APRIL 2008 BLACK HOLE CASE STUDY
by Alex Miller-Mignone
Hillary Clinton is a lesbian. Barack Obama sold cocaine in his teens. The Democrats will forcibly impregnate your daughter, then forcibly abort the fetus, and marry her to a woman (probably Hillary Clinton), inviting al Qaeda to the reception. Oh, and by the way, taxes will go up. And just why do liberals so hate America?
These and further late-breaking bulletins are about to be brought to you care of the right wing slime machine, as Election 2008 goes into hyperdrive this summer and fall. With so little to tout from the last eight years of Republican misrule, conservative bloviators will have no choice but to attempt to energize the GOP base with fear and loathing. Not that they wouldn’t do it anyway.
But why do they do it? Sure, there are crazies on the left, but very few of them have their own radio or TV shows, or best-selling books. They may enjoy a good conspiracy theory or two, but they don’t usually promote hate speech or excoriate their philosophical opponents with quite so much relish and glee.
A random sampling of five of the better-known conservative “commentators” yields some interesting results, when placed under the microscope (or is that ‘telescope’?) of Deep Space. This rogues’ gallery of right wing blowhards wouldn’t be complete without the granddaddy of them all, Rush Limbaugh. Also chosen were FOX News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, CNN’s Glenn Beck, and author Ann Coulter.
Rush Limbaugh (born 12 January 1951) is the doyenne of the chattering set. Although he began his radio career as a common Top 40 DJ, in 1984 Rush replaced controversial talk show host Morton Downey Jr. at KFBK radio in Sacramento, California, to an initially sluggish reception. Reagan’s 1987 repeal of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine, requiring that equal time be given to opposing viewpoints in editorial content, was Rush’s ticket out of obscurity. A year later he was in New York City with a nationally syndicated, eponymous radio show on WABC-AM.
The timing was fortuitous: Rush’s show premiered between the Democratic Convention that summer, which nominated Michael Dukakis as its candidate, and the Republican Convention, nominating then Vice President George H. W. Bush, and politics was heated. Rush took the Willie Horton ad bashing Dukakis and ran with its tone, gaining instant popularity among his self-styled “Dittohead” base.
Rush’s phenomenal popularity has been credited with reviving talk radio in America. Within six years, he was syndicated on more than 650 stations nationwide, and his impact on the 1994 Republican take-over of Congress was acknowledged by the fledgling GOP members, who termed themselves “the Dittohead Caucus,” and voted Rush an honorary member of Congress. Some referred to him as the “national precinct captain.”
Rush’s high-water mark was a televised half-hour version of the radio show in the mid-90's, during the height of the Clinton backlash and the Whitewater investigations. Airing weekdays from noon to 3 PM, in 2005 Rush still retained a weekly audience estimated at 13.5 million (making it the largest talk radio program in the nation), despite conservative control of the White House and Congress, with very few liberal whipping boys remaining and a staggering record of Republican malfeasance, corruption and incompetence to defend.
Of course there have been controversies. He regularly refers to women’s rights advocates as “Feminazis,” opining that the feminist movement “was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society,” and has described them as women “to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur.” Global warming and endangered species activists he calls “environmentalist wackos.” He has described the atrocities at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison as “people having a good time,” and indulging in “emotional release.” While he is adamantly opposed to illegal immigration, he supports legal immigration as a source of workers for “jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do,” which he is happy to have “stupid and unskilled Mexicans” perform.
In October 2006 he was lambasted by both the right and the left for his shocking mimicry of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms, twitching and gyrating in mockery of the actor’s appearance in an ad supporting the funding of stem cell research. Rush claimed Fox was either acting, exaggerating his symptoms, or had purposely failed to take his medication on the day of the shoot.
In September of 2006 he described as “phony” those servicemen and women who disagree with the administration’s policies in Iraq, eliciting a firestorm of protest from veteran’s groups and democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and Chris Dodd.
Thrice married and thrice divorced, Rush was also the focus of a Florida state attorney’s office probe into doctor shopping to satisfy his addiction to the prescription pain killer oxycodone in 2003. Rush’s lawyers successfully battled to prevent investigators from obtaining medical records or questioning his doctors, a move which was supported by the ACLU. Since Rush has been on the public record frequently bashing both drug abuse and the ACLU, this incident was a source of considerable embarrassment. Rush was arrested, but the case was dropped after payment of a $30,000 fine and enrollment in a rehab facility. By the terms of his agreement, he must continue to submit to random drug testing.
