Freedom of the Press survives a near-death experience in California

It seems that pesky First Amendment is under attack at both the federal and state level in the good old USA.

In what amounted to a stealth attack, the California legislature had attempted to completely eviscerate the laws giving the media and the public access to government records. In a move that would have made departed Hugo Chávez blush with pride, (and may have prompted a gift basket of muffins from Vladimir Putin) California’s very own Governor Jaruzelski Brown had proposed to stop the state from reimbursing cities and counties for the cost of complying with the California Public Records Act. In fact, as the OC Register points out (emphasis added) :

“public information advocates say the bill relieves local governments of the duty of ever explaining why requests were denied or even responding to requests at all. It also removes the requirement that local governments provide digital records in “any format” in which they’re already held”.

It’s important to note that the “watchdog” press in California only caught onto this onslaught on the Freedom of the Press at the very last minute (with some commendable help from a few First Amendment enthusiasts). Like an adorable lapdog who was being driven to what it thinks is a nice day out at the beach or dog park, it only finally panicked when Governor Brown’s car pulled into the parking lot of the veterinarian’s clinic, and the horrible truth overwhelmed the relentless trust and affection it had placed in its master. At best, Media Lapdog would be “fixed” by the vet to curb any inquisitive tendencies; at worst – the visit to the veterinarian would be followed by a visit to the taxidermist next door, in order that the Governor could mount their stuffed carcass on his desk, and claim that the media is watching over him and his cronies at all times. Like a watchdog, but with unseeing glass eyes.

Now, let us pause briefly before the near-useless California lapdog media recovers from the brutal indignity of its latest assault at the hands of its beloved Democrats and – reverting to the customary Stockholm syndrome – yet again begins relentlessly licking the faces of its beloved tormentors. The (apparently widely pre-agreed) press consensus seems to be a nauseating narrative that Jaruzelski Brown is “the adult in the room” and is displaying “commendable fiscal restraint”.

So before they try and pass this off with another ridiculous narrative (“well, Sacramento were just trying to cut $20 million from the budget”) ….. Let’s look at that cost in context. This brazen attempt to castrate the press, and prevent the taxpaying public from having any access to public records, comes hard on the heels of California’s politicians stealing borrowing the carbon tax revenue to give themselves a pay raise, and shoring up the slowly imploding public sector pension catastrophe for another few months.

Now quick! Turn out the lights! It’s just so completely embarrassing when the taxpayers find out about, say, a city administrator in Bell (population : 38,000) paying himself $800,000 a year – all the associated corruption and greed of politicians revealed in cases like that puts a bit of a dent in the all-encompassing faith in Big Government that we try to drill into the psyches of all Proles and Outer Party members on a daily basis. If the poor fools ever find out what really goes on within the Inner Party, or how their taxpayer money is spent, well, it would be Bad For Business.

And to really put the cost of maintaining transparency of government in its true, bone-aching context for California’s beleaguered taxpayers, well how about this : the money “saved” would have been equal to the cost of a building a little over half a mile of the Crony Capitalist Express bullet train. Now do you understand why the powers that be don’t want the public or the press looking into just where all the taxpayer money is going? I believe their motto is “What you don’t know can’t hurt us“.


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