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Of Verdicts, Voting & Verbiage

It’s been quite a week! The impeachment “trial” verdict, the Iowa caucus, and the State of the Union (SOTU) speech. By rights, we ought to take them in order, but as of this writing (2/6/20), the debacle that was the Iowa caucus is still not quite over, despite starting on Monday, so we’ll save that for last, in hopes we might get complete clarity by deadline. And we’ll begin with the President’s speech to the nation before the joint session of Congress at 9 PM on Tuesday, February 4th.

SOTU Shenanigans


It was a night of firsts: first time an impeached president gave the SOTU (“Sociopathic Orange Toddler Utterances”) while awaiting a verdict on his removal; first time he refused to shake the Speaker’s hand; first time the Speaker omitted the customary presidential introduction; first time a Speaker tore up the presidential speech on camera in its aftermath.


We might term the event “the night of a thousand snubs.” It started when the president turned his back on Nancy Pelosi’s outstretched hand as he gave her the copy of his speech upon taking the podium. Moments later, she discarded the traditional phrase of it being a “high privilege and distinct honor” to introduce Trump, and cut to the chase: “The President of the United States.”


What followed was a campaign-style lovefest between Trump and Republican legislators, who chanted “Four more years!” while the President misled the nation for more than an hour. Little policy, alternative facts, the usual blather and stage crafting such moments as the reunion of a military family and a child’s Charter School scholarship. When Trump exhorted the Congress to send him a bill to reduce drug costs, House Dems chanted “HR 3!” (House Resolution #3) alluding to the third bill passed by the new Congress more than a year ago, which does just that, but has been allowed to languish in Mitch “Grim Reaper” McConnell’s Senate legislative graveyard.


At 9 PM when the event began, asteroids Whitehouse and Nancy, still locked in their months-long conjunction from 0 and 4 Libra, were rising on the 28 Virgo Ascendant, setting the stage for the pugilists to enter the ring. Also rising was asteroid Nemesis at 25 Virgo (archenemies), caught up in a tense Grand Cross with Mars at 22 Sagittarius on the 27 Sag IC (showing animosity/Mars as the foundation/IC of the timeframe); Venus at 26 Pisces on the 28 Pisces Descendant (its opposition to Nemesis and Nancy showing a female/Venus – here the Speaker/Nancy – as Trump’s archenemy/Nemesis, its opposition to Whitehouse intimating the President/Whitehouse reaching his highest-ever approval rating/Venus of 49% that same day); and the Moon at 20 Gemini on the 27 Gemini MC, still conjoined a stationary asteroid Blarney at 13 Gemini (BS/Blarney to the people/Moon, on full display/MC).


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes clear her view of the SOTU, shredding it on camera; asteroids Nancy and Whitehouse rising with Nemesis on the Ascendant shows the inveterate rivalry between the two leaders

With Troemper newly ingressed into Pisces, Trump was able to play the martyr role he enjoys so well. Troemper’s conjunction with Mercury at 2 Pisces, squared asteroid America at 6 Sagittarius, guaranteed his speech (Mercury) to the nation (America) was chock full of the misdirection, misinformation, deception and sown confusion (all Pisces) at which he excels.


The child who received the surprise “Opportunity Scholarship” to attend the private school of her choice was fourth-grader Janiyah Davis of Philadelphia, represented by asteroid Davis, which at 29 Aquarius conjoined Troemper and Mercury at 0 and 2 Pisces, combining the recipient (Davis) with the President (Troemper) who offered her free primary education (Mercury). The military family whose reunion was exploited to bolster Trump’s image was Sgt 1st class Townsend Williams, his wife Amy, and their children; asteroid Williams at 9 Libra is stationary, having turned retrograde on the 1st of February broadly conjunct Whitehouse, while asteroid Amy at 6 Capricorn conjoins Jupiter at 14, providing temporary fame, and asteroid Townsend at 22 Scorpio is exactly sextile military-ruling Mars at 22 Sagittarius.




In a surprise move, Trump threw some red meat to his base when he announced that a noted conservative commentator and rabble-rouser would be receiving the highest honor the nation can bestow – the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Rush Limbaugh was sitting with the First Lady at the time, and she promptly hung the medal about his neck on the spot, elevating him to the ranks of such fellow recipients as Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, Helen Keller, Margaret Thatcher, Billy Graham, Henry Kissinger, Maya Angelou, Margaret Mead, Rachel Carson, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Willie Mays, Jack Nicklaus, Mohammed Ali, and Mother Theresa. Yeah, that’s fitting.


