Monthly Post

An Astrological Interlude: Cancer Ingress 2018

Three months ago, we marked the beginning of the astrological year by discussing the Aries ingress chart for the United States. Those of you who weren’t part of that conversation may want to know that an Aries ingress chart is one of the basic tools of mundane astrology, the branch of traditional astrology that tracks the rise and fall of nations. It’s cast for the exact moment of the spring equinox, the point at which the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way to the northern arc of the ecliptic, for the location of the national capital, and it predicts the political climate for three, six, or twelve months to come.

Before we go on, it’s probably necessary to note a few points that may come as a surprise to some of my rationalist readers. Yes, I know about the precession of the equinoxes; astrologers discovered the precession of the equinoxes. (Where did you think all that talk about the Age of Aquarius comes from?) Yes, I know that the constellation Aries is no longer in the 30° wedge of the ecliptic that astrologers call the zodiacal sign Aries. (Signs are not constellations and constellations are not signs; every beginner’s textbook of astrology explains that.)  Yes, I know that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not vice versa; astrologers use the geocentric positions of the planets because we live on the Earth, not the Sun. (It’s the planetary positions relative to where you are that matter in astrology.) Finally, yes, I know that nobody knows how astrology works; so?  It’s a thumping logical fallacy to insist that an effect can’t happen just because the cause isn’t known.

Ahem. With that out of the way, let’s review the Aries ingress chart, and then go on to the Cancer ingress chart, which will take effect at 6:07 am Eastern daylight time tomorrow, and predict the political climate of the United States for the next three months.

Those of my readers who missed the Aries ingress chart can find it here. Here’s my summary from that post:

“So that’s basically what we can expect in the three months to come: a generally successful period for Trump’s presidency, marred by loud public quarrels with Congress and the military; a major shift in Congress, out of which important new legislation comes, probably affecting the military; more giddy excess in the nation’s speculative markets; a turn away from economic globalism, leading to enduring tensions in international affairs, but driving a significant improvement in domestic economic conditions; and an executive branch increasingly lost in its own self-referential bubble, but not yet undone by that bad habit.

“You’ll notice that this ingress chart doesn’t predict the kind of future that most people like to insist we’re going to get any day now. The end of the world has no place in it, nor do any of the various leaps of technology, or consciousness, or the other forms of twinkle dust with which so many would-be prophets like to entertain their listeners. Neither does the all-consuming economic crash that so many people on the doomward end of the blogosphere so openly long for, and have been predicting with the maniacal regularity of broken cuckoo clocks for decades now.

“For that matter, this chart doesn’t predict that Trump will suddenly sprout a short black mustache, overthrow the Constitution, and impose the fascist police state that so many of his opponents like to pretend they’re fighting; nor does it predict that he will be impeached, or thrown out by a military coup. Do such things happen from time to time in history? Sure, but they’re fairly rare, all things considered, and signaled well in advance by an assortment of historical and astrological indicators.”

The major shift in Congress is the one detail that isn’t yet clear, though I have a clearer sense—which I’ll discuss below—about what that might have been predicting. Other than that, I think it’s fair to say I called it. The Trump administration has succeeded in enacting several core elements of its platform, and Trump himself appears to have pulled off a foreign policy coup in his negotiations with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un; his public approval ratings are at an all-time high; the loud public quarrels have certainly been in evidence, and so has the giddy excess in speculative markets; the turn away from economic globalism has been dramatic; and the predicted upturn in the domestic economy, though quieter, seems to be under way. As for the self-referential bubble, well, that prediction really was shooting fish in a barrel, wasn’t it?

So let’s move on to the Cancer ingress and see what it has to say. Here’s the chart. Those of my readers who aren’t used to astrological chart will find it useful to know that the inner circle is the notional Earth, the outer circle is the notional heavens, the lines inside the inner circles are aspects relating the planets to one another, and the lines connecting the two circles are the cusps or lines of division between the twelve houses, which are divisions of the sky relative to the observer that define how a given astrological influence will have its effect. Each cusp position is marked with the sign, degree, and minute of its placement on the ecliptic (the path the sun makes through the heavens in the course of a year). See the one at the far left, 04° Cancer 19’? That’s the ascendant, the cusp of the first house, which is also the point of the heavens rising above the horizon at the moment for which the chart is cast. See the one a little to the right of the top, 12° Pisces 58’? That’s the midheaven, the point on the ecliptic highest in the heavens at that same moment. Remember these; we’ll need them right away.

The length of time an ingress is effective is determined by whether the sign of the zodiac on the ascendant is a cardinal, fixed, or mutable sign. Cancer is a cardinal sign, so this chart is only good for three months. The last chart also had Cancer rising, by the way; as we’ll see, this is one of several striking similarities between the two charts.

Let’s move on. You determine how well the government in power will do in the period covered by an ingress chart by watching two things. The first is the location and condition of the Sun, which represents Donald Trump as head of state; the second is the location and condition of the planet that rules the sign on the midheaven, which represents the executive branch of the federal government. The Sun is over on the far left, just above the ascendant, in the twelfth house of the chart. That’s a significant change from the last three months, when the Sun was in the tenth house, which is among other things the house of grandstanding and open displays of power.

In the three months ahead Trump won’t be as central to the collective conversation of our time as he’s been for the three months just past. He’s still going to be in power, and he’ll be able to get some important legislation through Congress—more on that in a bit—due to the sextile aspect between the Sun and Uranus in the 11th house. He’s still going to be at loggerheads with foreign powers, too—that’s shown by the opposition between the Sun and Saturn, which is the ruler of the seventh house of foreign affairs.

He’s also going to be on the receiving end of vocal but ineffectual opposition from an assortment of career politicians and tech-stock billionaires—that’s shown by the weak sesquisquare aspect between the Sun and Jupiter, which rules the cusp of the tenth house of politics and is located in the fifth house of speculative wealth.  By all indications in this chart, the opposition to Trump generally won’t accomplish much in the three months ahead.  The Jupiter placement just mentioned is part of a grand trine including the Neptune in the tenth, representing the big federal bureaucracies, and Mercury in the first, representing the media; a grand trine is a favorable aspect pattern in some contexts, but it tends to be passive.

I read this as predicting that the opposition to Trump will make the same mistake that doomed Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions. Having convinced themselves that everyone who matters hates Trump, they have forgotten that they have to make their case to the people who actually matter in the 2018 midterm elections, the ordinary voters—many of whom have done very, very poorly under the policies the opposition to Trump supports, and are showing very little sign just now of being willing to shut up and do as they’re told by their soi-disant betters.

An effective challenge to the Trump administration would start by figuring out why so many voters were so desperate for change that they were willing to vote for Donald Trump in order to get it. It would then offer them solid reasons to think that their situation will actually change for the better if they vote for an alternative. Such a challenge has yet to be mounted, either by the Democrats or the old guard of the GOP; slogans tattered with years of hard wear and well-rehearsed shrieks of outrage have taken the place of any more effective approach, and Trump’s approval ratings have climbed steadily as a result. The Democrats still have time to slap themselves awake and do something that won’t simply lead them on a march to defeat in 2020, but the window of opportunity is narrowing with each passing day.

What will Trump be doing while his opponents scream into an echo chamber? My guess, based on the Sun’s position conjunct the ascendant from the twelfth house side, is that he’ll be reconnecting with his base. He got into office by giving voice to the economic concerns of millions of Americans who had been shut out of the political conversation by a bipartisan elite; as he faces the first major electoral test of his administration, the 2018 midterm elections, it would make sense for him to do more of what won him the election, get outside the Beltway, and get a sense of the concerns, issues, and slogans that will energize his base in 2018 and 2020.

If I’m right, expect to see some new policy proposals coming out of the White House as summer turns toward fall. One very likely direction this might take is the reform of some of the many abuses in the Federal prison system. Trump’s recent, highly publicized intervention in the case of a woman serving a life term for a nonviolent drug crime could well be a straw in the wind; the twelfth house rules prisons, among other things, and the Sun’s presence in that house suggests that may be a focus of Trump’s policy. (No, it doesn’t mean he’ll end up in jail in the next three months! For that even to be an option, the Sun would have to be afflicted by a strongly placed malefic planet ruling the twelfth house cusp, and Trump’s natal chart would have to show certain distinctive signs it doesn’t have.)

As the Sun and the ruler of the tenth house represent the government, in turn, the Moon and the ruler of the ascendant represent the people. In this case, since the rising sign Cancer is ruled by the Moon, it amounts to the same thing. The Moon is in the fourth house of agriculture and the countryside, afflicted by square aspects from Mercury, which rules the media, and Saturn, which rules debt—thus the ongoing hostile treatment of ordinary Americans by the mass media, and the immense burden of debt weighing down on so many Americans, will continue to be major grievances. (We’ll get to the trine aspect between the Moon and Mars a little later.)  The Moon is also peregrine, meaning that she receives no strength from her position in the zodiac. It will be a difficult summer for a lot of people.

Meanwhile we’ve got another round of speculative froth to deal with.  That’s another theme that carries over from the Aries ingress—Jupiter, the planet of wealth, was in the fifth house of speculation then too—but his only significant aspects were a trine to the Sun, boosting Trump’s popularity, and a semisquare to Saturn on the seventh cusp, warning that trouble with foreign trade would push back against the latest bubbles du jour. This time, Jupiter is far more central to the chart, with more aspects than any other planet. What’s more, he’s one point of the grand trine that joins him in mutual support with Neptune and Mercury, and also one point of a T-square that locks him in conflict with Venus and Mars.

A grand trine is a very favorable pattern; a T-square is a very difficult one. My reading is that we’ll see an unsteady economic landscape over the next three months, with fortunes made and lost with equal ease. Speculative gambits that relate to communications, technology and the media (ruled by Mercury) and to pie-in-the-sky fantasies (ruled by Neptune) will tend to do very well; equally promising speculations focused on the production of actual goods and services (Venus in the second house of goods), or those vulnerable to hostile economic moves by foreign governments (Mars in the eighth house of other nations’ wealth) are much more likely to get clobbered. One way or another, it’s going to be a wild ride.

That Mars in the eighth house is worth watching. As an indicator of trade wars with other nations, it opposes Venus in the second, which suggests disturbances in the production and availability of consumer goods in the US as a result of competitive tariffs. At the same time, Mars is also in a trine aspect to the Moon of the common people. A vast number of Americans these days, courtesy of the much-lauded global economy that Trump is busy dismantling, are trapped in permanent part time jobs at starvation wages if they can get jobs at all, which many can’t. As trade barriers make it more profitable to supply the huge domestic market of the United States with goods and services produced here at home, that will begin to change.

Let’s move on to politics. Congress is indicated by the eleventh house, which has Aries on its cusp and Uranus placed in it, both carried over from the Aries ingress. It’s ruled by Mars, thus will contine behaving in a belligerent and confrontational manner, and semisquare Neptune, ruling the executive branch—expect confrontations between Congressional committees and such federal agencies as the FBI and the Department of Justice to accelerate in the months ahead. Since Uranus in the eleventh rules the ninth house of the judicial branch, I’d expect at least some of those confrontations to end up in the courts, or to make Congress turn to its rarely used power to levy contempt charges and other quasijudicial penalties.

I mentioned earlier my prediction in the Aries ingress that some important legislative change would come out of Congress. It’s possible that this will turn out to be correct after all. Bills have been introduced that would legalize industrial hemp production, on the one hand, and turn the regulation of marijuana over to the states, on the other. Trump has already said that he supports the latter bill—and there are potent political reasons why he should do so.  First, states’ rights are an easy way for Trump to appeal to his base; second, pushing for de facto legalization would appeal to a great many voters who usually side with the Democrats; third, following up a change in the marijuana laws with commuted sentences for everyone in federal prisons who’s there for marijuana possession and other nonviolent crimes would be hugely popular among those demographic sectors that are overrepresented in that end of the prison population—sectors which by and large vote Democratic much more often than not.

Done skillfully enough, Trump’s support for reform of the marijuana laws would cut off hiss opponents at the knees and tilt the midterm elections solidly in his party’s favor. What’s more, if the Democratic establishment reacts to this as it’s done to Trump’s other policy proposals, and opposes these reforms solely because Trump supports them, the blowback from Democratic voters could split the party right down the middle, plunging it into internal conflicts that would make Trump’s reelection campaign in 2020 a walk in the park. The only constructive option the Democratic establishment has in the face of that gambit would be to get out in front of the GOP and support the proposed bills even more enthusiastically than Trump does, and even then Trump would still be able to take credit for it all. I’m guessing that this is what Uranus in the 11th predicts; that’s a guess, but it would be exactly the kind of unexpected move Trump likes to do, and it would be wickedly effective at blindsiding and embarrassing his opponents.

To sum up, then, the next three months will see Trump a little less outspoken and a little less central to America’s collective conversation than he’s been of late. The trade wars now under way will continue, causing some disruptions in the supply of goods and services here in the US and some expansion in the supply of jobs. More of Trump’s agenda will get traction in Congress, and there’s the possibility of a significant shift in US drug laws and federal prison policies as a result. The economic news will be dominated by dramatic swings in stocks and other speculative vehicles, with some big winners (especially in tech industries and vaporware generally) and some big losers (especially in smokestack industries and ventures vulnerable to foreign trade barriers). Trump’s opponents will by and large devote their time to preaching to an assortment of Democratic choirs, Congress and several federal bureaucracies will pound their collective chests at each other like a couple of quarreling silverback gorillas, and the rest of the country will swelter through a difficult summer, caught between the grinding weight of too much debt and the maddening chatter of an increasingly self-referential media industry.

That is to say, business as usual. Three months from now, we’ll see how things turned out.


  1. What balance of elements does America have, and do nations have humours as well?

  2. Hi JMG,

    Could you recommend a good ABSOLUTE beginner’s guide to astrology? I had my natal chart read a while ago on a lark and the reading got me curious. Anyway, I don’t quite trust the titles at my local bookstore.


  3. Yorkshire, no, nations don’t have humors — that’s a medical concept applicable only to individual living bodies. As for the balance of elements, that’s a detail of the foundation chart, which I should probably discuss in a post here sometime.

    James, it’s been so long since I was in the market for beginner-level books on astrology that I frankly have no idea what’s out there. Does anyone else have a suggestion?

  4. John–

    It appears that Trump has little to fear from Democrats making a viable pitch to the economic underclass and precariat which carried him to the White House. I keep seeing stories along the lines of the following

    which keep focusing on racial/-ist elements of his appeal. If anything, these analyses appear to go out of their way to argue that economic insecurity was *not* a primary driver. (I suspect that the study design might have something to do with this, but I’d have to see the raw analysis in order to verify.) Partly, the sleight-of-hand seems to be achieved by focusing on one particular population of Trump voters (in this case, white evangelicals) and then allowing one’s audience to incorrectly extend those results to all Trump voters.

    As a side note, I’ve observed (at least subjectively) a distinct uptick in the level of vitriol and sheer hate in the comment threads, at least on that one platform. I’ve more or less shifted to observer status, but even with that I’m finding the blind hatred (literally, written wishes for various people or groups to die) incredibly toxic and I may very well just stop reading the posts completely (which would be something of a shame, b/c I find the data to be a useful indicator of the stat-of-mind in the Democratic camp). Perhaps some protective warding would be helpful, were I to continue.

    The sense that I have is that Democrats (the rank and file, not necessarily the politicians) have elevated the Mueller investigation to some kind of deus ex machina status, believing fervently that it will descend from the heavens to make all things right and to mete out punishment to the unjust. They fully expect impeachment, removal, jail-time, and/or resignation from office. I think that they misjudge Trump’s character and willpower. (Acknowledging aspects which do not parallel, I look at him as something akin to a 21st century Andrew Jackson, similarly crude and brash, evoking similar feelings of disdain among the elite, and enjoying similar popularity with the “common man.”) I just don’t see him going quietly into the good night and, as you’ve pointed out, the Democrats seem to be doing everything they can to assist his re-election in 2020.

    It ain’t going to be a dull time, at the very least.

  5. David, yep. They’re making all the same mistakes that lost Clinton the election, and the obsessive focus on the identity politics of race and gender as a way to avoid talking about economic issues and the widening class divisions in American society is one of the whoppers. So is the frantic insistence that they can get rid of Trump by something other than good old-fashioned political organization and campaigning, backed up by a willingness to reach out to the voters and listen to their concerns. The level of wishful thinking is very nearly brushing against florid-delusion levels; I’ll be putting something up on my Dreamwidth journal later today talking about an unusually giddy example.

  6. Flyover country could be redefined. What the majority needs continues flying over the heads of media.

  7. No argument here. I think all the above is a fairly accurate prediction of how the next three months will play out for the US. The California question is going to be the big one three months from now. Another interesting question to my mind is how will events in Europe play out? Angela Merkel’s coalition looks like it has a good chance of failing and Italy is having its own debt crisis. I think Chris Martenson is right that eventually the problems in Europe will affect the United States, especially the US credit market.

    Trump backing the US away from empire is a good thing overall, but the intricate economic ties that have resulted from central banks, and sale of government bonds I think are the Achilles heel in any project undertaken by the US to walk away from empire. On our way out of the gates of empire, that rat trap must be sprung on us at some point. It’s probably be best done while we still have most of our perceived power at hand.

    My big question is what happens in three months from now, when the proposal to split California into three separate states starts picking up steam to be voted on. That ballot ballot proposal hasn’t gotten near as much media attention as I would have thought. But if you google California news it’s consistently there in the news feed now. Splitting California up would have major repercussions because it would create a swing state that could vote republican in a presidential election. It would also redistribute the balance of power in the house because you would have three states sending six representatives, instead of one state sending two. It would also probably be a good thing because the echo chamber, created by many of the universities in California would be contained in a much smaller state.

  8. JMG–I don’t think I will be the only one to note that the prison aspect to the chart has taken a sudden turn with the controversy about separation of families and incarceration of minors overtaking the prospects of prison reform in the news. Trump seems to be trying to work both sides of the question, claiming that his admin is just following the law and that if Congress would produce immigration reform he would sign it. Meanwhile some Republicans are appalled that the terrible appearance of the program will damage their chances in the midterm election. But the Democrats still can’t figure out that calling people Nazis does not convert them to a different point of view.


  9. Re: Beginner’s astrology resources: has a lot of excellent articles on basic astrology in its All About Astrology section ( It also has an excellent free feature called the short report forecast which helps give mid-term horoscopes for people (you have to put in your birth info in). There are also features that allow you to study your own natal chart in detail.

    Honestly, attentively using, printing out, and studying the free features on for the past decade has taught me quite a bit about the energies of planets, signs, houses, aspects etc. For Mundane Astrology, Skyscript has excellent introductory material here:

    Using the tools of, I believe that JMG’s book The Encyclopedia of Natural Magic is an excellent introductory book as it covers the basics of planets, signs, elements and rulership as they relate to the natural world and everyday life. It has a lot of very useful information about using astrology in daily life, which I have found is a very good way of getting to personally/experientially understand the currents of cosmic energy.

    If I may offer what has worked for me: I’ve found with astrology, having a book is not as important as having flash cards and ample notes! It is very math based and one really needs to memorize a lot of details for a workable picture to emerge. This takes some time, but once established it proves to be a very powerful conceptual framework and tool.

  10. Could the prison thing be about immigration detention centres rather than federal prisons?

    Something I was wondering regarding how Americans see the world – what did Americans think about the Falklands War, both when it was happening and now? We don’t talk about it much but it’s still a significant part of the British psyche – our last proper war.

  11. dear druid:
    your essay raises a few questions, not about your predictions, but about astrology more generally. i hope these questions are not inappropriate in this context.
    first: correlation or causation? do the positions of the planets cause events on earth to occur or do they only correlate with those events?
    second: if they are causal, what is the mechanism? how do astral bodies influence events?
    third: if correlative, how do heavenly bodies “know” what events are going to occur?
    fourth: is there not an element of anthropocentrism inherent is astrology? whether the heavens are acting causally or in correlation, why does anything out there care enough about events on this insignificant planet to cause them or to alert us to what’s coming?
    thank you

  12. @David, by the lake:
    I used to visit a certain site on the Intertubes, where people went to vomit after coming home. There is a lot to be learned in such places, mainly in the “one should not do this” area, but it is unwise to stay for long. What you contemplate, you imitate; I will spare you from the horror stories I got from having to learn in my bones what I’m writing now.

    TL;DR Get out.

    First, let me phrase James’ question in a different way: imagine you are William of Baskerville, and you are running away from the fire in the astrology library. You have to pick three books to save; which ones would you take?

    Second question, I remember vaguely that you mentioned an American association of astrologers, for things like, if you are unsure of your birth time, there is a process to rectify it; my birth certificate bears a quite suspicious 00:00 time, and my parents are no longer here to tell me more. I have reasons to suspect the date also may be way off. Would the procedure be useful for people that are, for several reasons, unsure about their birthday?

    Finally, in the totally off-topic section, yesterday I stumbled at something interesting. I am from Brazil, and lately our country is passing through a level of dysfunctionality that is too high, even by our low standards. I think I found the reason, in a dissertation, written in Portuguese–Spanish speakers might try to extract some meaning from it–at the Universidade Federal Fluminense. Students decided to use Hubbert curves to estimate a peak oil date for Brazil, including pre-salt data. It is stated as a pessimistic forecast, because it uses proved reserves (1P) and production up to 2016. Anyway, their conclusion is listed at page 63: 2021. I gave a direct link, but the text should be accessed from here. The party was great, but the end is near, and hangover looms on the horizon, ever closer…

  13. JMG – re: where you wrote: “…Trump’s recent, highly publicized intervention in the case of a woman serving a life term for a nonviolent drug crime could well be a straw in the wind…”

    I’m surprised (but shouldn’t be) that the publicity surrounding this incident didn’t last a bit longer. I also found it quite interesting that the woman who received the pardon is African American. A disproportionate number of the people in prison for non-violent drug offenses are in minority groups. Mid-term elections could be very interesting indeed.

