The Last Gasp Of Gordon Gekko


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By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

The populism that has begun to gel as a genuine political movement is largely based on financial issues, the one thing both sides of the political spectrum agree upon. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to citizens of the USA, whose independence was fought and won over the concept of improper taxation. When you blow away the mythology and romance, we’ve always been about re$ources. Just ask the indigenous people of this continent.


What IS surprising — even bewildering — is that one of those leading the anti-establishment coup is not just a member of Bernie’s ‘billionaire class,’ but as elite a member of the 1 percent as any born to it. As the Donald sweeps through a divided nation to capture the loyalty of reality TV watchers, the fact that he would throw any of them under the bus in pursuit of success seems lost on those likely to be thrown. With Trump outclassing Cruz on the right, it has become increasingly evident that our real religion here in the states involves worship of the almighty buck.

Cruz, in a limp attempt to buoy his failing campaign, has signed on former HP exec, Carley “Baby Parts” Fiorina as his presumptive VP. Ted hopes this covers all the bases his evangelical reputation lacked: private sector, big business, and — oh gawd! — lady stuff. Here’s Stephen Colbert putting that in perspective. Prepare to cringe.

While establishment politics and neo-liberal policy have pretty well lost their mojo, the same can be said of religion, which is still sliding in polls, especially among the young who find most of it coercive, limiting, and small-minded. While it seems to me that in its highest aspect, religion is an inadequate attempt to codify a genuine experience, we’re left to endure what Christianity has become in the hands of the snake handlers. This political season, Ted’s timing is seriously off.

It’s worthwhile to recall that the definition of fascism is collusion between government, corporations, and religion. The first two are a given in our current political situation, and the third seems to be giving way to secular fears at the loss of money and power. This is Donald Trump’s class war, manipulating those disenchanted citizens who embrace what might rightfully be called the religion of white supremacy (it’s crosses they burn, not dollar bills). If not actual fascism with a comb-over, there are surely fascistic foot-soldiers following behind.

Remember Michael Douglas as Wall Street mogul Gordon Gekko, who convinced us back in the ’90s that “Greed is good?” This week, “The Big Short” — a movie based on the true story of the Wall Street meltdown — came up on my Netflix queue, and now I know why Steve Carell got so many accolades for his performance as a hedge fund manager with a conscience. His stunned amazement that such a level of corruption could not only take root in the industry, but prevail undiscovered and unimpeded, matched my own — and matched, I presume, that of millions of people who couldn’t believe they’d lost their savings, their homes, their futures. They still chafe under the knowledge that none of the grifters have been held responsible.

The take-away from watching “The Big Short?” Greed isn’t good and too big to fail isn’t true, but too cold-blooded to give a rip certainly is. Knowing they’d be bailed out when things went south, nothing changed in the cold heart of the banking world when things went so very badly. The abstract sums that were lost to greed and avarice meant little to those who spun the wheel, yet with real suffering a consequence, those who botched the game suffered very little. In fact — as Bernie is fond of repeating — the banks too big to fail in the last decade are even bigger now.

This explains why the outliers are so popular, why government isn’t trusted to look after the welfare of the people, and why a bully like Donald has become irrationally attractive. Thanks to lax checks and balances, laws favoring corporations over the public, ideological tantrums, and a glut of political money, this level of fraudulent and unethical behavior happens under our noses every day.

Big Pharma was on the hot seat recently as the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. In what can only be considered price gouging — an industry standard — the executive apologized for acquiring two cardiovascular products and increasing their prices by up to 525 percent. He said, in Valeant’s defense, “In retrospect, we relied too heavily on the industry practice of increasing the price of brand name drugs in the months before generic entry.”

Peachy. If only apologies meant something in an industry dominated by greed and power, especially with this company. Valeant raised prices on 16 of its products in 2016 despite pledges to align price increases with market trends, and, as reported by CBS News, raised net prices on its portfolio between October 2014 and October 2015 by an obscene 41.3%.

While I doubt that congressional scrutiny of Valeant is sufficient chastisement to impact its policy, other mis-steps have put it in real financial trouble. The corporation is being investigated by the SEC and may end up having to sell some of its assets to meet its obligations, and that’s not all. It may yet serve as the flagship for further investigation into this kind of price-hike standard, considered by some — me, for instance — to be outright fraud.

It should be noted that the FDA could help mitigate this issue by approving generics, but it’s backlogged from so many years of inaction that in 2014 not ONE new drug was approved. But never fear, good citizen. We have an energized president who is proceeding with a list of small reforms to reduce drug prices.

