Screw women — we’ll get our drum circles back!

The Supreme Court, in its never ending quest to lurch the country back to something it never was even in its darkest moments, ruled that Massachusetts’ buffer zone around women’s clinics providing abortion services was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The ruling was unanimous, showing that even our liberal justices can get a ruling disastrously wrong at times.

Of course, this means that now 15 and 16 year old girls, who may have the local clinic as their only source for women’s health services, will now have to walk a gantlet of screaming, rabid anti-abortion protestors seeking to “counsel” them. Meanwhile, exclusion zones remain around the Supreme Court buildings, because obviously being secure behind the marble walls isn’t enough to protect the justices from hurtful words.

But wait! If the buffer zones are no longer germane to clinics, then certainly they are in question in all instances.

This is the opinion of Carl Gibson, writing for The Washington Post’s aptly titled “Post Everything”.

Mr. Gibson, a founder of US UnCut, “a grassroots movement which mobilized thousands to protest corporate tax dodging and budget cuts in the months leading up to Occupy Wall Street,” begins with this cri de coeur:

In the summer of 2013, I was arrested over and over again. My crime? Singing songs from the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda during lunch hour. I was one of dozens of protesters who came out for the Solidarity Sing Along, a daily gathering of anti-Walker organizers. Over the course of three months, there were 200 arrests and hundreds more citations issued.

Can’t you see? He was singing and got arrested for it! The humanity!

But hold on. A fresh breeze may be blowing.

Today, the Supreme Court made these kind of anti-protest maneuvers a lot harder. And even though I’m a liberal, I support their ruling.

Huzzah! The Supreme Court has struck a blow for freedom! And what kind of blow is this? He goes on.

The Court’s decision to abolish protest “buffer zones” at abortion clinics will undoubtedly traumatize women (some just 15 or 16 years old) exercising their protected right to control their own bodies. It’s a high cost, but an essential ruling.

And there is where the rub. See, young women may be traumatized; hell, the buffer zone was enacted in the first place because of a mass shooting at a Massachusetts women’s clinic in 1994. But, the “high cost” of possible murder of people participating in lawful activity is worth paying.


With its decision, the Supreme Court potentially opened the floodgates for abolishing all protest buffer zones, even those that protect politicians and the court. It’s my hope that this precedent will have a profound impact on all forms of protest crackdown, paving the way for more effective and free citizen actions in the future.

Except, it hasn’t. From the ruling:

Respondents also emphasize that the Act does not prevent petitioners from engaging in various forms of “protest”-such as chanting slogans and displaying signs-outside the buffer zones. Brief for Respondents 50-54. That misses the point. Petitioners are not protestors. They seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to inform women of various alternatives and to provide help in pursuing them. Petitioners believe that they can accomplish this objective only through personal, caring, consensual conversations. And for good reason: It is easier to ignore a strained voice or a waving hand than a direct greeting or an outstretched arm. While the record indicates that petitioners have been able to have a number of quiet conversations outside the buffer zones, respondents have not refuted petitioners’ testimony that the conversations have been far less frequent [*16] and far less successful since the buffer zones were instituted. It is thus no answer to say that petitioners can still be “seen and heard” by women within the buffer zones. Id., at 51-53. If all that the women can see and hear are vociferous opponents of abortion, then the buffer zones have effectively stifled petitioners’ message.

Let’s parse this. The Court is saying that McCullen wasn’t merely a protestor. She was a “counselor”, seeking to change a woman’s mind seeking abortion. They are not getting together in a drum circle. What the court has done is carve out a special status for anti-abortion protestors, putting them above those who might, say, gather on the Supreme Court steps. If Mr. Gibson honestly thinks that the Court will extend that special status to Occupy SCOTUS, he obviously hasn’t been paying attention. Normal protesting is still liable to be restricted beyond buffer zones. In the above text, the Court—including the liberal justices—have carved out an exemption for anti-abortion protestors. “Petitioners are not protestors. They seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to inform women of various alternatives and to provide help in pursuing them.” Reading comprehension dictates that that piece of text applies to this case and this case only. The dudebros in Zucotti can still be moved along, or kept away from a national convention.

And even if in some fantasy land this ruling does lead the Court to do away with buffer zones in other instances, what people like Mr. Gibson—well off, white, privileged males—are asking is for women to go through even more trauma just to access legal services for their own narrow benefit. The manner in which he dismisses the concerns of those 15 and 16 year olds is telling. They are merely the cannon fodder for his coming liberal utopia—one which he and his circle most likely will do not a jot to bring about by engaging in the central act of citizenship, which is to vote.

