JIM LEHRER: The Libya votes today, what do you make of that?
MARK SHIELDS: I think the votes are institutional, constitutional, political, and personal. Institutional in the sense that the House is upset that they just haven't been consulted by the White House, constitutional...
JIM LEHRER: And you talked about that last week, and the two of you kind of agreed with that.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
JIM LEHRER: Yes.
MARK SHIELDS: And constitutional because...
JIM LEHRER: Kind of agreed -- don't you love that?
MARK SHIELDS: Kind of agreed. I like that. That was good.
JIM LEHRER: Yes. Yes.
MARK SHIELDS: That was kind of -- kind of glossed it over.
But part of it is personal. They feel that the White House has dissed them and been indifferent to them, and on both sides of the aisle. And part of it is political. It's a chance to establish some daylight, put the other side, the Democratic president, if you're a Republican, in an awkward role.
But it's not an insignificant vote. It's not going to become law, because the Senate...
JIM LEHRER: Yes.
JIM LEHRER: As Judy -- I mean, as Jeff said in his discussion...
MARK SHIELDS: That's right, and Todd and Norman did in their segment.
JIM LEHRER: Yes. Yes.
MARK SHIELDS: But it's not -- it's not inconsequential. I mean, and it does reflect...
He starts out by asking about votes but is quickly tickled with himself for saying that, last week, Mr. Shields and Mr. Brooks "kind of agreed."
Is that how you conduct a discussion?
Did he just stroke his inner David Letterman in front of PBS viewers?
I do not know.
I find the entire exchange to be boring and a waste of time. Maybe Mr. Lehrer does as well? Maybe that is why even he did not give a damn about the answer to the question he asked?
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Each Monday morning (except during pledge drives), the latest Law and Disorder Radio airs on WBAI and around the country on various radio stations throughout the week. Attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights are the co-hosts of the program. On this week's program, Michael Ratner spoke with former FBI agent and now an attorney Mike German about the war on dissent in this country. Michael Ratner has teamed with Margaret Ratner Kunstler for the new book Hell No, Your Right To Dissent. And until it's August 9th release by the New Press, you can read the column that Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler have written (The Progressive) about the current war on protest and dissent in the US. Excerpt:
President Obama campaigned on protecting our civil liberties, so you might have expected his attorney general, Eric Holder, to provide people with greater protections from FBI snoops. But he has not. And it is about to get even worse.
The new Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide will empower the FBI to dispatch surveillance teams, to follow targets, to dig through trash, to search commercial databases and to expand the use of informants to infiltrate a wide range of organizations.
If you are part of a group that disagrees with government policy in Iraq or Afghanistan, or that dislikes nuclear energy, the next time you throw out your trash, an FBI agent may be examining it a few hours later -- from what you eat to what you buy to what you read and think.
The next time you attend a meeting to fight for better schools, protest drug testing on animals or criticize almost any aspect of government policy, the person next to you may be an informant, recording everything you say. Or perhaps the informant will participate in the meeting, steering the organization's activities in ways the government wishes.
It is now almost ten years after 9/11, the event that frightened many into giving the FBI broad spying authority -- authority that now threatens the very essence of democracy. Piece by piece, the constitutional protections for dissent are disappearing.