Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Will He Do his "You're F...d" routine, or not?

Lawmakers Demand Donald Trump Fire Top Aides, Saying They Encourage White Supremacists

“Americans deserve to know that white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis are not in a position to influence U.S. policy.” By Sam Levine.

It begins:
The heads of Congress’ black, Hispanic, Asian and progressive caucuses sent a letter to the White House on Monday demanding the dismissal of top aides Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka, saying their presence in the White House has emboldened white supremacists.

Here's a link to my post on Stephen Bannon, from November last year:

Stephen Bannon - Trump's Right-hand Man (for now)

As I wrote then, "The only hope I can imagine is that, after the new President get his "feet under the table", he will stop feeling the need for this guy's support, and prove it in an early "You're fired!" session. Wishful thinking though, that!"

Bannon's natal chart is in that post. Amazingly my post comes up on Google's first page. That was before their new algorithm started gnashing its teeth. I didn't have a birth time for Bannon, but at noon his Moon was at 28 Leo - a degree from the solar eclipse due on 21 August, and from Trump's Regulus and ascendant. It's unlikely that his Moon was really at exactly 28 Leo, but it could be within a degree or two of that. Significant? We shall see.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ghastly White

White supremacism:
"The doctrine that white people are superior to other peoples, and should therefore have greater power, authority, or status; advocacy or practice of such a doctrine." Dreadful events in Charlottesville, Virginia at the weekend caused me to look up the exact definition of that term. The second word is frequently watered down, somewhat, to "nationalism", in attempts to appear less contemptible.

White supremacism, as a movement, has been bubbling under for some time, here and in Britain and Europe. Memories of the horror of World War 2 (live ones) become fewer by the month as participants and onlookers die off. White supremacism is a close cousin of Nazism, which "subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race." (Wikipedia). Lack of living memories of World War 2 could be one strand, among multiple others, as to why this malicious "cult" has been able to press back into headlines.

I wondered what fellow-expats from Britain were thinking at this time, so had a quick look at the forum, and among a few comments much in line with my own thoughts I read, from one "Lion in Winter" commenting archly: This country can be deeply primitive. If that wasn't tongue in cheek, I have to wonder, only "this country"? How about his and my own native country?

List of British Far Right Groups since 1945:
Many of these parties stem from either the legacy of Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, or the political views held by either John Tyndall, Andrew Fountain, Eddy Morrison, Ian Anderson, Colin Jordan and A.K. Chesterton, along with those of their parties like the British National Party, National Front (United Kingdom), National Socialist Movement (1960s) and National Democrats (United Kingdom) over the last 40 years.
It was pointed out on some thread of comments, to which I regret I've lost the link that, back in the day, "white" was a label manufactured during Colonialism to separate the European ethnicities from the Native Americans, Africans and others. Before the New World, Europeans considered themselves separate races: Germans a separate race from French from Spanish from British from Dutch, etc. And, it should be kept in mind that Europeans (including British) are to blame that some civilizations have ceased to exist as entities. Another commenter in the same thread added that we are hardly "in a position to take the moral high ground because we had better guns".

Human nature, at root, is to blame. I'll resist, though, entering an astrological rabbit hole at this point.

reddit - a website I seldom frequent had this question:
What is the end goal of white supremacy? What happens in a society in which there are only white people left? Would they argue over which of them are whiter than the others?
One response was:
Yes, in an entirely "White" society eventually tensions develop based on other measures of "otherness". See British vs Irish vs Welsh, and Serbs vs Croats, or Spanish vs Castilians.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Music & Movie Monday ~ Ear-worm...Once There Was a Way to... SING

Searching for something nice to watch on Netflix - something to take away the nasty taste of Trump-flavoured "fire and fury"; and white supremacist malice, I hit on "Sing", an animated story featuring a singing contest. I'd seen a preview, during a cinema visit, some time ago and quite fancied the idea. I've been a fan of singing talent shows from long before the birth of Pop Idol in Britain (parent of American Idol et al). I suggested "Let's give this one a whirl - how bad can it be?"

We thoroughly enjoyed the movie!

Sing left me with an ear-worm - not an unpleasant one, but an insistent one. The film begins with a phrase from a Beatles song, from their now iconic Abbey Road album: Golden Slumbers.

 Nana Noodleman
The film ends with lines from the same song too, probably giving birth to my ear-worm.

Some good cover versions of well-loved pop-songs are scattered through the film, sung by cast members, some well-known, some less so. In the clip above, that's Jennifer Hudson singing, as Nana Noodleman; Jennifer herself is a product of American Idol - a rather nice tribute to the show which has had its share of sneers and brickbats over the years. Other well-knowns as singing characters include Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Seth MacFarlane (yeah we knew he could sing - I have his CD to prove it, but am still mysteriously blocked from his Twitter feed.)

A current acting fave of mine, Matthew McConaughey, has a leading, non-singing role as the talent show's presenter.

