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Washington’s Advice Rejected by both Parties

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Avoiding national debt was one of George Washington’s greatest admonitions yet neither liberals nor conservatives have paid much attention to it. It would be well to reflect on his advice this President’s Day.

The trillion dollar Republican proposal will raise overall spending caps by about $300 billion over the next two years and will make interest on the debt the largest growing part of the federal budget. This expenditure of the people’s hard-earned taxes purchases nothing—simply vanishes.

This prompted Senator Rand Paul to say, “When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party. But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party.” He added, “The dirty little secret is that, by and large, both parties don’t care about the debt.” We borrow “a million dollars every minute.”

On Sept. 19, 1796, just prior to leaving the presidency, President George Washington issued his famous Farewell Address. He warned posterity of possible pitfalls that could undermine or destroy liberty. His warnings may well be timelier 222 years later as we near his birthday February 22.

In strong terms he asked that we avoid debt. “As a very important source of strength and security cherish public credit… use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasion of expense… [Use the] time of peace, to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.” Unavoidable wars?

Today our national debt sits at over $20.5 trillion—the highest in our history. I once viewed a CNN clip, “How Much is a Trillion Dollars,” that showed a trillion dollars stacked atop one another the combined thickness going 68,000 miles into the sky—a third of the way to the moon. Applying this formula to our twenty-plus trillion dollars debt would take us to the moon and back, $6 trillion, to the moon and back a second time, 12 trillion, to the moon and back a third time, 18 trillion, and 2/3rds of the way to the moon a fourth time. Obviously today neither party has taken Washington’s advice. Presently the debt per taxpayer is over $170,370. We are spending our way into oblivion (See USDebtClock.org real time).

But Washington gave other unheeded advice as well. He pled that the nation kept religion and morality strong. He said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” The Founding Fathers never supported the notion of separation of religion and government—only the separation of an organization of religion from government. What would Washington say of the immorality that prevails today?

But the warning about foreign aid was especially good. He told us that gift giving in foreign affairs is a good way to be universally hated. He said it placed us “in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more.” Today there is hardly a nation in the world that does not have its hand out and when, after once giving, the amount is reduce or terminated, we are hated all the more for it.

He warned against the origin of “combinations and associations” whose intent was to suppress the desires of the majority in favor of the minority. He called them artificial power factions. What would he say of the influence of the Deep State in our government today or of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission or Bilderbergers? Would not this include Clinton’s foundation to pedal political influence for millions or Hillary’s rigging the DNC against Bernie Sanders or against Donald Trump with a fake dossier?

Such factions, he said, “May answer popular ends and become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government….” The antidote for this, Washington explained, was “to resist with care the spirit of innovation” upon basic constitutional principles or premises no matter how flowery, appealing or “specious the pretext.”

Washington worried about posterity not holding their elected officials strictly to the limits imposed by the Constitution. He knew many would seek to undermine that document by twisting it to give power they could not acquire without the distortion. Sound familiar? He said: “But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” Today much of what the federal government does is not even mentioned in the Constitution.

But patriots are not likely to be popular, as for instance Rand Paul. Washington explained, “Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.” One need not look far for the “tools and dupes” they seem to be everywhere and in both parties.

 

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

FISA, the Government’s Secret Court, Used on a President

By Dr. Harold Pease

The just released House Intel findings regarding the Trump Dossier, documented it as having been assembled by anti-Trump British spy Christopher Steele, from Russian disinformation, paid by the Democratic National Convention and Clinton Campaign to the tune of $160,000 as opposition research in a presidential election and did not support alleged Putin/Trump collusion in the election. The dossier was used by the FBI and Obama Justice Department to get a warrant from the FISA Court to spy on the opposing Trump campaign to destroy Trump’s candidacy and, if elected president, to provide the ammunition to have him impeached thereafter. The Grassley-Ghaham Senate Intel Memo documents more fully the above.

All of this renews interest in the government’s secret FISA Court, long-time opposed to by Constitutionalist, Libertarians and many Democrats. Ironically, it was created as a response to President Richard Nixon’s usage of federal resources to spy on political activist groups during his tenure as president, which likely violated the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. But now apparently used by the Democratic Party to spy on a contending presidential candidate prior to and after his election—something far worse than Nixon’s Watergate.

Initiated by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and signed into law by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created this secret court with bipartisan support. The government’s surveillance of its own citizens formerly, until now, opposed by most Democrats, dates back 39 years. I told my students of this court for at least 33 years.

