Sunday, October 20, 2013

GOP surrenders to end shutdown; Obamacare still under fire

(20 October 2013)  The US government shutdown came to an end last week as a deal was hammered out on the day before the debt ceiling deadline.  Without much real bargaining power, the GOP essentially surrendered on almost every point under discussion.  Obamacare was left intact and no serious cuts were made in the budget.  Both sides agreed to postpone further budgetary talks until early 2014.   It was clearly a political victory for President Obama who enjoyed a much-needed win after a string of setbacks in recent months.   

Last week, I wrote that the current transit picture in Obama's chart suggested the possibility of some last-minute complications in negotiations.  Alternatively, I thought that some of the tension in the President's chart might also manifest as more fallout from the Obamacare roll-out.  It was this latter scenario that turned out to fulfill the planetary promise as the White House and Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has come under increased criticism for the problem-filled roll-out of the long-awaited Affordable Care Act (ACA).   Obama's Sun is under aspect from Saturn and this can be understood as obstacles or setbacks to leadership. 

The win for Obama on the shutdown is perhaps better seen through the transit of Venus through his 11th house of gains in Scorpio.  Transiting Venus was fairly close to the 11th house cusp (24 Scorpio) at the time of the deal and this was likely enough to secure the total defeat of the hapless and divided Republicans.  It is worth noting that the favourable position of Venus in his chart also links back to Saturn since Saturn is placed in Libra, a sign that Venus rules.  In this way, the Saturn-Sun aspect likely lost some of its sting and ability to damage him.   Saturn is also the ruler of the benefic 1st house, so that also doesn't hurt.  Jupiter's (25 Gemini) very close aspect here to the equal 10th house cusp (24 Libra) is also likely quite helpful for most matters relating to career and status.

Obama may his troubles increase again after Venus leaves the 11th house and enters the 12th house (Sagittarius) on or around October 30th.  It will transit the 12th house through the month of November.  Suddenly, Venus as ruler of the 10th house of status will be in the shadows of the 12th house of loss.  This is likely to make that Saturn-to-Sun transit more difficult also.  Mercury's retrograde transit through Libra may also become more troublesome.  Mercury is the ruler of the 6th (health) and 9th (justice) houses  so there may be more problems in those areas.  An unexpected or politically awkward Supreme Court decision is therefore more possible in November.  We may also speculate that Obamacare may continue to receive even worse reviews in the media since the 6th ruler Mercury will be weakened by the 12th house transit of its dispositor, Venus.  The period around the end of the Mercury retrograde period on Nov 11th looks somewhat difficult for Obamacare.

The entry of Mars into Virgo in late November may also coincide with new setbacks for Obamacare since Mars will aspect several planets in the ACA horoscope through the month of December.  I suppose the key question here is: will any of this move beyond just criticism or will the January 15th deadline for enrollment be changed to allow for all the fixes necessary in the glitch-ridden ACA website.   I think some kind of formal acknowledgment of the problem is very possible, perhaps more likely after Venus turns retrograde on December 21st.   But that may be leaving it a bit too late.  If there is going to be an extension, one would realistically expect it to occur in November so as to allow people more time to sign up.  Perhaps that will occur around that Nov 11th pattern with Mercury.  While the problems are likely to continue or even get worse, I think Obama will be able to avoid much political damage while Jupiter is parked very auspiciously at 26 Gemini through much of November.  After it moves off this point in December and beyond, Obama may come under more pressure from the shortcomings to the ACA roll-out. 

Not surprisingly, financial markets cheered the resolution in Washington as US stocks gained more than 1% on the week.  Indian stocks fared somewhat better, boosted in part in the hope for an upcoming electoral win by the market-friendly BJP.   The gains were not altogether unexpected as I thought we would see some midweek gains on the Mercury and Venus aspects.  The early week declines were quite modest, however. 

This week looks less positive than last week as Mercury turns retrograde early on Monday while in close aspect with Jupiter.  The Mercury-Jupiter aspect has likely been positive for markets recently but the reversal of Mercury may well coincide with a reversal in sentiment.  After Saturday's lunar eclipse, we have also entered a twice-a-year eclipse period which can indicate increased volatility.  The solar eclipse on November 3rd is arguably a more important eclipse to watch since it occurs right in the middle of the Saturn-Rahu conjunction.   This is a fairly bearish set up in terms of astrological influences.