Monday, February 29, 2016

Guest Post ~ "ALL IS NUMBER"

GUEST POST by "JD"in the UK


Here is a simple and elegant way of establishing the relative sizes of the earth and the moon.

Start with a 3:4:5 triangle (shown in black outline in the diagram to the right), project a 3×3 square from the shorter side and then draw another 3:4:5 triangle off the other side of the square. From the bottom line of the resultant figure, project another square, this time 11×11. Draw a circle in each of these squares.

From the 3:4:5 triangle we can calculate the following figures:


You will recognise 12 and 60 as being the basis of how we measure time. The figure of 72 relates to an astronomical phenomenon called precession (because of the slow wobble of the earth’s axis, the night sky appears to revolve in a complete circle but not that you would notice. It takes 72 years to move through 1° of that circle). The next figure, 720 is the one which relates to our two circles in the above diagram. Multiplying this figure by the diameters we see –


The moon has a diameter of 2160 miles
The earth has a diameter of 7920miles.

Received wisdom has it that the Greeks were the source of all that we know of mathematics and geometry; Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes etc. This is not true. Everything in the above diagram and the subsequent calculations was known in Egypt almost 2000 years before the Ancient Greek civilisation first arose. Furthermore, the ancient Greeks had a legend of Hyperborea, a land of perpetual sun beyond the “north wind”. Hecataeus (circa 500 BC) says that the holy place of the Hyperboreans, which was built “after the pattern of the spheres”, lay “in the regions beyond the land of the Celts” on “an island in the ocean.”

Hyperborea can be identified as the British Isles. The megalithic monuments from Orkney to Carnac predate the Greeks by several thousand years. The detailed studies by Alexander Thom and Anne Macaulay show that whoever erected the stones had a very precise knowledge of what became known as The Quadrivium.

The various stone circles are laid out in a way that demonstrates beyond any doubt that these people were aware of and used π as well as Ø the Phi ratio, the golden section, long before the Greeks.

 Swinside Stone Circle, Cumbria, UK.

As William Blake wrote, "All things Begin & End in Albion's Ancient Druid Rocky Shore." The Greeks didn't discover any of this, they just wrote it down.

There are many books on this subject. Try these two for starters-

Sun, Moon and Earth
= Robin Heath

Megalithic Measures and Rhythms
= Anne Macaulay

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Categories - plus - Advice from the North

Astrology, in particular Sun Sign astrology, is criticised for categorising people as 12 "types". Those who have delved deeper into astrological discipline know that these 12 "types" are not even the tip of the iceberg, they're the shadow on top of the ocean where an iceberg lies beneath.

As in astrology, so in polls and politics. One would think that counting votes would be a simple matter. 1,000 votes for candidate A, 2,000 for candidate B, 3,000 for candidate C. But no, political pollsters and pundits then segregate voters and their mode of voting in various ways. Male/female, blue collar male/"educated" male (- cheek!! Why are blue collar people considered uneducated?) White males/black males. White "educated"/white blue collar. Black "educated"/ black blue collar. Same for Hispanic male/female, and for all females. Age groups: under 25, over 40, over 50, over 60, and on... along with any possible permutation of all of the above factors. Religion also has to be added to these exercises in the USA: Roman Catholic, Baptist, Evangelist, Black Churches, and other denominations. They don't bother categorising votes of atheists and agnostics.

Will there ever come a time, in the USA, when most of that categorising will no longer be useful, when the "melting pot" this nation was always trumpeted (small 't'!) to be will truly have completed the envisioned fusion?

From our neighbours to the north:

Vote Canada for President!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Honoré Daumier

Daumier was born this day in 1808. A re-airing of my 2010 post about him and his work:

It might seem irrelevant to feature a 19th century caricaturist/satirist. What could satire of 19th century France have to offer to 21st century mortals? In the hands of Honoré Daumier it offers us a chance to see that nothing much has changed - fashions and technology - yes, they have changed, of course. Attitudes, politics - no change there! Daumier's cartoons satirised the corrupt regime, the injustice of the law courts, and the hypocrisy and greed at the heart of things. (Left: His lithograph titled (as translated)"Ungrateful country, you shall not have my work".

