When the 112th Congress convenes on 3 January 2011, it will have a very different make-up from the outgoing 111th. The mid-term elections of November 2010 returned a Republican majority to the House of Representatives, and eroded the Democrats’ Senate majority to a slim 51 votes (plus two independents who typically caucus with the Dems, but who tend to go off the reservation, right or left, depending on the issue, with Sanders of Vermont leaning socialist and Lieberman of Connecticut showing a strong rightward bent). How this split in government, with a Democratic President, a Republican House, and an evenly divided Senate, will play out in practical politics remains to be seen, but the Republican record of obstructionism over the past two years is not encouraging, and with the wind of the newly-elected Tea Party members in its sails, the GOP may well steer the ship of state onto the reefs.
Perhaps the single individual with the most at stake in the next two years is Barack Obama, whose presidency hangs in the balance, and whose re-election heavily depends on a dramatic upswing in the economic picture, something which seems unlikely at this juncture. But there’s a great deal of galactic, deep space energy in this congress, so virtually anything is possible.
The Sun at 12 Capricorn closely squares the Black Hole at 13 Libra, indicating that matters are in flux and could manifest in any number of dramatic, unexpected, or record-setting ways. Black Holes are points of energy attraction and energy drain, and evoke the volte face, the sudden, unexpected reversal in the status quo reality which changes circumstances in the twinkling of an eye.
Conjunct the Sun are Pluto, arbiter of breakdown and transformation, as well as secrets and hidden matters, at 5 Capricorn, exactly conjunct another Black Hole. Asteroid McConnell (#19929), representing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at 18 Capricorn is conjoined a third Black Hole, at 19 Capricorn. McConnell has stated that the GOP’s top priority for the next two years is ensuring that Obama is a one-term president, a somewhat less oil-on-the-waters pronouncement than we might wish to see after the choppy seas of the past two years. With Mars just on the other side of the Black Hole at 20 Capricorn, we have the makings of a fine fight in the Senate this term, with a clearly combative (Mars) Minority Leader (asteroid McConnell) leading the charge.
Also linked with the Sun are asteroids Washingtonia, for the US capital, in exact sextile at 12 Scorpio, and asteroid Barry (for Barack Obama, the name by which he was known in youth), exactly inconjunct the Sun at 12 Leo (from where it exactly conjoins the president’s natal Sun, further emphasizing the importance of this Congress to his political future). Barry and Washingtonia thus exactly square each other, an apt image of the conflict (square) in DC (Washingtonia), where Obama seems to have few allies, with both Republicans and Democratic party stalwarts angry at him.
Obama’s natal Sun conjoins a volatile Maser, which alternates between providing excitement and provoking controversy, sometimes both at once. In Obama’s case, we saw the exciting, impassioned nature of his support in a campaign which also had its share of controversy, but since entering the White House, this pairing seems to be focused on its more deleterious, exhausting effects, making foes of former allies, and reducing the President’s national standing with successive controversial decisions and policies.
Asteroid McConnell has some seriously odd political bedfellows in this chart as well, forming a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with a sextile to asteroids Sisyphus (repetitive, fruitless action) and Lie (deception, dishonesty) at 18 Scorpio, and an inconjunct to asteroid Reid at 17 Gemini, representing Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator McConnell’s opposite number on the Democratic side of the Senate.
This fated configuration gives somewhat of an edge to Reid, at the Yod’s Apex, but is another indicator of this Congress spinning its wheels (Sisyphus) and continuing to be less than straightforward (Lie) with the American people. Asteroid Reid is opposed by the Black Holes at 18 and 19 Sagittarius, thus “piercing” the Yod and ramping up the instability factor in how it manifests, while providing another outlet for the energy.
But with Mercury very near this point at 20 Sagittarius, it’s unlikely much clarity will be gained, and disingenuous arguments repeated ad infinitum will continue to be the norm in Washington (with asteroid Washingtonia also conjoined Sisyphus/Lie).
Take as example the much-vaunted rhetoric surrounding the “jobs-killing” tax rate hike due to come into effect on January 1, 2011, when the Bush tax cuts expire. Democrats want to retain the current rate for taxpayers earning less than $250,000 per year, and return to the Clinton-era levels, 4.6% higher than currently, for those earning more. Republicans decry this plan as devastating to small businesses (which they call the job-creating engine of the economy), some of which file as individuals and would thus be subject to the new rates.
