Predictions & Forecasts

The Trump inauguration horoscope: more like Reagan or... Nixon?

(17 January 2017) The day is finally upon us.  On Friday, Donald Trump will be sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States.  The outspoken businessman and reality TV star will takeover as commander-in-chief and begin to undo not only the legacy of Barack Obama but much of the post-war global consensus.  It is a potential sea change in world affairs that cannot be underestimated in its historic magnitude. 

But how successful will Trump be in realizing his nationalist vision by reshaping the economic and political landscape?  There is no shortage of anxiety surrounding Trump who is threatening to end free trade and globalization and usher in a new period of protectionism.  Economists fear that Trump's policies may boost economic activity in the US in the short term, but may prove more damaging in the longer term as inefficiencies take hold and global trade declines. 

There are different ways to analyze this question.  The easiest is to look at the horoscope of the swearing-in at noon, January 20th in Washington, DC.   The inauguration chart doesn't supersede other charts such as the USA national chart or Trump's individual chart, but it can provide a quick snapshot of Trump's term in office in the White House.

Donald Trump will be inaugurated at a time when the planets are very unsettled.  Read more...


Trump poised to assume presidency amid controversy and opposition

(10 January 2017) There are just ten days before Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.  According to recent polls, Trump will enjoy the lowest popularity of any incoming president in US history.  The Trump transition from the November election to the January 20th inauguration has been as controversial as his campaign.  Despite Trump's initial dismissal of Russia's interference in the campaign, last week's US intelligence revelations confirmed that Russian hacking had been ordered by President Vladimir Putin and had been intended to favour Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton. Putin's logic was simple: undermine Clinton whose stated foreign policy sought to oppose Russian expansion and boost Trump who has been far more conciliatory towards Russia's strongman.  Mission accomplished: Moscow will now have a friend in the White House. 

I have previously written that Trump's problems would likely worsen in January and this difficult phase could well extend through the rest of the winter.  Trump survived December with little damage despite all the symbolic gnashing of teeth surrounding the Electoral College and the record number of faithless electors.  But the Russian hacking has been a significant embarrassment that has forced Trump to agree with the GOP Senate leaders and admit that it was real.  No matter what kind of gentleman's agreement he may have already struck with Putin, Trump knows that he needs Congress on his side or his legislative program will not succeed.  This means he may now have to actually punish Russia for its illicit actions in the US election.   Read more...



The World in 2017: the New Year's Horoscope

(20 December 2016) As 2016 winds down to a merciful close, it's time to reflect on the year that was and ponder what may lie ahead for the New Year.  2016 will likely go down in history as a year of popular revolt against the status quo and the rise of 21st-century nationalism.  It may also be remembered as a year that globalization died.  The Pax Americana that began with the Bretton Woods economic agreement in 1944 may well have run its course now with the election of the nationalist Donald Trump to the presidency.  Trump has vowed to tear up free trade agreements and renegotiate US treaty obligations in an effort to reduce its superpower footprint.  The isolationist and protectionist Trump has promised to "Make America Great Again" by raising tariffs on imports, and preferentially buying and hiring American in an effort to jump start the stagnant Main St. economy and narrow the wealth gap between the haves and have nots.

A major thrust of this popular right-wing revolt has been the re-assertion of power by nativist populations in the UK and the US against outsiders, both in terms of immigrants and international regulatory bodies.  In June, the UK voted to leave the European Union, driven in large part by a desire to regain control of its sovereignty in terms of law and immigration.  Immigration was also front and center in the US election as Trump used the resentment and fear of immigrants from Mexico and the Muslim world as part of his rallying cry for change.  In both instances, it was stunning rebuke to the political and financial establishments.  Read more...


Trump's Russia problem: Did Putin interfere with the US election?

 (13 December 2016) The Trump transition hit a major speed bump over the weekend as the CIA indicated there is now a strong case that Russia interfered in the US election.  The CIA stated that not only is there evidence of Russian hacking of the DNC and RNC but that the interference was intended to help Donald Trump get elected.  Although long-suspected by the Clinton campaign, the CIA Russia release has prompted calls for a bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill. 