Today is the anniversary of Daumier's birthday. Born 26 February 1808 in Marseille, France; at age 8 moved to Paris with his parents. His father was a glazier, and didn't support his son's intense desire to become an artist, so young Daumier had to go to work in a bailiff's office. He later was able to study at the Académie Suisse and worked for a lithographer, which experience set him on the road to success. He quite obviously, as well as inborn artistic ability, had a natural flair for acute observation, a love of ordinary folk, a gift for seeing the comedic side of everyday life, hatred of political injustices - and war. It is considered that Daumier did as much as any artist of his time to raise the political and social awareness of the citizens of France.
"Throughout his forty-year career, Daumier created nearly 4,000 lithographs, first for the political journal La Caricature and later for the daily Parisian periodical Le Charivari. His early political images addressed the inequality and corruption of King Louis-Philippe’s July Monarchy. One drawing landed Daumier in jail for several months, indicative of the government’s repression of political caricature during much of his lifetime. After strict censorship laws were passed in September 1835, the artist shifted from political attack to social satire. His victims were the members of the French middle class, of which he was one. His images poked fun at pompous politicians, pretentious lawyers, picturesque individuals at the community baths, artists and writers in the throes of creativity, as well as urban development and the trials of commuting—all things that vex us to this day!" (Link.) [Link now defunct - sorry - probably was published in relation to an exhibition in 2010]

As well as the lithographs for which he is best-known Daumier painted around 200 canvases in oils, many depicting everyday life in France, as well as watercolors and small sculptures, all of which comprise, it is said, the largest visual legacy of any artist before 1900.

Daumier died blind and in poverty. Though the people of France enjoyed his caricatures, the elite of the artworld didn't recognise his talent until decades after his death.

Daumier had Pisces Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars and Pluto (birth time 3pm according to Astrotheme, but Moon in Pisces whatever time he was born). Jupiter in Aquarius and Venus in Capricorn. Personal planets and ascendant in Fixed signs, Aquarius, Leo and Scorpio, with Venus in common-sense Capricorn provided valuable balance to an overload of dreamy, artsy Pisces.

Saturn in Scorpio trines Mercury in Pisces and sextiles Venus in Capricorn. Venus semi-sextiles Jupiter in Aquarius and Jupiter semi-sextiles Mercury in Pisces - which means that a planetary loop linked an acutely perceptive Scorpio Saturn to communicative and humanitarian Pisces Mercury, arty but practical Capricorn Venus, and expansive, jocular Jupiter in mentally active, socially aware Aquarius.

Some examples of his work from Google Image:


GARGANTUA - This one, a depiction of King Louis-Philippe, led to a prison sentence for Daumier.







COMET (again!)



"Tiens peuple, tiens bon peuple, en veux-tu en voilà ! " (I think this means something like "Hang on good people - is this what you want? Here you are!")

Thursday, February 25, 2016

How Come Hillary Clinton Has the African American Vote "tied up"?

S.C. poll: Clinton seen as better for African-Americans, those struggling financially.
By Nick Gass in Politico on 18 February.

It appears to be common knowledge that African Americans favour Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in current primaries. Saturday's South Carolina primary is taken as being a "done deal" for Hillary Clinton. It will be interesting to see, though, just how the voting pans out there.

Would anyone care to enlighten this comparative newcomer to these shores (been here for 11 years) why African Americans in general favour Clinton ? How has it come to be an accepted state of affairs? I could well understand, of course, the black community supporting President Obama landslide-wise, but Hillary Clinton?

Reading around the net I've come across a couple of ideas:
#1 That African Americans, or the majority of that group prefer to vote for The Establishment candidate, on the supposition that The Establishment will be more protective of them, and more likely to prevent a Republican win, with all its attendant threats.

#2 That there is, among some African American groups, underlying anti-Semitic feeling. Bernie Sanders background is Jewish. Wikipedia does have mention, scroll down a way, HERE.

It's good to note that some "celebrities" who might have sway with African American communities have endorsed Bernie. Spike Lee is the latest, joining Danny Glover, Dr Cornel West, "Killer Mike", and Harry Belafonte. I hope their support makes a difference.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Trumbo & Douglas

We watched the movie Trumbo this week, prompted by commenter Sabina that the DVD was now available in rental stores. It's good - very good. We enjoyed every minute of it.

For a passing reader not familiar with the film's theme I'll add this snip from a November 2015 review by Ty Burr in the Boston Globe:

Dalton Trumbo (1905-76), Hollywood screenwriter, defiant victim of the post-WWII blacklist, and nearly as big a legend in the film industry as he was in his own mind. He is played with delicious swagger by Bryan Cranston, whose post-”Breaking Bad” career has addressed itself to the marvelous monsters of biography — this film and his recent turn as LBJ at the American Repertory Theater and on Broadway.

There are other actors in the movie, but most of them fade into the upholstery under the combined assault of Cranston-Trumbo. It’s a fun movie and an overbearing one, patly written and crowded with enjoyable faces. It offers useful and still-necessary moral lessons about remaining true to one’s conscience in times of fear and stupidity (i.e., now). It is a labor of love made by Hollywood insiders, and if it never seems to draw a breath of air from outside the film industry, it may be because its makers rarely do.