    As I understand your analysis of the chart, you imply (without actually mentioning this particular issue among many issues) that the whole refugee/border crisis including separation of families, is simply going to be ‘addressed’ by noise and fury, and little – if any – effective action. What is your take on this?

    Thank you, as always, for writing this thought provoking blog. And allowing, with a policy of fairness, for all the comments and the lively ‘discussion’ that ensues.

    — PatriciaT

  14. I came here today hoping for exactly this discussion, how timely.

    I’ve been locked in a mind numbing discussion with a group here that is organizing a protest of the immigrant child separation policy (possibly the prison aspect in the chart?). Here being a particularly hippy liberal part of Canada’s West coast. They are doing some sort of photo shoot, to send to Trudeau and I guess Republican lawmakers? The Internet at large? Apparently, despite the fact our heads of state are in a base ounce trade war, our media has launched a Boycott American campaign and Trump doesn’t give a rats backside what Trudeau or hippies want, this will convince them it’s a bad policy. The problem is they don’t know it’s traumatic for children, right. If only they knew!

    I said if your problem is a hole, convincing all your friends to grab a shovel and start digging isn’t helping, but alas, this is evil enabling talk and the history books will judge my apathy. Perhaps Merkel will tweet another own-goal photo like the G7 summit and take that column space from me…

    Also thought y’all would “enjoy” this – behold how the common man suffers from steel tariffs!

    I once on lived in a very dodgy apartment -taxis wouldn’t go there, since they usually got robbed – and my coworker saw a man out front having a real rowdy fight with a bush, and lose. I feel like I’m watching that, today.

  15. JMG, I have to ask: do astrologers get out under the night sky and go star gazing, or is it all done on computers these days? Seems a shame if they don’t.

    I have recently acquired a small telescope and am having a great time using it to look at planets, our and other planets’ moons, open star clusters, globular clusters and a nebula or two. Even from the city with a small telescope, there is so much to see.

    You mentioned that the signs and the constellations of the same name are no longer in the same place, and that astrologers are well aware of this. I’m just wondering how this shift has affected the way astrologers work from classical antiquity to now.

  16. JMG, out of curiosity, is the debt burden you speak of national or personal debt, or does the chart not distinguish?

  17. David&JMG

    One of my friends who worked in a polling company quit after being told that she had to transform a survey showing Clinton supporters to be substantially more racist, and showing Trump supporters were facing substantial economic difficulties, into one showing the only factors predicting whether someone supported Trump was how racist/sexist they were.

    It’s just an anecdote, but I figured I’d share it.

  18. I think the trade wars are pretty much a given at this point. What I’m interested in, is how all the other governments choose to respond. It seems to me that we (Canada) could try to find opportunities in how we tariff US things in response. If the USA tariff cars and the factories in Windsor Ontario close, it’s going to hit people there hard. But why don’t we get the workers there to buy the defunct factory, with government help if needed, and build our own cars? All the equipment and skilled workers are right there.

    One suggestion I heard that fascinates me is that Canada should threaten to ignore patents on US pharmaceuticals, if the USA tariffs Ontario built cars. If we could produce our own versions of some of these medications it would save Canadians and provincial governments massive amounts of money. The idea was that the USA would back down rather than have this happen, but it seems like something that could be a heads we win, tails you lose situation for Canada.

    The one thing we can’t do is sit here and do nothing to protect our small industrial base while the USA raises tariffs on Canadian goods through the roof.

    Canada is a much smaller economy than the USA, so I think a big trade war would likely have a bigger impact here than in the USA.

    Economics are not my forte so I could be dead wrong, but I still think we should be able to do something useful with this situation. We lost a lot of jobs to NAFTA.

  19. Lunchbox, true enough!

    Austin, well, I’m not a Californian, and as a Burkean conservative my take is that what people want to do with their own state — including chopping it into thirds — is their own business. As for the broader picture, no question, extracting the US from the entangling alliances George Washington warned us not to get into will be a difficult operation. The one huge advantage that we’ve got is that the US is the world’s largest market for consumer goods right now, and very few of those goods are made here; as that changes, the boom in manufacturing jobs could help balance the difficulties.

    Rita, my guess is that that’s a nine days’ wonder and the focus will turn back to prison reform in the months ahead. Still, we’ll see.

    Violet, thanks for this.

    Yorkshire, from what I saw, the US barely noticed the Falklands war — “What’s that, the Brits and somebody else are chucking missiles at each other? Huh. I didn’t think they did that any more. So, how about them Steelers?”

    Jaymoses, nobody knows. All we know is that it appears to work. We’re thus in exactly the same position as physicists trying to understand gravity in the generation or so after Newton: everyone’s pretty sure what happens, and accurate predictions are easy to make, but what’s actually going on? We simply don’t know.

    Packshaud, the three books I’d grab are not at all suited to beginners, thus not relevant to the question. They’d also be grabbed on the basis of which books are rarest and thus hardest to replace! The process you’re talking about is the rectification of a chart. The American Federation of Astrologers ( can direct you to an astrologer who could do that for you, but it’ll cost you some money, because it’s not a fast or an easy process. As for Brazil hitting peak oil, okay, that makes sense…

    PatriciaT, Trump’s commutation of that sentence didn’t get much attention precisely because the woman was African-American. The last thing the Democrats (and their pet news media) want is for African-Americans to notice that there are things the Democrats could have been doing for them all along, and never got around to. As for the noise and fury, well, yes — though I understand from this morning’s news that Trump is preparing an executive order to cancel the separation of families, which is of course a policy he inherited from his predecessor in office.

    SaraDee, thank you. You get this afternoon’s gold star for sheer over-the-top common sense — not to mention the story about the guy who fought the bush and lost. Yeah, I think we’re going to see a lot of that sort of thing, and not just on your side of the border!

    Pygmycory, it depends on the astrologer. I certainly love getting out to look at the stars. As for precession, it’s not an issue, because the signs are not the constellations; the zodiacal sign Aries is exactly what it was in Claudius Ptolemy’s time — a 30 degree wedge of the ecliptic starting from the point of the spring equinox. It got its name because that constellation used to be more or less in that place, but that’s the only connection.

    Jen, the chart doesn’t distinguish. For what it’s worth, I suspect it’s both.

  20. Will, yep. Polls are mostly just publicity these days.

    Pygmycory, good. One of the issues that may not be getting a lot of play in the Canadian media is that Canada has very high tariffs on a range of American goods, but expects the US not to charge tariffs on Canadian goods. (The same situation is true of Europe, among other places.) So it’s a win-win situation for Trump; either your government lowers tariffs on US products, or a lot more things get made in the US for domestic consumption. That said, Canada could perfectly well manufacture its own cars, and quite a few other things as well.

  21. @ packshaud

    I began commenting on PW during the early 2016 primary season and stuck around b/c I did manage to have a handful of good, reasoned discussions/debates on policy (and not always coming to a consensus). The periodic “good” conversations have kept me around despite the many “less-than-good” conversations I’ve ended up having. The degree of raw hatred in the threads (not so much at me personally, but comments generally about Trump, his supporters, the evil “other,” or what have you) have really ratcheted up lately, however, and I sense that my time even reading that forum is done. It feels poisonous energetically and my gut-self is telling my brain-self to just stop going there.

  22. David by the lake–I notice a second problem with the study cited in the article you linked. The test group is identified as white evangelicals and we are told that they feel that they suffer as much discrimination as Muslim-Americans. The author jumps on the race issue, but it seems to me that the religious identity is key. I think the respondents feel that they are discriminated against as Christians, not as white people. The Christian right has spent years fostering a feeling of martyrdom as the position of Christianity in the public sphere has been challenged and reduced, both on behalf of atheists and on behalf of followers of other religions. I have Jewish friends who remember being asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer in public school classrooms. Many Christians feel that should still happen. And we have seen the support for “Ten commandments” posting Judge Roy Moore.

    Darkest Yorkshire–I think many, if not most, Americans supported Britain in Falkland Island war. It was cast in our media as plucky islanders vs. stupid South American dictatorship.


  23. @ Will J

    Re polling anecdote

    Thank you. As an analyst, corrupted data bothers me at a fundamental level. What else can we not trust? But perhaps it is as JMG noted, that political polling has simply become an arm of the PR industry rather than being a tool for actual understanding and analysis. What a waste.

  24. I have no opinion on astrology one way or the other. I don’t know much about it, but I’d make a similar prediction about the Democrats vis-a-vis the 2020 election w/o the aid of astrology. The Dems basically have not budged one inch since Nov 2016. In their eyes, the election was stolen, by the Ruskies, or by Comey, or misoyny, or racism, or….something. Any excuse will suffice as long as they don’t have to admit that HRC was a terrible candidate and that the policies of the Dem party have not benefited the workiing class. It seems to escape the attention of rank and file Dems that the economic policy and foreign policy of their party is nearly identical to that of the mainstream Republicans. They don’t seem to recognize that Hilary was G.W. Bush in a pantsuit, at least on econ/foreign policies. One would think the fact that Trump beat out conventional Republicans for the nomination is a strong indication that people wanted real change, not the same bipartisan policies that have failed the workinng class. Bernie represented real change coming from the left but the Dems saw to it he would not win the nomination. Trump represented the only possibility of actual change when the general election rolled around. No surprise to me that so many voted for him. The Democratic party isn’t dealing with the reality of the situation and therefore can’t respond intelligently. They beleive whipping up just a little more Trump hatred will do the trick for them. I think they’re wrong and I think they’ll loose in 2020.

  25. JMG,
    If you are referring to dairy product tariffs, Canada has very high tariffs on some, and none on others. The US media mentions the milk products that have the high tariffs, and ignores the ones with none. The US media also ignores the fact that Canada doesn’t subsidize dairy producers like the US does, we have a quota system instead, and the tariffs on some US dairy items are to prevent Canadian markets being flooded with subsidized dairy. If the USA didn’t subsidize its dairy farmers so that Wisconsin overproduces so hugely, then sure, we can remove the tariff.

    Not so simple. There’s also US tariffs on BC’s softwood lumber, I believe because the US feels BC’s stumpage fees are too low. They might be right on that one, I’d need to check details.

  26. I think the tariffs are part of what distinguishes an ally from a subject (in the terms you used in your discussion of empire way back when): allies get access to the US market without dealing with the cost of the US market flooding their own. Subjects have to deal with the American market flooding their own if they want access at all.

    In other words, what Trump is saying can be rephrased as turning Canada and Europe from allies to subjects of the American Empire. I think that is what’s behind a large amount of the freak out over tariffs. The idea that this may not be an attempt to turn us into subjects, but rather part of the process of dismantling the empire, if it occurs at all, probably causes even more concern.

  27. The cannabis policy overhaul you describe would be a good long-term strategy, but it really doesn’t fit my understanding of his brand or his past actions regarding crime and punishment.

    I do see him moving strongly into the policy of prison-like institutions, though, and reaping great political benefits.

    He’s done quite a bit to confine people from Central America lately, and Republican voters have supported his actions so far. The concession I see him making today is paving the way to confine whole families without separating them:

    There’s a similar tactical framework that will make this policy possible to implement despite opposition from the left side of the US electorate, but it’s less of a radical change than what you describe, so it seems a lot more plausible.

  28. James, I was looking at beginning stuff for astrology and as a general rule of thumb I start with what is available outside copyright; I am reading through MAX HEINDEL’s Message of the Stars and Simplified Scientific Astrology and I have copies of Evangeline Adams books from 20ies; I compare it to free stuff from astrology blogs and websites, and it’s fascinating to see what things were constant over century and which changed with times or how different minds interpret the same indicators.

    Incidentally, JMG, what is your opinion on YOD pattern in astrology? It seems that some contemporary astrologers consider it important, but it’s absent from old books I have. Because he is mentioned in beginning of century text, but never named..

  29. You’re right about Californians business being their own business – I guess I wonder about it a lot because it’d seem to change things from how they are now. 52 states instead of 50. I’ve only ever lived in a world of 50.

  30. David, by the lake:

    You write, “Partly, the sleight-of-hand seems to be achieved by focusing on one particular population of Trump voters (in this case, white evangelicals) and then allowing one’s audience to incorrectly extend those results to all Trump voters.”

    I observe that liberals and progressives like to tell Christians about all the ways that they, Christians, are not being true to the faith, a subject on which liberals and progressives believe themselves experts. I am not now a Christian, but I spent an awful lot of my teen-age years in a serious Pentecostal church and way too many hours at Bible studies; when liberals and progressives expound on the intricacies of Jesus’ teachings I feel embarrassed for them. They have no idea what they’re talking about. Some of them have gotten it into their heads that Jesus must have been a liberal and that, were he alive right now, he’d be a part of the ‘resistance’. Nice thought, but it only works if you skip over a large chunks of the New Testament.

  31. Nothing in the reading to indicate a possible rise of a third political option (beyond republican or democrat)? I find your thoughts and information insightful, and I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written. But I am getting a little depressed about waiting for the Democrats to do something before the window for effecting the 2020 election closes. Wondering if there’s any yet-to-be-elucidated light to be gleaned from the chart. Thank you.

  32. These astrological interludes are fascinating. Thanks for posting them!
    One quick note on the child separation issue. According to politifact (which seems to be a pretty solid fact-checking site), while the legal grounds for separating these families was the same during the Obama administration–legally, children cannot be imprisoned with their parents when their parents are being detained and criminally prosecuted–the current administration is detaining and criminally prosecuting far more immigrant parents who crossed the border with children than the former administration. Have you heard differently?
    I’ve been defending quite a few of Trumps policies, and annoying my liberal friends in the process, so I’d love to point to the Obama administration and say, “See? They did it too.” From the research I’ve done, though, this one seems to fall pretty squarely on the new guys.

    Here’s the page I referenced:

  33. Um, pygmycory, I’m in Ontario now. For years, pundits have warned that although trade w/the US was easy for Canada (lobbing things over the border was the term used), it put them in a vulnerable position (the whole “eggs in one basket” saying.) Perhaps it is now time for Canada to diversify its trading partners instead of depending on its impoverished Southern neighbour?

  34. Funnily enough, the second series called The Sacred Plant starts airing tonight, it’s a free preview with 7 daily installments. I watched one of the first ones from my hospital bed last November. The series from last fall was very good.

    The push to legalize marijuana, especially for medical purposes is heating up big time. I spend a lot of time in Cancer World, and these things are coming from the Christian sector! I am quite delighted about that. Various things are just generally undergoing some switcheroos – the democratic party has become snobby elites and the conservatives are less brainwashed than the liberals. Now the Christians are getting on board and swelling grass roots movements to change things medical and hopefully dietary and maybe also standing up to the bullying vaccine lobby.

    Here’s the link:
    Tonight’s the night!

    The Season 2 world premiere of The Sacred Plant: Healing Secrets Examined airs online TONIGHT, Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

  35. Marie,

    I find it interesting that it says “While some children were separated from their parents under Obama, this was relatively rare, and occurred at a far lower rate than under Trump”. I’d like to see that sentence defined. Personally, I find a phrase like that raises red flags, especially about an issue (Trump) very few people seem to be able to think clearly on.

    I also have to admit my bias is very strongly to give him the benefit of the doubt. Far too many people I know, and most of the readily accessible media here, seem to think it’s perfectly fine to lie about Trump if it makes him look bad….

  36. Tonight, President Trump is rallying in Duluth, MN, which happens to be within the county I live in. This afternoon at work I was able to dip my toe into the water about the feelings towards Trump in a traditionally DFL strong area thanks to their support of the iron mines on the Iron Range. Surprisingly, most people I’ve talked with were not opposed to Trump and his past year and a half in office. Even the recent media blowup of the detention of children of illegal immigrants didn’t phase the majority of people I spoke with. What I am seeing then is Trump is already appealing to his base. There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll keep doing this over the next few months and once yet again the media is going to be too caught up in their biases against Trump to even realize that they aren’t connected with the base.

    Well done on the previous ingress chart and thanks for this one! It definitely seems worthwhile to cast these charts when such accurate predictions can be made, even when they aren’t realized until in hindsight.

  37. In the 80’s, I had a part-time job as a telephone pollster. The big outfits like Gallup subcontract out to local companies, and if Bugscuffle Market Research doesn’t produce, they don’t get paid. One night I went to work and was put to the task of marking response forms. I haven’t taken polls seriously since.

  38. Honest question: do salary class liberals have any idea they’re protecting their own class privilege under the guise of media-approved Trump-bashing? I believe they think of themselves as selfless and pure, but it baffles me how such otherwise intelligent people could be so naive/opaque to their own psychological states.

  39. JMG,

    Did you similarly use astrology or other divination in making your Jan 6, 2016 call for Trump to win the election? Presuming so, may we suppose you use divination as a foundation for all, or at least most, of your “crazy” (generally like a fox) forecasts?

    I’ve been wanting to ask that question for years now; thanks for the opening! At the time I don’t believe you gave anything but a strictly logical and objective justification ( Still, I remember being shocked — it seemed so unlikely.

    I only know three people who called Trump early and unequivocally:
    (1) You
    (2) Martin Armstrong ( and
    (3) Scott Adams (Dilbert).

    Armstrong, in particular, you might find interesting. He has been making decades-ahead, generally “outrageous”, preternaturally correct trend predictions for decades, using an arcane cycle methodology he claims comes first from a computer program. Here is a recent sample:

    Anyway, back to you. I guess I’m going to have to start doing more than just reading your weekly blogs; I guess I’m going to at least try divination of some sort. I second the request for a good intro book on astrological forecasting.

  40. Christopher, I ain’t arguing. To misquote Bob Dylan, you don’t need to be an astrologer to know which way the stars are turning… 😉

    Pygmycory, I’m not saying that it’s simple. I’m saying that there are good reasons why Trump thinks protecting US markets from Canadian products makes just as much sense as it does for Canada’s government to protect Canadian markets from US competition…

    Will, well, that’s the way it was originally, but China is hardly an ally and it’s been able to flood the US market with vast amounts of goods while importing relatively little from the US.

    Joel, Trump has made a lot of money off people who believed that they could predict his next move. I suspect he can do just as good a job of minting political capital the same way.

    Changeling, I’m not sure when the Yod-pattern thing came in, but it was after the astrologers whose work is central to my own practice, and I don’t use it.

    Austin, you should hang out with more old people! I know elderly Masons who still remember when there were just 48 states.

    Beau, no sign of that. Remember the chart only governs the next three months, and if a serious alternative to the Democrats gets going, the soonest I’d expect to see it is after the midterms — especially if the Dems lose badly, as seems likely just now.

    Marie, that’s quite correct. What made this an issue is that the Trump administration has enacted a zero-tolerance policy for illegal immigrants, in place of the lackadaisical enforcement of immigration laws that’s been standard in recent administrations. Thus instead of just rounding up a few illegal immigrants, with or without children, the ICE is rounding up as many as they can catch. Since enforcing the immigration laws was one of the core planks of Trump’s platform, the change in policy follows from that.

    Onething, I’m hoping that the same thing helps stop the medical industry’s repeated attempts to ban herbal and homeopathic medicine!

  41. Prizm, well, that was a fast confirmation! Thank you.

    Pogonip, thanks for this. That makes an embarrassing amount of sense.

    Kimberly, intellectuals are better than most other people at blinding themselves to their own psychological states. They spend more time thinking about abstractions, and abstractions are great at camouflaging actual motives.

    Gnat, no, I wasn’t using astrology when I made that prediction. I simply looked at the facts available to me and drew what, to me, was (and is) the logical conclusion.

  42. He’s honestly brilliant. He knows what it takes to win. This state did vote Hilary in 2016 but it was close, incredibly close. This move, and the moves he’ll be making over the next few months are for now and for 2020.

    I wish I could confirm your other predictions as quickly but they do seem like great guesses. The way things have been with this Presidency and with the media, I can’t imagine that the separation of children issue will captivate the American mind longer than most others. There are plenty of other distractions. Marijuana legislation and the reduction of previous sentences against those who were jailed for marijuana issues seems quite logical. For personal reasons, I am hoping that more attention will be on immigration though.. that’s one of many areas which need some serious reform.

  43. Darkest Yorkshire-Speaking as an American, I will say that well under 1% of Americans could find the Falklands on a map or remember that there was a war. You might be able to jog some people’s memory with the words “Exocet missile.” If I recall correctly, the American media saw irresponsible saber-rattling on the part of Argentina, but did not overtly support the remnants of the British Empire either. Hope that helps. Generaly speaking, Americans simply don’t do world history or foreign languages….

  44. @packshaud: Thank you for the interesting post. The Brazil perspective and 2021 peak oil tidbit were especially interesting.

    @jmg: Well, if you didn’t use divination for that call, it was all the more remarkable. I do recall you referencing an “omen” — a bird or some other animal doing something rather unusual — to underscore the call very shortly before the election.

    Does that mean you also didn’t use divination for your shale oil predictions, which turned out to be pretty uncanny as well?

    Here’s the #1 question (presuming you won’t address more than one): HOW do you make your predictions in general? Is there a strategy? I notice in this article you have both an astrological component but, more importantly IMO, an overarching interpretation where you say something like “I interpret that to mean…”. Without that second step being accurate I suspect the chart itself could lead to a VERY different interpretation in most cases?

    I’m very interested in minutia of HOW successful people do things — the difference that makes the difference. Very often, in my experience, a lot of that difference is out of consciousness; often it involves a trance or other method of getting the logical mind out of the way and tapping into unconscious resources.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated; in reference to this post, there seems to be a rather huge void between what the chart says literally and how you personally interpret that aspect of the chart.