Ironically the solution to Nixon’s spying on political activists groups was legalizing and extending it to individuals through FISA, a greater violation of the 4th Amendment than before. Few voices opposed giving the government extra spy-power during the “Cold War” when it seemed that the whole planet was falling under the influence of communism but, once legalized in 1978, the surveillance escalated.

Liberal CBS News commentator Dan Rather, in his “Eye on America,” was one of the first to speak out on the intricacies of this secret court. In 1994 he correctly argued that all federal courts are supposed to be open, that the Constitution has no place for secret courts. He opened, “Chances are you have never heard of this court because it does operate in secret.” The FISA court “holds no public hearings, classifies its rulings top secret and has wide freedom to order domestic spying in the name of national security.” Alan Deshowitz, a defense attorney at the time, was cited as having said, “The idea of there being a secret court in America is so un-American and the end result is that the rights of American citizens are being violated by this court. What is at stake here is the liberty of the American people. Secrecy and liberty are incompatible.”

He continued, “Behind the stone walls of the Justice Department’s sixth floor the court sits in an ultra-high security vault, guarded by impenetrable double doors. There, seven federal judges hear surveillance requests from the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Defense. And it appears the court has never heard a request it didn’t like. Over the years the government has asked for 7,500 surveillance warrants. The number refused by the court is zero. The government has never been denied.”

It gets worse. “Questions under FISA aren’t quite as tough as they are in even an ordinary criminal case. In any other court for an ordinary surveillance warrant a judge must find that a suspect is involved in a crime. Under FISA the standard is lowered to ‘may be involved.’ An ordinary wiretap runs 90 days. FISA taps can last a year. A suspect under ordinary criminal surveillance ‘must be told’ about it eventually but not under FISA. And finally, if prosecuted, a defendant is never allowed to see the top-secret warrant applications used against him.” Ironically, the program concluded, all this is happening “in a windowless vault just beyond Constitution Avenue.”

The U.S.A. Patriot Act of 2001 increased the number of FISA Court judges to eleven, all appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States, none with congressional “advice or consent” as required by the Constitution, each serving fixed terms of seven years. In court only the Department of Justice is allowed to provide information. Appeals of their decisions are made to a three-judge panel, which has assembled only twice it its history. One reason is that the Court does not inform those upon whom it spied—not even the president of the United States. If you do somehow find that you were spied upon, you cannot obtain the evidence from the FISA court that such actually happened.

Historically the court has approved 99.99 % of the requests for spying. As of 2013 the secret court had reviewed 33,900 requests denying, in its then 35-year history, only eleven— so much for oversight.

The names of the eleven current FISA Court justices can be found at 2016 Membership should readers wish to ask the judges why they authorized four separate requests to spy on Trump’s campaign and presidency.

FISA power must end. If Democrats can use the so-called justice system to authorize spying on a Republican president as shown, and there are not deterring high penalties for doing so, it is only a matter of time when the Republican Party will do something similar to a Democratic president.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Do Premature Citizens Have Constitutional Rights?

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

To the question, do premature U.S. citizens have constitutional rights?” the Senate just voted no after the House of Representatives, last fall, voted yes, both bodies almost entirely on party lines. The Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, failed to earn the 60 votes needed, receiving a majority of 51 but nine short. Only three Democrats Sens. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin III (W. Va.) voted yes but that may have been because Trump won their states in 2016 and they are up for reelection this year. Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), voted no with the Democrats.

There was no question where President Trump was on the issue. “Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life,” Trump added. “We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society.” Prior to the vote he said, “There is no reason why this should be a partisan issue, … I hope that my Democratic colleagues will not obstruct the Senate from taking up this bill.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I’m pleased … to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.”

The House passed the measure the previous October, 237 to 189, on similar party lines. President Trump thereafter pushed for a vote in the Senate banning abortions after 20 weeks when there is little question of the survivability of the baby outside the womb and most physicians felt that the human body inside did feel pain when aborted. To some degree this measure was already in place in 43 states.

Trump’s position on abortion is the strongest of any president since Ronald Reagan who was the first to defend the unborn using the Declaration or Constitution. Reagan did so in his Proclamation of Personhood, January 14, 1988, when he wrote, that the God-given right to life, identified in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right, extended to all humans whether born or not yet born. That the “right to life belongs equally to babies in the womb, babies born handicapped, and the elderly or infirm.” He continued, the right to exist, once existing, is defended in the Constitution under the 5th and 14th Amendments both declaring that, “no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.” Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 requires that the President swear an oath “to preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution and this includes protecting all persons irrespective of their age.

