Monday, March 20, 2017

A New Take on Chaos & Cruelty: Pluto’s latest “Modest Proposal”

At a bit after 6 a.m. this morning, the Sun slipped into the feisty sign of Aries, and with that, our new Solar year dawned. 

I wrote at length about this event in the March 6th post here, but the past week’s developments make today’s threshold even more critical. 

A lot is happening today in Washington—the first official hearing into Russian interference in our election, and it appears we already have FBI Director James Comey's  definitive word that Trump’s outrageous tweet-accusations against President Obama are unfounded by evidence.

Today is also the first confirmation hearing for conservative Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. A lot of firsts, in other words—well timed! 

Today, we can cross our fingers and hope that the positive potentials of the coming year drown out the negatives—we’re already faced with challenges galore, so the new year is off and running.

Today, I have to share some thoughts on the Trump/Mulvaney budget that was previewed this past week, on the heels of startling revelations about how destructive the GOP’s new health care plan would be to the most vulnerable among us—most notably, seniors and the poor who rely on the Medicaid expansion. 

Surprise, surprise, the proposed budget targets these same groups for the cruelest cuts, and then targets any arena in which government has traditionally uplifted people rather than controlling and oppressing them: the arts, the humanities, the sciences, medical research, the environment—they’re all on the chopping block.

It’s pure cynicism, crystallized in one horrifying statement of this administration’s values. 

Government, of course, is always capable of cruelty and cynicism, but thankfully, there are counter forces that shed light on the worst government behavior. One such case takes us way back, but it’s worth consideration for its echoes today.

In 1729, British social satirist Jonathan Swift applied his biting, sardonic wit to the “problem” British leaders at that time were bent on solving:  there were simply too many poor Irish children, too many ragged children begging for alms on every street corner, annoying more affluent passers-by. 

Swift picked up on the inhumane tenor of those deliberations and came out with his own “modest proposal:” mind you, he was not proposing a way to raise these poor and working class children and their families out of poverty—certainly, there was no support for family planning in those days, and “the poor will always be with you” was an unquestioned given. 

Public education and social services for the masses were unheard of, so if you were poor and wanted to eat, you made a nuisance of yourself on the street corners.

Rather than fix the problem of poverty itself, Swift proposed a way to transform the children themselves—their bodies, at least—into a “benefit” to the public, or as Swift put it, “a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth…” I’ll let Swift get to the meat (pun intended?) of his proposal:

“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust…
I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.”
Swift proceeds with grisly calculations about how many such children would need to be allowed to mature for the sake of reproducing this stock of “food” for the wealthy. Estate owners, for instance, who have depleted their deer populations would certainly benefit, and even older children could be put to that use, “so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service.”

In the Darwinian British world satirized here by Swift, the poor or similarly disadvantaged are either a resource or a burden—they are literally lower on the food chain than the upper classes—and if they can’t be put to some use in the labor market, then they must be put to use in some other way. 

Of course, the savage cynicism reflected in this notion of a “market” for poor Irish children’s flesh is radical to the extreme, and we can hope, a morally unacceptable solution to any problem, ever

Pluto's "Catch 22"

Yet, morally unacceptable things are happening with regularity in Washington these days, and at some point we need to question how our political leaders are looking to normalize pretty heinous treatment of the “least among us” with every new program and budget they propose. Let’s start by yanking the poor’s medical care away from them, if they’re unemployed. 

The mentally ill and disabled, or those who can’t afford child care would certainly fall through the cracks here. For others, it’s the perfect Plutonian “Catch 22.”

If such able-bodied individuals could find employment that paid a living wage with decent benefits, would they need Medicaid? 

Don’t stop there, however: let’s also axe the food assistance programs, so not only will the poor lack access to medical care—they will also lack the wherewithal to prevent illness with good nutrition. We’ll have children begging on the streets yet—welcome to “third world America!”

We’ve never really come to grips with what causes endemic poverty in this country—IMHO, because it’s just a bit too much like the problem of global warming: we can see the effects of it all around us, and we know the long-term consequences are bound to be horrendous, but to really commit ourselves to fixing and preventing the problem, we might have to accept some systemic changes that challenge our biases and comfort-levels. 

