From the January 2006 Idaho Observer:

I’m gonna start writing my congressmen—a lot

By 1997 I was thoroughly convinced that both houses that comprise the U.S. Congress are expensive and useless debating societies; they only pretend to make laws in the public interest as a cover for the executive authority really calling the shots and so 100 senators and 435 reps can continue lining their personal nests at public expense. I do not recall one time in the last 10 years, either in print or verbally, where I, personally, suggested that someone should "write their congressman."

But that was before understanding how to use their neutered, lobbyist-led capacities to further our main function as dissident Americans: Making more dissidents.

The problem is not that writing to these people is a waste of time, but that we are forever disappointed that they can do nothing to help us when we believe it is their job to do so. These people no longer represent us; they represent their own self interests and the government that cuts their checks.

Dear Mr. and/or Mrs. American:

Thank you for contacting our office with your petty little problem.

So sorry that I am unable to help you, but your problem is not my problem. Even if I had the authority to do something for you, which I don’t, your desire to live in a clean, fair and just nation of laws is contrary to my personal interests.

Do not hesitate to contact someone else next time you have a problem. Though I, my office and the entire U.S. Congress are of no help to you whatsoever and are, in fact, working diligently to destroy the foundations of freedom upon which we all swear an oath to protect and defend, I can, at most, spare you the cost of postage (which just went up again) by discouraging future mailings to my office.


Senator/Representative Brutus Arnold

It would be nice if, in their typical three-paragraph responses to our impassioned pleas, they would tell us the truth. But, since they are too self-absorbed and too busy maintaining the facade of representative government to respond to us in such an honest manner, we must take it upon ourselves to realize the true measure of their worth and act accordingly. We should restrict our communications with them to asking simple but revealing questions they can answer. Then we can forward the questions and the answers to local newspapers, email lists or the congressmens’ political rivals.

While we cannot expect members of Congress to wage authority it does not have on our behalf, they are qualified to answer questions designed to show America just how absurd national politics have become. Whatever we have come to think of our senators and reps, they will serve nicely as expert witnesses in the court of public opinion as it seeks to render a verdict in the case of America v. THE UNITED STATES.

Now that we have identified the narrow scope of congressional expertise that can be used to further the interests of average, working Americans, we only need to begin asking the right questions in the manner most likely to compel correct responses.

See page 4 for some ideas. Most letters to our congressmen can be, and should be, very short (no more than three paragraphs) and should only require an answer to one simple question. My vision is for the Writing-Letters-to-Congress Campaign of 2006 to really take off and become a fun and popular pastime as Americans discover the true extent of their nation’s betrayal right from our horses’ mouths.

Wouldn’t it be neat if thousands of people began asking their congresscritters thousands of questions by writing thousands of letters to hundreds of politicians and both questions and answers start being printed in newspapers all over the country and began circulating virulently throughout the global electronic universe? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if new forms of poetry emerged to challenge the limerick for situational satire and rival the haiku for syllabic efficiency? Wouldn’t it be perfect to create a nationwide sociological climate wherein the gatekeepers of our national demise become the unwitting heralders of the doom they are precipitating?

On a slightly different note, you may recall that last month I announced in this column that my resolution for 2006 was to free what I estimate to be about 200,000 provably innocent and non-violent people currently languishing in the nation’s state and federal prisons. I realize that the project may be slightly harder than quitting cigarettes, but I know in my heart that it can be done.

In our tireless efforts to find ways to reach enough of our people to turn things around, we have discovered that short letters to the editor are the most commonly read part of newspapers behind front page headlines and editorial cartoons. If we are going to change people’s minds in areas that are important, we must go where the people are open and looking for answers while making powerful suggestions. I believe that we can use these forums to elevate important issues to prominence in national discussions. Where the people have been exposed to simple truths, the likelihood they will fall unquestioningly for complicated lies is greatly diminished. In all humility, I need your help in proving this thesis. (DWH)


Letters to the "honorables" of Capitol Hill

As you can see, The IO has initiated a "write-your-congressman" campaign. The letter to Rep. Otter and the Missing Presumed Dead are very serious because there is zero humor to be harvested from imprisoned innocence, torture and slavery. The other letters, however, have humorous overtones and satirical undertones and were pretty fun to write. Please consider them as templates that can be amended, expanded upon or used to generate ideas for more letters. Though the letters should be typed and appear as respectfully-submitted correspondence, it will be the quantity of letters and their responses that will likely achieve the desired result: More dissidents. Write your letters to compel the answers you want; write letters to teach your community the lessons they need to learn. Remain legible, well-intended and respectful at all times and observe the protocols of written correspondence you were taught in 4th grade. This could become a really fun sport that serves at least two purposes: We may finally get something for the high costs we pay to keep Congress in a position of continual betrayal of the American people and we can use their responses to teach our people what is really behind the facade of U.S. public service.



