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
1. A national database of employed people
2. 100 pages of new "health care
crimes," for which the penalty is (among other
things) seizure of assets from both doctors and patients
3. Confiscation of assets from any American who
establishes foreign citizenship
4. 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 peoples
Constitutional rights for committing a misdemeanor
5. An act authorizing roadblocks to search for
guns in ill-defined school zones
6. Increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, an agency infamous for its
brutality, dishonesty and ineptitude
7. 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.
8. A law authorizing secret trials with secret
evidence for certain classes of people
9. 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. By October 1, 2006, "Neither the
Social Security Administration or the Passport Office or
any other federal agency or any state or local government
agency may accept for any evidentiary purpose a state
drivers license or identification document in a
form other than (one issued without a verified Social
Security number and "security features")."
10. And my personal favorite--a national
database, now being constructed, that will contain every
exchange and observation that takes place in your doctors
office. This includes records of your prescriptions, your
hemorrhoids and your mental illness. It also includes -
by law - any statements you make ("Doc, Im
worried my kid may be on drugs," "Doc, Ive
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. But dont worry,
your government will protect you with some undefined
"privacy standards" in a few years.
What do the above laws 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, "Theyre all
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 back."
Burying time bombs
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
didnt 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 didnt care enough to do
The fact is, most legislators dont 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 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 whos to know?
If congresspeople dont 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 certain: The Constitution, your
legislators oath to it, and your inalienable rights
(which preceded the Constitution) never entered into
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
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.
Stealth attacks in broad daylight
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
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 hadnt voted for this
budget bill, they might have elected a Democratic
legislature in 1996 - and you wouldnt want THAT,
Oh heavens, no! Id 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!
How sneak attacks are justified
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 didnt 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 theyre 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 theyve 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
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
By whatever means the deed it is done, there is
no acceptable excuse for voting against the Constitution,
voting for tyranny. And I would add to Redmons
comments: Those who do read the bills, then knowingly
vote to ravage our liberties, are doubly guilty.
But when do the treason trials begin?
NOTES on the laws
listed above: 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 on
9/30/96. 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 wouldnt 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.
© 1997 Claire Wolfe
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