Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Vancouver Real Estate Agents To Be Probed For Fraud, Insider Trading

VANCOUVER — The independent office charged with overseeing the British Columbia real estate market will investigate allegations of fraud and insider trading by some Metro Vancouver real estate agents, the provincial government said Monday.

Superintendent of Real Estate Carolyn Rogers will work with an advisory group being set up by the Real Estate Council of B.C. to look into concerns raised by media reports and opposition politicians, said B.C. cabinet minister Peter Fassbender.

What Do Uber Drivers Earn? $4.60 An Hour, Montreal Experiment Concludes

There has been no end of controversy over how much money UberX drivers make.

Uber itself has said its New York drivers have a median income of $90,000 a year, casting the work as economic freedom. The company says its drivers in Toronto make $23 an hour on average. Its revenue in its first year in the city worked out to just $3,125 per driver, but Uber says that’s because most work part-time.

Obama Makes One Last Bid To Save Controversial Obamacare Tax

President Barack Obama is making one last attempt to save the “Cadillac tax,” even though he knows he won’t be able to finish the job before leaving office.

The Cadillac tax is a surcharge on expensive health care plans, designed to raise revenue and, more importantly, to hold down spending on medical care. It became law as part of the Affordable Care Act and was originally scheduled to take effect in 2018. But the tax was almost instantly unpopular. In December, Congress voted to push back the introduction, and Obama reluctantly went along.

The Liberals are blowing up the immigration system again. Why?

It’s a do-over. From Communist monuments to crime bills to CBC funding cuts, the new government is busy, busy, busy rubbing a giant novelty-sized pink eraser over the last nine years of Conservative government. There’s not a single Tory decision the Liberals don’t have in their sights – even in cases where going back in time means taking the country backwards as well.

Now, the Liberals are targeting Bill C-24, changes the Conservatives made to citizenship and immigration. “We’re going to be producing radical changes to the citizenship bill,” Immigration Minister John McCallum told the Hill Times. “We’re going to be announcing the details of those changes in just a few weeks.”

Committee Of MPs Want Major Changes To Theresa May's Proposed Surveillance Laws, And Privacy Better Protected

The Government’s proposed “snooper’s charter” should be re-written, “undermines” privacy and hands sweeping powers to the authorities to fish for personal data, an independent report has warned.

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee today publishes a detailed report into the draft Investigatory and Powers Bill - Home Secretary Theresa May’s key surveillance legislation drawn up in the aftermath of the Edward Snowden revelations - and calls for a swathe of alterations, notably to safeguard privacy from the mass monitoring of internet and phone records, and criticises a "lack of time and sufficient preparation".

Turkey’s Erdogan Threatened Europe With Refugees; Now He’s Demanding the U.S. Abandon Syrian Kurds

Reuters reports that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan allegedly bullied European leaders and threatened to drown Europe in refugees if his terms were not met.  He wanted 6 Bn Euros to keep the 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey happy enough in that country to discourage them from moving to Europe.

In the course of the meeting, Erdogan was alleged to have interrupted the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk repeatedly.

Dear Hillary, Madeline and Gloria: Feminism Demands We Say No to America’s Deadly Imperial Wars

Two powerful backers of Hillary Clinton attracted headlines—and outrage—this weekend when they uttered sweeping statements under the banner of “feminism,” calling on young women to back the former Secretary of State’s presidential bid.

Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of Sate, introduced Clinton in New Hampshire on Saturday by declaring, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

Federal proposals on unpaid internships ‘galling,’ advocates say

The advocacy group representing Canadian students and interns has withdrawn from the federal government’s consultations on how to improve protections for young workers because the proposals will allow unpaid internships, the Star has learned.

If implemented, the changes to the Canada Labour Code would permit unpaid internships of up to four months in federally regulated sectors like banking and telecommunications — so long as the position is “primarily for the benefit of the intern” and does not replace a paid position.

