Links & Commentary Weekend Feb. 11-12, 2017

This ain’t the penthouse, and the natives are restless. A lie is just a lie is just a lie. Putin suits up. Resistance to the Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. The Blob: FEEeeed me, Seymour!

The Sun King

For Trump, a solitary start to life in the White House [AP]
This is a more balanced report than the hit job by The New York Times, which alleged that Trump’s staff sits in the dark because they don’t know how to turn on the lights. Peter Van Buren did a scathing takedown on that one (illustrated with an image that you will not ever being able to unsee). Conversely, this story almost makes you feel sorry for the guy, if for no other reason than that he honestly didn’t know what he was getting himself into and didn’t think he’d ever have to find out.

For what it’s worth, this account is consistent with what I predicted in my article the week after the election. From an astrologer’s perspective, it’s a classic manifestation of the Saturn-Moon conjunction. As I wrote, it’s going to get a lot worse this summer.


Trump White House besieged by leaks [The Hill]
“The leakiness of the Trump White House has been a boon to the press corps, who find themselves feasting on the juicy insider details that were hard to come by during the ‘No Drama Obama’ years.”

Sounds like they’re not just “feasting,” but helping to grill the meat. And we’re shocked, shocked.

Not that it takes an astrologer to have predicted this outcome, but I’d like to note that I did, and also wrote that he would have serious personnel problems, with the likelihood of a lot of turnover in his first 100 days (link to story, above).

Propaganda Wars

Is ‘fake news’ a fake problem? [Columbia Journalism Review]
Backed up with a lot of wonky data and graphs, this study dispels the notion that “fake news” had much influence on the 2016 presidential election. The research was conducted by a Ph.D. candidate in media studies at Northwestern University.

“Here’s what we found. First, the fake news audience is tiny compared to the real news audience–about 10 times smaller on average. This held true between November 2015 and November 2016. In fact, the real news audience spiked in October and November, while the fake news audience held constant.”

Kudos to Columbia Journalism Review, a highly respected publication, for adding an editor’s note that it doesn’t agree with the researcher’s assumptions of what constitutes “fake news.” I couldn’t agree more. If you eliminate legitimate independent news sites from his study, the small audience is reduced to barely a blip on the radar screen.

Bottom line: You can stop worrying about “fake news,” regardless of what the legacy media are telling you. The truth is, they’re the ones who are really worried about it, and with good reason.

A Lie by Any Other Name [NYT Op-ed]
I was tempted to put this under EOCAWKI (end of civilization as we know it). The way NYT Op-Ed columnist Charles Blow tells it, Trump’s penchant for making up shit is a danger to Truth itself. Editorials by definition are opinion, but good ones are supported by fact. There’s no question that Trump has a warped sense of reality (I probably would, too, after living for nearly 40 years in a fake Baroque palace interior 58 stories over midtown Manhattan), but Blow’s perspective is distorted, too. Some may not even notice it, as many of his comments are reflected in news stories – i.e., reports that are supposed to be objective. This statement by Blow may be even more deluded than Trump’s inauguration crowd-size whopper:

“He hates members of the press because, when properly performing, they are truth seekers rather than ego-strokers. The press may sometimes get things wrong, but it most often gets them right. A truly independent press is not stocked with political acolytes but political adversaries.”

I can’t argue with his caveat, “when properly performing, nor can I argue with his description of a “truly independent press.” But as many of the links in this post alone show, the corporate media have serious performance issues, one of the most serious being the failure to confront the Washington power structure. We can’t know for sure whether Trump hates the press for doing their job until they actually start doing it.


Women Skeptical of the Women’s March [Naked Capitalism]
This is a hot topic, and not just online. My own tiny-town newspaper received scathing letters to the editor about their portrayal of the event as “anti-Trump.” Their point was understandable and ultimately an attempt to be inclusive; yet, it’s hard to imagine that the marches would have attracted such huge numbers if Clinton had been elected. Or that the marchers would have been wearing knitted women’s genitals on their heads. NC’s discussion, as always, is intelligent, respectful, and thought-provoking.

* Isis was a goddess in the Egyptian pantheon representing the universal feminine, comparable to Venus. Whoever began calling the jihadi head-choppers ISIS – an acronym for “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” – did her a horrific disservice, maybe by intent. I propose that we reclaim the name of the goddess and use a different term for the group. A couple of years ago, the name “Daesh” came into vogue. Essentially, it’s the Arabic equivalent to the ISIS acronym, although it’s complicated. Meanwhile, I’m doing my part to restore her good name by using Isis as a category for women’s issues.

Pleasure Planet

Putin Nixes Notched, Picks Peaked — Kremlin Lapels Point To The President For Life [John Helmer]
An astute observation by John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia. Having closely observed the Washington dress code while I was a reporter there in the eighties, I don’t entirely agree with this assessment – at least not as it pertains to the United States. Congress is a club, and unless you want to look like you don’t belong there, you wear the club “uniform.”

