Where She Stops, Nobody Knows

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

It’s been a ride on the tilt-a-whirl this week: up, down and spun all around. Eric’s warning early in the week not to believe anything you hear and only half of what you see was prescient. Blizzard was coming, then it didn’t (in New York, anyhow). Mitt was running, now he’s not (suggesting donor exhaustion, likely Koch inspired). Republicans win everything in sight in 2014 because they insist they “have a mandate from the people,” and less than two months later, Obama’s approval numbers are up 22 points.


It appears that we’ve been let off the leash, somehow, finally free to break the bonds of former decisions and agreements. We’re backing up, doing over, reconsidering. A pro-life Ohio Rep of the Dem persuasion has changed his mind and joined the pro-choice because he “talked to women.” Novel idea, eh? Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee proclaimed women who use profanity in the workplace “trashy,” which was a bridge too far for big-haired blonde FOX News hostess, Megyn Kelly, who doesn’t seem to realize she’s simply supposed to support all male commentary while looking hot. She suggested that swearing wasn’t the only thing real women were up to, much to the Huck’s horror.

Cranky old John McPoopyPants, traditionally a gentleman, protected a stolid and complacent Henry Kissinger from accusations of war crimes by a handful of fearless Code Pink women protestors, calling them ‘low-life scum’ as the Capital police hustled them away. While not a complete back-track, McCain is usually more solicitous with the ladies and patient with the process. Consider what he tolerated in Sarah Palin. I presume, given Pink’s liberal bona fides, Huckabee would approve that level of trash talk.

Do note that a couple of Baggers in Arizona are getting their mojo ready to challenge McCain in 2016 because he’s just so darned liberal. Maybe that’s what’s got him snippy. I mean, it’s not like Kissinger hasn’t heard accusations that he’s a war criminal on a regular basis for most of forty years. These things have a shelf life of their own. Jane Fonda had to apologize for that picture on a Viet Cong tank that earned her the handle Hanoi Jane again this week, and what’s politically correct on that issue has changed too many times to count.

In world news, the internal Saudi reconstruction has solidified into a more moderate configuration than under Abdullah, tumbling political camps like pawns on the board. The change signals problems for Egypt’s president who had counted on a cash infusion from the Saudi piggy bank, and a boon for relations with Turkey, which had been on the outs and looks to be back in. This has everyone scrambling for position internally, as well as internationally, although the ancient grievances against Iran remains unchanged.

And here at home, John Boehner remains unapologetic for having tread on Obama’s toes, inviting a Netanyahu speech to influence U.S. policy on Iran, endangering continued talks on securing nuclear materials. The dust-up that’s ensued in these last few days has everyone scrambling, except for our tight-lipped president, who has refused to meet with Bibi. The Israeli Ambassador had no qualms in quickly blaming any lack of protocol on the Speaker, and most everyone is taking a closer look at this breach to see if it was calculated or another of Boehner’s self-confessed “stumbles.” It’s an embarrassment for all parties and shouldn’t have happened, even if Netanyahu badly needed to shore up flagging support in the U.S.

Least surprising — but most distressing, this week, and thanks to eight Blue Dog Dem Senators (mine included) — the Keystone XL Pipeline vote passed through the Senate, readying a bill for veto on the President’s desk. This, despite a truly disturbing history of pipeline ruptures and leaks that is being ignored by those interested in seeing this Koch project put through. Obama’s veto is a sure thing, and ultimate disapproval for this project looks like a lock, but who knows. The proposal to create protections in ANWR early in the week was followed by a proposal to allow drilling in the Atlantic: one hand giveth, the other taketh away.

There’s a kind of ‘either/or,’ ‘maybe/maybe not’ quality in decision-making going on. Mercury slowed us down just in time to examine it this week in a kind of peculiar slow-mo fashion. Nowhere is this wobble more evident than in our long struggle with how we will deal with resources in this nation. Larry Summers told Charlie Rose this week that we’re poised on becoming the “new Saudi Arabia” in terms of natural gas production. He thinks the pipeline should be approved quickly, so that fuel products are no longer being hauled on trucks and trains, exploding, even killing, on a regular basis.

Better to just spill and contaminate via a pipeline that does not even enrich the American piggy bank, I presume, jeopardizing our water table and fouling the environment. The wheel is spinning: round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows. We take our eye off renewables at our own peril!

