Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happiness in the USA

The planet Venus is 4th lord of social harmony, natural resources and housing in the SAMVA USA chart (Perpetual Union). It is placed in the 6th house of conflict, health and financial stability. Venus is also the general indicator of medicine, women, love and comforts in life. As a functional benefic planet it should bring positive developments, however as it is the weakest planet in the horoscope on account of being placed in a malefic house, its planetary periods should be characterised by difficult events relating to its indications. Moreover, transits of slow moving planets are known to eclipse the period influences, bringing exceptional events, although they may also resonate with the trends in the national life. This article attempts to shed a light on this period in US national life.

As per the SAMVA USA chart, the US is currently running in its second Venus period, from April 1996 to April 2016. In this regard, it should be stated that it is often thought difficult to correctly assess contemporary history. We tend to be blinded to salient aspects of the reality we are immersed in. It is easier afterwards to comprehend the key trends and their deeper meaning.

First Venus period (1876-1896)
For a frame of reference, we can examine what happened during the first Venus Period
in US history, which ran from April 1876 to April 1896. That said, being over 120 years removed in time introduces another challenge, to comprehend events even if much information has been lost over the intervening years. However, from historical accounts we know that this twenty year period witnessed continued expansion of the USA in terms of the use of new territories as the land was connected from shore to shore by railway tracks and with vast numbers of people moving to settle in the new frontier, which was termed the Wild West due to lawlessness as many conflicts arose when people fought over land, wealth or opportunities. Moreover, this is what we would expect during the period of a planet ruling the natural resources, including the land, and communal harmony (or lack of it). From an economic point of view, this period is also known as the Long Depression, which began with the Panic of 1873 and some say lasted until 1896. Meanwhile, others have identified recessions at intervals over this period. For instance, during the 1882–85 recession the boom in railroad construction came to an end, resulting in the Panic of 1884. During the slight recession of 1887–88 investments in railroads and buildings weakened and in 1890–91 a slowdown took place which was somewhat more pronounced than the preceding recession. The Panic of 1893 resulted from the failure of the United States Reading Railroad and withdrawal of European investment led to a stock market and banking collapse. This Panic was also precipitated in part by a run on the gold supply. The Treasury had to issue bonds to purchase enough gold. Profits, investment and income all fell, leading to political instability, the height of the U.S. populist movement and the Free Silver movement. It is also known that social and economic justice was lacking during this period, expressed by the rise of the Populist movement. Benjamin Harrison was a one-term president while reigning during the „Billion dollar Congress“. He oversaw the Sherman Anti-Trust legislation which was aimed at clamping down on the monopoly practices of the unscrupulous “Robber Barons“. Moreover, the hoped for progress in racial acceptance and integration did not materialise following the Civil War (Mercury period) and Reconstruction (Ketu period). Rather, following their emancipation from slavery, African Americans continued to be treated as second class citizens as white supremacy was re-imposed following the civil-war and the reconstruction period, with the nadir of race relations considered to be at the turn of the century.

While there were no major wars at thist time, the US military was active in protecting US interests abroad. US troops were sent to many foreign countries to protect the interests of US citizens, including Egypt in 1882, Panama in 1885, Korea in 1888 & 1894-96, Haiti in 1888 & 1891, Samoa in 1888-89, Hawaii in 1889 & 1893, Argentina in 1890, Chile in 1891, Brazil in 1894, Nicaragua in 1894, China in 1894-95, Colombia in 1895 and Venezuela in 1895-96. From 1873-96, US troops crossed the Mexican border repeatedly in pursuit of cattle and other thieves and other brigands.
Native Indians continued to be pushed to the fringes and immigrant Chinese workers were badly treated. A major blow to American morale was the Battle of the Little Bighorn —also known as Custer's Last Stand —when Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Indians wiped out the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army on June 25 and June 26, 1876. US troops also fought native American Indians in South Dakota in 1890. This is consistent with what we would expect to occur in the period of a weak and badly placed planet ruling these important indications.

Second Venus period (1996-2016)
In the current Venus period, we can explore the time line of historical events and see if there is a running thread that fits the expected dynamics.