But it’s a rollicking good show, with Cranston’s Trumbo a character of the first order: an elitist who knows how to write scripts for the masses. “Trumbo” settles in as the war is coming to a close and the witch hunts begin against anyone who is now or has ever been a member of the Communist Party. That includes many of the screenwriters, who come into the crosshairs of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the late 1940s.

There's already much information around the internet on the blacklist story, Dalton Trumbo, and this movie, so the only further note I'll add is about Kirk Douglas's (real life) part in the story. He hired the blacklisted Trumbo, known communist, as screenwriter for the movie Spartacus, which action was said to have, at last, broken the Hollywood blacklist. Further reading online casts some doubt on how influential Douglas's action actually was. This piece from The Atlantic by John Meroney and Sean Coons offers another view:
How Kirk Douglas Overstated His Role in Breaking the Hollywood Blacklist

Commenter Sabina noticed that Dalton Trumbo's natal chart and that of Kirk Douglas (both born on 9 December) could bear similarities. Let's see!

Dalton Trumbo born in Montrose, Colorado on 9 December 1905. Chart set for 12 noon, time of birth unknown.

Kirk Douglas born in Amsterdam, New York on 9 December 1916 at 10.15 AM

If someone had shown me these two charts without telling me to whom they belonged I'd have suspected that one chart (the first shown above) belonged to someone unafraid of rebelling against the norm. That'd be reflected by Mercury conjunct Uranus. Mars and Saturn in Aquarius suggests that any rebellion could well be in relation to something political or societal.

There are, naturally, some similarities due to the two men sharing a birthday, though 11 years apart. The main link between the charts, in this particular context, is Uranus, planet of the rebel and the unexpected. Uranus in Douglas's chart is in sextile to his natal Sun and, of course, in sextile also to Trumbo's.

I'll leave the matter of similarities or differences open now, for further examination by any who'd care to jump in to add more.

Coincidentally, I have compared Kirk Douglas's natal chart with another person's chart in a past posting. Douglas played the part of Vincent Van Gogh in the movie Lust for Life ; I blogged about that and compared the actor's chart with that of the painter. That post, from 2007, is HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fish, Plastic & Armadillos

With Sun now moving through fishy zodiac sign Pisces, I'll remain in fishy mode too with a link to an article from the BBC magazine:

Will there be more fish or plastic in the sea in 2050?
By Leo Hornak
"A recent claim that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 was intended to highlight a pollution crisis in the oceans. The problem really does exist, but do the figures hold water, or is there something fishy going on?"

Seems it's possible there'll be more of both, bearing in mind that plastic doesn't decay quickly - if at all, and fish populations could possibly increase - though dead fish do eventually decay, and do so fairly quickly, I'd guess. Numbers aside, contamination will continue for centuries, should humans survive long enough to monitor such things.

Another interesting piece, this one relates to wildlife of the past, jumbo-sized relatives of today's armadillos. I've been fascinated by armadillos ever since seeing an illustration of one in an old book sometime in my early childhood in the UK, where armadillos are never seen. Now I've seen a real one - just one live one, but sadly many dead ones, on the highway, especially in the morning hours. Their armour coat amazes me still. Anyway, this article is about an ancestor of theirs.
Monstrous fossils 'were armadillos', says DNA evidence

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sign of the times: PISCES

Along with the Sun, we prepare to perform a pleasant polka through zodiac sign Pisces, heading jauntily towards a welcome Spring in the northern hemisphere, and a possibly equally welcome Autumn in the southern half of our planet.

The more posts I write, the more natal charts I inspect, the less I'm inclined to attach clearly defined labels on the zodiac signs when part of a natal chart. Sign labels, keywords handed down through the centuries, are available in astrology textbooks, but real life characteristics of any zodiac sign are almost always modified. Other than for a tiny group of people born with all personal planets and ascendant in a single zodiac sign, text book descriptions are going to seem from a touch off course to miles adrift in a sea of confusion. Pisces, like its neighbour Aquarius, has two potential rulers: Pisces' traditional ruler being Jupiter, with modern astrologers holding that Neptune rules Pisces.

Neptunian traits (e.g. love of the sea, potentially addictive personality, highly creative, dreamy, foggy, links to film/photography etc.) do not, automatically, apply to any person born with a strong emphasis of Pisces in their natal chart. If Neptune is linked by aspect to personal planet(s) there's more likelihood of recognising at least some Neptunian traits in that person. Jupiter's keywords, for example: expansion, lucky breaks, generosity, optimism, philosophy, links to religion or legal matters are not often mentioned as textbook Pisces attributes, yet the Age of Pisces, where we are now, and will be for some time to come, is defined in the West by religion: the rise of Christianity.

