Thursday, July 4, 2024

SCOTUS & its dark Project: Saturn-Neptune and the limits of idealism

 


 

In the final chapter of his masterful study, The Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present, social analyst Fareed Zakaria turned to the words of  

20th century philosopher Isaiah Berlin as a cautionary tale about the limits of both left and right-wing idealism. The quote is a bit lengthy, but it’s spookily relevant today and well worth the trouble:

“If you are truly convinced that there is some solution to all human problems, that one can conceive an ideal society which men can reach if only they do what is necessary to attain it, then you and your followers must believe that no price can be too high to pay in order to open the gates of such a paradise. Only the stupid and malevolent will resist once certain simple truths are put to them. Those who resist must be persuaded; if they cannot be persuaded, laws must be passed to restrain them; if that does not work, then coercion, if need be violence, will inevitably have to be used—if necessary, terror, slaughter.… We must weigh and measure, bargain, compromise, and prevent the crushing of one form of life by its rivals. 

I know only too well that this is not a flag under which idealistic and enthusiastic young men and women may wish to march—it seems too tame, too reasonable, too bourgeois, it does not engage the generous emotions. But you must believe me, one cannot have everything one wants—not only in practice, but even in theory. The denial of this, the search for a single, overarching ideal because it is the one and only true one for humanity, invariably leads to coercion. And then to destruction, blood—eggs are broken, but the omelette is not in sight, there is only an infinite number of eggs, human lives, ready for the breaking. 

And in the end the passionate idealists forget the omelette, and just go on breaking eggs.” [1]

In fact, SCOTUS seems to be recklessly “breaking eggs” these days, in the sense Berlin warns above. By unleashing a functionally “above the law” tyrannical presidency on us in Trump v. United States and by grabbing the power of government regulatory agencies for itself in the Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council, the Court is essentially saying that Americans must put up or shut up about potentially violent political and/or corporate overreach—today’s deeply entangled and anti-democracy brands of “passionate idealism”—because under this Court, such overreach will find support. According to this Court, the American People are, after all, just impersonal “eggs” waiting to be broken for the sake of Project 2025-style political power and corporate profit. 

 


 

Not to mention the “profits” some Justices are known to have accepted from a number of billionaire buddies who have had business before the Court and who have been behind decades of ultra-right-wing pressures on our rule of Law.

But in a real stunner, the Snyder v. United States decision this past week, the Court seems to also be saying that accepting rewards after a favor is paid to some entity, rather than before (aka, a bribe) is just fine. From the AP:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court overturned the bribery conviction of a former Indiana mayor on Wednesday, the latest in a series of decisions narrowing the scope of federal public corruption law.

The high court’s 6-3 opinion along ideological lines found the law criminalizes bribes given before an official act, not rewards handed out after.

In a sharply worded dissent joined by her liberal colleagues, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said the distinction between bribes and gratuities ignores the wording of the law aimed at rooting out public corruption.

‘Some gratuities can be problematic. Others are commonplace and might be innocuous,’ Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote. The lines aren’t always clear, especially since many state and local officials have other jobs, he said.

The high court sided with James Snyder, a Republican who was convicted of taking $13,000 from a trucking company after prosecutors said he steered about $1 million worth of city contracts to the company.”

So, we’re led to believe—by extension—that if the Justices receive rewards for handing their billionaire friends big wins over inconvenient environmental and healthcare regulations and policies and so on, that’s all good. They might as well be hanging out a shingle that says “Pay to play or stay away!”

Taken as a whole body of work that can’t help but be disruptive to the nation’s integrity and Rule of Law, such decisions seem to reflect a belief that Isaiah Berlin would recognize: that “there is some solution to all human problems,” and it’s to take care of corporations (and the corrupt politicians and officials who serve them) at the expense of ordinary Americans.

