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NOVEMber 2007

Dick Cheney

by Alex Miller-Mignone

Fred ThompsonRichard Bruce Cheney, better known as “Dick,” is one of the more enigmatic and divisive political figures of modern American history. Depicted by some as the true driving force behind the George W. Bush administration, the forty-sixth Vice President of the United States is undeniably the most powerful and influential man to hold that office. His over-arching themes, of American global hegemony and the imperial powers vested in the presidency, have set the tone for twenty-first century American politics and created a situation, both nationally and internationally, from which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to extricate ourselves.

Cheney’s public career spans more than four decades, as US Representative for Wyoming, White House Chief of Staff for Gerald Ford, Secretary of Defense for George Bush Sr., and Vice President for George W. Bush. His political saga began in 1969 as in intern to Donald Rumsfeld, at the time Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, and he rose within the ranks in the Nixon and Ford administrations, serving as White House Staff Assistant and Deputy Assistant to the President, until becoming Ford’s Chief of Staff in 1975. He and Rumsfeld were influential in Ford’s decision to name George H. W. Bush to the position of CIA Director, which became the basis of a lifelong relationship with the dynasty.

Cheney managed Ford’s ill-fated election campaign in 1976, and after that defeat returned to the private sector until winning a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1978. Cheney served five terms in Congress as a member for Wyoming, becoming Chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1987 and Minority Whip in 1988. In March 1989 he was appointed Secretary of Defense, a position which he held until the end of the Bush Sr. administration in January 1993. During his tenure in that office he directed American military operations in Operation Desert Storm at the First Gulf War in 1991, when allied forces removed Saddam Hussein from his occupation of Kuwait, but declined to continue to Baghdad. At the time and for most of the decade that followed, Cheney actively supported this decision not to overthrow the Iraqi dictator, citing precisely those arguments which current critics of Bush administration policies have used—the cost to American lives and treasure, the difficulty of establishing a new government in Iraq, the danger of becoming trapped in a “quagmire” of civil war.

Upon his forced retirement from public life with the defeat of George H. W. Bush in 1992, Cheney entered the private sector, first with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and from 1995 to 2001, as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, a leading energy company in the Fortune 500. Granted a departure package estimated at $20 million when he became Vice President, his ties with the company were not completely severed, giving rise to concerns and controversy when Halliburton shortly began to acquire large numbers of lucrative, no-bid contracts from the federal government.

In 2000, when George W. Bush embarked upon his first presidential campaign, Cheney was responsible for vetting potential running mates from a short list which was eventually reduced to just one name—his own. When the disputed “election” was decided in their favor by the US Supreme Court in December 2000, the Bush-Cheney team came to Washington; the nation, and the world, would never be the same again.

Cheney and BushWithin two weeks of the inauguration, Bush set up Cheney as chairman of the Energy Task Force, an information-gathering and strategy-determining body intended to develop an energy policy for the administration. The meetings were held in secret, and not even the names of the participants were released, generating the first of many controversies and conflicts between governmental branches which Cheney’s involvement seems to exacerbate. Citing the executive branch’s constitutional right to receive information from confidential sources, Cheney has refused to disclose any of the details of these meetings. Subsequent Freedom of Information Act requests were routinely denied, and although some material was eventual leaked to news outlets, to this day most of what transpired in these meetings has been kept from the public. Given the respective energy backgrounds of both Bush and Cheney, it seems reasonable to suppose that the findings of the Task Force were heavily weighted by industry stalwarts. In particular the subject of Peak Oil, the approaching reduction of global oil supplies, may have played a dominant role in crafting the administration’s energy and foreign policies.