In terms of the functional indications of Venus as 4th lord, we can explore events linked to housing, natural resources and social harmony.

Housing bubble inflates and bursts
: A historic housing bubble developed in the 1990s which burst in a spectacular fashion in 2007, producing the worst financial crisis in the country since the Great Depression of the 1930s. As the housing market affects most families, a difficult housing situation is likely to be reducing the happiness of many.

Natural resources
Gulf of Mexico oil spill: Following the collapse of the oil price to $10 per barrel in 1998 it rose to over $150 in 2008. This huge price rise resulted in increased focus on domestic energy resource extraction, with President George W. Bush in July 2008 lifting a 1990 executive order by George H. W. Bush banning offshore drilling. Two years later, on April 19, 2010, an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, sending millions of gallons of oil into the sea. It is the worst oil spill in American history. Americans have yet to experience the full brunt of the pollution, when it lands on shore and the deleterious effects on the eco system become better understood.

Collective harmony

Centennial Park bombing: The Summer Olympics Games were opened in Atlanta, Georgia by U.S. President Bill Clinton on July 19, 1996. These games were marred by the Centennial Park bombing of Olympic tourists on July 27, which killed one person and injured one hundred and eleven. In May of 2003, police arrested Eric Rudolph for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. This event was disturbing at the time, affecting as it did the Olympic games, being hosted by the USA.
Murder of a child: On December 25, 1996 a child beauty pageant contestant, Jon Benet Ramsey, was found murdered in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado, United States, eight hours after being reported missing. The case drew national attention in the United States when no suspect was charged and suspicions turned to possible family involvement. The case caught the national attention and has special interest in that it involved a beauty contestant, which is an indication of Venus. This case caused much concern over the safety of children.
Monica Lewinsky scandal: A case that would polarise the political establishment and upset the nation, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, begins on January 26, 1998 when U.S. President Bill Clinton denies his relationship with the White House intern in a televised interview. This denial, and other denials to a grand jury investigation, would lead to the impeachment of the president. On February 12, 1999, President Clinton is acquitted by the U.S. Senate in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The Senate trial, which began January 7 and needed a 2/3 majority to convict, ended with a 55-45 not guilty vote on the charge of perjury and 50-50 vote on the charge of obstruction of justice. Despite being whitewashed, this episode was very disturbing to the nation, with much anger and disappointment expressed at the leader of the nation for his conduct in the White House.
Anti-globalization: On November 30, 1999, the first major mobilization of the anti-globalization movement occured in Seattle, Washington, during the days before the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings. The protests and rioting caused the cancellation of the WTO opening ceremonies. The event is interesting as it highlights the desire for more domestic control of policies, an indication of the 4th lord, Venus.

Post-election crisis of 2000: On November 7, 2000, George W. Bush, son of the former President, and Vice President Al Gore held a virtual dead-heat for the presidency, with a disputed vote in Florida holding off the naming of the winner of the President Election until the Supreme Court of the United States voted in favor of Bush on December 12. This ruling gave Florida to the Bush camp by a 527 vote majority, and a victory in the Electoral College, 271-266, despite gaining less popular votes than Gore. This situation created a disturbance in the national life with tensions over the result remaining for years afterwards.
Columbine High School massacre: On April 19, 1999. Two teenage students murder 13 other students and teachers at Columbine High School. It is the deadliest mass murder at a high school in U.S. history. The event is very upsetting for the nation, with movies being made criticising the US gun culture.
Virginia Tech massacre: The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on Monday, April 16, 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. In two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded many others before committing suicide. The massacre is the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history, on or off a school campus. These two mass murder events were very traumatic for the nation. Moreover, they are clearly seen as being triggered by difficult transits at the time, which always supersede the trend influences of a planetary period.
Barack Obama elected President: One result of the global financial crisis in September 2008 was the election of challenger Barack Obama as President of the USA. The color of his skin was a defining issue and triumph for those fighting for equality of opportunity regardless of race, color or creed. This issue is linked to the 4th house, due to the conjunction of natal Ketu with the most effective point of the 4th house.
Tea Party protest movement: On April 15, 2009, after a succession of big government spending projects beginning in the Bush administration and expanded under President Obama, 750 grass roots Tea Party protests spring up across the nation. More than one half million citizens concerned with increased deficits due to such actions such as the bailout of the banking industry, car industry, potential cap and trade legislation, and other administration projects that project a ten trillion dollar deficit over the next decade take part. When the new Health care legislation was being debated in early 2010, the rage of this movement exploded in town halls across the country.

