Most of us aren’t too concerned about where our next meal is coming from. Whether we’re organic vegans or fast-food addicts, be it fine dining in an exclusive restaurant or home-cooked fare made from grandma’s yellowing recipe book, the issue of whether or not we’ll eat, or how soon, is one far removed from most folks’ reality.
But for millions of American families, hunger is an ever-present guest at the table. And all too often, in the wrangling in Washington between “D’s” and “R’s”, these disadvantaged fellow Americans drop through the social safety net cracks, while corporate interests loosen their belts to accommodate yet another public funds feeding frenzy.
Even in the present economic circumstances, we’re not a poor nation—we have plenty of resources. It’s how we choose to allocate them that shows, more than all the ideological posturing and faux-patriotic chest-thumping, just what our values as a nation are.
On July 11, 2012, the House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the new Farm Bill by a vote of 35-11, with $35 billion in cuts to domestic and foreign nutrition assistance programs and farm subsidies. The legislation cuts more than $16 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) alone, representing 45% of the Bill’s proposed spending cuts, and further guts foreign food aid programs by 95%.
Nearly three million Americans could be impacted by the cuts, which would also deny eligibility for free school lunch programs to 280,000 children. Some 46 million Americans participate in the SNAP program, a record high which has grown exponentially since the severe financial downturn of 2008, when just 28 million collected benefita—an increase of more than 50% in four years.
But the money cut from these programs is not being saved. Among the many standard, well-established dollops of corporate welfare in any Farm Bill, a whopping new subsidy for agribusiness is making its appearance, in the form of a new crop insurance program funded to the tune of $9.5 billion. The new provision is being rushed into the Bill and will become valid retroactively for spring and summer 2012, protecting agribusiness concerns from the fiscal fallout and profit margin effects of this year’s devastating drought. Crop insurance pay-outs could top the $30 billion mark this year as crops wither in the fields under the blistering heat and lack of rain, and the new crop insurance program provides for a 62% funding of crop insurance premium costs by the American taxpayer.
Given the propensity for House Republicans to elevate business concerns over those of the poor, it is perhaps no surprise to find key astrological factors which depict this, coming together as the new Farm Bill passed out of the Agriculture Committee, chaired by Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK). A conjunction of Jupiter, ruling politics, and Venus, representing values, in early Gemini, the decision-making process, says much—what do we value as a nation, where are our priorities? Asteroid Ceres joins Jupiter exactly at 6 Gemini, showing the arena for this round of debate as food (Ceres as Roman goddess of grains and crops generally).
These three sit at the apex of a Yod, also known as a Finger of Destiny (depicted with blue lines on the graphic), with inconjunct aspects to Pluto (Big Money, corporate interests) at 7 Capricorn (governmental structures, business) and asteroid Demeter (Greek goddess of agriculture) at 5 Scorpio (shared resources), implying some degree of fatedness or predetermination. This is a fight a long time in the making, with far-reaching ramifications for the poor and serious implications for the least empowered among us.
The Jupiter/Venus/Ceres conjunction also forms a T-Square (depicted with green lines on the graphic), a major pattern indicating high levels of stress and conflict, with Neptune at 2 Pisces and asteroid House at 5 Virgo. Neptune here represents the poor and disadvantaged, those who will suffer the most from these spending cuts, as well as the deceptive tactics of the GOP, who have been rhetorically bashing SNAP beneficiaries throughout the primary season and into this summer’s legislative session. Asteroid House defines the venue for this vote as the US House of Representatives; a version of the Farm Bill also passed the Senate in June, and its cuts, though considerable, were not as draconian, with almost $5 billion removed from the SNAP program, less than a third of the House total.
But Jupiter/Venus/Ceres doesn’t stop there—a semisextile to asteroid Midas at 5 Cancer, a symbol of greed gone out of control, finds that minor planetary body centered on the USA’s natal Venus/Jupiter conjunction at 3 and 5 Cancer. This reiterates their current union in the sky, and activates the country’s natural tendency to mix politics in unhealthy, outsized proportions with moneyed interests (both Jupiter and Venus also rule aspects of fiscal matters), often to the detriment of our shared values, ethics and morals.
The triple conjunction is also in trine to a pairing of Mars (conflict, argument) and asteroid America (the US) at 6 and 4 Libra (finding the balance, making compromise), suggesting the national slugfest to come, as Congress scrambles to craft a bill that can pass both Houses and receive a presidential signature of approval, before the old Farm Bill expires September 30.
With 26 Republican members and 20 Democrats, the 35-11 vote split passing the Farm Bill shows a distressing number of Democrats in support of this unwarranted erosion of much-needed support for America’s poorest families, highlighting the reality that there is really just one Corporatist Party in the US, with two slightly divergent wings.
One more detail to be noted is the appearance of personal-named asteroids representing Frank Lucas, Republican chair of the House Agricultural Committee. Asteroids Franke (#2824), Franck (#4546), Franklina (#982) and Lucas (#9349) all play their part in the day’s skies. Lucas at 1 Aries conjoins Uranus at 8 Aries and squares Midas at 5 Cancer; Franklina at 13 Leo closely conjoins Mercury (decisions, votes, details and wording of legislation) at 12 Leo; Franck at 29 Libra conjoins agriculture goddess Demeter at 5 Scorpio. Franke at 29 Leo conjoins asteroid House at 5 Virgo, establishing the venue, and even more tellingly, is also closely conjunct asteroid Fanatica at 28 Leo, displaying the ideological basis for the cuts. Both Franke/Fanatica and Franck are also in exact aspect to asteroid Washingtonia at 29 Capricorn, by inconjunct and square.