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump has rejected the CIA's assertion and has said there is no need for an investigation.  Some on the GOP side have even suggested the whole story has been concocted by sore loser Democrats.  But Trump is now at odds with many in his own party as the GOP Senate leadership has called for a formal investigation in the days and weeks to come.  This, in turn, has led some left-leaning Democrats to call for a delay in the Electoral College vote on December 19th.  Some Electors have also requested access to the CIA security briefing before they cast their vote on the 19th. 

So things are finally getting interesting ahead of the vote.  The swing state recounts were either blocked by state governments in Pennsylvania or Michigan or came to nothing as in Wisconsin which did not alter the original result.  But the possibility that the Russians actively helped to get Trump elected now raises the stakes significantly.   Read more...


US Electoral College to vote as Mercury turns retrograde

(5 December 2016) From the perspective of an outsider, one of the curiosities of American democracy is the Electoral College.   Originating in the Constitution of 1787, the Electoral College was a compromise designed to provide a buffer against direct democracy.  While some of the framers backed full and direct democracy, others were fearful of demagogues and mob rule and hence argued that political elites should have the final say in presidential elections.  The Electoral College was created to appease both sides of this debate as trusted, elite electors were chosen on the basis of the result of each state's popular vote. 

In most elections, this has been a mere formality as the popular vote and the Electoral College vote have only differed on five occasions, including three times in the 19th century before the advent of universal suffrage.  More recently, the Electoral College has come under increased scrutiny as Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the electoral college and the presidency to George W. Bush.  In last month's election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million votes but has lost the Electoral College to Donald Trump.  This discrepancy between the popular vote and the Electoral College has made the unexpected Trump election win even more difficult to accept for Clinton supporters. 

And this is one more reason perhaps why the US now faces the prospects of recounts in key swing states that went narrowly for Trump.   Read more...


India's Modi gambles on demonetisation

(28 November 2016) Short term pain, long term gain.  That is what India's PM Narendra Modi is hoping for following his bold move to remove 86% of the currency in circulation after his unprecedented 8th of November televised address to the nation.  Modi's courageous announcement to remove all 500 and 1000 rupee notes ($7 and $14 USD) from circulation is intended to rein in corruption, tax avoidance and the outsized role of "black money" in the Indian economy. 

This has created huge disruption verging on economic chaos in India where over 90% of all transactions are conducted in cash.  Economic activity is down for the simple reason that there isn't enough cash to pay for goods and services.  For now, most of the Indian people support Modi's noble effort as the government tries to force more people into the modern banking system.  But how long will the goodwill last?

Modi's demonetisation plan has been plagued with setbacks since its announcement.  ATMs were not adapted beforehand to dispense the new 2000 Rs notes.  There also weren't enough of the new 500 Rs notes to replace the old ones taken out of circulation.  And the government has been changing the rules and exemptions to the new law on an almost daily basis thus creating more confusion and consternation. 

By all accounts, the roll-out of demonetisation has been botched and Modi has been forced to appear on national television to plead for patience.  Read more...


Trumponomics and the US economy: the next four years

(21 November 2016) Donald Trump is bold, if nothing else.  The incoming Trump administration intends to begin its term with a bang by boosting economic growth through a massive $1 Trillion infrastructure program in addition to re-negotiation several trade deals.  Financial markets have welcomed these plans as the stock market has risen alongside the US Dollar since the November 8th election.  Investors are expecting higher growth and more jobs from Trumponomics but it remains to be seen how effective it will be.  While infrastructure spending can raise growth, any interruption in trade could be more problematic as the experience of the 1930s reminds us.  The retreat into protectionism and nationalism not only exacerbated the Depression, but it may also have indirectly led to World War 2.

Whatever the merits of the plan, the planets do not offer support for significantly stronger economic growth over the next four years.  Indeed, there is a heightened risk of recession during this time.  We can see the potential pitfalls in the USA horoscope.  While there are any number of factors we could look at, let's simplify it to just two: dasha periods and transits.  When we analyze national charts, it is best to keep our variables to a minimum.  Economic activity is seen through the 2nd house of wealth and assets, the 2nd house lord, the 11th house of income and gains, and the 11th house lord.  The Ascendant, Sun and Moon may also provide supplementary information depending on whether they are influenced by benefic or malefic transits.    Read more...


