***IS YOUR CONGRESSPERSON THE ONE DOING THIS TO THE
Let me run by you a brief list of items that are "the law" in America today. As you read, consider what all these have in common.
All of the above items are the law of the land. Federal law. What
else do they have in common?
Well, when I ask this question to audiences, I usually get the answer, "They're all unconstitutional."
My favorite answer came from an eloquent college student who blurted,
"They all SUUUCK!"
But the saddest and most telling answer is: They were all the
product of the 104th Congress. Every one of the horrors above
was imposed upon you by the Congress of the Republican Revolution
-- the Congress that pledged to "get government off your
All of the above became law by being buried in larger bills. In
many cases, they were what my friend, gun-rights activist Charles
Curley, calls "Pearl Harbor Legislation" -- sneak attacks
upon individual liberty that were neither debated on the floor
of Congress nor reported in the media.
For instance, three of the most horrific items (the health care database, asset confiscation for foreign residency and the 100 pages of health care crimes) were hidden in the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HR 3103). You didn't hear about them at the time because the media was too busy celebrating this "moderate, compromise" bill that "simply" ensured that no American would ever lose insurance coverage due to a job change or a pre-existing condition.
Your legislator may not have heard about them, either. Because
he or she didn't care enough to do so.
The fact is, most legislators don't even read the laws they inflict
upon the public. They read the title of the bill (which may be
something like "The Save the Sweet Widdle Babies from Gun
Violence by Drooling Drug Fiends Act of 1984"). They read
summaries, which are often prepared by the very agencies or groups
pushing the bill. And they vote according to various deals or
It also sometimes happens that the most horrible provisions are
sneaked into bills during conference committee negotiations, after
both House and Senate have voted on their separate versions of
the bills. The conference committee process is supposed simply
to reconcile differences between two versions of a bill. But power
brokers use it for purposes of their own, adding what they wish.
Then members of the House and Senate vote on the final, unified
version of the bill, often in a great rush, and often without
even having the amended text available for review.
I have even heard (though I cannot verify) that stealth provisions
are written into some bills after all the voting has taken place.
Someone with a hidden agenda simply edits them in to suit his
or her own purposes. So these time bombs become "law"
without ever having been voted on by anybody.
And who's to know? If congresspeople don't even read legislation
before they vote on it, why would they bother reading it afterward?
Are power brokers capable of such chicanery? Do we even need to
ask? Is the computer system in which bills are stored vulnerable
to tampering by people within or outside of Congress? We certainly
Whether your legislators were ignorant of the infamy they were
perpetrating, or whether they knew, one thing is absolutely certain:
The Constitution, your legislator's oath to it, and your inalienable
rights (which preceded the Constitution) never entered into anyone's
Ironically, you may recall that one of the early pledges of Newt Gingrich and Company was to stop these stealth attacks. Very early in the 104th Congress, the Republican leadership declared that, henceforth, all bills would deal *only* with the subject matter named in the title of the bill. When, at the beginning of the first session of the 104th, pro-gun Republicans attempted to attach a repeal of the "assault weapons" ban to another bill, House leaders dismissed their amendment as not being "germane."
After that self-righteous and successful attempt to prevent pro-freedom
stealth legislation, Congresspeople turned right around and got
back to the dirty old business of practicing all the anti-freedom
stealth they were capable of.
Three other items on my list (ATF funding, gun confiscation and
school zone roadblocks) were also buried in a big bill -- HR 3610,
the budget appropriation passed near the end of the second session
of the 104th Congress.
No legislator can claim to have been unaware of these three because they were brought to public attention by gun-rights groups and hotly debated in both Congress and the media. Yet some *90 percent* of all congresspeople voted for them -- including many who claim to be ardent protectors of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
Well, in the case of my wrapped-in-the-flag, allegedly pro-gun, Republican congressperson:
"Bill Clinton made me do it!"
Okay, I paraphrase. What she actually said was more like, "It
was part of a budget appropriations package. The public got mad
at us for shutting the government down in 1995. If we hadn't voted
for this budget bill, they might have elected a Democratic legislature
in 1996 - -- and you wouldn't want THAT, would you?"
