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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.

Why the Bundy’s Walk From Prosecution

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

In jury after jury but few of the hundreds engaged in what has been dubbed the Battle of Bunkerville have been prosecuted in a historic confrontation between the federal government and its citizens over western land. A confrontation which at its peak had government snipers aimed at the unarmed Bundy family, and friends of the Bundy’s, coming from points as far away as New Hampshire and Florida, some few of these had their rifles aimed at the government snipers. Had the government not backed down it could have resulted in a nasty blood bath with many more throughout the West ready to aid the family.

Three trials were held in 2017, the first in April ended in a mistrial, another in July had mostly acquittals, and a third in November on ringleaders Cliven Bundy and his two sons Ammon and Ryan and a co-defendant Ryan Payne, ending in another mistrial. The most recent was complicated by the government’s withholding 3,000 pages of evidence, some showing the involvement of the FBI in the standoff at the ranch and others the disparity between government sources on the threat assessment, one showing the Bundy’s to be nonviolent.

To further complicate the issue Ammon and Ryan Bundy had also been acquitted of federal conspiracy and weapons charges stemming from an armed, 40-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon the year before.

Why can’t the government get prosecutions? Bundy arguments brought focus to three concerns: federal land within a sovereign state, the Constitution, and what is known as Jury Nullification.

Juries are made of citizens who have to wonder why the federal government owns 87.7% of Nevada leaving private ownership of the state at but 12.3%. The percentage of land owned by government exceeds fifty percent in Alaska (98.5), Idaho (63.8), Oregon (52.6), and Utah (63.6). Basically the federal government did not give western states all their land when they qualified for statehood. States were so excited to get coveted statehood that they went along with the conditions despite the confiscation of, for most in the West, at least a third of their land. States want their confiscated land returned, so as to be on equal footing with 19 sister states that actually own their land.

The Revolutionary War doubled the size of the country. The federal government under the Articles of Confederation, Northwest Ordinance of 1787, was to manage non-state lands until such lands met the qualifications of statehood thereafter to be managed by the new state. This process was retained under the new Constitution in Article IV, Section 3 and was to be modeled throughout the West.

In Article I, Section 8 of the new Constitution, the federal government was permitted to have but 10 square miles for a federal capital. The only other land that they could acquire had to be for military purposes as specified in the common defense clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 which reads: “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, dock Yards, and other needful Buildings.”

Any new acquisition, outside the capital, had (1) to be purchased, (2) have the consent of the State Legislature where the land exists, (3) and be for military purposes. None of these constitutional requirements were met with respect to any of the states cited above although some military bases do exist in most of them. Nor have there been any additional amendments to the Constitution authorizing additional federal ownership of land as required for any additional federal power. Constitutionally there exists no federal land or Bureau of Land Management or even federal public land.

Jury nullification is the long-standing practice of ignoring the instructions of the judge when those instructions appear to be one-sided or to be against common sense, sometimes referred to as “lived experience.” When jurists, on their own, even when excluded from “approved” testimony, come to realize that Nevada only owns 12.3% of itself, they realize this is neither reasonable nor common sense.  Some may have read the Constitution and know of its clarity on land distribution. Some few know that in the distribution of power between federal and state entities federal judges almost always advocate the extension of federal power—they are the strongest advocates for it—and thus tend to shape the decision by what they allow the juries to consider.

When Judge Gloria M. Navarro, who presided over the two mistrials, refused to allow issues running up to the standoff, or the constitutional arguments, especially defense and free speech issues, to have relevance in this case and was so dictatorial with respect to what jurors could use to base their decision, seemingly favoring the prosecution, she turned jurists off, hence jury nullification. It did not help the federal case when none of the Bundy’s brandished an assault weapon, or themselves appeared threatening to federal officials, or had any history of violence.

Both sides have until December 29 to make their cases for or against a new trial. If reconsideration is favored Judge Navarro has set a new trial date for February 26, 2018. She is advised to let the issue stand as is, lest she risk yet a fourth jury nullification.

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. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

The Constitution Deals with Sexual Abuse in Congress

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

According to the media members of Congress of both major political parties are dropping like flies to a fly-swatter in a barn: Senator Al Franken, Congressmen John Conyers, Ruben Kihuen, Blake Farenthold, Joe Barton, Trent Franks, Alcee Hastings, in the last 30 days. All are accused of sexually abusing women, some recent, some years ago. The Constitution deals with misbehaving members of Congress when followed fully.

Unfortunately with the disclosure of these seven also came the exposure of the existence of a secret funding source for members of Congress accused of sexual harassment and other work-place discretions created under the Congressional Review Act of 1995. Since 1997, the fund has paid at least $15 million to settle complaints. Congressman Blake Farenthold is the first member of Congress confirmed to have benefited from it receiving $84,000 in taxpayer dollars in 2014 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with a former aide. We will have many other disclosures to rise to the expenditure of $15 million. A fund to potentially hide immoral, possibly illegal, activities is completely unconstitutional. It also removes a deterrent to transgression.