Mr. Trump goes to Washington

(14 November 2016) We're now living in a brave new Trumpworld as the transition of power moves into full gear in the White House.  President-elect Donald Trump has begun making his key appointments to his inner circle and is discussing plans for the new administration.  Criticism and opposition to the Trump presidency are persisting as protests and riots have not ceased since election night. 

Some liberal commentators are now openly discussing the chances that Trump may not even finish his four-year term due to impeachment for criminal activities.  Trump has 75 law suits outstanding against him including the Trump University trial which is slated to begin November 28th.  Other observers are painting a more hopeful future as Trump's infrastructure  spending plans could well kick-start the sluggish American economy.  While media outlets are assuming an air of normalcy regarding the transition, uncertainty and trepidation are still very much in focus.

In my previous post after the Trump election win, I noted some puzzling alignments in the weeks ahead that suggested there may not be a simple path to the Trump inauguration on January 20th.  I outlined several anomalous alignments that not only reflected problems in Trump's chart at key moments such as the Electoral College vote on Dec 19th, but that Hillary Clinton's chart appeared to be more positive around those same key dates or at least they suggested some kind changes afoot.  If politics is a zero-sum game, then that could indicate some more strange twists and turns in this election before Trump is elected president.   Read more...


Will Trump be inaugurated?

(10 November 2016)  President Donald Trump -- the sound of it seems better suited to a dystopian science fiction novel than to our current reality.  No wonder protests have erupted throughout the US as angry and frustrated Hillary Clinton supporters take to the streets to voice their opposition to the new order.  As the second part of my postmortem penance, I am offering up some additional thoughts on the election and what may happen between now and the Inauguration on January 20th.  As I see it, there are some unanswered questions that relate to the election from the astrological perspective that are worth pondering.


1. If Trump is going to sail through this transition period without major incident, how do we then understand the strange planetary alignment that occurs the day before the Electoral College vote on December 19th?

The sensible response would be that the Mercury retrograde station conjunct Pluto will not pertain to the the Electoral College vote.  It is just a coincidence that it happens on December 18-20 around the same time.  (Thanks to Patrick Watson for pointing out to me the coincident timing of this conjunction with the EC vote.)  The key is that this very unstable alignment occurs exactly opposite the Sun of the USA at 22 sidereal Gemini.  Pluto has been in opposition aspect throughout 2016 and likely reflects the undermining of the political and cultural status quo by Donald Trump.  In yesterday's post, I thought this was more easily explained by the simple change in government from Obama to Trump.   Read more...


Trump wins in US election shocker: post-mortem

(9 November 2016)  Well, I wasn't expecting that.  After a long and divisive campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump has scored a stunning upset in yesterday's US election and is now the president-elect of the United States.  The billionaire real estate mogul's improbable anti-establishment candidacy harnessed white working-class discontent over the disproportionate impacts of globalization and a remote and resented urban elite.  While the margin of victory was small in the Electoral College -- Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote  -- the incoming Trump administration will wield considerable power given that both the House and the Senate are also controlled by the Republicans.   As I predicted yesterday, stock markets did decline sharply on news of the Trump win, although they recovered some ground after his generous victory speech.  We will see where markets go next.

Mea culpa.  I was dead wrong in my prediction of a Clinton win.  How did I miss it?  In hindsight, there were a few "sources of error".  In the USA horoscope, I had noted how tense and afflicted the Sun was at 22 Gemini from the Pluto opposition aspect and the Saturn quincunx (150 degree angle) at the time of the election.  Since the Sun symbolizes government and authority, I thought this might mean that government institutions would be under pressure and I suggested it could be the result of a very close and/or contested election result.  Trump had spoken often of the rigged election and if Hillary had won, he certainly would have challenged the results.   Read more...