Reagan ended his proclamation with, “I will take care that the Constitution and laws of the United States are faithfully executed for the protection of America’s unborn children.  Upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

Since Roe V. Wade we have aborted 60,147,313 in the U.S., 3,712 after 16-weeks gestation (http://www.numberofabortions.com/). A review of abortion pictures on the Internet show tiny human body parts separated from the whole body, but these are depictions largely prior to 20-weeks of gestation when a scalpel was used to cut up the body making it easier to expel.

To be clear that we are intentionally killing premature humans, the law of the land regarding partial-birth abortion is 18 U.S. Code 1531 which reads: “The term ‘partial-birth abortion’ means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion—(A) deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother or, in the case of breech presentation any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and (B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.”

In practice, and depicted graphically on the Internet, a physician inserts forceps into the womb guided by ultrasound, grabs an infant leg pulling it into the birth canal and out. When all but the head is outside the mother’s body, scissors are used to make a hole in the back of the infant’s head large enough to insert a tube sucking out the brains and collapsing the skull killing what in a few seconds would be a living baby. The breach method is favored as the baby is killed in the womb rather than outside which feels too much like murder.

Although small it is clearly a human, not just tissue of an unfeeling fetus. And if it has constitutional rights five seconds after birth how could it not have them five seconds before?

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are supposed to apply to all including citizens almost born and Reagan/Trump defining partial birth death as unconstitutional, even evil, is justified. When we finally get justices that use the Constitution as framed, it will protect even the babies. Then the darkness of killing those not fully born will be exposed and removed, and Planned Parenthood will not be secretly selling baby body parts for research.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Does the Constitution Matter Anymore?

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

A newspaper editor recently wrote of the difficulty in finding a columnist expressing the constitutional viewpoint. I was impressed that he was making his way through the Federalist Papers and considered it a good read. Probably not one in twenty today can identify what it is or how it came about.

Today the Federalist Papers would be too deep a read for most college students—even many law school pupils. But it houses the thought processes and debates behind the Constitution, the document that caged the natural tendencies of man more than any governing document in world history. An understanding of the Constitution without this resource is not possible. And because the Constitution is based upon natural law, which does not change, it applies in all generations and in all societies.

Constitutional principles were once taught at every level of education and stories of the sacrifice of our Founders frequently recited with admiration. Today few schools teach these principles in grade school and fewer still in high school. In college U.S. History and Political Science classes the Constitution is tucked in the back of textbooks as an appendix, hence few actually read it. The history of the Constitution’s origin is housed in a chapter but constitutional principles seemingly have only informational value.

Some colleges or universities have courses on the Constitution for political science majors but almost without exception, students are not required to actually read it, heavy emphasis is given instead to case law. The same is true in law school. Original intent is hardly mentioned. Law schools provide our attorneys and our judges, most with too little on original intent. One rogue Supreme Court decision can effectively destroy large chunks of the Constitution and almost no one notices or cares. Too few understand that the Supreme Court is not the supreme law of the land over the Constitution. The Founders would have never permitted nine justices to destroy foundation principles.

Sadly, I never met one having a Ph. D in U.S. History or Political Science who, to get the degree, actually was required to read the U.S. Constitution in full. Nor have I met a lawyer having to do so either. Case law yes, loads of it, but not the Constitution in full or natural law upon which it is based.

If colleges give no emphasis to constitutional study how can we expect the student to do so either? Several years ago U.S. News and World Report reported a study showing that most Americans could not pass the constitutional questionnaire for citizenship, so constitutionally illiterate are we. This document is only of minimal value to journalism or communication majors as well. But these professions serve as information filters in our newspapers, magazines, or radio or television news programs.

The media has divided citizens into two warring groups liberals and conservatives, lumping constitutionalists and libertarians with conservatives, traditionally both major groups problem-solve primarily by increasing federal power without specific constitutional authority (if the document is properly understood) and pretends that there exist no other viewpoints. Rarely is original intent allowed into the debate. But the Constitution is the law of the land and all in authority swear an oath to preserve it.

Barack Obama, violated the constitution more than any president in our history with George W. Bush second. The Tea Party movement, primarily constitutionalists, rose up in 2009 as much against George W. Bush, a conservative, as against the incoming president Barack Obama, a liberal. It used to matter if a president did not carefully follow the Constitution. Today both Democrats and Republicans defend their president routinely when he violates it. Donald Trump certainly is no constitutionalist although, thus far, he has followed it more closely than any previous president the last 28 years.

Of the two major political parties the Democrats rarely cite the document and seem almost to have contempt for it. In fact, most of what they propose is easily argued to be outside the Constitution. They used to defend major parts of the Bill of Rights but I do not see much of that anymore. Republicans sometimes carry the document on their person but do not hold to it and thus much of what they propose is also outside of the Constitution but they do use the word Constitution more than do Democrats, if that means much.