Back to my ear-worm. I guess that, by now, almost everyone knows that some Golden Slumbers lyrics in Paul McCartney's song were "borrowed" from a centuries old piece of poetry, "Cradle Song" by Thomas Dekker (1572 –1632). I recall Golden Slumbers being known as a lullaby back in my schooldays in England. The first time I heard the Beatles' version, I well remember exclaiming the equivalent of: "WTF Beatles! We sang that in school donkeys' years ago!" We sang it to this tune:

In several online forums members have chewed over the meaning of the Beatles' song, as patch-worked together by Paul McCartney. Theories range around the idea that Paul was grieving over loss of his mother and childhood family life, putting his grief to music; or regretting the upcoming inevitable break-up of the Beatles as a band, another kind of family; or even a general life to death ditty - carrying that weight; or a fit-all soliloquy on how one can never get back to...whatever.

Personally, I love the first bars of the song - the "Once there was a way to get back home(ward)" - I wish Paul had continued with his own words, not those of some long ago writer. And yet... you know... that thought brought forth a theory, a bit left-field perhaps: We've heard and read, often, that the 1960s and early 1970s brought us some of the best popular music ever, and this has been put down to the then ubiquitous use of mind-altering drugs such as LSD.
Well...say the influence of LSD, or similar drug, sends the mind out there, where the buses don't run, but (tin-foil hat time) where everything that has ever been heard on Earth still remains in the ethers. Consider that things heard, albeit unconsciously, during these "flights", out where the buses don't run, might return inadvertently, when the mind is back on all-fours, on Earth. The story goes that Paul read the lyrics of the lullaby Golden Slumbers from among his step-sister's piano music, even so, he didn't copy the music, he didn't know how to read music then. The music he created, to mix with the centuries-old words sounds kind of classical to me. It has been said, too that the music of Eleanor Rigby sounds akin to the Gregorian chant style. And how come famous symphony orchestras can make Beatles' songs sound like classical compositions? Because they have classical DNA collected out where buses don't run? Tin-foil hat country? Possibly, but I enjoy that thought.

I should really post Paul McCartney's original version of my ear-worm song, but I'm not a dyed-in -the-wool Beatles fan. I have, though, come to appreciate much of their music when performed and arranged by others. So, I'll wind up with a YouTube video I particularly enjoyed: a mix of two Beatles' songs, the second is my ear-worm number, sung by The Seattle Ladies Choir :

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday and Sundry Visuals - Then & Now

He ventured to wonder if they ever thought back to when things were just old-fangled or not fangled at all as against the modern day when fangled had reached its apogee. Fangling was indeed, he thought, here to stay.

That was what technology was doing. It was your slave but, in a sense, it might be the other way round.

(Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett)


From Twitter:

Feudal Internet

From College (Caldwell Tanner & Julia Lepetit & Jacob Andrews) :

Nightmares...then and now

From Thinks Happen (one of husband's blogs)link in sidebar:

No pics, but a link to these revelations:
Lots of photographic comparisons of "cebebrities" we know and...well, something....

Most surprising were then and now comparisons of Ryan Seacrest and of Russell Brand. Have to say that Tom Cruise having his teeth done was one excellent decision! How about Simon Cowell's great hair! Some of the best looking guys, initially, have managed to age gracefully: Robert Wagner, Morgan Freeman, Burt Reynolds, Colin Firth. Women - at least those pictured here - not so much.

Closer to home - here's your friendly neighbourhood blogger, first in the early 1990s, before living in the USA was even part of a wildest nightmare; then in a London hotel, the summer of 2004, just after she'd received her first visa to come live in these "United" States; then just after receiving US citizenship in the summer of 2008; and last, a pic taken earlier this year. Well...I survived, the hair dye didn't!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

North Korea; Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, & Astrology.

Angry words have been flying hither and thither on the North Korea issue. Should we worry? This from the BBC website yesterday is only vaguely reassuring, bearing in mind that a solar eclipse, mentioned in Tuesday's post, will occur on 21 August, and will, unusually, be visible across the USA, and has links to President Trump's natal chart.

North Korea-US tensions: How worried should you be?

For further reading (if any passing reader has the stomach for it) I'd recommend the posts dated 8th and 9th August, (Is the Korean war scare real? and Reviewing the Unthinkable) at a blog called Sic Semper Tyrannis, written by a retired military colonel:
Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years.

I'm re-posting, here, my February blog about Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. He was briefly in the news this week, commenting on the North Korea situation. I decided to do a re-post after using Google search to find out if and where my February post had landed, after being mangled and spat out by that mysterious Google algorithm. I searched "Rex Tillerson, astrology". It didn't show up at all on first try, in the 14 or so pages, but when I clicked on the link available the end of the last page, it led to a fuller list including posts omitted as being "similar" to those listed; my old post then came up on page 2. Perhaps because my post received too few hits and no comments it didn't warrant initial inclusion - but how the heck are readers ever going to find the post if it's not there?

Anyway, this seems like a reasonable time to re-post it - here it is again:

A look at the natal chart of the USA's new Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson, noting a few pointers from online sources as to the kind of guy he is, as perceived by those who know him.

