The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Iowa Caucus Results

So, Cruz beat Trump by 4 percent —28 percent to 24 percent, with Rubio in at 23 percent.

Nice for Cruz, but all the sneering I’m seeing at Trump is way premature, winning Iowa is by no means necessary and he’s up over 20 percent in New Hampshire. Not to say this isn’t a boost for Cruz, but it’s not even close to over.

As of this writing, Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck in the popular vote, but, however it turns out, she’ll still have more delegates because the super-delegates will be hers. That won’t matter much, either; Bernie has shown he’s competitive, but there’s plenty still to go


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The Bailouts Caused the Shitty Economy, Part 2


Failure Is the Precondition for Fascism


  1. JohnnyGL

    Hi Ian,

    Longtime reader, first time commenter. Just wanted to drop a quick note of thanks as I do like seeing what you’ve got to say on various topics. You’ve helped change the way I look at world politics in some ways. Your post on free trade and elites selling out was one of my favorites.

    Regarding Iowa, MSM seems to be eager to breathe life into Rubio’s campaign and they’re still intent on ignoring Sanders, only his fundraising ability seemed of interest to them.

  2. Lisa

    Everyone in the LGBTI community is following this closely. Cruz is a virulent LGBTI hater and a total religious extremist (Christian Taliban?) .

    If somehow he got into power things would get very, very bad for LGBTI people there. Like might be a good idea to leave bad.

    Essentially the US would become a semi-Saudi Arabia dominated by Christian extremism. It would become unrecognisable.

  3. EverythingsJake

    The Clintons will have the knives out in force tomorrow. In a fit of sheer smarm, she’s already baited Bernie into a defensive posture and cast it yesterday as a personal attack. While one is reminded how sleazy that family is every time one of them speaks, I don’t think Bernie and his team have figured out how to counter. They need to go after her hard in one of the debates. If they’d simply tell the truth that the Clintons play slimy and here’s the record of that, maybe that’d be a posture of integrity with which to deal some death blows. I, for one, would like to know who the 1000 plus anonymous donors to the Canadian arm of the Clinton foundation are, and that seems like just tip of the iceberg type info

  4. V. Arnold

    I see the bread and circuses act is in full force.
    I’m so sorry for those who actually believe this election will change anything. Isn’t it clear after 15 years of consistent policy implementation; that it no longer matters who gets the office? Obama should have been the final example; once and for all showing reality, no?
    I guess not, eh?
    IMO, there is not one qualified candidate on either side of the theater with Hilary, Trump and Cruze flat out dangerous.
    Bernie would be the best face of the regime going forward, but it will change nothing substantively important. You’d just like what you hear more than before with far better/fewer lies.

  5. EverythingsJake

    @V. Arnold

    I’m not sure if Zinn’s observation that ” ‘What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in” still holds true. As Parenti observes, elites will always turn to fascism to resolve class conflict, and the current weapons (e.g., Raytheon’s Microwave Gun) are truly terrifying. But if good change is to come, then it’ll still most likely take a mass movement. Bernie seems to get this, believe in it, campaigns on it. Obama’s team defanged OFA right after the election, Rahm Emmanuel’s contempt prevailing, and the hopey change the team promised being very amporphous to begin with. Would Bernie betray similarly given prevailing MIC and FIRE reactionary forces? Maybe. At least the conversation’s better these days, with even La Clinton finding herself forced adopt, at least temporarily, more and more progressive tropes amidst the distortions she, Chelsea and Bill have stopped to spew.

  6. V. Arnold

    February 2, 2016
    But if good change is to come, then it’ll still most likely take a mass movement.

    Possibly; but where are you going to find that? MIA, IMO.
    You bring up Parenti (one of my favorite radicals since the early [very} 90’s).
    Here’s a link to Unwelcomed Guests; Parenti is often featured there;
    You might have to do a little digging but well worth the work; and an excellent site I might add.
    I would find it difficult that Parenti would agree with your post, as to effectiveness in today’s on the ground reality.
    Letting go is very difficult; because then one is faced with a very uncomfortable situation where a very crucial decision must be made; most won’t or can’t do it…

  7. Peter*


    The only ‘mass movement’ happening today in Amerika is in the bathroom and our pervasive mass communication/ surveillance technology will continue to atomize and scrutinize any other forms of movement. If I see a mass of people burning their iPhones I might have some hope but doubt many will give up their apps/traps. The latest political charade with the ‘Socialist Sanders’ just shows people are still begging to be led and few people will ever develop the will or the skill to lead themselves.

