Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

US Citizen from California Held Abroad and Tortured. U.S. Involvement Suspected.

We’re working on a case now that will make your hair stand on-end.

Our client, Naji Hamdan, a U.S. citizen, was detained and tortured this fall for three months by the United Arab Emirates with United States involvement.  Naji is still in prison there, now under the custody of local officials who charged him with terrorism-related offenses based on coerced confessions.

Naji Hamdan

We’ve been lobbying our members of Congress and contacting the State Department but time is short!!  Help us pressure Secretary of State designee, Hillary Clinton to do something before she takes office. Naji’s story after the jump.

For over two decades, Naji and his family lived in Hawthorne, California, where he ran an auto-parts business and helped manage the Islamic Center of Hawthorne, a mosque and community center.  He was also monitored by the FBI.  The past two years were especially intense.  Naji’s brother, Hossam, and others who know him from his activities at the Islamic Center have all said that he’s a peaceful family man who would never support violence.

In 2006, Naji decided to relocate to the United Arab Emirates for business and family reasons.   This summer FBI agents traveled from Los Angeles to the U.A.E. to continue their questioning of Naji. Three weeks later he was taken into custody by agents of the U.A.E. state security forces and detained incommunicado for the next three months.  

His brother and his wife, Mona, also a U.S. citizen, were frantic. They contacted the ACLU/SC for help.  On November 26, 2008, one week after lawyers for the ACLU/SC filed a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. government was responsible for his detention, Naji was transferred from U.A.E. state security custody to the Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi where he remains to this day, charged with terrorism-related offenses.  

Recently, Naji was able to finally contact his family and an American consular official and told them he was severely tortured during his detention in U.A.E. state security custody and forced to confess to crimes that he did not commit.  

His torturers blindfolded Naji, so he couldn’t see them. They kicked and beat him to the point of Naji passing out. They strapped him into an electric chair, threatening its use. Naji heard some of the interrogators speak native English with an American accent. They asked him questions about topics only the U.S. federal agents would know.  

From all angles, his imprisonment looks like it’s been done at the request of the U.S. government, and his interrogation, which included severe torture, was done with participation of U.S. federal officials.  If the U.S. government requested or participated in his detention and torture in the U.A.E., the United States government has violated this U.S. citizen’s most fundamental rights.  

Naji’s situation is now urgent. If his prosecution is allowed to proceed in the U.A.E. based on evidence obtained through torture, Naji will receive a deeply unfair trial and unjust sentence.  

The policies of the current administration make appealing to Secretary Rice practically pointless.  Please help us urge Senator Hillary Clinton, President Elect Obama’s choice for the next Secretary of State, for Naji’s release and return to the U.S., where his rights can be protected.  If Naji has done something wrong, then the U.S. should charge him with a crime and prosecute him in the United States, where he can be assured his due process rights.  In addition, the role played by the U.S. government in causing Naji’s detention and torture must be thoroughly investigated.  Naji must be treated as all Americans deserve to be treated, with dignity and respect for their rights.

Thank you.

Sen. Barbara Boxer on Gov. Palin’s nomination as GOP VP

By and large the Democratic response to the Palin pick as McCain’s running mate has been strong, especially when you contrast it to the feeble words from the Republicans after Obama’s big speech last night.

Sen. Barbara Boxer just issued this fantastic statement about Gov. Palin, who is a weak pick for McCain and a huge gamble.  Boxer goes right after her.

The Vice President is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour’s worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.

If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken.

The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women.  On the issues, they could not be further apart.

Senator McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a women on his ticket, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Olympia Snowe – they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice.

In addition, Sarah Palin is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature which makes this more incomprehensible.

Interestingly, Hillary’s statement is much weaker, but I think by design.

“We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin’s historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain.  While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”

Clinton is going to be all nice and then spend the next several months tearing into her.  This pick guarantees an even bigger role for Hillary Clinton.  She will be the one continuing to make the argument to her supporters that Barack Obama is a much superior choice than the anti-choice, anti-equality, anti-working class ticket of McCain/Palin.

Final California Tally

Though Barack Obama has been nominated by the Democratic Party by acclamation, the delegate counts still are tabulated.  And I just heard that the final count here in California was 263-169.


…let me update.  Apparently it was 273 for Obama, 166 for Clinton, with two superdelegates not voting, one of them DiFi, who isn’t here.

…the fact that California was the only state of the ones that went through the roll call that had to pass because they didn’t have all the votes cast… well, the word “disorganization” comes to mind.  Of course, it’s also the largest delegation, so it’s maybe understandable.