But a close examination of the facts belies this critique. In the first place, it is not commonly known or explained that the tax increase only applies to earned income above $250,000. Whether your total yearly income is $300,000 or $300 million, the first $250,000 is still subject to the current reduced rate. So a small business owner who files as an individual and makes $300,000 a year is only paying additional tax on the final $50,000, an increased tax burden of $2300 per annum. If the job he is mooting creating pays just the Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, this added tax, if retained by the prospective employer, would pay for roughly seven and a half weeks of the prospective new employee’s labor (in straight salary, not counting the cost of any additional benefits or payroll taxes the employer is responsible for). Hardly a make-or-break proposition, is it? Even if the small business owner makes $500,000 a year, the additional tax burden is just $11,500, still barely enough to pay a new employee at minimum wage for seven months.
But the dishonest (Lie) cry of “jobs-killing tax hike!”, endlessly repeated (Sisyphus) by the GOP leadership (asteroid McConnell) and rank-and-file, is the only message that gets through.
And speaking of message, that’s a Mercury concern, and with the planet of communication at 20 Sagittarius on a Black Hole and linked by exact semisextile to Mars at 20 Capricorn and exact square to asteroid House at 20 Pisces, we can expect plenty of rhetorical (Mercury) sparring (Mars) from an embittered (also Mars) House of Representatives (asteroid House), with Dems licking their wounds from their recent electoral trouncing, and Republicans swaggeringly triumphant in their victory. The Black Hole with Mercury suggests much thought and speech expended to very little purpose, with sane, reasoned commentary lost in the maelstrom of divisive debate.
A further indicator of the division and separation likely to ensue from this Congress is a tense linkage between asteroid America at 22 Gemini retrograde, in semisextile to TNO Sedna at 21 Taurus retrograde and sextile TNO Eris at 21 Aries retrograde. The country (asteroid America) is likely to feel isolated (Sedna, an Inuit goddess, dwells in the deepest, most inaccessible part of the Arctic Ocean), sundered (Sedna’s limbs were hacked off when she tried to climb back into her father’s boat), fractious and divided (Eris was the Greek goddess of strife and discord).
Jupiter and Uranus conjunct at 26 and 27 Pisces suggests we are in the throes of a political (Jupiter) revolution or upheaval (Uranus) of titanic (Uranus/Cronos was father of the Greek mythic Titans) proportions, something enhanced by this pair’s exact semisextile to Neptune and Chiron at 26 and 27 Aquarius, both atop the USA’s natal Moon degree. The erratic, maverick (both Chiron) behavior of the US electorate (USA Moon) in creating this political upheaval (Jupiter/Uranus) by tossing the House willy-nilly from party to party over the past few election cycles, like a bone between two dogs. This activity is likely to continue while Neptune encourages the fears, delusions, and gullibility of the populace (Moon).
That these points all key on Venus at 26 Scorpio in the chart of the 112th Congress, Jupiter/Uranus by trine, and Neptune/Chiron by square, shows the pivotal importance of finances (Venus) to the ongoing turmoil. Do we spend too much? Do we tax too little? Can we economize without devastating those of our citizens least able to support themselves? It’s no accident that the “compromises” forged on the expiring tax structure were the only way to resolve an impasse over continued funding of unemployment benefits, which could have been fully funded for another year by reclaiming the lost tax revenue of millionaires, but which will now be added to the exploding federal debt.
Saturn at 16 Libra also squares the Sun of this chart, and if the Sun here can be taken as the Congress generally, then Saturn is the Chief Executive, and the square between them represents the tension and conflict already apparent between the president and not only the Republicans in Congress, who can be relied upon to be in opposition to his policies, but also to many disaffected Democrats, disillusioned by Obama’s seeming lack of fervor for the progressive causes close to their hearts. It is hard to see where Obama forges alliances on the left, and the Democratic base will likely have to content itself with the tatters of what remains of the already inadequate healthcare reform bill after the incoming GOP majority has its way with Obamacare. Important climate-change-related cap and trade legislation also hangs in the balance, GITMO remains open, and the war in Afghanistan is only getting bigger, so there will be plenty for liberal House Dems to be disgruntled about.
On the House side, both incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have celestial representation. Asteroid Johnny (#3252, for John Boehner) at 3 Leo retrograde is exactly conjoined a Black Hole and trined asteroid Nancy (#2056, for Nancy Pelosi) at 9 Sagittarius, also conjunct a Black Hole at 10 Sagittarius, these dual Black Hole contacts indicating the dramatic change in status for these members as they swap roles. The ease of this aspect should indicate some level of cooperation between them, but at this point, all that unites the rival leaders is a cordial dislike of the president.