His early ‘90s books, “The Way Things Ought To Be,” and “See, I Told You So,” both made the New York Times bestseller list, but a recent Rasmussen poll of public figures shows him with the highest unfavorable opinion ratings (62%) of anyone in the poll.
Mercury is certainly Rush’s guiding star. At 1 Capricorn and stationary direct, it lies in exact square to the supermassive Black Hole center of Galaxy M-87, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware, holding more than 100 galaxies in its thrall. This power to communicate is well evidenced in his career, and the impact he has made on politics nationally with his words and opinions. Black Hole Mercury can be persuasive and compelling, but is often more interested in making its case than in getting the facts straight. It tends to massage data or reject inconvenient facts, carefully cherry-picking what will best support its views; linguistic sleight of hand is the rule, and downright deception is common. Eris, a newly discovered Kuiper Belt minor planet and the symbol of discord and fractious, quarrelsome discourse, lies in square to Mercury at 6 Aries, and is the probable source of Rush’s provocative, controversial style.
Mercury tied to a Black Hole is one astrologic trait shared by all the bloviators; a prominent Neptune is another. In Rush’s case Neptune at 19 Libra squares the 21 Capricorn Sun and exactly squares the Black Hole at 19 Capricorn, strongly bringing out its conjunction with the Sun. The implication is that Rush is lying to himself as much as he lies to others, and truly believes that the skewed worldview he presents accurately depicts reality. In other words, he is genuinely deluded, a True Believer, as opposed to merely cynical and opportunistic, a rider of convenience on the conservative tide.
Such a one is FOX News Channel host Bill O’Reilly, whose Mercury/Neptune conjunction atop the Black Hole at 13 Libra clearly describes one who lies intentionally, misdirecting his audience for personal gain.
Born 10 September 1949, Bill spent almost two decades in a wide variety of radio and television broadcast jobs until FOX News chairman Roger Ailes hired him for the nascent network in 1996, inaugurating his prime time “news opinion” show, “The O’Reilly Factor.” His early career path forms a dizzying patchwork of efforts for local radio and television stations across the country, as well as network jobs with ABC and CBS, and a brief anchor stint with the TV tabloid “Inside Edition.” Bill was unable to find his footing and departed several positions with acrimony.
But at FOX, Bill found a home. Despite his oft-touted “No Spin Zone” approach, O’Reilly’s perspective is clearly conservative and anti-secular, and before long “The O’Reilly Factor” was receiving accolades from conservative reviewers and making the lists of the most influential conservative talk shows. Routinely the highest rated news program in its time slot, O’Reilly also garners much negative attention for his fact-checking problems and controversial commentary, as chronicled by media watchdog groups such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and Media Matters for America. Bill also hosts a weekday radio program of the same name, which airs on more than 400 stations and reaches three and a quarter million listeners.
Aggressive (some might say obnoxious) and provocative, O’Reilly does not play well with others, and has had ongoing feuds with liberal celebrities and broadcasters such as Al Franken, George Clooney, Bill Moyers and Keith Olbermann. For nearly a decade Bill has annually been trotting out his “War on Christmas” diatribes every November and December, highlighting incidents of nomenclature change for holiday concerts and programs in public schools, and citing retailers who use the phrases “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” in preference to the Christo-centric “Merry Christmas” he lobbies for.
In late 2007 he was accused of racist remarks when he touted the surprising normalcy of the predominantly black clientele of Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem: “I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronage. There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-F’er, I want more iced tea.’” Unable to imagine why such “positive” comments could be considered offensive, O’Reilly blamed the adverse reactions on biased media coverage.
In early 2008 he was embroiled in a controversy with Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards over the numbers of homeless veterans, whom Bill denied existed. Despite the statistics by the US department of Veteran’s Affairs citing as many as 200,000 such homeless nightly, Bill continued to dispute this reality for several weeks until finally confronted by a delegation of homeless vets in New York, which he minimized as yet another negative media stunt.
In 2004 O’Reilly was sued for sexual harassment by Andrea Mackris, a producer of his show, who alleged improper sexual content in his conversations with her. Embarrassing details of Bill’s sexual fantasies were revealed, and the story was fodder for tabloid and news outlets for months before being settled out of court for an undisclosed amount alleged to have been in the millions.
O’Reilly’s Sun at 17 Virgo is in exact square to the Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius, and also forms a Grand Trine with additional Black Holes at 16 Taurus and 19 Capricorn. This, plus his Saturn at 10 Virgo conjunct one Black Hole and square another, is the source of his plethora of career personas before landing at FOX News, by one count at least 14 different jobs in 19 years. Although he was unpopular with many of his early employers, there is no indication that O’Reilly harbored any particular bias against their liberalism, until finding his way to FOX, where anti-liberal viewpoints formed a substantial portion of the job requirements.