So how does the Constitution deal with misbehaving members of Congress? It begins with the morality of the electorate. John Adams, a Founding Father and 2nd president of the United States, identified the first principle of a republic where a king does not dictate good or evil, but the participants in that government bridle their “human passions” through “morality and religion.” left unbridled, he said, they “would break the strongest cords of our Constitution.” He ended a lengthy paragraph on the topic with, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

At least nine other Founders expressed similar opinions.   George Washington in his “Farewell Address” wrote: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”

In their time none denied the relationship between morality, religion, God and justice. When morality is situational, as it seems to be for so many today, this link is broken and one depends upon his own wisdom alone. There is no “appealing to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding,” as expressed by Benjamin Franklin in the Constitutional Convention. As Washington once said, “Government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Unprincipled government can do much damage as it has to the Constitution for years.

We expect those we elect to govern to have strong moral fiber and to have their human passions fully bridled. If they are still struggling with the base, hedonistic, animalistic and adulterous elements of themselves, such as is reported of these members of Congress, how can we expect them to make laws for the people based upon righteousness and justice? How can they discern such?

So the first constitutional principle is the election of persons to govern who demonstrate moral fiber. Moral bankruptcy usually starts long before one is a member of Congress. Al Franken demonstrated this by his choice of material as a professional comedian. Women complained of the sexually abusive behavior of John Conyers decades ago. Once this is known and confirmed, he should not be reelected. When the people themselves are morally bankrupt and do not care about the philandering of their favorite, as in the second election of President Bill Clinton, then such, as Adams said, breaks “the strongest cords of our Constitution.” Returning to the principle of electing only those with strong moral fiber, and zero tolerance for those who do not, will eliminate most, if not all, predatory behavior in Congress.

Once manifested two parts of the Constitution come into play to isolate the damage. Each House is to be the judge “of the Elections, Returns and Qualification of its own Members” making certain that it is the will of voters and that will was fairly derived (Article I, Section 5, Clause 1).   But neither House can constitutionally rejudge behavior that is known to voters addressed during the campaign after the expression of the people, should any of the seven run and win in 2018.

Also, each House may “punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member” (Article I, Section 5, Clause 2). In this they deal with behavior occurring after being seated such as sexual harassment. So let the Ethics Committee of both houses deal with the accused.

But the Constitution has one more check. At least six of the seven accused of sexual abuse face their constituents in eleven months to be judged by them and reseated or not. Their best behavior is likely pending that outcome. Let these two constitutional filters do their work not media trials that only serve the vengeful and are too politicized to be fair.

If the above does not end predatory sexual behavior in Congress the Constitution can be said to be broken, as Adams said, at least on curbing immorality of its leaders. The disclosures are serious; still, we need to be reminded that there are 535 members of Congress and most bridle their “human passions” but the seven, who presumably do not, are seven too many.

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 columns, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Trump, the Constitution, and National Monuments

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” President Donald Trump said, speaking at Utah’s State Capitol Dec 3, 2017. “And guess what? They’re wrong.” He then reduced two national monuments in Utah, one the Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50%, created by Bill Clinton in 1996, the other, The Bears Ears by 85%, created by Barack Obama less than a year ago, both land grabs highly unpopular with Utah congressional delegates.

The cut of two million acres in Utah monuments alone is the largest in the nation’s history. These cuts may open a new era as 27 other monuments may be on the down size agenda in coming months or years reducing the trend of previous presidents to gobble up enormous tracts of largely western land. The Federal government already owns 63.6% of Utah and elected government officials want to manage their own land, like states east of the Mississippi. Indeed, the federal government claims to own a third of all the landmass in the United States (Inventory Report on Real Property Owned by the United States Throughout the World, published by the General Services Administration, page 10).

Presidents designating national monuments for the last 40 years ranked on number follow: Obama 26, Clinton 19, Carter 15, G. W. Bush 6, Reagan and George Bush 0 (Department of the Interior, Quartz). Those restricting land use the most in millions of acres were: Obama 553.5m, G. W. Bush 218.8m, Carter 56m and Clinton 5.7m. All presidents previous to Carter were 3 million or less. In other words, the top three land grabbers: Obama, G. W. Bush and Clinton each set aside more land than all previous presidents before them combined. At this rate of acceleration one can easily see that in a few short decades the president could own or control every acre in America (National Parks Conservation Association). At the very least one can say that Trump has potentially stopped the acceleration.

