Thank you for contacting me regarding the continued presence of our armed forces in Iraq. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me, and I value the opportunity to address them.
Earlier this year, recognizing that the war against Islamic terrorists could not be won without achieving success in Iraq, our nation embarked on a new strategy with a new general. This strategy called for committing 30,000 additional troops to quell violence so that Iraqis could have a chance to achieve political stability. It is clear that General David Petraeus and the troops on the ground are doing an exceptional job on the military front.
On September 11, 2007, six years to the day that al-Qaeda attacked this nation, General David Petraeus testified before Congress. He stated that, since the surge had reached full-strength in mid-June, security incidents have steadily declined, reaching the lowest numbers in over a year. General Petraeus stated that, "One reason for the decline in incidents is that the Coalition and Iraqi forces have dealt significant blows to al-Qaeda-Iraq.and the tribal rejection of al-Qaeda that started in Anbar Province and helped produce such significant change there has now spread." I agree with the General that the rejection of al-Qaeda, the very same terrorist network that attacked us six years ago, is encouraging.
I also realize there can be no lasting peace without political progress and national reconciliation. Even though there have been positive signs at the local and a provincial level, the national government still has a long way to go. Oil revenue sharing laws, national reconciliation, and federalism issues must be addressed by the central government sooner, not later.
I am pleased that President Bush will implement the recommendations of General Petraeus and that a preliminary drawdown of troop levels could begin this December, with the possibility of reaching pre-surge levels by June 2008. However, I feel that we must constantly reassess the situation to ensure that the gains are not reversed. Iraq is part of a greater struggle that is being waged around the region. A precipitous withdrawal will embolden our enemies and frighten our friends.
The various resolutions addressing the conflict in Iraq will be debated in the Senate within the next few weeks; please rest assured that I will be sure to keep your concerns, and the concerns of all Nevadans, in mind. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. If you should have further questions or comments or would like to share your thoughts on another matter, please feel free to write or e-mail me via my website at [redacted].
United States Senator
Monday, January 07, 2008
Saturday, January 05, 2008
A man who was held in isolation for more than three years before being tried and convicted of aiding terrorists filed suit Friday against the UC Berkeley law professor and former Justice Department official whose memos justified inflicting physical and mental pain during interrogations.
Military officials relied on John Yoo's writings in subjecting Jose Padilla to prolonged sensory deprivation, sleep interruption, stress positions and other techniques designed to break his will, Padilla's lawyers said in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco. Padilla faces sentencing Monday in Miami.
"John Yoo was central to the justification and creation of the torture system," Jonathan Freiman, an attorney at a Yale Law School human rights clinic who represents Padilla, said in a statement. "What Yoo seems to have forgotten is that lawyers are not above the law."
Padilla's lawyers said government documents show that Defense Department officials relied on Yoo's advice, in the August 2002 memo and other writings that "purported to provide legal justification for unprecedented and illegal detention and interrogation techniques."
Although Padilla's lawyers say he suffered serious psychological harm and violations of numerous constitutional rights, the suit seeks only token damages of $1, along with a declaration that Yoo acted illegally.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I DO NOT file share because the artist/group does not get paid!!! I have always disliked Metallica, but understand why they did what they did with Napster. It's very simple - download for free, the artist/group makes no money; buy the CD, the artist/group makes money. They took a lot of time to create what is released, so they should be compensated. It is their job (just like I have a job that I get paid for doing), and if it's a real musician/group, they will tour to promote said CD and make money from merchandise -because, in the end, they are eventually screwed up the ass by their record company. The only exception to this, when I had any software for P2P sharing was for songs and/or albums which were out of print and no longer available from the recording companies.
One other major point: in the hysteria of the moment, everyone is forgetting the main way an artist becomes successful - exposure. Without exposure, no one comes to shows, no one buys CDs, no one enables you to earn a living doing what you love. Again, from personal experience: in 37 years as a recording artist, I've created 25+ albums for major labels, and I've never once received a royalty check that didn't show I owed them money. So I make the bulk of my living from live touring, playing for 80-1500 people a night, doing my own show. I spend hours each week doing press, writing articles, making sure my website tour information is up to date. Why? Because all of that gives me exposure to an audience that might not come otherwise. So when someone writes and tells me they came to my show because they'd downloaded a song and gotten curious, I am thrilled!
I DO NOT buy used CDs or DVDs because the artists/writers/actors/etc do not get paid. Simply put, artists/et al only get paid for first sale of the CD/DVD and there is no tracking of sales from used records, VHS tapes, CDs, cassette tapes and DVDs. People deserve to be paid for their work - no matter how many times one item is sold.
(Note: However, the only exceptions I have to the above for myself are for "out of print" items. These are CDs or Movies that the record company or movie studio no longer produces for sale.)
I WILL NOT (not that I have in the past) watch any TV show on any network website until the WGA strike is resolved. Writers deserve to be paid for what they do, and compensated fairly. From what I've read, and from what I understand, not all writers are equal. Not all writers make the same salaries. Some writers don't work for periods of time and rely on residuals. As you can see by the banner at the top of this blog, I support the WGA in their efforts to get what they deserve and I support them.
And finally, I WILL NOT buy used books if they are still in print (and the writer is still alive and kicking). This does not included publishers making money on authors who have been dead for centuries and will never see a fucking dime - can you say Shakespeare??