    Parenti has done an excellent job of analyzing and documenting US Imperialism, in the past, but along with too many other Leftists has jumped into the cesspool with some nasty Capitalists Autocrats, Putin and Assad, in a pathetic attempt to confront the Hegemon. Apologizing for or ignoring their deadly deeds is somewhat understandable but promoting them as models is neither radical nor progressive.

  8. EverythingsJake

    @V. Arnold

    I wish I had that answer. It seems impossible, but what other way.

  9. Lisa

    “Ted Cruz has made no secret of his desire to win on a surge of Evangelical Christian voting. Indeed, his father (Rafael Cruz) is an ardent Dominionist. Dominionism is an ideology that seeks to implement a nation governed by conservative Christians with a legal system based on biblical law. ”

    “So let’s step back for a moment and consider what a Christian Nation with Christian Laws based on a strict literalist interpretation of the Bible would mean for LGBT people. According to Phil Robertson while introducing Ted Cruz at a rally, “We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there.” At the National Religious Liberties Conference pastor Kevin Swanson Swanson, reiterated his view that homosexuality should be punished by death in the US just before Cruz joined him on stage. Swanson has endorsed Cruz, along with several other Evangelical leaders calling for the systematic execution of gays.”

    “One might argue that surely Ted Cruz doesn’t really believe that gays should be put to death in America, despite his desire for a system of law based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, and belief in a God who shows no leniency. Actually yes, Cruz dropped a big hint several months ago that this is exactly what he believes.

    When a reporter questioned Cruz about his stances on LGBT issues, Cruz shot back, “I recognize you want to ask another question about gay rights. Well, you know. ISIS is executing homosexuals. You want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS…” ”

  10. Lisa


    “Last weekend Senator Ted Cruz, along with fellow GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, spoke at a conference in Des Moines headed up by a man who advocates the execution of gay people — per his interpretation of the bible — and who made his call for mass extermination once again, onstage at the event, the National Religious Liberties Conference. Pastor Kevin Swanson has said in the past that Christians should attend gay weddings and hold up signs telling the newly married gay and lesbian couples that they “should be put to death.” He was an advocate of Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill, which he saw as a model.

    At the confab over the weekend, where he introduced Huckabee, Jindal and Cruz to the audience — and where Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, an anti-gay Tea Party crusader, was a star speaker — he reiterated his death penalty call, adding that homosexuals should first be given some time to repent before the executions begin. There’s nothing subtle about what he said, and you can watch it for yourself, ”

  11. highrpm

    the problem with all religions is their personification of the creative force. i don’t have a clue but self-assembly to the nano level/ and giga degree complexity that is microbiology — well, google & company are working hard to break the code so maybe they will patent this “god” construct that all religions want to speak for and all mankind fights to the death over. anyway, natural law is male/ female. natural dysfunction is male/ male, female/ female. for better or worse, let created beings respect natural order. disrespect it at our own risk. hey, that’s what we’re doing with global warming.

    cesar tort has spent years thinking about his own weirdness and compiled quite a body of articles in the process, available on his websites. his own journey of “working the organizing experience” has brought him to study hitlerian national socialism since hitler and henchmen were trying to deal with what ted cruz & domionist co. would call “degeneracy”, including sex, drugs and rock & roll and its effect on the new german society.

    i don’t buy these simpleton theocrats, yet i think public display and embracing of certain behaviors/ thinkings must be part of civil law. e.g., pulling down my pants in public. for the good of the collective. for the children’s sake, keep exceptional behavior private, since only the mature mind can grapple with “who am i.” for the same reason that we have barrier and lane markers on public highways.

  12. Bill Hicks

    @Lisa–you just hit on one of the major ways the political system in America is skewed to the right. Just imagine what would happen if a Democratic candidate appeared at a rally in which a speaker called for the execution of Wall Street investment bankers or CEOs of large corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

  13. Some Guy

    Rubio (+ MSM) = 1984
    Trump = Fahrenheit 451
    Cruz = Handmaid’s Tale
    Clinton = Brave New World
    Sanders = John the Savage

    Side note: Bush = Bush

  14. MojaveWolf

    Seconding Lisa’s aversion to Cruz.

