Wednesday, July 19, 2017

GOP health bill fails as Mars undermines Trump

(19 July 2017) The besieged Trump administration suffered another setback this week as the Senate health care bill failed to come to a vote.  Despite taking extra time during the early July break, Mitch McConnell's Republicans could not find the 50 votes to get it passed.  The failure highlights the divisions in the GOP and the inability of President Donald Trump to bring together the moderate and far right wings in the party. 

This latest failure may also be seen as a consequence of the difficult transit of Mars through sidereal Cancer in Trump's 12th house of loss.  As noted last week, Mars entered Trump's 12th whole sign house (as per standard Vedic astrology parameters) on July 11th just as the scandal involving a meeting between his son and the Russians exploded in the media.  The health care morass indicates that Mars is continuing to undermine Trump's hopes and ambitions.   Mars will remain in the sign of Cancer until August 26th and could therefore exert an extended negative influence on Trump.  With Saturn stationing on his volatile Moon-Ketu conjunction (and Rahu aspecting it also) also through that time, the summer looks pretty stressful for him. 

After years of talking up its plan to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, the GOP looks lost at the moment as it will try to regroup and find a new path on health care.  As I noted back in March, I think the GOP will have a better opportunity to realize its campaign promise next year as the Obamacare horoscope looks more difficult in 2018.  This would suggest that Obamacare is more likely to not only be repealed by 2018 but also replaced with a new plan. 

The difficulty for the Obamacare horoscope (March 23, 2010) is that Saturn is due to transit the first half of Sagittarius (i.e. the 7th house) throughout 2018.  This transit will therefore oppose both the Moon and the Ascendant.  This double dose of Saturn is rarely a positive influence in any chart.  Additional tense transits such as the square of Uranus and Mars and the conjunction of Rahu to Mars transit underline the severity of the stresses upon Obamacare.  I would think there is a high likelihood that it will be mostly or completely replaced by the midterm elections in November 2018. 

I had wondered if the GOP might be able to get something done here, however.  In a June post, I noted that there were some noteworthy planetary aspects in the charts of the principals as well as some significant troubles in the Obamacare chart.  Mostly,  I was seeing a lot of tension from the upcoming Saturn-Rahu alignment in August as well as the more immediate Sun-Mars conjunction this week (July 21-22).  The Sun-Mars conjunction hits the Obamacare Mars at 7 Cancer almost exactly.  This may not always be a negative development although it usually indicates stressful situations at the very least.  Could Trump and the GOP pull a rabbit out of the hat at the end of this week and somehow claim at least a symbolic victory?  It's possible but I wouldn't bet on it either.  The planetary picture is not straight forward.

Coincidentally, the Sun-Mars conjunction occurs right on the 12th house cusp of Donald Trump.  This is usually more difficult given the 12th house's association with losses and punishments.  It is very hard to think of this as an astrological signature of a "win" such as he would claim for even a partial repeal of Obamacare.  And yet the near-simultaneity of the transit to key points in both charts suggests a possible linkage.  Maybe Trump does something unexpected that exacerbates the health care stalemate. 

The importance of this week's Sun-Mars conjunction also shows up on the PEOTUS chart as an opposition to the natal Mars at 6 Capricorn.  This is closest on Friday and Saturday.  The aspect to Mars symbolizes strife and conflict, perhaps even violence.  The November 9th PEOTUS horoscope ought to be a reference for all matters that occur during Trump's term as president.  It could even represent events that do not involve him personally, although I would think it is more likely to symbolize events that pertain directly to him. 

The late week Sun-Mars conjunction hints at the possibility that we could see another chapter in this endless political wrangling over health care in DC.  A full or even partial repeal seems unlikely but there could be some interesting developments that could have ramifications down the road.  But the bottom line is that while Obamacare should remain in place now, it will be in serious jeopardy next year.  Even Barack Obama's horoscope is under heavy stress in September 2018 when Saturn stations direct opposite his Venus.  I wonder if his signature health care legislation will finally be superseded at that time.  Stay tuned.

