In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss SCOTUS and free speech buffer zones, a boyfriend's Greenwald man-crush and InfoWars' Dan Bidondi is running for office.
1. Every once in a while the Supreme Court makes a decision that truly leaves me gobsmacked. The ruling striking down the abortion clinic buffer zone did that. Do they just not understand that people going in for legal medical procedures have rights too?
Ben: I was completely stunned by the Supreme Court decision too. The abortion clinic buffer zone was a perfect example of a necessary and effective law that protected women from idiotic pro-lifers who choose to do their activism at the worst possible moment. What about the constitutional rights of women who should not have to face harassment when making incredibly difficult life choices like that? The ruling was completely unnecessary and crazy if you ask me.
Chez: I understand on the surface the idea that free speech shouldn't be infringed upon, but there were ways to honor the First Amendment and still provide safety -- from both violence and general harassment -- for women choosing abortion. Bob and others have made a really good point about the irony of the Supreme Court making their decision striking down buffer zones for clinics from well inside the safety of their own buffer zone that surrounds the court. The decision thing is just astonishing either way.
Bob: The free speech clause of the First Amendment isn't an absolute, across-the-board freedom. This is a case where the Supremes traded the safety and privacy of women seeking medical treatment for absolute free speech. Another example of free speech not being an absolute freedom: the Court maintains its own protest "buffer zone" where free speech is barred.
2. I have this friend whose boyfriend has a serious man-crush on Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald. She tells me he's a total "no surveillance state" emo-prog and she doesn't agree with any of his political rants. You'll also be shocked to learn he's a white 20-something guy. But he's definitely not my boyfriend because I would never be dumb enough to date somebody like that. Any advice?
Chez: For "your friend": https://www.okcupid.com/
Bob: "Your friend" has a minor, yet annoying problem. This 20-something guy needs to crack a thick book about the history of surveillance and state secrets (try this one first) instead of believing everything spoken by Greenwald, a serially misleading polemicist, or Snowden, a man who while living in Moscow said with a straight face that NSA is spying on each of us using pocket "sensors." After he cracks a few books, ask him to how many online sites he submits his personal information. Does he know what Google and Facebook does with his information? Does he know what his bank or his credit card does with his information. Bet he doesn't. Also, tell "your friend" that as long as she's skeptical of Greenwald and Snowden she's in fine shape.
Ben: I'm endlessly fascinated by political groupies in America. Each segment of society seems to have heroes that perfectly reflect their own ideals, both physically and philosophically. Angry middle aged white men salivate over puffy blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, while massively privileged white liberals think Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are the second coming of Jesus. Your friend is an outlier I suppose, given he doesn't actually agree with Snowden and Greenwald. But it's no surprise a 20 something white male (who I'm presuming is very educated) has the hots for them.
3. Will the Banter be dispatching anyone to cover the Bidondi campaign in Rhode Island from the ground? Please say yes.
Bob: I live in Hawaii. Do you think there's any chance in hell I'd want to spend the next five months in Rhode Island following that monkey?
Chez: I would volunteer for that assignment in a heartbeat.
Ben: Anyone in Rhode Island want at it? Contact us if you do. It would be hilarious.