  45. This was too OT for last week, but I think it fits in with this week’s post.

    Remember the Bitcoin mania from a while back?

    Well! Soo-prize! Soo-prize!

    It looks like this mania was rigged by inside traders!

    Much of bitcoin’s 2017 boom was market manipulation, research says

    Who-da thunk it!?

    As for me, I got out of the stock market in the mid-1990’s when I first heard about the Fed’s “Plunge Protection Team,” and I never looked back. I won’t play in rigged casinos where only the “house” can ever win.

  46. John,

    You sometimes speak as if the foolish, delusional, myopic democrats could just get a clue, straighten up and smack themselves on the forehead saying, “Oh, silly me, now I get it!” And start representing the people again.

    So far as I understand it, that’s impossible because those who occupy most all the positions are personally diametrically opposed to that, in fact it would negate their very lives and how they run them to do so.

    It’s like expecting Monsanto to go organic.

    Our fair maiden (the government) is actually held hostage in a cave by a big, bad dragon (the money power) bound and gagged.

    This is why I hate the democratic party with a beautiful and pure hatred, and will try to do my bit to see it destroyed.
    I missed voting in the recent midterm primaries due to car trouble holding me out of state, but I had planned, other than a few good people, to vote a straight Republican ticket. I don’t necessarily think much of the Republican party, but the democratic party has become loathsome.

    You can’t clean a rotten egg.

  47. What a well-behaved comments thread. The entire country’s “national discussion” has erupting into flames over the immigration issue over the past week. It’s so refreshing to step back and look at the long term view.

    A few weeks ago I read Matt Taibbi’s analysis of the upcoming 2018 elections and found it so piercingly insightful that I e-mailed it to my whole family. If you click on Taibbi’s byline, you will see from his most recent posts that he has also noticed some other obnoxious trends in American society which are bothering me as well. Present company excepted, I can’t find many other writers in the US who understand the exact direction in which things are moving.

    We seem to be in a situation in which the GOP is beginning to lock into a new paradigm, while the Democrats are descending into an incoherence which may not produce results until after 2020, as you say. This is an excellent time for people to consider their own value systems — not the values they signal to those around them, but what they would actually be willing to fight for. Such a division, between the tides telling us the direction of things and our values telling us how to react to them, might allow us to get away from the historical determinism that lies beneath people yelling “Nazi,” “snowflake,” “fascist,” “anarchist,” and other mean things.

  48. Beekeeper:

    It’s not just Christians they do that to. I’ve lost count of the number of liberals who, upon hearing I’m a Druid, look up what that entails and within five minutes start insisting I have to agree with them on x, y, or z, when that either doesn’t follow, or even contradicts some of what it means to be a Druid….

  49. A good theory for how astrology works would require altering our theory of how the solar system works.

    What if, instead of planets being dead rocks floating in space, they somehow have an electrical/magnetic charge? That could be from solar winds, for motion, from acruing a relative static charge, or even ideas so exotic as proposing the center of planets are de facto plasma balls surrounded by cooler matter. Doesn’t matter.

    Once you propose that, then their electric/magnetic influence pushes and pulls, in a cloudy way, on the electric/magnetic weather of earth, which human brains, being likewise subtle and electrical, provably detect and respond to. This may be true of further areas than planets, such that large areas of space themselves have a certain electrical signal or background tone color. Although that might be true in 360, we only examine the 12 houses because we only rotate in one plane both daily and yearly, and the north and south poles are therefore “stable”, not variable.

    Bonus question: if vast space can be slightly variable in type, can the solar system itself spin through space that is “thicker” and “thinner”, of greater or lesser energy, thus delinating the predictable 10,000 32,000 year cycles? Why not? We’ve only looked at space with scientific instruments for 200-odd years. How could we know? If so, does that explain the increasing heat and frenetic behavior of humans since, say 1900? Stay tuned.

  50. First of all, may I wish everyone I very happy solstice! What a lovely day…

    re the state of the democratic echo chambers, and pie in the sky schemes,

    A few weeks ago I went to a spiritual center to attend a workshop and gift some native, perennial, medicinal nectary plants I’d transplanted out of my yard. I’d been meaning to attend the local Green movement for awhile, and honestly gifting plants gives me jollies like nothing else and I’ll endure a lot if it means I can get plants to plant or gift plants for others to transplant.

    So I arrive early, and am the first person in the spiritual center which is covered in positive, power verb messages like: “Let’s share coffee and stoke each others enthusiasm for CHANGING THE WORLD.”

    “What have I gotten myself into?” I wondered as I entered the very lovely building. It turned out that I had not read the online notice quite right; this a was to be a grief processing workshop, using transformational methods.

    As you can well imagine the people attending were very, very salary class. The co facilitators led us in some visualizations. Then we discussed epigenetics, which — I wish I were joking — which used as a racist, I mean anti racist explanation for why “black people are the way they are because of how trauma changes genetics.” I was utterly appalled.

    Our last visualization, which also involved the obligatory social justice mentions, involved time traveling back to all of out ancestors (“some slaves some slave masters”), “to gather the gifts.” I didn’t lay down during this exercise as suggested, and actively tried to ignore the woman droning on and think my own thoughts.

    That was a lot! so afterwards we had a little cool down session where we just talked, and I kept on looking at the clock wondering when it would be polite to make my exit. A very expensively dressed woman began rabbiting on about algal biodiesel and how progress will save us. I did my best to keep a straight face and excused myself. I had brought four anise hyssop plants and everyone attending walked home with one. Mission accomplished.

    Reflecting on my experience, I was struck by how incoherent and ineffectual this sort of politic is. How this doesn’t even really qualify as politics; it’s just ritual. The people I was hanging out with in the story had some considerable institutional support and capital. They were also, from my perspective, the least threatening people ever to the status quo.

    Also the algal biodiesel talk surprised me. A year and a half ago I deleted my facebook after having deleted it after the 2016 election. The last time I deleted it, there was a guy who was clearly a sincere hold out from the hippie counter culture, posting snazzy advertisements for algal biodiesel. It was a bit much for me then, as it is now. I like your use of the term “pie in the sky,” with Neptune in Midheaven! Neptune in Midheaven trine Jupiter, Jupiter square Venus in the Second house, Jupiter trine Mercury, Mercury trine Neptune?? I think we might see some speculative alternative fuel ventures have their time in the sun as subsidy dumpsters this summer, actions which of course take resources away from the production of actual goods and services. This is especially likely given the rising gas prices. It is fair to point out that grand trines tend to be passive and, equally, so does vaporware!

    Also in exploring Jupiter square Venus, I think it is highly salient that some social justice folks, who are almost always moneyed, like to go on about how farmer’s markets are racist! ( No one talks about how alternative energy sources might be racist, though, regardless of how much slave labor is needed to make solar panels.

  51. “You can’t clean a rotten egg.” That’s a keeper, onething. Thank you!

    As for the current parties, loathsome as they are, IMHO, rotten eggs are the only eggs we have, and — horribly! — the only food we now have that can keep us alive and fed. When there is no other food of any sort available, and no realistic prospect of any land to grow one’s own food on, the choices are stark and simple: hold one’s nose and eat rotten eggs all one’s days, or die.

    I choose to hold my nose. Others are certainly free to choose otherwise.

  52. About the recent media storm over family separations:

    Salary class liberals–thank you for that phrase, Kinberlysteele707–have for decades been complicit in the horrors (I do not exaggerate) inflicted on working class families by Children’s Protective Services. For example I believe there was a case of 9 children being taken from an Amish family because they dared to homeschool. This was in either Kentucky or Tennessee, maybe ShaneW can help us with details.

    Furthermore, I have yet to learn than affluent liberals are willing to offer their own comfortable homes as temporary shelter for immigrant children.

  53. I’m curious regarding your characterization of the Moon in this chart as “peregrin” and therefore disconnected and unimportant. First, regardless of the sign in which it sits, it does have major aspects to Mercury and Saturn; second it is the ruling planet for the ascendant and the Sun well within normal orbs to be considered conjunct that ascendant, and last (again, I’m curious), isn’t it, being the 4th House, in its “natural” home in the chart? I would read this more as the “people” in their character as Trump’s rural, “heartland” base being a consistent (and supportive) anchor to his plans and actions. Or as we all know, a recognition that Trump keeps a firm grip on the pulse of rural and working-class America and plays to the audience in Kansas.

  54. Will,
    Thanks for the thoughtful response. You’re absolutely right that people get terribly incoherent when they try to discuss Trump and his administration, and I agree with you that lots of people who disagree with him seem ready to latch onto any piece of gossip that makes him look like a villain, without bothering to fact-check.
    As to the vague wording you pointed out, the Obama administration doesn’t appear to have any concrete numbers and statistics that would allow for a more precise statement, which is fishy, I grant you. Don’t get me wrong–I’m no Obama fan. However, the basic statement–that far fewer families were separated under the former administration–seems to be fairly well supported by the policies that were in place around illegal immigrant families at the time.
    I’m not at all opposed to enforcing our immigration laws more stringently, but I’d like to see more transparency around the treatment of detained individuals, especially when they’re being detained in high numbers. Historical examples–not to mention the Stanford Prison Experiment–point to a tendency for that sort of thing to go sour pretty quickly. I think we should be able to ensure humane treatment and still enforce the law.
    Trump just yesterday signed an order to allow detained immigrant families to stay together, which makes the whole situation somewhat less perilous, I think. For now I’m keeping an eye on things, and trying to dodge as much misinformation as I can.

    JMG, exactly, and some of the procedures used in that lackadaisical enforcement didn’t scale up well. Trump seems to be addressing that, so I’m holding off on the righteous outrage for now.

    I hope this isn’t wandering too far off topic?

  55. JMG – I suspected this whole immigration kerfuffle was a pretext for a money grab. (To be clear, I think it is not a ‘kerfuffle’ if its your kids getting taken away, but that’s a sidebar to my main point.)
    In fact, I was talking to a co-worker yesterday about how this whole immigrant kid situation seemed like oligarchy 101; get the people divided and riled up over an emotionally divisive issue, so you can get into the cookie jar when no one is looking. Then, I read you blog, and thought, yes, Trump and the GOP have a policy goal in mind, but I don’t buy that prison or drug enforcement reform is that issue. Their voters have no problem with locking people up and their donors make a lot of money off the for-profit prison system. Then a friend of mine posted this article to Facepalm this morning:
    That’s the policy goal you’re looking for. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have wanted to gut Medicare and Medicaid for years, their donors would love for them to do it, and Trump is great at creating media circuses which will provide them ideal cover. And I’m sure that team D will play along and protest loudly that there’s nothing they can do to stop the mean old GOP (because a lot of their donors want the same thing). And then team D will be genuinely surprised when the results in November are underwhelming.

  56. JMG and all –

    Long time reader, new commenter with some thoughts on the current topic/comments…

    First – I’d like to identify myself clearly – I’m a liberal. In fact pretty much a flaming socialist who is beginning to worry that this blog, which has been so good about keeping the conversation balanced might be slipping into the same trap that I see so many others in these days. However it may be that it’s just this week as the topic is clearly more political than usual and I’m feeling a bit more defensive today.

    With that let me set the record straight at least where I’m concerned…

    As a ‘liberal’ I am:

    Most assuredly NOT waiting for the Mueller investigation to save us all – in fact I think the investigation will find various forms of malfeasance by staff surrounding our current feckless leader and proceed accordingly. I’m expecting no impact to Trump himself

    Not focusing on race-religious-other cultural hot button arguments in an attempt to sway people to the ‘liberal side’ – I believe there are multiples of sides and none of them are 100% in the right. I also believe that the middle class has been completely shafted by both parties currently in office, and has extremely valid issues when it comes to the economy and day to day concerns that impact us all at the local level.

    Not waiting to be saved by a Trump impeachment and not expecting him to lose in 2020. In fact I think the Democratic party should be dust-binned along with a number of other organizations that are no longer relevant.

    Not ‘elite’ – in fact my children were raised on factory salaries and I’ve pinched many a penny in my day, raised my food in a garden truck patch (still do), and mended a lot of clothes rather than buy new. Yes – I have an elite salary now, and I worked very hard for a number of years to get there, no one handed me anything. There is a lot of blindness in the day-to-day world I live in, as suggested in the comments, but not ALL of us with salaries are the same – some of us do see the insanity and work to correct it when given the opportunity.

    I see ‘pet media’ on both the conservative and liberal sides, and do not adhere to either on a regular schedule. I prefer to get my news online and generally try to hit sites again from both sides of the opinion aisle to keep some kind of perspective. I also do not believe everything I see/read from any news service, depending on my own good judgment/ experiences and discussion sites like this one to help form my own opinions.

    I do not hate Christians/evangelicals/other religious groups…to each his own as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. If you’re into a specific god, have at it and best of luck – we all need something to believe in at times. Please just don’t try to sell me on your particular system of belief…I have my own thank you.

    Most of what I’ve seen here in the comments this week regarding liberals doesn’t match my experience…in fact I tend to agree with most of the points being made. So I’d caution against falling into the same trap in reverse…painting everyone with one brush never works, whether you’re conversative, liberal, socialist, green, black, blue or brown we’re all individuals – not cattle (which by the way are also not all alike 🙂 )

    What I am hoping is that JMG continues to keep this board balanced and fair in it’s discourse, as I’ve taken so much from both his writings and the commenters here over the years. I have very much appreciated the ability of the folks on this blog to keep things clear, concise and civil – please don’t fall into the ‘all one group is xxxx’ attitudes I see so much everywhere else.

    Just one liberal thoughts who tries to always keep it anecdotal….

  57. RE: “some children were separated under Obama”

    I would also have liked to see total numbers on this. FWIW, according to the Brazilian embassy, there were never more than two Brazilian children in immigration detention during Obama’s presidency, while right now there are 49.

  58. Re Donald Trump and the election of 2016:

    The signs were out there for people to see. Hillary’s health issues, the chatter in the Internet, Nate’s unwillingness to call the election for Hillary (he even published an article detailing the variables that led him to keep allowing for the possibility of a Trump victory), the lack of people declaring for either person in public, and individuals talking for Trump in private. The latter was important to me, as I met quite a few men willing to risk my redicule to proclaim their support for Trump (And I listened respectfully.).

    (Note: I didn’t call the election for Trump, but I definitely gave a warning out to those friends who were prematurely dancing.)

  59. nastarana,

    Try suggesting they offer their homes as shelters, and there is a world class meltdown (I’ve done it when people were complaining about how inhumane the refugee camps we’re setting up here in Canada are).


    I’m just hesitant whenever something says “it’s not true, except for it did happen in small numbers, but it’s totally false”, which is what that last paragraph seemed to say. It seems very, very fishy to me. As for immigration laws, I’d like to see them enforced as written, then people could have the debate on whether or not they’re fair, ethical, etc. But refusing to enforce laws because you disagree with them seems very likely to undermine the rule of law.


    I was wondering when that would happen. Frankly I don’t view it as a money grab but a desperate attempt to avoid national default.


    Thank you for the comment here, but I’m afraid that what you’re saying doesn’t match my experience. I have very, very mixed feelings on Trump, but too many liberals won’t even listen to anything about what I say, since it’s enough to know that I support Trump on one issue, and then they feel comfortable dismissing everything I say as racist/sexist/bigoted. It’s fascinating watching plenty of otherwise intelligent people unable to process Trump. It’s also mildly scary that so many people I know feel they can lie about anything if it makes Trump look bad.

    It’s not an exclusively liberal thing, and frankly I’m disgusted by the number of Republicans who viciously criticized Obama for executive overreach/civil liberties issues now defending Trump for doing the exact same thing. The fact of the matter is that right now, I’m more concerned about the liberals, for a variety of reasons.

    If all liberals were open minded, accepted Trump won for a reason and got to work trying to address those issues, I would feel far happier about things, but the awkward fact is most of the liberals I know refuse to accept that it’s even possible anyone could have a rational reason for voting Trump, and are obsessed with Muller, in a borderline Messianic way.

  60. JMG,

    The US foreign policy towards China really made no sense: Treating them like an ally, helping them build their industrial plant, all the while giving them ample reason to oppose America. Any idea what drove such a self destructive foreign policy?

  61. Hi John, very interesting commentary, as usual!

    Concur with your analysis over the forthcoming months, in particular, the likelihood that Trump will support the legalization of cannabis (with the added benefit of getting rid of Jeff Sessions as well).

    I’m currently following the migration debate within the EU closely and it seems to be breaking up the union. Merkel is in real trouble and a new Italian Caesar Matteo Salvini is making waves in Rome…

    Matteo Salvini recently called for the registration and deportation of all illegal Roma’s (as well as half a million illegal migrants), a template, if it happens, for the possible mass deportation on non-assimilated Muslim populations from western Europe at some point in the next decade or so.

    The winds of change are blowing hard in Europe and it seems like the liberal elite consensus is being torn apart by a growing nationalist roar across Europe.

    My specific question is whether you agree with me that Trump will impose a final ultimatum on NATO to raise their spending to 2% in mid-July (NATO summit) which I recently wrote in my blog.

    “President Trump is likely to impose a final ultimatum on the Europeans, demanding within a certain timeframe that all NATO members comply with the 2% GDP spending on defence, otherwise America will withdraw from NATO or to that effect”.

  62. I called the election for Trump, but only because I read JMG´s article… 😉 In fact, I expected the establishment to stop him, either at the GOP convention or by massive election fraud!

    Here is a question for JMG. When there was a solar eclipse, you predicted on the basis of astrology that something religious (or broadly religious) would captivate the American imagination. Has this happened yet, and if so, what is it? Or is it still to come?

    Also, have you looked into Trump´s personal horoscope? Can one somehow predict his actions as president from it?

  63. The marihuana issue is interesting. I´m surprised Trump didn´t attack the student loan fraud industry, I think he would get a lot of college student votes that way, effectively stealing them from the Sanders wing of the Dems, but perhaps he´s too connected to “capitalism” to mount such a huge attack? Or maybe he´ll get around to it by 2020…

  64. Berserker wrote a propos the Falklands-Malvinas War: “Generaly speaking, Americans simply don’t do world history or foreign languages….”

    Which includes British English, I presume! 😀

  65. @Jasper

    Interesting! Is this connected to the electric universe idea of David Talbot and (broadly) Velikovsky?

  66. JMG, related but different question re: divination interpretation…have you ever come across in your reading a society that managed to walk itself back from populism without violent revolution/war first?

    My tarot response when I mulled the question today was inverted ace of swords. (I use the Witches Tarot by Ellen Canon-Reed, so that is slightly different in symbolism that Waite for swords, I think… It’s inverse Kether in suit of will/action). I interpret that as technically one could, but ours currently utterly lacks that will. Yesterday, I got the Magician (path up between Binah and Kether) modified by King of Cups (creative urge, potential in the realm of emotion) which together seems to indicate that the rather frustrating and disheartening conversations I had yesterday losing to bushes, do hold a key to a genuine positive work I can undertake. Even bothering to ask the question “is there a better way to do this, is there another way to look at this” is the “duh, who needs Tarot to tell you that” answer there. But no, there is no collective will large enough to move our needle away from ‘boom’, regardless.

    As a scientist, I like to calibrate my results against the literature… Because what if I’m wrong? (Humility to ask what if I’m wrong… magician again…)

  67. gnat,

    For what it’s worth, while I don’t pretend to unusual predictive powers, I called the Trump election by living in rural America, talking politics with lots of different sorts of people, and not watching TV. I honestly think that if people had paid attention to the signs in people’s yards and the chatter at the local beer joint and not steeped themselves in complacent media coverage insisting that he couldn’t possibly win, the result wouldn’t have been much of a surprise.

  68. Darkest Yorkshire,

    I must shamefacedly admit that I had to look up the Falklands War (and, for that matter, the Falklands themselves) to see what it was. It took place a few years before I was born. Add me to the chorus of ignorant Americans!

  69. @Pamela Bennett – The labels “Liberal” and “Conservative” are completely nonsensical and, in fact, at the core of the problem.

    If Liberals were liberal they would favor liberty for all — starting with those who disagree with them; they don’t. In my experience, self identified “Liberals” hate general liberty with a passion.

    If Conservatives were conservative they would practice conservation — starting with natural resources of all sorts. In my experience, self identified “Conservatives” hate general conservation with a passion.

    Political systems cannot be mapped with less than two axes; What are yours?

    “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” — George Orwell

  70. Nastarana,

    I volunteered for a while as a CASA in the child welfare system, and it was indeed disturbing to see the degree to which middle class standards were used as a barometer of welfare. One anecdote that stands out particularly was when it was presented as evidence of neglect and general parental failure that the children had never been taken to the shopping mall 100 miles away to be photographed on Santa’s lap. Good grief. “Alternative” practices also tended to be looked at askance–don’t try living in a self-built, energy-efficient dwelling or using a compost toilet if you get involved with CPS. Of course, the criminalization of poverty and the forced application of middle class values onto various “deviant” populations in the name of social welfare (often with disastrous consequences) is a long-running theme in Progressivism. Which is not to say that some of the people I dealt with didn’t deserve far worse than the removal of their children, in my opinion.

  71. Violet:

    I read an article a few months ago about farmer’s markets being the new face of racism. Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything at the time – I’ve already lost one computer in an iced tea incident. This issue came up in a conversation and I actually had to explain to someone that it is not racist for growers in Vermont not to have tropical vegetables and fruit on their farms; it never occurred to this person that farmers’ crop choices are limited by the length of the frost-free growing season, which around here is more or less 90 days. This is not rocket science, it’s basic knowledge.

    There was a time when I considered myself on the left-ish side of the political spectrum, but this sort of silliness, along with the ever-escalating Victim Olympics, has finally driven me away. I just can’t sustain all the righteous anger that would qualify me as ‘woke’, because frankly, I’ve got more pressing things to do, like mucking out the barn.