We will defer for the moment a discussion of the events of the morning of September 11, 2001, and deal with these in the interpretive section of this biography. But in the days and weeks following that tragedy, Cheney was a major guiding force directing US domestic and foreign policy. A staunch proponent of the Iraq War, Cheney was one of the first to falsely conflate Hussein and the 9/11 attacks, which created a rationale for the invasion of the world’s second largest oil producer. The original moniker for what became Operation Iraqi Freedom was actually Operation Iraqi Liberation, but its acronym, OIL, was perhaps too blatant and revealing to be used, prompting the hasty change. Cheney’s conflation of Iraq and 9/11 continues to this day, as does his bulldog refusal to admit mistakes, and his continual insistence that progress is being made, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we have turned the corner, the resistance movement is in its last throes, those remaining are merely a bunch of dead-enders.

On the domestic front, the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act was a first salvo in the administration’s war against American freedoms, which again fit very snugly into Cheney’s vision of the unitary executive, an imperial presidency with virtually unbounded powers. In the years since, Cheney has taken every opportunity to advance his views, assisting the administration in trampling constitutional checks and balances, denying oversight and usurping powers accorded to other branches of government.

Richard CheneyControversy and secrecy seem to constellate about Cheney, who can be quite original in his assertions of rights and privileges unenumerated by the Constitution and not claimed by prior vice presidents. One of these is his rather bizarre assertion that he was not subject to congressional oversight, as the office of the vice president is not a part of the executive or legislative branches, thus seemingly creating a fourth branch of government not answerable to any of the others. This defense was put forward to justify his refusal to release documents relating to the Energy Task Force as well as other classified material. At the same time, Cheney has also cited executive privilege in other incidents while refusing to supply requested documents, indicating a willingness to promote whatever argument suits his current agenda, without regard to logic or consistency. After congressional Democrats threatened to defund the office of the vice president and evict him from his publicly owned residence, this legal approach was quietly dropped, although Cheney has still refused to comply with subpoenas to release his documents, and the case is now in the courts.

In July 2003 Cheney was instrumental in the leaking of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters, in an attempt to discredit her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had recently debunked an administration claim that Saddam Hussein had sought to obtain yellowcake uranium for nuclear production from Niger. Although definitive proof of his involvement was lacking, all roads led to the vice president’s office, and his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, was convicted in 2007 of obstruction of justice and lying to Federal investigators. The prison term of his sentence was later commuted by Bush.

In June 2004, during the “re-election” campaign, Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to “go fuck yourself” on the Senate floor following a photo session. Several days prior Leahy had accused Cheney of cronyism in regard to the numerous no-bid contracts awarded to his old company, Halliburton, and the vice president resented Leahy’s attempt to be congenial for the photo shoot. The incident was much lampooned and has become an iconic moment of Cheney’s tenure in office.

In February 2006, while on a quail shoot in Texas, Cheney accidentally shot hunting companion Harry Whittington in the face, spraying him with birdshot. Allegations that the party had been drinking were denied, but the vice president refused to make himself available to local law enforcement until the morning after the incident, and did not even bother to inform the White House of what had occurred.

In April 2007, US Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) formally presented articles of impeachment for Cheney on the House floor (HR 333). The resolution currently has only 18 co-sponsors, and remains stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

Lynne and Richard CheneyIn 1964, Cheney married Lynne Vincent, his Casper, Wyoming, High School sweetheart, who has become a noted conservative figure in her own right. Lynne is senior fellow in education and culture for the American Enterprise Institute and co-hosted the Sunday edition of CNN’s Crossfire from 1995-1998. She served on Lockheed’s board of directors from 1994 until her husband’s inauguration in 2001, and was briefly mooted as a potential conservative female running mate for Bush in 2000, until Dick eclipsed her. She has authored several novels and recently published a memoir of her early life in Wyoming.

Uber-hawk Cheney himself stated in a 1989 Washington Post interview, “I had other priorities in the ‘60s than military service.” Cheney sought and received five deferments during the Vietnam War, first as a student in 1963 immediately after enrolling in Casper Community College. Three more student deferments followed, one coinciding with his marriage, which at that time gave him additional immunity from service. After restrictions on drafting childless married men were lifted following the escalation of the war at the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, Lynne conveniently conceived her first child, and Cheney received his fifth deferment. Within the year, Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft.

