Next Saturday, July 23, is the three-year anniversary of the meeting at #10 Downing Street in London that was recorded in the now infamous minutes known as the "Downing Street Memo." Suggesting that the Bush Administration was intent on going to war with Iraq with or without intelligence on Saddam's WMD, the memo has given new impetus (and vindication) to antiwar critics of the invasion.
To highlight these disclosures, AfterDowningStreet.org, a new and growing coalition of veterans' groups and activist organizations working with Rep. John Conyers, has organized hundreds of events, dramatic performances, house parties and study circles planned coast to coast next July 23. At least eight events will involve members of Congress. Click here to see what's happening in your area.
In New York City, The Nation and Democrats.Com are teaming up to present a public forum at the New York Society of Ethical Culture featuring Rep. Maurice Hinchey, the Hon. Liz Holtzman, Air America host Randi Rhodes and Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com. The event starts at 2:00 and is free to the public. Click here for more info and click here to read Holtzman's recent Nation mag piece outlining the legal case that could and should be made against senior Bush officials for the torture at Abu Ghraib.
It appears that no one in Washington has bothered to ask why it is that the Republican National Committee is leading the defense of Karl Rove. But it's a good question.
If Rove is really the president's deputy chief of staff in charge of policy, as opposed to a political hack operating within the White House and using taxpayer money to do the work of the Republican Party, wouldn't it make sense that his defenders would be current and retired policy specialists? And since the controversy in which he is embroiled has something to do with national security, wouldn't it be at least a little more assuring if a former Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser or chief of the Central Intelligence Agency were to speak up on his behalf?
But, no, as the controversy about his leaking of classified information heats up, Rove is being defended, for the most part, by RNC chair Ken Mehlman, a political operative who has never been seriously involved in policy matters â€“ let alone national security issues.
Contemporary politicians who are struggling to determine when the time will be right to start talking about withdrawing troops from Iraq would do well to borrow a page from former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin.
In the spring of 1964, when only about 16,500 U.S. troops were present in the country as "advisers," and when no one had heard of the Gulf of Tonkin, Nelson was asked by a television reporter to discuss the U.S. presence in southeast Asia. Nelson responded by suggesting that President Lyndon Johnson should reconsider the decision to commit troops to the region, arguing that the time had come to "set some timetable for withdrawal from the situation."
The Wisconsin senator completely rejected the notion that any good would result from an escalation in the U.S. role in the troubled country.
Twenty-five years after the gender gap first appeared as a factor in American politics, it's worth reflecting on whether as some in the GOP said after last November's election the gap has shrunk to the vanishing point.
Let's be clear: The gender gap didn't disappear in 2004, but it diminished significantly. John Kerry narrowly won the women's vote last year when he defeated Bush by a margin of 51 percent to 48 percent. Contrast this to the 2000 presidential election, in which Al Gore ended up with an 11-point margin over Bush among women voters.
Which begs the question: Is the gender gap a thing of the past? The short answer is a resounding "no."