For the same reason a Koch brother would consider voting for Hillary Clinton, the House Democrats have devised a plan to slow down any changes to pharmacy pricing. Turns out physicians get a nice little ‘kick back’ when they prescribe pricey drugs, and they don’t want to lose that.  The lobbyists visiting with Dem legislators have convinced them to ‘go more slowly’ with such a project.

Un-huh! The old ‘change by increment’ ploy, useful to soothe the public with small perks while leaving the essential policy unscathed. This was no doubt a more effective strategy when victimization of the public trust was not so dramatic (and noticeable) as we see today. Not for the first time, shame on Nancy Pelosi for leading this one.

Now that Bernie has signaled limited expectations for the nomination, it’s left to US to remember how much is at stake in the years ahead. Sanders has called for a 50-state-strategy for progressive change, one that does not concede power to the status quo or to the two-party system corrupted by the influence of big money.

“The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big money interests? Do we stand with the elderly, the children, and the sick and the poor, or do we stand with Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies?”

Bernie will push through to California, stumping for progressive reform and calling for a revitalization of American democracy, and while he does so, we need to consider how far we’ve come, as well as where we are now. I know the thought of voting for Hillary Clinton has some of you in full reverse mode, but unless the Democrats take the bully pulpit and keep options open for the kind of push leftward that Bernie represents, our ability to recreate ourselves will take decades longer than we have to spare. Some of us remember the Tom DeLay years when Dems were allowed NO voice. Let’s not let that happen again!

In an effort to establish new organizations and bottom-up advocacy to keep “the Bern” movement thriving well past the election, here’s a new push to organize into the future. Greed is no longer good, but it’s still got the upper hand, so the enemy is clear. What we do next will make all the difference.

If it seems as though the Sanders campaign is slowing down, now is NOT the time for us to do the same. Mercury retro is a re-think, not a retreat. The top-down election campaign has to give way to bottom-up grassroots dynamics that put progressive governance in city, county, and state level leadership. The nation is waiting for that change, and this is the time when we prove, once and for all, that we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.

15 thoughts on “The Last Gasp Of Gordon Gekko

  1. Barbara Koehler

    I appreciate that you are making it crystal clear about Big Pharma Jude. There isn’t a person I know that can’t relate to that rip off. If U.S. citizens have lost faith in their government, they haven’t lost faith in their personal physicians it seems. They dutifully scarf down their meds in the belief that doc is all about their well being first and foremost. I hope that is true for their sake.

    Years ago when Neptune (and Chiron and Jupiter) were conjunct the U.S Sibly chart’s Moon in Aquarius, my hope was that it meant an end to the runaway power of Big Pharma and the rest of the healthcare industry. I was not schooled in how planetary cycles operated at that time so became disappointed, if not disillusioned as time went by and it only got worse.

    However, since late last July transiting Jupiter has opposed the U.S. Moon (the half-way point in their cycle since they were conjunct in 2009), and opposed transiting Neptune who was also part of that big conjunction, and finally, opposed transiting Chiron the 3rd of the transiting bodies to embrace the U.S Moon all at one time. All that happened before reaching his conjunction with the U.S. Sibly Neptune, along with the transiting North Node. Then he stationed retrograde.

    The purpose, one of them anyway, served by those oppositions was to expose the abuses (all oppositions have the full-moon effect) by Big Pharma to the People (all conjunct the U.S Moon), while the retrograde of Jupiter (as with all retrogrades including the present ones for Mars, Pluto and Mercury) was to re-think, re-evaluate and re-do the wrongs. This Tuesday’s trine between the transiting Sun (consciousness) and transiting Jupiter (understanding), each sextile the U.S. natal Sun in Cancer, as trans. Jupiter goes into his station-direct mode (exact on Monday, May 9th) should include reporting on this front regarding investigations and/or action taken.

    At the same (approximate) time that happens, the trans. Sun and retrograde Mercury will conjunct one another as they both conjunct the U.S natal Vesta at 19+ Taurus. Vesta is about investing as well as security and protection and our U.S. Vesta has just gone through a return (trans. Vesta conjunct natal Vesta) meaning a new cycle has just begun (on April 23rd, when the Sun was in the Chiron degree).

    That Vesta Return chart also has its Mercury trine the U.S. Neptune, its Venus square the U.S. Mercury, its Mars opposite the U.S. Uranus, its Jupiter sextile the U.S Sun, its Uranus conjunct the U.S. Chiron and its Pallas just a day or so past its conjunction to the U.S. Moon. I feel confident that we will see some justice and retribution in the pharmaceutical industry before the year is over.

    As transiting Jupiter starts moving forward to his 3rd and final conjunction with the U.S Neptune, he will again square transiting Saturn (May 26), conjunct the transiting north node again (June 20), trine transiting Pluto again (June 26), all which could result in some healthcare related progress (Jupiter in Virgo), culminating in transiting Jupiter’s conjunction with the U.S. Neptune (and Bernie’s north node) in early August just after the Democrats convention. Need I say more?.