Stock markets anticipate a Hillary win but post-election looks uncertain

(8 November 2016) Stock markets rose sharply on Monday after the FBI's exoneration of Hillary Clinton boosted her chances in today's election.   After suffering losses all last week on growing fears of a Trump presidency, the Dow gained more than 2% to 18,259.  Indian stocks have enjoyed a much smaller rebound early this week after last week's declines as the BSE-Sensex is still well below 28,000.  This down-then-up pattern closely adhered to my expectations in last week's market forecast as I thought the midweek entry of Mars into sidereal Capricorn would turn sentiment negative but that Monday's entry of Venus into Sagittarius would likely coincide with a recovery.  This has more or less come to pass.

The markets are counting heavily on a Clinton win and I think that is very likely going to happen. A Brexit-type Trump surprise win would likely tank stocks at least 5% in a single day. And yet, I do think that stocks have a growing downside risk here in November and December as Saturn (21 Scorpio) aligns with Pluto (21 Sagittarius) among other factors. 

This decline could be the result of purely economic factors but as I noted in yesterday's post on the election, there is a special risk of political uncertainty after Election Day.  Given he has already said the system is rigged and he may not accept the result, a market decline could also be due to a refusal by Trump to concede.   Read more...


Election Update: FBI exonerates Clinton as post-election uncertainty looms

(7 November 2016) Another day, another strange twist in the US election.  On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing in her emails with the release of another bombshell letter to Congress.  Two weeks ago, Comey had taken the unprecedented step of publicly notifying Congress that her email case would be re-opened given new evidence in the case. That has all come to naught apparently as we have returned to the status quo ante, albeit after the infliction of some political damage.  While Mrs. Clinton has suffered a 3 point decline in the polls after the first FBI letter, she retains a small 3-4 point advantage as the country goes to vote tomorrow.

Poor James Comey.  The embattled FBI Director has made a total hash of this but it's hard not to feel sympathy for him given his difficult planets.  Over the past few weeks, Comey has been undergoing a Nodal return as Rahu (North Node) is conjunct its natal position in Leo.  This happens once every 18 years and often marks an unstable time for most people although it should be said it is not always bad. 

In Comey's chart, however, his Rahu is with Pluto (=power) so that ups the stakes somewhat.  Also transiting Neptune was opposite his Rahu (i.e. conjunct Ketu) so that is another planetary burden on his nodal return that would tilt it towards significant difficulties.  He has been widely criticized from both sides of the political aisle for his recent actions.  But who knows what reasons he had to do what he did.  Read more...


Sun and Jupiter under pressure: FBI tightens US presidential race

(31 October 2016) The US election race has descended into chaos since the bombshell news Friday that the FBI has re-opened its investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.  Suddenly, her steady 5-10 point lead has shrunk to 2-5 points and polls have yet to fully reflect the impact of this latest revelation.  It's unclear how much of an impact it could have on the race, although it seems certain to further narrow Clinton's lead.  That means that the election could be very close indeed. 

Unfortunately, this only heightens my fears in last week's post that the post-election period could be mired in controversy.  In last week's post on Donald Trump and his possible refusal to concede, I suggested that the planets on Election Day looked tense and conflicted.  The horoscope of the USA had several alignments which were reminiscent of the contested 2000 election which ultimately saw George W. Bush prevail over Al Gore after the latter's challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court. 

The twist in this election is that we may well be seeing some of those telling planetary afflictions already playing out before the election has actually happened.  Two of the key alignments involved afflictions to the Sun (authority, government, leaders) and Jupiter (law, tradition, moral actions).  In 2000, the Sun was afflicted by Rahu (North Lunar Node) by conjunction which symbolizes disruptions in the normal affairs of government.    Read more...


Will Trump concede if he loses the election?

(25 October 2016) With just two weeks left in the race for the US presidency, polls are showing Hillary Clinton with a steady, if somewhat less than comfortable lead.  Last week's third and final debate was contentious but appeared to change little.  While the debate performances were fairly evenly matched, Donald Trump undermined his cause by insisting he would not necessarily accept the result of the election on November 8th. 