Oh heavens, no! I'd much rather be enslaved by people who spell
their name with an R than people who spell their name with a D.
Makes all the difference in the world!
The Republicans are fond of claiming that Bill Clinton "forced"
them to pass certain legislation by threatening to veto anything
they sent to the White House that didn't meet his specs.
In other cases (as with the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill), they proudly proclaim their misdeeds in the name of bipartisanship -- while carefully forgetting to mention the true nature of what they're doing.
In still others, they trumpet their triumph over the evil Democrats
and claim the mantle of limited government while sticking it to
us and to the Constitution. The national database of workers was
in the welfare reform bill they "forced" Clinton to
accept. The requirement for SS numbers and ominous "security"
devices on drivers licenses originated in their very own Immigration
Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996, HR 2202.
Another common trick, called to my attention by Redmon Barbry, publisher of the electronic magazine, *Fratricide*, is to hide duplicate or near-duplicate provisions in several bills. Then, when the Supreme Court declares Section A of Law Z to be unconstitutional, its kissing cousin, Section B of Law Y, remains to rule us.
Sometimes this particular form of trickery is done even more brazenly; when the Supreme Court, in its *Lopez* decision, declared federal-level school zone gun bans unconstitutional because Congress demonstrated no jurisdiction, Congress brassily changed a few words. They claimed that school zones fell under the heading of "interstate commerce." Then they sneaked the provision into HR 3610, where it became "law" once again.
When angry voters upbraid congresspeople about some Big Brotherish horror they've inflicted upon the country by stealth, they claim lack of knowledge, lack of time, party pressure, public pressure, or they justify themselves by claiming that the rest of the bill was "good."
The simple fact is that, regardless of what reasons legislators may claim, the U.S. Congress has passed more Big Brother legislation in the last two years -- more laws to enable tracking, spying and controlling -- than any Democratic congress ever passed. And they have done it, in large part, in secret.
Redmon Barbry put it best: "We the people have the right
to expect our elected representatives to read, comprehend and
master the bills they vote on....If this means Congress passes
only 50 bills per session instead of 5,000, so be it. As far as
I am concerned, whoever subverts this process is committing treason."
By whatever means the deed is done, there is no acceptable excuse
for voting against the Constitution, voting for tyranny. And I
would add to Redmon's comments: Those who *do* read the bills,
then *knowingly* vote to ravage our liberties, are doubly guilty.
But when do the treason trials begin?
The truth is that these tiny, buried provisions are often the
*real* intent of the law, and that the hundreds, perhaps thousands,
of pages that surround them are sometimes nothing more than elaborate
window dressing. These tiny time bombs are placed there at the
behest of federal police agencies or other power groups whose
agenda is not clearly visible to us. And their impact is felt
long after the outward intent of the bill has been forgotten.
One wonders why on earth a "health care bill" carried
a provision to confiscate the assets of people who become frightened
or discouraged enough to leave the country. (In fact, the entire
bill was an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code. Go figure.)
I think we all realize by now that that database of employed people will still be around enabling government to track our locations (and heaven knows what else about us, as the database is enhanced and expanded) long after the touted benefits of "welfare reform" have failed to materialize.
And most grimly of all, our drivers licenses will be our de-facto
national ID card long after immigrants have ceased to want to
come to this Land of the Once Free.
It matters not one whit whether the people controlling you call
themselves R's or D's, liberals or conservatives, socialists or
even (I hate to admit it) libertarians. It doesn't matter whether
they vote for these horrors because they're not paying attention
or because they actually *like* such things.
What matters is that the pace of totalitarianism is increasing.
And it is coming closer to our daily lives all the time. Once
your state passes the enabling legislation (under threat of losing
"federal welfare dollars"), it is YOUR name and Social
Security number that will be entered in that employee database
the moment you go to work for a new employer. It is YOU who will
be unable to cash a check, board an airplane, get a passport or
be allowed any dealings with any government agency if you refuse
to give your SS number to the drivers license bureau. It is YOU
who will be endangered by driving "illegally" if you
refuse to submit to Big Brother's licensing procedures.
