Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens ...

Remember, O Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace. Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens ...

Lamentations 5:1,2

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Preview My New Private Blog

It will take a few days for me to get the permission list together for my new private blog. In the meanwhile, anyone can preview that blog at: http://bkumpe.blogspot.com .

For permanent permission to view this new blog please e-mail me at: bill@billkumpelawfirm.com . This link may or not work directly from this blog entry and you may have to cut and paste it into your own e-mail software.

Please include your real name and a valid e-mail address. I intend to allow confidential posting to the blog and nothing short of a court order could make me reveal the identities of those who choose to post confidentially. But, I do ask that at least I know who everybody is and how they can be contacted if necessary.

I look forward to visiting with you.

Bill Kumpe

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

BNN - How To Kill A Blog

There is a Gresham's law of sorts in all public and private relationships. Just as bad money drives good money from the market, bad bloggers can drive good bloggers from the marketplace of ideas. There are situations that people with responsibilities simply cannot tolerate.

As I have previously posted, I asked David Mastio, Chief Executive Officer of Blog Net News, to remove my blog from his online publication Blog Net News Oklahoma. I asked him to remove it because I do not find Blog Net News Oklahoma an appropriate venue for my work. Further, I do not care to be publicly or privately associated with some BNN contributors or their statements.

Mr. Mastio replied that he would hide behind the fair use doctrine and continue to use my name and blog entries without my permission.

Fair enough Mr. Mastio. Commencing with this post, I will no longer add new content to The Bill Kumpe Blog. I will continue blogging on a private blog. Access will be restricted to 100 selected readers of my choice. Those of you from BNN who are regular readers can contact me at bill@billkumpelawfirm.com for further information about access. Based upon my daily hit rate there will not be enough subscriptions to go around. Priorities will go first to my clients and allied attorneys, second to other scholars and researchers with whom I maintain a regular correspondent relationship and third to fellow bloggers of my choice.

I used to be a professional journalist. Other newspapers in the region regularly "picked up" my copy and reprinted it in their own papers. It was an honor to have those editors recognize my work in that manner. Those editors were friends and professional colleagues. I never had to worry that my copy would be published next to information that I (or now my clients) would find distasteful or embarrasing. That is not the case at BNN.

So, I am reluctantly "pulling the plug" on my public blog to prevent further unauthorized use of my work. While I do not agree with everything that British author Andrew Keen has to say about the new internet culture, I reluctantly have to agree that this situation is living proof of his assertion that "the cult of the amateur" is indeed "killing our culture," coarsening public discourse and eroding the intelligence of the next generation.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Getting the Religion Clause Cart Before the Horse

The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment are perhaps the most misunderstood and misconstrued phrases in the United States Constitution. In the past fifty years, starting with McCollum v. Board , the United States Supreme Court has stood the First Amendment on its head, converting what was a strong guarantee of the right of religious citizens to participate in all facets of public life into near police state restrictions. The following excerpt from a recent discourse in First Things titled At the Origins of the Naked Public Square provides an excellent analysis:

The argument of these last several Friday postings is that the no-establishment provision of the first freedom of the First Amendment is entirely in the service of the free exercise provision. I should note, at least in passing, that those devoted to the “original meaning” of the First Amendment argue that it was intended to be no more than a guarantee that the federal government would not interfere with the religious arrangements of the states, some of which had legally established churches. They are right about that.

The tangled and incoherent church-state jurisprudence of the last half century, they say, is the product of a misguided effort to produce elaborate legal doctrine from what was no more than a pragmatic guarantee. They are largely right about that, too. As Philip Hamburger, Clarence Thomas, and others have noted, that misguided effort was powerfully driven by anti-Catholic bigotry. All this is true enough, but our necessary concern is with the religion clause as it has been formed and deformed in the past half century.

The deepest deformation is the subordinating of free exercise to no-establishment. Once we forget that no-establishment is a means and instrument in support of free exercise, it is a short step to talking about the supposed conflict or tension between the two provisions. And from there it is a short step to the claim, as it has been claimed in numerous court decisions, that the two parts of the religion clause are “pitted against one another” and must somehow be “balanced.”

