Subject: Essay: AMERIKA, AMERIKA (by Claire Wolfe)

Date: 22 Mar 1998 02:22:19 GMT

From: Brad Aisa <baisa@ERASETHISinterlog.com>

Organization: Auto-Moderation Bot, v0.99a

Newsgroups: humanities.philosophy.objectivism.slack

 

[The following article is republished by permission in accordance with the

copyright notice at the bottom. I have just received it from a friend, and

think it makes an excellent starting point for a discussion on charting a

course for securing freedom. Brad Aisa.]

 

 

AMERIKA, AMERIKA

 

by Claire Wolfe

 

 

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.

 

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 postfacto law and the first law ever to

remove people's constitutional rights for committing a

misdemeanor.

 

5. A law banning guns in ill-defined school zones; random

roadblocks may be used for enforcement; gun-bearing residents

could become federal criminals just by stepping outside their doors

or getting into vehicles.

 

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

"Terrorists" - 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 driver's license or identification

document in a form other than [one issued with 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 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. But don't worry, your government will protect you with

some undefined "privacy standards" in a few years.

 

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."

 

 

BURYING TIME BOMBS

 

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 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 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 congress people 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 certain:

 

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, Congress people

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 congress

people 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!

 

 

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 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 congress people 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?

 

 

BILLS AS WINDOW DRESSING FOR AN UGLY AGENDA

 

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.

 

 

CONTROL REIGNS

 

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.

 

 

STOPPING RUNAWAY GOVERNMENT

 

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 congress people 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 congress people, 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 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 above:

 

 

1. (employee database) Welfare Reform Bill, HR 3734; became

public law 104-193 on 8/22196; 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 Tide 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 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.

 

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 - 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