276 voters turned out at my precinct for the Iowa Democratic Caucus. Previous record attendance was 175 at the 2008 caucus. I helped with voter registration so I was the last person into the room, that #276 card was mine. Here is a panorama from the Caucus room at the time we started.
2 voters left before voting so the final headcount was 274. O’Malley had 14 voters and was declared unviable, their voters moved to Sanders and Clinton in roughly equal amounts. During realignment, 2 voters switched from Sanders to Clinton, but this did not affect results because 12 voters were required to gain another delegate. The final count was Sanders 186, Hilary 88. More people voted for Sanders than the previous record turnout for all candidates in 2008.
Final results: Sanders 5, Clinton 2.
The press will spin this as a victory for one candidate or the other. The reality is that both Sanders and Clinton will win delegates, so both candidates will win in Iowa. As I write this, 80% of Democratic precincts have reported and the delegate count is almost exactly even. It will essentially be a tie, which will be a huge defeat for Hilary as the “presumptive nominee.” Obviously the Hilary campaign is having difficulty with this concept, she just declared victory with these results:
Iowa is a bellwether state and Johnson County precinct CV04 is a belwether for Iowa. In 2008, early results from CV04 showed an overwhelming preference for Obama. This upset was the first sign that Obama would trounce Hilary and win the nomination.
I have been forced to block my blog to all internet addresses in China and Russia. My blog receives thousands of spam comments every week from these countries, it is a waste of my time and my computer resources. Ironically, it is a waste of their time and resources, since all the spam gets blocked. Perhaps they want people to voluntarily close off their websites to their countries, to stop the free flow of ideas. Perhaps they are succeeding.
I just returned from voting in my local Democratic Caucus. Under Iowa Democratic Party rules, candidates must have a minimum number of voters to receive a delegate. In my precinct, the number was 49. I went to the Edwards camp. I was Number 49.
Even one single vote can make a big difference. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
When a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina strikes, my inclination is to immerse myself in news media. But the sheer incompetence of the Bush administration’s response, combined with the unrelenting awfulness of live news coming from New Orleans makes it impossible to comprehend the overwhelming scope of the disaster.
And then one Associated Press stringer, Mary Foster, writes a couple of sentences that bring the whole thing into focus, putting a human face on these people who have had everything they own stripped away. As refugees boarded buses to evacuate them from the Superdome, Foster observed:
Pets were not allowed on the bus, and when a police officer confiscated a little boy’s dog, the child cried until he vomited. “Snowball, snowball,” he cried.
The Bush Administration is clearly demonstrating its leadership in the face of disaster.
On April 14, as a wave of violent terrorist explosions swept through Iraq, killing at least 19 people and wounding 60, President George W. Bush decided to take a day off and play baseball.
I have previously written about the cowards that compose our local military reserve unit, the 109th Area Support Medical Battalion. They claimed to be on the front lines pulling wounded soldiers from foxholes, but they actually sat around well-fortified base camps like cowards, while other medics risked their lives on the front lines. But today I was astonished at the front page story in my local newspaper; I had no idea they were war criminals, they were deployed at the notorious torture chambers of Abu Ghraib prison. Of course they claim they are completely innocent. Here is the full article from today’s newspaper.
The Commander of the 109th ASMB, Lt. Col. Steven Wieneke, claimed the tortured prisoners of Abu Ghraib and the soldiers under his command had a “pretty good relationship and pretty good rapport.” Surely some of those prisoners developed that rapport while being treated for injuries inflicted during torture. It was the duty of the soldiers of the 109th to blow the whistle on those injuries, it is still their duty to come forward and tell everything they know about the torturers of Abu Ghraib. But the Commander has interviewed his soldiers, determined that they have nothing to say about the matter, and that they saw no evil, heard no evil, so they will speak of no evil.
This is a dereliction of duty on a monstrous scale. The very medics who were responsible for the health and safety of imprisoned Iraqis sat idle and said nothing as those prisoners were tortured and injured. They are cowards, they continue to cover up for the torturers so they are accomplices after-the-fact to war crimes. They can only do one thing to atone for their war crimes: come forward, tell everything they know, and take their punishment like a soldier.
On April 5, 2004, as more than a dozen Americans died in the bloody uprising in Iraq, George W. Bush decided to play baseball. Today as I prepared this photograph, CNN announced that Bush arrived in Crawford, Texas for his Easter Vacation.