Senator Larry Craig:

RE: The growing U.S. public debt

Dear Senator Craig:

The public debt of the U.S. is over $8 trillion and growing exponentially with no sign or discussion of ever returning to solvency. History has shown that every economic system that experiences inflation (diminished purchasing power) and unpayable public debts crashes amid levels of severity paralleling the seriousness of the extant inflation and indebtedness.

It would take approximately 253,680 years to count to $8 trillion one second at a time. The U.S. dollar has lost 97 percent of its purchasing power since Congress abdicated its responsibility to regulate the currency when it chartered the private Federal Reserve Bank in 1913.

Do you think the U.S. economy will defy all the examples of history and not crash as a result of public debt and inflation or do you think it will inevitably crash? If you believe it won’t crash, please explain why. If you do think it will crash, do you care to venture a guess as to when? And, considering the ever-diminishing purchasing power of the dollar and the highest public debt the world has ever seen, how severe do you think the coming crash will be on a scale of one to ten (with the Great Depression being about a five)?

Thank you for your time and please respond at your earliest convenience.

Have a happy new year!


Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer



Senator Mike Crapo

RE: Are wages income?

Senator Crapo:

As you know the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice routinely prosecute and imprison those whom they decide have not paid sufficient "income" taxes on their wages and salaries. The term "income," according to 16th Amendment author Sen. Norris Brown (R-Neb.), all of the authorities cited during the debates, every newspaper article and piece of memoranda of the time ever exhumed from the national archives, was limited to corporate profits or the profits realized from investments.

The Constitution’s framers and the 16th Amendment’s framers identified two "species" of taxes—direct and indirect—as defined by Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations). The Constitution demands that direct taxes be "apportioned" equally among the several states by population. In other words, if Congress decides to finance a war, it must determine the amount it needs then assign the "apportioned" amount each state must pay according to population.

There is no tax more direct than a tax on wages and salaries—they are deducted from Americans’ paychecks before they even see them. The taxes collected on people’s wages and salaries are not apportioned among the several states by population.

Wages are not "income" under the original intent of the 16th Amendment and the direct tax on people’s wages and salaries are not apportioned.

Senator Crapo, can you tell me when wages and salaries became "incomes" that can be directly taxed without apportionment? Can you also describe the original intent of the 16th Amendment and whether you believe that taxing Americans into bankruptcy or federal prison was part of that intent?


Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer

Encl.: People’s Income Tax Guide



Senator Larry Craig

RE: The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Senator Craig:

Federal law compels every government entity and tax district to produce what is called the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Unlike the annual budget which states the costs of government, CAFRs also itemize the assets held by reporting entities (states, counties, cities, school districts, etc.). In every case, these public entities report "owning" $millions, even $billions (in the case of the U.S., $trillions) in cash, properties and investments. Why isn’t the increasingly destitute general public informed that their tax money is being pooled and invested at tremendous profit for governments? Why are taxes always increasing to pay for the costs of government when governments are holding $billions in not-readily disclosed, highly liquid assets?

Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer



Senator Larry Craig

RE: Missing Presumed Dead

Senator Craig:

On October 24, 2005, every member of Congress and other key Capitol Hill officials numbering about 750 received a complimentary copy of Missing Presumed Dead—a documentary providing compelling evidence suggesting that the U.S. has been lying to America about the POW/MIA issue since WWII.

Have you taken the time to see Missing Presumed Dead? Do you believe that Bob Dumas is telling the truth? If you believe Dumas (and the other corporate-neutral Americans and former congressmen interviewed), then you must now believe that the U.S. government has, with full knowledge of their being alive, declared thousands of American POWs (from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Gulf War I) dead and, as a matter of policy, left them behind to spend the rest of their lives in former enemy prison camps.

Senator, now that you know what Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) and Rep. Bob Dornan (D-CA) knew when their congressional investigation was scuttled in 1993, what will you do to warn America’s mothers and fathers that their captured military sons and daughters may never come home alive because the government prefers to label them as dead?

On a more personal note, how can you sit in the same room with Senator John Kerry and Senator John McCain knowing that they are personally responsible for the continued imprisonment of thousands of men from the Korean War and the Vietnam War?

Missing Presumed Dead had a very chilling effect on me. Please write back and let me know how it made you feel.


Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer

CC: Bill Dumas

Bob Dumas

Rep. Butch Otter

Sen. Mike Crapo

Rep. Michael Simpson


(Note: By the time you receive this, Congress will be back in session. Every member has had ample opportunity to see Missing Presumed Dead (go to our PayPal page) and now knows that 22,000 men were left behind in WWII, about 8,000 men were left behind in Korea and about 2,000 were left behind in Vietnam. We think that every one of them should hear from all Americans who have been in a war, have children in wars or are planning to have children who may someday be in a war. It seems appropriate that the government should acknowledge that once you join the military to fight for Uncle Sam, he views you as property and has the right to tell everyone you are dead and leave you to spend the rest of your life in a prison camp. Please take the time to see the documentary yourself and then send a letter to as many congresscritters as you can).



Senator Mike Crapo

RE: 14th Amendment

Senator Crapo:

A review of the 39th Congress (1865) reveals it was not a Congress at all since the entire Union ceased to exist in 1861 with the secession of North Carolina. As a result, it would appear that, in legal contemplation, the 14th Amendment isn’t really an amendment to the Constitution but an unconstitutional reorganization of the "union"—accomplished at gunpoint. The (congressional) record shows that both northern and southern states had to "ratify" themselves back into the union by adopting the reorganization of government we have all been taught since grammar school to accept as the 14th Amendment. The amendment, among other things, created a new type of citizen, the U.S. citizen, and made the several states liable for the federal government’s debts while making the federal government non-liable for any damages it does to anyone or their property in time of war.

Tenth District Federal Judge Marianna Opala stated that the Constitution does not apply to 14th Amendment citizens. Corporations have been granted the status of "person" under the 14th Amendment. Senator Rarick from Louisiana and others, on the Congressional Record, have argued the illegality of the 14th Amendment on a multiplicity of seemingly very solid legal grounds.

Could you please inform me as to your views regarding the 14th Amendment. I would like to know if a properly seated Congress lawfully ratified this amendment and whether or not I have any (inalienable, God-given, common-law) rights, under the original Constitution ratified in 1787, or if my 14th Amendment citizen status vitiates those rights.

Also, Section II of the 14th Amendment makes no sense to me whatsoever. Could you please have it translated?


Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer


I think you can see where we are going with this: We are not writing our congressman to change for the better the problems of our nation, we are just pointing out the problems as we see them, based upon their core truths, and confronting our "leaders" with their own inability to explain why the problems must continue to exist and why they are powerless to do anything but make them worse.

Just think of all the problems we have as a people and the bureaucratic idiocies perpetuating them; imagine a Congress wherein each member is deluged with letters like the ones on this page; imagine an American public continually being exposed to their reps and senators lame answers via the Internet, letters to local newspaper editors and coffee shop conversations.

Ours is a target-rich environment. The absurdities of these modern times are nearly infinite and they can all be traced back to failed political policies exacerbated by a somnambulant citizenry.

Following is a brainstorm of other topics to keep your congresscritters busy explaining and start your community thinking:

*Chemicals and epidemic chronic illness

*Child protection industry

*Mass vaccination to help spread disease

*Fluoridated, chlorinated drinking water

*The FDA and federally-approved poisons

*Feeding children junk food in school

*The escalating cost of public education

*The counterproductive war on terror

*Federal response to Katrina, Rita

*Unanswered questions about 9/11

*Tampering with crime scenes (OKC, WTC)

*Expanding police state

*Torture of prisoners

*Depleted uranium...

...and on and on. Use your imagination, be respectful and pray for answers that you can forward onto others to help them see the bigger picture. (DWH)




Rep. C.W. "Butch" Otter

RE: The growing U.S. penal population

Rep. Otter:

This letter is to inform you of a crisis in this country: About half the people in state and federal prisons do not belong in them.

Sadly, I have a "thriving" prison ministry and can be corresponding with 40 prisoners at any one time. Most of these (primarily) men were convicted of crimes for which they are provably innocent or were imprisoned for victimless crimes that resulted in no harm to others or damage to property. Several prisoners have independently indicated to me their qualified opinion that about 10 percent of those with whom they doing time are absolutely innocent of the crimes for which they were found guilty and sent to prison. They also tell me that about half the people in prison with them were convicted of consensual, non-violent or victimless crimes. The 10 percent figure cannot be qualified through official sources, but the claim that only half of those in state and federal prisons are considered "violent offenders" is consistent with U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics figures.