 

 

"Creating Light in Dark Times," U. of Toronto Press

 

Dark times with the Saturn-Neptune cycle

Perhaps the most flagrantly disruptive decision, of course, was the Court’s extremist Trump v. United States case, considering that it blurs the lines between presidential actions that can be construed as “official”—and are thus presumed immune from prosecution (according to them), even after the presidency—and those that are “private,” and perhaps subject to some vague possibility of prosecution.

Basically, anything goes under this Court, in other words—a criminally-inclined president can simply slap the label “official act” on what he’s up to and he can now literally get away with murder or worse. He can use his official capacity and powers to overthrow an election to stay in power. He can use and abuse the Justice Department to eliminate or incarcerate his political rivals. And I’m guessing he can sell our sensitive national documents to the highest bidder.

And on and on…yes, it turns out that a president acting in official capacity is above the Law, so effectively a monarch/autocratic leader like the one we fought a Revolutionary War to overcome…so much for democracy!

Of course, in crafting their response in the ambiguous terms they use so fluently, the Court was using classic Saturn-Neptune sleight of hand, undermining the structures of accountability that we’ve always known as our Rule of Law in this nation on one hand and trying to minimize the radical nature of their actions on the other. “Nothing to see here, folks”…business as usual!

Even worse, the blistering dissents of both Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson laid bare the dark potential of the decision, but thes Justices were quickly dismissed as overreacting “hysterics” by critics, including Chief Justice Roberts. Slate captures the scene well:

“It’s gross, but not unexpected, that often when the court fractures along gender lines, as it has frequently this term, you will hear a whole lot of the jovial ‘Calm down, little missy’ talk that you might recall from 1950s sitcoms.

It is nevertheless pretty jarring to hear that kind of condescension trotted out by Chief Justice John Roberts, in the democracy-altering immunity decision handed down Monday. The court granted itself the imperial authority to confer upon the president powers of a king, but although Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson said as much in their respective dissents, it fell to Big Daddy Chief Justice Roberts to intone to his readers that their aggregated dissents strike ‘a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today.’ Implying that the dissenters were overreacting, and without ever attempting to address the substance of their claims, Roberts accused them of ‘fear mongering on the basis of extreme hypotheticals about a future where the President ‘feels empowered to violate federal criminal law.’ ”

Women rarely have much of a say in authoritarian regimes, but by relegating his colleagues’ concerns about democracy to a bit of feminine “fretting,” Roberts has clearly signaled that he’s fine with dismissing women’s concerns. Big surprise, huh? We might be surprised that he didn’t suggest his liberal colleagues (yes, they all happen to be women) were “on the rag.” Smug arrogance of the most toxic patriarchal kind comes to mind here, but behind the arrogance is an even more troubling reality: this Court—under the leadership of Roberts—has demonstrated it is prepared to defend and enable an extremist right-wing agenda that echoes 1930s fascism. 

Chief Justice Roberts and then-president Trump in 2018.
 

This is the same Chief Justice Roberts who has effectively shielded his male colleagues Alito and Thomas from having to recuse themselves in cases where their clear pro-Trump bias would raise concerns, or from having to rein in the luxurious gifts they’re allowed to accept from wealthy patrons who have a stake in Court decisions.  Under his watch, which has largely played out during Neptune’s consequential transit of its home sign, Pisces (since 2011),  the Court (Saturn) has clearly allowed its ethical norms and expectations to be corrupted (Neptune), and our democracy is now suffering the consequences.

Along those lines, notice in Biwheel 1 below that transiting Saturn (Rx, Pisces) forms a watery grand trine with transiting Venus (Cancer) and transiting Pallas (Rx, Scorpio). Inundated with pressures put on it by Big Money (Venus) and by Neptune’s undermining force against all our institutions (with Saturn in Pisces), the cause of Justice (Pallas) has been seriously, if not fatally, compromised. More on this Saturn to come…

Biwheel 1 below places a noon chart for the Court’s July 1st decision regarding Trump (so cast for Washington, D.C.) against the U.S. Sibly chart, which helps to consider the larger national context of the Court’s actions. Importantly, the Sibly chart marks the moment our American colonies declared their independence from King George III’s oppressive monarchy and Britain’s imperialist tyranny.