Attempting to achieve some balance, the Prez has decided that a stabilized economy should result in the end of sequestration, so his new budget proposal will include an $80 billion increase in discretionary spending, which has the Pubs, who thought they had the pesky liberals cornered, owl-eyed and perplexed. With an inordinate amount of good humor, Obama continues to act with the confidence those of us on the left love to see, especially in defiance of the myth that the last two “lame duck” years of a presidency come to little (historically disproven, by the way). This attitude is no doubt being carefully scrutinized by a couple of Libertarian brothers who — along with their friends, the Wal-Mart heirs — own the world.

The Kochs, David and Charles, have pledged most of a billion dollars to buy the next election, which makes them America’s third, and probably most persuasive, political party. If you’re having trouble figuring out how much a billion is, this graphic (thanks to Digby) will help. And if you don’t know who the Kochs are, Mark Morford’s description leaves little to the imagination:

“What would you get if you crossed a ruthless drug kingpin, a mafia crime lord, the willful blindness of the NRA, the combined CEO’s of Monsanto, Exxon and RJ Reynolds and a couple of scared old wolverines with God complex and a penchant for contaminating the world?”

Ah, yes. A Koch and a smile. Makes me wonder what Justice Kennedy — whose swing vote opened the Pandora’s Box that enabled the worst instincts of a resurrected Ayn Rand in the Citizens United ruling — thinks about it now. Just ‘free speech,’ is it? All that purchasing power, all that corrupting influence? It was Kennedy’s vote that tipped the balance in killing off the McCain-Feingold Act that established spending limits on political contribution. Does he ever think back on the dissenting opinion of Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

Bought and sold they are, of course, because influence peddling and politics are synonymous. In the last decade, somewhere in the neighborhood of three to four billion dollars each year has been spent on lobbying efforts, much of it by Big Pharma, the military industrial complex, pro-Israel groups including AIPAC, the NRA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is money that can be tracked, following the trail of nearly 12,000 professional lobbyists who descend on our elected officials like a blight of locusts, offering perks and peddling their wares.

‘Dark money’ that is funneled into Political Action Committees by 501(c) non-profit groups can’t be broken down by donor or tracked so readily, which has made the Kochs’ life easier, since anything that beats back taxing and regulation is their primary goal. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, over the last three election cycles, “spending by organizations that do not disclose their donors has increased from less than $5.2 million in 2006 to well over $300 million in the 2012 election.” These organizations count as destination for at least part of the Kochs’ plan to triple that amount next year.

So many months out from the election, with only a speculative list of candidates, can the awareness that we’re facing an onslaught of influence from huge money impact the way we see our political future? The public is getting wake-ups on so many levels, some even subliminal, which is beginning to change the political equation, but we have yet to conclude that we are, collectively, powerful.

It’s all about money, of course, and the love of it. Money is simply an exchange medium for the energy put out to secure it. Money, of itself, is neutral but the NEED of it, for instance, can be the difference between life and death while the LOVE of it — which the Bible named the root of all evil — infamously creates personalities as elitist, insular, jaded. I remember a family member who got a pretty good job, pre-recession, telling me he was voting Republican because he wanted to keep his money. I presume he did vote to the right, at least once, but he didn’t keep his money OR his job for long.

Our relationship with money — as opposed to our relationship with Source — needs to be looked at carefully, especially at this point in history when everything either has a price, or threatens to be privatized because of some Randian wet dream that such a plan “lifts all boats.” Money must not be our master — or our god — if we are to create a new and ethical era.

We can’t stand by and watch as democracy is bought and sold without even a whimper. Not when over a million dollars a day is estimated to be spent securing America for the Libertarian cause — day in, day out — until the November AFTER next. That kind of complacency is madness.

The minimum we can do to inoculate ourselves from this pending glut of money is explain to everyone willing to listen that the vote is being hacked by buying influence as surely as if it were being converted in a Diebold machine.

Here’s an Annie Leonard YouTube to share with people who may not know about Citizens United, how it came about and what it means. Leonard is responsible for the (brilliant, imho) “Story of Stuff” from last decade. For other suggestions, check out Move to Amend, an activist group I like. Or visit over at Cenk Uyger’s Wolf PAC, both doing vital work to repeal Citizens United, and pass the information around.

We do not need to become zealots in the cause of liberty, breathing fire and defensive at every right-wing assault, in order to further the cause of equality and democracy. We must simply seize the day, as Robin suggested to his young men in “The Dead Poets Society,” whenever the opportunity presents. We can use our voice to educate, encourage and support those who are new to the idea that furthering democracy is part of their bundle.