This generation knows that the Constitution was a good thing, probably should be revered, at least historically, but they know little of the principles housed therein and have no idea how to vote to get back to it. This they will never get from the media, political party, or, it seems, not even the institutions of learning—only private study. That my new editor would find it difficult to find columnists that express the constitutional viewpoint is easily understood, as is the fact that newer columnists, lacking this understanding, are far more likely to express views in opposition to it.

Constitutional illiteracy is almost universal to the point that those qualified to defend the Constitution as designed are becoming extinct. Students are not likely to defend it if they never experienced it being defended. A real danger exists that if too few know or value its principles we will lose it—perhaps we already have. Some say it is no longer relevant for our times. They are so wrong.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Why I like Government “Shutdowns”

Harold Pease, Ph. D

We’ve had 19 government “shutdowns” since 1977 according to the Congressional Research Service. Some say the weekend “shutdown” just passed may not be the only one this winter because nothing was resolved in the so-called “Schumer Shutdown,” which only extended funding for three-weeks until February 8, ironically what the Republicans first proposed.

Last year Democrats were going to “shutdown” the government if the budget included any border wall funding so President Donald Trump, to avoid such, removed the funding proposal. But a government shutdown is never as bad as portrayed and, in fact, may be a good thing.

In the spring we normally get a budget, which is always higher than the last budget. In the fall we normally get a debt ceiling increase (74 since March 1962) because we could not stay within the budget increase. We raise it every year to accommodate our need for a “fix.” Congress sadly never says no. Does anyone really believe that our debt-addicted government will ever stop the addiction on its own?

Fully a third of our population do not earn all their bread by the sweat of their brow but vote to get the government to take it from someone else’s labor and give to them. We are told that those receiving food stamps are now a third of our population having doubled under President Obama’s watch.

Yes, we have a two-class society—those primarily taking, others primarily maker. Takers will always vote for the party and politicians who promise them more. When that number exceeds 51 percent we will never escape the takers and will have effectively made the making class the new slaves. Some believe takers are close to becoming the majority. Of course some taking groups are necessary as is the military.

Generally in previous “shutdowns” the political parties often reverse position and trade the speeches used in the previous “shutdown.” But the outcome is always the same.   The Federal government put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspends non-essential services. Essentially all went on as before except some paychecks were a few days late. Apparently the federal government does know what non-essential services are after all, and is capable of closing them when it has the will.

But nobody this time is warning us: that the increased expenditures add to the national debt, that interest on it increases $5,849 per second, that interest annually increases it by $184 ½ billion, that debt as a percentage of GDP in 106.48%, that each citizen would have to pay $63,191 today to pay that off, and that we are on a fast track to bankruptcy (nationaldebtclocks.org). Our spending addiction has given our children and grandchildren a 20 ½ trillion dollar debt. I like government “shutdowns” because they lessen the national debt and reduce big government by reducing non-essential governmental employment. I lived through all 19 “shutdowns” and only knew one family affected with a delayed paycheck.

Granted it is painful to curb our appetite, but the longer we wait the more painful, drastic, and life threatening it becomes. Most of the programs cut in the “shutdowns,” were not areas of clear constitutional authority as defined in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, so in time such cuts should become permanent or be subjected to the Article V amending process for appropriate authority. With virtually no exceptions getting back to the limits of the Constitution is the only way to deal with our bi-partisan debt addiction.

A budget must always first involve the House of Representatives, as it alone constitutionally must initiate all government spending. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” (Article I, Sec. 7, Clause 1). This places the people in charge of taxation, and thus spending, because the House is designed to represent the people and initially the Senate was to represent only the states view—this is why we have two legislative branches. The Senate cannot initiate a tax bill but can adjust any initiated by the House.

The hysteria peddlers using government shutdown terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know this emits an extreme emotional response. Moreover, the phrase becomes a weapon to be used on potential government “shutdowners.” It appears designed to frighten the least informed against the other political party, thus the terminology. This enables the media to have undue influence in spending and undermines the sole power of the House on this issue.

Why then the hysteria? Because the possibility of missed handouts by a “shutdown” sends the largely dependent or ill informed into frenzy as they oppose any proposed government diet that might threaten their daily feed. They worshipfully listen to the party and political leaders that are least likely to disturb the gift giving.

There will never be a government “shutdown” short of an overthrow of the government from within, the collapse of our financial structure (which is becoming ever more likely due to our obsession to live beyond our means), or a successful invasion from without. So cease the media frenzy and subsequent over-reaction.

