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.

A national database of employed people[Note
Dozens of pages of new “health care crimes,” for which the penalty is
(among other things) seizure of assets from both doctors and patients [Note B]
Confiscation of assets from any American who establishes foreign
citizenship [Note C]
The largest gun confiscation act in U.S. history — which is also an
unconstitutional ex post facto law and the first law ever to remove
people’s constitutional rights for committing a misdemeanor [Note D]
A law banning guns in ill-defined school zones; random roadblocks may
be used for enforcement; gun-bearing residents may become federal criminals
just by stepping outside their doors or getting into their vehicles. [Note D]
Increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, an
agency infamous for its brutality, dishonesty and ineptitude [Note D]
A law enabling the executive branch to declare various groups
“terrorist” — without stating any reason and without the possibility of
appeal. Once a group has been so declared, its mailing and membership lists
must be turned over to the government. [Note
A law authorizing secret trials with secret evidence for certain
classes of people [Note E]
A law requiring that all states begin issuing drivers licenses carrying
Social Security numbers and “security features” (such as magnetically coded
fingerprints and personal records) by October 1, 2000. “…A Federal agency
may not accept for any identification-related purpose a drivers’ license,
or other comparable identification document, issued by a State, unless the
license or document satisfies the [requirements set forth in this
legislation]. In other words, drivers licenses and government non-driver
IDs will still look different in all 50 states, but they will, in fact, be
part of a national ID system. If your drivers license doesn’t meet the
federal standard — no Social Security, no passport, no federal contracts,
no “benefits.” And just try cashing a check at your federally regulated
bank.[Note F]
And my personal favorite — a national database, now being constructed,
that will contain every exchange and observation that takes place in your
doctor’s office. This includes records of your prescriptions, your
hemorrhoids and your mental illness. It also includes — by law — any
statements you make (“Doc, I’m worried my kid may be on drugs,” “Doc, I’ve
been so stressed out lately I feel about ready to go postal.”) and any
observations your doctor makes about your mental or physical condition,
whether accurate or not, whether made with your knowledge or not. For the
time being, there will be zero (count ’em, zero) privacy safeguards on this
data. And, of course, the information will, by law, be filed under your
“unique identifying number.” But don’t worry, your government will protect
you with some undefined “privacy standards” in a few years. Oh, guess what?
If the proposed rule implementing this legislation (issued by the
Department of Health and Human Services in mid 1998) is adopted, you won’t
be able to get health care — even privately paid health care — without
your Citizen ID Number.[Note G]
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.” True.

My favorite answer came from an eloquent college student who blurted,
“They all SUUUCK!” Also true.

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 back.”


All of the above became law by being buried in larger bills. In many
cases, they are hidden sneak attacks upon individual liberties 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

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 pressures.

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
were 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
should ask. Whether your legislators were ignorant of the infamy they
were perpetrating, or whether they knew, one thing is absolutely

The Constitution, your legislator’s oath to it, and your inalienable
rights (which precede the Constitution) never entered into anyone’s
consideration. 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


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. Why?

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 1994. 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.

Civil forfeiture — now one of the plagues of the nation was first
introduced in the 1970s as one of those buried, almost unnoticed
provisions of a larger law. 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 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.

It is true that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and 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 begin. 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 going 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 under it. 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 consequences of living under total
oppression. 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

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 above:

Note A (employee database) Welfare Reform Bill, HR 3734; became public
law 104-193 on 8/22196; see section 453A.

Note B (health care crimes) Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996, HR 3103; became public law 104-191 on

Note C (asset confiscation for citizenship change) Same law as #2; see;
sections 511-513.

Note D (anti-gun laws) Omnibus Appropriations Act, HR 3610;
became public law 104-208 on 9/30/96.

Note E (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
Tide IV, specifically sections 401, 501, 502 and 503.

Note F (de facto national ID card) Began life in the Immigration Control
and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996, sections III, II 8, 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.

Note G (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 — Note F, 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 – THE END

Copyrighted by 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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