And from there it is but another short step to the idea that the no-establishment provision protects “secular liberty” while the free exercise provision protects “religious liberty.” When the religion clause is construed according to this curious inversion, it is no surprise that religious liberty comes out the loser. Any impingement of religion upon public life is taken to violate the secular liberty of the non-religious. Thus has no-establishment become the master of the free exercise that it was designed to serve.

The balance of the article can be read HERE.


I recently asked David Mastio, the Chief Executive Officer of Blog Net News to remove my blog from the Blog Net News Oklahoma aggregator. I did not ask for my blog to become a part of the BNN network and never gave permission for its use there. And, after seeing my blog listed on the same page as a homosexual marriage announcement and a blasphemous parody of the birth of Jesus Christ, I decided that BNN, despite many fine and respected bloggers who do participate there, is nevertheless an enterprise that I do not care to be publicly associated with. When I asked to be removed, Mr. Mastio replied in part with the following:
Now that the blogosphere is clearly a player, the bloggers that make it up have to get used to the fact that they are news. If sticking by our commitment to bring people the most comprehensive information on what’s happening in each state’s public affairs blogosphere — bringing transparency — means we are unpopular in some quarters, that’s a price we’re willing to pay.
So, in the name of "transparency" and the First Amendment Mr. Mastio has decided that I, through my blog, must march in the same daily cyber parade as people who insult me personally, attack my clients, denigrate my values and blaspheme my faith. In the name of so-called "freedom of speech" (and making a buck) Mr. Mastio is perfectly willing to tell me that I have two choices, either do not publish a blog at all or publish it in his forum which denies me my constitutional right to free association.

And that is the problem with people like Mr. Mastio. They do not understand or care that there are people like myself who find some BNN participants bad mannered and boorish to the point that we are embarrassed to be publicly associated with them. Notice that I am not suggesting that these people be censored or punished in any way for publishing their hate and drivel. I am simply saying that if BNN does not choose edit their publication more carefully, I don't choose to be publicly associated with it. But, Mr. Mastio is telling me I have no choice in the matter.

A gentleman would say, "If you don't want to participate in my publication I certainly won't force you to. I can't stop other bloggers from quoting you under the fair use doctrine but I won't continue the daily use of your name and work on my site if you really object to their presence there." But, Mr. Mastio did not say that, so you can draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Right of Free Association

Many people these days have the mistaken idea that private individuals must associate with people and organizations they find insulting and whose values they find antithetical to their own. While this may be true to a certain extent in the public context, it is not true concerning private voluntary associations. This basic freedom was upheld and firmly restated by the United States Supreme Court in Dale v. Boy Scouts of America:
In Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 622 (1984), we observed that “implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment” is “a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.” ... Government actions that may unconstitutionally burden this freedom may take many forms, one of which is “intrusion into the internal structure or affairs of an association” like a “regulation that forces the group to accept members it does not desire.” Id., at 623. Forcing a group to accept certain members may impair the ability of the group to express those views, and only those views, that it intends to express. Thus, “[f ]reedom of association … plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate.” Ibid.

Given that the Boy Scouts engages in expressive activity, we must determine whether the forced inclusion of Dale as an assistant scoutmaster would significantly affect the Boy Scouts' ability to advocate public or private viewpoints. This inquiry necessarily requires us first to explore, to a limited extent, the nature of the Boy Scouts' view of homosexuality.

The Boy Scouts asserts that it "teach[es] that homosexual conduct is not morally straight," Brief for Petitioners 39, and that it does "not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior," Reply Brief for Petitioners 5. We accept the Boy Scouts' assertion. We need not inquire further to determine the nature of the Boy Scouts' expression with respect to homosexuality. ...