Some—including six members of our Supreme Court—seem fine with returning to similar oppressive circumstances, as long as our precious big corporations don’t have to pay taxes or abide by regulations of any kind. Have we forgotten what our foundation as a nation really was? What will be left if the Court’s vision of an imperial presidency is allowed to persist into the future? How does this decision speak to the big picture of challenges to the nation at this precarious moment? And, most critically, who stands to benefit from the Court’s ambiguously worded, but oh so real overthrowing of our democracy?  


Biwheel 1. (inner wheel) US (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Source: Ebenezer Sibly, cited and documented by Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, Chart #370, pp. 363-4; (outer wheel) SCOTUS Trump v. United States, July 1, 2024, 12 p.m. DST (noon, no exact time known), Washington, D.C. All charts are cast by the author on Kepler 8.0 with Tropical Equal Houses, True Node and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.



A lot is going on between and within these two charts, of course, but let’s start simple and work towards more complicated cyclical dynamics.

First, notice that transiting Moon and Mars (outer wheel) fall tightly conjunct in Venus-disposed Taurus, sextile transiting Venus (Cancer) and the Sibly Sun (Cancer, representing both the Executive and the nation as an entity in itself), and sextile transiting Saturn (Pisces). Keeping in mind that the Moon disposes the possibly finance-related Cancer points involved here, we can appreciate how transactional the Court’s aggressive, democracy-upending move likely was. Clearly, with Venus falling over the Sibly 8th, this fixed, ambitious Mars-Moon energy was able to tap into the nation’s deep-pocketed classes and to take advantage of the relatively weak condition of transiting Saturn.

In other words, a “get out of jail free card” was transacted for activities that might otherwise raise eyebrows, like ordering assassinations of political rivals and unleashing military weaponry on peaceful protesters and selling pardons to convicted political allies. The flip side of this latter corrupt pursuit is the equally corrupt possibility of acquiring legal immunity through suspect means, of course.  Sextiles can be slippery, especially when the energy that might constrain the players involved is as undermined as Saturn is in this chart.

All of this is playing out, of course, against the backdrop of a transiting Mercury-Sibly Mercury conjunction and its opposition to Sibly Pluto (Rx, Capricorn)—so, a new round of powerful words/ideas serving shadowy deep-pocketed financial interests (Pluto)—our corporate “lords” of the Underworld, so to speak. Of course, the wounding produced by all this for the nation is reflected in transiting Chiron’s Aries t-square to this Cancer-Capricorn opposition. 

A classic depiction of the myth of Hades & Persephone.
 

My thanks to an eagle-eyed friend for reminding me that Venus will also soon be transiting opposite Sibly Pluto (and transiting Pluto, for that matter) and that this is likely to feel like a replay of the “abduction of Persephone” scenario in mythology. Project 2025—which the right-wing majority of the Supreme Court has basically rubber-stamped with its Trump v. United States decision—is planning for women to be coerced back into the home where their main job is keeping husbands happy and babies coming. Women can’t exactly “have it all” in a society that has stripped away their reproductive freedom! But now—in the “trad wife” craziness we see around us—it appears that women are being conditioned to once again accept the subservient roles they played in the “good old days” of the 1950’s, if not in even darker times.

Also in keeping with a Venus-Pluto opposition is an enhanced role for women as the “handmaids” of Big Capitalism’s aims: you want to get out of the house, ladies? Go shopping! That was George W. Bush’s advice after 9/11—don’t ask what you can do for your country—ask what you can now do for our newly unfettered capitalist economy!

President Biden’s policy of making corporations “pay their fair share” starts to sound not only na├»ve in this new order the Court has created, but we have to wonder if his policy hardened right-wing resolve to make sure corporations pay not one dime in taxes (Venus-Pluto again!) ever. By the Court’s logic, it’s the American public (Venus-0-Sibly Sun) that owes corporations (Pluto) a free ride; corporations owe us nothing. Speaking of abductions!