Rush Limbaugh is represented by asteroids Rusheva, which at 3 Capricorn conjoined the IC and trined Uranus at 2 Taurus (for the unexpected, inappropriate nature of the honor) and asteroid Hudson (his middle name), which at 17 Sagittarius conjoined Mars and opposed the Moon and Blarney, a somewhat more appropriate celestial marker for the man who slings bullshit (Blarney) and sows dissention (Mars) as he rallies his “dittoheads.” Rusheva also conjoins asteroid Amy, just as Rush Limbaugh conjoined Amy Williams in the First Lady’s box.


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With asteroid Williams stationary, in trine to the Sun, Sgt Townsend Williams was reunited with his wife Amy at the SOTU; note newly minted Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh at left – asteroids Amy and Rusheva were conjunct Jupiter for the event




As the speech concluded, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rose behind the President and ostentatiously ripped his speech in half, page by page, using the same hand Trump had earlier refused to shake. The moment has of course gone viral, and deservedly so, as an eloquent if unarticulated rejection of the tissue of lies and blather she had just endured.


I simply had to try to find some celestial connectivity to this remarkable terrestrial event. While we have an exact asteroid match for Nancy, I’ve been frustrated in my inability to find a suitable referent for Pelosi, and decided to look a little further afield to see what might work in this instance. I chose asteroids Palus and Polizzi as closest phonetically to Pelosi. Of course, I wanted something to symbolize “hand” as well, with so much handwork for the evening, in the rejected shake and the torn sheets. I chose asteroids Handel, Handahl, Handley, Handlin and Handsberry, as the closest in spelling, and asteroid Manu, Latin for “hand”.


I plugged them into the chart, and here’s what I found. Palus at 27 Sagittarius is an exact match for the IC, showing added potency or relevance in the moment, and its conjunction to Mars suggests the ill will and combative spirit, as well as Pelosi’s championship of the opposing viewpoint. Polizzi at 20 Aries conjoins TNO Eris at 23 Aries, a reinforcement of the atmosphere of strife and division. Polizzi also conjoins asteroid Handlin at 22 Aries, and together these square asteroid Rip (yes, you read that right – Rip!!) at 21 Capricorn, joined with Pluto and Saturn at 23 and 25 Cap. That spells an agitated and aggrieved (Eris) Pelosi (Polizzi) in conflict with (square) the criminal (Pluto) President (Saturn), using the hand-torn (Handlin/Rip) speech to make her point.


But it gets better! A fated quality to the dueling snubs emerges when we find a Yod pattern or Finger of Destiny, comprising asteroid Handley at 28 Cancer with asteroid NOT at 0 Leo, sextile that Whitehouse/Nancy combo at 0 and 4 Libra, with Troemper/Mercury at its apex, from 0 and 2 Pisces. This describes the tit-for-tat handwork, with Trump (Troemper/Whitehouse) refusing (NOT) to shake Pelosi’s (Nancy) hand (Handling), and her verbal (Mercury) response in not fully introducing him, and visual response in tearing up his speech (Mercury).


Natally, Donald Trump has a conjunction of Rip and Nancy at 6 and 10 Gemini, and these form a T-Square with the transit Troemper/Mercury and America placements, perfectly depicting her tearing up his address to the nation. Asteroid Manu at 8 Sagittarius conjoins America and fits seamlessly into this pattern.


Additionally, asteroid Handel at 22 Aquarius is still within orb of Troemper at 0 Pisces, indicating the handwork on his side; Handsberry (which I like to think of as a “hand raspberry”) at 8 Capricorn conjoins Jupiter at 14, indicating the political nature of the snubs, and Handahl at 8 Taurus conjoins asteroid Lie at 13, inconjunct to Nancy, suggesting that the essential dishonesty of the speech was too much for Pelosi. As the Speaker herself later described it, “I tore up a manifesto of mistruths.” Sometimes, the cosmos just can’t shut up about an issue!



Impeachment Wraps Up


Hard to call this a trial, with no witnesses, no new evidence, and most “jurors” on record with their verdicts before the farce even began. But for what it’s worth, here’s how it played out.