A Feminist's Guide to Critiquing Hillary Clinton

Fair warning: This blog is not going to be angry. It will not be written in all caps. There will be no vulgarity. And it probably won't go viral. I don't care.

What I do care about is the fact I've read over 70-plus articles in the past two weeks alone discussing the 2016 election and what I see is a total lack of nuance and a lot of critiques that overgeneralize or underplay the very real role gender plays when people talk about Clinton and/or any other women who dare to step into positions that for so long have only been held by men.

Mass Deaths In Syrian Jails Amount To Crime Of 'Extermination': U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - Detainees held by the Syrian government are being killed on a massive scale amounting to a state policy of "extermination" of the civilian population, a crime against humanity, United Nations investigators said on Monday.

The U.N. commission of inquiry called on the Security Council to impose "targeted sanctions" on high-ranking Syrian civilian and military officials responsible for or complicit in deaths, torture and disappearances in custody, but stopped short of naming the suspects.

Bloomberg says he is eyeing 2016 run for the White House

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media owner and former New York mayor, has stated for the first time that he is considering a run for US president, a move that would dramatically reshape the 2016 race for the White House.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the founder of the eponymous financial information group criticised the quality of the debate in the ​presidential ​race. He said ​that ​he was “looking at all the options” when asked whether he was considering putting his name forward.

Key Members of Hillary Clinton Team Lobbied Against Bills She Now Touts as National Accomplishments

As she campaigns for the presidency, Hillary Clinton is heralding the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, yet she has infused her staff with former lobbyists and consultants who did all they could to block the two reforms.

In a Jan. 17 debate with her two Democratic rivals (Martin O’Malley has since dropped out), she hailed the Affordable Care Act as “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party and of our country.” Now, The Intercept has published a report saying that Clinton’s team of strategists and fundraisers includes a number of former consultants and lobbyists for businesses that worked against Obama’s proposal for health care reform.

Liberal Shift On ISIS Mission Motivated By Politics, Philosophy

OTTAWA — The Liberal government says it's making a different choice when it comes to the ISIL mission, pulling out of bombing in favour of more training and intelligence work, more humanitarian aid, more diplomacy.

But why is a different choice even necessary? What is the real reason they can't keep six CF-18 fighter jets in the mix, in addition to doing the rest of the things they want to do?

Cops Recording Your Every Move For 10 Weeks Doesn't Violate The Constitution

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled it is not unconstitutional for law enforcement to set up a camera on a public utility pole and record a suspect's moves for 10 weeks straight.

Such warrantless recording is permitted, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said, because people have "no reasonable expectation of privacy in video footage recorded by a camera that was located on top of a public utility pole and that captured the same views enjoyed by passersby on public roads."

Goodwill files for bankruptcy amid month of turmoil

Goodwill's Toronto-based operation has filed for bankruptcy following a month of turmoil at the corporation, which saw locked-out workers and what the corporation president earlier called a "cash flow crisis."

The corporation's president, Keiko Nakamura, made the announcement in a statement Monday afternoon.

The Might of the American Empire Was on Full Display at Super Bowl 50

From the fighter jets soaring overhead to the armed troops patrolling Levi Stadium, Super Bowl 50 was a highly militarized event, its 70,000 spectators and millions of television viewers subject to a showcase of war propaganda and heavy security crackdown.

To much fanfare, the Armed Forces Chorus, comprised of 50 men and women from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force, kicked off the massive sports event by singing “America the Beautiful” from the field. CBS’ broadcast of the song cut away to footage of uniformed troops standing at attention, with text on the screen reading, “United States Forces Afghanistan.” The clip was a nod to a brutal war and occupation, now stretching into its 15th year, as top generals press for an even slower withdrawal.

CUPE says city is proposing contract cuts that are destructive and unprecedented

With only days to go until a possible city staff lockout or strike, the union representing outside workers is blasting the city over its proposed contract offer.

