measured testimony those witnesses offer.

Capricorn rising means that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction is in the 1st house. This is the big astrology in the background, and it’s what nearly all astrologers covering this chart are going to focus on.

This is the rare aspect that is driving and describing nearly all world events now, associated with the breakdown of tradition and structure. It’s also associated with fear-based reactionary conservative uprising. Note that the last major event in this cycle was the Saturn-Pluto opposition of 2001-2002, which arrived with the 9/11 incident.

Any reference to Pluto in the present is connected to the first-ever Pluto return of the United States, which is now fully engaged and will build momentum through 2024 or so.

The House of the President

An interesting feature of this chart is Mars on the 10th house cusp. (That is at the very top, leaning to the left side.) That line is the presidential angle; it deals with corporate and governmental authority, and goes right to the top. Mars is an illustration of an embattled president, though it’s in Libra — in detriment, out of place.

It is all alone up there, squirming around, out of its element. Mars in Libra can be bombastic, lacking the diplomacy and care for appearances for which Libra is deservedly famous.

Libra is a sign ruled by Venus. Think of Mars knocking Venus out of place; we need to follow the chart to see where Venus lands, and that is in Sagittarius — in the 12th house, a concealed location.

It’s as if Mars is only acting like the president, whereas Venus is the real president (who is hiding out of public view). In Sagittarius, this can represent a foreign actor. This alternate president is conjunct a deep space point called the Great Attractor. Venus is unusually influential in this chart, and represents someone working from behind the scenes. The 12th is the house of secret enemies. There is quite a bit happening in the 12th house of this chart.

The House of the Homeland

The 4th house and its cusp represent the ground, the homeland, the father’s estate, and one’s sense of security. That is the dark line on the bottom, learning to the right. Right on the cusp of that house is Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord (her Roman name was Discordia, which will resonate with fans of Robert Anton Wilson).

Planet Waves
The Sun (another significator for the president or king) rules the 8th house of death (occupied by Leo), and is located in Scorpio. People already see Trump as a dead man walking. View larger.

Eris has two messages, as I read this chart. One is that it describes a state of domestic chaos, but on the level of personal identity. In many articles, I’ve tracked the impact of the digital age against Eris in Aries (including the recent Uranus-Eris conjunction).

This describes the potentially overwhelming influence of the digital environment on what we are witnessing now.

The antidote to Eris is Chiron in Aries. Note the impeccable square between Chiron and the horizon axis (the ascendant/descendant). A lot hinges on the awareness and healing factor that Chiron can bring into both individual life and society.

Focus on the 12th House

The action in this chart is behind the scenes. The thing to watch in this chart is the 12th house — everything that is not obvious. What might that include? The Mob’s influence? That of big pharma or big oil or any other international (Sagittarius) cartel? How do you know? To understand the 12th, you have to use special sensitivity, and follow both facts and intuition.

The 12th is where we find the ruler of the 10th (Venus), the ruler of the 12th (Jupiter), Ceres and a small planet called Ixion (which represents amorality and squandering second chances). Like many charts involving covert activity and scandals (the JFK assassination among them), there is quite a bit packed into the 12th.

Note that Venus, the alt-president, is square Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is the lord of all illusions. There is a big, big lie lurking behind all of this — far bigger than anyone is even suspecting now.

That provides plenty of material for the pressurized release of Pholus. The contents of that spray can act like a bag of holding (a magical device from Dungeons and Dragons): it looks small from the outside, but you can fit 100 pounds of poison in a 10-pound can. And from the look of this chart, it’s just had a hole punched in it.

Two Guardian Angels

New York Times from Nov. 15, 2019

There is of course another interpretation to this so-interesting 12th. Venus and Jupiter are both benefic (helpful) planets, by the rules of classical astrology.

This is usually true in many ways., but not all the time. In the 12th, they are in the “two guardian angels” position, offering protection — and both the United States and the world would do well to call on some of that.

Sagittarius is one of the most spiritually oriented signs. Venus and Jupiter are both conjunct the deep space points that make Sagittarius what it is: Venus conjunct the Great Attractor, and Jupiter conjunct the Galactic Center.

If you subtract all of the contemporary planets — Pholus, Ixion and such — we see an abundantly positive chart with the caution of not kidding yourself (both Venus and Jupiter square Neptune). That is also a “road to good intentions…” kind of setup. Jupiter and Sagg are both associated with a concept of justice, and the higher courts of the land.

I think that there’s a place for guarded optimism about what this horoscope suggests. We just need to remember that Murphy’s Law is woven right into our current zeitgeist.

It’s equally true that if anything can go right, it just may.

With this rewrite I leave you for the evening.

With love,

2 thoughts on “The Digital Impeachment of a Reality TV President”

  1. Thank you Eric for sharing this. Many of us have our nerves on edge with the great potential that the gods and goddesses may favor the USA and help us uncover and hold accountable the horrors the Trump administration has perpetrated onto us and the world. I know you didn’t mention Russia. I am concerned about some of Trump’s decisions that are harmful because he didn’t want to upset Putin. My concern is the Putin may do something powerfully evil during this whole process of removing Trump. Perhaps you heard the D.C. Trump Hotel is up for sale. I hope Putin doesn’t buy it and put a bunch of spies in there. PS: My ascendant is 0 degrees Cap. Sun is 20 degrees Taurus. I’m in this for the rest of my time here. (71.5 years young now).

  2. The honorable and courageous men that testified yesterday at the impeachment hearings (Kent and Taylor), brought into sharp focus the obvious choices we have to make and the path the nation must take. It remains to be seen that there are enough people of conscience, awareness, and courage to take the high road, the one that bends towards justice. Delusional counter-realities are the norm, impervious to truth. I don’t know if I can believe it’s going to go right ever again, even a little bit. Tell me it’s going to end well. Thanks for delivering the astro-weather.

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