  72. John (et alia)—

    The point you make about “business as usual” is an important one. It has been, and continues to be, a long journey for me, but I have managed to get to the point where I can view the course of our nation, our civilization, and our planet with some perspective and compassion. The working through of consequences and the nature of life-cycles are things that just are. As you mentioned in that recent Magic Monday response (to whom, I forget): the world cannot be saved because it was never lost. Now, we could make better, more far-sighted choices, but the odds are vastly against such a thing. The usual path of decline is the usual path precisely because the various forces (human psychology, economics, social pressures) align to nudge societal decision-making in a certain direction. And, admittedly, we are fairly short-sighted creatures.

    Battling for control of the court in Ravenna doesn’t do a whole lot of good in the end. Understanding that is helpful, I think, in better investing our time and energy. Yes, the decisions coming out of the court will affect us, and decisions could be made that would ameliorate the future we face, but the better return on our investment comes from building those local structures that will be needed as the larger system continues its slow, grinding decay. The court battles are an alluring siren-song, certainly, but not a profitable pursuit in the longer run.

  73. Pamela,

    Thanks for your relevant contribution to this conversation. I’ve noticed and lamented much of what you’ve observed happening on this blog for a while now.

    I’ve noticed that much of the time in the comment section that people trying to oversimplify and demean and caricature conservatives or Trump supporters immediately get questioned on that and stopped (which I think is the right thing to do), while those invoking and damning the easy and lazy thoughtstopper called “liberal” largely get supported and added on to (which I don’t think is right).


  74. Archdruid and David,

    You know, I don’t particularly like or trust Trump because he is a politician. I don’t trust any politicians, especially the ones I vote for, but of course I didn’t vote for Trump. However, I gotta admit that this guy is the only one who may have ever been able to dismantle the empire, while keeping his base convinced that he’s expanding American power.

    Back when globalism was still called globalization, and before that imperialism, I distinctly remember the working classes supporting everything they oppose now. They cheered Regan as he shipped jobs over seas, as he continued to expand the American military sphere. They jeered the dems as being weak on defense and supported anti-union measures, while the unions were the ones who fought to protect the blue collar jobs that they depended upon.

    Having payed the price for their behavior they finally realize that they have to deal with the home front, but most of them are about as self-reflective as the left-wing/middle-class. The only way to get them to give up empire is to get them to believe that dismantling the empire will make America great again. Trump is doing that, though I wonder if he understands the context of what he’s doing.

    He’s not that bright, it’s just that all of his opponents are dumber. There’s an old saying that you don’t have to be the best general in the world to win a war, just the best general in the war. That sums up the current political situation pretty well.

    Ah well, it’s a messy situation all around. No ones hands are clean, no one is on the right side of history, no one is the good guy. We’re all just trying to muddle along as best as we are able.



  75. Prizm, my working guess is that immigration reform will happen when the public in general is distracted by something else. One of the things Trump does very well is get his opponents riled up about something essentially meaningless, while carrying out sweeping changes in some other direction.

    Gnat, I don’t have a single methodology I apply to all predictions. In some cases it’s simply a matter of reviewing history to see what happened the last fifty times the latest brand new thing was tried; in some cases the historical approach has to be combined with close analysis of what’s happening right now; and in some cases — like the present example — there’s additional input from astrology or some other source. My prediction methods change over time as I try new things and figure out which of them work!

    Michael, smart. I stay out of stocks, and investments generally, for the same reason.

    Onething, the Democratic Party establishment is beyond saving. On the other hand, rank and file Democrats could break the back of the establishment within a decade by the simple expedient of voting in the primaries for candidates who support change, and if the establishment forces in a stooge anyway, staying home on Election Day. Parties change like that all the time; the GOP is currently being taken over by Trumpian populists through exactly that process. I’d like to see the Democrats go back to being a genuinely liberal party the same way.

    Avery, it’s well-behaved because anything that’s not goes straight to the recycle bin. 😉

    Jasper, no doubt, but since I’m an astrologer rather than an astrophysicist, that doesn’t concern me a bit. I’m comfortable with the fact that human beings aren’t actually that bright, and will probably never know for sure how the universe operates!

    Violet, you have my sympathy. It’s been a good long time, but I went to several similar events in the past, and found them a world-class waste of time. As for the business about farmer’s markets being racist, I tend to think of that claim as the point at which political correctness jumped the shark once and for all.

    Will, thanks for this — I’ll check it.

    Nastarana, why, yes, that’s also a point!

    Cynndara, er, peregrine doesn’t mean either disconnected or unimportant, nor did I at any point say that it did. The term means, as I said, that the Moon in this chart receives no strength from her position in the zodiac. In a mundane chart, whatever’s ruled by a planet that’s peregrine typically is unable to have a significant impact on any of the other factors in the national life — aspects relating the peregrine planet to other planets indicate that those other planets have an effect on the peregrine, but the peregrine doesn’t have a significant effect on them. That’s my prediction in this case. If you want to predict something different, by all means — and we’ll see in September who’s right!

    Marie, that’s a good summary.

    Ben, I’m sure that’s also in process, but I’m going to stick with my prediction. Trump doesn’t just do whatever his donors want him to do, you know…

    Pamela, thank you for this! It’s good to hear that there are genuine liberals out there who haven’t lost their minds over Trump’s election. I suppose it’s because these essays appear on the internet, rather than via some less volatile medium, that I so often have to deal with tirades from the other kind.

    Matthias, of course! The difference is that under Obama and his predecessors, illegal immigration was tacitly tolerated, while the Trump administration has imposed a zero tolerance policy. That’s where the difference in the numbers comes from.

    Godozo, yep. Those were among the many reasons I called it for Trump in January 2016.

    Will, the delusional belief that we can’t lose. Assume that US elites are completely blind to the possibility that anything could ever spell an end to US power, and a huge amount makes sense…

    Forecastingintelligence, that’s possible, but anyone who tries to predict what Trump is going to do at any given time is gambling at long odds. Trump very clearly believes in keeping his opponents off balance — and the heads of the EU are among his opponents. Whether he chooses to focus on NATO expenditures or some other hot button topic at the NATO summit is anyone’s guess at this point.

    Tidlosa, I haven’t seen it yet, so if I was right — and I’m still learning my way around mundane astrology — it’s still to come. I’ve looked at Trump’s chart — you can find it here; you can’t predict someone’s actions from a natal chart but you can get a good idea of their character and the sorts of things they’re likely to do.

    SaraDee, populism is what happens when the elites insist on pursuing policies that drive a sufficiently large fraction of the populace to desperation. (Remember that the opposite of populism is elitism!) It’s happened tolerably often in history that the elites have gotten a clue in time, abandoned the offending policies, and things have settled down; that’s what happened in the US in the 1930s, for example, when Roosevelt’s reforms terminated a set of economic policies that had strangled the economy. A lot of conservatives have never forgiven him for this, but he saved them from a far uglier fate. In the same way, if Trump can put an end to globalization and unrestricted illegal immigration, the two major forces that have destroyed the US working class economically, he might just succeed in saving the political mainstream from the kind of mass rising that would leave a lot of privileged people dangling from lampposts.

    David, the thing is, each of us can make more far-sighted choices in our own lives, and those have a knock-on effect. Nothing will stop industrial civilization from finishing its life cycle, but smart choices made by individuals can still have a lot of influence on exactly how dark the dark age becomes and how rough the road down to it turns out to be.

    Varun, that seems like a very sensible analysis.

  76. @SaraDee

    You lived in a dodgy apartment in an area that taxis avoided?

    I’d like to ask because I’m interested, how did you yourself manage to stay safe in that part of town? Did you know the area, the locals, avoid getting home at certain times, or so?

    I’m just asking because here in Austria such areas litterally do not exist. In Eastern Europe they probably or most probably exist as gypsy ghettos, I’ve seen them from afar only. They are usually ethnic divisions, sub standard and dysfunctional housing. A friend told me 8 yrs ago he visited, but only after an acquaintance from the area made a phone call and announced a visitor is to come.

    So if you’d like to share a bit of your experiences, I’d be interested to know how your life was going there, what vibe you picked up, how the locals were doing?

    Labor Case

  77. @ JMG

    Re individual actions and impact

    Precisely. It is harder to see the impact of those choices, but they are there. I sometimes get the sense that the battles for central control are a device for putting off doing that individual work.

    @ Varun

    I agree wholeheartedly. I stand by what I said the day after the election: I’m not exactly happy that he won, but I’m very relieved that she lost. He’s doing much with which I disagree, but also some with which I don’t. Who’d have thought we’d be talking tariffs? Or that TTP would’ve actually gotten sunk? Or we’d be debating the notion of *reducing* our military presence abroad? It has been a wild ride so far and I expect that to continue. In the meantime, appropos to the point JMG made, I’ll keep weeding my potato patch 😉

  78. @ Beekeeper, I strayed away from the PC culture as much as I could two years ago. Attacking farmer’s market is over the top. Also, if I may, I’ve studied the alt-right for about a year, and their ideas of “race-realism” and social darwinism are now, apparently being repeated by by bourgeois leftists with a heavy white-wash of niceness, sickly sympathy and saccharine compassion. What happened to the basic tenets of liberal democracy where each individual is judged on their merits as an individual?! This affirms my belief that American culture has, for all intents and purposes, gone completely insane, left, right and center. Hearing leftists talk about how Marxism has some really good ideas is one thing, hearing them talk about how there is no escape from racial genetics, is really too much for me. Sometimes I want to scream, ‘there, there, take a deep breath and count to three, Otto Weininger — everything isn’t as grim as you think it is!’ At this point, I mostly hang out by myself, with books and with plants. Mucking the barn strikes me as really the better option.

  79. John–

    Perhaps somewhat OT — certainly not directly related to the next three months, but more a longer-term component — I have some data “from the field” to share with the community.

    My supervisor was back in the office today after having been out for much of the week attending the annual conference for our national trade organization (the American Public Power Association, which represents municipal and other publicly-owned power utilities). Apparently, one of the keynote speakers at the conference was from EPRI (the Electric Power Research Institute, largely but not exclusively representing investor-owned utilities), who spoke on the issue of load-growth.

    A bit of context here. Historically, from its beginnings over a hundred years ago, the electric industry had *always* been in an growth environment — it was a bedrock assumption that load and demand would trend upwards, new facilities would be needed, more power produced. The last decade has rather falsified that assumption and in fact a number of regions of the country had begun experiencing (and projecting!) flat-to-negative “growth” in electric load.

    This speaker produced the solution to the electric sector’s dilemma: the electricification of the economy. That is, the cannibalization of usage from other energy sectors, primarily transportation and heating. As the pie is no longer growing, we’ll start stealing from the plates of those sitting next to us.

    There is a fundamental shift here. Not so much in the actual cannibalization (we’ve been nibbling on the edges of this for a while now), but rather in the open and explicit embracing of cannibalization as a policy. The rhetoric has changed and, among other things, this shift implicitly acknowledges that the old days are gone and that the pie is indeed shrinking.

    A fascinating data point, I think, for those who are able to read the signs 😉

  80. @ Will J – If the Republican Party is serious about avoiding national default, why did they just pass tax cuts that will add well over a trillion (probably closer to two) dollars to the national debt?
    Also, if they honestly think cutting spending will help avoid default, why not start with the bloated Pentagon budget? Why take aim Medicare, which is one of the most efficient government programs?

    @ JMG – You’re right, he doesn’t just do what donors want, he also does what will enrich him personally. And porn stars. He does that too.
    (That last one I don’t really care about, but I couldn’t resist a little 8th grade humor.)
    I think we both agree that another major economic crash is coming this way, sooner or later. What might an astrological chart look like to indicate such trouble was a few months out?

  81. Nobody knows how astrology works nobody knows how gravity works, either, but not many doubt it just because they can’t explain it….

  82. On immigration generally (JMG, if you think this is too OT, I will retry at a future Open Post):

    From your fiction it seems you take it as a given that in a distant future, languages derived from Spanish will be at least as prevalent in North America as languages derived from English, and you don’t seem to regard this as particularly worrisome. I understand that you support reducing “unrestricted illegal immigration” right now mainly as a way to increase working-class wages, and not to maintain some kind of ethnical “purity”.

    I have never lived in the USA and can therefore only comment from the outside. Wouldn’t the most efficient measure to counter the downward pressure of undocumented immigration on wages be a really hard crackdown on the employers of these immigrants? That would start with truly painful financial punishment for first-time offenders and go on to imprisonment for repeat offenders. This seems to me to be a much more direct way than by trying to stem the influx of migrants, which is almost as difficult as trying to hinder the entrance of drugs, and it does not envolve the detention of children, whether separated from their parents or as whole families. If one were interested in information from undocumented whistle-blowers, their punishment would have to be much lower, though that is a secondary choice to make.

    In Europe, the question is a bit different since (to my knowledge) there is at least a bit more punishment of employers of not or not yet accepted immigrants, while on the other hand there is more of a social welfare net for the immigrants, which makes immigration attractive even in the absence of employment. I don’t know the perfect solution for slowing immigration into Europe, though it would certainly involve changing the terms of trade with Africa, paying for refugee camps nearer home, avoiding military interventions in North Africa and the Levant and (in my opinion) offering routes of legal immigration to those who have never tried to enter Europe illegally. A short look at the length of the Mediterranean coastlines shows that is impossible to stop everybody from entering. Additionally, the proportion of migrants who want to come to Germany would be lower if the Southern European countries were permitted to recover economically.

    Still, in the long term I see the question of African and Near Eastern immigration into Europe in similar terms as Latin American immigration into America north of the Rio Grande: probably inevitable to quite some extent. Do you see any reason to distinguish between the long term scenarios in Europe and in North America?

  83. Thank you to all who replied, especially for treating a newbie so nicely – that’s one of the reasons why I’ve followed this site and it’s comments for years.

    @Will J –

    I respect your personal experience and very much understand what you’re saying. I don’t disagree, the democrats are definitely following the conservative playbook from the Obama years when it comes to shutting down constructive conversation with labels, cultural boondoggles and general hysteria over Trump. Drove me crazy both then and now…doesn’t really get anyone very far, does it? That was a my concern with some of the recent comments on this site, to date it’s been a sanctuary for someone like me -where all points of view are respected, considered and discussed quite civilly. It’s important to me because by default it’s my nature to consider all side of an argument before forming an opinion, not a choice really – just something my head does incessantly.

    I really don’t want this community to lose that as it’s pretty rare and somewhat special these days, right now I’d be pretty lost without it.

    @Gnat –

    “The labels “Liberal” and “Conservative” are completely nonsensical and, in fact, at the core of the problem.”

    I couldn’t agree more with your statement, and in fact usually try to steer clear of labeling in general. I don’t know if there is a political system I can appreciate and support fully based on my views. Such is the world of my personal experience…liberal or socialist is about as close as I can get based on current accepted definitions. I believe in both liberty and conservation, along with a number of other views that are often found in opposition to each other…not sure what the heck that makes me, there’s no ‘label’ for it that I know of.


    Thank you – Thought-stoppers is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote the original comment 🙂 If we consistently label liberals/conservatives/others in a specific way we really don’t have to deal with each other in any real terms…again, not very productive if the discussion starts to push people away instead of pulling them in.

    Thank you John!! I appreciate your site so much, the content and conversations over the years have definitely provided more than entertainment – they’ve in some cases had significant impact on my thought process, views and as a result, my life in general. Seemed like there was a lot of abstraction flying about in general lately here and elsewhere, it felt like the time to remind folks that there is sanity on all sides of the issues and real people who would really like to work together to resolve them.

    Always keep it anecdotal!

  84. It is very interesting to me that several comments have made the claim that the comments section here is becoming an echo chamber. To my eyes, nothing could be further from the truth, and I regard the comments here, and at JHK’s place, and Peak Prosperity as some of the most intellectually diverse on the net. I spend more time than I should reading comments that truly are echo chambers, and there just isn’t a comparison in my mind.


    Have you ever done a post that expounds in greater detail your own political economy? I know you have mentioned before that you are a “Burkean conservative”, and I have tried to extrapolate from what little I know of Burke and his positions what the JMG platform would be. I would certainly find it interesting if one of these political posts included a hypothetical Archdruid as Chief Executive policy layout.

  85. JMG,

    Suddenly it does make sense. It’s utterly bizarre, but it makes sense now. I’d take it a step further though: a lot of Americans seem to function with this delusion that they can’t lose, and if they do it’s because the other side cheated. Whether it be sports, elections, international power….


    Apologies if this sends more drink on your computer, but I’ve dealt with people not knowing tropical fruits don’t grow here, and when I try to argue, quite often someone points to other “farmers markets” that sell bananas, coconuts, mangoes, etc. The fact there are “farmers markets” in Canada selling tropical fruits says we have no idea where our food comes from anymore, far better than anything else I can think of.

  86. JMG, thank you for the excellent astrological analysis. That’s a lot of work!

    One aspect puzzles me – the idea of using a nation’s capitol and geography in the mix. Because those are artificial (human) constructs, often resulting from lines haphazardly drawn or political favors being repaid, it seems it would make more sense to use “cultural” borders and centers of influence. In other words, maybe St. Louis or Omaha makes for a more accurate capitol, or treat NYC/Eastern corridor, fly-over and Left Coast as different “countries”. That approach would seem to sync up more with the natural astronomical factors….just my two cents.

  87. JMG said,

    “Onething, the Democratic Party establishment is beyond saving. On the other hand, rank and file Democrats could break the back of the establishment within a decade by the simple expedient of voting in the primaries for candidates who support change, and if the establishment forces in a stooge anyway, staying home on Election Day. Parties change like that all the time; the GOP is currently being taken over by Trumpian populists through exactly that process. I’d like to see the Democrats go back to being a genuinely liberal party the same way. ”

    That’s how it looks from here, too. I live in team D country, but it’s not the working-class party like where I grew up. Here it’s privileged elite bubble virtue signalling, complete with designer backyard chickens and solar panels charging every Tesla. At the county and state legislative levels, the dem primary is the only election that matters here. For years I refused to register as a democrat, and I simply denied myself a meaningful voice while complaining about the corporate candidates who spent their terms in office dialing for dollars.

    Joining the board of a local utility helped get me out of that mindset. I decided to hold my nose and join the local party in 2016 to caucus for Bernie, and this year I had a very different experience. I went to the caucus in March, and I volunteered to fill a slot at the county delegate assembly.

    Over the next 4 weeks I was fielding phone calls, emails, and invitations to coffee with candidates for several important posts. They weren’t just telling me to vote for them; they were asking what issues were important to me and how they could win my support at the assembly. I had several substantive conversations about real issues, including the problems with the national and local party scenes and how to improve.

    At the end of all of that, I made some useful connections and had a small influence locally. The candidates I ended up supporting won their assembly contests handily and (unfortunately) are the only names on the ballots for those seats. In one race, a single vote for the runner-up would’ve made it a contested race. Had I known, of course I’d have changed my vote to make the primary a real race, since that’s the only one that matters. Still, it was a useful lesson.

    The world is run by the people who show up.

    That said, I’ve been out door knocking for a candidate I like and collecting signatures for a ballot measure, and the conversations I have on those outings are both encouraging and discouraging. Local people are fed up with corruption, especially with corporate money in politics, and they want change. What they don’t want is to show up and put in the work to make things change, even when I talk about how easy it is. They also tend to vote for “the guy I saw on TV, he sounded good.”

    You’ve said more than once that people in a democracy get the government they deserve. When the parties are full of people who posture about fighting corruption and supporting working families, but who don’t want to forsake the gravy train of ill-gotten corporate wealth and privilege, I think that speaks volumes. That most of the disaffected voters aren’t yet motivated enough, despite all their protestations, to show up and work to change things is also pretty revealing.

  88. David,

    Thank you for the data point! It’s interesting looking at sectors of the economy starting to canablize each other, but until now, I wasn’t aware that many people were openly talking about it.


    I’ve spoken to a couple of Republicans, and I keep an eye on their media too, and they refuse, almost without exception, to even consider raising taxes. I think raising taxes, even slightly, would be political suicide for most Republicans. Their base wouldn’t stand for it, and they would be primaried. Their donors would also revolt against anything that would increase their taxes. And look at how the tax bill doesn’t raise taxes except in very limited circumstances, and even then, almost only where it impacts Democrats.

    Meanwhile, in order to get the tax cuts that Trump promised, and which Trump needed to get to keep his base happy, they had to go to extremes. I think the final tax cut was so absurd because Trump insisted on getting what his base wanted, while Republicans in Congress did the same. The result is this absurd bill that does a great deal of damage to the nation deficit.

    The problem now becomes how do they avoid a massive fiscal crisis? I think the only answer that most Republicans find thinkable that is even remotely practical is cutting social services. Their base would freak out if they tried to cut the military (if such a thought even occurred to them), leaving them very little room to maneuver.


    I’m glad to see the response to your comment has been overwhelmingly positive! I think you’re right to note the difference between liberal and Democrat, but I will probably continue to use the term liberal since plenty of people here in Canada are freaking out about Trump just like the Democrats in the US.

  89. @ Sub. For a Burkean policy layout find and read the series of ADR posts from May-September of 2016 titled Retrotopia–now also collected into a book I believe.

    Amnesty. Most of the people now arriving at our southern border are fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Most have nothing, have risked their lives traveling hundreds of miles, and are simply seeking a better life. To those who favor more stringent immigration enforcement what would that enforcement look like? What should the criteria for amnesty be and why? How do the optics of Trump’s zero tolerance policy reflect on our “national character” and is that important? What would be fair? And most importantly what would be humane? Is separating children from their parents a human rights violation (I believe it is)?