Excuse me, Mr. President, Easter is 4 days away, shouldn’t you be in the White House Situation Room? Don’t you care that your war plan is falling apart?
In a previous report, I described how I observed Kucinich delegates trying (and failing) to screw Dean out of delegates in the Iowa Caucus. Now that report has made it to the national Democratic Debate that is taking place this very moment on Fox. I have transcribed the question, and Kucinich’s non-response:
Q: Congressman Kucinich, I have a question from Cheryl Zettner, she’s in New Hampshire, this is what she says. She says, “why did you cut a deal to send voters to the Edwards camp if you didn’t meet the 15% threshold in Iowa?” She’s angry, she says Edwards supported the war and the Patriot act.
Q: Before you continue, is your party divided over the war?
Kucinich: Of course it is, course it is. I mean, I took the position of organizing a hundred and twenty six Democrats who voted against the Iraq War resolution, and I happen to think it was the right position. Today, we’re faced with over five hundred casualties, a cost of over two hundred billion dollars and it could rise, the casualties could go into the thousands and the cost could go over a half trillion if we stay there for years as a number of people on this stage intend to see happen. Well let me tell you something. Uh, we, there is a difference of opinion in our party, and I stand uh strong and proud in saying it’s time that we get the uh, UN, uh peacekeepers in and bring our troops home. And I’ve offered a plan to do that and I mentioned earlier.
Now with respect to what uh happened in Iowa, uh let me state this. That if I was looking for someone to pair up with under the Iowa Caucus system based on who I agreed with, I wouldn’t have had anyone to agree with because, er, because the fact of the matter is I had a really diff- a great difference of opinion, having been the only one on this stage who voted against the war and the patriot act, but I, I, John Edwards and I are friends, and one, one thing we agreed on in Iowa is that we both wanted more delegates. That’s what we agreed on.
Q: I, I have no followup, for your honesty, thank you.
I talked to Edwards caucusgoers after he was declared unviable, and asked them to come to my table. They all flatly refused, some even flatly refused to acknowledge my request. So now everyone knows it was a backroom deal arranged before the Caucus, and Kucinich doesn’t have the guts to admit it. Even worse, Kucinich’s weaseling out of a direct answer is considered honesty by the press.
I have said nothing on my blog about the Iowa Democratic Caucus until now, since talk is cheap and cheap talk doesn’t affect the results. But now I have returned from casting my vote and there is nothing left to do tell the story. And oh boy is it a good one.
I attended my local precinct which had 9 delegates to apportion. The caucus was held at a local church, which I objected to, I don’t think it’s appropriate to hold elections in a religious institution. The room was filled to double the expected capacity, there was an astonishing number of new caucusgoers, more than the registrars could handle, the caucus began quite late in order to process the surprisingly large crowd. The local Republican Caucus was held at the local high school, which makes no sense. I don’t see how the Democrats have to work out of a cramped church when the Republicans get a huge high school so they can all vote unanimously for Bush.
But anyway, the really interesting part was the vote. After an initial vote, any candidate polling less than 15% is declared unviable, and those persons must realign to a candidate or declare they are undecided. The only viable candidates were Dean, Kerry, and Edwards. Then everyone is given an opportunity to talk to other caucusgoers, to try to get them to come to their group. And here’s where it got really interesting.
The Kerry group had enough votes to get 4 delegates, but the Dean/Edwards vote was tied, the remaining delegates would have to be decided by coin toss. So the Kerry people decided to screw Dean by shifting 3 surplus voters to Edwards, to make the apportion 4-3-2. When the final vote was called, the Kerry faction discovered that they had miscalculated, they should have only shifted 2 voters, and they lost their 4th delegate. The final split of delegates was 3-3-3. Suddenly the Kerry faction wanted a third vote. They were overruled by the caucus supervisor, but only after much shouting and bickering, and a call to the Democratic Party HQ for a decision on rules. The Kerry people outsmarted themselves, and screwed themselves out of a delegate instead of screwing Dean out of a delegate.
At this moment, I’m watching Kerry make a “victory speech,” but he’s wrong. Kerry did not win Iowa. Kerry won delegates, just like Dean and Edwards. No single person wins the Iowa Caucus, it is not a winner-takes-all election. You cannot win the Iowa Caucus, you can only lose it. Gephardt, Kucinich, Lieberman, Clark and Sharpton lost, everyone else was a winner.
I won’t declare which candidate I voted for, but it should be obvious that one single vote changed the results of this caucus. Don’t ever think that your one vote doesn’t make a difference.