A “Take No Prisoners” Example Reading

I decided to test my transition spread with a current situation in the State of Vermont. The State’s only nuclear power plant, closed since 2014, is under negotiation for sale to a company that claims it can decommission the site much more quickly and cheaply than the present owner (incidentally walking away with several million dollars in unspent decommissioning funds). Beside the two companies involved in the transaction, there are numerous other stakeholders (State, regional and local government commissions and several anti-pollution/anti-nuclear “intervenor” organizations), certainly enough to populate all eight “shakeout” positions in the spread. The two “Gatekeepers” I consider to be the State of Vermont and the anti-nuclear Conservation Law Foundation, the primary remaining disputant in the case. I used two Thoth “clone” decks, the Liber T, Tarot of Stars Eternal for the “offeror” and the Night Sun Tarot for the existing stakeholders. The quint was populated with the Thoth deck itself.

The “Offer Phase” of the spread contained the Princess of Cups rx (“reversed”), the Devil rx and Death rx, suggesting that honesty may be in short supply; one intervenor has already said its approval hinges upon full transparency, but i don’t see that happening here. The Princess of Cups rx in the “Offer” position suggests that the offeror is soft-peddling the enormity of the task. I know a little about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements for decommissioning a shuttered power plant, one of which is to scrape off 18″ of topsoil from the entire site (in this case, 125 acres) and dispose of it as potentially contaminated waste. Then there is the dismantling, decontamination and disposal of a number of large concrete and metal structures. The Devil rx in the “Negotiation” position and Death rx in the “Decision” position don’t bode well for any kind of “transparency,” or for meeting the remaining expectations of the non-corporate stakeholders. Sidestepping looks more like the order of the day. The trump cards show that there is a lot at stake on both sides of the negotiation.

The eight “shakeout” pairs, with the “offeror” as the red cards and the current stakeholders as the blue cards, were as follows : (Note that I consider an upright card to “beat” a reversed card regardless of the nature of the two cards because it is in a more stable position.)

Gatekeeper #1 – Page of Pentacles (Blue); Offeror – 6 of Swords rx (Red)
Gatekeeper #2 – 5 of Pentacles (Blue); Offeror – Ace of Wands rx (Red)

The main bone of contention for the gatekeepers is money. (The woman in the Night Sun 5 of Pentacles – the principal lawyer for the CLF is female – even has her hand out.) The offeror has sweetened the pot slightly, but isn’t really prepared to step up to the plate here and decimate their potential profits. However, through persistence, the stakeholders should win on all counts.

Knight of Wands (Blue); 6 of Cups rx (Red): the stakeholders mount a strong offensive, and win the point.

8 of Cups rx (Blue); High Priestess rx (Red) – the stakeholders are somewhat disorganized, while the offeror’s lawyers have a few more tricks up their sleeves. Offeror takes the point.

Knight of Pentacles rx (Blue); 3 of Pentacles (Red) –  the stakeholders are caught flatfooted, while the offeror goes about its business of preparing for the sale. Offeror has the advantage.

4 of Swords (Blue); Hermit rx (Red) – the stakeholders stay calm and demand that the Hermit show his hand (which he does only reluctantly). Stakeholders come out on top.

10 of Pentacles (Blue); Empress rx (Red) – the stakeholders believe they are united in their focus on the money, and that they have the offeror off-balance. Stakeholders are correct.

The Star (Blue); Knight of Pentacles rx (Red) – the stakeholders are holding the moral “high ground” here, while the offeror is trying to retrench. Public interest wins out over corporate greed.

The upshot of this analysis is that the stakeholders hold a winning position in six of the eight “shakeout” match-ups. Although several more of the Red cards appear to have greater “horsepower” than their Blue counterparts, reversal blunts their effectiveness. Offeror will be required to revise the proposed plan to make it more appealing to the stakeholders.

The quintessence card is the Empress reversed. The State of Vermont – the “Green Mountain State” – is very much an “Empress” entity. The reversal shows that the residents of the State are uneasy about getting behind the current owner in making the transition to a new decommissioning arrangement. This supports the firmness of the stakeholders in angling for a better offer. On balance, I would say that – despite corporate confidence – the transaction is not yet a “done deal.”

All images copyright Lo Scarabeo, Torino, Italy


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