    We have lost far more jobs to automation, outsourcing, and previous waves of immigration than we have to those currently arriving. And the United States is not blameless in this affair. My knowledge of 80’s US foreign policy (Iran-Contra/Sandinistas/School of the Americas/Reagan drug policy) is not robust–(I was a child)–but my understanding is that we are reaping what we sowed.

    As much as I dislike Trump I have to constantly remind myself that he didn’t start a needless war that resulted in the death of thousands of US soldiers, half a million Iraqi civilians, and that cost several trillion dollars. W seems almost folksy-cool now with his painting projects and his charity work (at least the media treats him that way).

  90. Matthias Grale–back in late 80s, under Reagan, there was an amnesty for illegal aliens. It was supposed to be followed by better border security and secure identification system for legal workers combined with penalties for employers. The second part didn’t happen. There are many large businesses that profit from illegal workers that they can underpay and have terrible working conditions for: agriculture, food packing, etc. There are also many individuals who don’t care that their housekeeper or nanny may not have a green card. The Democrats ignore the fact that many Hispanics who are here legally do not want more competition from additional immigrants. It is one thing to want to bring your grandmother to America, it is quite another to see dozens of new faces driving down wages. And of course the emphasis on the southern border ignores the numbers coming from Asia, or former Soviet countries. Here in the Sacramento, California area I hear grumbling about Russians coming into the country, supposedly getting economic aid to start businesses and having huge families. (no idea how much of this is true, the point is some people think it is.)

    I find it maddening that the Democratic Party platform contains no concrete position on immigration, just feel good rhetoric about the value of past immigrants, fairness, etc. How many immigrants can US assimilate? how many do we need? how should they be chosen? do we need a program for seasonal workers? These are all concrete questions that need to be addressed–and if one more person quotes “huddled masses” to me I may attack them with a rolled up Constitution. It’s poetry, not fracking national policy statement.

    Obviously, unless one believes that there should be no borders or nation states, every nation needs to answer these questions.

  91. Off topic, but the links to all of the books published by Starseed Press seem to be broken.

  92. Will J:

    It’s a common misunderstanding, because the term “farmer’s market” has been stretched to cover almost any open-air market. A lot of the so-called farmer’s markets simply resell produce bought in bulk from suppliers anywhere in the world, including tropical fruits and vegetables that could not possibly be grown where they’re being sold. In these cases, the sellers are not necessarily farmers. On the other hand, farmer’s markets advertised as grower’s markets require that sellers have actually grown/raised/produced the products themselves. The distinction can make a big difference, especially if you want locally-grown food.

  93. I’m wondering if astrology could be likened to our understanding of DNA and how it is expressed. The basic frame work is there, but what is going on in the environment is also worked into how things tun out. So in one era, if the economy is basically sound a negative aspect in a chart could be expressed as a recession, but in another era, when the economy is already unsound, it is expressed as a depression?
    So in my own chart, implies that I could have a driving accident the severity of the accident would also depend on factors already in place. If I’m a good driver in a sound vehicle the results might be a damage bumper. If I’m a bad driver in an unsound vehicle I might end up in the hospital with my vehicle totaled?

    So if that is the case, could it mean that countries could have similar alignment in their chart, but other factors would mean that the severity of what happens is also determined by what is already going on? I suppose it’s a way of asking that a chart could say economic downturn ahead, but in the 50s that would have meant a set back and now it could mean more job losses etc. So a crash now could look like a recession then and vice versa? So that’s why you need to interpret a chart rather than having a particular alignment mean tragedy or felicity?

    You know I think I’m finally catching on. I hope. Lol


  94. How is the influence of any given planet, or combinations of planets, transmitted into space and received on earth? What is the nature of the influence? Is ‘something’ emanating, or radiating from planets? Is it harmonic, or vibratory? Something like a scale?

  95. I was just listening to a podcast you were on with Progressives for Immigration Reform and even though that was recorded in January, it could have been done last week. You mentioned the DOD audit, and The Department of Defense audit order did not pass Congress so it will not be done. I was hoping Mattis could just give the order but apparently the Congress Critters needed to do it so now nothing will be done.

    We just returned from a trip to London, Rome and Paris and the EU has ruined Rome and Paris but not London as much. I was last to those cities in 1991 and the difference is significant. I’m not a big photo taker so I don’t have the evidence to show. Lots of graffiti outside of the tourist areas (we stayed at hotels for locals on the fringes to make it cheap), lots of trash, lots of local adults wandering around all day, lots of immigrants peddling all kinds of wares. NYC is still way filthier and smells like mix of dumpster and bar urinal, and has homeless people strewn everywhere, so there’s that.

    So the manufactured outrage machine has gone through healthcare (stopping the mandate), internet neutrality, school shootings, and now immigration. All complex issues needing nuanced discussion and the media makes up facts, photos, and false witnesses so the conclusion it presents is only one way to think about it all. Oh, and if you don’t think that way you are racist. Or literally Hitler.

    I unfriended everyone on Facebook, not because I don’t want to be their friend in real life, but because FB still hasn’t answered to Congress on the data collection is does and how it is used. I am tired of going on the site to look up some stores hours or something (many Amish businesses now just have a FB page – not a website because that you need a computer so they draw the line there for technology) and I am subjected to people’s throwing up of their opinions and experiences and outrage of the issue du jour. I could mute them I suppose but then their profiles still collect all my internet browsing and send it away to Axciom or whomever.

  96. “…rank and file Democrats could break the back of the establishment within a decade by the simple expedient of voting in the primaries for candidates who support change, and if the establishment forces in a stooge anyway, staying home on Election Day. ”

    And what stopped them from doing just that in the past presidential election? It was propaganda, laid on really thick, and they fell for it like a piano thrown out a high rise window. And they still are. Haven’t got a skeptical bone in their bodies.

  97. Pamela and Edward,

    I’m trying to figure out what exactly you are perceiving. That this blog has gotten more conservative? It seems to me it has always had a big chunk of conservative, liberal, religious and secular-academic. Has it changed?

    Edward says the more pro Trump posts get reinforced by the commentariat, whereas the more liberal or pro Hillary ones get silence.

    At least I can say that here no one gets trounced on. Perhaps what you guys are more used to is communicating on more typical echo chamber sites? I don’t know, but I know a lot of people say that on facebook the persecution for being anything other than totally liberal is fierce.

    It has become my impression that a lot of liberals (you do not seem to be one Pamela) stay only in their comfort zone of others who agree with them, and thus they become very insular, unable to process that others don’t see things their way, and, um, in my opinion they have become completely gullible.
    I’m really wondering if this blog has changed or if maybe it is just not common for you to interact in a site where bullying isn’t tolerated and all opinions get aired?

    I can tell you that a lot of people who, for example, voted Trump, stayed SILENT for months due to the persecution they didn’t want to experience.

  98. David, by the lake

    Could you please explain what you mean about the cannibalization? How would a power plant/utility go about grabbing onto transportation and heating?

  99. I would love to see a JMG post and subsequent commentariat conversation on the kinds of questions about immigration that MK and Rita are raising. I’m attempting to develop a more nuanced understanding of immigration issues after freeing myself from the liberal university viewpoint, but I find it difficult to locate unbiased information in the media (surprise!), and I know no one in real life who can engage in a sane conversation about it- it seems to be all bias and thoughtstoppers and repeated rhetoric. I’ve paid close attention to JMG’s previous comments on the issue, but I feel like a full post and a robust (well-moderated!) discussion here could really help me advance my own thinking. This is the best place I know of to examine controversial issues in the company of thoughtful people, and certainly the only place I know of where there is at least some shared understanding of the real context we as a nation (and as individuals) must consider when deciding issues like this.
    –Heather in CA

  100. Three more comments on immigration if permitted this week, if not I’ll repost on the anything goes week –
    A country isn’t dirt, its the people and culture. If we as the US go back to unlimited immigration of Central America people, then that’s what we’ll become.

    None of the immigration issues covered by the media cover H1-B visa and student visa holders who overstay their visits and get hired at professional level jobs. I know several people over the years – one worked for an architecture firm, one for Intel as a chip designer, one for Dell as an engineer, and many physicians. All great paying jobs that people who are born here are denied. And if we send them back to their home country they take all our technology designs and know-how with them.

    What is the point of my paying taxes at all levels and following all the rules of society when there are so many people here that do not have to? I’m not just talking about illegal residents, but also our elected officials heads of corporations who can break almost any law and suffer no consequence.

  101. I just want to *wave* and send a wee blessing and greeting to all of the ecosophia readers who will be gathering together in Providence today. I hope it is a fabulous day for everyone, and fully expect to feel a tiny wave of the gathering backwash as it arrives here sometime around nightfall in Ireland. Enjoy!

  102. @ Onething

    I realize that my phrasing might have been confusing. I was referring to the cannibalisation of demand from other *energy sectors* (petroleum, NG, etc) in the realms of transportation and space heating. So things like electric vehicles (including electric trucking) and heat pump technology.

    Now with something like natural gas (NG), a portion of the lost heating load would be replaced by electric generation burn, but the production of electricity is continuing to diversify away from fossil fuels, so it wouldn’t be a one-to-one replacement.

    My observation here is that energy “growth” is being replaced by a shuffling of usage from one category to another. The shift in the rhetoric that more or less openly acknowledges this fact seems to me to be the bigger news.

  103. Hi John Michael,

    Happy solstice to you and Sara!

    I’ve been very busy this past week or so setting up the new blog website, which is sort of like the old blog website except that I pay for it and run it. Free services aren’t necessarily free.

    I can’t really add much about your politics as I’m an outsider. However, I am curious as to the general lack of respect for the position, because whatever else people may say about the guy, he did get the job. Have they not noticed that? Their braying is ineffectual.

    Interestingly too, you mentioned the flow of consumer goods from China, which I note has very protected borders. Historically, didn’t the US perform a similar strategy with the UK in the far distant past? Lowering tariffs has the effect of destroying local production merely so that a portion of the population benefits by way of cheap imported goodies. It just happens to be rather painful for other sections of the community. Plus it is a policy used to keep prices down, not that much will stop that roller coaster.

    The China story is an interesting one because they no longer take our recyclables (except for metal which they’re happy to take for some reason!) Watching the story about recycling unfold down here makes me rather nervous at possible responses elicited from our elected leaders to any potential serious real threat. Most people down here are oblivious to the story and don’t even realise that we are drowning in our own wastes (and costs are going up!) Plus there is an element of disbelief in other sectors as what was once a commendable policy (recycling) is now in tatters, and they don’t wish to let go and admit failure. Sending the stuff to China was never a long term policy.

    I’m happy to let go of things that don’t work and admit defeat. I often wonder why others struggle so much with that.



  104. @ Rita

    Re immigration, national borders, and nation-states

    As one who believes in the necessity of the nation-state (the more the merrier, I say), I’ve had a disturbing number of conversations with folks who refer to borders as “arbitrary lines” and as “artificial barriers” to humanity’s development. In one such conversation, I gladly accepted the label “tribalist,” saying that it confirmed my belief in self-determination and the right of groups to live according to their own ways. I saw freedom one way; they saw it another.

  105. @labor case i don’t live in a part of the world with very strong ethnic subdivision or ghettoization either (except First Nations reserves, which have different causes); it is usually a building or a couple blocks embedded in a larger mosaic. The area itself was not in decay. As with other buildings in this city that meet the dodgy criteria, it was merely low income, so had a concentration of people with drug problems, low level dealers, and prostitutes, as well as students and other low wage workers, and retirees or disabled people on government income. I was trying to stay living student cheap while paying off my loans at my first professional job in a new city, and lacked the local knowledge to go there. In truth though, no one else I encountered in my social sphere had known about that building – people don’t pay attention. Most people would have avoided just because rent was cheap, they could ‘do better’.

    The reason taxis wouldn’t go there (it of course is condos now, the residents have been concentrated with others from the area into some towers downtown with much more public and pervasive problems) was that the prostitutes would occasionally say they forgot their wallet, if they didn’t make their earning target, and their “boyfriend” would come down to “pay” and rob the driver at knife point. Since it’s heard to tell who is who, they just avoided the place entirely, they’d drop me off a block away. There is no trick to staying unrobbed aside from being either protected by someone badder, or not having anything to steal, if you’re there long enough. Or being their minister, he was an old man in a wheelchair who lived in the building, and worked in the chapel down the block, he knew everyone like a den mother – it takes a long time to build that trust and respect, though.

  106. Some things to consider:

    What, if any, role does the United States play in directly or indirectly contributing to the horrendous conditions in the home countries of these immigrants?

    Example: Guatemala (US/CIA organized a coup in 1954 to over threw a democratically elected president and has been supporting (militarily and economically) a brutal regime ever since. Honduras, a violent coup supported by the US in 2009.

    Certainly, before this, but definitely since 1980, and the rise of Reaganomics and the neo-liberal economic agenda (globalization), the US has treated every country on the planet, with any noticeable and usable resources, as its private resource. We have pretty much plundered any and all countries that we have wanted, devastating local economies, and directly (funding and training) contributing to the rise of police states who routinely torture and jail and kill its own citizens.

    It never fails to surprise me (I don’t know why I am always surprised) at how absolutely clueless most Americans are about the actions and the influence of the United States around the world and the consequent ‘blow back’ (a term coined by the CIA to explain the inevitable consequences of imperialistic adventure), including a/the flood of immigrants. We are approximately 3% of the population and we use up approximately 25% of the planets resources. Do we think that the citizens of other countries just hand over its resources willingly? Perhaps there is some connection to the fact that we are a global empire with close to 1000 military bases throughout the world.

    Of course, none of this is ever examined or mentioned on conventional news outlets.

  107. @ShamanicFallout: I think you may be applying ideas of physics to a realm of metaphysics. Astrological influences are not physical forces like gravity and sunlight. They might be called seasonal markers or weather signs as a better analogy. If you see a profusion of dark green leaves on trees, blossoming time ending, and lots of light fluffy clouds about, you read that as ‘summer.’ If trees are leafless, bearing berries bright, clouds hang low and flat and dull for days on end, you perceive “winter.” What the ‘atmosphere’ is that makes the metaphysical ‘weather’ flow and change is not exactly known. But we can still read the signs, right? Do the clouds and leaves ‘cause’ summer? No. Do the cold winds and ripened berries ‘cause’ winter? Does winter ‘cause’ them? No, and no. Seeking causal relationships in signs of the ‘weather’ is like asking a local road sign in Kansas to tell you how to get to Poughkeepsie. Think of astrology more as an empirical, observational science with statistical data collected over thousands of years than as a theory-driven data reductionist endeavour. Or like the model for a psychological exploratory instrument such as dream analysis or inkblots.

  108. I, too, hope that all who attend the Ecosophia picnic today have a wonderful time and that the much-needed rain we’re getting in New England does not ruin your day. Mr. Beekeeper and I were unable to attend this year, but perhaps next time.

  109. Onething,

    “Perhaps what you guys are more used to is communicating on more typical echo chamber sites? I don’t know, but I know a lot of people say that on facebook the persecution for being anything other than totally liberal is fierce.”

    Nope, not so in my case. And I don’t do Facebook either.

    I talk (but mostly listen) to plenty of people with different opinions than mine. Many liberals I know do as well, and understand that this is an important part of being in a functioning democracy. I also understand that many people of all ilk do not do this.

    “It has become my impression that a lot of liberals (you do not seem to be one Pamela) stay only in their comfort zone of others who agree with them, and thus they become very insular, unable to process that others don’t see things their way, and, um, in my opinion they have become completely gullible.”

    Interesting. I’m not trying to be cute or sarcastic here, but what you wrote about liberals is exactly what I have noticed in recent years about a goodly chunk of the self-identified conservatives I know. This is also evident frequently on Fox News, exemplified by someone like Sean Hannity. (I fully understand that examples from other ends of spectrums could be easily named.)

    What I’ve been perceiving is that some people on this blog use the words “liberal” and “progressive” as (to use JMG’s term) thoughtstoppers. That is, they seem to think these words mean to others exactly what they mean to them, and that they are talking about something that is so clear and obviously wrong that it should induce shudders in the reader and means that the case is closed.

    From my perspective, it’s easy to overgeneralize the meaning of such words and it would be better to stick to discussions of specific policies more often than using these blanket terms that refer to so many complicated ideas and complicated people.

    Like Pamela, I consider myself in many ways liberal, and in many ways do not see things or think or act like the caricatured portrayal of a liberal not-infrequently found in these comment sections. Bernie Sanders, as JMG has pointed out, was and is no savior, but support for him two years ago tells me that at least some other self-identified liberals as well are open to some of the discussions of the sort we often have here.


  110. Immigration and the H1B visa: no less a person than Rupert Murdoch warned Donald Trump that if he were going to tackle immigration, he’d have to go after the H1B visa. Trump just shrugged it off and to date has done nothing. Tick tock. Wait and see.

    Mueller’s investigation: one media website used to publish an article every Thursday for several months: don’t expect Mueller to remove Trump from office.

    For Canada: IMHO, the people in the US see Canada has huge: they see the landmass. They do not realize the population of Canada is only about the size of the population of California.

  111. Heather, the subject of immigration is indeed a thorny one. Unbiased information is hard to come by, so it is difficult to come to “correct” conclusions. This problem exists in Europe, too, where the subject of mass immigration has helped to poison the political dialogue. It is behind the motivation for Brexit and the outcome of the election in Italy with Salvini’s idea to count and deport those Roma, which are illegal immigrants.

    The difficulty of discussing immigration has to do with the fact that contemporary leftist-liberal culture in Europe takes the fact of mass immigration and the non-importance of borders and ethic affiliations so for granted, that there is literally no idea what to do when the intermingling of different and partly incompatible cultures doesn’t work out as foreseen. A further difficulty is that the feelings which resulted in the blowback against illegal mass immigration and the like are to an important degree non-rational and not “scientific” in nature. Furthermore, what does work more or less well on an university campus doesn’t really translate to conditions outside of an university campus, often with more plebeian, lower-class people in the play.

  112. @Grandmother–I didn’t get into the whole student visa and H1B visa situation. But you are correct in thinking that it needs dragging out into the light of day. I have two problems with overstays on student visas. One is the loss of jobs for American graduates, the other is the brain drain from the country of origin. I can understand why someone from a poor country might prefer to practice their profession in the US, but what about the home country that needs doctors, public health nurses, engineers, etc? Part of this dirty secret is the extent to which US colleges, particularly state colleges and universities who charge high ‘out of state” tuition, rely on these students. to supplement their budgets.

  113. Hi Heather in CA,

    Discussing immigration is a difficult task because we have our own demons to face. Most people don’t wish to look those at those demons, and so instead the endless arguments get swirled around and around because everyone is really comfortable with that situation. And in fact we actively benefit from the situation.

    Now the thing is this: In the short to long term, the demons will win. They’re already winning as far as I can see and have been since at least the 1970’s and I rather suspect that it began when it was no longer economically viable to extract coal from the ground using human labour. Regardless, the outcome is a dead set certainty because we are facing a confluence of various problems: Resource Depletion; Unsustainable Population Growth; and Pollution. Who is talking about immigration in that light? Nobody, because then they would have to look into their own backyards – and face their own demons.



  114. “…a major shift in Congress, out of which important new legislation comes, probably affecting the military…”

    I’d say the Taiwan Travel Act qualifies, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. It’s the biggest step the US has made toward formalizing relations with Taiwan. Given PRC’s near-religious fanaticism around Taiwan and constant threats of using military force to “take back” the island, there’s a military element to at all. While not a major piece of legislation within the period the reading describes, it could have implications for the future.

  115. While we are on the subject of trump, I found this tidbit on a page on David brins website titled “optimists aren’t the ingrate betrayers”

    “Those with less education are more biased by false information – even once they know it’s false. Scientific American recently published an excellent analysis of the research on fake news, misinformation, and cognitive ability. The nut of it is this: those with low cognitive ability are more likely to believe false information even after they’ve been explicitly told it’s false.

    Cognitive ability also correlates with education, which teaches meta-cognitive skills – the ability to monitor and regulate one’s own thinking, which can be used to combat the effects of misinformation on worldview.

    Among the disturbing findings:
    · The Trump campaign targeted low cognitive-ability voters.
    · Repeated exposure is more convincing than one-time exposure.
    · Fake news is more viral than real news.”

    I have a feeling that this has something to do with what JMG was saying, that the working class aren’t as interested in believe the intelligentsia unconditionally like they used to.

  116. You’ve opened my mind to astrology. This is fun! I wonder if the observable success at predicting near future trends could have something to do with patterns of spirit world power, or whatever, that we cannot easily fathom from our perspective as physical beings.

    I had a dream the other day that gave me some new insight (and it’s great that I can tie it into the topic at hand). I had an awful cold a couple days ago, and heading into a miserable sort of semi-sleep I sought out my old friend the bullsnake, and found him right away with some of his friends. I promised not to make fun of him (total lack of an intellect), but he didn’t seem bothered by that at all. Goes completely over his head, like a three-year-old who only sees the utter adoration accompanying it. Glad he’ll never learn what it means!

    He immediately spotted my problem and went about healing me. I accompanied him and saw everything from his perspective: The whole world was transparent. Only a “place and purpose” were apparent, and he went straight to the place and performed the purpose. (The rod of Asclepius comes to mind.) Spiritual patterns/forces determine the place and purpose. In non-verbal terms, he had a lot to teach me. The cold was there to help me clear out my system. He envisioned to me when to cough and when to stop. He employed energy techniques. To my query on dragons, he envisioned them as a warm, caring, healing force of nature that, like any good doctor, must sometimes destroy a part to heal the whole. He envisioned Trump then: a person with a similar view to his–seeing the place and purpose and not being distracted by intellectual cul-de-sacs that stymie the more intellectually inclined. But verbalizes just awfully.