In terms of the functional indications of the 6th house, where Venus is placed, we can examine financial stability, conflict, health issues and court cases.

Financial stability
Irrational exuberance: On December 5, 1996 Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan made a speech where he suggested that "irrational exuberance" may be causing an extraordinary run up of stock prices. This statement came to haunt the financial markets in succeeding years, which is fitting the period influences.
International financial crisis of 1998: Following the financial collapse of the Russian government on August 19, 1998, a mini international financial crisis developed, when financial contagion led to the collapse of the LTMC hedge fund in the USA, with the US Federal Reserve quickly reducing interest rates to forestall a widening financial panic.
IT bubble: A bubble in information technology (IT) developed in the late 1990s following the interest rates reductions of 1998 and reflecting advances in productivity from the internet. This bubble burst in spectacular fashion in April 2000 after interest rates had been raised again. As these were speedily reduced again, the crash did not affect the banking system and an economic recovery emerged in the spring of 2003, with stock prices rallying from the lows reached.

Enron scandal: The Enron scandal, revealed in October 2001, eventually led to the bankruptcy of the Enron Corporation, an American energy company based in Houston, Texas, and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which was one of the five largest audit and accountancy partnerships in the world. In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history at that time, Enron undoubtedly is the biggest audit failure. Public outrage was evident over the fraudulent corporate practices of the leaders, which served prison time.
Major financial crisis of 2008: After the housing bubble burst in 2007, the banking system went into crisis, which peaked in mid-September 2008 with the fall of Lehman Bros bank and the seizing up of the interbank lending market. The US crisis had global ramifications, leading to the collapse of banks in Europe, with the entire financial system of one country, Iceland, imploding. The US government spent trillions of dollars to salvage the US banking system and interest rates were again reduced to very low levels. US public debt is fast approaching World War II levels with the budget deficit now running over 1 Trillion dollars
per year. A sluggish recovery has been in the making from the autumn of 2009. There were numerous scandals involving ponzi schemes that ended up defrauding investors to the tune of billions of dollars, for example the Madoff case. Automobile companies go bankrupt: In the second half of the 1990s, a resurgence began in the demand for American gas guzzlers, notably in the form of SUVs, with the gigantic Hummer being the outsize example. This trend was ended by the surge in gas prices, declining stock prices and freezing up of credit markets in 2008, when the American automobile companies began to go bankrupt, with General Motors being rescued through nationalization by the US government.
All of these developments are consistent with what we would expect during the period of this planet in the SAMVA USA chart and they recall the sluggish economic developments and financial panics of the earlier Venus period.