Upon review of the documents and evidence in scores of cases that have come my way since 1995, I have clearly discerned patterns of conduct among various state and federal statute-enforcing agencies and agents. These patterns reveal how state and federal agents, from any of the federal or state agencies, may be called in at any time to serve as instruments in the orchestration of someone’s prosecution.

In every single case I have reviewed, the case file reveals exactly how government employees coordinated their prosecutorial activities and manipulated court proceedings to achieve convictions of innocent individuals and/or heavy prison sentences for people who should never have been criminally prosecuted in the first place. Provably innocent/maliciously-prosecuted/heavily-sentenced citizens rarely have the resources to defend themselves against government’s zealous, well-financed and well-equipped monolithic front. This means upwards of a million Americans are currently imprisoned because they don’t have the resources to defend themselves against the government.

The question then becomes, "Are we a nation of laws, which all men must abide, or are we property of the state? The former infers a Republic wherein all citizens are held to the same standard of lawful conduct; the latter infers the state’s right to use or dispose of people at its pleasure. I believe our research into determining the answer to that question will boil down to a simple difference of opinion: People believe they "own" themselves and government believes it owns the people.

Rep. Otter, I believe that, by collecting just a fraction of the evidence that is readily available, we can prove the justice system’s fallibility in determining guilt or innocence to such an extreme degree as to warrant objective reviews of nearly every conviction where a living man or woman is doing or has done prison time in the U.S. Just opening the topic for public discourse will quickly prove, beyond doubt, that our nation’s justice system has been taken over by ongoing racketeering enterprises. How can we continue to claim citizenship in a nation of laws when racketeers control their interpretation? What liabilities do "U.S. citizens" inherit that would "legalize" their being falsely accused, secretly indicted, maliciously prosecuted, wrongfully convicted, harshly sentenced and lawlessly imprisoned at the whim of government?

What I am describing here is a crisis of historic proportions. Please give the implications of this letter the grave consideration they deserve and please do not refer me to another government agency or committee. Contact me if you have any questions. Our people’s lives are being ruined because elements in our government are facilitating and financing, as a matter of routine, their ruination without just cause.

For your consideration, I have enclosed a short letter and a few supporting documents strongly indicating the innocence of Michael Shutz who, the evidence proves, was falsely convicted of shaking a baby in 2002. Adding to the Shutz travesty, his March 2, 2006 parole date has been revoked because, we can prove, the prison has manufactured disciplinary infractions against him to justify his continued incarceration. We believe this has been done to punish Michael because his mother has never stopped trying to get public officials to see the plain truth of his innocence.

Idaho has the second fastest growing prison population in the nation. It grew by 11.1 percent in 2004. Rep. Otter, it is likely that 10 percent of Idaho’s more than 18,000 prisoners, parolees and probationers are completely innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. We were both raised in this country to believe America is the land of the free and Americans are defenders of freedom. I am asking you, in both your public capacity as a representative of the people who live in the state of Idaho and in your private capacity as an American, to help me answer the following questions:

1. If there is a possibility that 200,000 innocent men and women are currently imprisoned in America, do you believe it is our responsibility to objectively investigate that possibility?

2. If the U.S. justice system proves to be fallible to such a scandalous degree, how can we amend the system to be more just and review its convictions to find the provably innocent and set them free?

3. Are the interests of the nation, or the interests of the corporate U.S. being served when non-violent, victimless and consensual "criminals" are sent to prison?

4. Is it incumbent upon Americans, as U.S. citizens, to accept prosecutorial abuses from government as a condition of their citizenship status or do they have the right and the authority to vacate or reverse provably wrongful convictions and commute heavy sentences for non-violent offenders?

5. What role is the privatization of prisons playing in the nation’s exploding prison population?

6. What conditions exist that make Americans more valuable as prisoners than as productive members of society?

Rep. Otter, this situation should not be tolerated by the people of this Republic nor funded by their representatives in government. This unjust machine is operating out in the open with tremendous enthusiasm. That it continues proves it is either operating as an ongoing racketeering enterprise protected by U.S. law enforcement and government agencies or as perfectly "legal" associations of persons engaging in commerce. Please help me to answer the questions above by return correspondence by Feb. 2, 2006, so that we can either begin the process of setting innocent and non-violent, victimless and consensual prisoners free or inform the American people that government claims ownership of them and reserves the right to dispose of them at its pleasure.

No matter what,

Don Harkins, The Idaho Observer

CC: Friends and Family of Idaho Inmates

PO Box 1376

Boise, ID 83701

Western Prison Project

PO Box 40085

Portland, OR 97240

Idaho Innocence Project

Frederick Leatherman

P.O. Box 442321

Moscow, ID 83844-2321

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