No Way, No How, No McCain

If there was any doubt that we would get a barnburner on unity tonight from Hillary Clinton, put that to bed. The California delegation went crazy for Clinton, waving Hillary signs that were distributed just ahead of Chelsea’s introduction and even holding a few homemade signs like “18 million cracks”. Obama/Hillary/Unity signs are spreading through now.

A few quotes out of the gates:

“The time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.”

“This is a fight for the future and it’s a fight we must win together.”

“You haven’t endured the past eight years to suffer through more failed leadership.”

“Barack Obama is my candidate and he must be our president.”

Update This is a great mix of unification and reaching out to Clinton supporters who may be any measure of disaffected. She just finished and the crowd, at least here in California (I can’t see or hear any further) is insane. Signs and standing ovation as far as I can see. A few more great lines from an excellent speech:

“Were you in it for the marine…Were you in it for that mom…Were you in it for that young boy…Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

“The genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.”

“Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton.” (no idea what came after this, it was deafening)

“It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.”

“My daughter got to vote for her mother for president. This is the story of America.”

“Keep going. Don’t ever stop, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

“We’re Americans, we’re not big on quitting.”

“We need to get going by electing Barack Obama.”

So that’s day two and I’m exhausted and grinning ear to ear. Dave will be here tomorrow.

Update Final update before a pass out cold. Walking out from the floor after the Clinton speech, there were obviously media folks running around everywhere. And they were bolting exclusively for Hillary delegates, people with Hillary signs, etc. And they were ALL pushing essentially the same question: “That was really good and all, but is there really unity? I mean, really really unity?” This is crap. Tonight should pretty much put this meme to bed. There may be holdout PUMAs running around here and there, but the lesson from tonight from Clinton herself is that those people aren’t the ones who were every really committed to the Democratic party and its ideals to start with. And those aren’t people who are relevant to the party going forward. People can vote however they want to vote, but if they were in it because of the principles that drove the Clinton campaign, then they’d be with Obama now. There’s no equivocation from anyone on that stage tonight.

As far as Clinton, Obama ,and the Democratic party are concerned, the issue is done.

SF: Mayor Gavin Newsom Sides with PG&E Against Sierra Club on Clean Energy Act

I have little doubt that Senator Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Nominee had it not been for her caving to right wing talking points and voting for the Iraq War. Being on the wrong side the the biggest foreign policy disaster in a generation is what advanced her career from inevitable nominee to junior senator. At the time, many of us in the netroots were flabbergasted, we knew it was a disastrous course of action and came to the conclusion that those who sided with George Bush and the neocons either had no grasp of the situation or were doing it for as a purely political calculation (and a poor one at that as Clinton discovered).

Iraq was the single biggest foreign policy decision, but when it comes to the global climate crisis, I’m getting a sense of déjà vu from the positioning and language used by San Francisco Mayor and 2010 California Gubernatorial hopeful Gavin Newsom as to why he’s siding with PG&E against the Sierra Club on clean, renewable energy.

As was reported this morning on Clean Energy Act getting seven of eleven votes on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and thus qualifying for the 2008 fall ballot:

San Francisco supervisors Tuesday approved the submission of a November ballot measure calling on the city to produce more than half of its energy through renewable sources within a decade, and also explore a move toward city control of its power.

The San Francisco Clean Energy Act calls for the city to fulfill 51 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2017, rising to 75 percent by 2030, and 100 percent “or the greatest amount technologically feasible or practicable” by 2040.

The Charter Amendment says San Francisco wants clean, renewable energy and we need to set our sights on it and figure out how to make it happen. Sounds like something a Democrat facing a Democratic Primary would want to support, especially in light of Al Gore’s bold call to action to act even more aggressively.

Right Wing Talking Points Emerge

Democrats step up to fight against global climate change and you’ll be shocked to know that the polluters fought back using right-wing talking points:

A host of big-name politicos, including several supervisors, Assemblyman Mark Leno and former Public Utilities Commission manager Susan Leal, gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to support the act.

“This is our time,” Supervisor Tom Ammiano said. “We’re going to win, and we’ll keep the lights on for you.”

Opponents, including Pacific Gas and Electric Co., say voters would see their utility rates spike if the city turns to public power. In mailers sent to voters last week, PG&E also says city government can’t even fill potholes and shouldn’t be granted another responsibility.

