Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Occupy House

I love that Democrats are having sit-in on the House floor that's lasted almost 12 hours so far. Rep John Lewis (D-GA) I think started it, based on his old work from the civil rights movement in the 60s (read his comic books March books 1-3).

Paul Ryan had the CSPAN cameras turned off and Rep Scott Peters (D-CA) started streaming it it live over the Periscope app. An app that first came to some prominence so that people could live broadcast police abuse filmed by citizens (so that it wasn't just recorded to the phone which could be confiscated by the police). And C-SPAN quickly started broadcasting the periscope feed! I was annoyed that for most of the day the cable networks were ignoring it, instead talking about Trump the way they have every day for year.

Also I'm going to take some credit here. Peters was first broadcasting in portrait and about 10 mins after I tweeted him and commented on periscope to use landscape, he did. Also at one point another congressman sat down partially blocking the shot and stayed there for a few minutes. I commented to tell the guy to move and he did. I was watching all this on the C-SPAN periscope broadcast, and said it was fun telling the C-SPAN cameraman what to do having him do it!

To be clear, it's a stunt and a good one. The bills they're debating are just ok. Closing the gun show loophole is a good thing, they should also close the internet sale one. The #NoFlyNoBuy one is more problematic because the terrorist watch list is extra-judicial, meaning there's no transparency and no recourse if you're mistakingly put on it (and there are a few lists and as many as a million US citizens on it). It really shouldn't be used to keep people off planes but it could be useful if reformed. It's probably not suited to keep people from buying a gun, but if that law passed we would perhaps have a better shot at getting the list fixed. Maybe the NRA would lobby for this to protect the rights of their members who might find themselves on the list.

But still, even if a vote happens, these things are unlikely to pass, and the Dems know this. It's still a good stunt because they're putting the GOP on record as being against these simple provisions that most of the country is in favor of. These votes will be very useful during the upcoming election season. It's also nice to the see the Dems grow a pair and push for stuff they believe in. Representatives keep thanking Lewis for inspiring them, should have happened long ago. I'm hoping the Congressmen and women learn that it's better to be on the floor "debating" than sitting in cubicles making cold calls trying to raise money.

If you support this effort, call your representative, on the phone, an tell him or so.

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