Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Republicans At It Again in the House

Yesterday brought the news that Republicans in the House of Representatives are proposing a change in the House rules which would fine members of Congress thousands of dollars for unauthorized broadcasts - audio, video, even photographs - and live streaming from the House floor.

The background, in case you missed it this past summer, was that Democrats were frustrated by Republican refusal to consider new gun control legislation in the wake of the most recent mass murder.   As the Democrats sought to keep talking about this, the Republicans adjourned, and then shut off the CSPAN coverage of House events.   The Democrats responded by employing Periscope to send a video of what had now developed into a sit-in to America and the world at large.  CSPAN joined the effort by broadcasting the Periscope feed.

This is what the Republican saber-rattling about hefty fines is designed to prevent from ever happening again.   In other words, they're concerned not about weapons that kill innocent people but about letting the public know about debates to limit those weapons.  If Republicans are so confident about their position on gun control, why are they so afraid to let the world know about it, and the Democratic opposition?

Indeed, in their concern about protecting the Second Amendment to our Constitution, Republicans seems all to ready to violate the First Amendment, and its prohibition on Congress making any law that abridges freedom of speech or the press.

Apparently, the GOP is not only ignorant or uncomprehending of the First Amendment, but the lessons of history, and what they tell us about totalitarian attempts to crack down on new communications media. Whether The White Rose and their courageous use of primitive photocopying against the Third Reich, or samizdat video in the Soviet Union, the new media always win in the long run.

See also Periscope Sticks It to House GOP on Gun-Control Sit-In


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