Look at the language in the mail. It didn’t defend PG&E, it attacked the very concept that government can deliver services. To defend PG&E’s monopoly profits, they are going after the very fundamentals of government. So did Mayor Gavin Newsom defend his city’s government, of buy into the right-wing talking points:

“Let’s call it what it is, it’s a public power initiative to take over PG&E … who are by any objective standards doing more than any other utility in the United States of America [to reduce greenhouse emissions],” Newsom said.

A campaign to defeat the initiative has already been formed through Newsom advisor Eric Jaye’s political consultant group.

There is so much, so wrong with that that I think it needs a list:

  • It is not a takeover of PG&E, it is a push for 100% clean, renewable energy.
  • If he’s right that PG&E is the best vehicle to move beyond fossil fuels, they will be the vehicle. However, when on the same day PG&E announces a $850-million carbon-based plant a few miles from San Francisco it might look ridiculous
  • The right-wing talking points in the misleading mail cited above against San Francisco government being able to get anything done is being sent by the Mayor’s own chief consultant?

Why is Gavin Newsom trying to make Al Gore cry?

Unify NOT Divide

If you remember how you felt in 2004 …

You will let the Hillary supporter’s grieve their loss – this is coming from a loyal Hillary supporter. In 2004 there was a lot of talk that if John Kerry lost and George Bush won again  we would not have to worry about 2008 because Former First Lady Hillary Clinton would be running for the Presidency. A HUGE piece of history would be made in the next election, a female president- imagine that.  The world would change.

Now remember how you felt on November 3, 2004 when Senator Kerry conceded the election, and we had President George Bush for another 4 years. There were a lot of Republicans saying they were right after all and their candidate prevailed in yet another election.  No matter how hard we worked for Senator Kerry they still tormented us – even those who did not vote had an opinion.

In 2004 we also learned about a Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. Many of us heard his powerful rhetoric for the first time at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. I said “Wow, this person is amazing; he is going to be our president someday!”

SOMEDAY is the key word. For the first time in my 13 years of voting, I was torn between whom to elect on February 5. I finally had the opportunity to vote in a life changing election. We had the first female speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, and it was time for the first female president, Senator Hillary Clinton.   I felt that Senator Obama lacked the depth of experience that we had with Senator Clinton. Do you remember that Hillary swept California, not Obama?  There was hope!

We Hillary supporters feel as though it’s 2004 all over again.  It’s a monumental loss for all of us and Senator Clinton who we believed in and who was going to be our first female President. We feel that the Obama supporters are like Bush supporters in many ways. No matter how hard we worked, they won’t give us time to mourn. They seem to forget that they have a lot of work to do in unifying the Hillary supporters with their candidate.

Yes, we Hillary supporters feel jilted and angry because four years ago we were waiting for her to make history and become the first female president of the United States.  Now it’s Obama, Obama, and more Obama mania.

In November, Obama will need all of the votes that he can get – these include those from the disappointed Hillary supporters.  As Democrats, we are all peers who hold the same vision and values.  But honestly, even after a month it still pains me to go into a room and have everyone cheer for Obama because he is the nominee.   I am not on the Obama side yet and sit afraid to speak for fear of being ridiculed and accused of supporting the other party.  Right now the best things that an Obama supporter can do is when meeting a Hillary supporter to take the time and listen – you might learn something, make a new friend, and get a vote in the long run.

Terry McAuliffe to be Protested June 19th

AHIP, America’s Health Insurance Plans, decided downtown San Francisco would be a good place for the health insurance company lobbyists and executives to hold their convention. Not surprisingly, thousands of people will take to the streets at noon on June 19th at the Moscone center to protest getting ripped off by the health insurance companies and rally for SB 840 in California and HR 676 nationally.

One of the key people being protested is none other than former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe who is a keynote speaker for the industry. Which adds some context to his quotes in yesterday’s New York Times on the Clintons’ enemies list and rewarding of friends:

“The Clintons get hundreds of requests for favors every week,” said Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. “Clearly, the people you’re going to do stuff for in the future are the people who have been there for you.”

Finally, we’ve recovered from McAuliffe’s disaster as DNC Chair when he ran it like the DLC and was proven incapable of moving beyond transactional politics to a post-McCain/Feingold fundraising party that isn’t a subsidiary of special interests. And yes, we’ve also moved beyond his success in perfectly executing a Clinton campaign strategy that took her from undisputed presidential front-runner to junior senator. But there is he is, using his name and connections to help out those who have helped them while Americans suffer.