Thus, the conservative perspective he now endorses would seem to be more work product than genuine belief, an assumption reinforced by the conjunction of Mercury at 14 Libra with Neptune exactly atop the Black Hole at 13 Libra. Black Hole Mercury is often a significator of duplicitous misdirection and a hidden agenda, and Neptune here suggests additional dishonesty and a willingness to say whatever others wish to hear. But as with Rush, Bill’s Black Hole Mercury is a powerful communicator, even if what it expresses does not represent his actual views.
Also at FOX News is Sean Hannity, co-host of the popular “Hannity and Colmes,” FOX’s main attempt to interject some “fair and balanced” perspective by pitting conservative and liberal co-hosts on a single show.
Born 30 December 1961, Sean also has a radio talk show and is a best-selling author of conservative views. Fired from his first radio job in California in 1989 when anti-gay subject matter threatened an ACLU lawsuit, Hannity spent the next few years on radio stations in the deep south, until Roger Ailes plucked him from relative obscurity for the fledgling FOX News Channel in 1996. The following year he garnered a contract with WABC radio in New York, Rush’s flagship station, where he follows his fellow conservative commentator in the afternoon drive slot. Not as controversial as Bill O’Reilly, Sean has nevertheless acquired a reputation for petty-minded discourse, fractious commentary, and a lack of respect for facts.
The Sun at 9 Capricorn conjoins one Black Hole at 5 Capricorn and is exactly trine another at 9 Virgo; and Mercury at 16 Capricorn conjoins another at 19 Capricorn, repeating the pattern shown in all the bloviators’ nativities. Neptune at 12 Scorpio exactly squares the Black Hole at 12 Aquarius, and is also sextile to both Sun and Mercury, forming an exact sextile to their midpoint at 12 Capricorn. Minor planet Eris at 9 Aries is exactly squared the Sun, lending its particular brand of disaffection and quarrelsome rhetoric.
Glenn Beck is yet another conservative commentator who came up through the ranks of talk radio to national prominence on television. His eponymous “news opinion” show airs weeknights on CNN’s Headline News network. Beck’s radio show is carried by 260 stations nationally, and he is also a best selling author and publisher of Fusion magazine, which alleges a comedic spin on conservatism.
Born 10 February 1964, Beck is a recovering alcoholic and substance abuser whose mother committed suicide when he was 12; a brother also killed himself. A convert to the Mormon faith, Beck espouses traditional conservative views, but claims to be “a conservative who happens to not be a Republican.” After 5 years of solid support for the Bush administration, by 2006 Glenn had had enough, and no longer has kind things to say. However, he still supports the Iraq War and “tough interrogation methods,” and is staunchly pro-life, though he is less than resolute about stem cell research, perhaps because he has a daughter with cerebral palsy who might be helped.
Beck is at least as harsh on liberals as Limbaugh or O’Reilly, inveighing against political correctness, comparing global warming activists to Nazis, and enlisting as a foot soldier for the traditionalist side in the “War on Christmas.” He has openly contemplated murdering liberal film maker Michael Moore, terms Hillary Clinton a “stereotypical bitch,” and calls anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan “a pretty big prostitute” and a “tragedy pimp.” He has referred to GOP presidential candidate John McCain as “Juan McCain” for his pro-immigration stance.
Beck’s natal Sun at 20 Aquarius is squared by Neptune at 17 Scorpio, the pair forming a T-Square with the Black Hole at 16 Taurus. In addition to having much to say about his history with alcohol and drugs, as well as his conversion to Mormonism, the Sun/Neptune square identifies Beck as in the “true believer” bloviator category of Rush Limbaugh. His pronouncements, however offensive they may be, are genuine, and reflective of his actual world view, and he is more self deluded than deceptive to others. The Sun is also conjunct Mars at 22 Aquarius, perhaps the source of Beck’s rather combative style and mean-spirited commentary. Mercury at 29 Capricorn is conjunct a Pulsar at 28, and forms a dramatic Galactic Grand Cross with Black Holes at 26 Aries, 28 Cancer and 28 Libra. Capricorn Mercury is by definition traditionalist and conservative, and its placement conjoined a Pulsar indicates Beck’s status as an acknowledged disseminator of conservative views. The Grand Cross comprised of Black Hole aspects is forceful, energetic and uncompromising.
Perhaps the most execrable of this Gang of Five is Ann Coulter, a best selling author of six books on conservative issues, and a frequent contributor to political opinion shows on a broad variety of networks.