    I stirred and partially awoke, while maintaining the snake’s perspective. Immediately, I began verbalizing all this important information, so I could share it or at least store it for future reference, and the snake looked on in utter amazement. It’s like watching a spider spin a web, something mysterious you are utterly incapable of. Out it comes, in a completely unintelligible stream, yet the power it has is so clear. That’s why he sticks around with me. He sees the value of such a partnership.

    When I got up in the morning, I was well enough to go out and work in the fields.

  117. Not relating to the main post, but relevant to cannibalization: thanks to being jogged by this discussion I noticed this phenomenon happening in science, too. There’s a paper just making the rounds on Twitter etc, a piece of ‘social science’. But if you read it you can see that what it really does is dress up an idea long discussed by scholars in the humanities in ‘scientific’ (ie. pseudo-scientific) garb – statistics, ‘experiments’, ‘data’; the actual content is unreadable and unconvincing and was discussed much better by earlier scholars in the humanities. The real effect of it is to allow people who believe in scientism to ‘launder’ an idea from a non-scientific part of academia into ‘science’, thereby continuing the triumph of ‘science’ into further areas of human knowledge. In fact, it seems, science as a method of discovery has probably run out of steam, as JMG has oft pointed out, requiring ever more resources to make ever more recondite ‘breakthroughs’. So what better way to make a cheap ‘discovery’ than cannibalizing a different field of academia? Just clothe somebody else’s ideas in jargon and statistics, and yet another branch of knowledge is finally being ‘made scientific’! (and maybe we can grab their research funding while we’re at it…)

  118. “You can’t clean a rotten egg.”
    – onething

    You can’t buy em shelled like pecans either!

    Enjoying the discussion, loved the ingress reading and review. Always follow the herbalism threads particularly as my wife and I have owned and operated a small herbal products company (of our own design, not like Young Living or Doterra) for several years now.

    Let me just toss in some anectodal evidence about the gathering steam of the herbal products industry. This is our 8th year selling what we (and hundreds of others seem to) consider to be very fine products, really wonderful alternatives to common household products. (It’s an extremely etifying place to be right now, mentally, socially, and increasingly, financially!)

    And what we are seeing is a general growing distrust of the medical establishment. People who were allopathic hard-liners just a few years ago are up and deciding that they’ve been abused by the AMA and Big Pharma quite long enough, thanks. Putting a really good product in someone’s hands does amazing things for their belief in a viable alternative. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say things like, “I used to use this herbal bug spray from a company in Texas, but then I tried yours, and now I know what an herbal bug spray is SUPPOSED to do!” And then they go on to relate some story of how their doctor’s advice has lead then down a path of misery for an embarrassingly long period of time, and how they are taking their health in their own hands from now on.

    To me, that part of the story is the more fascinating bit. I know we make good stuff, and it feels amazing to be able to share it with others (not to mention make money in the process), but hearing people talk about having enough of the arrogant, toxic, and (now they realize) shockingly ineffective medical nonsense they’ve had foisted upon them by their (ahem) “soi disant” betters for all these years, is a truly, deliciously creamy icing on said cake.

    One of my best friends is an MD who practises internal medicine, and I can just feel the growing sense of unease in him about his situation. He has a quarter million dollars in student loan debt, feels like even with his substantial salary he will never pay it off, and on top of that, gets to watch his “quack” herbalist friend’s popularity waxing while his board-granted authority seems to be more undermined every year. I feel for him, I really do, but my more vindictive side is definitely doing a quiet little told-you-so song and dance on the inside!

    Shameless plug warning!
    Look for our products at

    Just my .02
    Tripp out.

  119. Yes to Chris of Fernglade’s second last post. Whatever happened to this response – This is what the people wanted and we will have to see how we can do things differently next time? Aussies don’t tend to identify quite so strongly with a particular party and don’t talk much about party politics. Perhaps the tradition of not discussing politics is that it becomes so boring so fast.

  120. @David by the Lake,
    The kind of cannibalizing by the electric power industry has been occurring in Japan too. They have been hawking “all-electric” housing, especially since Fukushima. While at first, we had to endure rolling blackouts in TEPCO’s region, they persisted only about a week, and then people seemed to discover how to cut back electricity use and were highly motivated to do so. All nuclear power plants were shut down for several years while the government made an unconvincing charade of reviewing their safety. Not even during the hottest summer days did demand exceed capacity, despite dire warnings. People (myself included) preferred to suffer rather than be the weenie that justified nuclear power. They’re turning them back on anyway. What we call the “nuclear mafia” here are projecting growth in their own self-serving way, using global climate change as their justification for what they are forcing on an unhappy public, and fancy publicity campaigns to boost demand.

    Of course, no one, not even the nuclear foes, wants to admit that growth is essentially over.

  121. Dear Tripp, here in upstate NY, members of the Oneida Nation are doing what increasingly looks like a land office business in homecrafted herbal products. Which products do work, not least because of the absence of unnecessary “inert” ingredients. I am convinced that the use of various inert ingredients, colorings, flavorings and the like, in medications and in processed foods is a kind of corporate taking in each other’s laundry in which John makes a coloring, Jane imports a flavoring, Andy brokers sales of a chemical emulsifier, and so on, and Joe puts all the additives in his chips or pills and in return gets seats on Boards of Directors and other perks.

  122. John,

    Such a great pleasure meeting you yesterday and getting to see your virtual community manifested on a lovely terrace in Providence!

    What a lovely group of people!


  123. It was a party for the ages, with rabbit casserole straight off the farm, salads of all kinds, and no rain! Tales of Congo, Japan, ancient Greece, Norse mythology, and the reign of Pluto… and some excellent music…

  124. @PamelaB Thanks for considering my statement about political classifications. There has been quite a bit of thought given, in particular, to how left-right political labeling fails (in the longer run always and, typically, in repetitively brutal ways). The left-right paradigm does a marvelous job of keeping the population goosestepping to their own detriment; I suspect that is why it is never officially allowed to be questioned in public “education”, media, or national political forums.

    I am not sure why @JMG seems to continue to support the labeling instead of persistently challenging it, but at least he hasn’t yet challenged me for challenging it! :->.

    Anyway, I just searched “two axis political classification” and found a lot of reading suggestions for various proposed 2 variable systems. I ended up taking a 6 page agree-disagree test and it, amusingly, placed me exactly halfway between “liberal” and “conservative” and moderately non-authoritarian. I would say I am the horror of liberal/conservative classification in general and (when harassed enough) willing to pick up either speak up or act up to trip up strong authoritarians — although mostly I prefer to educate up:->.

    Anyway, it would help me feel like I’d done a good dead in the quest for world peace if you, or anyone else, might acknowledge seeking self-knowledge at:

    Yes, there are people who reject both “left” and “right” and are decidedly good, solid, well-educated HUMANS to boot! Indeed, I don’t know how one can honestly claim to be the latter without ultimately rejecting the former! I think it is mostly ignorance that threatens humanity.

  125. I’ll be responding to comments later today. For the moment, I’d like to thank everyone who came to the Ecosophia potluck in Providence yesterday. It was marvelous: good food, good drink, and as extraordinary a group of people as I’ve ever seen gathered in one place. Everyone I talked to — and I tried, though not quite successfully, to talk with everyone who attended — had interesting things to say, and as far as I could tell, a grand time was had by all. Thank you all again — and particular thanks to our hosts Peter and Chiara for making it possible.

  126. Rita Rippetoe:

    Some months ago, I made exactly the same observation in a comment on a well-known Democratic website, writing that we Americans are luring from desperately needy countries the very classes of people these countries need the most in order to improve the lot of their own citizens: doctors, nurses, research scientists, engineers, the educated and the skilled. I characterized this as the continuation of centuries of resource extraction. The backlash was immediate and my comment was attacked as anti-immigrant – it’s as if the current ideology of the loudest people on the leftward side of the political spectrum can no longer abide the thought that there just might be a downside to unlimited migration. Peter Beinart wrote an excellent article last year about the abrupt shift in Democratic attitudes about immigration for The Atlantic magazine:

  127. “One is the loss of jobs for American graduates, the other is the brain drain from the country of origin.”

    @Rita Riptoe, the brain drain is a major part of the point. Just as the elite in any society, if it wishes to remain the elite, has to have a way of absorbing talented and ambitious individuals who come up from among the common people, lest those people become revolutionaries and cause trouble, so the dominant countries, if they want to remain dominant, have to have a way of absorbing talented and ambitious individuals from subordinate countries so that those countries stay subordinate.

  128. @Will J
    “One of my friends who worked in a polling company quit after being told that she had to transform a survey showing Clinton supporters to be substantially more racist, and showing Trump supporters were facing substantial economic difficulties, into one showing the only factors predicting whether someone supported Trump was how racist/sexist they were.

    It’s just an anecdote, but I figured I’d share it.”

    This got me to thinking: if this was real, why would it be real? What motivation would anybody have for wanting to falsify opinion polls like this? The best way to answer a question of motivation is to look at potential results.

    If Trump voters are economically motivated, then his victory points to a need to alter our current economic arrangements.

    If Trump voters are motivated entirely by bigotry, then the only thing to do is to pass hate speech laws like the ones some European countries have.

    The people who would prefer the latter outcome over the former are those who are doing fine under our current economic arrangements and don’t want them altered. Hate speech laws may also be used later to shut down expressions of social class resentment, but the important thing, to those who are doing fine, is that they distract compassion-minded voters, keeping their attention focused on racial and gender justice instead of economic justice.

  129. I’ve been mulling over what Pamela and Edward are saying, and I think I have a possible answer: I think “Trump supporters” (anyone who defends Trump) are getting hit with some massive shale from some self-identified liberals. I know for sure if I ever so much as start discussing rule of law, or anything to do with “maybe Trump isn’t so bad”, or point out that some policy predates Trump, or a flaw with Clinton in a public place, I’m often hit with numerous and crazy responses, quite often from someone who I don’t even know but who can’t seem to handle someone not despising Trump.

    If I mention being part of any group that’s supposed to hate Trump (and I belong to a few), if I’m lucky they start shrieking about how immoral it is to lie, if I’m unlucky, well, let’s just say quite a few of them think it’s okay to punch a lying Nazi. Of course, the fact I oppose Nazis doesn’t matter in the slightest: a large number of people think Trump supporters are by definition Nazis.

    I also would like to point out that I don’t like Trump. I would love to see him lose in 2020. I don’t think it’ll happen, but I want to see the political class nominate someone better. There are plenty of issues with Trump, but I don’t agree with all of the ones the media is throwing around, which is enough to put me on the list of Trump supporting Nazis as far as a lot of people are concerned.

    I’m generalizing from that. That’s what I mean by “liberal” most of the time here. Unfortunately, however, there’s also still a thriving tradition of liberalism that Edward and Pamela appear to belong to. Since, I presume, they disagree with most of the policies Trump is pushing, they don’t hear the frankly insane responses some “liberals” have to anything to do with Trump nearly as often. This leaves them scratching their heads at what we’re talking about.

  130. Hi JMG

    Re: Immigration

    In the US and in the UE people are surprised by the “avalanche” of immigrants, as this was a weird “natural phenomenon” that have nothing to do with the policies enacted by the western countries around the world

    For example in 1993, the then mexican Secretary of Agriculture Mr. Carlos Hank González, estimated that due to the NAFTA, and the following liberalization of the market for maize and others mexican subsistence products, would drive 13 millions mexican peasant farmers off their land, as was the case in all the “Enclosures” dynamic all around the world. In the case of Mexico that was made by the end of the “Ejido” systems of communitarian property, with the same tools that the “Enclosures acts” drive off the peasant in England to build the Lumpenproletariat the feed the machines of the Industrial Revolution and the “safety valve” of those days were the colonies where the dispossessed in turn dispossessed the indians, the blacks, the australian aborigins, the asiatic people, etc… of their land and their lives; but now for the dispossessed of the third world the only “safety valve” is the emigration to the rich countries and the rise of warbands and narco-criminals inside their countries. Is this so surprising?

    In the case of Europe, the total destruction of the Libyan state in the name of the Clintonian “Humanitarian intervention” have obliterated a society that was a model for the African countries, with a welfare state superior to some countries, for example in Eastern Europe; and now the intelligence agencies estimate that there are 1700 warbands operating in Libya where slave markets are the norm of the day. In the past Libya received a lot of immigrants from others African countries, and now is a next “exporter” of emigrants and horrors, because before of the fall of the “butcher” Gaddafi the number of immigrants crossing the Mediterranean sea to Italy was very small but now it is an avalanche of biblical proportions, as is also the case with the full destruction of Syria, that will change the political landscape of Europe in the next decades, because the western countries will continue with the same policies but with more “walls” and soldiers in the earth or in the sea (the new “Limes”), but that will not stop the avalanche

    The destruction of these countries (Afganistan, Irak, Libya, Syria, …) was described by the general Wesley Clark in 2002 because he heard this 10 days after 9/11, and this was the script followed by ANY american administration (now for Trump is his turn on Iran)

    I think the globalization, the IMF policies and the bombing campaigns explain more than 70% of the immigration problems in the world and this is a recipe for a full blow-back


  131. @ Monk

    Re cannibalisation

    Fascinating to see the underlying theme proliferating across different aspects of our civilization. If that ain’t a clue as to where we are in the trajectory, I don’t know what would be.

    @ patriciaormsby

    Re Japan and energy

    That is very interesting. Makes a good amount of sense, given Japan’s energy situation, though. How intense is the focus on conservation over there?

    @ JMG, et alia

    Re the potluck

    I wish I could’ve attended. It sounds like it was a wonderful gathering. Perhaps we could put together a Midwest US version for that geographic portion of the community (sans our host, understandably)?

  132. Hi Jill,

    Aussies don’t tend to identify quite so strongly with a particular party and don’t talk much about party politics

    This is true, and voters tend not to be so “rusted on” supporters. Interestingly too, voting down here is compulsory for the adult population and so the outcome of elections is generally an accepted fact and arguments about outcomes are usually due to administrative blunders (which is very rare).



  133. David, that would make a great deal of sense! Thank you also for the data point concerning the energy industry. If things really are moving toward energy suppliers fighting for shares of a shrinking pie, that’s going to mean a massive shift in the economic landscape — and might just open up possibilities that haven’t existed under previous conditions. Hmm…

    Ben, I know it’s kind of unfamiliar to see a politician who has his own agenda, but I think that’s the case this time around. As for an economic crisis, you’d be looking for the rulers of the second house of national wealth and the sixth house of employment badly afflicted, and at least one of them in a hostile aspect to Mars or Uranus (the planets of sudden change), with no favorable aspects to rescue them. I’d also look to the condition of Jupiter — a really badly afflicted Jupiter in a relevant house could signal real economic trouble.

    Elodie, exactly.

    Matthias, oh, in the long run, no question — once the dark ages close in, that fine old word voelkerwanderung will find plenty of use. We’re not there yet, and right now — in Europe as in the US — crocodile tears about the plight of migrants are being used to justify policies that are mostly about driving down labor costs for the benefit of the well-to-do. I heartily agree that employers ought to be punished, hard, for hiring people who don’t have the right to work here legally; under the last half dozen administrations, that didn’t happen, because tacit encouragement of illegal immigration was standard policy. We’ll see whether Trump can get something through Congress to change that.

    Sub, I explained my personal political stance in some detail on my old blogThe Archdruid Reportin 2016, which you can find mirrored here. I’ll consider doing some new posts on the subject as time and interest permits.

    Will, exactly. It’s part of our national mythology that we always win. We’re the cowboys in the white hats, the guys in spandex, and it’s everyone else’s job to lose. That’s why the soi-disant “Resistance” is still shrieking in outrage — they lost, and that’s unthinkable — and why, when the US finally meets its inevitable military defeat, the consequences are likely to be breathtaking.

    Drhooves, not at all. Think about the way that people use terms like “Washington” and “The White House” to mean the US government; think also about the fact that most of the day to day decisions that guide the nation politically are made, not in St. Louis or Omaha, but in Washington DC. At the end of the day, though, what matters is that mundane forecasts made for national capitals work. The proof of the pudding is in the eating!

    Steve, excellent! That’s how the Democratic Party is going to pull itself out of its current death spiral, if anything can save it now: by people getting involved on the grassroots level and helping to shape party policy from there.

    Kyle, thanks for this. We’ll see how that plays out in the months ahead.

    Will, thanks for the heads up.

    Candace, exactly! If you’ve got an astrological aspect that tilts toward an auto accident, and you drive as little as possible (or not at all) while it’s applying, you may also skate past without having an accident at all. “Fools are governed by their stars, the wise govern theirs” is an old and useful adage; astrology predicts tendencies rather than inevitabilities, and a thoughtful response to astrological conditions can spare you a lot of grief.

    ShamanicFallout, nobody knows. Again, it’s like gravity before Einstein — we know how it works, but we don’t know why.

    Grandmother, thanks for this. I wonder if the people who run the outrage machine have realized that there’s such a thing as outrage fatigue, and sooner or later people just turn it off and go do something else.

    Onething, I think it’s a little more complex than that. I think a lot of Democrats are stuck in a very difficult situation — they believe in various ideals, and yet they know perfectly well that if they act on those beliefs, their own perks and privileges will suffer. So they talk about peace and vote for candidates they know will keep on bombing the living shale out of the Middle East, because vaporizing children and wedding parties with drone strikes may be hideously immoral but it’s necessary for maintaining US power abroad, and thus the stream of goodies that keep the lives of influential Democrats so comfortable. When Trump won the election and started trying to extract the US military from Syria, the Democrats joined the GOP in ganging up on him, despite all their yelling about wanting peace. It’s an awkward situation, and not going to get any less awkward any time soon.

    Heather, I’ll certainly consider it. My own biases here are very straightforward. I’m in favor of legal immigration, with the number of immigrants per year to be determined right out in public by our political process, to balance all the various competing interests. I’m adamantly opposed to the tacit encouragement of mass illegal immigration that’s been US policy for decades now, since that drives down working class wages by producing a vulnerable underclass of illegal immigrants who can be exploited with impunity because they have no legal rights. I can certainly develop that in more detail in a future post!

    Grandmother, you’ve raised an immensely important point here — the rule of law. Either we have laws and enforce them, or we don’t — and right now, by and large, we don’t. That way lies any number of massive problems. More on this in a future post.

  134. I hate to harp on the shocking displays of cognitive dissonance, bigotry and foolishness from my fellow upper middle class tech workers, but on Friday I went to a bar with some co-workers. The discussion turned to American immigration policy (I live in Canada). Although I don’t have any particular fondness for Trump (but even less love for the establishment he’s gleefully tarring and covfefe’ing), the terms in which my co-workers, who all regard themselves as intelligent, good people talked about Trump supporters was essentially genocidal and dehumanizing. We were all pretty drunk, and I do believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt about things they said when they were drunk, but hearing people talk about putting other classes of people in camps, with all that implies, is profoundly disturbing.

    I don’t support the dehumanizing terms that Trump and higher ups in his administration use to discuss illegal immigrants, but the other side of the cold civil war is just as frightening to me. I lean towards the Republican side of things – because at least Republicans will admit that enforcing the law is ‘tough’ – an acknowledgement of the suffering of those who have broken the law and been punished – rather than the saccharine compassion of the other side – nothing scares me more than people who believe that they can do no wrong.

    I’m actively looking for an exit from the tech world – I can’t stand it anymore. It really is Mordor with macbooks. I have to figure out something else to do where I can make enough money to afford housing first, but I never want to be around the pride and bigotry of 20-somethings who think they are owed the world because they are good at programming computers again.

  135. @ JMG

    “a grand time was had by all. ”

    A grand time was sure had by this one! It was wonderful to meet you and Sara and get to chat a little. And to meet several personalities of the blog – we really did have a good time! Lots of stories and laughter and sharing – really quite lovely and magical, if I do say so 😉

    And I will echo your thanks to Peter VE for hosting – what a sport!

    Can’t wait until the next one…

  136. Allow me to enter the conversation as a Northern California resident of the last 38 years. I first came to know JMG through “Dark Ages America” and would like to address my concerns via that framework. (Namely, our present society is untenable for a number of reasons and is beginning–or is perhaps well along–a stage of collapse, a very normal stage that all civilizations undergo sooner or later but terribly painful when experienced up-close and by its most vulnerable people.)

    As you can imagine, my circle is very liberal, well-educated, and tilts white. It includes many Buddhist and spiritual progressives from various traditions. Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign are some of our high priests and priestesses. Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock are significant stops on our stations of the cross. Nostalgia for the reign of Barack and Michelle, when things were supposedly civil, is rife.

    There are a lot of good things about this circle and these values. I am certainly not abjuring them and swinging to the other side. Indeed, it is this very notion that we HAVE sides that I am reacting against. This leads me to say that, like it or not, I think JMG’s and other critiques on this site of liberals is to the point.

    Lately I have been noticing people–in real life, and on my Facebook feed (a strange and alienating phenomenon which I have come to appreciate as an amateur anthropologist and semi-professional writer) are blowing up. They are completely consumed with hatred, religious affiliation notwithstanding. They sputter and spin endlessly about Trump, even when I (delicately, as I have learned) or someone else remind them it doesn’t help and may hurt. Not only did they ignore how Trump’s pardoning benefited an African-American and may benefit many more, they also ignored the shooting of a Congressman at a ball game by a deranged Bernie supporter, and how this has led conservatives to fear leftists. They ignore the shootings of police officers that no doubt contribute to the sense of fear and thus being trigger-happy that some members of this profession feel. There is a whole lot more that they ignore–anything that doesn’t fit their world-view, naturally.