Ever since Trump has fallen behind in the polls, he has claimed the election is rigged against him and has railed against the media, the Washington elite and anybody else who disagrees with him.  He has since waffled back and forth on this question but there remains some possibility that he may not concede if he loses.  In a worse case scenario, he could even take the matter to the courts and somehow disrupt the transition of power that normally takes between the November election and Inauguration Day on January 20th when the next president is sworn in. 

Will Trump concede if he loses?   Astrology notwithstanding, life teaches us that betting on the status quo -- that things will probably continue as they are -- is usually the wisest choice.  Despite his bluster, the sensible view is that Trump will probably give in to pressure from his campaign and from what is left of the GOP and not legally contest the election results.  And yet the planetary alignments on Election Day and on Inauguration Day seem more active than they otherwise should be in a normal election cycle.  Read more...


Mars-Pluto promises fireworks at third presidential debate

(17 October 2016) The US presidential race is approaching a fever pitch now with just three weeks left to go.  Without risk of understatement, it has been the most bizarre contest in living memory, no doubt because of the presence of one Donald J. Trump.  Both candidates have been subject to character attacks in an attempt to undermine their credibility.   The Russian-hacked emails via Wikileaks have tried to make Hillary Clinton look corrupt and untrustworthy while the media has been full of a conspicuously steady stream of women who have accused of Trump of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.  October surprises, indeed!  One wonders how much nastier this already ugly race could get before November 8th.  Hillary Clinton is holding a lead in most polls by 5-8 points while political betting markets now put her chances of winning at 85% or better.

We're now in the home stretch as the third and final presidential debate takes place on Wednesday evening in Las Vegas.  Final debates are not usually decisive but anything is possible in this race given the unpredictable nature of Donald Trump.  Thus far, the race is going more or less as expected.  I previously predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the first debate and would go on to open up a lead in early October.  This has basically come to pass.  I still think she will win but I don't know by how much. 

Parenthetically, the margin of victory could actually be very important going forward in terms of the governability of the USA for the next four years.  As Trump spouts his sour grapes "rigged election" claims in the event he loses, he is fostering greater frustration with the US political system as a whole.  Read more...


America's love-hate relationship with Donald Trump

(11 October 2016) Donald Trump's campaign for the US president suffered a potentially fatal blow last week after an embarrassing tape surfaced where he made lewd and denigrating comments about women.  Already trailing in the polls, the revelation led to many GOP leaders to distance themselves from the New York real estate mogul.  Yesterday, House Leader Paul Ryan effectively threw in the towel on Trump's controversial Presidential campaign as he advised his House and Senate members to focus on re-election in their individual races rather than support Trump's efforts for the top job. 

This withdrawal of formal GOP support may well spell the end of Trump's chances.  Polls taken after the release of the tape now show Trump down by 11 points, a near-insurmountable deficit with only four weeks left in the race.  Monday's second debate is unlikely to move the polls much as Hillary Clinton largely held her own in the face of Trump's often over-the-top accusations. 

Hillary Clinton's lead is now widening.  This is more or less what I had predicted in previous posts given the changing influences in the horoscopes of both Hillary and Bill Clinton.  Since we don't really what time Hillary was born, I focused on Bill Clinton's chart for clues about her ups and downs.   I could see that Mercury conjoined Jupiter right on the Bill's Ascendant at the time of the second debate and that this would very likely help Hillary.  Well, it not only helped her debate performance, but it also reflected the huge gain from the Trump tape which was released just three days before the debate.   Mercury and Jupiter are both benefic planets and their conjunction near an important personal chart point like the Ascendant, Sun or Moon almost always coincides with "good news".  Read more...


Deutsche Bank: the canary in a coal mine?

