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Hugh Espey

We The People Won Big In Iowa

Last night we made history. In Iowa, we kicked off incredible momentum that will carry the groundswell of voters who want Medicare for All, Clean Water, the Green New Deal, and Free College for All into New Hampshire next week, and on to the rest of the country. As members of Iowa CCI Action and People’s Action, we caucused for ourselves, and for our loved ones. We caucused for folks who came before us, and for the generations to follow.We caucused for the millions of people across the country – and the globe – who are ready to radically shift our political system away from greed to one that puts people and our planet first. We did that. There’s a lot to critique about the Iowa caucus system – including the state Democratic Party’s slow reporting of results. And for every person we talked to who was excited to go, there were parents staying home with kids, people working second shift, or folks not able to attend due to accessibility issues. But we used this “all eyes on Iowa” moment to pull more people into this movement. Early results show the people did show up in a big way – from Ottumwa, the very first precinct to vote, where fourteen out of fifteen chose Bernie Sanders, to West Liberty and other bilingual voting sites, where many first-time voters also overwhelmingly chose Sanders – our issues, and our candidate, are winning. But the most important thing is last night, we – the people – won big. We won big on: Medicare for All, Clean Water, the Green New Deal, Free College for All. And just as importantly – doing politics differently. Together we lifted up a bold vision for what’s possible, and what we need and deserve.

Hugh Espey is executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action, part of the People's Action national network of grassroots groups.

Iowa Democratic Party Slow To Tally Votes

Results for Iowa caucuses delayed as state Democratic Party finds 'inconsistencies'. CNN: "The Iowa presidential caucuses were thrown into chaos late Monday after the state Democratic Party said it found 'inconsistencies,' delaying results and causing widespread confusion across the state. The Iowa Democratic Party said early Tuesday that it would release the results of the Iowa caucuses later Tuesday after 'manually verifying all precinct results.' Party chair Troy Price said the party is "validating every piece of data we have against our paper trail. That system is taking longer than expected, but it's in place to ensure we are eventually able to report results with full confidence." The state party hosted a conference call with the campaigns sometime after 11 p.m. ET, but sources confirmed that party leaders hung up as campaign officials pressed for more information about the various reporting issues and when they would receive more data and results. The call became very heated, sources said. As the state party scrambled to sift through three sets of numbers, election workers struggled to use a new smartphone app created for caucus organizers to calculate and report results. 'The app is the issue, and the hotline is smoked,' said Joe Galasso, a volunteer in charge of new registrations for Waukee Precinct 2, in Dallas County."

Latinx Iowa Voters Show Up For Sanders

Bernie Sanders gets big support from Latino caucusgoers in West Liberty. The Gazette: "Of the 142 people who showed up to this caucus precinct — one of two adjacent rooms in the West Liberty Community Center — Sanders garnered five delegates, followed by four for Pete Buttigieg and three for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar all were unviable, with smaller groups of people in their corners. Tom Steyer initially had two supporters, but they either left after the first round or joined one of the larger groups. Sanders had the clear bulk of support from the Latino community in the room, many of them caucusing for the first time. 'We wanted to be informed, to see how it works,' said Jasmin Castillo, 38. She works at a law office and came with Yolanda Aguilar, 66, who is retired and used to work at West Liberty Foods. Castillo translated from Spanish for Aguilar. 'We’re supporting his (Sanders’) ideas for free college,' Castillo said. “And we just don’t want Trump to be reelected.' Juan Machado, 17, decided to caucus when he learned he was eligible, since he will be 18 when the general election is held in November. A junior at West Liberty High School, he said he felt drawn to Sanders’ message. 'He’s had the same view for decades, and that does something for me. He doesn’t change his beliefs depending on what’s popular,' he said. Machado said immigration reform was the most important issue for him, and that he felt it was his duty to caucus. 'I want to able to feel that I’m helping,' he said. 'Helping people is the most important thing to me.' Juan Meraz, 18, was also caucusing for the first time. A computer science student at the University of Iowa, he said he was undecided between Yang and Sanders for a long time before settling on Sanders. He also likes Sanders’ plans for free public college. And at the end of the day, he said he was simply looking for a campaign with maturity."

Trump Plots Revenge For Impeachment

With acquittal nearly certain, Trump plots revenge on Bolton, impeachment enemies. Vanity Fair: "With Senate Republicans on track to acquit Donald Trump on Wednesday, Washington is bracing for what an unshackled Trump does next. Republicans briefed on Trump’s thinking believe that the president is out for revenge against his adversaries. 'It’s payback time,' a prominent Republican told me last week. 'He has an enemies list that is growing by the day,' another source said. Names that came up in my conversations with Republicans included Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Mitt Romney, and John Bolton. 'Trump’s playbook is simple: go after people who crossed him during impeachment.' Several sources said Bolton is at the top of the list. Trump’s relationship with Bolton was badly damaged by the time Bolton left the White House in September. Trump has since blamed his former national security adviser for leaking details of his forthcoming memoir that nearly derailed the impeachment trial by pressuring Republicans to call witnesses. In the book Bolton reportedly alleges Trump told him directly that Ukraine aid was tied to Ukraine announcing investigations into the Bidens (Bolton has denied being a source of the leak). The campaign against Bolton has already begun. On January 23, the White House sent a cease and desist letter to Bolton’s lawyer demanding that Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, not release the book in March without removal of certain information. Trump intends to ratchet up the pressure, and some Republicans close to the White House fear how far Trump will take things after he’s gotten off for a second time."

Federal Judge Reverses Conviction Of Border Volunteers

Federal judge reverses government's "gruesome logic" in conviction of lifesaving border volunteers. The Intercept: "A federal judge in Tucson, Arizona, reversed the conviction of four humanitarian aid volunteers on religious freedom grounds Monday, ruling that the government had embraced a 'gruesome logic' that criminalizes 'interfering with a border enforcement strategy of deterrence by death.' The reversal, written by U.S. district judge Rosemary Márquez, marked the latest rebuke of the Trump administration’s crackdown on humanitarian aid providers in southern Arizona, and the second time in matter of months that a religious freedom defense has prevailed in a federal case involving the provision of aid to migrants in the borderlands. The defendants in the case — Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick — were fined and given probation in March of last year for entering the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge in the summer of 2017 without a permit, driving on a restricted access road and leaving food, water and other humanitarian aid supplies for migrants passing through in the summer heat. They were the first among a group of volunteers with the faith-based humanitarian group, No More Deaths, to go to trial for their aid work in 2019. The remains of roughly 3,000 migrants have been recovered in Pima County alone since 2000. Experts are confident that the true death toll is much higher. Situated at the heart of the Sonoran Desert, the Cabeza Prieta refuge is one of the deadliest spaces in the region."

State Of The Union Address Tonight

What to expect ahead of Trump’s State of the Union Address. NYT: "Surreal will be the word of the evening as President Trump marches into the same House chamber where he was impeached just seven weeks ago to address the nation even as he is on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors on the other side of the Capitol. The president’s annual address on Tuesday comes after two weeks of arguments on the Senate floor about whether he should be removed from office and a day before a scheduled final vote. With acquittal virtually assured, Mr. Trump will use his speech to set the terms for the remainder of the year as he heads toward the November election in search of a second term.Mr. Trump will deliver his third State of the Union address and his fourth speech to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber. The speech will begin around 9 p.m. Eastern and will be followed by responses by two Democrats, one in English and one in Spanish."

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