Until the money issue is dealt with in this nation — until elections can no longer be bought or politicians compromised by the continual need for campaign funding — the average citizen has no voice that can shout louder than a greenback. Until then, that wheel is still in play and where she stops, nobody knows. It’s up to us to stop the game.

9 thoughts on “Where She Stops, Nobody Knows

  1. Len Wallick

    Jude: While reading your first paragraphs today, you had me wondering which was greater – your sense of irony or your sense of humor. Then, as you settled into the meat of your subject matter, it occurred to me that even more majestic was your sense of scope. Missing no detail, yet never failing to see the holistic, systematic big picture of institutionalized oppression through its time-honored tool: filthy lucre. It is no wonder that the one percent (now already down to one-tenth of one percent – apparently they eat their own) are so deeply invested in propping up the increasingly shaky concept of currency at the cost of all else. Without it, they would be as lost politically as spiritually. While the political situation in the US as you describe it remains (like a chess middle-game) rife with complexity and nuanced uncertainty, it is just as you say. Until we, the 99.9%, can realize (make real) our true collective power independent of money’s fecal archetype, the end-game will be unnaturally nigh.

  2. aWord

    Thanks for an insightful and inspiring mouth-full of food-for-thought. What better forum for a talk about money and politics than Super Bowl Sunday weekend?

    I’ve changed where I am, and although the world hasn’t changed by that, as least the world around me is different than the one I left behind (thankfully; I needed that). I’ve already experienced a different flavor re how people approach/attach to their stuff and money which makes it seem possible that with enough grass-roots shift and our growing consciousness we might just have a shot at throwing off the weight of the Koch’s et al.

    The flame of Hope burns! 🙂

  3. Deborah

    Yes, Judith, I agree with Len’s eloquent response and so appreciate your big picture window.
    A global chess game indeed. Time to turn this game around and reclaim our queen strength.

  4. Mandy

    I really appreciate your column, Judith. For those of us outside the US you give a very grounded appraisal of the ongoing politics that can, at times, be mind-boggling for us to understand (given it’s surely and deliberately designed that way, and not just in the US). Plus, in complete agreement with Len, you do have a great sense of humour!
    Some may find this to be an extreme statement, but nonetheless… (didn’t Amanda recently say “it’s, omfg, give-your-real-opinion time”? -Moon conj Eris though now it’s square), …every time I hear about this ridiculous Pipeline and all the fracking I can’t help but think of Edgar Cayce’s vision of North America splitting in half. You can’t get a whole lot more ‘divided we fall’ than that (visions are a possibility, not a given). As we know, Alberta is on a major, sensitive fault line (The Great Divide – go figure!) so this just seems to be incredible insanity to me. I read recently that a report concluded that this Pipeline will, upon completion, provide only 35 permanent jobs.
    An Alberta woman recently won the right to take a lawsuit against a fracking company to the Supreme Court – her farmland, well and water tables have become completely desolate and toxic from this procedure. Bless her, we seem to have a foot in the door there.
    I agree that we are being far too complacent about things – too many people taking a ‘let’s just see what happens’ attitude about it. We certainly do need to harness this final Uranus/Pluto square energy to thrust our voices, presence and actions into taking responsibility for where we are allowing ourselves to be led.
    Hopefully, Nessus square Saturn will have a surprising manifestation of “the almighty buck stops here” effect for us.

  5. Barbara Koehler

    Hey Jude, that “dark money” reference – quite suggestive – was something new to me this past week or so. Sounds like a term the channelers would use, huh? As for money, it’s just another word for Venus, which is just another word for valuable. Love this focus you’ve taken and loved Len’s reference to “money’s fecal archetype”, aword’s reference to the Super Bowl and all the other comments here. Sorry to be so late to the party.

    As a teen I loved football but now I realize that the game in America has become a barometer for the level of suppressed resentment and anger of the Public. These days that would be as high as the rape and murder rates I’m sure. A study of the myth of Nessus (rape, etc.), who has recently transited conjunct the U.S. Sibly Moon for a couple of years, might help us to understand why this sport has increased in popularity. So too would transiting Pluto’s sextile to the U.S. Ceres (8 Pisces) conjunct U.S. Nessus (9 Pisces) conjunct U.S. Child (10 Pisces) – a run that lasted between 2012 through 2014 – shed light on football’s surge in popularity.

    As trans. Neptune approaches a conjunction to the U.S. Ceres-Nessus-Child (exact conjunction to Ceres begins in March and remains in effect through February 2017) we will become more conscious of how and why these symbols reflect the country’s unconscious but addictive drives.