The couple have two daughters and six grandchildren. The Cheneys’ younger daughter, Mary, is lesbian, but her sexuality did not prevent her from participating in her father’s “re-election” campaign in 2004, when the issue of gay marriage was used successfully as a wedge to garner social conservative support in key battleground states. Mary Cheney and her longtime partner Heather Poe had their first child in May 2007.

Born 30 January 1941, Dick Cheney’s natal chart is heavily accented by galactic energies, with every major planet in conjunction or close aspect to a deep space anomaly.

The Sun is perhaps the most telling factor in the nativity; at 10 Aquarius this conjoins the Black Hole at 11 Aquarius, opposes a second Black Hole at 9 Leo, squares a third at 6 Scorpio, and squares the Maser at 7 Taurus. Black Hole Sun natives can be very secretive, almost opaque in their dealings. They often prefer to work behind the scenes, pulling strings and manipulating events to suit their version of reality. Energy-hungry as a group, this does not always translate into a lust for power per se, but when it does, the Black Hole Sun native is a formidable individual, spreading his net wide and accruing more personal power with each passing year. There is also a sense of invisibility which can accrue to these individuals, and Cheney’s frequent departures for undisclosed locations in the years following 9/11 fit this pattern very well.

Black Hole Sun can be charismatic and persuasive, drawing others into its orbit for good or ill; it also has a chameleon-like ability to adapt itself to its surroundings and alter itself as circumstances require. But when it feels secure, it may prove unmovable, digging in its heels and becoming entrenched in its perspective and positions. It can also be dark and brooding, with a malevolent intensity that it no longer feels it needs to hide. Black Hole Sun individuals are also susceptible to interpretation—what one interlocutor perceives as steadfastness and surety, a confidence born of verity, another views as arrogance and willful contempt for the facts, a rooted stubbornness that will not admit even the possibility of error.

The Sun tied to a Maser is controversial and erratic; havoc and devastation follow in its wake. The Maser Sun can be volatile, spewing invective and creating an aura of agitation or unease. It is very high energy, and can be debilitating to the native and those around him, who may require frequent periods of retreat from the field to rest and rejuvenate.

In Cheney’s case, this Galactic Grand Cross which enmeshes his Sun is conjoined by additional chart points. The Sun itself is conjunct asteroids Osiris at 9 Aquarius and Icarus at 7 Aquarius. Osiris as a god of death would seem to be appropriate for a man whose policies have led to so much of it, as is Icarus’ emphasis on rash, heedless behavior and disregard for warnings. If we see Cheney as the ultimate architect of the administration’s policies, either directly or via undue influence on George W. Bush, then these points in conjunction to the Sun have an all too obvious effect on the nation.

Additionally, the Sun squares a Jupiter/Saturn union at 7 and 8 Taurus which straddles the Maser. Jupiter squared the Sun inflates the ego, making it difficult to admit mistakes or correct course, tempting the native to believe that he knows best despite all evidence to the contrary. Saturn may argue for pragmatism, but to a Black Hole Sun that may simply translate as “more ruthless.” Saturn tied to a Maser also indicates controversy in the career, a tendency to wreak havoc at the workplace, leadership which is at best problematic, at worst devastating to those who follow it.

Richard CheneyAlthough Pluto at 3 Leo opposes the Sun, it is too far out of orb to consider it conjoined with the Black Hole at 9 Leo; however, there is another Black Hole at 2 Leo which it does conjoin, and so the flavor of that aspect is much the same. Black Hole Pluto is secretive in the extreme, with a tendency to act surreptitiously and not always within the bounds of law or accepted practice. Power and control are everything to this combination, and it is not the least bit squeamish or scrupulous about how it attains them. The goal is all there is, and whatever stands in the way of that goal is expendable. In extreme cases there is an attraction for inflicting pain, trauma or death; not merely a willingness to accede to these measures, but an active yearning for them, which may be seen in the administration’s policies regarding torture and rendition.

