From the May 1999 Idaho Observer:


Fedgov: The Creature From The Potomac

Some elite group or prominent individual has been commanding the conduct of our various national populations since before history was written. The common people have often suffered greatly as various rulers quested to claim and maintain the mantle of power. The American system of governance began a unique experiment in the management of human affairs that has resulted in Fedgov: The creature from the Potomac.

by Hari Heath

Anyone who bothers to look can tell there is something wrong with government today. Many of us sense the travesty of our current condition. The few of us who have bothered to look farther and dig deeper have uncovered mountains of evidence that exposes the treasonous creature of government that is upon us. Where did this creature come from?

History of the creature

The concept of a republican form of government is not a new one. As far back as early Greece it was tried. Romans, Celts, and others had established various forms of republican government.

Usually the participants were limited to those of some elite status, but it laid the foundation for government as a civil process with an organized and relatively stable form, a departure from rule by the latest conquering warlord or his heir.

The American experiment brought many new ideas forward. The process that established our national government brought together some of the most insightful men of the time. After lengthy and careful consideration, with much debate, our Constitution was formed.

The first directive in the Constitution reads: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a congress of the United States, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives” (Article I, Section 1).

This recognizes Congress as the sole creative power of government. The three-branch system of our republican form of American government has a well-established principle known as the “Separation of Powers Doctrine.” The Congress makes the laws, the executive enforces the laws given by the Congress, and the judiciary keeps watch to insure that all is done according to the great plan.

This power to create law is not absolute, it is clear and specified in the Federal Constitution at Article I, Section 8.

What are these Powers? In simple terms: to tax; to defend the nation; to borrow money; to regulate commerce; to naturalize citizens; provide for bankruptcies; to coin money and punish its counterfeiting; to establish a post office; to provide for patents and copyrights; to create lesser courts; to punish piracy; declare war; raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy and to govern the army and navy; provide for the calling forth of the militia and organizing, arming and disciplining it; to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over a special district, ceded from the union of states for the seat of the federal government, and this special exclusive legislative jurisdiction also applies to lands for certain military purposes and other needful buildings purchased within a state with the consent of the legislature of that state; And, finally the power to make all necessary and proper laws when the power to make the said law is enumerated in the Constitution.

While these powers are well enumerated, much of today's problems with government arise from the misinterpretation of the Constitution by those who either can't read well, or have such a lust for absolute power that they hope the American people can't read well either and don't have a gun, thereby allowing them to accomplish their unconstitutional schemes, unscathed.

Birth of "our" creature

From the swamps on the Potomac River, the creature emerged. How did it all begin? What part of the great plan provided the foothold for the seed of that noxious organism -- the federal regime?

It is found in the Constitution at Article I, section 8, clause 17. Its intended purpose was to provide a seat of government for the new federal government along with lands for military uses and other needful buildings:

“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district...as may by the cessation of particular states, and the acceptance of congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, [now called Washington D.C.] and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.”

This seemingly harmless power, in fact, this important, necessary provision, is the root of the great problem Americans have with their government today. I do not find any fault with this clause as written.

It is the gross misapplication of this clause and the unchecked, perverted twisting of its intent that causes much that is wrong in America today.

How so, you might ask? What is wrong with the creation of the seat of the federal government, military establishments, and other needful buildings?

It is because the people and the states have failed to enforce the boundaries of the “district” and have allowed themselves to become subject to “legislation in all cases whatsoever” outside of the district.

The creature from the swamps of the Potomac has escaped the confines of the district and is on a feeding frenzy for power. The creature is wrecking havoc on our lives, our liberties, our property and the states we live in.

Exclusive legislation thereof

The power to “exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever”is an unbridled power, or so it seems to have been construed. It may be well argued that to exercise exclusive legislation is fit and proper for the “district” where the federal government is the sole governing authority. It is however, the in all cases whatsoever language that appears to give license to the unchecked whims of Congress.

At what point Congress changed from a conscientious body of legislators, to our present collection of treasonous powermongers, is uncertain. There appears to be more than a few contemporary members who have a venomous animosity for anything constitutional.

Perhaps it was in Clause 17 that the first taste of unchecked power began to foment the apparent rebellion against constitutional limitation.