That said, if Paul Ryan suddenly changed suit styles, you can bet it would be a news item, and the Washington press corps would be all over it, trying to figure out the hidden meaning. That Putin has changed after years of wearing the same style suit does seem like an indication of a shift of some kind. John Helmer’s reporting and analysis is unparalleled, so he just might on onto something.

Phobos & Deimos

Trump’s Foreign Policy at a Crossroads [Consortium News]
Bob Parry is among the best old-school journalists on the planet, with nearly 40 years of reporting on foreign policy issues. His articles often contradict what you’re reading in The Washington Post and The New York Times, which tend not to stray from the official narrative coming out of Washington. In this article, he makes suggestions to the incoming administration for bringing sanity to U.S. foreign policy. Essentially, it boils down to, “Tell the American people the truth.”

“If you wanted to bring sanity to a U.S. foreign policy that has spun crazily out of control, there would be some immediate steps that you – or, say, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – could take, starting with a renewed commitment to tell the truth to the American people.

“Instead of the endless ‘perception management’ or ‘strategic communication’ or ‘psychological operations’ or whatever the new code words are, you could open up the files regarding key turning-point moments and share the facts with the citizens – the ‘We the People’ – who are supposed to be America’s true sovereigns.”

However, as Parry notes in a separate article, the signs coming out of the Trump White House aren’t encouraging, largely because of the Blob.

The Neocons’ Back-Door to Trump [Consortium News]
“President Trump’s foreign policy is sliding toward neoconservative orthodoxy on the Middle East because White House insiders are aligning with Israeli-Saudi interests and vowing undying hostility toward Iran, which they falsely insist is the chief sponsor of terrorism.”

Those ‘Resignations’: What Really Happened at the State Department [Peter Van Buren]
Peter Van Buren, who spent 24 years as a foreign service officer with the State Department, is another go-to source for deconstructing official Washington “perception management,” aided and abetted by the corporate media. Here, he explains what really happened with all those top diplomats who reportedly quit in protest of Trump.


Dakota Access Pipeline Challengers Race To Court To Block Construction [BuzzFeed]
“The US Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday granted the approvals needed for pipeline construction to continue through federal land. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has asked a judge to block construction as they press a legal challenge.” BuzzFeed’s report includes copies of the legal documents filed by the tribe and an update notice that the judge will hear arguments on Monday.

Financial Astrology

MMA Free Weekly Column For 2017-02-13 [MMA Cycles]
By Ray Merriman, founder and CEO of the Merriman Market Analyst
“Based these geocosmic signatures, one should not take the recent rhetoric between Iran and the USA’s President Trump and his administration as idle threats. These are serious aspects, and this could quickly become serious business. With these cosmic conditions alone, Trump could easily become a “war president,” as discussed at length on this year’s Forecast 2017 Book. This does not mean there has to be war, for no one can “predict” with absolute accuracy (unless one is a prophet, and we are not). It does, however, mean that the possibilities are higher than usual based on our understanding of these cosmic principles involving Mars and Saturn, which are classical aspects historically ascribed to war-like themes by ancient astrologers.”

The Resistance

Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement [The Nation]
“The widely held view that Trump is an illegitimate president who’s poised to enact an agenda combining the worst of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s ‘granny-starving’ fiscal conservatism with White House consigliere Steve Bannon’s ethno-nationalism has fueled the formation of dozens of new grassroots resistance groups. Some were launched by seasoned political operatives, others by people who hadn’t engaged in activism in the past. Some were germinated during chats on long bus rides to the Women’s March. …
Here’s an overview of some of the new efforts launched since November 9.”

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Planetary Cycles

Friday (Venus) Feb. 10, 2017 Full Moon 22°28′ Leo, Lunar Eclipse, 7:33PM EST

Saturday (Saturn) Feb. 11, 2017 Sun trine Jupiter (Rx) 10:25AM EST

Tuesday (Mars) Feb. 14, 2017 Sun sextile Saturn 12:58AM EST Valentine’s Day

Thursday (Jupiter) Feb. 16, 2017 Mercury sextile Mars 1:15PM EST

Saturday (Saturn) Feb. 18, 2017 Sun Enters Pisces 6:31AM EST

Sunday (Sun) Feb. 26, 2017 New Moon 8°12′ Pisces, Solar Eclipse 9:58AM EST


Sunday (Sun) March 4, 2017 Venus retrograde (direct April 15)
Sunday (Sun) April 9, 2017 Mercury retrograde (direct May 3)

Outer Planetary Cycles:

Jupiter square Pluto – March 30,
Saturn retrograde – April 6
Pluto retrograde – April 20
Saturn trine Uranus – May 19
Jupiter direct – June 9
Neptune retrograde – June 16

One-Minute Meditation
Image: © Gretchen Friedrich
Image: © Gretchen Friedrich