In light of that it is perhaps extremely unfortunate that the final leg of the Grand Cross, the Black Hole at 6 Scorpio, is conjoined by the asteroid Apophis, named for an ancient Egyptian deity, the personification of supreme evil. The frequent references to Cheney as Darth Vader may perhaps be justified, and an unconscious acknowledgment of this contact (as well as being a sort of poetic justice, as conservative icon Ronald Reagan was the first to bring Star Wars nomenclature into our political dialogue, with his space-based missile defense boondoggle and his terming of the Soviet Union as “the evil empire”). Apophis was also prominent in the chart of Virginia Tech shooter Cho, who showed a similar lack of human feeling, a trait often attributed to Cheney.

Perhaps the best illustration of the manner in which Cheney’s Black Hole Sun manifests concerns the events of September 11, 2001. To some, Cheney is one of the heroes of that tragedy, as he organized the response from the “underground Pentagon;” to others, he is the chief architect of that debacle, and if so, it is certainly his Black Hole Sun to which we must look for the capacity for such diabolical evil.

In 1997 Cheney had been a signatory to the now infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a Neocon manifesto which posited the removal of Saddam Hussein and the invasion of Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, in an effort to ensure US global hegemony in the 21st century. Among the other signatories were Neocon ideologues Bill Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, and the document openly states that Congress and the American public would not willingly accede to the Neocon agenda, absent a catalyzing event such as another Pearl Harbor.

In May of 2001, by presidential order, Cheney was given sole authority to organize and monitor all war-game drills and simulations; five of these were set for the morning of September 11, 2001. Operation Northern Vigilance reassigned the vast majority of US fighters in the Northeast, sending them to the Arctic Circle to coordinate with Canadian planes in drill patterns which dated from the Cold War, when a trans-arctic Soviet incursion was feared. This left the northeast corridor essentially defenseless on the one morning when those defenses would have been needed. Operation Vigilant Guardian simulated the hijacking of commercial aircraft, and their use as missiles. Far from Condoleezza Rice’s assertion that before 9/11 “no one ever imagined using planes as weapons,” in fact, on that very day, Cheney was overseeing drills which simulated just that. Most of these simulated hijacks were electronic insertions on air traffic control screens, but some were live. This drill ensured that NORAD and the FAA had sufficient levels of uncertainty when reports of actual hijacks were made, thus delaying whatever response was possible with depleted fighter capacity; in several ATC recordings of 9/11, controllers can be heard questioning whether the incoming data was “real world” or part of the drill. Additionally, as head of these operations, Cheney had the final say on what response, if any, was to be made, superseding standard NORAD and FAA protocols. A third drill, a biowarfare exercise termed Tripod, simulated the coordination of FEMA and New York City first responders in the event of an emergency in lower Manhattan, and established a temporary command center at Pier 29, as opposed to the usual emergency command center in the World Trade Center 7 building. WTC7 was the third steel structure to collapse, controlled-demolition-like, into its own footprint that day; it was not hit by a jet, nor structurally damaged by falling debris from WTC1 or 2, and its collapse has never been satisfactorily explained. The fact that it housed sensitive banking and intelligence information, including offices of the SEC, CIA and FBI, may be significant.

Coincidence may or may not exist in this physical dimension, but surely the chance that a terrorist cell brings off a spectacular coup at precisely the time when drills simulating just such an attack were occurring, providing the very opening in defenses necessary for their success, seems unlikely. Add to this the fact that George W. Bush was safely out of the capitol, reading stories about pet goats to Florida school children, leaving Cheney in effective command at the White House. Add also the rather unusual coincidence that his father, George H. W. Bush, formerly CIA director, was present in Washington that morning at a breakfast meeting of the Carlisle Group, with none other than Osama bin Laden’s brother. Consider further that Bush’s brother Marvin was a Board member of the company providing the World Trade Center security services, which had closed down the facility for several hours the weekend before the attacks for a security sweep. Recall also that the White House initially opposed the creation of a special commission to investigate the tragedy, and that when forced by public opinion to accede, refused to allow Bush or Cheney to testify under oath or publicly; in fact, they would appear only together, in testimony which was not recorded or videoed, before a subcommittee of the 9/11 Commission. We have here perhaps one too many coincidences to pass over lightly.

