In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss whether Snowden is a whistleblower, free speech and the First Amendment and what we want most for Christmas.
1. I know at least some of you will hate to hear this name, but David Sirota is saying that the legal NSA ruling and the White House commission now prove Edward Snowden is a full-fledged whistleblower. I'm inclined to believe him. What do you think?
Ben: I don't necessarily disagree with Sirota on this. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling that the NSA wiretapping was 'likely unconstitutional' would certainly make Snowden a bonafide whistleblower. But given the government still has time to appeal Leon's ruling, it's not definitive by any means. Sirota, true to form, stated that the 'debate is over', which is complete nonsense given that the debate hasn't really started yet (see the word 'likely'). There's going to be a protracted legal battle that will no doubt end up in the Supreme Court so from a technical point of view the jury is still out.
Personally, I think Snowden should be treated as a whistleblower. From what I understand about the NSA surveillance, its legality is highly questionable. If it isn't unconstitutional, it probably should be given the scope of what they can do. I think Snowden did what he thought was the right thing to do (not in the smartest way) and particularly as a non violent 'leaker' he should be afforded legal protection.
Chez: You're right. I do hate to hear his name.
Bob: Richard Clarke disagrees. Clarke, who was the only official to apologize publicly for 9/11, called Snowden's actions treasonous. But a whistleblower? No. That's an insult to actual whistleblowers.
2. MY GOD, WHAT IS THE F--- IS THE MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE WHO THINK THE FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTS THAT DUCK DYNASTY GUY FROM BEING FIRED!!!
Chez: THEY'RE F---ING IDIOTS!
Bob: They're either grotesquely uninformed or they're deliberately lying to their followers. Either explanation is inexcusable.
Ben: I seriously can't believe this debate is going on. Does this really warrant a response? If you work for a private company, they can fire you for saying something offensive (see Martin Bashir). I has nothing to do with the first amendment. Case f---king closed.
3. What do you want most for Christmas?
Bob: I want exactly what Steve Martin wished for:
Ben: An end to all wars. And maybe a nice shaving kit?