In my opinion, one of the most important outcomes of Clinton’s loss was that they won’t get back control of the DNC — which is great news for Democrats. But T-Mac is a reminder that we all need due diligence in the process of choosing the next California Democratic Party Chair so that we can reform the CDP to also move into the 21st century.

Currently, there are 1,904 pledged attendees at the rally according to the neat online organizing tool. Check to see which groups have currently pledged how many, get your group involved, and join in this important event.

450 – California School Employees Assn.

400 – California Nurses Assn.

200 – California Alliance for Retired Americans

200 – California Universal Health Care Organizing Project

100 – Cindy Sheehan for Congress

54 – Others

50 – Green Party SF

47 – Health Care for All-Marin

40 – American Medical Student Association

30 – Gray Panthers SF

25 – Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

25 – United Educators of San Francisco

20 – Amer. Fed. of Teachers, local 2121

20 – Neighbor to Neighbor

20 – West Country Seniors

20 – Senior Action Network

20 – Older Women’s League of San Francisco

20 – Hermanson for Congress

20 – HAT

20 – Green Party San Meteo

15 – California Physicians Alliance

15 – Socialist Action

14 – Health Care for All-Santa Cruz

12 – International Longshore and Warehouse Union, local 6

10 – California Alliance for Legislative Action

10 – Office and Professional Employees International Union, local 3

10 – San Francisco for Democracy

9 – American Postal Workers Union – SF

9 – UC-Santa Cruz students for Single Payer

5 – Chris Jackson for Community College Bd

5 – Young Workers United

4 – Health Care for All-Sonoma


Feinstein’s Lies Are Not Helpful

Senator Feinstein was in the midst of a legitimately big bit of the primary recently, hosting the one-on-one meeting between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that helped resolve the race.  Feinstein remains a strong Clinton partisan and loud proponent of the so-called “Dream Ticket” which would give Clinton the VP spot on the ticket; which is fine except that she’s lying to sell it.

Feinstein appeared on “This Week” yesterday continuing to push the outright lie that Sen. Clinton won the popular vote in the primary.  This is hardly the first time that Feinstein has pushed this dishonest notion (also here) and as kos (among others) continues to point out, only by ignoring the caucus states and giving Obama zero votes from Michigan does this math work. Of course, there are very few elections where you get to 1) claim victory despite not winning the actual contest in question or 2) choose after the fact which votes count and which don’t. Or so goes the “democracy” notion.

First and foremost, every time this dishonest talking point gets trotted out, it makes everyone involved look stupid. Senator Feinstein is by no means stupid, so it’s troubling that she would debase herself and the candidate she supports by throwing this garbage around. It doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) actually help if the goal is to get Clinton into the VP spot. It comes off as being the last resort when there are no merits to run on.

Which is the second trouble: there’s a perfectly strong and reasonable case to be made for Clinton as VP. I don’t personally support the notion, but it’s a debate with merit that can be engaged in honestly and directly and can make the party stronger by speaking passionately about the strengths of our Democratic leaders. Instead of focusing on Senator Clinton’s actual strengths though, we get these lies that should be insulting to Clinton and continue to undercut Obama’s general election campaign by implying weakness.

Finally, the myopic focus on Obama and Clinton, while serving during the primary process to dramatically expand the party’s base and participation, is now at the point where it’s sucking all the air out of the room and is detrimental to moving forward with a wider focus. It’s distracting from downticket races that have been waiting for attention, it’s detracting from expanding and unifying field organization, and it’s undercutting the Democrats vs. Republicans debates that need to be the full focus across the country.

I understand full well that this is all posturing for the VP slot. But it’s not the first time that posturing for personal gain from the Clinton camp has undercut broader opportunities. As far as I know this is not coming from Senator Clinton; I thought her speech on Saturday was excellent and that she’s striking the right chords for party unity and healing. I’ve been on the side of tough primary and general losses and I fully appreciate the passions that can linger after the votes are counted and don’t begrudge anyone for that or presume to tell anyone to “just get over it.” But the least we can do for the candidates, the party, and the country is to be honest and constructive going forward.  And Feinstein’s lies are not helpful.

Democratic Unity in Monterey County

The following was written by Shawn Bagley, Central Coast for Hillary 2008, California Democratic Party Region 9 Director and Vinz Koller, Monterey County Democrats for Obama, Monterey County Democratic Party Chair. They asked me to post it here and I was happy to agree – it’s a wonderful model of how Democrats are united for the fall.

We had a deal, and now we’re honoring it. Way back when the presidential campaign was just getting started, Shawn decided Hillary Clinton was the best choice, and Vinz decided on Barack Obama. Each of us threw himself into organizing for his candidate, joining many other volunteers on the Central Coast in working with one of the national campaigns.