“The city has tabled the worst, most destructive set of cuts we have ever seen,” Matt Alloway, a member of the bargaining committee for Canadian Union of Public Employees’ Local 416, said in a statement.

Goodwill Toronto files for bankruptcy, loses Goodwill name

Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario has filed for bankruptcy, three weeks after abruptly closing its doors.

In a press release posted on the charity’s website, CEO Keiko Nakamura announced the company had filed for bankruptcy and is hoping to restructure.

TPP Would Further Emasculate America

A century ago, Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago the City of Big Shoulders: “hog butcher for the world, tool maker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads and the nation’s freight handler; stormy, husky brawling.”

All of this was true of America itself as well: Nation of big shoulders. The United States was a brawny country that would intervene to help win World War I and later quickly retool factories to serve as munitions mills to win World War II.  Now, though, as America’s tool makers and freight car builders are furloughed, their factories shuttered and offshored, America is wasting. Ill-conceived free trade deals are reducing it to a nation of stooped shoulders.

The POLITICO 100: Billionaires dominate 2016

The 100 biggest donors of 2016 cycle have spent $195 million trying to influence the presidential election ― more than the $155 million spent by the 2 million smallest donors combined — according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance data.

The analysis found that the leading beneficiaries of checks from the top 100 donors were Jeb Bush’s floundering campaign for the GOP nomination (a supportive super PAC received $49 million from donors on the list), Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (super PACs dedicated to her raised $38 million from top 100 donors) and Ted Cruz’s insurgent GOP campaign ($37 million).

Vancouverites Are Fed Up With Perfectly Good Houses Being Torn Down

Only in Vancouver would a $7.4-million home in a desirable neighbourhood recently upgraded with $300,000 in renovations be slated for demolition to make way for a bigger, newer house. And people are sick of it.

Dozens of protesters gathered Sunday to highlight the planned teardown of 6088 Adera St., a 7,300 sq.-ft. home in the leafy community of Shaughnessy.

Controversial Israel Supporter Funneling Millions Into Clinton Campaign

Recent disclosures show media mogul and controversial Israel supporter Haim Saban is pouring millions of dollars into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl together contributed $5 million to the Hillary Clinton Super PAC—Priorities USA Action—between 2015 and 2016 alone, according to disclosures available on, affiliated with the Center for Responsive Politics.

While the contributions are not surprising from long-time Clinton-backers, $3 million of them notably poured in after the presidential hopeful authored a letter to Haim Saban in July of 2015, seeking advice on "how we can work together” to defeat the growing movement to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction (BDS) Israel.

TPP has already impacted Canadian law (and it's not even ratified yet!)

Problems? Oh, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has a few! Read about them all in the new series The Trouble with the TPP.

The signing of the TPP in New Zealand provides a useful reminder that a potential ratification means committing to far more than just one (very large) trade agreement. One of the Troubles with the TPP is that the intellectual property chapter requires all countries to ratify or accede to as many as nine international IP treaties. In other words, the treaties within the treaty are a core part of the obligations that come with TPP.

Hillary Not Truthful About Wall Street Speaking Fees

Anderson Cooper: "But did you have to be paid $675,000 [for three speeches to Goldman Sachs]?"

    Hillary Clinton: "Well, I don't know. That's what they offered."

Hillary is veering from the truth when she suggests her $225,000 per speech fee, paid three times by Goldman Sachs, was "what they offered."

How the US Congress Hands US Corporate Taxes To Europe

The American Congress is so incompetent that it is arbitrarily handing billions of dollars of U.S. tax revenues to Europe. The issue involves tax manipulation by America's top IT and pharmaceutical companies, including Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Gilead and others. These companies should be paying U.S. taxes that instead are increasingly being collected by European countries thanks to Congressional (and IRS) gross negligence.