Due in part to Pisces' astrological element Water, mutable mode, and being the 12th and last sign in the zodiac circle, the sign itself is thought to represent: gentleness, sensitivity, an emotional nature, empathy, possible psychic ability, prone to shyness. These are descriptions for the essence of the sign, but once part of a natal mix the essence become modified by the chart's configuration and other planetary positions. So, writing more words about the essence itself, which hardly ever exists in pure form in real life, doesn't seem useful.

It'd be interesting to write about a purely Pisces person, but I don't know one. I do know someone with Sun at 1 Aries, Mercury at 29 Pisces, and Saturn at 26 Pisces - my husband. He's "cuspy". Proper astrologers don't give "cuspiness" much credence. I can "feel" husband's Pisces (he doesn't allow just anyone to do this!) His Pisces parts are, however, always being frog-marched into hiding by Aries, sometimes outshone by Moon and ascendant in Leo. Here is Pisces manifesting (in a Sun in Aries person) as someone with artistic talent, a love of photography, with a rather quieter nature than is often found in Aries Sun, Leo Moon and Leo rising. Yet leadership emerges too - a background in management; impulsive and impatient, but can't remember what day it is or what he had for breakfast - or even whether he did in fact eat breakfast. Aries modifies Pisces, Pisces modifies Aries, and Leo modifies both and is, at the same time, itself modified. As it happens, in husband's chart Neptune trines Jupiter, so the two rulers of Pisces are in harmony with each other, and Neptune semi-sextiles Moon, so Neptune's link to photography is relevant.

What I'm trying to say, in convoluted fashion, is that although every zodiac sign is said to have an intrinsic meaning, as a zodiac sign, it's unwise to assume that the sign's intrinsic meaning will manifest clearly enough in a human being to be discernible by others.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Salmagundi on Saturday-Sunday

Nevada and South Carolina are in the news this weekend.

Primary caucuses are being held in Nevada on Saturday. Weeks ago word was that Hillary Clinton had a clear advantage in the state, but lately it's being reported that the race has "tightened", as Bernie Sanders appears to have caught up considerably. There's a whiff of change in the air these days, I'm anxious for it to grow, and Nevada's result will be a guide as to the depth and breadth of that whiff of change. On the Republican side it'd seem Nevada with glitzy Las Vegas embedded would be a shoe-in for Donald Trump. The area though, glitzy as it is, has a huge working class population who cater to the tourist industry.
Las Vegas, Nevada has more hotel rooms than any other city on earth. Of the top 25 largest hotels in the world, 15 are in Las Vegas.

State of Nevada has voted for the winning presidential candidate 96 percent of the time since all Lower 48 states first voted in the Election of 1912. During the past 100 years, Nevada has voted for the winner in every election except for 1976 when Jimmy Carter lost the Silver State by a narrow margin. (Ohio is the only state that has voted for the winning Presidential candidate in each Presidential election in the last 50 years)

South Carolina holds its Republican primary Saturday too, Democrats must wait until next Saturday for their SC primary. Will Donald Trump retain his lead...will Ted Cruz make gains? I know nothing at all about South Carolina, except that one of my favourite movies Prince of Tides is partly set there. Reportedly Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump still hold big, possibly insurmountable, leads in this southern state.

In other news

The mystery of MH370 lingers on...and on ...and on

10 weeks until the search for the plane is expected to end after a year-long mission. If officials fail to find the wreckage, it throws up the possibility that a rogue pilot was controlling the aircraft at the end.

According to The Times, Australian officials are preparing to change their theory of what actually happened before it disappeared.

The 60,000sq km search area, which is almost the size of England, was calculated on the assumption that the plane was a “ghost flight” and that its pilots were either incapacitated or dead at the time it crashed. In this scenario the aircraft flew on autopilot until its fuel ran out and it crashed into the Indian Ocean.

But if the plane is not found in this area, it may suggest someone was controlling the flight at the end and managed to glide the aircraft for up to 160km, beyond the bounds of the search area. The “rogue pilot” theory suddenly comes back into play.

Unfortunately, if the plane is not found in the next few months, the world may never know what happened to flight MH370. Australia, Malaysia and China agreed last year to end the search if they reached the end of the zone without finding the plane.