After an acrimonious debate about the rules lasting well into the night, the trial began on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. From the get-go the sticking point was whether live testimony would be allowed, and the Senate voted to defer that decision until both sides had made their case. Although a supermajority of 67 senators was required to endorse the charges for Trump to be removed, a bare majority of 51 could decide disputes in form, and with several GOP senators up for difficult re-elects in November, and others set to retire (thus facing no political ramifications for their decisions), speculation was rife that Dems might be able to peel off the four senators needed to call witnesses.


The President’s counsel, composed of a motley crew of lawyers including Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, White House Counsels Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin, former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, former Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, is well represented celestially over the course of the trial. Sekulow has no asteroid referents, but the two Pats are represented by asteroid Patricia, which came to its direct station at 1 Gemini on January 18th just as the trial was gearing up. Both individuals’ profiles were immeasurably enhanced by this trial, in just that way stations have of embedding their namesakes in the center of things and providing crucial turning points in their biographies.


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Retiring Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was expected to support the call for witnesses in the impeachment trial, but asteroid Lamarr inconjunct asteroid NOT in the vote chart, and asteroid Alexander in semisextile, saw that hope go south

Alan Dershowitz reclaimed a place in the sun (literally) with asteroid Allen’s opposition to the Sun from early Leo, as he fatuously argued that whatever a President does, if he truly believes it to be in the best interests of the state, cannot be impeachable.   Ken Starr and Pam Bondi show as asteroids in connection with Saturn, ruling lawyers. From 24 Capricorn, Saturn reaches out to asteroid Kenny at 25 Aries and Starr at 21 Libra, with asteroid Bondia opposed at 27 Cancer. Bondi’s national profile is enhanced as well, with asteroid Pamela at 3 Capricorn conjoined fame-providing Jupiter at 12.


The opening arguments and presentation phases of the trial duly concluded, a vote on witnesses was called at 5:42 PM EST on 31 January. The pivotal nature of the vote is underscored by asteroid Whitehouse turning retrograde the day before, a literal “turning point” for the administration. A remarkable conglomeration of points all at 25 degrees of various Signs provides the set-up. It keys off of asteroid McConnell at 25 Libra, for the Senate Majority Leader, tasked by Trump with keeping his caucus together to prevent witnesses. From there, McConnell makes exact aspects to asteroid Nemesis at 25 Virgo, noted for blocking tactics (semisextile); Mercury at 25 Aquarius, planetary ruler of testimony (trine); Saturn, bringing restriction and limitation, at 25 Capricorn (square), and asteroid Askalaphus, representing witnesses, at 10 Pisces (sesquiquadrate). Saturn and Askalaphus are also exactly semisquare, putting a further damper on Democratic prospects of calling witnesses, linking the administration’s obstructive agenda (Saturn) with the witness issue (Askalaphus).


Dems had high hopes that Tennessee’s Senator Lamar Alexander, an elder statesman who is retiring and is known as principled, straightforward and honest, would support witness testimony, but these hopes were dashed a few hours before the vote. Alexander stated that, although he was convinced that Trump had behaved as described, and it was “inappropriate”, he needed no further testimony to make his decision. However egregious the President’s behavior, it was up to the American people in the next election, not the Senate, to determine whether Trump should keep his job. This refusal to support the motion is depicted celestially by asteroid Lamarr at 0 Capricorn inconjunct asteroid NOT at 1 Leo, with asteroid Alexander at 29 Leo in semisextile; Lamar Alexander would not vote for witnesses.


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Mitt Romney (R-UT) did support witnesses, with asteroid Willaert (for Willard, his first name) conjoined asteroid Askalaphus, the tale-bearer, but the Dems still fell short in the tally; Romney was the only Republican to vote for Trump’s removal

In the end, only two Republicans jumped ship, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, leaving the Dems two votes short to call witnesses. Susan Collins is represented by asteroids Susanna, which at 21 Cancer squares McConnell, showing her as at cross purposes with the Majority Leader; and Collins, which at 24 Aries also squares McConnell and conjoins the Moon a 29 Aries, indicating the Maine Senator’s ostensible desire to represent her constituents, endorsing what the people want (75% of Americans supported calling witnesses at the time). Mitt Romney is represented by asteroid Willaert, closest to Willard, his actual first name (“Mitt” is a nickname), which at 3 Pisces conjoins Askalaphus, the witness-bearer, inclining him to view the situation favorably.