    Transiting Chiron (wounding, healing) was conjunct transiting Mars (aggression) at the time of the Super Bowl and opposed the U.S. PROGRESSED Varuna (ultimate justice) and Typhon (overwhelming force) both at 15+ Virgo retrograde, which sounded like a kind of therapy for rage.

    But about Venus and her powers of persuasion. In tomorrow’s New Moon she is conjunct Neptune (exact at yesterday’s Super Bowl) and what a chart that is. At least it is remarkable for the U.S. I see it as a way to get the sorry square between the U.S. Sibly Saturn and Sun to work together. In the New Moon chart Venus sextiles Ceres in Cap (conjunct Pluto) which becomes a yod to Juno in Leo as she is quincunxed by both. As important as that could be (values, nurture, partners) it is only one part of the Big Picture. All 3 of these goddesses are conjunct major players; Neptune, Pluto and the New Moon in Leo who is conjunct Jupiter.

    It is Pallas that blows me away though as she semi-sextiles Pluto, squares Chiron, all while being on top of the Great Attractor (GA) at 14+ Sagittarius. Not only that, she sextiles the U.S Sibly Saturn (14+ Libra) whom the Full Moon’s Uranus opposes, and also whom the Full Moon’s Sun in Aquarius trines. That’s because Pallas (+ GA) is 1/3 of a grand fire trine with the Full Moon in Leo and Uranus in Aries.

    So the U.S. Libra Saturn squares the U.S. Cancer Sun, BUT right now U.S. Saturn has the opportunity to participate (due to his sextile to negotiator Pallas in Sadge and his sextile to the New Moon in Leo) in some very important decisions, helped by his position to the grand trine between Pallas, Uranus and the Full Moon. U.S. Saturn completes a kite formation by being opposite transiting Uranus. That’s in addition to his trine to the Sun in Aquarius opposite the Full Moon. U.S. Saturn will be very powerful in lots of ways for a couple of weeks.

    This too sounds like aid of a more substantial (Saturn) kind which could be provided along with cementing bonds between likeminded groups (trine Aquarius Sun). These groups (Aquarius) have unexpected support from freedom fighters (Sun sextiles Uranus in Aries) who can negotiate (trine Pallas) a dramatic and emotional (trine Leo Moon) feat. In the FM chart set in Washington DC the Moon is in the 12th house (associated with Pisces and “feet”), so this feat is being planned (trine Pallas) behind closed doors (12th house).

    Now it’s just a supposition but if it were to work it could mean that the square between U.S. Saturn and U.S. Sun will have worked together to get it done, and U.S. Saturn’s position in the kite formation provides a spotlight for the grand trine energy. These opportunities aren’t accidents or coincidences and with the U.S. Cancer Sun trine the FM Chiron in Pisces who is sextile Pluto in Capricorn (conjunct Ceres) and they form a yod to the Full Moon in Leo (conjunct Juno and Jupiter), timing is everything and Saturn rules time.

    U.S. Sun also is the apex point for a yod between the FM’s Sun in Aquarius sextile Pallas in Sagittarius (conjunct the GA). Since the U.S. Sun is opposite trans. Pluto it then becomes a Boomerang pattern so there is a lot of adjusting and negotiating going on for the next 2 weeks. Lest they feel left out, the Full Moon’s Vesta at 3 Aquarius is quincunx (more adjusting) the U.S. Venus in Cancer while the FM’s Mercury at 5+ Aquarius is quincunx the U.S. Jupiter. Full Moon’s Vesta, also sextiles Full Moon’s Saturn, forming a yod to U.S. Sibly Venus. Told you this chart was awesome.

    So transiting Full Moon Venus (lower octave of Neptune) at 9+ Pisces, 3 degrees ahead of transiting Neptune, conjuncts the U.S. Nessus (who is conjunct Ceres and Child and square Uranus in the U.S. chart), suggesting that money (our most valued commodity apparently) might be the means to cement ties with likeminded groups, perform feats of dramatic daring-do and perhaps continued “wake-ups” for the U.S populace regarding just what constitutes value. If you think football is exciting, try keeping score during the 2 weeks of this Leo Full Moon, with all it’s fumbles and fouls and surprise endings!

  6. Barbara Koehler

    I for one think you are right. . . computers gobble long responses. . . for a reason. Can’t tell you how frustrated I’ve been when that happens. The Unseens might just be trying to protect us at those times which is why I hesitate to discard my own unruly computer!

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