(4 October 2016) Is Deutsche Bank the canary in the coal mine? Frightened investors are pondering this question as the venerable German bank is looking more fragile these days as its share price plumbed historic new lows last week.  Deutsche Bank profits have been squeezed by the ECB's misadventure into negative interest rates as well as suffering huge losses through its misguided derivatives trading.  The recent $14 Billion fine by the US Department of Justice for fraudulent practices has only compounded matters as analysts assess the probability of Deutsche Bank collapse.   A bank failure of this magnitude could start a chain reaction not unlike the Bear Stearns bankruptcy in March 2008 or worse, Lehman Brothers in September of that year.  It was the contagion effect from the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy which led to biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

No matter how difficult things may get for the over-leveraged and under-capitalized Deutsche Bank, some observers are counting on a bailout from the German government to avoid any worst-case Lehman-type scenarios.  And yet, the Merkel government is apparently loathe to throw money at the problem since it has taken a hard line against similar bailouts in other EU countries such as Italy.  Therefore, there remains significant risk that Deutsche Bank share price could fall further before any last-ditch rescue could even be attempted.  Read more...


Hillary wins first debate with Trump

(27 September 2016) Early indications are that Democrat Hillary Clinton was the winner of the first presidential debate against her GOP opponent Donald Trump.  A CNN-ORC poll showed that 62% of respondents thought she won the debate while financial markets offered even more evidence that Hillary bested Trump.  The stock market is well known to prefer a Clinton presidency and Dow futures rose throughout the debate.  Markets don't like uncertainty and Clinton is seen as a status quo candidate with close ties to Wall Street (Just ask Goldman Sachs!). 

Even more telling was the rise of the Mexican peso following the debate.  The peso has closely mirror the relative strength of Donald Trump, who is seen as a net negative for the Mexican economy since he wants to tax imports from south of the border and deport millions of illegal Mexicans living in the US.   The stronger post-debate peso was more proof that the market now sees Hillary Clinton as being one step closer to the presidency.

This outcome was not surprising as I thought Hillary Clinton would likely win in this first debate.  The alignment of the Sun, Venus and Jupiter to her Sun at 9 Libra was suggestive of a positive result from being in the spotlight.   Read more...


Trump pulls even with Clinton as Jupiter dasha set to begin

(21 September 2016) The improbable candidacy of Donald J. Trump continues to defy the odds as the US presidential election heads into its home stretch.   After falling behind by 6-8 points in July and August, Trump is now in a virtual dead heat with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.   He clearly has the momentum on his side as the candidates prepare for the first debate next Monday the 26th.  If he can even hold his own against his better-prepared and more wonkish opponent, it could be enough to put him in the lead and perhaps take him into the White House. 

Last week, I reiterated my skepticism about a Trump victory.  The first debate looked like it would be a clear Hillary win, or at least some event right around the time of the debate looked strongly favorable to her.  While Trump's horoscope for the second debate on October 9th looks much better, I'm still not convinced he will be able to go all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

In previous posts on the US election, I've outlined a number of reasons for Hillary's relative strength and Trump's relative weakness in November.  This week I wanted to focus on a single factor, dashas periods, to illustrate how the race could shift gears in the days ahead.   Read more...


Hillary's pneumonia is latest setback as debilitated Venus transits Virgo

(14 September 2016)  It's been a rough September so far for Hillary Clinton.  The Democratic nominee for president has watched most of her lead in the polls evaporate as her campaign has failed to capture the public imagination.  Last week's "basket of deplorables" comment about supporters of Donald Trump also put her on the defensive against charges of elitism.  And finally there was the disturbing video of her stumbling and collapsing into a waiting van after leaving the 9/11 commemoration in New York on Sunday.  She has been officially diagnosed with pneumonia and is taking a few days off although suspicions remain the possibility of a more serious health problem.  The whole pneumonia episode has not only brought the health question front and center but it has again raised doubts about her campaign's transparency.

This setback is not surprising given the difficult placements both in her horoscope and those of her family.  Back in April, I suggested that the late August Mars-Saturn conjunction would likely reflect some new difficulties for Hillary Clinton around that time.  That has largely been the case as she has watched her post-convention bounce disappear amid her lackluster and remote campaign style.  The Mars-Saturn conjunction occurred at 15 Scorpio and thus exactly squared daughter Chelsea's Sun (15 Aquarius) in late August.   With Neptune also conjunct the Sun, the Saturn influence is likely worse in terms of undermining vitality, status, and achieving goals.   Read more...






 


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