    People freak out at the crazy stuff Trump says, but he’s just a self-promoting scumbag saying whatever he thinks will get him a vote. I don’t think he’d govern that differently than Hillary. In a couple of ways he might even be better (granted he would almost certainly be worse in others). But Cruz …

    I’ve said several places on the internet that he scares the hell out of me. This came before I knew anything about him. I watched, I think it was the 2d Republican debate, and I’ve never had such an instinctive aversion to a politician before, and that’s saying a lot. Maybe some of it is being from the Deep South as a kid and not liking most televangelists even back when I was a little bitty conservative fundie, and disliking them a lot more the older and more aware I got even while still a Christian (anyone who actually reads and cares what Christ said should be repulsed by most of these perversions claiming to speak for him), and Cruz comes off like a televangelist to me, but … even by those standards, he spooks me.

    Maybe I’m being unfair. Upon a little research, I obviously find his policies noxious and evil, but the same can be said about Huckabee and he’s one of those people I think have horrible ideas but is essentially well-meaning, just (very, very) wrong. That other congresspeople hate him means nothing–I’d probably hate half of them. That he employs a campaign guy who sez one of the first things he does upon oppo research is check out not just the candidates social media but that of all his friends and family, or who once (working for someone else, not Cruz) drove an opponent to suicide with his ads and commented “I’m the windshield; I don’t look in the rearview mirror” when asked if this bothers him … well, that means something really really bad, but that operative is hardly unique for evil depraved creepiness.

    OTOH, while I was coming up with descriptions like “avatar of Cthulhu”, my SO not only agreed but immediately said the much more specific “Joe McCarthy” and she has exceptionally good judgement about people. I have since seen other people make this analogy. Reading up, he seems more like J Edgar Hoover, willing to employ an army of McCarthy’s against whoever gets in his way.

    Also, most politicians, however awful, want very much to be liked, even loved. I’m not sure about this one.

    Which is a long winded way of saying Cruz scares me more than any of the others, based off not very much.

    Regardless, it’s Bernie or Green for me. And right now I’m feeling very good about the chances of Bernie winning and maybe just maybe helping us avoid death-of-world. In quite an optimistic mood today.

  15. MojaveWolf

    One disagreement with one of Lisa’s sources tho, re: “a literal interpretation of the Bible would mean …” which then goes on to give the right wing crazy version of such interpretation. The Bible says a lot of contradictory things, and there are some truly MONSTROUS stories in the old testament. But while one not only can but HAS to pick & choose which parts to subscribe to if you’re using this as a sacred text (otherwise a coherent belief system would be impossible), that doesn’t mean you have to pick the worst stuff. And as a Christian, presumably, one would prioritize what Jesus did/said and note that Jesus was very much about NOT condemning people to death for breaking laws, and in particular went out of his way to stop a stoning of someone who transgressed the socially approved sexual mores of the day, and was all about the love and forgiveness and helping people. The only person in the new testament who specifically disliked non-hetero types was, iirc, Paul, not Jesus (or James, or anyone in the gnostic gospels or anyone else who was supposedly around while Jesus was). I’m not a Christian anymore and haven’t been for more than two decades, but I’m still deeply offended by these jerks who seem to think “Kill kill kill whoever doesn’t think like us, and punish the poor, while forgiving those who pay lip service and kiss our establishment’s ass” is somehow even remotely justifiable as a Christian ideal. Modern right wing fundamentalism is actually much more about Ayn Rand (or the very worst parts of the old testament) than Jesus. Apologies for the OT rant.

    To say something on topic …

    I do not understand why anyone who thinks for more than a few seconds would support Hillary’s current “no we can’t” rhetoric in opposition to Bernie. Yes, this has been the theme of Dems for over a decade, and it’s why I abandoned the Dem Party and changed registration to independent (or, in Cali, “decline to state”). But it’s stupid. The Republicans can get stuff done. Obama got the stuff he really wanted done (ACA, TPP fast track–it’s evil and anyone who supports it is a traitor to humanity and the planet, but he wanted it and he got it fast-tracked, tho hopefully it can still be stopped with massive opposition, failing that, I expect Bernie to null and void it and damn the fall out after taking office). Seriously, if she truly believes nothing can be accomplished, why is she running for office? If her supporters believe this, why are they voting for anyone running for office? Why are they running around on twitter or calling in to talk shows saying “I’m voting for Hillary because I like what Bernie says but it can’t be done”. This is garbage. If you like the status quo, just frigging say you like the status quo. Or if you really think nothing matters, sit home and don’t vote. Voting is waaaay too much effort for something that doesn’t matter.