On a lighter note

From husband's vintage photos "Talking Pictures" section at Flickr


Husband's caption:
Earle Smith and Vera at the 828 house.
Vera wore her pointed paper hat of invisibility. Earle kept his club ready, just in case. He knew all her tricks, he thought.

Alternative caption suggested by Michael Donovan
"So, he wants to make you his common-law wife, does he? Well, I've give him some common-law wife right up the you-know-where if he shows his ugly mug around here again!"

Another alternative by Debbie Irwin
He knew the little pest would be back. Those pointy headed fairies had had their way with him for the last time. He had the idea that this club in his hand was not the "fairy chaser" the dealer had convinced him it was. In time, he would build his own. He feels the victory is near. It is his time, by God. IT IS *HIS* TIME!!!

And from the always chuckle-worthy Wrong Hands by John Atkinson (borrowed after the hopefully adequate donation of a tip for requested "cup of coffee"):

I'm going with:
(Thereby hangs a tale?)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Faith Ringgold

Artist's own website, where many of her works are detailed and shown under section headed "Images".

When I was a little girl growing up in Harlem, I was always encouraged to value who I was and to go after what I want. Ever since I was young, I've always had a need to express my ideas through art. Being an artist and a writer of children's books is a fulfillment of my lifelong ambition.

I became an artist for the same reason I became a writer - I wanted to tell my story. I was born in Harlem in 1930. I was the baby of my family, the youngest of three children. My childhood was the most wonderful period of my life, until now. Because I was sick with asthma when I was growing up, I was forced to spend a lot of time at home. This was not a hardship, however. Instead, it gave me time alone with my mother, who was a fashion designer at the time. She taught me how to sew (just like her grandmother had taught her) and how to be creative with art and fabrics. My mother also took me to museums and to see great performers. She put me in touch with the best of everything.

When my mother died in 1981, I started making quilts as a tribute to her. During that time, I was trying to get my autobiography published, but no one wanted to print my story. In 1983, I began writing stories on my quilts, as an alternative. That way, when my quilts were hung up to look at, or photographed for a book, people could still read my stories. I have “written” 30 story quilts since then. They are written the way I write my children's stories - each section written on the quilt is a page.

Writing children's books has allowed me to communicate my ideas and vision and, I hope, give back to children some of the magic they have shown me.

Born on 8 October 1930 in Harlem, New York. Chart set for 12 noon, time of birth unavailable.

Ms Ringgold's art/writing combination is reflected nicely by Venus (the arts) in helpful sextile to Mercury (writing/communication) and a further sextile to a strengthening cluster of planets: Mars (energy)Pluto (power) and Jupiter (publication).

Her activism is indicated by the opposition of Sun (self) in diplomatic Libra, and Uranus (the rebel) in pro-active Aries; the opposition forms part of a Grand Cross involving Sun, Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus.

From Astrotheme
The typical case of a person with a grand cross in the natal chart prompts the native to create, take action, and in the beginning, to repeat the same kinds of errors. If he is perspicacious, he understands quite quickly that it is in a context of tensions and hurdles that he gives his best. In addition, as he starts to mature, he realizes that it is in inaction, and paradoxically when there are no problems to solve that he feels… the worst.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

SCOTUS... "If Only..."

I first wrote a blog post about this gentleman back in 2008 - part of that post is included in one from 2012, re-aired below.

It's a pipe dream, of course - but what a superb addition to the SCOTUS line-up this man would be, to fill the now vacant seat of Antonin Scalia dec'd. According to Wikipedia Mr Fitzgerald is now in private practice, in Chicago.

By the way, regarding the late Justice Scalia, there's a good read by a favourite writer of mine, David Michael Green, at The Smirking Chimp: The Loser's Way, (or, What Do You Do When your Politics Suck ?)

Re-airing my 2012 post:
One public figure in the United States I can admire without reservation (and there are precious few) is US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. He has been in the news once more this week, this time announcing his decision to step down from his post in Northern District of Illinois after a stint of 11 years. From the end of June he intends to take the summer off before considering other job possibilities.
(Photo: Getty Images)

His 24-year, often high profile, career has included prosecuting terrorists, mob members, corrupt governors and a presidential aide - we can only guess at what job offers might be forthcoming. Possibilities mentioned here and there on the net would be to replace the current FBI director whose term will end in September 2013, or U.S. attorney general under a new administration.

Mr.Fitzgerald has never made his own political leanings known. He prosecuted Republican Governor George Ryan and Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, with equal zeal.