Thus at worst a government “shutdown” is really only a government slowdown or closure of non-essential services and a delay of payment for some few federal employees. So the federal government goes on a long overdue diet and gets back to the basics, which is what most want.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Bundy Justice: The Price They Paid

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Some think that the Bundy’s got off scot-free when U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed cases against Cliven and sons Ammon and Ryan and co-defendant Ryan Payne and accused their prosecutors, the government, of willfully withholding evidence from Bundy lawyers in violation of the federal Brady rule thus denying them due process. She referred to it as “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct” and set the defendants free “with prejudice” preventing the government from trying them again on this case.

Navarro was referring to some 3,300 pages of evidence showing, among other things, government surveillance of the Bundy’s on the ranch days before the standoff and FBI logs documenting their activity at the ranch in the days prior to, both supporting the Bundy claim of self-defense. The governments having tactical teams and multiple video cameras positioned around the ranch certainly justifies this argument. Also excluded were records showing the presence of government snipers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90LtLwXXnp4) during the standoff necessitating some few Bundy supporters, taking positions with their rifles aimed at the snipers should agents open on the Bundy’s.

So what price did the Bundy’s pay for defending the Constitution and freedom? Cliven Bundy certainly felt it high: “I have been a political prisoner for more than 700 days.” Let’s review the story of Bundy justice.

Ranchers throughout the West had been grazing their cattle on open land for centuries before the land was made territories in a process emanating from the Articles of Confederation preparatory for statehood when population requirements, defined by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, were met. Once met land within a state boundary belonged to the new state. Under the Constitution there exists no provision for federal land within state boundaries outside Article I, Section 8, thus no federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This is the constitutional and Bundy position. The federal government found it profitable to withhold 87.7% of Nevada from the state and THEIR federal courts justified this position. The Bundy’s did not, and continued to graze their cattle where their forefathers had always grazed them without paying federal fees.

The BLM began to slaughter and bury Bundy cattle and confiscated hundreds more to sell to pay the federal fees. They also placed numerous FBI and BLM agents on Bundy property without their permission to watch family movements. Word got out and hundreds arrived to aid the Bundy’s in keeping their cattle. Agents created First Amendment areas for those opposing their actions and some few voicing it in non-designated areas were thrown to the ground, Tased, and threatened with arrest. The alarm went out. The cattle were released when armed neighbors and friends, some from out of state, outnumbered agents.

Next Ammon and Ryan Bundy assisted Oregonians in their land issues the federal government claiming 52.6% of their land. In particular the Hammond’s, who also suffered abuse by the BLM when a fire on their property accidentally burned adjacent BLM land. The Hammond’s served time for the fire than a year later were rearrested by federal agents when a federal judge concluded that they had not served enough time—double jeopardy. Bundy boys participated in the 40-day take-over of the then vacant Malheur National Wildlife Refuge facility in protest.

While driving to Burns, Oregon to negotiate with agents with a view of mitigating the occupation the truck driven by Lavoy Finicum was fired upon. Ryan was wounded in the arm, and Finicum exited the truck with his hands up, was shot three times in the back and killed. The three passengers endured almost five minutes of gunfire before they were allowed to exit, believing that agents also would kill them. A recording inside the truck records occupants begging God to save them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLIUDBrU9Cs).

Eight months later in a Portland jail cell Ryan was awaken at 5:30 a.m. and taken to a “secret” hearing in the basement, no time to contact his lawyer. On the way he was beaten by three guards suffering a dislocated wrist, broken thumb, and head bruised and cut open. Presumably the prosecution wanted the evidence of the bullet received while Ryan was approaching the FBI roadblock removed, with no witnesses other than themselves, they could contest the vehicle being fired upon prior to the roadblock. According to Ryan’s wife Angie, they would not allow pictures of the procedure and no paperwork regarding the removal would be given him. His refusal to agree to the “secret surgery” was the probable reason for the beating. In October 27, 2016 the Bundy boys were acquitted of all charges with respect to the Wildlife Refuge facility occupation but the killing of Finicum remains outstanding.

Finally Bundy justice must include the cost of litigation, presumably thousands, and prison time already served for several of at least a year and a half. The separation from family and friends and the cost of motel, travel, and meals for the family to see their incarcerated husbands and fathers weighs in somewhere. And, how does one put a number on the emotional price all participants paid until January 8 thinking that family members and friends are more likely to be incarcerated the rest of their lives than not. I told Ryan that I am willing to write about freedom and the Constitution, even suffer to some extent, but he was beat up, wounded, and risked being locked up for decades for it.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.