Whatever the truth of the events of 9/11, the mere fact that Cheney fits so well into the role of villain tells us something about the way his Black Hole Sun has manifested. There are also innumerable examples of his almost addictive relationship with secrecy. Bizarre quirks such as the possession of a man-sized safe in his office, the creation of a special rubber stamp which he uses to personally classify documents as secret, and the pixilation of the vice presidential residence on Google Earth, all pale before his dogged determination to reveal nothing whatsoever relating to the inner workings of the administration.

Other chart points are of concern. Mercury at 23 Aquarius conjoins a Quasar at 24, and squares the Black Hole at 24 Taurus. Mercury combined with Quasar energies produces a focused, determined mentality. Left to its own devices, this Mercury is forthright and forthcoming, but the square to a Black Hole indicates a tendency to obfuscate or deceive, and it is probable that due to the Black Hole inclined nature of the Sun, this Mercury expresses more strongly through the square than the Quasar conjunction. Black Hole Mercury tends to create its own reality, focusing on the ideal rather than the actual, latching onto facts which support its view while rejecting those that do not as inconvenient. Inveterate adherence to a position despite all evidence to the contrary is symptomatic of Black Hole Mercury gone wrong, which will never alter its opinion or admit mistake, but continually reiterates its views even when they have been proven false or discredited.

Black Hole Mercury is also capable of being extremely persuasive, and the chief danger is that others will be persuaded that this particular view of reality is the correct one. This was in fact the case in the aftermath of 9/11, when conflation of the tragedy with Iraq and the administration’s supposed certainty of Hussein’s stockpiles of WMD and ties to al Qaeda were credulously and uncritically accepted by the American press and public. This Mercury also reaches out to Uranus at 22 Taurus with its square to the Black Hole, which may help to explain the sensational, even shocking nature of the claims made by Cheney and the administration at large. Mercury is also joined by asteroid Damocles at 26 Aquarius, conjunct the US Moon; Cheney’s decisions have the potential to be ruinous, and to bring doom upon the heads of the American people.

Venus at 20 Capricorn conjoins the Black Hole at 19, an indicator of the potential for acquisition of vast wealth. Cheney’s Halliburton settlement made him one of the richest vice presidents in US history, a bank account which continues to grow as his investments become worth more with each no-bid contract awarded. On a more intimate level, Black Hole Venus can indicate either one who expends too much energy in love, or who seems to utterly lack the capacity to express it at all.

Mars at 17 Sagittarius exactly conjoins a Black Hole, and is also conjunct asteroid Sisyphus at 20 Sagittarius. This speaks volumes for the huge amounts of energy, in the form of human life and monetary expense, which have been expended in the Iraq War, now consuming more than half a trillion dollars with no end in sight. Sisyphus here also reflects the ultimately futile quality of the military action, which has been compared to a game of whack-a-mole, where true progress or success is impossible, and the same actions must be repeated endlessly with no final result. In combination with Jupiter on a Maser in Taurus, this Mars on a Black Hole in Sagittarius suggests an aggressive, militaristic (Mars) philosophy (Jupiter/Sagittarius), one geared toward the acquisition of resources (Taurus), with controversial or devastating (Maser) implications, and requiring vast expenditure (Black Hole).

With approval ratings as low as 18%, Cheney has been one of the most unpopular vice presidents in the nation’s history. How unfortunate then that he has also been one of the most influential. It will take years, perhaps decades, to recover from the actions of the Bush/Cheney administration, if we manage to recover at all. Truly a testament to the effectiveness of Black Holes in terrestrial reality.

Alex Miller-Mignone, photoAlex 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