    Oh, and re: incremental change, which is a more serious argument–(1) I have not noticed it is easier than sweeping change, looking at American & European history. (2) It is way too late for a slow, slow, slow, incremental process to combat climate change that still allows candidates to enrich their worthless selves with donations from oil companies. Yes, Republicans want to keep walking stupidly into a chasm while collecting their donations, while Hillary wants to make the easiest and least effortful jump possible. The thing is, we need a running jump with everything we’ve got to have a decent shot at landing on the other side. Walking off the cliff into the gorge, jumping and falling halfway to the other side–same end result. Bernie (and OMalley, but he is now out of it) get the seriousness of this. I’ve seen no sign that Hillary does. Given that failure on this issue means the death of everything I love about the world (and probably the death of everything anyone loves about the world), that alone should convince people that in this issue, which only affects more lives, human, plant and animal, than anything else other than nuclear war, surely, immediate sweeping change is called for.

  16. Peter*


    Nice pep talk and I’m glad to see the youths’ turning out to support Sanders, any time HRC is made to squirm is a good time. The problem is that Bernie’s nostrums are based on the same snake-oil that the incrementalists offer. His rhetoric and talking points come from the Occupy Movement but he is not a Socialist nor a radical just another believer in the myth of Good Capitalism, if we can only get the young rubes to submit to the corrupt Democrat Party and follow the Leader, again.

    Although a large number of young people are listening to Bernie’s Pied Piper song most seem unimpressed by someone who states unabashedly that he will support and expect his followers to support the Evil Queen when his quest fails. A growing number of young and older people will abstain/boycott this election because they have learned not to trust politicians or the corrupt system that maintains their power.

  17. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    I can only hope that MojaveWolf’s apocalyptic predictions of what will happen without swift radical changes are mistaken.

    Because those are NOT going to happen, even if Sanders wins.

    However, Sanders is not going to win.

    Obama and Clinton have buried whatever hatchets lay between them, and he’s supporting her, if quietly.

    In the absence of a non-white candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Clintonian lock on the non-white vote will return to full effect.

    Sanders eked out a statistical dead heat in lily-white Iowa.

    He will probably win lily-white New Hampshire.

    But South Carolina is coming, and then Super Tuesday.

    If he wins the Southern states, and the big states with high non-white voter populations, I will start wondering who went back in a time machine and stepped on a butterfly. 😆

  18. Hugh

    Iowa at 3.1 million is 30th in population among the states. New Hampshire at 1.3 million is 41st. Together they represent a little less that 1.5% of the US population. Neither is representative of the country at large. Yet every 4 years we are asked to forget these facts as the two parties and the MSM invest these contests with all kinds of largely self-fulfilling meaning and prophecies.

    The truth is we are now already deep into horse race territory. Issues are either blown off entirely or reduced to largely incoherent soundbites. In Iowa, both of the Establishment candidates Cruz and Clinton “won”. But the fact that two unanointed candidates Trump and Sanders did so well was a strategic defeat for Cruz but especially Clinton. It is a mistake to consider either Trump or Sanders outsiders in any meaningful sense. Trump made his billions catering to the rich and with the help of government which allowed him to privatize his gains and socialize his losses. Sanders has been a go along to get along Senator for nine years now. They are more what I would call aberrant insiders, that is they question some Establishment orthodoxies while approving of most of them.

    I support no Democrat and no Republican. So for me, this is about distraction. As Emma Goldman said, if voting changed anything, they would make it illegal. First, let’s look at Ted Cruz, a true sleaze, and as said above, American Taliban. He won in an atypical state with an atypical constituency, evangelicals. Why his sleaziness isn’t more of a problem with this group is just one of many indications of just how bankrupt our political discourse and process are. Still Establishment conservatives breathed a sigh of relief at his narrow win, as did the MSM, who were all in anyone but Trump mode. Indeed some were declaring, without any sense of irony, that Trump was done again, for about the fiftieth time. Or saying how he must now win in another atypical state, New Hampshire, or he was done. Again nothing in any of this about issues, or critical analysis of them, it’s all about performance.