A big issue is the constitutionality of further restricting land use mostly of campers, bikers and hikers. It also restricts hunting, fishing, horseback riding and off-road vehicle usage, by the signature of one man only. Outside of managing land as a territory until statehood is obtained (Article 4, Section. 3, Clause 2), the Constitution gives little power to the federal government to do so.

The Founders understood that the size of land holding was proportionally related to the perceived size of the federal government and they intentionally wanted that perception small. The federal government was permitted to have but 10 square miles for a federal capital. The only other land that they could acquire had to be for military purposes as specified in the common defense clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 which reads: “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, dock Yards, and other needful Buildings.” Any new acquisition had (1) to be purchased, (2) have the consent of the State Legislature where the land exists, (3) and be for military purposes.

As all land acquisition powers are in Article I of the Constitution with the legislative branch, the president was left out of the process. None of these constitutional requirements were met with respect to any of the national monuments acquired and Teddy Roosevelt used a mere law, the Antiquities Act of 1903, to trump the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. None were purchased, none received the consent of the State Legislature, and none are used exclusively for military purposes. Nor has there been an additional amendment to the Constitution authorizing additional federal ownership of land as required by Article V for any additional federal power. Constitutionally there exists no federal land, or Bureau of Land Management, or even public land.

One might argue that most, if not all, of the monuments were already on federal land having been acquired when the federal government refused to give to new states all the land that went with statehood when they transitioned from territorial status. That is true. The federal government through this process came to own about a third of the United States. That late 19th Century leaders fraudulently acquired the property in the first place, it does not follow that present leaders should expand on the fraudulency.

Constitutionally all land within state boundaries, unless acquired through the three stipulations noted in the Constitution, belong to the states—no exceptions. That the federal government has created national monuments unconstitutionally on what are state lands, or that both political parties have ignored this part of the Constitution for over a hundred years, does not make federal confiscation now constitutional.

Although President Trump claimed no constitutional grounds for his downsizing precedent, he should. His cited reason, that the natural resources of Utah should not be “controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington” is basic to the collective view of the Founding Fathers that federal powers be limited and specifically listed in the Constitution or in an amendment to it, was supported by all signing it. And should be today by all swearing an oath to preserve 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.

Roy Moore, the Judge That Followed the Constitution

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

I too am troubled by a 32 year-old man becoming a U.S. Senator allegedly having attempted to seduce a 14 year-old-girl 38 years ago, as I am with allegations of “me too” women alleging something similar. Thus far documentation on these are not conclusive. And I question the timing—just before an election— which potentially disrupts the balance of power in the Senate.

Moreover, this seems like the same movie that I watched on others the left wanted to destroy notably Clarence Thomas and Donald Trump, while John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, whom the left solidly supported, both had sexual relations with an intern in the White House. So I avoid rushing to judgment on Moore until conclusive evidence is available.

Unfortunately no one is writing about Roy Moore as the judge that used the Constitution to defend the Ten Commandments and the Defense of Marriage Act, issues which made him indisputably the most hated judge in America by the left. That hatred began when Moore, a newly elected circuit judge, placed a wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom. This and his practice of having pre-session prayer in his courtroom asking for divine guidance for jurors in their deliberations resulted in non-Christian hatred toward him.

His designing and placing a monument of the Ten Commandments in front of the Alabama Supreme Court building amplified such. The ACLU successfully sued to have it removed. Moore refused on the basis that the Ten Commandments are the “moral foundation” of U.S. law, stating that in order to restore this foundation, “we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs … the sovereignty of God.” For this he was removed from his judgeship.

His defense of the Defense of Marriage Act was the second unpardonable sin for the left. In state after state the Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, was passed. Likewise, in state after state, after passage, non-elected federal appellate judges ruled same-sex marriage to be constitutional, reversing the will of the majority. Justice Moore gave the constitutional argument in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act when he wrote that the U.S. Constitution gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states and advised Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to disallow county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

In a hand delivered letter to Governor Robert Bentley January 27, 2015, Justice Moore argued that “nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage” and that it decidedly trumps Alabama state law, more specifically the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment passed in 2006 by 81% of her voters. Moreover, “44 federal justices have imposed by judicial fiat same-sex marriages in 21 states of the Union, overturning the express will of the people in those states.” This he called judicial tyranny, which he defined as “unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.” He referred to the misuse of more recent interpretations of equal protection, due process, and full faith and credit concepts, as “spacious pretexts” not part of the original document.

When the Founding Fathers created the Constitution they recognized two co-existing governments known as Federalism: one, the federal government, to function primarily externally, the other, the states, to manage internal functions. Like a normal marriage they functioned—neither being master nor slave. Of the two only the federal government was restricted in its functions by a list of 17 specific powers found in Article I, Section 8. The Founders knew that all central governments like to grow. The states were left unrestricted and all power not identified was intentionally left to them and lesser governments.