Weekly Market Forecast

Investors shrugged off the GOP legislative failure as US stocks moved higher again this week.  The Dow is again approaching a new all-time high while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ have already made new highs today.   Other markets have been more mixed.  India's Sensex has essentially moved sideways over the past several sessions as it again finished above 32,000 on Wednesday. 

This outcome was in keeping with last Wednesday's market forecast as I thought we could see some upside.  This week's Venus-Jupiter aspect looked somewhat bullish as did last week's Mercury-Jupiter alignment.

The rest of this week looks less positive, however, as the Moon and Venus oppose Saturn during the US trading day on Thursday.  The approach of the Sun-Mars conjunction next week also carries with it an added downside risk, especially in the first half of next week. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trump's Russia troubles deepen with son's emails

(12 July 2017) The ongoing Russia controversy involving President Donald Trump has taken center stage again this week.  Following a story by the New York Times,  Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.  released emails that revealed that he had met with a well-connected Russian lawyer before the election in order to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton.  

The details of the emails make the strongest case yet that the Trump campaign had knowledge of the Russian hacking efforts intended to get Trump elected.  While this may or may not not qualify as a clear case of collusion, it raises more questions about the legitimacy of Trump's presidency, to say nothing of his political viability as the head of the executive branch.   And if these emails have come out as the result of an investigation by the NYT,  one can only imagine what the ongoing FBI and Senate investigations may find down the road.

This is a clear setback for the Trump administration.  Not surprisingly, the planets were negatively aligned against the key players here: President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., himself and yes, even Vladimir Putin.   Let's take a look at these horoscopes one at a time. 

As I suggested in a June post on Trump, I thought the entry of Mars into sidereal Cancer on July 11th would likely bring bad news for him.  Well, that's definitely come to pass given that the NYT story appeared on Tuesday, the 11th.  The reason why the entry of Mars into Cancer is stressful for Trump is that the sign of Cancer is in his 12th house of loss and sorrows -- among other things.  

Mars is a malefic planet and it is said to be debilitated during its seven-week long transit of Cancer.  It's most negative attributes of anger, frustration, and mistaken actions are believed to manifest more readily during this transit.  And in Trump's chart, it just so happens that he was born when Saturn was at 0 Cancer.  That's exactly where Mars is this week, along with the upcoming conjunction with Venus at 2 Cancer on Friday.  Mars-to-Saturn transits usually coincide with very stressful situations that can be frustrating and involve a lot of hard work.  They aren't always bad, but in Trump's chart, the likelihood of bad news is greater because Saturn is in Trump's 12th house.  All other things being equal, it's considered a bad house in Vedic astrology, as it is in traditional Western astrological systems. 

Donald Trump Jr.

While Mars is not prominent in the horoscope of his son, Donald Trump Jr., the chart is nonetheless clearly afflicted this week and indeed, for much of the summer.  We don't know when the son was born but even an approximated chart shows that transiting Mercury (15 Cancer) was conjunct natal Mars on Tuesday (=frustrations, intense situations, angry communications). 

But the deeper problem with the chart is that the upcoming Saturn station in late August at 27 Scorpio will exactly conjoin his natal Mercury (27 Scorpio).  Saturn-Mercury aspects imply slow or blocked progress, especially in business or communication-related matters.  Setbacks are also likely more common with this pairing although it often depends on other factors.  We can also see that Saturn is forming a difficult square aspect with his Leo Moon.  Depending on how close it really is, which is birth time dependent, Trump Jr. is likely feeling depressed and isolated and may well be on the defensive for the duration of this transit. 

Without his time of birth, it is difficult to say with confidence that Trump Jr. will remain under pressure for the rest of the summer.  And yet, the transit alignments do tend to lean towards that conclusion.   The transiting Sun-Mars conjunction in late July and early August will line up with his natal Mars suggesting a very intense and perhaps conflictive situation.  Perhaps he will be called to testify in the Senate investigation at that time.  It's one of many possibilities.  