Syria: Angela Merkel 'horrified' by suffering under Russian airstrikes

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said she is “horrified” by the suffering caused by Russian bombing in Syria as pro-government forces backed by airstrikes came closer to encircling Aleppo.

Opposition activists and state media on Monday said Syrian army troops had taken the village of Kfeen, north of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, while rebel forces have also withdrawn under bombing from three Kurdish villages.

David Cameron Accused Of 'Scaremongering' By Tory MPs Over Brexit Migrant Claim

David Cameron has been accused of "scaremongering" over claims the Calais migrant camp would be moved to Kent should the UK leave the European Union.

On Monday the Daily Telegraph reported the prime minister intends to make the case that Brexit would lead France to cancel the treaty that allows British officials to check the documents of migrants on the French side of the Channel.

Aiming for Venus: Top GOP Candidates United in Denying Climate Change

Of the Republican presidential candidates currently leading in the polls - Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz - only Rubio has acknowledged that climate disruption is real.

However, even Rubio's position should be taken with a grain of salt, as he continues to deny the reality of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD). In other words, he doesn't believe that people are to blame for planetary warming. On May 11, 2014, Rubio said, "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it."

Bernie Sanders' foreign policy judgment is better than Clinton's experience

As Bernie Sanders has risen in the polls, he has been taking increasing heat for some of his apparently vague foreign policy positions and the fact that his campaign does not have a team of establishment foreign policy advisers, unlike typical front-running candidates.

Instead of just questioning Sanders’ choice, we should really be questioning why any of the candidates of either party are employing the same old foreign policy advisers – many of whom not only supported the Iraq war but every disastrous military intervention since. These are the same people who now think that yet another regional war will somehow fix the chaos in the Middle East.

Hillary Boasts Praise by Henry Kissinger—a Man With a Lot of Blood on His Hands, Some Say

On debate night in New Hampshire, Clinton closed her argument that she is a true progressive with an expression of pleasure at being praised by Henry Kissinger, a man whose policies as secretary of state under President Richard Nixon led to “3, maybe 4 million deaths” in Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere, writes NYU history professor Greg Grandin at The Nation.

Bill Clinton Accuses Bernie Sanders Of Living In A 'Hermetically Sealed Box'

MILFORD, N.H. -- Former President Bill Clinton took the gloves off and laid into Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Sunday, launching some of his most pointed attacks on his wife's Democratic presidential rival thus far.

"Hillary's opponent has a different view," Clinton said, declining to mention Sanders by name. "It's a hermetically sealed box. It's very effective. The system is rigged against you by the big banks, and both parties are in the thrall of the big banks. Anybody who takes money from Goldman Sachs couldn't possibly be president."

Uber In Canada: Edmonton May Be Template For Legalizing Ride Sharing In Other Cities

EDMONTON — Cab drivers in Edmonton protested for months at city hall, some of them pulling off their shirts, as councillors debated whether to pass a new bylaw legalizing ride-sharing companies such as Uber.

As similar revolts played out across Canada, the Alberta capital sped ahead late last month and became the first jurisdiction to pass regulations for the new industry.

Canada's Income Inequality May Be Larger Than Previously Thought: OECD Study

The gap between rich and poor in Canada, and in many developed countries, is wider than previously thought, says a new study from the OECD.

Economists Nicolas Ruiz and Nicolas Woloszko argue in a new working paper that the existing data on income inequality is incomplete because it’s based on household surveys. High-end earners tend to under-report their income in these surveys, they argue.

Why the Wild Descent of Oil Is Cause for Concern

The signs of oil's madcap price collapse are everywhere.

Global markets now behave like digital roller-coasters from China to Europe.

Schlumberger, the largest oil field service firm, cut 10,000 jobs in 2016 and another 20,000 jobs last year. The champion of hydraulic fracturing posted a loss of $1 billion, too.

Scraping by on the minimum wage and the Fight for $15

British Columbia resident Amanda Sillanpaa is working to make a better life for her and her mother.