On Thursday, speaking to reporters he said, "For the office, it's important that there be change. I thought this was the right time." Asked about future plans, "I don't know, and that's sincere," he told reporters. "Public service is in my blood."
(Photograph: Chicago Sun Times)

Fitzgerald's parents came from Ireland's County Clare, they met in the United States, raised their son in Flatbush and guided him to a scholarship at a Jesuit high school. He worked as a school janitor in Brooklyn to make money for college and spent summers opening doors at an upscale co-op building on East 72nd Street in Manhattan. His father worked at a building on East 75th. Fitzgerald says he remembers where he came from and pinches himself when he realizes where he is. "The values we grew up with were straight-ahead. We didn't grow up in a household where people were anything but direct," Fitzgerald says.

I've posted before about Patrick Fitzgerald -this comes from a 2008 post....
A writer called Fitzgerald an "Untouchable", in the mould of Eliot Ness ."The Prosecutor Never Rests", an article by Peter Slevin from 2005 gives a flavour of Patrick Fitzgerald's personality.

"His thoroughness, his relentlessness, his work ethic are legendary," says terrorism expert Daniel Benjamin, a former member of the National Security Council.

Seeing Fitzgerald in action, says Los Angeles lawyer Anthony Bouza, a college classmate, is "like watching a sophisticated machine." Colleagues speak in head-shaking tones of Fitzgerald's skills in taking a case to trial. A Phi Beta Kappa math and economics student at Amherst before earning a Harvard law degree in 1985, he has a gift for solving puzzles and simplifying complexity for a jury."

"The staff of the 9/11 commission called him one of the world's best terrorism prosecutors. He convicted Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and all four defendants in the embassy bombings, which had left 224 people dead. He extracted a guilty plea from Mafia capo John Gambino and became an authority on bin Laden, whom he indicted in 1998 for a global terrorist conspiracy that included the African bombings"

"People who know Fitzgerald describe him as anything but a stuffed shirt. During a key moment in one New York trial, he slipped a note to his co-counsel, who interrupted questioning to read it to himself. It said, "Is there beer in the fridge?""

"He's no slouch at stagecraft, either. At the trial of a Mafia hit man, the defense argued that a ski mask -- part of what Fitzgerald called a "hit kit" that included surgical gloves, a gun and hollow-point bullets -- was really just a hat. (The defense also said the surgical gloves were for putting ointment on the defendant's ailing dog.) During closing arguments, Fitzgerald startled the jury by rolling up one leg on his lawyerly dark suit. "These are just shorts, ladies and gentlemen," he said, according to one account. "These are just shorts."

Chart above is set for 12 noon as no time of birth is known.

I was confident I'd find Saturn and/or Capricorn very prominent in Fitzgerald's natal chart, and I wasn't wrong.

Sun, Jupiter and Saturn itself are all in Capricorn. Saturn is ruler of Capricorn, both are connected to law, as is Jupiter. Saturn and Capricorn represent the discipline, rules, and structures of law. Jupiter and its sign of rulership, Sagittarius represent the judgement and philosophical aspect of law and justice.
Very apt - and evidence of astrology in action - again!

Mercury at 22 Sagittarius harmoniously trines (120*) Uranus at 25 Leo - Intuitive mind with independence of thought - somewhat ahead of his own time.

Mars at 11 Cancer exactly opposes Jupiter at 11 Capricorn - indication that he seeks out challenges, has to temper a tendency to go over the top at times, but because Saturn is positioned close to Jupiter, such tendencies are held in check, and emanate in Fitzgerald's case mainly as the excess zeal for which he is famous and occasionally criticised.

The Moon's position can't be pinpointed without time of birth, but it would lie somewhere between 22 Aquarius and 6 Pisces. If born before noon (my bet) it was in Aquarius, along with his natal Venus. Analysis is key to his work, and that's a strongly Aquarian trait.

This is the kind of guy we need as president, but as long as he returns to some public office, it'll feel reassuring that good things and good people do happen here.... sometimes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Not a "phantom movement", Mr Hedges, it's the crack "letting the light get in"!

I've had mixed feelings about Chris Hedges' writings in the past. My first post about him, in 2010, Chris Hedges, one of America's Rare True Leftists began:
I'm interested to see the natal chart of Chris Hedges, journalist, author, war correspondent, and peace activist. His writing alternately inspires and troubles me. In some of his articles at Truthdig, he comes over as potentially aggressive, paranoid, pessimistic and doom-ridden. Although, I have to say, what he writes aligns very closely to how I'm beginning feel - most of the time - that there is no longer any "proper" leftist thinking left in USA politics.
He comes up again in a 2013 post Rebel? How?

I gave up following Mr Hedges' weekly contributions at a while back, he had become so depressingly negative that I'd started to lose all respect, and felt bad about that. This week, though, I ventured into his latest piece:
Bernie Sanders' Phantom Movement.
Its title didn't bode well for this Bernie supporter! I read it and sighed heavily.