Born 8 December 1961, Ann has made bitterness and vituperation a lucrative business. She has been called “the Republican Michael Moore” and “Rush Limbaugh in a mini skirt;” both descriptions put her well up in class. Ann has the distinction of being the only bloviator on this list who has never had her own radio or TV show, preferring the poison of her pen, although she appears all too frequently as a guest and commentator on politics for a variety of networks. In 1996-97 she was briefly on staff with MSNBC as a legal correspondent (she holds a law degree from the University of Michigan), but her sarcastic asides and belittling commentaries led to her premature dismissal there.
Most of Ann’s impact has been via her syndicated column, lecture tours, and a string of provocatively-titled books. These include: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton” (1998); “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right” (2002); “Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism” (2003); “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)” (a compilation of her columns, published in 2004); “Godless: The Church of Liberalism” (2006); and “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans” (2007). One notes a progression.
When she’s not calling John Edwards a “faggot” or suggesting his car carries an “ask me about my dead son” bumper sticker, Ann spends most of her time annoying or disparaging others. It would not be possible to chronicle here, or in any single article, the litany of offensive statements, lies and half truths which have poured from her keyboard or her mouth, but we can hit a few highlights.
Ann has stated her express belief that everyone should be Christian and Jews need to be “perfected;” that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s gravest mistake was in not choosing The New York Times building as his target; and that all terrorists are Muslim and if all Muslims were to avoid air travel (suggesting they use flying carpets instead), there would no longer be a need for any airport security. Her policy on how to handle the crisis in the Middle East is to “invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.”
Her statements from Godless regarding “the Jersey Girls,” a group of 9/11 widows who became politically active in 2004, may be quoted in full as an example of Ann’s typical prose style: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. ... I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much ... the Democrat ratpack gals endorsed John Kerry for president ... cutting campaign commercials... how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy."
Execrable doesn’t begin to cover it.
As with the rest, Coulter’s Sun, Mercury and Neptune all make significant contacts to Black Holes. The Sun at 16 Sagittarius conjoins the Black Hole at 16 Sagittarius; Mercury at 10 Sagittarius conjoins one Black Hole at 9 Sagittarius and squares another at 9 Virgo, trine a third at 9 Leo; and Neptune at 12 Scorpio squares the Black Hole at 12 Aquarius.
What is different is that Neptune does not strongly aspect either the Sun or Mercury, unlike the other four bloviators, although Sun and Mercury conjoin each other. There is a weak semisextile from Neptune at 12 Scorpio to Mercury at 10 Sagittarius, and this suggests that Ann falls into the “cynical opportunist” category of Bill O’Reilly. Considering the vituperation and bile she exudes, one can only hope it isn’t genuine. As with Glenn Beck, Coulter also has Mars (at 17 Sagittarius, also exactly conjunct a Black Hole and within orb of Mercury) conjunct the Sun, augmenting a combative, antagonistic nature and venting spleen with bitterness and some heat. This is further exacerbated by minor planet Eris at 9 Aries in trine to Mercury, bound tightly with the 9 degree Black Holes in aspect to Mercury and forming a Grand Trine in Fire with the planet of writing and communication and the 9 Leo Black Hole. Eris’ fractious, confrontational energy is plain to see in the divisive quality of her writings and pronouncements.
In addition to the common factors of Sun, Mercury and Neptune which are galactically prominent, enabling them to pull others into their orb of influence, project their opinions forcefully and adeptly, and weave an alternate reality of their own making or interpretation, all the bloviators also share a Venus strongly impacted by Deep Space. In each of these five cases, Venus conjoins or tightly squares a Black Hole, indicating both dramatic earning potential and difficulties forming stable relationships. Thrice divorced Rush Limbaugh’s 6 Aquarius Venus exactly squares the Black Hole at 6 Scorpio; sexual harassment defendant Bill O’Reilly didn’t marry until he was 45—his 25 Libra Venus opposes the Black Hole at 24 Aries; Sean Hannity’s 1 Capricorn Venus exactly squares the Black Hole at 1 Libra; twice married Glenn Beck’s 29 Pisces Venus conjoins the Black Hole at 28 Pisces; and frequently engaged, never married Ann Coulter’s 2 Sagittarius Venus conjoins a Black Hole at 3 Sagittarius.
In this election year, as the Black Hole bloviators spin and snap, skewer and spank, distort and misdirect, leading their audiences down a thorn-strewn garden path of their own devising, take a moment to reflect—it’s all so much super-heated galactic air.
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.