In the case of global warming, we might have to accept that basing an economy on extracting every last molecule of fossil fuels out of the earth, and pushing non-stop consumption of those resources, is unsustainable and self-destructive. It satisfies our current Jupiter-Pluto downward spiral into dark power, however.

In the case of poverty, we might have to accept that our economy has been structurally rigged to serve the wealthy over everyone else—and then do something about it. The fact that the Bible says “the poor will always be with you” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t aspire to something better. 

But what can we do that doesn’t demand a little something out of the wealthy? How about a system in which corporations accept a slightly smaller piece of the economic pie, in return for the perks of a happier, less dysfunctional society and consumers who can actually pay for those corporate products? 

Here’s the corporate conundrum we’re living with, and it seems to be getting even more unbalanced and extreme: corporations, by dint of a corporate-backed law, are forced to value and privilege their own stock values above all else, so their slice of the economic pie is never big enough

With Libra Jupiter now in waning square to Capricorn Pluto, there’s a big push to maximize corporate power and bottom lines while the Trump-led opportunity presents itself. 

We need to be wary of what this means for the health and well-being of ordinary Americans, however—those who work for a living, as opposed to living off their Wall Street investments. The warnings are sounding loud and clear in Trump’s so-called “compassionate” budget.  In what twisted universe?

The fact is, corporations also profit from the dysfunction caused in society by draconian cuts to social programs, to education, to science, the arts and humanities—i.e., to all that lifts us up and ennobles us as human beings. 

The corporate prison system, the weapons and defense aircraft industries and the “fear”-based security industries—all profit from the misery created when corporate values triumph over everything else. When the profit motive erases all our moral boundaries and “liberated” self-interest overwhelms our sense of responsibility to collective wellbeing, anything goes. 

We might even wonder to what extent enabling social dysfunction becomes a business strategy? We shouldn’t put that past a Capricorn Pluto. Within Trump’s 4-year term (if he lasts that long), Saturn and then Jupiter will catch up with Pluto, still in Capricorn, moving into the final few degrees of its return to the nation’s Sibly Pluto

All of this will transpire opposite Trump’s natal Saturn-Venus in Cancer, and with Venus disposing his Libra Jupiter, we can expect that he will continue to project a lot of his own personal anxieties and ambitions out on to the world and the nation (overlaying the Sibly 8th) in the name of “national security.” 

Grabbing resources from others (Sibly 8th) is the apparent goal (our allies had better “pay up” for our services, and next time, we'll be sure to "take the oil"); a degenerate world image is the price we will pay for Trump’s insecurities. 

See the triwheel below (Sibly/Trump/Aries Ingress) to picture all this.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel ) USA – Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Aries Ingress 2017, March 20, 6:16:48 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. All charts use Tropical Equal Houses and True Node.

Things are not likely to get easier on the working class during Trump’s term because our national priorities will hew even more closely to the corporate “security state” values we now see on paper in Trump’s budget. 

This combination of corporate and authoritarian values is nothing unusual these days—it lends itself to the 1993 Capricorn Uranus-Neptune cycle we’re in, not to mention all the Capricorn focus to come in the next few years. Ingress Pluto still squares Ingress Uranus (Aries), which widely conjoins the nation’s Chiron, tied in with our Mars by dispositorship. This already volatile point is made even more so by Trump’s Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions.

And so, while Pluto jangles his security-sensitive Saturn-Venus nerves (Cancer), we see that building up our national defense to the tune of $54 billion more becomes top priority, and nothing stops our government from becoming very autocratic under a perpetual state of “national security” crisis and war. The “wounding” represented here by Sibly Chiron could feel very real.

Trump, of course, embodies the ultimate corporate autocrat—he rose to television fame by pitting people against each other and “firing” people at will. He’s the quintessential “patriarch” of a corporate family. He has openly expressed admiration for dictators like Turkey’s President Erdogan, and thuggish kleptocrats like Vladimir Putin. Trump would have been a military man himself, except for the 5 dispensations he sought during the Viet Nam draft.