    Of course the other side is busy doing the same thing with even deeper pockets, as anyone who has entered the alternate universe of Fox News can tell you. What I see here has less to do with who is right or wrong as with the categories we put each other into that dehumanize the people behind the labels and polarize us further. The fact that these polarities are dissolving and becoming ever more chaotic as they do is a sign of the further dissolving of our civilization. All cultures form identities and polarities with which to define themselves. What a rich time this could be if we could play in the mess instead of endlessly mucking about in the chaos we have made, pausing only to grab a handful of swamp juice to sling back at the other.

    I value this forum because it seems to get beyond the categories and to genuinely inform me with thoughts and info I’m not going to get in my lovely bubble. (Northern California being an exceedingly lovely place, I must say.) Regardless of your spiritual affinity, it is a point of practice that adhering to one pole of identity rigidly will bring out an equal rigidity in the other–who is in fact none other than your own raging heart.

  137. Grandmother, here in Canada, professional salaries are being eviscerated by our immigration policy. Employers can hire people from abroad, and for two years or so, those employees are basically their employer’s property – the employers can send them back to China or India or Africa with an email. Some of these immigrants persevere, get their permanent residency and become successful people in Canada, but many are ‘laid off’ shortly before they obtain their permanent residency and sent home. This policy is massively profitable – there is one employer in particular in my town that famously does not even advertise positions in Canada, they only hire overseas.

  138. I didn’t quite mean to derail the conversation away from the main topic of this week’s post (which I’m far from qualified to comment on) but I’m very much appreciating everyone’s contributions on immigration, and hope that our host finds time in the posting schedule to give us his thoughts at some point.

    Brian, I do hope the concept of blow-back for the U.S.’s imperial adventurism around the world makes it into the consciousness of this country’s citizens, and soon. (Better late than never!) I was having a conversation with someone close to me about a television program focusing on the UK’s withdrawal from its empire, and commented that I hoped the U.S. could learn some lessons about backing away, and my conversation partner looked startled and claimed that the U.S. didn’t have an empire. Where do you start? It really is hard to remember sometimes, after many years of following the conversations here and at our host’s previous blog, and trying to keep my own engagement with the mainstream media limited and skeptical, that many people in our country, even thoughtful folks with some awareness of global history, still haven’t grasped that the U.S. has a great deal of terrible, greedy, exploitative karma coming around.

    Booklover- I think that many of attitudes about immigration in the U.S., on all sides, are, as you say, non-rational. They are deeply tied up in our stories about ourselves, our country, and our current situations, both personal and political. I think these stories have to be acknowledged, examined, fact-checked, and placed into context. People’s fears and griefs and needs, their mythic narratives about their country and their family and their own trajectories, and yes, their hatreds and suspicions and jealousies, all need to be parts of the conversation, as uncomfortable as they are to acknowledge and to be confronted with. We will have to be able to toggle between and connect the rational and the non-rational if we are to have any hope of minimizing the damage- because there is no way everyone comes out of this with everything they want, or even need.

    Chris- I think you are quite right that many people want to shift the conversation about immigration onto irrelevant tangents rather than face their own demons. It’s quite uncomfortable to realize that your (conscious) values and your interests, as our host has referred to before, are in conflict. Or that you may have conflicting values simultaneously, or that one of your interests may have to be superseded by another one- meaning that you can’t always get what you want! Cue the temper tantrums. I’m not sure I followed you about the course being set when coal became uneconomic to extract using human power. Were you referring to the shift to oil?

    Thanks to all for the food for thought.
    –Heather in CA

  139. @JMG-
    “So they talk about peace and vote for candidates they know will keep on bombing the living shale out of the Middle East, because vaporizing children and wedding parties with drone strikes may be hideously immoral but it’s necessary for maintaining US power abroad, and thus the stream of goodies that keep the lives of influential Democrats so comfortable.”

    I wonder what percentage of U.S. voters actually consciously realize that they live in an empire, and that their comfortable lives depend on the subjugation of other less powerful groups of people? Considering that, as jenniferxyz alluded to above, most Americans lack even a rudimentary sense of world geography, history, or politics, getting most of their info from the U.S. media or (shudder) Hollywood, I wonder if it’s anything so complex? Perhaps it’s more an uncritical acceptance of whatever narrative is being spun for them about why the evil thing being done in the U.S.’s (supposed) interest is actually a good thing, for us and in the end for those being crusaded against. Because, you know, we’re on the side of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, which surely would be all the world’s way if they would just listen as we explain it again, louder this time… I really think most Americans believe that the cheap goods fall into Walmart’s stockroom like manna from the sky, and that we are all entitled to a comfy portion. Anything that gets in the way of that is just Unfair, and Somebody should do something about it.

    This is no better or more defensible a motive than the one you posited, but it requires less awareness and critical thinking, so unfortunately I think it may be more likely.

    –Heather in CA

  140. @Tripp

    “One of my best friends is an MD who practises internal medicine, and I can just feel the growing sense of unease in him about his situation. He has a quarter million dollars in student loan debt, feels like even with his substantial salary he will never pay it off, … ”

    In the spirit of helping, I honestly feel your MD friend could benefit from listening to Dave Ramsey, or reading Mr. Money Mustache, or reading Early Retirement Extreme. On a Dr.’s salary he can put that debt behind him very quickly if he’s prepared to live frugally for a few years. He can also salt away enough money, in a few more years, that he never really has to work if he doesn’t want to. He could pick and choose his work. Sorry to stray off topic but I just thought these sources might be helpful. Simplify now and avoid the rush.

  141. Hi Edward,

    When I use a word like liberal, it is not meant to be an exact term at all, but a useful generalization at times when it would be too cumbersome to make more exact descriptions.

    I don’t doubt that conservatives can also be insular and gullible. But I am talking about some kind of sea change that has happened recently, in the last couple of years. The few non liberal or progressive people that I occasionally talk to are scratching their heads and using words like “bizarre” to describe these new behaviors and attitudes. And of course, there is the term, Trump derangement syndrome.

  142. Beekeeper,

    What I find eerie and even slightly nauseating isn’t just the opinions that get thrown around so fiercely and without any willingness to entertain that the topic has nuance, but that it is obviously being spoon fed to them all…by whom exactly (?) and they do not question the weirdness of everyone becoming passionate at the same time about the same things nor do they seem to notice it.

  143. I don’t know, JMG, maybe I am slow on the uptake, maybe I am putting the pieces together very late in life. Maybe it’s because I am really more philosophical than political but although I knew the CIA does nefarious things abroad, and installs dictators, and that we used more resources than we deserved – that last I did not think of that as simple resource extraction but more likely a consequence of having gotten a head start in the industrialization game.

    And are you speaking of the deep state democrats who actually run things and their mistresses in congress when you say democrats? Or rank and file, for whom this might be more abstract?

    My complaint against the democratic Hillary voters is, where is their moral compass? I already know the elites don’t have one.

    Are you saying my privileged hippie neighbors with their 401Ks know that we have to keep bombing people for them to hold onto their dishwashers and priuses? Subliminally?

  144. JMG,
    Yes, it makes sense that the country already has a set of tools for crafting and enforcing immigration policy, if only we would actually use them. I am seeking to fill out a foundation, both philosophical and practical, for my own position within that political process. Is the pie limited? What is our responsibility towards those who would seek safety or opportunity, as (most of) our ancestors did? What about to those whose lives our country had a hand in destabilizing? How many helping hands can we reach out before we go under too? How can we best minimize unnecessary suffering and loss in light of our likely historical trajectory? Since we can’t admit everyone who would like to come, what values and interests should we consider in determining who gets in? What are useful historical precedents to consider? This discussion space that you have created offers a unique context, at least in my opinion, with spiritual, historical, and present “reality-based” (do I dare use that phrase?) perspectives that I don’t find elsewhere.

    I am thinking a lot about the role of boundaries and limits, as things that are inevitable and also necessary and useful; your writing has certainly influenced my thinking in that regard. I am coming to believe that those who argue that a country can successfully take in virtually unlimited numbers of immigrants in this age of limits are simply manifesting their refusal to recognize those limits at all. Of course, if you believe in perpetual growth and the myth of progress, there’s no need to worry about such details. And on the flip side, if you believe the apocalypse is just around the corner (or has already begun), you’ll be hyper focused on securing what resources you can for you and yours, with no thought to spare for the Other. Of course this binary is false, and I think more discussion about the many other ways to approach the topic could be valuable. I don’t believe the issue will be going away on its own.

    Thanks for considering it.

    –Heather in CA

  145. @David by the Lake,
    They don’t talk that much about conservation in Japan, aside from use of renewables:'s-cling-to-nuclear-power There is a nearly universal, deeply abiding faith in technology here. For a while, there was talk about sustainability, but that seems to have dwindled. I work a few hours a month for an NGO called “Japan for Sustainability,” which was organized to highlight and encourage sustainable development initiatives. They are closing their doors at the end of July, because there was simply not enough interest in this area, and too few examples to highlight.

    Japan will conserve when external forces compel it to. Loss of Iranian oil comes to mind.

  146. @J.LMc12 – I don’t know that much about David Brin, but his blog strikes me as a bit erratic – hopefully his actual thinking is a bit more organized.

    The article he’s referencing was published in early February:

    My first impression is that it’s a rather superficial, elitist and a rather non-quantitative look at how humans process “news” and other information. OTH, I think one of the biggest challenges we face today in the Long Descent is sifting through the information overload, and discerning facts from slanted bytes. So the topic is quite worthy of investigation.

    With the vast majority of the mainstream media outlets, including Scientific American, owned by a handful of elites, it’s safe to say the content serves their interest, and is not necessarily best for the general welfare of society. The method of repetition of repeating lies until they become truth is definitely in wide use today, and the heated emotional ploys to keep the masses at each other’s throats appears to be effective, for now.

    Personally, I’ve gotten to the point I consider all news and much entertainment as propaganda, and finding the “slant” is rather easy for about 90 percent of the input. So now I try to just glean facts, and draw my own conclusions, dismissing (as best I can) the imbedded slants, assumptions, conclusions and non-facts as much as possible. Because there has not been a serious third party in play in American politics since Ross Perot, I’m very cynical of the entire structure, and believe it’s rigged – to a point well beyond the noise of the Dems/Repubs/Left/Right/Liberal/Conservative “news” flow….

  147. Here’s my submission for what is going to cause tumult according to the forecast. Trump’s proposal to reform the federal government!

    I had read somewhere that he has been running his cabinet meetings like corporate board meetings and having the various departments report out on progress made on difference issues and initiatives. The “journalists” surely must have been excluded from these meetings because if they were there they surely would have reported on how effective that was in getting government working for the people! (sarcasm).

    My prediction is the Left will immediately start in with cries of how many people are going to die as a result of these re-organizations. I’m still tallying the deaths from enactment of tax cuts and net neutrality that they told me would happen. It’s horrid (sorry – more sarcasm).

  148. Hello JMG

    Ben asked what astrological signs would suggest a major economic crisis, and you suggested a set of specific conditions. Since astrological movements are all predictable, then presumably it’s perfectly possible to calculate when those conditions will be met and then you’ll know pretty accurately when the economic crisis will be?

    Also, what would you say Trump’s motivation is? His detractors obviously say things like “narcissism!” and “he wants to be Hitler!” but I find their rigour questionable.


  149. Let me gratulate you all to the success of the potluck! Even in Germany it is relatively infrequent to have such diverse and deep-going conversations as you had. By the way, the anti-Trump propaganda gets ever more absourd by the day; not a day passes without someone being dragooned to say something “genial” on Twitter or elsewhere against Trump. On the German gmx site, it today was some young wonder-child. What will be next? (shakes head)

  150. @ All

    Re the tone of this blog & commentariat w/ re to Democrats and liberals

    For my own experience, I think that part of the reason that the Democrats are more prominently portrayed in my discussion here is that, as one who has historically identified as “liberal,” these are the people with whom I interact and the cyberspaces wherein I engage. (I saw that someone had mentioned Political Compass as an example of a two-axis sorting mechanism; I took that quiz and fell squarely in the middle of the “Green Libertarian” quadrant, which I found interesting.) Therefore, these are the people with whose reactions I end up having to deal — and, yes, many of those reactions are as unhinged and knee-jerk as discussed here. I didn’t vote for Trump; but I also didn’t vote for Clinton. (And I’ll tell you, I took more fire for that last act on the political fora than anything else. “Traitor” and “useful idiot” are among the more printable comments I received.) So, the Democrats are perhaps overly represented in discussion because of this, and perhaps because there are others here are like myself, wanting the Democratic Party to pull its head from out its nether orifice and be the vehicle for needed change, rather than the ossified bulwark of the status quo it has become.

    Perhaps, too, I need to expand my own experiences. One of my stronger allies on city council regarding a whole host of issues is a female Army veteran who is also a member of the county Republican Party. Talking more with those outside of my habitual political sphere might be more profitable than trying to change the course of the Democratic party by posting (what I see as) well thought-out commentary on a political forum where everyone simply wants to opine about how evil Trump is, how stupid his supporters are, and how Mueller and/or the “Blue Wave” (TM) will sweep this evil from our midst and set all to rights again.

    Just my own thoughts on the matter. I know that several folks have already commented from various perspectives.

  151. Here’s a modest proposal: what if the U.S. simply enforces existing minimum wage laws regardless of the immigration status of the employee? Fining a major agricultural corporation several million dollars might get some attention…

  152. @Brian

    Those things you mention, the general imperialism and the feedback loops of outside intervention, I think those are pretty much taken for granted on this forum.

    In my view, often I question, how should I be right about things, for example those you mention, and confidently say this is my opinion?

    I got the impression that when looking at a broad historical picture from various (DRY to read) sources which are nevertheless official sources and not really the subject of questioning, you already see the contemporary narrative crumbling usually. Government documents publicly disclosed decades after their issuing…

    But then again who has that kind of time, reading, watching documentaries, analyzing….? Not everyone, and it takes some level of literary education whether self taught or from school to understand the implications given by history.
    And even then there’s often the case of plausible denial, since how can we really tell in this complex, confusing structure of society we live in, who does what, whose affair is which affair, what connects to what…?

    No most people in our time won’t have the time, neither the nerve, nor the idea to fumble around with this history-politics stuff.

    I remember asking my father what’s written in a newspaper and why, when I was about six years old. He couldn’t tell me. At that age and level of experience, I could not possibly have processed or imagined anything like that therefore it was probably pointless trying to explain it to me.

    So, you are one to acquaint himself with those matters as are the others on this forum. For most other people, you don’t expect the same. Not from most grad-students either.

  153. Justin,

    I’ve heard people justify rounding up Republicans/conservatives and place them in camps now too, because of the immigration crisis (and it’s apparently too much work to distinguish Republicans and Nazis, the holocaust too)….

  154. The consequences of tacitly permitting illegal immigration go far beyond forcing down wages. Other collateral damage includes forcing up housing prices and prices of utilities. I am convinced that the primary reason the upper class favors large scale immigration is that it helps them maintain the price of their real estate holdings.

  155. Responding to a few of the recent posts here.
    If I seem a bit upset, it’s because I am, and it is all bottled up in me because I can rarely express it, and certainly not to the people who matter.

    I know a young woman rather well who may or may not live. Everyone is upset when they see her. Because she is rather reclusive but I know her well, they come to me with comments or questions. Her health began to look critical about half a year ago. She has lost about 80 pounds and has been hovering below 90 pounds for 6 months. I have gently suggested to her that she might have an eating disorder, that her symptoms could be generated from emotional causes. Every time she appears to be on the mend, it is short lived and she goes back to saying she can no longer eat this or that. Anything that she says is helping, soon stops helping. Many different suggestions to help her are always rejected because for some reason they will not work for her. I’m not sure of course, but I do find her description of things illogical and not so believable.

    Feeling that if she loses her health permanently or worse that I will have a problem on my conscience for not being more forthright with her, I became a little more forthright. It didn’t go well. She became furious and screamed in my face.
    It seems to me that SOMETHING has happened to the leftward people in this country, and to a large extent in Europe as well, which is red flag number one! And no, in general, I do not see this happening on the right.
    Underneath all the commentary here about the unreachableness and downright hateful behavior of the Hillary cohort, is my big question – what happened? Because it looks like they all got delusional together. They are unreachable because when a person has fallen into delusion, you CAN NOT tell them that they are delusional. But now it is a whole mass of people, many millions together.

    Sure, the propaganda is very thick. But why can’t they see it? There are so many red flags. And what to make of them getting in an emotional state where they cannot discuss issues because it is way too upsetting for them? Depending on who is writing history, in the future we might see it written that Americans became very incensed and rebellious because of this awful president named Trump.

    But he has done little or nothing of substance to even begin to deserve the pathological hatred coming his way. Why do people react to him and not to Bush who started a big war, lied to us about weapons of mass destruction, and was definitely a conservative Biblical Christian who openly opposed abortion?

    Yet the propaganda was so outlandish (and not at all in line with his history) that people were actually terrified when he won.
    And why has the fear and loathing of him not dissipated with time as he has not rounded up gay people and put them in camps and etc?
    Why is it so important to this cohort to hate and hate strongly and without letup so that no matter if he does a tiny good thing they don’t want to hear it? I had a lovely old friend come up to visit me in my time of need, and somehow the conversation briefly turned political and I tried to defend some little thing about Trump and she got very defensive and said, “Don’t say anything good to me about Trump! I have way too much invested in hating him!”

    I’m not kidding. That is word for word.

    When you compare his crimes to others, they are making mountains out of molehills. So he said that rich, famous and handsome men can do whatever they want with a lot of women? How does that even compare to the actual sexual misconduct and defense thereof of the Clintons?
    If that’s the best they can do, he is squeaky clean!
    My question is why, why, why. I see no reason or logic to it, but I see a tremendous propaganda machine, just as silly and shallow as any historic speeches or propaganda from earlier tyrannies. I don’t know, maybe Hitler’s speeches had substance.

    I feel that many of the people I have known for years have all lost their minds together, and it’s the elephant in the room, but they are unreachable in their chosen delusion, chosen on some unconscious level.
    The few who own and control the media and its narratives, surely they know what they are doing? This is the real story.

  156. For those who like humor in political actions there is some fun to be seen on a Facebook group called Dysfunctional Veterans. Mostly they post somewhat black humor memes about military life, and complaints about the way in which veterans are portrayed in mainstream media as all being PTSD afflicted timebombs just one slammed car door away from becoming societal menaces. These complaints are serious since they believe that such perceptions affect the job prospects of ex-service members. They may be right. I recall the 70s and 80s when crime show villains were quiet likely to be “crazed Vietnam vets.”

    There are also complaints about the VA and the ongoing neglect of veteran’s issues by politicians of both parties despite all the “Support our Troops” rhetoric. So they have a campaign to purchase a supply of phallus shaped candies and send a bag of said candy to every member of Congress with an invitation to “Eat a bag of d**ks.”

    On a more serious note there was a long discussion of whether the military would participate in suppression of civilian unrest in the US. General feeling was ‘no, it’s illegal to use troops for law enforcement–we wouldn’t do it.” It started as a discussion of the number of weapons in civilian hands. A number of participants also seemed to feel that our heavily armed population would be able to mount effective resistance to government forces. So there’s that to think about.

    Someone mentioned above that the belief that the US should let in everyone who is oppressed is part of cornucopian thinking. Thanks! I hadn’t made that connection–just kept thinking “what is wrong with them; don’t they realize there isn’t room for _everybody_?” But in the future they envision, of skyscraper gardens, solar panels and windmills and bio-diesel and every other techno wonders we have been promised there is no reason not to squeeze in a few million more people.


  157. About illegal immigration to the US,

    May I contribute the opinion of a fairly priviledged, middle aged Mexican male? Perhaps one who has never been more than 5 weeks away from his hometown, but who has a fair number of relatives and friends living in the US (most of whom got there illegally in one way or another)…

    As crass and shocking as Trump’s zero tolerance on immigration policy may be, I consider it a healthy development for both nations. I cannot speak from the situation of Central Americans (no, not Midwest, you know what I mean), but the majority of Mexicans in those situations are not political or humanitarian refugees. Many of them are scaping from harsh but ordinary poverty or crime, and those do not prevent millions upon millions of other Mexicans from living meaningful and reasonably happy lives, so this is one of those irreducibly complex affairs when you take your chances and deal with the results. And if the result is that a foreign country does not want you any more… well you were not entitled to live there in the first place, did you?

    I specially feel for the children held in subhuman conditions… but again, every Mexican knows (or should know) that the gringos are unreliable at best. It is one thing to go and risk life and limb for the sake of a better state in life for your kids, it is another one to bring them along in what is essentially a non-violent raid on hostile territory. The parents should have known those camps were at least theoretically on the cards. If anything, they were guillible to believe the gringo tolerance would last forever.

    What I find truly outrageous was all hypocrital rhetoric of the previous administrations, specially the anchor baby nonsense. It was specially shocking to hear this from Americans of obvious Spanic descent (either children of immigrants themselves, or formerly illegal immigrants who had aquired a Green Card or even US citizenship at some point). This whole rhetoric ignores the very elephant in the room, – the fact that illegal aliens are holding American jobs, – but center around the fact that they are not paying taxes on those illegal jobs. It is the AlCapone prosecution all over again!!!

    From my point of view, those illegal workers are being double dipped by the system. First, they may not pay the government taxes, but by virtue of their lower wages they pay an illegal, usually higher, private tax to their employers, who then fail to forward it to the appropriate amount to the government. One little detail that you should probably be aware is that in Mexico it is allowed and usual for and employee to let the employer fill their taxes for them, as long as there’s one sole employer in that year and a few other conditions, the most important of which is the total income of the employee (the upper bound is well in salary class range). So it is at least plausible that this people does not know, or does not want to know, that their employer is not paying all the owed taxes.