There may be a glimpse of possible repercussions to the GOP by the linkage of Johnny with asteroid Mitchella ((# 1455, for Mitch McConnell) on the Quasar at 5 Scorpio, both forming a T-Square with asteroid Karma at 6 Aquarius. Will there be a karmic comeuppance for the GOP leadership in the 2012 elections, if they disappoint their base with business as usual in Washington during this congress? Already, before the new congress has even sat, both leaders have signed off on almost a trillion dollars of additional debt over the next two years by extending the Bush tax cuts, something which Tea Party constituents will not take kindly. Johnny and Mitchella also aspect Pluto at 5 Capricorn, by inconjunct and sextile, indicating the augmented personal power for each gained by the November election.
Obama’s Solar Return for 2010 further shows the importance of this Congress to his future, with all the current themes in evidence. The Sun returned to its natal degree of 12 Leo falls in the Eighth House of the Solar Return (SR) chart, the house governing taxes, and finds itself joined there by asteroids Mitchella at 16 Leo and Nemesis at 15 Leo. This is a clear indicator of the importance of the tax issue and the negative role Mitch McConnell will have in Obama expressing his will in congress over the next session.
SR Venus’ prominence at 27 Virgo, conjunct the MC from the Tenth House side, and the most elevated point in the chart, shows the pivotal impact of financial matters this year for Obama. Vesta close by at 28 Virgo could indicate issues with bonds and securities markets, which are already wavering at the added debt burden of the tax cut extension.
Also in the Tenth House is Saturn at 1 Libra, representing the office of the presidency, conjunct the supermassive Black Hole at the center of Galaxy M-87, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware, exerting a vast gravitational pull with the power to twist and transform the office in ways we cannot imagine. Sucked into this vortex are asteroids Washingtonia at 1 Libra and Nancy at 2 Libra, and Mars at 3 Libra. An embattled (Mars) presidency (Saturn) could result, distorting (Black Hole) capitol (Washingtonia) politics more than usual, with House Minority Leader Pelosi (asteroid Nancy) playing a key role in the conflict.
The White House’s attempt in late summer to make John Boehner’s pending Speakership an electoral issue is prefigured by the combination of asteroid Johannes (#9300, another alternate for “John”) at 4 Scorpio with Kassandra at 3 Scorpio, all within orb of the Quasar at 5 Scorpio, calling into question Boehner’s (asteroid Johnny) credibility (Kassandra), but also dramatically increasing his public profile (the Quasar, which spotlights whatever it touches). Johannes also forms the apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjuncts to SR Jupiter at 3 Aries retrograde and the SR Moon at 4 Gemini, indicating Boehner’s importance to Obama this year, a fated (Yod) political (Jupiter) situation, fraught with emotion and involving the public (both Moon), requiring adjustment (the inconjuncts) on Obama’s behalf.
Further indication of the need to throw off his old self and re-emerge with a new image this year is SR Pluto’s position in the SR First House, governing how others see us; at 3 Capricorn retrograde, Pluto is exactly squared Jupiter, emphasizing the need for major change and transition/transformation in the political sphere. Obama may not willingly cooperate with this necessity, however, as asteroid Barry at 9 Cancer has its heels firmly dug in with the South Node at 10 Cancer, representing the easy path, the past, clinging to what has come, what is familiar, and refusing to make changes to move forward into the future.
SR Uranus at 0 Aries retrograde conjoins Jupiter, another signal that while progressive (Uranus) philosophies (Jupiter) and ideals are dear to Obama’s heart, politics in practice is likely to be erratic, tempestuous and alienating (all Uranus). The presence of asteroid Reid at 14 Gemini, conjunct the 18 Gemini Descendant, suggests that Obama’s relationship (Descendant) with the Senate Majority Leader (Reid) will be pivotal to his success this year; asteroid McConnell at 24 Scorpio squares Neptune and Chiron at 27 and 29 Aquarius, suggesting further wounding (Chiron) and disappointment (Neptune) form that quarter.
One potentially bright spot—with an exact conjunction of asteroid America with Obama’s SR Moon at 4 Gemini, there could be an increased degree of emotional simpatico with the American (America) people (Moon). If so, this hasn’t manifested so far, but with Moon/America exactly opposed a Black Hole at 4 Sagittarius, these conditions can change on a dime, and there are still more than six months left to the President’s solar year. If Obama can activate this potential in a positive manner this year, he’ll be one big step further down the road to re-election in 2012.