Vladimir Putin

Perhaps the most intriguing chart of the three is is that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  After Putin's apparent PR win at the G-20 meeting on the weekend, revelations about the Russia meeting with Trump's son could be a big embarrassment.   Outside of the Trump White House, there is already a broad consensus within Washington that Putin and Russia were involved in meddling in the US election with the aim of electing Trump.  Now there is evidence that links members of Trump's campaign to the Russian government. 

Mars (0 Cancer) is again very active in Putin's chart as it was exactly squaring his Mercury (0 Libra).  Mars-Mercury transits are typically involved in stressful situations involving bad news, especially involving sudden events where intentions and plans unexpectedly fail.   Of course, it hasn't been all bad for Putin, as last weekend's G-20 summit occurred just as the Jupiter-Sun conjunction was approaching exact at 20 Virgo.   But Putin will still have to contend with the approaching Rahu-to-Ketu conjunction which is due to be exact in the fall.   This will coincide with the return of Saturn to its own conjunction with Mars (3 Sagittarius) in October and November.   Both of these patterns suggest significant obstacles.  But just to be clear, Putin's chart looks much less afflicted than President Trump's in the coming months. 

Another unusually telling chart is the Putin swearing-in chart  Putin took the Russian presidential oath for his third term as president on 7 May 2012 at noon.  We can see how the discovery of the Trump Jr. emails is apparently manifesting in this chart also.   Rahu (2 Leo) is just one degree from the Ascendant and indicates disruptions of order and expected events.  The Mars entry into the first degree of Cancer also happens to hit the cusp of the 12th house of loss and disappointment.  The bigger problem with this chart is that the retrograde Saturn (28 Scorpio) is sitting opposite the Venus (28 Taurus) and will continue to cast its affliction for the rest of the summer at least up until its late August direct station.  Venus may only be indirectly related to Putin's political fortunes, however.  It may also relate to renewed weakness in the Russian economy.

Saturn and the solar eclipse: the uncertain path ahead

August 20-23 will see Mars align with Rahu (North Lunar Node).  This will also align with the nasty Moon-Ketu conjunction in Trump's chart and therefore also bring in the Saturn station.  To matters even more weighty, the August 21st solar eclipse atop Trump's Ascendant could further intensify the importance of events at the end of August.  It is definitely a very serious alignment of planets here that speaks to some kind of highly stressful situation where Trump will likely feel the burden of presidency very heavily.

That major alignment of Mars, Rahu and Saturn will also be very close to the Ascendant of the Putin oath horoscope.  Whatever is happening at the end of August will likely create some problems for Putin and Russia.  Overall, it seems likely that the pressure from the Russia investigations will intensify for Trump and Putin over the next 4-6 weeks. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stock markets pushed higher on Wednesday after Janet Yellen indicated that the Fed would follow a cautious path towards normalizing interest rates.   The Dow is at new all-time highs now above 21,500.  India's Sensex is also making new highs this week above 31,500 on lower than expected inflation data.  In last week's forecast, I thought we might have seen more downside this week on the Mars-Ketu aspect.  

The rest of this week could see some gains on the Mercury-Jupiter alignment.  The first half of next week also offers bulls some hope for some upside as Venus aligns with Jupiter.  Things could get more interesting after that, however.   Some of the alignments noted above in August look unfriendly to financial markets.  I would be surprised if stocks remained at these lofty levels.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Defiant North Korea tests ICBM that can reach US

(5 July 2017) Geopolitical tensions are on the rise this week after a successful test launch of an ICBM by North Korea.  Pyongyang claimed the missile could reach as far as Alaska and had the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.  The test is a potential game-changer in the ongoing stalemate between the renegade communist state led by President Kim Jong-Un and its increasingly alarmed neighbours.  China remains the key to any solution to the stand-off as it is North Korea's only substantial trading partner and foreign sponsor. 