We must then determine whether Dale's presence as an assistant scoutmaster would significantly burden the Boy Scouts' desire to not "promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." Reply Brief for Petitioners 5. As we give deference to an association's assertions regarding the nature of its expression, we must also give deference to an association's view of what would impair its expression. See, e.g., La Follette, supra, at 123-124 (considering whether a Wisconsin law burdened the National Party's associational rights and stating that "a State, or a court, may not constitutionally substitute its own judgment for that of the Party"). That is not to say that an expressive association can erect a shield against antidiscrimination laws simply by asserting that mere acceptance of a member from a particular group would impair its message. But here Dale, by his own admission, is one of a group of gay Scouts who have "become leaders in their community and are open and honest about their sexual orientation." App. 11. Dale was the copresident of a gay and lesbian organization at college and remains a gay rights activist. Dale's presence in the Boy Scouts would, at the very least, force the organization to send a message, both to the youth members and the world, that the Boy Scouts accepts homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior.

Hurley is illustrative on this point. There we considered whether the application of Massachusetts' public accommodations law to require the organizers of a private St. Patrick's Day parade to include among the marchers an Irish-American gay, lesbian, and bisexual group, GLIB, violated the parade organizers' First Amendment rights. We noted that the parade organizers did not wish to exclude the GLIB members because of their sexual orientations, but because they wanted to march behind a GLIB banner. We observed:

"[A] contingent marching behind the organization's banner would at least bear witness to the fact that some Irish are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and the presence of the organized marchers would suggest their view that people of their sexual orientations have as much claim to unqualified social acceptance as heterosexuals ... . The parade's organizers may not believe these facts about Irish sexuality to be so, or they may object to unqualified social acceptance of gays and lesbians or have some other reason for wishing to keep GLIB's message out of the parade. But whatever the reason, it boils down to the choice of a speaker not to propound a particular point of view, and that choice is presumed to lie beyond the government's power to control." 515 U. S., at 574-575.

Here, we have found that the Boy Scouts believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill in its youth members; it will not "promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." Reply Brief for Petitioners 5. As the presence of GLIB in Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade would have interfered with the parade organizers' choice not to propound a particular point of view, the presence of Dale as an assistant scoutmaster would just as surely interfere with the Boy Scout's choice not to propound a point of view contrary to its beliefs.
So, the bottom line here is that people who find homosexual behavior inconsistent with their personal faith and values are not required to continue private, voluntary associations they find offensive and people who do, do so at the risk of diluting or even defeating their own message to the contrary.

Friday, October 03, 2008


From the Army Times:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks...

this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.

“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”

... they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”

The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”

While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.

“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.

Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.



A non-lethal crowd control package fielded to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, described in the original version of this story, is intended for use on deployments to the war zone, not in the U.S., as previously stated.

Coburn's Sobering Words

This morning, I listened to Dr. Tom Coburn explain his bail out vote on Tulsa talk radio station KFAQ. Coburn explained why he, perhaps the most fiscally conservative senator on the hill, voted for an admittedly unconstitutional and certainly too expensive bail out plan for the mortgage mess.

Tom Coburn has never been accused of having a lot of political finesse. He calls them like he sees them and he has called some wrong in the past. And, those wrong calls have hurt Oklahoma and Oklahoma's citizens. But, there has never been any doubt about his character and commitment to his principles. Tom Coburn believes that the United States economy is in such a serious state that it was necessary for him to abandon his principles to save the country from a Great Depression style failure.

Coburn is not a politician. He is a man of science and his scientific mind showed this morning in his KFAQ interview. He convinced me that his decision was based upon objective evidence and that he was willing to take the hit he is taking now to do what he thinks is in his constituents and the country's best interests. He quoted facts and figures that other politicians who voted against the bail out are not mentioning.

I was deeply concerned about the economy before I listened to Coburn this morning. I am now seriously frightened. If the information available to a U.S. Senator WHO IS NOT IN THE LOOP ON THE HILL is enough to make him cast a vote this out of character, then things are truly bad indeed.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dems, Obama Complicit in Financial Crisis