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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review February 19, 2010 / 5 Adar 5770

Rethinking Political Virtue

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Asked by a radio host about the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FCC, Newt Gingrich said something that I imagine many conservatives have always believed — that political contributions are a form of speech, and as such should be unlimited provided they are immediately disclosed on the Internet. That was my view.

But perhaps that was wrong. Not the speech part — thankfully, even the Supreme Court has come to its senses on that score (the justices were reportedly scandalized to discover that the McCain/Feingold law permitted the banning of books under certain circumstances), but the disclosure part. Perhaps we are paying too high a price in political freedom to avoid the appearance of undue influence.

Professor Brad Smith, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a leading opponent of campaign finance (or speech limitation) laws, makes the case that disclosure, which most of us automatically associate with political virtue, may not be desirable after all.

Writing in City Journal, Smith begins with the following question: Suppose in its waning days, the Bush administration had proposed Patriot Act II. "To prevent terrorists and foreign agents from influencing American governments and political parties, the act would require political campaigns and other groups to report the names, addresses, and employers of their supporters to the federal government, which would enter the information into a database. The act would also give businesses access to this database, enabling them to make hiring decisions, credit determinations, and other choices based on political activity. Can anyone doubt that Patriot II would be widely considered a gross violation of civil liberties?"

That's putting it mildly. But Patriot II was not proposed by George W. Bush. It has been the law of the land for more than 30 years, since passage of a McCain/Feingold precursor, the Federal Election Campaign Act. Even the most fervent civil libertarians seem never to be worked up over the massive invasion of privacy that act inaugurated. Like proverbial frogs in heating water, we have tamely accepted the idea our political contributions must be disclosed. But don't political views and activities deserve an expectation of privacy as much as book purchases, voting habits, and income tax returns?

Letter from JWR publisher


Well, say the law's supporters, it's not for the sake of intruding into private citizens' lives that we require disclosure of political contributions, but to ensure that corrupt influences on political figures are limited. If that's the rationale, Smith notes, then the thresholds for disclosure are ludicrously low. "People who donate $20 to a Michigan candidate or even $200 to a federal one will exercise zero influence on the candidate if he's elected."

As for large contributions from wealthy individuals, political action committees, or unions, the disclosure requirement carries significant and largely unexamined costs. One unrecognized consequence is the greater scope it gives elected politicians to intimidate donors. Remember the notorious "K Street Project" inaugurated by House Republicans when they took control of Congress in 1994? Using lists of contributors filed with the federal government, Republican leaders targeted the 400 largest PACs and demanded that they adjust their giving to reflect the new sheriff in town. The Democrats howled — and then did the identical thing when they retook power in 2006.

Even more chilling is the intimidation that donors experience from others. In 2006, Gigi Brienza, an employee of Bristol-Myers Squibb, learned that her name and home address had been posted on the "hit list" of a radical animal rights group that objected to animal testing. They discovered Brienza's personal information courtesy of the federal government because she had donated $500 to the presidential campaign of John Edwards.

Richard Raddon, director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, was obliged to leave his post due to boycott threats after it was revealed that he had given $1,500 to the campaign for Proposition 8 (which defined marriage as between a man and a woman). Scott Eckern, longtime artistic director of the California Musical Theater in Sacramento, was forced to resign after it was learned that he had donated $1,000 to Proposition 8.

Even absent the fear of direct retaliation, many Americans may have reasons to keep their political contributions private. Surely some non-openly gay Americans would not welcome employers or insurers noting their contributions to Log Cabin Republicans or the Human Rights Campaign.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that limitations on contributions are curtailments of free speech. It's time to consider whether the chilling effect of excessive disclosure on free speech is worth it.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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