The 25-year-old Burger King employee, who earns $10.45 an hour, hopes to one day become a software and program designer.

Today, she is among the hundreds of thousands of Canadians forced to make ends meet on a minimum wage rate. According to a 2014 study from Statistics Canada, minimum wage earners make up at least 6.7 per cent of the workforce.

Madeleine Albright Declares a ‘Special Place in Hell’ for Women Who Don’t Vote for Hillary Clinton

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea for Hillary Clinton to invite Madeleine Albright to campaign for her in New Hampshire.

During a campaign event in Concord on Saturday, the former Secretary of State declared: “Young women have to support Hillary Clinton. The story is not over!”

“They’re going to want to push us back,” she continued. “It’s not done and you have to help. Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Should Hillary Clinton Be Basking in Henry Kissinger’s Praise?

Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives found themselves in the peculiar position Thursday night of having to defend the legacy of none other than Henry Kissinger, the 92-year-old former secretary of state whose past deeds many believe amount to war crimes, but whose exercise of American statecraft has nevertheless inspired admiration among political elites for over 40 years. In the final portion of the Democratic debate at the University of New Hampshire, Clinton said she “was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better—better than anybody had run it in a long time.”

No ‘Artful Smear’: Clintons Were Paid $153 Million in Speaking Fees, Analysis Shows

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the speaking fees paid to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and an analysis published Saturday sheds some light on exactly how much Wall Street and other major corporate powers ponied up for the former Secretary of State and her husband, President Bill Clinton.

$153 million, CNN concludes, is the amount the power couple raked in between February 2001 and the launch of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in May 2015. What’s more, the Clintons received an average pay of $210,795 for each of the 729 addresses given during that time period.

Capitalism, Slavery, Racism and Imprisonment of People of Color Cannot Be Separated

Slavery didn't end; it evolved. That's the powerful argument made in Slaves of the State by Dennis Childs. Ever since a clause in the 13th Amendment allowed for enslavement as "punishment for crime," the groundwork has been laid for the prison industrial complex to function as the 21st century equivalent of chattel slavery. Order your copy of this eye-opening book by making a donation to Truthout today!

The following is an interview with Dr. Dennis Childs, author of Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration From the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary.

Indian Point nuclear facility operator reports ‘alarming levels’ of radioactivity in plant’s groundwater; some wells increase 65,000%

Radioactive water overflowed into the groundwater at the upstate Indian Point nuclear power plant, officials said Saturday.

Gov. Cuomo said the plant’s operator, Entergy, reported “alarming levels” of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%.

The Buchanan plant reported that the contamination did not migrate offsite and does not pose a threat to public health.

Mass Incarceration Since 1492: Native American Encounters With Criminal Injustice

The recent right-wing militia occupation of federal land in Oregon once again reminds us that we actually live in what historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz refers to as the US "settler colonial state." Amazingly, Ammon Bundy and his clan took over this land with the claim that they were the rightful owners. With typical settler arrogance, they neglected the historical truth - that the Indigenous people of the Northern Paiute nation were there long before a single imperialist ship set sail from Europe. As journalist Simon Moya-Smith has pointed out "for Native America being overlooked is nothing new. Our voices are seldom in the mainstream, our issues disregarded ... this country has yet to recognize our humanity."

Hillary Clinton Says the Best Way to Rein in Lobbyists Is to Shame Them

Asked at a town hall meeting at New Hampshire's Henniker College how to handle the increasing role of moneyed interests in Washington, Hillary Clinton told supporters that lobbyists should be exposed and publicly called out.

"Maybe use social media? Maybe make a concerted effort to really call these people out all the time, get some social pressure on them, get people to know their names," Clinton suggested, pointing, with obvious relish, to how the New York Daily News has taken to calling the National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre "Jihadi Wayne" for his refusal to support blocking individuals on the "no fly list" from getting gun permits.

