Aug 3, 201501:18 PMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Walking back ‘Wisconsin’s shame’ in baby steps; what gasbaggery!
(page 1 of 2)
Some day a historian will query why Wisconsin’s news media — hyper alert to their own First Amendment rights — yawned as armed agents of the state carried battering rams against private homes in pre-dawn raids, warned the stunned citizens inside to remain silent or else, and carried away their correspondence. In Madison and Middleton, not Moscow.
Having failed to prevail at the ballot box, having lost the debate in the public square, the angry Left resorted to the coercive powers of the police state under cloak of secrecy. It is has been called “Wisconsin’s shame.”
It will be recorded that the victims were unsympathetic to the professional journalists in the mainstream news media. The targets were white, educated, reasonably affluent, and — worst of all — politically conservative. Columnist Chris Rickert calls them “whiners.”
On Sunday, the Wisconsin State Journal began to make belated amends by running syndicated columnist Jay Ambrose’s “How to shut up disliked opinions.” “… You will soon enough find public officials in this land whose ideology is progressive, whose regard for free speech is scant, and whose willingness to indulge in tyrannies is plentiful.”
Except for the public officials part, that pretty well describes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The publication has been whoring for district attorney John Chisholm and the GAB in return for being rewarded with selected (and salacious) news leaks. The John Doe witch hunt was secret except when it suited the prosecutors’ interest. Over the weekend, the state’s largest newspaper began walking back, albeit on tip toes, its scurrilous cheerleading on behalf of criminalizing political speech. It did what scoundrels whose fingers are caught in the cookie jar always do; it demanded creation of “a blue ribbon task force … to recommend changes.” It allowed:
Although John Doe proceedings are Wisconsin’s equivalent to a federal grand jury, people involved in grand jury proceedings do not see their First Amendment rights to free speech restricted to the degree they were during the Walker investigations. Gag rules may make sense for a judge to order in certain violent crime cases but likely never should apply to investigations involving political speech. (Full editorial here.)
Baby steps, everyone. (“I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”)
Recuse and excuse
The JS falls back into old habits by disparaging the state Supreme Court, and by implication its 4–2 decision ending this farce. The newspaper repeats the Blue Fisters’ meme that Justices Prosser and Gableman should have recused. Rick Esenberg’s exegesis at RightWisconsin (pay wall) remains persuasive. In summary:
- If Gableman and Ziegler were required to recuse themselves why wouldn’t Abrahamson, who received substantial union support, be required to do the same?
- Unlike the Caperton court case cited by the JS, no particular business or financial interest supported Prosser and Gableman, just a broad coalition of citizens united over general principles.
- “Unlike the expenditures in Caperton, the alleged appearance of a conflict was a product of the constitutionally troubling breadth of the Doe itself. Having attacked almost the entire conservative infrastructure, the prosecutors had the temerity to ask the conservative (but not liberal) justices to step aside. To use their own sin as a sword is a bit like the plea of a defendant who, having killed his parents, seeks clemency because he’s an orphan.”
Bottom line: The JS continues to plump for government regulation of political speech; just that those laws be rewritten.
Folks, we’ve been regulating political speech at least since Watergate and the Democratic National Convention of 1968, for all the good it does. And we’ve come to pre-dawn raids on private homes, Super PACs, and 502(c)3 educational groups.
No matter how you write the speech codes, when government controls speech, the speech police will play.