Former NSA John Bolton was to be the star witness, a man who had called the Ukraine plot a “drug deal”, had resigned (or was fired, depending whose account you credit) in the aftermath of its public exposure, and was hawking his soon-to-be-released tell-all book that augurs disastrous details for the Trump administration, practically salivating to testify. When the motion to allow witnesses was voted down at 5:42 PM, asteroid Johnbolton at 15 Taurus had recently crested the Midheaven, making him the focus of all eyes, the true focus of the vote, and was exactly squared the Ascendant/Descendant axis at 15 Leo/Aquarius, showing his commanding position in the moment.




And so the “trial” proceeded to closing arguments. Throughout, the Democrats presented data and built a solid case, while the Republicans offered rhetoric and argued flaws in process. Principal House Manager Adam Schiff was masterful in his presentation, but the verdict was a foregone conclusion. However, the White House’s hopes of a bipartisan acquittal were dashed in the final vote, when all 47 Democrats and Independents voted for removal, joined by Mitt Romney, who gave a devastating critique of Trump’s actions and motivations, and sided with his conscience against partisan pressure, when he defined the President as “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust” and his actions as “wrong, grievously wrong.” Romney stands alone as the only senator ever to vote for the removal of an officeholder of his own Party.


Born 12 March 1947, 9:51 AM EST in Detroit, Michigan (Rodden Rating A), Mitt Romney’s chart displays a potent Grand Trine of the Sun at 21 Pisces with asteroids Willaert at 17 Cancer and Truth at 25 Scorpio, both stationary, indicating embedded elements of character. Truth is also combined with asteroid America, Jupiter and the Moon at 22 and 27 Scorpio. This shows Romney (Sun, Willaert) as an authentic, honest individual (Truth) who will speak with directness and honesty to the nation (America) and its people (Moon) in a political context (Jupiter). Asteroid Veritas (Latin for “truth”) at 6 Aquarius is exactly conjoined the Midheaven, placing Romney’s truthfulness on prominent display.


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Trump took the first of two day-after victory laps at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, where he brandished the visible sign of his vindication: with Troemper newly entered into Pisces, the President has been reveling in grievance and his role as a victim

When that final vote was called at 4:04 PM EST on 5 February 2020 in Washington, the acquittal is easy to see in asteroid NOT at 0 Leo, closely rising on the 29 Cancer Ascendant, exactly inconjunct asteroid Troemper at 0 Pisces and exactly semisquare asteroid Senator at 15 Virgo. The Senate was not going to convict the President. Mercury at 3 Pisces conjoined Troemper, reflecting the vote that would go his way.



Iowa Fiasco


American humorist Will Rogers said it best in the ‘30s: “I am a member of no organized political party – I’m a Democrat.” If the name Iowa were an acronym like “SOTU”, it might stand for “Incompetents Operating Worthless Apps.”


Less than 200,000 people participated in Iowa’s “First in the Nation” caucus on February 3rd, but they made up for it with a level of pandemonium and confusion the likes of which we have rarely seen in American politics. Glitches in a new, virtually untested reporting system utilizing an app from Shadow Inc called “IowaReporter” proved hopelessly inadequate to the task, preventing any final vote tally or verifiable results for four days, as politicos scrambled to retrieve data from the paper back-ups.


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The app that crashed Iowa, created by Shadow Inc; asteroid Schadow went retrograde the day after the caucus, and appears conjunct Nemesis in the Iowa state chart

By Thursday night the Iowa Democratic Party had finalized their results, but the National Party Chair called on them to recanvas (go back over and confirm the local results with the original paperwork), and the Associated Press refused to certify the results, based in clear tabulation anomalies and mistakes.


So we’re still not certain (and may never be), but it appears that Mayor Pete Buttigieg squeaked out the narrowest win possible over Bernie Sanders, essentially finishing in a dead heat, 26.2% – 26.1%. Warren finished third with 18%, Joe Biden slumped into fourth with 15.8% and Amy Klobuchar over-performed at 12.3%.


In a startling reflection of terrestrial realities, the skies separated into two rival camps, each representing one of the major Democratic “lanes” in this Primary season – the progressive and the centrist. With asteroid Peter at 12 Libra squared Josephina at 9 Capricorn, the Buttigieg/Biden centrist battle was engaged, and with asteroid Sanders at 19 Aries exactly squared Warren at 19 Cancer, the progressive camp faced off. These two pairs of squares are united in a wide Grand Cross, with Jupiter at 14 Cap binding them more closely and eliciting the political free-for-all in the Hawkeye State.


