http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15078348/site/newsweek/ That's right, ladies and gentlemen, 5 years after the passing of the often demonized USAPatriot Act, there have been no abuses seen from the federal government. The McCain-Feingold Act, on the other hand, has been used as a political blackjack to silence opponents close to the election. Case in point: John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur. They're hosts on a local radio station up in Seattle, where the state has passed a 9.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase. Well, these guys were opposed to that, and they said so on the radio, advocating a repeal initiative. Proponents put up a web site, hoping for 1000 volunteers and $25,000. They got 6,500 and $87,000. Needing 224,880 signatures to put repeal on the ballot, they got 400,996. Uh-oh, here come the finance police, because any grassroots campaing to lower any tax worries political officials. Apparantly, their speech is counted as campaign finance in favor of the organization that organized the repeal initiative, which is limited to a certain number of dollars per week when you get very close to the election. The local and state government (who stood to make millions off this tax) audited the cost of their speech using advertising rates at the radio station, effectively limiting them to 15 minutes a week to talk about the initiative, so long as they made no actul monetary contributions. Outspent 5 to 1, the repeal failed, but only just. The case is headed for the Supreme Court. You see, it's just like the lies that led our grandfathers to believe that the income tax was only a tax on the rich. The McCain-Feingold act was supposed to only regulate money and leave speech alone, but now, a monetary value has been attached to speech, and anything with a monetary value can be limited. This isn't the only case, either. In Colorado, a particular neighborhood didn't want to be annexed into a neighboring town, so the neighbors got together and bought signs. Oops, they spent more than $200 and actually talked to one another. That means that they have to disclose to the government for public record the names, addresses, and employers of everyone involved, as well as open a seperate bank account and file reports on it. They also had to report all communication with each other concerning the initiative. A woman in Florida has ceased publication of her small-town newspaper. The editorials were ruled to be 'electioneering communication' in league with certain candidates, so she had to either shut down or comply with the thought police. This has become the price of political speech, something that is guaranteed FREE by our Constitution. "Reformers" like McCain have no regard for the Constitution and whoever let this past the Supreme Court should be impeached. Our First Ammendment rights, the most sacred and necessary rights of our great republic, have been trampled on like so many of those who were jailed or killed in order to bring about that greatest of all political documents. Next thing you know, politicians will audit your volunteer time based on how much you could be making an hour if you were working and re-introducing the grossly unconstitutional 'fairness doctrine,' effectively killing independant political speech. This cannot continue.