After trying the softer approach under Obama, President Trump has tried to turn up the heat with tougher talk but so far has little to show for it.  In fact, Trump's tough approach may well have made things worse by pushing North Korea to test even more aggressive weapons against what it perceives to be a more imminent threat.  The problem for the US and its Asian allies is that there is no viable military option in the region.  Any pre-emptive attack on North Korea would result in tens of thousands of South Korean casualties at a minimum. 

As I have written previously, I don't foresee a major war happening this year.  Based on the approximate timed charts of Kim Jong-Un and North Korea, however, I think the odds for some kind of destabilizing military action rises in 2018 and especially in 2019.   One noteworthy factor is that President Kim will begin his Saturn-Mars dasha period in early March 2019.  Mars is the natural significator of conflict and war and its placement in Kim's chart with power-hungry Pluto is also indicative that the period will be marked by an intensifying sense of conflict.

In terms of transits, we can see that Uranus (4 Aries) is now opposite his Mars (4 Libra).  This is a bad transit that may make Kim Jung-Un more reckless than usual and is one important reason why he has conducted this test.  It also increases the likelihood of bad outcomes from aggressive actions.  Due to the slow velocity of Uranus, it will last for almost two years.  It will finally station direct at 4 Aries exactly opposite his Mars at the end of 2018 and early 2019.  This is a very dangerous combination that offers some confirming evidence for a greater likelihood of military or violent actions in that approximate time window.  

The test launch also occurred when Kim was likely feeling emboldened and powerful when Mars (25 Gemini) was opposite his Sun (23 Sagittarius) and therefore aligning with transiting Pluto (24 Sagittarius).  It's definitely an shoot first, ask questions later sort of alignment as Mars' desire for action is harnessed by Pluto's obsession with control and power.  The ego-driven Sun in the middle of this pairing has little choice but to follow through on these ambitions.

It's worth noting that the final Uranus-Mars opposition aspect will occur after transiting Saturn has conjoined all of this 1st house Sagittarius planets throughout 2018.  Saturn tends to be a planet that blocks progress so Kim may feel boxed in and lacking any other options.  

While I don't think a major armed engagement is likely in the coming weeks, we should pay special attention to a couple of Mars transits which could act as triggers for events that create worsening tensions. Mars moves much faster than Uranus so its aspect can often bring about events that fulfill the potential of transits involving slower-moving planets such as Uranus.  On July 16-20, Mars will square natal Mars Kim's chart.  This is likely to coincide with a difficult or aggressive event, perhaps one where luck goes against him.  It appears to be a setback of some kind. 

This also fits with the likelihood of some kind of conflictual or aggressive action in the coming weeks in Trump's PEOTUS chart as the Sun-Mars conjunction will be opposite the natal Mars.  With Uranus (4 Aries) very close to the 8th house cusp in July and August, there is an additional instability to the Trump administration this summer.   Uranus is the planet of sudden and unexpected events and the 8th house can signify setbacks and scandals.  It's hard to imagine an all-out war happening this soon, but it could well represent a serious ratcheting up of tensions, such as from a symbolic or incidental attack. 

Another period to watch in this respect would be August 8-12 when Mars aligns with his natal Ketu.  Maybe China pulls the plug on his regime in some way (sanctions, etc) or he suffers some kind of public embarrassment such as another failed missile launch.  It looks more serious than that though.  It's definitely a situation I will be following carefully. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have moved higher so far this week as investors focused on positive macro data in the US and in Europe.  The Dow was enjoyed a modest rise since last week as it closes in on 21,500 and a possible new record high.  India was also higher as the Sensex again pushed above 31,000 following the roll-out of the new GST.   This rise is not unexpected as in last week's market forecast I thought that the bullish influence of the entry of Venus into Taurus and the Sun-Jupiter-Neptune alignment would likely boost optimism. 

We could see a bit more upside this week as Mercury aligns with Venus on Thursday and Friday.  However, anxiety and pessimism may be on the rise in the coming days as Mars enters sidereal Cancer on Tuesday July 11th where it will form an unstable alignment with Ketu, the South Lunar Node.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.