I now have lost remaining respect for this author. I shall refrain from posting the bitchiness (yes, bitchiness) Hedges embeds, however artfully in his piece. At time of writing there are more than 2,880 comments beneath Hedges' article. A fairly small, frequently offensive coterie of Hedges' dyed in the wool fans comment at length, pounce and counter even the mildest of pro-Bernie commentary. There are many comments echoing my own, buried and unloved one, but at least nobody thought mine important enough to jump in to argue and cause an unruly rise in my BP. I've seen observations around the net insisting that many of Senator Sanders' supporters can be abusive to people who disagree with them; I assure you that these Hedges' acolytes are worse - more adamant, rude and supercilious than the group known as "Bernie-bros".

I'm not going to quote any of Hedges' words, his piece is linked above. I will copy- paste a couple of very good comments from the multitude in that long thread. These commenters express my own feelings much better than I ever could:

From "SpecialAgentA"

Nietzsche observed that one should be vigilant about oneself when fighting monsters, as the fight itself can turn one into a monster. Chris Hedges here accuses Bernie Sanders of cowardice for trying to present an argument to the American people through what's left of the democratic system as best he can. This is a pretty remarkable charge, a "low blow" that would make Hillary Clinton proud.

Frankly, given the actual record of Sanders and his effectiveness thus far, Chris Hedges might want to take the beam out of his own eye before trying to take the splinter out of Bernie's. I mean, let's be honest, Sanders is risking his life in publicly taking on the billionaire class, the MIC, the legacy of Kissinger, the oil and gas industries, big pharma, the Iraq debacle, etc. Also, Hedges calls for "open confrontation" and overthrow, as the billionaire class cannot be tamed. Really? What happened in the 1930s? And why would one believe that open confrontation and overthrow would somehow result in a better world? (Ever read about the Russian revolution?)

Isn't the secret story of the last few decades partly that the ultra rich have come to believe that new technologies of media propaganda, surveillance and militarized policing and control make new excesses of greed and inequality possible and sustainable? And if they are right in that (i.e., see Egypt, Arab Spring, or Turkey, etc.), shouldn't America try to break the bonds of corporate control democratically, at the grass roots, instead of by, well, whatever it is that Chris Hedges is calling for?

From where I sit, Sanders has already impacted the larger political discourse, more than Hedges ever has. Presumably, this is a good thing. Of course, as Sanders keeps saying, no President can change things alone and millions would need to get involved to really change things for the better, but Hedges chooses to ignore that essential part of Sanders' argument. Anyway, I don't think he's a coward and I don't think he's wrong to be trying what he is trying, even if it conflicts with whatever vision Hedges has of how change should unfurl.


From "Ed59"

Chris Hedges is a brilliant and courageous advocate for the powerless of this country but sometimes adherence to a very principled analysis can keep someone from being able to take advantage of a timely opportunity to make significant PROGRESS in the right direction.

Sanders has people discussing why the middle class is being crippled and by whom. He is both using the Dem party and simultaneously attacking it by his challenge to the Clinton/DNC machine. I would not dismiss what can be achieved by a Sanders presidency since I also know that gradual progress can turn from quantitative change to a qualitative one - people can be educated and connected to support a real change if not pushed up against a wall. We've seen that from US Marxists that for decades have never contributed to ANY real movement from the 60's onward as they philosophized and "struggled" incestuously over petty squabbles and became unable to achieve anything, remaining disconnected from workers and average humans.

What does Chris suggest - that we should ignore this current possibility to open the eyes of millions to the "system" by not supporting a Sanders who is openly challenging the status quo ? Do we wait for the ideal 3rd party to somehow materialize out of the ether ? Sometimes the "principled" left effectively just circles back around in a circle and ends up achieving the same effect as the worst elements on the right wing or just nothing at all. How can Chris Hedges refuse to work with this opportunity.

Is Sanders a saint - is he a messiah - NO. He is a special man in a special time with a unique chance to contribute to making progressive change - or at least to making people consider that they CAN contribute to real change. Why dump on this movement Chris with nothing more than ultra-leftist exclusivity. Chris - come on - this kind of tear down of Bernie is not of service to the people. Don't let "perfect" be the enemy of good. Chris you know that movements evolve and then can erupt at some point but they have to evolve first. Tell me how you would get from your position to creating a movement that can make all the changes you mention are needed WITHOUT an evolution of the minds of millions people over time - people that at this time are very far from your ideally formed revolutionary self who has all these issues resolved?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Obedient "Puppets with Perception" ?

