Steel City Cowboy

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Some True Stifling of Dissent

I'm used to hearing leftists whine that their dissent is being stifled when someone in the government criticizes them or verbally disagrees with their viewpoint in a high profile manner. Their claims look even sillier than usual though, when contrasted with the real deal:

Last year, the corrupt and insulated Pennsylvania legislature, with the help of some in the judiciary, gave themselves a pay raise, in direct contradiction to Pennsylvania law. As pay raises cannot take effect until the next term begins, lawmakers gave themselves immediate "unvouchered expense" accounts to bridge the gap. Lovely.

The Pennsylvania media - mainstream newspapers, local talk radio, blogs - all went ballistic. People who generally didn't pay much attention to the slimy actions of their elected representatives had little choice but to hear about the whole thing, and they were pissed. Months of continuous pressure from the aforementioned sources resulted in the legislature repealing the pay raise and in many reps giving back the unvouchered expense money they had already received. There is a pending lawsuit demanding the return of the rest of the money. The incident has also sparked a number of groups, like Pennsylvania Clean Sweep, who are attempting to mount a massive "throw the bums out" campaign. I hope they succeed.

Now, though, it looks like the legislature is preparing to fire back. This article from WTAE-TV claims that Pennsylvania lawmakers are attempting to gut local newspapers' revenue streams. Un-freaking-believable. These people have absolutely no sense of who is working for whom here.

You work for us, you sons of bitches, and don't forget it. You obviously did not learn your lesson when you got your greedy asses smacked for giving yourselves a pay raise in a midnight session last year. And now you're directly retaliating against newspapers?! Are you completely insane? A lot of people can argue fine points of what the First Amendment applies to and what it doesn't, but I a sneaking suspicion it applies to things like, oh... newspapers and citizens writing articles about lawmakers who have been stealing our money.

Good luck at the polls.


  • At 1/14/2006 9:41 AM, Anonymous Caleb Van Bloem said…

    Hear Hear!!! There is far to much of a self righteous sense of entitlement amongst politicians. So many act as if they deserve their positions of influence.

  • At 1/14/2006 10:01 AM, Blogger Don Giannatti said…

    My God called the Legislature "sons of bitches'? I am so offended by this that I can barely type this comment... How dare you so vehemently and with malice attach such a cruel, stupid and loathesome group to female dogs. I love my dog.

    As to that festering pool of puss you all call a legislature... they suck.

  • At 1/14/2006 10:13 AM, Blogger jeff said…

    Don Giannatti,

    Sounds like you just insulted festering pools of pus... (how far can we take this?)

  • At 1/14/2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you could find me one instance of the Post Gazette or Inquirer advocating against increasing sales taxes in any other sector, perhaps I'd have a little sympathy. Seems to me what's good for the goose is good for the media.

    Why shouldn't they be paying taxes on sales of advertising? Why should their business be exempt? It's a business like any other, a for-profit business at that. I say make the media pay sales taxes, perhaps then they'll feel the consequences of the policies they advocate for the rest of us.

  • At 1/14/2006 10:32 AM, Blogger Moneyrunner said…

    I like this, two despicable entities – the MSM and politicians - with “entitlement envy” fighting. I’m rooting on both sides and hope they tear each other apart.

    And why should advertising be exempt form sales tax when virtually all other commerce is taxed?

  • At 1/14/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger newc said…

    I would be personally on their steps to stare them down, but I live too far away.

  • At 1/14/2006 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Those newspapers better just hush up, before the Legislature passes a law that forces them to pay 30% of their revenues on health care for their employees - like they just did in Maryland to Wal Mart.

    Wal Mart should fight back by making sure their political donations go toward Republicans.

  • At 1/14/2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This provides a golden opportunity for mainstream media and the blogosphere to bridge their differences and work together to fight is an outrageous action by the Pa. legislature.

    Come on, everyone, sing along! "One love . . . one heart . . . let's get together and feel all right . . ."

  • At 1/14/2006 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whoever said "the power to tax is the power to destroy" got it exactly right in this case. This is clearly a case of retaliation, something the First Amendment was meant to prevent.

    I think the papers will have the upper hand, since they can pound the legislature day after day.

    And where will the slimy solons go to get their counter message out?
    Through the media they are screwing?

    Fat chance.

  • At 1/14/2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Joe Deegan said…

    Your good breeding is evidenced by your correct plural for "son of a bitch", i.e. "sons of bitches", rather than "son of a bitches".
    Joe Deegan

  • At 1/14/2006 12:54 PM, Anonymous Geo. S. said…

    I'm originally from PA, but after living in Texas for the last 13 years, I can tell you the one thing they do right is have the legislature meet only once every two years (and it's for a limited number of days (120 days or something like that). Seems like PA would benefit form something like that.

  • At 1/14/2006 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    moneyrunner said: "And why should advertising be exempt form sales tax when virtually all other commerce is taxed?"

    The answer is quite simple: advertising is commercial speech and therefore is protected speech under the First Amendment (to varying degrees...the precedent is ambigous in many cases see here: link.

    When commercial speech is linked to news outlets, which have a much higher level of protection, the constitutional case against taxation of advertising in print media becomes much clearer. This is because it's quite easy to see how the state can use taxation to restrict political speech they do not like by making the taxation rate punitive.

    To say that the the media is like any other industry is a fundamental misunderstanding of the media and the role they play in society. One does not have to like the media, or even what they write, to understand that the ability of the state to punish the media through taxation is a bad idea. Because I got news for you, the media that advocates the policies each of us as individuals like is just as subject to restriction through taxation as those who advocate policies we don't like.


  • At 1/15/2006 4:48 AM, Blogger EvilPundit said…

    I can't decide wjich of the two sides of this conflict I hate the most.

    Both politicians and the media abuse their power to rip off the public. It's good to see them fighting against each other, instead of conspiring against the citizenry, for once.

  • At 1/16/2006 10:16 AM, Blogger sf said…

    A commenter above felt the media probably had the upper hand in this fight since they could bash the legislature every day, but the legislature would have a hard time getting its side of the story to voters.

    This would be a great opportunity to introduce legislators to the benefits of the blogosphere.

    Seriously--as I read it, there's a sound reason for putting a sales tax on all commercial activity. Not only does it put all businesses on an equal footing, but also reduces some of the burden on private taxpayers. The big hue and cry over this particular story comes from the specific legislator's view that this was "payback" for the media helping kill the pay raise.

    Re-cast the sales tax as "fair and equitable" and the public's view would change radically. Bloggers could help do that

  • At 1/17/2006 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This would not have happened if the
    Democrates were in power .
    It looks alot like a rove policy
    gone bad .


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