Khobar Towers bombing: The Khobar Towers bombing on June 25, 1996 leaves 19 U.S. servicemen dead in Saudi Arabia. It was carried out by Islamic terrorists seeking removal of the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia.
Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda : On February 23, 1998, Osama bin Laden publishes his fatwa that announced a jihad against all Jews and Crusaders. This announcement would push forward the Islamic fundamentalist agenda toward terrorism against western interests. On August 7, 1998, attacks on two United States embassies in Africa, in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya kills two hundred and twenty-four and injures four thousand five hundred. The attacks are linked to Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization. On August 13, the United States launches cruise missile strikes against Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in the Sudan. On September 29, 1998, the United States Congress passes legislation, the "Iraq Liberation Act" that states the U.S. wants to remove Saddam Hussein from power and replace his regime with a democracy.
“9/11“ and its aftermath: On September 11, 2001, 19 Islamic fundamentalist terrorists hijacked four U.S. airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Over 3,000 US citizens were killed. The plot is attributed to the Al-Qaeda organization led by Osama Bin Laden.
US invasion of Afghanistan: On October, 7, 2001, the US military launched an invasion of Afghanistan in Operation "Enduring Freedom" which was aimed at rooting out Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban leaders of the country, sponsoring the terrorists. By November 12, 2001, the Taliban government leaves the capital, Kabul and the Al-Qaeda leadership goes into hiding. On December 1, 2009, President Obama announces a surge of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to stem increased efforts by the Taliban in the country. The surge, which was suggested by military officers, was not popular with the liberal base of the Democratic Party which had put the President in power on a pledge to end both Middle Eastern wars. The war in Afghanistan, which started as a response to the terror attacks on 9/11/2001, and the war on terror in general, comes into focus again on December 25 when an airliner headed for Detroit is attacked by a Muslim extremist, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, who attempts to detonate a bomb, but fails.
US Patriot Act: On October 2001, the Patriot Act was passed. The Act gave the authorities new powers to intercept and obstruct terrorist activities, both at home and abroad, including by dramatically reducing restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records. The act also eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadening the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism. Needless to say, the act raised concern that the US was on its way to become a “Big Brother“ society, anathema to those beholden to the individual liberties of the US Constitution.
Homeland Security Act: On November 25, 2002, the Homeland Security Act was passed. It was introduced in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and created the United States Department of Homeland Security in the largest federal government reorganization since the Department of Defense was created via the National Security Act of 1947. The HSA includes many of the organizations under which the powers of the US Patriot Act are exercised and a new cabinet-level position of Secretary of Homeland Security. The term “homeland“ is representative of the 4th house.
US-led Invasion of Iraq: For years of Saddam Hussein refused proposals from the United Nations for weapons inspections, part of the cease-fire agreement and Iraq’s terms of surrender in the 1991 Gulf War. In 2002, after the Bush administration presented evidence to the United Nations that Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction, the United States Congress passed on October 2, 2002 a resolution giving the President of the U.S. the authority to use the military forces of the country as he thinks necessary. On November 8, 2002, The United Nations passes Resolution 1441 in a unanimous Security Council vote. It forces Saddam Hussein and Iraq to disarm or face serious consequences. Finally, on March 20, 2003, a US-led invasion of Iraq, termed Operation "Iraqi Freedom", began. Participating with troops in the operation was the United Kingdom, along with smaller contingents from Australia and Poland. The invasion itself was concluded on May 1, 2003. The aftermath involved thirty six other countries. Despite Saddam Hussein, former leader of Iraq, being captured in a small bunker in Tikrit by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division on December 13, 2003, the war began to go badly with an increasing death toll on civilians and US troops.

War protest: The setback in the war caused an anti-war movement to gain momentum in the USA through 2007, which is very consistent with the period of the 4th lord of communal harmony being placed in the 6th house of conflict in the SAMVA USA chart. Adding to the anger is the discovery on February 3, 2004, following an admission by the Central Intelligence Agency, that the imminent threat from weapons of mass destruction was not present before the 2003 Iraq war began as the Bush administration had repeatedly stated. With the “Surge“ in Iraq in 2007, US forces regained the upper hand and the protest movement had largely fizzled by the time of the US Presidential election in November 2008.
Tension over Iran and Israel: On October 26, 2005, Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calls for the destruction of Israel and condemns the peace process. In summer of 2010, the US committed increased military resources to the Middle East, sending one carrier and 9 battle ships to the Persian Gulf. This situation has increased concern over a possible conflagration in the region.
The conflict of the USA has been quite pronounced during this period. Arguably, it has involved protecting US strategic and economic interests abroad, such as in the Middle East. It is interesting that the trend of terrorist threats to US soil began under the second Clinton Administration, which is consistent with what could develop during this period.

Health issues
Anthrax attacks: On September 18, 2001, Anthrax attacks by mail from Princeton, New Jersey against news and government targets began. Federal officials announce the first case on October 4. Several people died and many got ill. Years later a likely suspect was identified, who worked in a research lab with access to such deadly compounds. However, he was never charged and has since died. It is interesting that the attack is based on a bacterial compound, given that the 6th house rules illness and Venus rules medical knowledge and drugs.