It is YOU whose psoriasis, manic depression or prostate troubles
will soon be the reading matter of any bureaucrat with a computer.
It is YOU who could be declared a member of a "foreign terrorist"
organization just because you bought a book or concert tickets
from some group the government doesn't like. It is YOU who could
lose your home, bank account and reputation because you made a
mistake on a health insurance form. Finally, when you become truly
desperate for freedom, it is YOU whose assets will be seized if
you try to flee this increasingly insane country.
As Ayn Rand said in *Atlas Shrugged*, "There's no way to
rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power
to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals,
one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that
it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
It's time to drop any pretense: We are no longer law-abiding citizens.
We have lost our law-abiding status. There are simply too many
laws to abide.
And because of increasingly draconian penalties and electronic
tracking mechanisms, our "lawbreaking" places us and
our families in greater jeopardy every day.
The question is: What are we going to do about it?
Write a nice, polite letter to your congressperson? Hey, if you think that'll help, I've got a bridge you might be interested in buying. (And it isn't your "bridge to the future," either.)
Vote "better people" into office? Oh yeah, that's what we thought we were doing in 1994.
Work to fight one bad bill or another? Okay. What will you do about the 10 or 20 or 100 equally horrible bills that will be passed behind your back while you were fighting that little battle? And let's say you defeat a nightmare bill this year. What are you going to do when they sneak it back in, at the very last minute, in some "omnibus legislation" next year? And what about the horrors you don't even learn about until two or three years after they become law?
Should you try fighting these laws in the courts? Where do you find the resources? Where do you find a judge who doesn't have a vested interest in bigger, more powerful government? And again, for every one case decided in favor of freedom, what do you do about the 10, 20 or 100 in which the courts decide against the Bill of Rights?
Perhaps you'd consider trying to stop the onrush of these horrors
with a constitutional amendment -- maybe one that bans "omnibus"
bills, requires that every law meet a constitutional test or requires
all congresspeople to sign statements that they've read and understood
every aspect of every bill on which they vote. Good luck! Good
luck , first, on getting such an amendment passed. Then good luck
getting our Constitution-scorning "leaders" to obey
It is true that liberty requires eternal vigilance, and that part of that vigilance has been, traditionally, keeping a watchful eye on laws and on lawbreaking lawmakers. But given the current pace of law spewing and unconstitutional regulation-writing, you could watch, plead and struggle "within the system" 24 hours a day for your entire life and end up infinitely less free than when you began.
Why throw your life away on a futile effort?
Face it. If "working within the system" could halt tyranny,
the tyrants would outlaw it. Why do you think they encourage you
to vote, to write letters, to talk to them in public forums? It's
to divert your energies. To keep you tame.
"The system" as it presently exists is nothing but a
rat maze. You run around thinking you're getting somewhere. Your
masters occasionally reward you with a little pellet that encourages
you to believe you're accomplishing something. And in the meantime,
you are as much their property and their pawn as if you were a
slave. In the effort of fighting them on *their* terms and with
*their* authorized and approved tools, you have given your life's
energy to them as surely as if you were toiling in their cotton
fields, under the lash of their overseer.
The *only* way we're going to get off this road to Hell is if
we jump off. If we, personally, as individuals, refuse to cooperate
with evil. *How* we do that is up to each of us. I can't decide
for you, nor you for me. (Unlike congresspeople, who think they
can decide for everybody.)
But this totalitarian runaway truck is never going to stop unless *we* stop it, in any way we can. Stopping it might include any number of things: tax resistance; public civil disobedience; wide-scale, silent non-cooperation; highly noisy non-cooperation; boycotts; secession efforts; monkey-wrenching; computer hacking; dirty tricks against government agents; public shunning of employees of abusive government agencies; alternative, self-sufficient communities that provide their own medical care and utilities.