Bottom line, if this high Court has any say in the matter, we will be constantly confronted by the demands of unfettered Capitalism and we’ll be constantly dealing with the environmental and social fallout from it, as well. At this moment, the government’s regulatory hands have been tied by an activist Court, so attempts to safeguard the purity of our air and/or water could well be undermined at every turn.

Saturn in Pisces can quite literally mean Lead in Water—anyone who has lived near a city that has had to deal with this type of crisis (I live near Flint, Michigan myself) knows how absolutely devastating it can be to put corporate profits over the health and welfare of the people.

Also at risk with this Saturn are the structures and safeguards built into our healthcare systems—among other issues, another round of epidemic or pandemic illnesses is perfectly conceivable, but the government’s ability to respond well to another outbreak may now be considerably diminished. And, whatever authority Biden used to reduce pharmaceutical costs for millions of Americans recently could quite easily run afoul of this Court. Unfettered capitalism means the unfettered ability to set whatever prices companies dare to demand from people. 

This regulatory weakness is also being exacerbated, most likely, by transiting Saturn (Rx, Pisces) now falling pretty tightly opposite Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and t-squaring Sibly Mars (Gemini). More on this below.

Conveniently, Project 2025 (which segues nicely with all recent Court decisions) also plans to completely remove environmental protections—in other words, Mother Earth will also be subject to Pluto’s grand abduction and power grab, so there will be no limiting corporate destruction. Let the glaciers melt and flood all vulnerable coastlines and send our precious fresh water resources into the salty oceans so Big Oil can drill, baby, drill! Let our waterways be flooded with PFAS contamination and worse—Pluto’s just fine with elevated cancer rates and apocalyptic scenarios!

Bottom line, extremist conservatives are working overtime implementing a revolution of sorts—which we can see in transiting Jupiter (Gemini) tight conjunction with Sibly Uranus (Gemini) in Biwheel 1 above, and their representatives are saying the quiet part out loud, threatening liberals with violence if they don’t happen to like what Project 2025 is about to do to them. From AP News:

“The leader of a conservative think tank orchestrating plans for a massive overhaul of the federal government in the event of a Republican presidential win said that the country is in the midst of a “second American Revolution” that will be bloodless “if the left allows it to be.”

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts made the comments Tuesday on Steve Bannon’s ‘War Room’ podcast, adding that Republicans are ‘in the process of taking this country back.’

Democrats are ‘apoplectic right now’ because the right is winning, Roberts told former U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, one of the podcast’s guest hosts as Bannon is serving a four-month prison term. ‘And so I come full circle on this response and just want to encourage you with some substance that we are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.’”

Did I mention that Kevin Roberts is also a co-author of the 900+ page Project 2025 blueprint for American autocracy under Trump?  

I have to say that I am concerned with this idea of “revolution” because transiting Uranus will be “returning” to Sibly Uranus in July 2027, not so very long from now, and the potential for a violent upheaval between now and then isn’t that remote. We can probably assume that, whether Trump or Biden wins in November, the nation will continue being unsettled because, among other things, Trump isn’t likely to let us live in peace unless he retakes the White House.

Adding to the unsettled feeling is the fact there are two other recent “returns” to points in our national chart that we have done very little as a nation to resolve in any meaningful way—our Pluto return (in its final stages as we speak), and our Chiron return (still ongoing). I’m hoping we haven’t squandered our chance to heal our national Soul as these planetary "gods" would have us do, to tell you the truth; I fear that if we reach our Uranus return without having done more to heal our divisions (Chiron) and more to place People over our would-be corporate overlords (Pluto), we will be heading into very rough times, indeed.  

