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May 8, 201512:19 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Chris Rickert, hand over your laptop and cell phone this instant!

(page 1 of 2)

Most of the time, Chris Rickert is the Great Equivocator. He can find more sides to an issue than a diamond cutter with double vision.

But when it comes to the speech police, the Wisconsin State Journal columnist squares up with Big Brother.


Pre-dawn police raids on private homes, seizing computers and even the children’s cell phones, and then forbidding the victims to talk about it — all while a favored metro newspaper reporter gets a juicy tipoff? Kwitcher bitchin’.

Complaining about this assault on political speech is only “self-righteous whining,” says Mr. Rickert, who makes his living off the First Amendment, undiluted, thanks to a generous exemption from campaign finance law. (Read it and weep here.)

“Besides,” he rationalizes, “the John Doe police raids were at least thoroughly vetted.”

“Thoroughly vetted”? M.D. Kittle at Wisconsin Watchdog recounts that in October 2013 then-presiding John Doe Judge Barbara Kluka managed to review “every petition, subpoena, and search warrant sought in the case, and purportedly reviewed hundreds of pages of affidavits and evidence, in just one day’s worth of work. Kluka suddenly and without explanation recused herself from the investigation shortly after the raids.” Her successor as overseeing judge, Gregory Peterson, for all practical purposes shut down the witch hunt, which all began on a prosecutor’s “theory.” There was never any hard evidence.

Which doesn’t stop the likes of Rickert from going all Graeme Zielinski. “But let’s not pretend that what the targets of the raids are suspected of doing is significantly less wrong than, say, drug-dealing, gang-banging or other crimes worthy of a police raid,” he writes. Wow!

What laws were they breaking? Laws that forbid one group of citizens from discussing matters of public policy with another group of citizens. “Coordination” is the operative word. In any case, the prosecutors got the law wrong, said one federal judge, in a ruling overturned only on jurisdictional grounds. The case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
May 8, 2015 01:18 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


You are all for free speech and smaller government when it makes you feel good. But when it gores your ox you are silent. Why don't you go after the BCPL for censorship? Or the DNR for muzzling employees? Or and of a host of GOP legislators for control of local affairs from the locals (start with Marklein). Put on your big boy pants and act like the reporter you claim to be....

May 8, 2015 01:31 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave, hate to break it to ya, but YOU are "the likes of Chris Rickert." You're all splashing around in the same pool.

May 8, 2015 03:26 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

"...discussing matters of public policy..." is not the same thing as illegally coordinating campaign activities that circumvent state law and political campaign donation limits. I know you think there should be absolutely NO limits on or reporting of donations, but why you think the plutocrats' interests are your interests or why unregulated money is good for democracy itself is beyond me. "Hey, this is 'Merica, where anyone can be a plutocrat!"

May 8, 2015 04:45 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

And Mr Rickert tweeted to the effect of "only when targeted do conservatives consider the govt as "authoritarian" ". No, Mr Rickert, what we're considering here is the govt as abusive and totalitarian. DA/ GAB Subpoenas for Chalrie Sykes and Sean Hannity? That's right up there with the madness of the most delusional, totalitarian regimes in history (DPRK, and E Germany/GDR).

May 9, 2015 05:33 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

What's your [current] beef with Hillary, Blaska? That people gave Big Bucks to the Clinton Foundation and that policy changed at the State Department? Same deal here with your Governor. The mining company gives $700,000 to one of your Republican Dark Money groups and -- voila! -- the mining law gets changed! What's the difference between what you bitch about in Washington and what happened here? Do both things bother you, or are you a flaming hypocrite?

May 9, 2015 06:31 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Mr. Rickert apparently believes that some speech should be more free than other speech.
The question then becomes.... "Who decides?"

May 9, 2015 08:48 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Rickert is just a paid hack of the liberal prog left. No one should be surprised at the gunk that comes out of the blue bag thrown in some peoples driveways.

May 9, 2015 04:18 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I guess no one told The Blaska that Rickert's on his side...hard to believe Rickert's stuff is too subtle for a Blaska but perhaps I've overestimated The Blaska.

May 10, 2015 12:44 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Which laws ? Just the Ones your hero Scott is working so hard to change, after the fact.

May 11, 2015 10:37 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

"Rickert is just a paid hack of the liberal prog left." (!)
The Great Equivocator (kudos, Dave!) generally does a great job of not biting the conservative corporate-owned hand that feeds him. Despite his East Side aspirations, no liberal is he. If you don't consider the WSJ conservative, either don't read it or you consider the Wall St. Journal a liberal rag, too.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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