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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 April 27, 2008 22 Nissan 5768

In the name of political hygiene

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ugly locutions often crop up in the promotion of ugly politics. Consider the threat of "scrutinization."


It has been made against some residents of Parker North, Colo., who expressed a political opinion without first getting their state government's permission for political activity. Herewith another example of what is being done around the nation in the name of political hygiene, as that is understood by "campaign finance reformers," those irksome improvers whose animating ideology is McCainism.


Parker North is a cluster of about 300 houses close to the town of Parker. When two residents proposed a vote on annexation of their subdivision to Parker, six others began trying to persuade the rest to oppose annexation. They printed lawn signs and fliers, started an online discussion group and canvassed neighbors, little knowing that they were provoking Colorado's speech police.


One proponent of annexation sued them. This tactic — wielding campaign finance regulations to suppress opponents' speech — is common in the America of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. The complaint did not just threaten the Parker Six for any "illegal activities." It also said that anyone who had contacted them or received a lawn sign might be subjected to "investigation, scrutinization and sanctions for campaign finance violations."


The First Amendment guarantees freedom of association, "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The exercise of this right often annoys governments, and the Parker Six did not know that Colorado's government, perhaps to discourage annoyances, stipulates that when two or more people associate to advocate a political position, and spend more than $200 in doing so, they become an "issue committee."


As such, they probably should hire a lawyer because even Colorado's secretary of state says the requirements imposed on issue committees are "often complex and unclear." Committees must register with the government; they must fund their activities from a bank account opened solely for that purpose; they must report to the government the names and addresses of all persons who contribute more than $20; they must also report the employers of plutocrats who contribute more than $100; they must report non-cash contributions such as lemons used for lemonade, and magic markers and wooden dowels for yard signs.


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An issue committee is defined as one that opposes or supports "a ballot issue or ballot question." Well.


The two real rationales for laws regulating political activity are incumbent protection and the convenience of government — discouraging the governed from activism. The proclaimed rationale is, however, the prevention of corruption or the appearance thereof. But corruption is understood in terms of quid pro quo transactions — candidates corrupted by contributions. So, there cannot be corruption in ballot issue elections because there are no candidates to corrupt.


Undeterred by this detail, advocates of political regulation say compulsory disclosure of involvement even in ballot issue campaigns — meaning compulsory denial of political privacy — is inherently good because information always is, too. The regulator's motto is "Dirigo, ergo sum" — I boss people around, therefore I am.


The Parker Six respond: We have secret ballots so government cannot compel voters to disclose how they vote in elections, so why should government compel them to reveal what position they take on ballot issues before voting? As the Supreme Court has said, anonymity is a shield from retaliation for unpopular opinions — for or against stem cell research, same-sex marriage, etc.


In an experiment by a University of Missouri professor involving 255 participants, almost all of them college graduates, the average participant correctly completed only 41 percent of the reporting requirements on three states' political disclosure forms. Burdensome disclosure requirements and other regulations are, in effect, taxes on political speech. They deter political activism by small groups that are discouraged by the costs — in money, time, nuisance and potential liabilities — imposed by regulations.


John McCain bears principal responsibility for legitimizing the idea that government should have broad powers to regulate political activity in the name of combating corruption. If his wanderings take him to Parker North, he can make partial amends by congratulating the Parker Six on defeating annexation, and by endorsing their federal lawsuit, which is supported by the libertarian Institute for Justice, to overturn Colorado's regulations as unconstitutional burdens on the exercise of fundamental rights. That last might be too much straight talk to expect from the perpetrator of McCain-Feingold's restrictions on the quantity, timing and content of political speech.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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