While forces in our country seek to turn the Republic into something unrecognizable, people like Mr. Gibson engage in brave battles against windmills. Singing on the steps of a state capitol has not brought down the walls of power. It’s a fact Mr. Gibson may want to contemplate.

100 Responses to “Screw women — we’ll get our drum circles back!”

  1. 1 Judith Fardig
    June 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks, LL. Always appreciate your thoughts.

  2. 2 MightyPamela
    June 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm


  3. 3 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    naivete of loony left is matched only by the ignorance of teabaggers. both sides of the same coin.

    • 4 jacquelineoboomer
      June 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      If you imagine U.S. politics as a circular ring around the moon, they’re so near each other I think they’ll meet up soon in the space behind the moon that we can’t see. Just wish they’d stay there, because (1) they don’t get it; (2) they never will.

  4. 5 dotster3
    June 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Still in speech mode——and I can relate to these feelings…..

      June 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm


    • 8 GGail
      June 27, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      And I hope & pray we lift him up when he’s out among us because it’s got to get him down too – it’s directed at him

  5. 9 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    A tribunal in the Vatican has convicted the former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic of sex abuse and stripped him of the priesthood.

    Jozef Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was recalled by the Church last year amid claims that he had abused boys in Santo Domingo.

    Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been investigated for sex abuse.

    Pope Francis has urged the Church to root out and punish abuse by priests.

    Wesolowski had served as envoy to the Dominican Republic for five years. He was ordained as a priest and bishop by his compatriot, Pope John Paul II.


      June 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm


  6. 11 Linda
    June 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Ari Melber is in for Ronan today…..so far the show is good.

  7. 12 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm

  8. 13 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    • 14 Nerdy Wonka
      June 27, 2014 at 1:23 pm


    • 15 No Child Left Behind
      June 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      On the previous thread, Nena complained (rather disclosed) that the picture of the mouth of a hippo scared her. In fact, she woke up with the image in her mind. I believe the same with happen to me in the morning. The eyes of this dog are just too expressive. 😉

    • June 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      The precioussssss…. must save the Preciousssss

  9. 17 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

  10. 18 Linda
    June 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Sarah Palin’s Last Gasp in Tennessee Thursday night. The low lights.

    An event featuring a former vice presidential candidate like Sarah Palin and other well known politicians wrapped up in Sevierville around 11 p.m. They were speaking for a series called America’s Last Stand.

    6 News could only take pictures inside where well known politicians like former Senator Rick Santorum and former Governor Sarah Palin spoke to dozens. Other speakers included Fox News personality Judge Jeanie Pirro and Col. Allen West.


    Apparently the crowd was in the ” dozens “

  11. 28 dotster3
    June 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

  12. 29 dotster3
    June 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

  13. 30 jacquelineoboomer
    June 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    LL – Thank you very, very much for this piece. Food for thought.

    • 31 No Child Left Behind
      June 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      LL, I’ve just finished reading your essay. I echo every word Jacqueline said. This decision to strike down the law will embolden many rightwingnuts who want to push down their views on others.

  14. June 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks a gazilliiiiiiiiiiion LL!!!!

  15. June 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Note: Jizz does not mean in Ireland what it means in America.


  16. 46 dotster3
    June 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm


  17. 51 Vicki
    June 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Greetings, TOD.
    I’m back from trip to see my daughter and grandchildren in MO. Still reeling from culture shock.
    I will catch up on all the posts I missed here later today but I thought this is news everyone here would like to get ASAP:

    The New York City Council has passed and Mayor de Blasio will sign a Municipal ID card so that undocumented residents of NYC will have a photo ID that will allow them to enter monitored buildings, sign leases, get bank accounts and so on.

    NYC will be the largest city in the USA to do this. I am proud happy and encouraged by this news. Mayors and Governors can take up the GOP slack and help POTUS govern this country properly. It is past time that they do so.

    • June 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      I’m sure your culture shock was similar to mine when I was a-courtin’ the missus long distance and I’d go visit her in Indiana.

      • 53 Vicki
        June 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        St Louis has a Phyllis Schlafly Boulevard. My grandchildren have been fullly brainwashed. Democrats only want to take your money and give it to poor people.
        I asked my grandaughter, aged 10, what she was afraid of and she said “a President who will be crazy and go to war for nothing.”
        I told her, “We already had that President and his name is George Bush.”
        After which I kept my mouth shut for the remainder of the visit.

        • June 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm

          Oh man. And I thought St. Louis was a Dem city.

