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Ross Floyd

Migrants Are Iowans, And We Stand With Them

To his fellow migrants and to all of us at Iowa CCI, Jose Robinson Palacios is a hero. That’s because he saved the lives of dozens of children on his trek north from Honduras, carrying them one by one across the river that separates Guatemala from Mexico. These include Isaac, an eleven-year-old epileptic, the son of Heybi Jacqueline Torres Toro. Jose and Jacqueline are just two of the many asylum seekers who have found a safe haven and welcome in Iowa City, at the Catholic Worker House. At Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, we have a broad mission to put people before profits, and go where we see a need. In the lives of these refugees, we saw our ability to make a difference – so we’ve joined forces with the Catholic Worker House to try and protect them. Iowa is an early-voting state, and in September we organized a people’s forum with presidential candidates. We arranged for Juliza, Jose and Jacqueline to meet with Senator Bernie Sanders and Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro. This Tuesday, Secretary Castro made good on his promise – he returned to Iowa, and went with Jose and two dozen of us to Jose’s mandatory check-in at the ICE office in Cedar Rapids. Castro demanded that ICE take the ankle bracelet off Jose's leg. They accepted that demand, and when Jose emerged from his check-in, he proudly showed us his unchained ankle. We thank Secretary Castro for following through on his promise. For Iowa CCI and myself, we view members of our community like Jose and Jacqueline as part of our family. So to not show up for them is to accept our family members’ death. And we can't do that. Jose is not just a refugee, or an immigrant: he’s an Iowan. He’s a member of our community, and we’re going to fight for him to have every right that we have. Because if we leave anybody out, then we’re never going to get where we want to go.

Ross Floyd is an organizer at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and a graduate of Grinnell College. 

Public Impeachment Hearings Open

Key US diplomats to testify in first public impeachment hearing. CNN: "The House is taking a historic step forward Wednesday in its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, holding public hearings that Democrats hope will show the public that the President abused the power of his office to obtain dirt on a potential 2020 rival while withholding vital security aid from Ukraine. The top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent are testifying at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday in the first public hearing of the House Democrats' impeachment investigation into Trump and Ukraine. Both received subpoenas Wednesday to testify, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry, which also were issued before their closed-door depositions last month.
Taylor is one of the most important witnesses for the Democrats impeachment case. He testified behind closed doors last month that he was told Trump held up US security aid and denied a one-on-one meeting with the Ukrainian President unless Ukraine announced an investigation into his political rivals. Taylor said he was told by officials who spoke with the President that Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to "go to a microphone" to announce the investigation."

SCOTUS May Undermine DREAMers

Supreme Court may side with Trump on 'DREAMers'. NPR: "The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority signaled Tuesday that it may let the Trump administration shut down the Obama-era program that granted temporary protection from deportation to roughly 700,000 young people, commonly known as DREAMers. Brought to the U.S. illegally as children, the DREAMers were allowed to legally work and go to school if they met certain requirements and passed a background check. The program, begun in 2012, is known as DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Until Tuesday the administration had consistently maintained that it had no choice but to pull the plug on the program because, as President Trump's attorney general put it in September 2017, the DACA program was "illegal" and "unconstitutional" from the time it was first put in place in 2012.

Trump's WikiLeaks Strategy Revealed In Roger Stone Trial

Former top Trump official details campaign’s dealings on WikiLeaks, and suggests Trump was in the know. WaPo: "Roger Stone was the linchpin of a months-long effort by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to discover damaging information on Hillary Clinton to be released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, an effort that began before the hack of Democratic emails was publicly known, Stone’s trial has shown. Testimony over four days ending Tuesday also revealed engagement by Trump and top aides in making use of Stone’s claims that he knew emails detrimental to Clinton’s campaign would be released. The trial in federal court in Washington turns on accusations that Stone lied to Congress about his attempts to learn more about what WikiLeaks would publish and when it would do so. But some testimony also raises questions about the president’s written assertions under oath that he did not recall being aware of communications between Stone and WikiLeaks or recall any conversations about WikiLeaks between Stone and members of his campaign."

Buttegieg Challenged On Skating Away From Medicare For All

Justice Democrats accuse Buttigieg of abandoning Medicare for All after taking 'tons of cash' from corporate interests. Common Dreams: "Providing a two-year timeline of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's remarks about Medicare for All, progressive advocacy group Justice Democrats on Wednesday accused the South Bend, Indiana mayor of abandoning support for single-payer healthcare in favor of an incremental half-measure after realizing 'he could raise tons of cash from corporate executives in the pharmaceutical and insurance industry.' Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats, said in a statement that Buttigieg "has no credibility" to criticize fellow 2020 contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for being "evasive" on Medicare for All 'given how far his position has shifted over the past two years and how much money he's been taking from Big Pharma and insurance executives.' According to a Business Insider analysis published in August, Buttigieg—who is now running on a public option plan called "Medicare for All Who Want It"—has received more campaign cash from the healthcare industry than any other 2020 presidential candidate aside from President Donald Trump. Shahid suggested Tuesday that industry cash played a role in Buttigieg's decision to ditch Medicare for All and go on the attack against the popular proposal in campaign ads and the presidential debates."

34m Americans Know Someone Who Died Without Access To Health Care

Millions in U.S. Lost Someone Who Couldn't Afford Treatment. Gallup: "More than 13% of American adults -- or about 34 million people -- report knowing of at least one friend or family member in the past five years who died after not receiving needed medical treatment because they were unable to pay for it, based on a new study by Gallup and West Health. Nonwhites, those in lower-income households, those younger than 45, and political independents and Democrats are all more likely to know someone who has died under these circumstances. These data are based on surveys with 1,099 U.S. adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted Sept. 16-30, 2019. Respondents were asked, "Has there been a time in the last five years when a friend or family member passed away after not receiving treatment for their condition due to their inability to pay for it?" These results are not meant to quantify the number of people who have died after not being able to pay for medical treatment, including prescription drugs, but rather the number of people who report knowledge of a death under such circumstances. In all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 2.8 million persons died in 2017 in the U.S. across all causes."

Trump Advisor Stephen Miller Openly Embraced White Supremacy

Stephen Miller’s Affinity for White Nationalism Revealed in Leaked Emails. SPLC: "In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch. The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children. Hatewatch exposes the racist source material that has influenced Miller’s visions of policy. That source material, as laid out in his emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a 'white genocide'-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in 'Mein Kampf.' Miller’s perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States. Hatewatch was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born."

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