As was the case yesterday, today's post also was fuelled by a film available via Netflix: Experimenter. The film is a dramatised biographical tale of American social psychologist Stanley Milgram's controversial experiments in the early 1960s, when he attempted to discover how powerful is the human tendency to obey authority, even when against all moral and ethical instincts.

Below is Milgram's newspaper advertisement used to find participants in the experiment:

Milgram, Jewish by birth, was born on 15 August 1933 in New York City. (Natal chart set for 12 noon is shown, for reference - am not interpreting it at this time. Click on chart image for larger view.)

Milgram was powerfully affected by events of the Holocaust, later re-kindled by the trial of Adolf Eichmann in the 1960s. Milgram's experiments, only partially depicted in the film, have been strongly criticised on several fronts. His results showed that 65% of those tested were capable of inflicting serious, possibly fatal pain upon another person, when directed to do so, and to continue doing so by a figure they assumed to be an "authority". The film Experimenter, as I've discovered from later reading around the net, didn't show all of Milgram's variations to his basic experiment. Results from those variations, as percentages of compliance to instructions rose to 100% or, alternatively dropped to zero when conducted under different situations and circumstances. However, it does remain sad enough, and bad enough that even in certain specific circumstances the majority of those tested could be successfully instructed to obey a direction which they knew was physically, and possibly psychologically, harming or even fatal to another person. For a brief outline of the experiment with illustrations see HERE.

There are lots of articles around the internet written by those more qualified than I am, expanding on Milgram's experiment and criticisms of it, along with current ideas and discussion of relevancies of his findings. There have also been other films on the topic. It's a very interesting subject, and never goes out of date. Other parts of Milgram's later researches, include those related to the "6 degrees of separation" idea.

For an overall interesting, readable and fairly current article, I'd recommend this from the Atlantic magazine in January 2015
Rethinking One of Psychology's Most Infamous Experiments by Cari Romm.

The piece ends with
Trying to get a consensus among academics is like herding cats,” Reicher [Stephen Reicher, a professor of psychology at the University of St. Andrews and a co-editor of the Journal of Social Issues’ special edition] said, but “if there is a consensus, it’s that we need a new explanation. I think nearly everybody accepts the fact that Milgram discovered a remarkable phenomenon, but he didn’t provide a very compelling explanation of that phenomenon.
What he provided instead was a difficult and deeply uncomfortable set of questions—and his research, flawed as it is, endures not because it clarifies the causes of human atrocities, but because it confuses more than it answers.
Or, as Miller put it: “The whole thing exists in terms of its controversy, how it’s excited some and infuriated others. People have tried to knock it down, and it always comes up standing.

THOUGHTS: How far are we humans "puppets with perception" - a phrase used in the film? Are some of us more able to break free of our strings, and if so, what does it take? As I typed that line I was reminded of a the first line of a song I blogged about once upon a time "are we human or are we dancer?" (HERE).

Does astrology feed in to any predisposition for refusal to obey? Do transiting planet positions in relation to natal or mundane charts feed in to it? Is it a particular DNA pattern, is it an inherited trait, or simply random, according to situation?

A certain amount of obedience is required in a civilised society. We are trained from babyhood to obey certain rules, for our own well-being, and for the well-being of others. Religion imposes other sets of rules and here, for some, can come an early opportunity to practice rebellion - or not.

Laws which must be obeyed shape our society, most are for society's good, but always depending on the regime in place at any given time.

By the time we reach adulthood we really have become well-trained as obedient beings, having gone through the mincing machines of schools, maybe colleges, maybe even the ultimate mincing machine of freedom of action, the military. So, faced with an experiment, its purpose explained as something quite different from its true motive, carried out by authentic scientists, it could seem unsurprising that so many people continued willing to inflict pain upon an innocent colleague when continually instructed to do so by an authority figure. We all think we'd not do it. I shouted at the TV, to the first guy doing the inflicting of pain in the film, "Stand up and walk out, damn it!" But would I have done that myself, in those circumstances? I hope so. I cannot be 100% certain, nor could any of us - in certain circumstances. In that particular circumstance, though, I feel fairly confident I would have refused to participate.

One important aspect of this experiment (and certainly of other, later, experiments by different scientists) would be how many of those being tested truly believed what they were told about the research, and whether they suspected that all was not aboveboard, but keeping that suspicion to themselves. That factor would definitely skew results significantly. The original experiment had the best chance of being "valid" in that respect, I guess. Later experiments along the same lines, must surely have been tainted by some candidates being aware of what was really going on via hearsay, or through publicity of earlier experiments.