Imagine a Congress with jurisdiction over two nations. One, a union of the several states, complete with provisions, mandates and limitations upon the governing force. The other, small, but none the less with a grant of power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever.

After managing the affairs of the "district," unbridled, would not members of Congress, who are human, and subject to human weaknesses, desire to have the same “authority” to achieve their aims in the several states as well?

The power of the creature, legal and otherwise

Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. Such is the sad state of affairs in America today.

Try as I might, I can't find out how Congress can do the things it does in the several states, unless by expanding the authority in clause 17 to somehow apply to the several states as well.

The power to tax; borrow; regulate some commerce; naturalize citizens; provide for bankruptcies; coin money; punish counterfeiting; post offices; patents and copyrights; constitute lesser courts; punish piracy; declare war; create, maintain and regulate the army, navy and militia; and take care of business in the “district.” Period! That's it!

Not much of a federal government, but then it was never meant to be.

Where, then, do we get farm subsidies, endowments for the arts, the Forest Service, the FBI, federal public housing, federal education programs, federal interstate highways, the FAA, the FCC, the space program, the EPA, paper money, federal public lands, and the ATF?

For example, Article 14, section 6, of the Idaho Constitution commands: “No armed police force, or detective agency, or armed body of men, shall ever be brought into this state for the suppression of domestic violence except upon the application of the legislature, or the executive when the legislature cannot be convened.”

Why, if this is the command of the Idaho Constitution, do we have U.S. Marshals permanently stationed in Idaho? Why is there a special FBI team in Idaho investigating “domestic terrorists?” Did they bother to apply to our legislature for permission to be in our state?

Tentacles of the creature

Can the EPA or the Federal Department of Transportation issue regulations that have any real force and effect in your state?

If Article I, Section 1, gives all legislative power to a Congress, and they, therefore, are the only creative force of government, and their power is clearly limited to a certain few things listed in Article I, section 8, how can we possibly have the myriad of “agencies” that are presently “harassing our people and eating out their substance”?

The Creature from the Swamp of the Potomac has emerged from its birth in Article I, section eight, clause 17. Its tentacles have slowly, one little suction cup at a time, laid a death grip upon the soul of our nation. The people and the several states have slumbered, with their head in the trough of convenient consumption for so long now that the creature from the swamp has somehow become their parent and friend.

What's the solution? Cut off the tentacles or cut off the head.

What's the proper question: Gradual withdrawal or cold turkey?

There is no easy course. There is no direction without great hardship and loss. Life as we know it will never be the same.

It never is anyway and it only gets worse from here. If the creature remains unchecked and unconfined you will soon find one of its suction cups stuck to everything you have.

Can we afford to pretend that there is no problem? If we ignore it will it somehow just go away? Unlikely.

The Remedy is You

The only person who can do anything about it is you. If you leave it for someone else to do, it won't get done. Look into the problem. Dig deeper. Find/apply solutions.

With all 260 million of us each finding and applying our own solutions, the creature will have to retreat back to the district where it belongs. Any wayward tentacles that might try to re-emerge outside the district can be severed from the creature by the diligent citizenry worthy of the name Americans. Are you worthy? Will you do your part in the war for the soul of your nation?

Imagine a federal Congress with a limited power to tax; to borrow; to regulate some commerce; to naturalize some citizens; to provide for bankruptcies; to coin money; to punish counterfeiting; to establish post offices; issue patents and copyrights; constitute lesser courts than the Supreme Court; to punish piracy; declare war; create, maintain and regulate the army, navy and militia; and take care of business in the “district.” Period!

Imagine a president and his executive officers who only did what the laws of Congress allowed or commanded.

Imagine a Supreme Court and the lesser courts that ruled as if truth and justice were things that still mattered.

It's all up to you. If you don't create a remedy, then you allow the problem to continue. 260 million remedies will be more than the creature can take. Find yours -- there is not much left that doesn't already have a tentacle wrapped around it.

It could be a wonderful government. The people might learn to like it again. Find your place in the great American experiment and apply your solution. The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave needs you now.


Mr. Heath is a low-impact logger from Santa who is developing an enviable fan club as a result of his brilliantly written monthly column in The Idaho Observer.