    One little tidbit about the 2009 conjunction(s) of Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron to the U.S. Moon (and U.S. Pallas) was that transiting Pandora and Osiris were also part of the group. I’ve wondered (in hindsight) if that could relate to the Zika virus. Pandora’s release of all the ills (but retaining hope) and Osiris’ parts spread hither and yon might be what it takes to bring about a revolt against the status quo regarding healthcare and Big Pharma. Hate to think that’s what it would take though.

    Thanks for keeping that Vesta fire stoked Jude; it’s a relentless task.

  2. Fe Bongolan

    I can already tell you right now, here in CA my TV will be off most IF NOT ALL DAY FOR THE NEXT MONTH AND A HALF!! No politically paid ads, nothing to bring up blood pressure. Netflix sounds like a great plan!

  3. Mary

    I so agree with you both, Judith and Fe, about many things here but for sure the plague that is TV ads for campaigns. So offensive and irritating AND the object of all those ka-billions raised to run our candidates. Ridiculous and wasteful, at best. And the lowly workers hired for a pittance* are shelved without a second glance … the system is despicable and I was so hoping that the only person discussing this, Bernie, would succeed in changing same.

    All I needed was The Bully Blowhard to discuss Hillary in his misogynist ways and I’m on board to back Hillary come November. I sure would love to see her choose Elizabeth Warren for VP … but that might be too much estrogen (?) for our present reality. As the papers are saying today, she is outwardly embracing many Sanders’ positions and that is something. I hope this is for real and long term.

    Thank you for this piece, Judith … well said!

    *I am not one of this, but a volunteer … lower than pittance.

  4. Barbara Koehler

    I wouldn’t worry about Hillary’s dismissal of Bernie’s objectives so soon. After all, on Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017), Bernie is all smiles with transiting Jupiter conjunct his natal Venus, both at 22+ Libra. What price would Hillary pay to be President I wonder? She desperately needs Bernie’s fans.

    Well, consider that on Inauguration Day her Mercury in Scorpio (that squares her natal Saturn in Leo) is trine transiting Chiron in Pisces.

    Transiting Chiron then squares transiting Saturn in Sagittarius (trine Hillary’s Leo Saturn and Bernie’s Mars in Aries) on Inauguration Day and opposes the U.S. Neptune in Virgo (and Bernie’s NN) who squares U.S. Mars in Gemini (sextile Hillary’s Saturn, quincunx Hillary’s Mercury, conjunct Bernie’s Jupiter and sextile Bernie’s Moon-Mars in Aries).

    This mutable cross then – half transit and half natal U.S. – between US Neptune and Mars and transiting Saturn and Neptune is the basis of all negotiating and is much more flexible (In spite of Saturn) than was the cardinal cross in April 2014, between Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter and Mars. Mutable signs permit, even provide, ways to navigate the spaces between fixed signs and cardinal signs.

    Do not underestimate the power of Neptune (king of behind-closed-doors) persuasion.

    It might be years, even decades before we could know just what that “deal” consisted of but I’m sure it will be worth it to all parties participating.

    That same transiting Saturn on Inauguration Day, at 23+ Sagittarius will be trine Bernie’s natal Mars at 23+ Aries and they form a grand fire trine with Hillary’s Saturn at 21+ Leo. The Democrat party will survive another 4 years. Not sure the same can be said for the Republican party.

    Looking at the astrology of the Democratic Convention in July, we see transiting Jupiter at 21+ Virgo, sextile Hillary’s Mercury at 21+ Scorpio and conjunct Bernie’s North Node at 22+ Virgo. Three days later transiting Jupiter will be in the same degree as the U.S Sibly chart’s Neptune at 22+ Virgo.

    My theory is that will be when Bernie Sanders begins the selling of Hillary to his followers. He will have 3 months to convince them that it will be to their benefit to vote for her. Or perhaps she will see some advantages to putting Bernie Sanders on the Dem ticket as VP. Whatever, it will be up to we-who-feel-the-Bern to decide the fate of the U.S. Judging the astrology for the January Inauguration Day I say it appears that we will follow our hearts.

  5. Mary

    Thank you, Judith, for the link. I watched both just now, Larry’s bit and then “Barry’s” and while I thought LW was hilarious (I enjoy him immensely, right down to his 1/3 less angry blackness), “Barry” was brilliant — so smooth, so cool, so unstudied. Note to other comedians who think about working this gig — practice up!

    And, for real (100%) I will miss Barry.

    ps: Thought Bernie was great, too, self-effacing and fun. Wonder why Hill couldn’t make it … she must be busy 🙂

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