To make doubly certain that this limitation on the federal government was permanent, the States insisted on a Bill of Rights as a condition of their acceptance of the Constitution. Amendment 10 of it reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution…are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Unfortunately for advocates of federalizing “loving relationships” the word marriage, or anything like unto it, is not in Section 8, nor has it been added to the Constitution by way of amendment through Article V, which is the process for change and thus this issue is devoid of federal constitutional authority. If we are to follow the Constitution as intended, and not make a mockery of it, marriage related questions are state functions alone and cannot be moved to a federal jurisdiction without a 3/4th affirmative vote of the states as per Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Alabama has every constitutional right not to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

Judge Moore knows and honors the Constitution as understood by its Founders resulting in his having many enemies. Is that hatred enough to fabricate child sexual assault stories never before mentioned? Quite possibly! Many of us still believe that a man is innocent until proven guilty. So until then we should support Mr. Moore. The left has a long history of giving a pass regarding the personal conduct of its favorites but will bring quick attention to anyone else alleged doing something similar, more especially if it changes the Senate to its favor and disrupts the Trump agenda.

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. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Bill to Abolish the EPA Still Progressing Through the House

By Harold Pease Ph. D

“The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” This one sentence, proposed law H.R. 861, is probably the shortest and most direct ever proposed in U.S. History. It was introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz February 3, and is presently working its way through four committees: Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space, and Technology. If passed it will save taxpayers over eight billion dollars a year and send over 15,000 employees looking for new jobs.

Congressman Gaetz wrote defending his bill, “Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans. It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”

But those who oppose the bill, like hornets swarming out of a disturbed hornets nest, are those who benefit from the Agency, the 15,000 with its passage soon to be looking for new jobs, profiting corporations, Hollywood activists, and big government advocates both Democrat and Republican—essentially the biggest donors in elections. A quick look on the Internet shows the hornets coming with every gun in the arsenal (even they believe in gun rights as long as they have all the guns), and they do, even the establishment media and socialized universities. Without huge public support career politicians will fold on this one.

Congressman Gaetz wrote, “states and local communities are best positioned to responsibly regulate the environmental assets within their jurisdictions.” He is right but he has a stronger argument, the Constitution does not list (Article I, Section 8) the environment as a federal function of government. By not being listed, it automatically remains a state, county and city prerogative (Amendment 10). If environmentalists want such power they must use Amendment V, which requires any new power to get 3/4ths of the state conventions to move the power from the states to the federal government so that it can be listed with the other federal powers.

Power grabbers, of both major political parties, do not like these parts of the Constitution because they rightfully do not allow them to do anything they wish. Moreover, the EPA was never enacted by Congress as required in Article I, Section 1 “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….”, no exceptions. It was nothing more than an Executive Order penned by then Republican Richard Nixon, December 2, 1970.

Years ago in visiting with a local contractor I learned that his biggest obstacle in providing reasonably priced middleclass housing for the community was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He told me that in a $300,000 home approximately one-third of that cost was fulfilling the myriad of rules that were mandated by this organization. He took time to share some of those with me. They were so unreasonable and without them I could have saved $100,000 on a new home. Without his willingness to go through these hoops there would be few single-family homes older than the sixties in this modest oil-town community.

He was a modest, unassuming good man, not the corporate polluter, toxic dumping and public land rapist that the extreme environmentalists portray developers. After five years of hearings battling the EPA over a single endangered flower that had popped up on his property next to a public park, he finally received permission to build.

Once construction workers, attempting to update an elementary school, found in a distant part of the schoolyard a kit fox den. All work stopped for at least six months while school authorities worked through the web of EPA rules before they could proceed. Costs mushroomed and human needs, even for children, were immediately placed on hold for an animal that locals knew was not really endangered. I used to tell my students that if they wanted an eye-opening experience just drive through the allies at night; they would see a kit fox before they saw a common cat.

The problem ended when those trying to get the school functioning again were allowed to purchase a kill permit. Yes, a kill permit, and the animal presumably protected because it was on an endangered list, was killed anyway. To obtain a kill permit the property owner is required to purchase land elsewhere, sometimes three times as large, next to a reserve and donate that property to the reserve. There is no attempt made to capture the offending animal or transplant the unwanted flower to another place. That would be too practical and reasonable for the government.

What I have shared is common knowledge to ninety percent of those over 30 and not associated with a college or university. Indeed, I have never met a defender of the EPA outside the latter category. Colleges are too often havens for teachers teaching, and students learning, that only the federal government can or will protect the environment and that states, counties or cities are too influenced by corporations and developers to do the job. The opposite is true. States have far more incentive in protecting their back yard than do unelected bureaucrats living 2,000 miles away that are not personally impacted by the rules they impose on others. The Constitution automatically protects us from these people if we will let it. Does your Congressman support H.R. 861?

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.