    Then there is Clinton. I agree with whoever said that the only word you need to describe or understand the Clintons is “grifters”. Clinton had in Iowa millions to spend and the state Democratic party in her pocket and with all that all she could manage was a virtual tie. Watching her declare victory for what was, as I said, a strategic defeat was deliciously embarrassing. It was all supposed to be a coronation with Sanders serving as not much more than a foil and then horrors, it turned out that the saps and rubes liked the court jester as much as they did her. Now sit back and get out the popcorn and watch Clinton try to smile at people she despises and sell to an electorate wanting change the same line she has used her entire political career: more of the same, only better!

    The MSM will do what it can for her. It is already increasing the margin Sanders needs to win by New Hampshire for him to declare it a win. Highly ironic don’t you think considering Clinton’s “win” in Iowa. And portraying a Sanders win in New Hampshire as that of a “native son” since he comes from nearby Vermont. It seems the MSM have forgotten that New York isn’t all that far away either and Clinton was a Senator there.

    Funny, distracting, but still like Emma Goldman said.

  19. ProNewerDeal

    ^ Hugh “And portraying a Sanders win in New Hampshire as that of a “native son” since he comes from nearby Vermont. It seems the MSM have forgotten that New York isn’t all that far away either and Clinton was a Senator there.”

    good point Hugh.

    I also wondered why IA was not a “native daughter” from neighboring IL, where H Clinton grew up? H Clinton is a recent carpetbagger to NY, she actually grew up in IL. MSM tanking for H Clinton, yet Hillary & her fans will cry victim & claim the MSM is anti-Hillary.

  20. MojaveWolf

    @Lisa: mea culpa I felt bad for not addressing the dominionist stuff in your posts, started explaining why I never take that seriously (in brief: as repulsive as their beliefs are, I don’t think they have real influence; I always felt it would be like taking the quiverful movement as a real threat–the Republicans take their money & ignore them; & also, ever since a good friend who I respect a lot on everything else tried to convince me in 2008 that Hillary was a closet dominionist, I tune this out the same way I also now tune out everything that comes after hearing “Benghazi”) then had a second thought. Huckabee is not going to go around killing gay people. Santorum creeps me out a bit, but he has no chance. But Cruz … genuinely spooks me, and has a chance. I started pondering, but decided to let my time in this comment thread end.

    Until I read the following, which I’m going to let speak for itself, w/the caveat I am still having trouble believing it is real but it appears to be.:

    “They are out to exterminate us,” Cruz raged on. “They are out and they are on the hunt for God-fearing conservative Christians whose only idea of a family entails a man and a woman and nothing else. They are like a beast who’s had a taste of blood, Christian blood, and is now out for the kill. You are all and danger, I am in danger, Christians throughout America are in danger. It started with the Supreme Court ruling, and the way things are going, I’m afraid to think how it’ll end.”

    He also added: “What scares me the most is that there are people out there who don’t seem to notice the persecution that’s going on under their very noses. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to not see things for what they are? You have gays running rampant on one hand, and Christians being lynched on the other. It’s as though we’re back in the dark Middle Ages.”

    “But, there is a solution. Or rather, there could be. I believe the southern states of America should come together in a joint effort to protect their religious freedom, what little of it they, we, have left. We are running out of time. We should build a nuclear bomb and use it to defend our right to believe in God as our one true Father.”

    Cruz also added that he would “draw the line at building the device, because killing fellow Americans, as deviant as they may be, is not right.” “Let us not use it on our brothers and sisters who are wandering in the dark, for they are not lost. They will come back to us some day, once they realize the error of their ways. Until then, the atomic bomb should remain a guarantee of Christians’ right to believe in straight marriage and traditional values.”

    & people are worried about Trump’s crazy talk? Like with Trump, even if
    Cruz is just babbling to manipulate people, rousing up that kind of fear and hatred is criminally irresponsible. Unlike with Trump, I’m not 100% sure that he doesn’t really have some kind of pathological obsession. Either way…

  21. MojaveWolf

    I apologize. That is a mixed news/satire site. The link was not presented as such. My bad.

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