David Cameron Snubs My Retrospective Student Loan Hike Open Letter

Two weeks ago I sent the Prime Minister an open letter about the disgraceful retrospective hike in student loans. Those who started university since 2012 currently repay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 - this threshold was supposed to rise annually from 2017, but the Government has now frozen it.

The impact of this is substantial. It will leave millions, including many who've already now left university, paying £1,000s more for their loans than they were told when they signed up.

In Pivot to Asia, US Military Reinforces Its Foothold in the Pacific

While Donald Trump blusters about how China hurts the US economy, US foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific is an issue that typically garners little mainstream analysis. However, the United States is deeply immersed in a regional chess-game against China’s rising power: The US is expanding its ongoing military presence in the Asia-Pacific, at the expense of national sovereignty, local democracy, human rights and the environment.

Sizing up Trudeau 100 days after being elected

Almost 100 days after the swearing-in of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet there are almost as many dots to connect between the Liberal campaign promises and their actual execution as on election night . . . and much contrary speculation as to what that suggests about the character of the rookie government.

For some, the Liberals suffer from chronic indecision. Others are convinced the time the government is taking before committing to a clear course on so many fronts — including the budget — reflects a steely resolve to set a revolution in motion.

Homeless Campers In Victoria, B.C. Have Had 'Stunning' Response To Eviction: Minister

VICTORIA — Homeless campers in Victoria should be celebrating instead of complaining after the government offered them a place to live and three meals a day in some cases, British Columbia's housing minister says.

Rich Coleman said eviction notices issued Friday require people living behind the courthouse to vacate the property by Feb. 25, with the option to apply for one of 88 new temporary shelter and rental units.

Can Burning Forests To Power The Grid Be Carbon Neutral? The Senate Just Said ‘Yes’

When the first major update to the nation’s energy laws in nearly a decade began last week in the Senate, environmentalists were cautiously sympathetic to it. The bill didn’t open new land for oil and gas drilling, coal was mostly ignored and the Obama administration’s recent climate change policies were left unscathed.

But environmentalists around the country are now incensed over an approved amendment categorizing bioenergy as carbon neutral — a move that groups say puts forests and even portions of the Clean Power Plan at risk.

Overwhelmingly White Maryland County Bans All School Field Trips To Baltimore

Harford County has indefinitely suspended all student field trips to Baltimore, citing concerns for the safety of their students. School officials pointed to unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, which took place last April.

A spokeswoman for Harford schools cited the ongoing trials of six officers in connection with Gray’s death to justify the ban. The ban is based on “information we received from various law enforcement agencies… following the riots and relating to potential issues that may occur during the first and subsequent trials,” Jillian Lader, the spokeswoman, said.

Progressive 3.0: Beware the Latest Version of Hillary Clinton

Listening to Hillary last night trying to pass herself off as a progressive is like watching a chameleon change colors to match its surroundings.  Not quite the same, however.  The chameleon’s move is defensive. Hillary’s is strictly offensive.

The poll-tested, focus-grouped phrases like “a progressive who gets things done” come right out of the Madison Avenue mold.  Or take her contention that the “Wall Street guys are working against her.”  They’re doing this by contributing to her Super PAC, apparently, because the week prior to saying this Hillary was meeting with the likes of Bain Capital and Blackrock. It can't denied, Wall Street money was and is pouring into her campaign.

Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America

Perhaps nothing captures the imperialist arrogance of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz more succinctly than his campaign’s statement declaring, “What is best for America is best for the world.” In addition to the obvious issue that billions of people around the world might disagree with Cruz on this point is the fact that it is not at all clear that the Republican presidential candidate’s proposed policies are even best for most Americans. But given his victory this past week in the Iowa caucus, Cruz’s ultra-conservative views can no longer be ignored while mainstream and progressive pundits busy themselves dissecting the bombastic rhetoric of the far less scary Donald Trump.