Court cases
US vs Microsoft: On May 18, 1998, the United States Department of Justice and twenty states file the anti-trust case, U.S. versus Microsoft, concerning its Windows operating system and related corporate practices. On November 5, 1999, a preliminary ruling stated that Microsoft had monopoly power. Settlement was 4 years later in Nov 2001. This recalls the monopoly busting tendency of the earlier Venus period.

We can also explore the events in terms of the general indications of Venus, such as the comforts in life, including the climate (also a natural resource issue), women and air travel.

Climate and weather
Global warming debate: The Global warming debate accelerated during the Venus period, with the international community largely of the view that there is an “American denial“ in terms of the climate policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations. Following his unsuccessful run for the Presidency in 2000, former Vice President Al Gore has become a leading crusader of climate warming. President Obama began his term by reversing course after his election in 2008. Even then, a backlash has occurred in the climate debate in 2009, with fresh evidence of cooling trends have led many to question the scientific claims that the globe is warming up due to human economic activity, including increased emissions of global warming gases and the clearing of huge swathes of rain forests around the world.
Hurricane Katrina: On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast, inundating the city of New Orleans with water from Lake Pontchetrain when the levees that maintain the below sea level city break. Over one thousand three hundred people perish from Alabama to Louisiana in one of the worst natural disasters to strike the United States. The home comforts of hundreds of thousands of Americans are disrupted.

Women in politics: Political figure Madeline Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99-0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997. Democrat Nancy Pelosi becomes first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after the November elections in 2007. On November 7, 2000, Hillary Rodham Clinton wins a seat for the United States Senate from New York. It is the first time a former First Lady wins public office. On August 29, 2008, John McCain chooses Sarah Palin, 1st term Governor of Alaska, as his running mate, making the contest between Barack Obama and himself, the first time a presidential election included both an African-American candidate and a woman amongst the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees for president among the Democratic and Republican tickets. Two leading female candidates in the Presidential elections of 2008, lose out to their male competitors, Senator Hillary Clinton and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. In 2009, Clinton becomes the second female Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, while Governor Palin resigns as Governor to devote her energies full time to national causes.

Love issues
Sex scandals: The Monica Lewinsky scandal developed into a crusade about the mal-treatment of women by powerful men, with many women coming forward making accusations of sexual harassment by President Clinton. In August 2008, a sex scandal envelopes presidential candidate John Edwards, which leads to his eventual divorce. Later he acknowledges the paternity of a love child by his mistress. In December 2009, world famous US golfer Tiger Woods is caught up in a big sex scandal, which leads to the break up of his marriage and his temporary withdrawal from golfing. In June 2010, shortly after separating from his wife, former Vice President Al Gore is accused of being a “sex-crazed poodle“ by a female masseuse in Anchorage.

Air travel
Trans World Airlines Flight 800: TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747-131, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches, New York, on July 17, 1996, at about 20:31 EDT, 12 minutes after takeoff, killing all 230 on board. TWA 800 was a scheduled international passenger flight from New York City, New York to Rome, Italy, with a stopover in Paris, France.
Valujet Flight 8592: On May 11, 1996, a Valujet flight crashes into the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board. Improperly stored oxygen generating canisters were the source of the fire.
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas stretching from Trophy Club to Tyler and into parts of Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.

When comparing the major developments during two Venus periods in the SAMVA USA chart, we can see that some of the same underlying dynamics have emerged in the national life, while the historical circumstances are quite different. Racial equality has improved, manifest notably in the election of President Barack Obama. However, there have been plenty of other things disturbing the social harmony of the country in the present Venus period, including the US participation in foreign wars and terrorism striking on US soil as well as a major financial debacle and a deep recession. Excesses of corporate bosses has also provoked the ire of many. Of interest is that the US suffered major problems with marginal groups in both periods, such as indigenous indians in the 19th century and foreign muslim extremists at the present time, consistent with the placement of Ketu in the most effective point of the 4th house in the chart - ruled by Venus. These issues are expected to remain for the duration of the Venus period, or until 2016, when a more robust Sun period begins, which is expected to imbue US national life with a sense of vibrancy.


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