 


 

The toxic reach of Saturn-Neptune malaise

Speaking of returns, for the longest time, Neptune was transiting opposite Sibly Neptune, effectively producing a “half-return” for Sibly Neptune; for now, however, Neptune has moved on a bit and is out of orb for this aspect. Even so, Neptune will soon be turning Rx and moving back within orb (max. 5 degrees) for one last hit in this long half-return. This will happen—significantly—during the period between the November election and Inauguration 2025, when we can probably count on the misinformation “fire hose” to be gushing full force.

Having just turned Rx this past week, Saturn will also be back-stroking between now and the election, and in the process it will retreat to a much earlier degree in Pisces that is out of orb for opposing Sibly Neptune. This will be a temporary situation, of course—by February, 2025 this Saturn (moving direct) will begin another passage, opposing Sibly Neptune, which will bear watching—along the way, this Saturn will be squaring Sibly Uranus (Gemini), trining Sibly Sun (Cancer, the Executive), quincunxing Sibly Saturn (Libra) and t-squaring (with Sibly Neptune) Sibly Mars (Gemini). And all this will be unfolding as transiting Saturn and Neptune continue to navigate the quicksand of the final degrees of their 1989 Capricorn cycle.

What this means is that, between now and February 2026, when the new Saturn-Neptune cycle launches at 1° Aries, basically all our federal institutions will be on the receiving end of the ever-deepening Saturn-Neptune malaise that has dogged our steps since their cycle lurched into its 3Q phase in November, 2015 (between early Sag-Pis).  

Clearly, the Project 2025 people and their friends in the Supreme Court are interpreting this lingering malaise (which we’re all feeling, face it) as a good time to overthrow our democracy as we know it, so we can probably expect the upcoming election to be the most corrupt election of our lifetimes and one marked by the total subversion of our traditional norms and laws. And there’s little doubt what will happen if the contest gets thrown to the Supreme Court for a tie-breaker. I’m still not willing to predict outcomes, but yes, vigilance and courage will be called for in the days ahead.

 

 

Biden comes back strong in NC after weak debate the night before.

 

Final thoughts

You may have noticed that I haven’t said one word about Biden’s dismal debate performance this past week—and that’s by design. To my mind, it’s all been one big distraction from what really matters these days, which is keeping Project 2025’s fascist project out of the White House and Congress this coming November. I'm not even sure that Trump himself is the problem: he could be serving a jail sentence by November (not likely, but well-deserved), and the Heritage Foundation will simply trot out another thuggish candidate willing to do their bidding, but the threat posed by the public's seeming unwillingness to take the Project and SCOTUS corruption seriously, not to mention the media’s dogged insistence that the only thing that matters here is Biden’s age is far more pressing. And telling.

We don’t need our presidents to be super-heroes who never tire, never misspeak or have a bad hair day; we need presidents who embrace and embody caring, ethical values, who can be counted on to elevate the national discourse instead of dragging it into hatred and division. Presidents who are energized by service and take their oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” seriously. And not the perverted and slippery Neptunian version of the Constitution our current Supreme Court seems bent on promoting, either.

Of course, leaders often have the same proverbial “feet of clay” that we all do, but they must mean well; they must be willing to serve in the fullest sense of that word and to put the good of our nation ahead of their own. There are too many critical challenges in this world today to give up on American leadership, at home or abroad. We need quality human beings in the Oval office—men or women who embrace people as their equals, not as impersonal “eggs” to be broken for some toxic idealistic purpose, and certainly not slippery tacticians who know how to play the victim and spend other people’s money.

This is a tall order for any human being, but when that quality person comes along, he or she is a gift that should not be squandered.   

It's time to be the Light we need, folks! 

 

 

NOTES:

[1] Zakaria, Fareed. Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present, W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition, p. 323. 

 

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Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and retired 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, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Her articles on these topics have appeared in several key astrology journals over the years, and she has authored three books on key mundane astrology topics that are currently available on Amazon Kindle. For information about individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2024. All rights reserved.