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Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the apparent winner in Iowa, by the slimmest possible margin of .1%; asteroid Peter at station helped to embed him in voters’ consciousness

Mayor Pete’s narrow victory may be explained by his PNA Peter at its station degree of 12 Libra. Peter has been slowing, focusing its energies and embedding them in the collective. This is a very powerful placement, but much of the eventual outcome depends on which way the point is turning. Peter is about to go retrograde, implying a retreat or reassessment for the Buttigieg campaign, a backing off, cessation of forward momentum. Buttigieg has now surged to the top of the New Hampshire polls, but his PNA turns retro the day after that primary, on February 12, so we may be seeing the high water mark of his campaign. Both Elizabeth Warren’s PNAs were already retrograde well before the caucus, prefiguring her recent plummet in the polls, so her loss in the battle with Sanders for the progressive wing’s support was perhaps inevitable.


Two additional asteroids had a prominent role to play in the disaster. Asteroid Buysballot is named for a Dutch meteorologist, but when broken into its component parts, it signifies “buys ballot”, and has a long history of celestially representing electoral chicanery and anomalous results. For the Iowa caucus, Buysballot at 12 Pisces conjoins Neptune at 17, chief planetary emissary of uncertainty, confusion, trickery and deception. I’m not saying fraud is the case in Iowa, just that it may not be out of the question that some of the anarchy was intentional.


The other point of significance is asteroid Schadow, phonetic match for Shadow Inc, the company that produced the worthless app. Schadow appears at 9 Libra, part of that candidate Grand Cross, and is also at station, turning retrograde the day after the caucus. Certainly Schadow/Shadow Inc’s contribution to the Iowa fiasco will be felt well into the future, and may be a contributing cause in Iowa losing its pride of place in subsequent electoral cycles, or in fact, abandoning the caucus system altogether.


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Things got so bad in Iowa’s vote count, professional help needed to be called in, but we’ll probably never be certain of the outcome

Iowa itself has a part to play. There are no suitable asteroids to represent it, but it does have a natal chart, signed into statehood by James K. Polk on 28 December 1846. And that chart shows asteroid Nemesis, the archenemy or spoiler, at 13 Libra, conjoined by our friend Buysballot at 14 Libra, opposing Uranus at 10 Aries, ruler of the technology that brings us apps, in a T-Square with asteroids NOT and Schadow, at 16 and 21 Capricorn respectively. That’s a fairly overt warning, had the Iowa Democratic Party chosen to heed it, that election (Buysballot) technology (Uranus) produced by Shadow Inc (Schadow) might not (NOT) be the way to go here, leading to a ruinous result (Nemesis).


This natal T-Square’s inimical potential was reinforced in real time by the overlay of the transit candidate Grand Cross, bringing them all very personally into its influence, with Jupiter acting to inflate and exacerbate Nemesis/Buysballot’s worst effects. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction at 22 Cap had malevolently energized Schadow just weeks before, with a Solar Eclipse at 4 Capricorn on Iowa’s 6 Cap Sun a month prior, and a Lunar Eclipse at 20 Cancer closely opposing Schadow just two weeks earlier.


But some candidates prospered. Iowa is fertile ground for Bernie Sanders; with its natal asteroid Sanders at 6 Libra exactly squared its Sun, he has been able to tap into the core essence of the state, which he lost very narrowly both in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, he lost the battle symbolized by Iowa’s natal Hillary conjunct natal Bernie, at 25 and 28 Leo; this time around, he lost to its natal asteroid Peter at 18 Taurus, which forms a Thor’s Hammer (a fated pattern similar to a Yod, comprised of two points in square, each sesquiquadrate a third) with the Sun/Sanders square.


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Bernie Sanders amidst a sea of supporters in Iowa; the Hawkeye State has a natural affinity with him, having natal asteroid Sanders exactly squared its Sun

As with all astrological symbols, Nemesis has two faces – it brings retribution and ruin, but the individual interacting with it can be its agent or its victim. In this case, transit Peter at 12 Libra conjoined Iowa’s 13 Libra Nemesis, allowing Mayor Pete to act as spoiler to both Biden in the centrist lane, and Sanders over all. Reinforcing Biden’s disappointing outcome was his own natal Nemesis, which at 15 Libra feeds into the Iowa natal Nemesis/transit Peter pairing with potentially disastrous results for his campaign.


If this week can be seen as a symbolic representation of things to come for 2020, then we’re in dire straits indeed. Trump triumphal and the Dems in disarray doesn’t augur well for the future of the country.


Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

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