This meant that throughout the primaries we would be opponents – working for the success of one candidate inevitably meant working for the defeat of the other. But at the same time, we would be working closely together on the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee. Furthermore, we were friends.

What to do? Was it possible to be opponents and allies at the same time?

Absolutely it was. Early on, we came to an agreement, with these terms:

  • By far the most important objective was to elect a Democrat for president. Especially at this point in US history, any other outcome was unthinkable.
  • And so we agreed that throughout the primaries we would compete vigorously but never destructively.
  • And when it was all over, whoever was the nominee would have our full and enthusiastic support.

That is where we are now. Barack Obama has won the nomination, and Shawn will put all his energy into getting him elected president. And if Hillary Clinton had won, Vinz would have done exactly the same thing.

This is not to say that it’s easy, because it isn’t. Shawn put his heart into the Hillary campaign, helping to organize thousands of volunteers into one of the most effective operations in the state, and even arranging for a visit to Salinas by the candidate herself. Watching Hillary concede, Shawn’s heart broke.

But as the candidates themselves have each said many times, in the end this is not about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

It is about the future of our country. And it has seldom been more clear that the best future for our country is with a Democrat in the White House.

We are not the only two who have this deal. Friday evening, local Obama organizer Quinn Gardner drove with Shawn to Oakland to meet with the Northern California Obama campaign staff. They welcomed Shawn warmly, and he made the same promise to them that he had made to Vinz: he will do everything he can to help elect the nominee.

And, after all, it’s the same deal that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made, and that they are now honoring: a vigorous competition, followed by unity.

Of course Shawn is deeply disappointed that his candidate didn’t win, just as Vinz would be. But while Hillary didn’t win, it would miss an important truth to say simply that she lost. Because no candidate who has mobilized as much support as Hillary has can really be said to have lost. Hillary’s supporters, in their millions, have made their voices heard. And so the influence of Hillary’s ideas and of Hillary’s supporters will live on in a unified general election campaign to elect Barack Obama President of the United States.

As Hillary said in her speech Saturday at the National Building Museum, “The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the President of the United States.”

And as Barack said following that speech, “Senator Clinton… has inspired millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to causes like universal health care that make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans. Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I’m a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her.”

As we come together in unity, the competition has made us stronger. Locally and nationally, the Democratic Party is larger, more focused and more organized than ever before.

We are more likely than ever to win in November, so that starting on January 20, 2009, we can start putting this country back on the right course: the course of peace, prosperity, freedom and justice that we all believe in.

And that is the best deal for all of us.

AP: Obama Clinches Nomination

The AP is reporting that Barack Obama has “effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination.” Their calculus is based on publicly and privately committed delegates and a minimum number of delegates won today in Montana and South Dakota.

Assuming AP is right, I’m licking my chops for moving on to McCain.

[UPDATE] by Julia There are a few California superdelegates who have not announced.  However, scratch Jerry McNerney off of that list. (Correction by Lucas: McNerney will endorse tonight, hasn’t said who)

[UPDATE] by Lucas John Perez endorses Obama.

[UPDATE] by Lucas Kamil Hasan switches from Clinton to Obama.

[UPDATE] by Lucas Maxine Waters has also switched from Clinton to Obama. She said: “It is now time to close ranks and time for all remaining delegates to put their support behind the presumptive nominee, Senator Obama. Senator Obama has run an effective campaign and has overcome many obstacles to create an energy that has brought many new Democrats into the party.”

[UPDATE] by Julia Sam Farr goes for Obama, or so his spokesman says he will tonight. (Update by Lucas: now official.)

[UPDATE] by Lucas DCW adds the following for Obama: Christine Pelosi, Rachel Binah (switch from Clinton), Bob Filner, Jerry McNerney.

And here is that the list of those who have not declared yet.  Torres by the CDP rules cannot endorse.

Steve Ybarra, Art Torres, Robert Ranking, John Perez, Christine Pelosi, Bob Mulholland, Carole Midgen, Susan Davis, Bob Filner, Sam Farr, Michael Honda, Gerald McNerney, and Nancy Pelosi.

And let me just add that this AP story is the AP trying to get headlines.  One could speak to any number of supers over the past week and get them to say that they would eventually come out for Obama.  Until that magic number hits 0 I wait to say we have a nominee.

UPDATE: (Bob) Indeed. We’ll have a nominee when the last Election Day Registration voter says so in Montana tonight.