Two key factors routinely mentioned by commentators are Tillerson's long career in ExxonMobil - at retirement at the end of last year he was the company's CEO; and that, via his Exxon career, he has crafted close ties with Russia's President Putin. Neither factor is seen as being beneficial by many Democrats. He does consider that climate change is real - that's an improvement on the ideas of some of his colleagues in President Trump's cabinet. However, he qualifies his belief: “The increase in greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is having an effect. Our ability to predict that effect is very limited,” he answered to a question posed in his confirmation hearing.

What little I've gleaned about Secretary Tillerson's personality from a handful of articles online tells of a man who quietly projects power, discipline and control (NPR). Those who know Tillerson consistently describe a disciplined and effective communicator with an engineer’s logical approach to solving problems and the ethical compass of a Boy Scout. “What you see is what you get,” said John Stuart, a longtime Dallas banking executive who has known Tillerson for a decade. “He’s a straightforward, honest, honorable person.”

Tillerson is an Eagle Scout himself, and a longtime booster and national leader of the Boy Scouts organisation. He helped to engineer a recent change allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts.

From Dallas News:
More than 40 years after Rynd and Tillerson met, the memories that stand out for Rynd surrounding his former housemate revolve around one central concept: work. The Tejas Club was an old house that needed many repairs, and Tillerson would organize the projects, then complete them.

“He wasn’t just a delegator. This sounds corny, but he led by example. There was no project that was beneath him or too hard for him,” Rynd said. “He was busy -- if not busier than the rest of us. ... If it needed to be done, Rex signed up and got it done.”

Tillerson graduated in 1975 and weighed a higher-paying offer at a steel company. But in Exxon, he found a company whose highly regimented approach mirrored his own.

“It’s very demanding and competitive,” said Coll, the author. “It’s a very rule-driven institution. But it also requires something on the dealmaking side, a little bit of a sense of subtlety and resilience because most of these places where they work, these things don’t come easily.”

Tillerson worked for Exxon’s upstream division -- the rough-and-tumble business of exploring and developing new resources. His early days found him in East Texas, a time he later described as “sheer joy” in solving complex problems out on the oilfield.

He steadily rose through the ranks and by the 1990s, he landed career-defining assignments in places like Yemen and post-collapse Russia. theory that all sounds like good news! Does his natal chart reflect the above?

Born on 23 March 1952 in Wichita Falls, Texas. No time of birth known, chart is set for 12 noon.

Without knowing his time of birth only a sketchy outline is possible, Moon's exact position and rising sign cannot be established. First thing I noticed - no planets in Earth signs, I found that surprising. The unknown rising sign might provide an Earthy footing.

His lifetime career closely connected to oil is nicely represented by Saturn and Neptune close together, close enough to be termed conjunct, in Libra. Saturn links to career, Neptune links (among other things) to oil.

His natal Sun, Mercury and Jupiter are all in Aries, sign known as the initiator, with the Saturn/Neptune conjunction opposite, providing a balancing, steadying factor to any native Aries impulsiveness. Mercury conjunct Jupiter in Aries reflects the important part international travel (Jupiter) has always played in his career, and will continue to do so as Secretary of State.

I see that, in his natal chart, there are two challenging square aspects to Uranus, planet of the unexpected and eccentricity - in Secretary Tillerson's case this is no bad thing. We have quite enough eccentricity and unexpectedness emanating from President Trump - we need no more, and especially not from the Secretary of State! It's interesting, though, to note that transiting Uranus, at 21 Aries, is currently conjunct Tillerson's natal Mercury/Jupiter. Change is, indeed, visiting his life, both planet-wise and in reality!

At 12 noon on Secretary Tillerson's date of birth Moon was at 5 Pisces; for natal Moon to have been in Aquarius his time of birth would need to have been in the very early hours - not a lot later than 1 AM; it seems most likely that natal Moon was in early Pisces, reflecting a more gentle and imaginative inner-self than his dynamic Aries core-self.

Due to comments on his personality quoted above, I'd bet on a solid Earthy rising sign (Capricorn, Virgo or Taurus), alternatively Saturn in Libra sitting on the ascendant with Neptune close by.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Facing F-Book

"The inexorable growth of Google, Facebook, and Amazon has raised fears these giants are becoming too powerful. Here's everything you need to know":


The piece is reasonably brief yet informative on issues which are only recently starting to be addressed.

With reference to just one of the three entities discussed in the piece linked above, Facebook, and its burgeoning power, this problem has more, and even more dangerous, tentacles than simply making outside competition difficult or impossible. Below is a single paragraph from another piece, long but well worth the time:
You Are the Product by John Lanchester at London Review of Books.
(My highlighting)
....What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.
That highlighted phrase is, or should be, chilling. It doesn't take much imagination to understand what could be possible, stemming from it, at some time in the near future. It's also not too comforting to read that Facebook's creator, Mark Zuckerberg has further aspirations - of becoming US President, there's some evidence that he is considering becoming a candidate in 2020's presidential campaign.