          • 55 Vicki
            June 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm

            No. MO slaveowning state and the white folks still admire the confederacy.
            That 10 year old grandaughter has shot 3 deer whose heads were stuffed and mounted on her Dad’s walls.

            My daughter grew up liberal and wanted to use her nurses training to work for Planned Parenthood. Now that she and her husband are apart after 17 years I’m hoping to see her original self re-emerge.

            • 56 GGail
              June 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm

              Oh Vicki, arrange an intervention STAT!
              I’m glad you were able to visit with your love ones, but…

    • 57 No Child Left Behind
      June 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      I heard the news on TV yesterday and was very pleased about it too.

      Welcome back to the Big Apple.

  18. June 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

  19. 61 dotster3
    June 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Joy Reid will be on Bill Maher’s HBO show tonight. Not familiar with the other 2 guests.

  20. June 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Happiness is: a fresh cinnamon roll from Randy’s Donuts and a shitload of coffee.

  21. 70 Linda
    June 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I am going to look further…but it appears that Joe Manchin votes NO with the Republicans when a nominee is Hispanic.

  22. 72 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

  23. 73 amk for obama
    June 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Why did the blonde tiptoe past the medicine cabinet?

    Because she wouldn’t wake up the sleeping pills.

    And I am outta here.

  24. June 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    • 80 Vicki
      June 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Chips, I am new to soccer so maybe you can tell me if this is totally nuts:

      Soccer isn’t suited for monetization the way that basketball and American football are.
      By which I mean that there aren’t timeouts every few minutes that can be filled with TV ads.
      Is it crazy to think that the lack of profit-making exploitation is the reason the GOP is deriding soccer?

      It was a plus for me that the game flows so beautifully and the athleticism needed is so enormous.
      Big Money doesn’t care about athletic beauty or prowess if they can’t profit from it.

      • June 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm

        Hiya Vicki, funny you should mention the lack of time-outs – a few years back, Fifa, soccer’s governing body, considered turning the game in to four quarters, rather than two halves, to make it more appealing to US advertisers. The rest of the world said: “NO!”

        I think the right’s main problem with soccer is really just that it’s so associated with Europe, South America and Africa, and, traditionally, was the most loved sport of American immigrants, mainly Latinos. The just see it as ‘foreign’, ‘alien’, and associate it with parts of the world they consider Communist. I know: LOL.

        • June 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          And even without timeouts, football is highly monetized. Networks pay billions of dollars to broadcast games. Corporations pay billions to sponsor teams. Soccer does quite well for itself.

          • June 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            True LL, but Fifa had that spell when it was utterly obsessed with the game becoming a huge success in America, so were prepared to sacrifice so much of what the rest of the world loved about it to chase those $$s. But then Asia became a bigger cash cow. But, yes, it’s a multi gazillion dollar industry, and a ruthless one too – so the right’s notion that it’s um, socialist, is a hoot.

            • 84 Vicki
              June 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm

              Thanks both of you. You are not really differing here.
              Soccer worldwide is huge, but it is the endless commercials that really turn on American Money.
              Endless and ever growing interruptions delays and so on.

            • June 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

              May now that their is “violence” in this sport the American masses and media will be all over it. When American sports are violent it seems people become more interested….remember when Mike Tyson bit off part of Holyfields ear?

  25. June 27, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    just because….. it’s HILARIOUS!

  26. 88 donna dem 4 obama
    June 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm
  27. 89 donna dem 4 obama
    June 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Josh is much more active on twitter than all of his predecessors.

  28. 93 JER
    June 27, 2014 at 3:03 pm

  29. 94 donna dem 4 obama
    June 27, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    “So sue me when I do” – I ❤ President Obama!!!!

  30. 97 57andfemale
    June 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks, LL. This POS ruling is even worse than I thought.

    Do these people who decide the future of the nation ever read news reports or have a clue as to what happens in the real world?

    If such an exception is made for these particular ‘counselors’, why does it include the open door to the screamers? If it’s such an individual issue, how is it a constitutional problem if it only affects a small subset?

    I seriously want to scream.

  31. 98 desertflower
    June 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    MUST READ from Nick Hanauer…. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#ixzz35qMb4eeA

    I see pitchforks.
    At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
    But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
    And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

    • 99 Vicki
      June 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      The 1% have the tanks the drones and the fully militarized local police forces, not to mention the National Guard.

      Well written argument but very naive.

  32. 100 Nena20409
    June 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Excellent Piece LL.

    These SCOTUS are willfully unaware of the harm and the drastic burden they have bestowed on these USA…….the 317M who inhabit the 50 states plus DC.

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