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November 28, 2005

Chilling of Dissent, Courtesy of John McCain

Two Washington State DJ's have been deemed to have run afoul of McCain-Feingold campaign contribution laws. The offense? By railing against proposed gas tax increases, they (and their station) were making "in-kind" donations to, I guess, political groups opposing the increases.

They used to call it "free speech" or "entering the marketplace of ideas." Now it's called an "in-kind campaign contribution" and "potential crime."

Wow. Remember when we used to actually voice our opinions publicly, before John McCain wisely took that alleged "right" away from us, in an effort to "increase democracy." (Try to find that made-up fakey "right" in the Constitution!)

[T]he radio station had to put a dollar value on what the hosts had said. The estimate of that in-kind contribution of $100,000 of airtime was reported as a campaign donation under state law.


In other words -- in the name of campaign finance "reform" -- free speech no longer is free. If that ruling withstands appeal, especially if it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, it would have profound ramifications for media nationwide.


If this ruling is not struck down, anytime anyone in the media (including the Internet) decides to speak out on an issue, it could be considered an in-kind contribution.

And if federal or state election laws limit the amount of money that can be donated to candidates or causes, the mere mention of an opinion could be estimated (by the government) to be worth the maximum dollar amount allowed to be contributed and thereby prohibit any other reference regarding the subject.

[I]f McCain and others get their way, there could be new legislation further rationing free speech to limit the First Amendment rights of the 527 nonprofit groups.

When the government -- and that means politicians who will do whatever they can get away with to preserve and increase their political power -- wants to silence its critics, it will do so.

But unlike in a dictatorship, it will be done very subtly, bit by bit, all in the name of reform, good government, cleaning up politics or whatever else a gullible citizenry will swallow.

Allow politicians to put a price on free speech and then keep your mouth shut when you discover it's more than you can afford.

Bear in mind, John McCain has always been a very thin-skinned politician. I can't help but he's rather pleased that the riff-raff may soon be limited to how many criticisms of him they may make.

The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act

We had to destroy the village in order to save it.

Meanwhile... McCain is said to be increasingly palatable to Republican voters.

Except, of course, the actual committed base. Nominating McCain would rip the party in two.

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posted by Ace at 12:37 PM

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