There are thousands of avenues to take, and this is something
most of us still need to give more thought to before we can build
an effective resistance. We will each choose the courses that
are right for our own circumstances, personalities and beliefs.
Whatever we do, though, we must remember that we are all, already, outlaws. Not one of us can be certain of getting through a single day without violating some law or regulation we've never even heard of. We are all guilty in the eyes of today's "law." If someone in power chooses to target us, we can all, already, be prosecuted for *something*.
And I'm sure you know that your claims of "good intentions"
won't protect you, as the similar claims of politicians protect
them. Politicians are above the law. YOU are under it. Crushed
When you look at it that way, we have little left to lose by breaking
laws *creatively and purposefully*. Yes, some of us will suffer
horrible consequences for our lawbreaking. It is very risky to
actively resist unbridled power. It is especially risky to go
public with resistance (unless hundreds of thousands publicly
join us), and it becomes riskier the closer we get to tyranny.
For that reason, among many others, I would never recommend any
particular course of action to anyone -- and I hope you'll think
twice before taking "advice" from anybody about things
that could jeopardize your life or well-being.
But if we don't resist in the best ways we know how -- and if
a good number of us don't resist loudly and publicly -- *all*
of us will suffer the much worse consequence of living under total
And whatever courses of action we choose, we must remember that
this legislative "revolution" against We the People
will not be stopped by politeness. It will not be stopped by requests.
It will not be stopped by "working within a system"
governed by those who regard us as nothing but cattle. It will
not be stopped by pleading for justice from those who will resort
to any degree of trickery or violence to rule us.
It will not be stopped unless *we* are willing to risk our lives,
our fortunes and our sacred honors to stop it.
I think of the words of Winston Churchill:
If you will not fight for the right when you
can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your
victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment
when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and
only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case.
You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because
it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
# # #
NOTES on the laws listed
1. (employee database)
Welfare Reform Bill, HR 3734; became public law 104-193 on 8/22/96;
see section 453A.
2. (health care crimes)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HR
3103; became public law 104-191 on 8/21/96.
3. (asset confiscation
for citizenship change) Same law as #2; see sections 511-513.
4, 5 and 6. (anti-gun
laws) Omnibus Appropriations Act, HR 3610; became public law 104-208
7 and 8. (terrorism &
secret trials) Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
1996; S 735; became public law 104-132 on 4/24/96; see all of
Title III, specifically sections 302 and 219; also see all of
Title IV, specifically sections 401, 501, 502 and 503.
9. (de-facto national
ID card) Began life in the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility
Act of 1996, sections 111, 118, 119, 127 and 133; was eventually
folded into the Omnibus Appropriations Act, HR 3610 (which was
itself formerly called the Defense Appropriations Act - -- but
we wouldn't want to confuse anyone, here, would we?); became public
law 104-208 on 9/30/96; see sections 656 and 657 among others.
10. (health care database)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HR
3103; became public law 104-191 on 8/21/96; see sections 262,
263 and 264, among others. The various provisions that make up
the full horror of this database are scattered throughout the
bill and may take hours to track down; this one is stealth legislation
at its utmost sneakiest.
And one final, final note: Although I spent aggravating
hours verifying the specifics of these bills (a task I swear I
will never waste my life on again!), the original list of bills
at the top of this article was NOT the result of extensive research.
It was simply what came off the top of my head when I thought
of Big Brotherish bills from the 104th Congress. For all I know,
Congress has passed 10 times more of that sort of thing. In fact,
the worst "law" in the list -- #9, the de-facto national
ID card--just came to my attention as I was writing this essay,
thanks to the enormous efforts of Jackie Juntti and Ed Lyon and
others, who researched the law. Think of it: Thanks to congressional
stealth tactics, we had the long-dreaded national ID card legislation
for five months, without a whisper of discussion, before freedom
activists began to find out about it. Makes you wonder what else
might be lurking out there, doesn't it? And on that cheery note
(c) Claire Wolfe. Permission to reprint freely granted, provided the article is reprinted in full and that any reprint is accompanied by this copyright statement. .
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