    Then there is the fact (and it is a fact which I have seen first hand) that illegal immigrants will forego medical, legal and even police protection in order to avoid being spotted by “la Migra”. So, it is not completely true that Mexican immigrants are leeches on the US federal programs. To benefit from wellfare takes a degree of knowhow that this people usually do not have on first arrival and take time to learn. There’s some truth about the anchor baby thing, but it has to do with the fact that having a baby puts this people in contact with branches of the federal government that “are not out to get them” and give them access to some wellfare programs, rather than the malfesance that is usually attributed to them.

    Specially about the viciousness with which the America-born children of immigrants are denounced, my unsuported and perhaps not so humble opinion is that gringos are just upset that they no longer have the freedom to castrate their slaves… but of course I am far from unbiased.

  158. JMG, what an excellent potluck! So good to meet you and Sara, and Violet, Isabel, Michelle, John, Aron, Maria, William and several of you whose names slip me now. And I’ll pile on to the thanks to our hosts Peter and Chiara. Summer solstice seems too long to wait to visit with such excellent Ecosophians. -Peter

  159. Californian here…
    Consider the -source- as far as the proposition to break up CA, Tim Draper. There is no serious public conversation on the idea here as far as I can tell, other than news articles that treat it as a curiosity.
    The only people who desire CA to be split are the kind of conservatives that hate “Commiefornia” with a truly deep-seated passion.
    That being said, I can see the proposal having some traction in southern CA, but that’s it. The liberals aren’t going to care, Democrats have a supermajority in Sacramento anyway, and they wouldn’t want to lose electoral votes by splitting, they know conservatives have little to no voice in the state, and they are leaving for other states anyway.
    Another MAJOR reason why the liberal majority will not vote for this bill is that it would create a southern California that would very easily become controlled by conservatives more than willing to lock down the US-MX border tight as a drum.
    For the proposal to pass there would have to be a MAJOR tectonic shift in state or national politics that catalyzes general public interest in the idea. I don’t think that is in the cards, at all.

  160. @onething

    In regards to so many people on the left loosing their minds at the same time – My theory is that part of the reason is that the election was very close. Victory was snatched from their grasp, or so they feel. Hilllary winning the popular vote (even though it’s alwasy been about the EC) just heightens the sense of injustice. Because it was close it’s possible to believe that but for some nefarious act (by the Ruskies or Comey) or some dark personality disorder in the electorate (misogony, racism) Hillary wouldl have won. That almost all the analysts/pundits/pollsters said Hillary would win by a comfortable margin only contributed to the sense of injustice.

    If Trump wins the popular vote as well as the EC in 2020 (which would be my guess as things stand now) we should see some abatement in the irrational Trump hatred. It won’t go away entirely, but if there is no plausible “but for” excuse for loosing in 2020 the “liberals” will tone things down and start to consider that maybe policy plays a rolle in how people vote. The bigger Trumps vicrory the more likely the Dems will start to face reality.

  161. Regarding liberalism,
    I think David by the Lake has expressed how I feel and where I stand quite well, and there are probably many others on this blog who feel likewise. We are really glad to have a polite discussion with self-identified progressives.
    The last time I was living in America (getting on to 30 years ago), most of us here would have been called liberal. I think John Michael Greer also once said that he used to be liberal, but the liberals changed. Conservatism used to be solidly Protestant in the US, not Buddhist (we were called “communists”), and definitely not “Druid.” And across America, how many people voted for Obama because they wanted change from the Neocon war path, then did the same thing this time and are now being called Nazis on account of it?
    I am a Green Party member, supported Jill Stein financially and with a certain amount of time, won’t say whom I voted for (which tells you whom I voted for). During Ralph Nader’s run, the Greens started talking about getting the conservatives on board with conservation, as it affects them every bit as much as the liberals. I am certain I am not alone in having opened my mind enough to start reaching out to them on their own terms. (Japanese society is just wonderful for teaching a person the skills of politeness and genuine listening). This can be done while wincing at what is really unacceptable and drawing a line at some point. The right responds reasonably well to that. The US so-called “left” currently does not.
    Thus the anger I feel toward the Democratic Party and those of its supporters that are knee-jerk supporters (quite a bunch if my relatives are in any way typical) is very real, politely concealed, and apparently mutual. Scary watching them get manipulated into supporting the Neocon agenda. They hate me because I like Russia. It’s like, come on! Can’t you see I’m still a pinko commie fag?

  162. I realize we’re getting toward the end of this week’s cycle, but the discussion has brought something to mind that I’d like to share. Many (many) moons ago, when I was a bright-eyed undergraduate history major, my favorite professor (Dr. Donald McKale, professor of German history) mentioned something in a lecture that has always stayed with me. “It is not what is true, ” he said, “but what people *believe* to be true that drives history.” I think that observation is as pertinent now as it was to the study of mid-20th century Europe.

  163. I have to disagree with those who think that liberals, either in the US or elsewhere, will ever acclimatise to a Trump presidency. Liberalism is no longer merely a grouping of political principles, or even an ideology. It is now a chiliastic cult that believes that it owns the future, and that the arc of history guarantees it ultimate victory no matter what stands in its way.

    As this prophecy fails, liberals are simply going to double down in their beliefs, and become ever more unhinged as their cognitive dissonance increases. Their numbers will gradually dwindle in the process until they become one of the fringe political concerns that they are currently so keen to mock.

    Patrick Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed” is a good recent book on how this process came about, and how it is likely to play out.

  164. Hi Heather in CA,

    Thanks. As to the coal. Well, we could have chosen to use coal, like we do firewood, and kept it all human scaled. But what actually appears to have happened is that the easy to extract coal (using human labour) was exhausted. Then look what happened: WWI and WWII, chuck in the Great Depression for good measure. ;-)! You see the further we have moved from the energy provided by the annual sunlight (plus the ability to harvest, store and use that energy on a human scale: firewood, food preserving techniques etc.), then the bigger the fall will eventually be. Because sooner or later we have to return to the energy provided by the annual sunlight – and there is no getting around that. None at all! Talk about tantrum-ville!


  165. CRPatino,

    So Trump is crass. And gringos want to castrate their slaves again. It’s not humility you’re lacking, it’s any danger of self-awareness.


    Walls, not “walls”, and soldiers most certainly can hold back the avalanche. Just as they did for medieval walled cities. Unless you believe human beings can walk through walls, I can’t understand how anyone believes they don’t work unless they’re selling propaganda.

    Hungary built a “pointless PR exercise” fence the length of its southern border during the 2015 migration wave. It cut immigration from the south to zero.

    The Guardian, who else, declared in 2015 that it wouldn’t work.

    “Short-term measures like walls and fences in Europe won’t solve a migration crisis of this size. People who have risked so much will just find another way.”

    Hungary’s goal was not some abstract nonsense like “solving the migration crisis”. It was to stop illegal immigration from the south into Hungary. Why a fence would be a short-term construction is one of those Guardian mysteries. Probably written by someone living in a city that still retains the remains of its own medieval city walls, pockmarked with cannon balls, for tourists to visit.

    Hilariously, they used the Spanish wall around Melilla/Ceuta as an example. The writer doesn’t seem to have noticed that Spain’s goal was to stop illegal immigration from Morocco into Spain. Not migration from other places into other parts of Europe. In other words, they admit the fence(s) worked:

    “But where there is a wall, there is most often a way to get around it. Spain did not stop at just the one fence. It was forced to build a second – and then a third. Only then did the fence begin to keep people out in the way its builders had initially hoped. And even after that, migration to Europe was simply achieved through other routes – first through Libya, and now via Turkey.”

    It seems to me that those who insist that walls and fences don’t work live in their own world of abstraction, illusion and psychological manipulation and really don’t grasp that other people live in material reality:

    “As a result the wall simply constitutes a mental blockage, rather than a physical one. It creates the illusion for a domestic audience that something is being done about migration, even when it isn’t – and even when it can’t. It maintains the logical fallacy that a migration crisis of this magnitude can be ended with short-term measures like fences – even when the forces that are driving people towards such obstacles are far more frightening than a fence will ever be.”

    Of course those Hungarians who supported the fence generally couldn’t have cared less if it frightened the migrants or not. Only that they couldn’t walk through it.

    For some unknown reason, life in the tourist destinations that make up Hungary’s southern border – Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia – has so far proven insufficiently frightening to drive the migrants to develop the magical ability to walk though metal.

  166. @Dot:

    Probably too late, but I just couldn’t resist. Countries are not cities (and Ceuta is just a town). There are several examples of continent-wide walls, and they simply didn’t work. Look up “limen-limes” in Toynbee, or on the ADR. Few immigrants ever wanted to stay in Hungary, and in case they did, Hungarians have passed draconic laws which are probably a much stronger deterrent than the wall (but incompatible with a healthy democracy). In any case, the reduction of immigration over the Balkans has more to do with the EU-Turkey agreement than any Hungarian policy, otherwise you would see the immigrants piling up in Serbia and Croatia, which you don’t.

    In short form: laws and policies will reduce (not abolish) immigration. Walls won’t.

  167. @Onething
    Not that I know of. There’s a river and there are guarded bridges, but the rural locals cross more or less unobstructed by boat, and they charge money to the people from further south for the crossing.

    The big problem for Central Americans is that there are thousands upon thousands of kilometers to traverse where the rule of law is a tragicomic joke at best (and weaponizingly enforced at worst), so they are easy picks for whoever lacks scrupules and happens to want anything from them. Our wall is not a material one, but it is very thick indeed.

    Sorry, I cannot fully grasp what you say. Did you imply that I am projecting my shadow on Trump and the American people? For all I know, you might be right. In general, I can tell that there’s a complex love-hate relationship that Mexicans feel towards Americans, and personally I am aware that I do have a pugnacious streak.

    While I do restrain myself, I see no benefit in sugar coating my opinion for you. You all are here taking sides about my countrymen, but you refuse to hear what one of us has to say? If you find offensive a self image as a castrating slave owner, I find offensive that your country’s response to our expatriates did attack their families (a core Mexican value) but turned a blind eye towards the actual illegal act of pouching American jobs. You want our labor but you do not want us: that sounds pretty slavey to me.

    And by “you” I mean the US in general; I have no way of knowing what your life choices are. Though I will have to say that if you personally have not yet weaned yourself out of the agro-industrial complex, you are eating your bread with Mexican’s sweat, three times per day.

  168. @Dot

    Nice catch on the intellectual bait-and-switch. However, Hungary’s situation isn’t the same as the US. The migrants fleeing the deadly chaos in the Middle East weren’t (and aren’t) all that interested in getting into Hungary as a final destination. They’re interested in getting somewhere in the EU. Hungary is simply one of the possible entry points, and whether they settle in Hungary, Germany, France or Britain is of minor concern for most of them.

    The migrants fleeing the deadly chaos in Central America are, on the other hand, interested in getting into the United States as a final destination. They have no other destination in mind.

  169. Christopher L Hope,

    I think you’re quite right that the election result (the Dilbert cartoonist said this) produced cognitive dissonance because they were told so firmly that Hillary would win. But the problem here is that so many clues are thrown their way, clues to the lies and manipulation and agenda of their hidden leaders – and they never get suspicious. They are all bewitched.

    The whole thing is so weird, all the crap about Russia and on and on, and the eerie way that all the Europeans and probably Canadians and Australians are all being given the same narrative to fall for…

    As to her winning the popular vote, I don’t put a whole lot of stock in that. I thought there was fair evidence to suspect that Bush cheated not once but both times, and I see no reason to think Hillary would not have every intention to do that as well. In fact, I suspect that one reason she and they had such meltdowns was because they had applied what they thought would be just the right and sufficient amount and she still didn’t win. She probably lost by more of a landslide.

  170. @ Dot

    I have never said that the “Walls” do not “work”, nor I have been talking about the “ethics” of the “Walls”, I have been talking about the “Walls” in the Toynbean sense, as a sign of the decadence of a civillization together with the dawn of a Universal State, that are clear signs, for Toynbee, of the decadence

    The question is: why the “Walls” are needed now and not three, four or five decades ago? why so many millions people are moving to the center of the Empire and why? As our host like to say, why we are starting to see the “Völkerwanderung Zeit”?

    In any case now, as in Rome, the building of “Walls” are unavoidable, you like it or not

    Of course the “Trumpian Wall “will work just as fine as de Adrian Wall, but I think for much more shorter time; you know, the technology accelerate all, also the rise and the demise of the empires and societies

    As in Rome now in the US army you will see more and more “barbarian” people (“external proletariat”) joining the ranks to have the citizenry of the Empire, because as the time proceed, the “inner proletariat” will have less apetite to be cannon fodder for the Empire overreact in the Limes and beyond; of course also the border regions of the Empire will be changing demographically and culturally step by step, but relentlessly, and of course this “barbarian” troops will act hearthly in the defense of their new homes inside the Empire, with the zeal of the convert, but as the crisis deepens, as the money (denarius or $) is debased and the wealth pump start to fails, the mindset of the inner and external proletariat will change, and the flood will be unavoidable

    I think we will see again, as in Rome, The Savior by the Sword and the Diocletian Reaction in the future, because Cesarism is a short firs step; and in the society we will see flowering the big “heresies” of Futurism, Archaism, Trascendence and Detachment in this order


  171. Chris, excellent. Yes, in fact, the US built its once-mighty industrial economy behind high tariff barriers, exactly the same way the Chinese have, and then took down the tariffs and lost its industrial economy. Cause and effect? A very good case can be made for that.

    Will, yeah, I’ve noticed that. At this point Trump could come out in favor of peace, love, and brotherhood, and the Dems would reflexively start praising the opposites — and don’t tell me he won’t use that, in a variety of ways from the sneaky to the blatant, in the months ahead.

    Brian, of course! A sane foreign policy would start by withdrawing from our overseas empire, which is well into negative returns at this point, and scrapping the monomaniacal fixation with intervention overseas that has helped generate so much of the chaos in the world. Mind you, the way the biosphere is reeling, there are going to be vast refugee flows anyway, but we could definitely stop making things worse…

    Beekeeper, we didn’t get a drop, despite threatening clouds. I hope to see the two of you next year!

    JenniferXYZ, all good points.

    Muffin, that might be it.

    J.L.Mc12, yes, it has everything to do with that. Phrases like “low cognitive ability” are elite shorthand for “won’t believe whatever we tell them.”

    Patricia, what a splendid dream! A question for you — does the branch of Shinto you practice make use of Nine Star Ki? The shrine I attended for a while north of Seattle did, and I found it very accurate; you might find it worth looking into.

  172. JMG–You attended the Tsubaki Shrine up in Washington. I should have suspected as much. Back in the early 80s I attended a workshop given by the son-in-law of the home shrine’s priest. It was held at a former Camp Fire Girl camp up near Nevada City. The camp had a sizable stream running into a small lake in a waterfall. So, in additions to talks about the nature of Shinto, we were able to do a waterfall misogi. Quite an experience. I wish the priest’s English had been a little better as I would have loved to exchange views about the similarities and differences of Western paganism and Shinto.


  173. @JMG,
    I haven’t heard of “9-star ki” yet, but there are a lot of aspects of Shinto I haven’ made acquaintance with yet. Thank you for the tip! The Fuji Cult liturgy mentions “the seven-day and nine-day stars,” relating to different week systems from what I’ve heard. I’ll need to look further into that.

  174. Monk, hmm! You’re right, of course. It hadn’t occurred to me that this is a way for science to try to cannibalize the humanities, but of course that’s exactly what it is.

    Tripp, this is sooner than I was expecting that to begin, but it was always going to happen. You can only treat people the way the medical industry does for so long before they figure out the game and turn on you. Please keep me posted; this is a massive game-changer, and as it starts getting political traction — and it will — immense changes will follow.

    Tony and Avery, it was a delight to meet you both!

    DFC, I ain’t arguing. The sooner the US gets out of the empire business and stops interfering in other countries’ affairs, the better.

    David, by all means — and if you want me there, why, as long as somebody’s willing to stump up the cost of a train ticket and a place to stay, I’m not opposed to the idea.

    Justin, I wish you every kind of good fortune in extracting yourself from the tech industry. I know this is unthinkable to most people just now, but my guess is that sooner or later it’s going to go through a sustained contraction and a lot of people now making large salaries as programmers, testers, et al. are going to be out of work for the long haul…

    Sgage, and likewise!

    Rwerdinger, thank you for the data points! Things are definitely getting weird out there; my hope is that by discussing current affairs from an angle outside the current dysfunctional belief systems, and providing a place for conversation where shrieking fits aren’t permitted, I can do something to help start the process by which the chaos will settle into a new pattern.

    Heather, I don’t think it’s as innocent as that. I recall all too well the way the outrage switch got turned off the moment Obama took office, even when he did everything Dubya did, and even more of it. That was the moment when it became clear to me that the Democratic mainstream doesn’t actually want peace and justice — they only object to warfare and exploitation when the other side’s the one that’s doing it.

    Onething, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I think they know it in their guts but won’t talk about it because they know it contradicts everything they claim to believe.

    Heather, excellent. Those are the kind of reflections out of which a meaningful politics can grow.

    Grandmother, that might indeed be it — but I’ll keep watching for action on the marijuana laws and prison reform.

    SMJ, yep. Financial astrologers do in fact predict economic booms and busts years in advance, and get very large salaries for doing so. I believe it was J.P. Morgan who said, “Millionaires don’t believe in astrology, but billionaires do.”

    As for Trump’s motivations, they’re as complex as any other human being’s. There’s a lot of ego involved, of course — show me a politician where that’s not the case! — but he acts as though he has some specific ideas about what’s wrong with the country, and plans on fixing those things if he can.

    Booklover, thank you.

    David, thanks for this.

    RPC, sounds like a good idea to me, but I’d also like to see immigration straightened out so that we decide, as a nation, how many immigrants we can accept each year without depriving the people already here of jobs.

    Nastarana, true enough.

    Rita and CR, many thanks for the data points.

    Redoak, thank you!

    DT, well, we’ll see, won’t we?

    Patricia, yes, I used to be liberal. Partly the liberals changed, partly I grew up a bit and thought through the implications of some of the things I used to believe. I was at a party in Ashland, Oregon, where somebody was jabbering away repeating the usual self-serving elitist cant, we’re right and everyone else is wrong and don’t you dare mention that our ideas of right always mean we profit and everyone else gets screwed — you’ve heard it; we all have. One of the other attendees objected, and someone else said to him, “Yeah, well, there’s always one conservative in every crowd,” and I said, “No, there’s two.” That was my conversion experience, if you will.

    David, true enough.

    Phil K., my working guess is that as the anti-Trump Left becomes increasingly unhinged, more and more people will quietly (or not so quietly) quit and go looking for other options. That’s usually what happens in times like these. So you’re right that there will still be a Resistance many years from now, still declaiming about the evils of Trumpism, but it will have very, very few members…

    Thesseli, of course not. Neither has any Democratic administration in living memory. The difference between the Dems and the GOP is that the GOP is honest about ignoring the environmental cost of our industrial economy, while the Democrats give it lip service and crocodile tears while quietly deep-sixing any attempt to do anything different.

    Ray, so am I!

    Rita, yes, and I miss it a great deal. I’d give much to be within easy reach of some form of established polytheist place of worship where I could make offerings, and with my background, Shinto is right up there among my favorite options.

    Patricia, I’m not familiar with the seven-star system; I learned about the Nine Star Ki originally via my dabblings in macrobiotics back in the day, then reacquainted myself with it after encountering it at Tsubaki Shrine. It’s interesting stuff. Every day has a number, so do months and years, and so does every person; it helps track cycles and time constructive action very well indeed.

  175. Re: all the talk about The Left losing it (and, having read plenty of Facebook posts stating that The United States (when not talking about Western Civilization as a whole) is the sole evil in the world, I believe we can agree this has happened):

    I wonder if it’s yet another sign of the Magic War still going on, with the Kekistaners helping turn the Left into reactionary loonies. Until last year, the line was always “we’re improving,” now it’s “we’ve always been this evil,” and I can’t help but wonder if there’s some “supernatural” force(s) pushing them on.

  176. @SaraDee

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I take it you have something to contribute, in the way of discussion what a defunct or simply low welfare societal arrangement looks like.

    Many people I do know are very benevolent, but have also never left the sphere of high welfare.

    It irks me because so many of their statements clearly lack a sense of how life is for the “others”.

    I on the other hand am always very interested in the life of other people and their circumstances. You can’t imagine something you haven’t made the experience of after all? And barely assess something you only see from afar, really…

    regards, Labor Case

  177. JMG wrote,

    “Thesseli, of course not. Neither has any Democratic administration in living memory. The difference between the Dems and the GOP is that the GOP is honest about ignoring the environmental cost of our industrial economy, while the Democrats give it lip service and crocodile tears while quietly deep-sixing any attempt to do anything different.”

    Unfortunately, I agree this this is almost always true.

    Yet there are some exceptions that I find worth noting.

    For example, last year the Obama administration did not renew mineral leases held by Twin Metals to mine in northern Minnesota, mining that many thought would do great damage to the watersheds there as well as to the wilderness areas.

    The new administration has reinstated this mineral leases.

    Of course, it’s easy to point out that each administration did what most benefited their respective constituency. That said, it seems to me there in this case there is a real difference between the two parties concerning the results of their policies on the environment in northern Minnnesota.


  178. Godozo, that would make an uncomfortable amount of sense.

    Jacques, there are always minor exceptions — the Dems know that they need to throw the occasional bread crumb to their captive constituencies from time to time, just to keep up the charade that they’re any better than their opponents.

    Dot (offlist), er, some of the last comment you tried to post was frankly over the top. I understand that you feel very strongly about the issues in question — as indeed do I — but please try to keep the discussion focused on issues rather than personalities.

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