So, he’s pretty much Pluto’s man for the job of turning this country into a corporate autocracy.  
He’s got the billionaire oligarch’s life-style to prove it, too: American taxpayers are now paying for millions in additional security costs every time he “weekends” in his Florida estate. 

Every day Melania resists moving into the White House, taxpayers pay a hefty bill for securing the New York Trump Tower. Every time the Trump kids travel abroad for Trump business, we pay. 

All of this, while poor, homebound seniors and children are “liberated” from those pesky food assistance programs. 

Pluto never claims to play fair, and in the Underworld, “greed is very, very good.” With the current administration and its “trophy wife,” Paul Ryan’s Republican Congress, greed is not just good, it’s a virtue because it liberates us to make free choices. Like the “choice” to not feed our kids, and to not go to the doctor.

“We can ask a single mom to pay for Defense,” says Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, “but we can’t ask her to pay for programs that don’t prove they accomplish their goals.” Like Meals on Wheels? Like food assistance to the poor? This is a deeply twisted liberty he’s proposing.

These programs do precisely what they set out to do, but the new regime in D.C. can deflect these realities because in the end, it doesn’t value those goals. What possible excuse could there be for axing Meals on Wheels, except to “thin the herd?” 

This idea echoes Swift’s “modest proposal” far too closely—if seniors can’t get out there and work as Walmart greeters like everyone else (the equivalent of begging in the public square, but for a paltry paycheck?), they don’t deserve to eat!

Perhaps we can start seeing the official justifications for hating the poor for what they are: a sign that those in power don’t believe the poor deserve to live, and if they must, it shouldn’t be here. Besides (and this no one will say out loud), the poor are disproportionately people of color—another reason anti-poverty programs often crash and burn.

This week we heard a frank, but not terribly shocking admission to what’s really behind this hatred from Iowa Rep. Steve King:

“Rep. Steve King’s tweet this past week in defense of Geert Wilders, the anti-immigrant Dutch politician, won the Iowa Republican praise from white supremacists but a put-down from his colleagues. “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” King wrote. ‘We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.’”
This rhetoric skates chillingly close to both Swift’s “proposal” and to Hitler’s “Master Race,” a term he used to place the Aryan civilization above all others. If whites are the “Masters,” what does that make everyone else?

Pluto’s survival anxiety—that life is a “kill or be killed” proposition—is working overtime these days. Never fear, with the cuts to Planned Parenthood, women will be “liberated” to birth more babies for this new corporate “civilization!”

We must naturally try to moderate Pluto’s “dark side” in times like this, remembering that Pluto will take advantage of any complacency.  We’ve seen within our lifetimes how devastated and genocidal societies can become when survival anxiety is allowed to separate their people into opposing “tribes.”

Rwanda experienced this with its 1994 genocide and Bosnian Muslims experienced it with similar horror in 1995—in both instances, a strong Pluto in Scorpio, with harsh supporting Capricorn Uranus-Neptune energies, called the shots. There were powerful vested interests at work in both regions, and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children died vicious deaths as a result.

Ruling genetics, Pluto embraces a “survival of the fittest” ethic—anything goes if we can claim that “survival” (or, in Trumpland, “national security”) is at stake. To those who identify with their gene pool above all else, Plutonian logic is supremely empowering. Pluto loves a good purge, and it’s “Us against Them.”

It’s funny, however, that the same groups always seem to fall victim to these purges—we’re reminded who these perennial target groups are this week, with the Trump budget “chopping block.” 

First, anyone who might require assistance: Seniors, the disabled and poor people. 

Second, anyone who might be construed as weak in Trump’s testosterone-soaked world:  artists (Hitler called them “decadent”), those who cultivate an American ideal that clashes with his own—scientists, educators, museums and libraries—and of course, anything that smacks of liberal open-mindedness, cooperation and integrity. 

Basically, Trump considers weak anything that protects and encourages an open, expansive approach to the world, and he sees strength in reducing our national life to chaotic infighting and survival wars. To the Pluto-driven leader, power resides in those wars, and power-lust is usually hiding beneath the exaggerated paranoid concern for “national security.” 

The irony is, of course—if he and his Congress have no concern for the health and wellbeing of the people, what the heck does “national security” even mean?

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved.