About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

Who Needs Enemies…

Republican Surrenderists for Obamacare

by: Michelle Malkin

During the summer of 2009, conservative activists turned up the heat on Democratic politicians to protest the innovation-destroying, liberty-usurping Obamacare mandate. In the summer of 2012, it’s squishy Republican politicians who deserve the grassroots flames.

In case you hadn’t heard, even if the Supreme Court overturns the progressives’ federal health care juggernaut, prominent GOP leaders vow to preserve its most “popular” provisions. These big-government Republicans show appalling indifference to the dire market disruptions and culture of dependency that Obamacare schemes have wrought.

GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, vice chair of the Senate GOP Conference, told a St. Louis radio station two weeks ago that he supports keeping at least three Obamacare regulatory pillars: federally imposed coverage of “children” up to age 26 on their parents’ health insurance policies (the infamous, unfunded “slacker mandate”), federally mandated coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions (“guaranteed issue,” which leads to an adverse-selection death spiral) and closure of the coverage gap in the massive Bush-backed Medicare drug entitlement (the “donut hole fix” that will obliterate the program’s cost-controls).

Some Republicans are even trying to out-Obama Obamacare. GOP Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio is pushing a proposal to increase the mandatory coverage age for dependents to age 31. And once a fire-breathing dragon for repeal, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee hem-hawed when asked by the liberal Talking Points Memo website whether Republicans would be introducing specific bills to preserve the guaranteed issue and slacker mandate provisions.

“Well, I think we need to be prepared,” Alexander told TPM. “And we will be prepared.”

How about getting informed? As I reported while the Obamacare backroom wheeling-dealing was going on, some 20 states already had passed legislation requiring insurers to cover adult children before the federal rule was imposed, and nearly 20 others were already on the expensive path toward doing so. In New Jersey, Wisconsin and elsewhere, these top-down benefits mandates were among key factors driving up the cost of insurance and limiting access instead of expanding it.

Fortunately for fiscal conservatives, GOP Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina still has his head screwed on straight. Last week, he blasted GOP enablers of the welfare state. He notes that “multiple studies have suggested that every 1 percent increase in premiums increases the number of uninsured by approximately 200,000 to 300,000 individuals nationwide.” The slacker mandate has raised premiums by at least 1 percent since it was enacted, DeMint adds, meaning “that hundreds of thousands of individuals have lost coverage — because they were priced out of the individual market, or because their employers decided to stop offering coverage — as a result of the new requirements.”

This is no textbook hypothetical. No less than the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 — one of Obamacare’s biggest cheerleaders — dropped health care coverage for children in late 2010 because of costly mandates, including, you guessed it, the slacker mandate. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible,” the SEIU 1199 benefits managers wrote in a letter to more than 30,000 families, “and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

Chris Jacobs, senior analyst for the Senate Joint Economic Committee, points to a new study by the left-leaning Commonwealth Fund that reveals that the benefits of the slacker provision have “disproportionately accrued to affluent and wealthy families.” Moreover, this unfunded mandate is fostering greater dependency — and providing employment disincentives — by encouraging high numbers of young adults to reject other forms of insurance in order to take advantage of “free” parental coverage.

Where does presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney stand? Despite repeated assurances that he will abandon Obamacare in its entirety, Romney is surrounded by GOP socialized medicine helpmates. In January, Romney adviser Norm Coleman said, “(We’re) not going to repeal the act in its entirety … you can’t whole cloth throw it out.”

Earlier this month, Romney named former Utah GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt his transition leader. Leavitt supports and has profited handsomely from Obamacare’s health care exchange mandate. Then there’s the Romneycare mandate in Massachusetts, conceived by Obamacare architect and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, which includes the very same slacker mandate provision enshrined in the Democrats’ law.

Who needs enemies when you’ve got Republican Surrenderists for Obamacare waiting in the wings?

A Privileged Executive

Executive Privilege and how the House should move forward legally

by: Mark Levin

As the Supreme Court recognized in US v. Nixon, the Executive Branch has a legitimate interest in confidentiality of communications among high officials so that the President can have the benefit of candid advice. However, as President Washington himself recognized, that privilege does not protect the President or his underlings from embarrassment or public exposure for questionable actions.

As the Supreme Court has also recognized repeatedly, the Congress, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, has the essential power to investigate the actions of the Executive Branch.

 In this case, the exercise of Executive Privilege seems, in its timing and over-inclusiveness, to be nothing less than a political delaying tactic to prevent exposure of wrongdoing and incompetence that resulted in the murder of a American law enforcement agent and injury and death of many others. Further, a wholesale claim of privilege is facially improper: the President should be held to the standard that anyone claiming privilege is held to: identify each document in a log so that privilege can be disputed. (U.S. v. Nixon, 1974)

 Because among the categories of documents sought are all those relating to the recantation by Holder of testimony before Congress, the demand goes to the core of the Congressional power under Article I. In this respect, this is not a general or oversight inquiry but a determination of why the Attorney General of the United States testified falsely before Congress about his own knowledge of a federal program. Presumptively, none of this category of documents is protected by Executive Privilege for wrongdoing per se is not protected by the privilege.

 The right way to proceed is to hold Holder in contempt by resolution of the House and seek authorization from the House for the Committee, by its Chairman, to proceed by civil action to compel production of the documents. (Holder will not enforce a holding of contempt against himself — and by the way, he should have authorized, say, the assistant attorney general for legal counsel, to handle the contempt matter once the House voted as at that point he is representing his own interests and not those of the nation generally). Chairman Issa should file suit in federal court in DC and seek expedited action. There is no need for Senate action. The use of this procedure has been acknowledged by the Congressional Research Service in a 2007 study. Further, a privilege log should be sought by Issa and ordered produced immediately by the court, in camera inspection done promptly by the judge, and a final order entered compelling production of all documents for which no legitimate reason justifies Executive Privilege.

 Yes, some documents may be covered by EP, but the blanket attachment of that label flouts the law and the Constitution, and harms the legitimate assertion of EP by Presidents of either party in the future. The Constitution is far too important to be subject to the caprice of this President and an AG who, on its face, wants to be free from scrutiny about why he testified falsely before a Committee of Congress.

Executive Privilege is a very important implied executive power, used in various forms since the presidency of George Washington. Therefore, it’s misuse and abuse, to cover-up wrongdoing, conceal embarrassing information, or advance a political agenda, diminishes the ability of future presidents to assert it legitimately.

Arsenal Explosion

Just as Antietam would prove the costliest day in military dead, an Arsenal explosion would produce the largest civilian death tally in the Civil War.

Throughout the Union and Confederacy on Sept. 18, 1862, front-page news was the Battle of Antietam, but not in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Around 2 p.m. on September 17, 1862, a series of powerful explosions ripped through the U.S. Army Arsenal in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Residents of Allegheny and nearby Pittsburgh, many of whom had become aware of a major battle taking place that day at Antietam Creek in Maryland, believed this was a Confederate invasion.

But the explosion was not from a Confederate attack.

By 1862 the U.S. Army regularly employed women and young girls to make cartridges at a number of arsenals situ­ated in urban areas in the North. They were dubbed the “Noble Union Girls”.

The roof of the Arsenal building where young women and girls worked assembling cartridges had collapsed, and flames enveloped its remains. Powerful blasts caused by exploding barrels of gunpowder had blown out the windows and doors of surrounding buildings.

One large structure, known as the laboratory, “was laid in ruins — having been heaved up by the force of the explosion and then fallen in fragments, after which it caught fire and was consumed.”

Witness J.R. Frick had been delivering different types of powder to the various workrooms in the laboratory where armaments were assembled that afternoon. “I saw a fire [in the] powder on the ground between the wheels of the wagon and the [laboratory] porch,” he said, according to the Sept. 20 edition of the Pittsburgh Gazette. “The powder in the roadway … evidently ignited from the fore wheel of my wagon. …”

He also said he recalled seeing several barrels of powder that had been left uncovered.

The fire from the loose powder spread to one of the open barrels, Mr. Frick said. When it blew up, “the action of the air cast me out of the wagon against the palings of the fence,” but he was unburned and uninjured by debris.

Eyewitnesses described a ghastly scene. Terrified girls ran screaming from the building with their clothes on fire, their faces blackened and unrecognizable. Some jumped from the windows, while panic-stricken workers trampled others under foot. Many of the witnesses tried to help the victims, who pleaded with onlookers to tear the burning clothes from their bodies. Mary Jane Black was just returning to her post after picking up her pay when she heard screams and, turning in the direction of the sound, saw “two girls behind me; they were on fire; their faces were burning and blood running from them. I pulled the clothes off one of them; while I was doing this, the other one ran up and begged me to cover her.”

Onlookers discovered remains riddled by shells, cartridges and Mini balls. Bodies as well as stray limbs, bones and scraps of clothing were found hundreds of feet from the explosion—on the streets, in the Allegheny River and suspended in the trees that lined the arsenal grounds. Newspaper reporters searched for words to describe the pitiful remains of the victims:

“In some places [bodies] lay in heaps, and burnt as rapidly as pine wood, until the flames were extinguished by the firemen. In other places nothing could be seen but the whitened and consuming bones, the intensity of the heat having consumed every particle of flesh. The steel bands remaining from the hoop skirts of the unfortunate girls marked the place where many of them had perished.”

More than a year later, it was confirmed that 78 people, mostly women and young girls, had actually died in the accident. The remains of most were never identified, but the majority of the victims were young.

Before many of the fallen could be identified—and before anyone could be sure how many had actually died—townspeople turned out to bury the victims at a cer­emony held in front of what was described as a “large deep pit” holding the remains of some of the fallen women. The Rev. Richard Lea, whose church was close to the arsenal, pleaded with them to forget the grim disaster scene and instead remember how they had come together in an effort to help the “Noble Union Girls.”

The decision to hire women at arsenals had been based on a matter-of-fact assessment of labor needs. In Indianapolis, for example, an observer visiting a factory noted with approval the arrival of women at that facility in June 1861:

“[N]inety blushing young virgins and elderly matrons are constantly employed, making Colt’s revolver cartridges, common musket, rifled musket, Mini, Enfield, ball and buckshot cartridges. It is a beautiful and patriotic sight to see the young and tender happy in the bloody work. They laugh and chat gaily…as they roll up the balls and fix the fatal charge intended to let daylight through some man’s heart.”

The Army’s decision to open munitions work to women was based on commonly held assumptions that girls and women were more obedient than men. The workers who did this kind of labor were often young, and, unlike the women who sought nursing appointments, armory workers were more motivated by wage earning than idealism. The work was simple and repetitive, but it required extreme care. Cartridge-formers placed lead balls in paper tubes, filled the tubes with gunpowder, then tied up the loose ends. Colonel Thomas B. Brown of the arsenal in Washington, D.C., where 20 women would die in a July 1864 fire, referred to the process as “choking cartridges.” Spilled gunpowder was carefully swept from workbenches and floors several times a day. Workers wore special slippers or moccasins, and movement in and out of the rooms containing gunpowder was severely restricted.

Although the U.S. Army Ordnance Department issued strict rules regarding the safe handling of gunpowder and other explosive materials, unofficial experimentation was common on arsenal grounds. Investigations at both the Allegheny and Watertown arsenals revealed that some of the men had been conducting unauthorized experiments with gunpowder. And at Watertown those experiments were conducted in close proximity to the cylinder room.

Three men were charged with being grossly negligent in the explosion, including Arsenal Commander John Symington, who went on sick leave and retired the following summer. He died before the war’s end, his sterling 45-year military career, like the Arsenal, blown to pieces.

Symington’s subordinate, Lt. John Edie, would die a decade later, in a government-run insane asylum.

Also charged was the Arsenal’s laboratory superintendent, Alexander McBride. McBride’s own daughter, 15-year-old Kate, was among those killed. McBride’s sworn testimony was heartbreaking. He had to try to take control of the mayhem. All that hadn’t blown up or burned needed to be guarded. He ran around throwing buckets of water on burning screaming people. All the while, he was a father desperately concerned for his daughter.
Alexander McBride lived a life of seclusion after the explosion.

But, in the late 1890s he met with 300 former employees to sign a petition demanding that Congress award $30,000 to be split among victims and families. Nearly 40 years had passed without compensation.

Regardless, Congress did not oblige. By that time money was needed to finance the Spanish-American War.

Attribution: Post Gazette, History.net

Joke of the Day

On the first day of college, the Dean addressed the students, pointing out some of the rules.

“The female dormitory will be out-of-bounds for all male students, and the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $25 the first time.”

He continued, “Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $50. Being caught a third time will incur a hefty fine of $100. Are there any questions?”

At this point, a male student in the crowd inquired:

“How much for a season pass?”

Millennium Falcon Found?

Sceptics expected that a deep-water dive would debunk the slew of extra-terrestrial theories surrounding an unidentified object sitting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

But the Swedish expedition team that took the plunge surfaced with more questions than answers and certainly no solution to its origins.

The divers found that the object, which some have likened to the Millennium Falcon because of its unusual round outline, was raised about 10 to 13ft above the seabed and curved in at the sides, giving it a mushroom shape.

They added that the object has ’rounded sides and rugged edges’

‘First we thought this was only stone, but this is something else,’ diver Peter Lindberg said in a press release.

At the center of the object, which has a 60-meter (197 feet) diameter, it has an “egg shaped hole leading into it from the top”.

Surrounding the hole, they found a strange, unexplained rock formation. Adding fuel to the speculative fire, they said that the rocks looked “like small fireplaces” and the “stones were covered in something resembling soot”.

“Since no volcanic activity has ever been reported in the Baltic Sea the find becomes even stranger”, Mr Lindberg continued.

“As laymen we can only speculate how this is made by nature, but this is the strangest thing I have ever experienced as a professional diver.”

The soot also proved cause for concern for Mr Lindberg’s colleague on the Ocean X explorer team, Stefan Hogeborn.

“During my 20-year diving career, including 6,000 dives, I have never seen anything like this. Normally stones don’t burn”, Mr Hogeborn said in the release.

“I can’t explain what we saw, and I went down there to answer questions, but I came up with even more.”

Another find that they saw in person for the first time was the 985-foot trail that they described “as a runway or a downhill path that is flattened at the seabed with the object at the end of it”.

The object was first found in June last year, but because of a lack of funding and bad timing, they have were not able to pull a team together to see for themselves – just the strange, metallic outline, and a similar disk-shaped object about 650 feet away.

As it was before the recent dive, the story behind the object is anyone’s guess.

“We’ve heard lots of different kinds of explanations, from George Lucas’s spaceship – the Millennium Falcon – to ‘it’s some kind of plug to the inner world,’ like it should be hell down there or something”, Mr Lindberg said.

Speaking to Fox News, he said: “We don’t know whether it is a natural phenomenon, or an object. We saw it on sonar when we were searching for a wreck from World War I. This circular object just turned up on the monitor.”

While the Ocean Explorer team is understandably excited about their potentially earth-shattering find, others are slightly more sceptical and are questioning the accuracy of the sonar technology.

In the past, such technology has confused foreign objects with unusual- but natural- rock formations.

Part of the trouble they face, however, is that they have no way of telling what is inside the supposed cylinder- whether it is filled with gold and riches or simply aged sediment particles.

They’re hoping for the former, and history seems to be in their favor.

The Baltic Sea is a treasure trove for shipwreck hunters, as an estimated 100,000 objects are thought to line the cold sea’s floor.

The company have created a submarine that they hope will appeal to tourists and wannabe shipwreck hunters who will pay to take a trip down to the bottom of the Baltic Sea to see for themselves.

Attribution: Mail Online

NBC Caught Again

If your a regular reader you know I’m not a big fan of Mitt Romney. If you’re a new reader; I’m not a big fan of Mitt Romney. I will be voting for him and I will encourage people to do the same.

That being said, I would like to say I am apalled at the latest incident regarding the mainstream media, particulary NBC, but I’m not. It is well known that the mainstream media are in the tank for for Obama.  NBC is the worst offender. They are just dirtbags. I am convinced they will stop at nothing to get Obama reelected. This video evidence is worse than the Zimmerman edited video that got a few people fired.

To continue reading of the latest intentional smear job click on The Blaze link.

A New Party?

by: Stanley Kurtz:

On the evening of January 11, 1996, while Mitt Romney was in the final years of his run as the head of Bain Capital, Barack Obama formally joined the New Party, which was deeply hostile to the mainstream of the Democratic party and even to American capitalism. In 2008, candidate Obama deceived the American public about his potentially damaging tie to this third party. The issue remains as fresh as today’s headlines, as Romney argues that Obama is trying to move the United States toward European-style social democracy, which was precisely the New Party’s goal.

In late October 2008, when I wrote here at National Review Online that Obama had been a member of the New Party, his campaign sharply denied it, calling my claim a “crackpot smear.” Fight the Smears, an official Obama-campaign website, staunchly maintained that “Barack has been a member of only one political party, the Democratic Party.” I rebutted this, but the debate was never taken up by the mainstream press.

Recently obtained evidence from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society now definitively establishes that Obama was a member of the New Party. He also signed a “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party while in office.

Minutes of the meeting on January 11, 1996, of the New Party’s Chicago chapter read as follows:

Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party “Candidate Contract” and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.

Consistent with this, a roster of the Chicago chapter of the New Party from early 1997 lists Obama as a member, with January 11, 1996, indicated as the date he joined.

Knowing that Obama disguised his New Party membership helps make sense of his questionable handling of the 2008 controversy over his ties to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). During his third debate with John McCain, Obama said that the “only” involvement he’d had with ACORN was to represent the group in a lawsuit seeking to compel Illinois to implement the National Voter Registration Act, or motor-voter law. The records of Illinois ACORN and its associated union clearly contradict that assertion, as I show in my political biography of the president, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.

Why did Obama deny his ties to ACORN? The group was notorious in 2008 for thug tactics, fraudulent voter registrations, and its role in popularizing risky subprime lending. Admitting that he had helped to fund ACORN’s voter-registration efforts and train some of their organizers would doubtless have been an embarrassment but not likely a crippling blow to his campaign. So why not simply confess the tie and make light of it? The problem for Obama was ACORN’s political arm, the New Party.

The revelation in 2008 that Obama had joined an ACORN-controlled, leftist third party could have been damaging indeed, and coming clean about his broader work with ACORN might easily have exposed these New Party ties. Because the work of ACORN and the New Party often intersected with Obama’s other alliances, honesty about his ties to either could have laid bare the entire network of his leftist political partnerships.

Although Obama is ultimately responsible for deceiving the American people in 2008 about his political background, he got help from his old associates. Each of the two former political allies who helped him to deny his New Party membership during campaign ’08 was in a position to know better.

The Fight the Smears website quoted Carol Harwell, who managed Obama’s 1996 campaign for the Illinois senate: “Barack did not solicit or seek the New Party endorsement for state senator in 1995.” Drawing on her testimony, Fight the Smears conceded that the New Party did support Obama in 1996 but denied that Obama had ever joined, adding that “he was the only candidate on the ballot in his race and never solicited the endorsement.”

We’ve seen that this is false. Obama formally requested New Party endorsement, signed the candidate contract, and joined the party. Is it conceivable that Obama’s own campaign manager could have been unaware of this? The notion is implausible. And the documents make Harwell’s assertion more remarkable still.

The New Party had a front group called Progressive Chicago, whose job was to identify candidates that the New Party and its sympathizers might support. Nearly four years before Obama was endorsed by the New Party, both he and Harwell joined Progressive Chicago and began signing public letters that regularly reported on the group’s meetings. By prominently taking part in Progressive Chicago activities, Obama was effectively soliciting New Party support for his future political career (as was Harwell, on Obama’s behalf). So Harwell’s testimony is doubly false.

When the New Party controversy broke out, just about the only mainstream journalist to cover it was Politico’s Ben Smith, whose evident purpose was to dismiss it out of hand. He contacted Obama’s official spokesman Ben LaBolt, who claimed that his candidate “was never a member” of the New Party. And New Party co-founder and leader Joel Rogers told Smith, “We didn’t really have members.” But a line in the New Party’s official newsletter explicitly identified Obama as a party member. Rogers dismissed that as mere reference to “the fact that the party had endorsed him.”

This is nonsense. I exposed the falsity of Rogers’s absurd claim, and Smith’s credulity in accepting it, in 2008 (here and here). And in Radical-in-Chief I took on Rogers’s continuing attempts to justify it. The recently uncovered New Party records reveal how dramatically far from the truth Rogers’s statement has been all along.

In a memo dated January 29, 1996, Rogers, writing as head of the New Party Interim Executive Council, addressed “standing concerns regarding existing chapter development and activity, the need for visibility as well as new members.” So less than three weeks after Obama joined the New Party, Rogers was fretting about the need for new members. How, then, could Rogers assert in 2008 that his party “didn’t really have members”? Internal documents show that the entire leadership of the New Party, both nationally and in Chicago, was practically obsessed with signing up new members, from its founding moments until it dissolved in the late 1990s.

In 2008, after I called Rogers out on his ridiculous claim that his party had no members, he explained to Ben Smith that “we did have regular supporters whom many called ‘members,’ but it just meant contributing regularly, not getting voting rights or other formal power in NP governance.” This is also flatly contradicted by the newly uncovered records.

At just about the time Obama joined the New Party, the Chicago chapter was embroiled in a bitter internal dispute. A party-membership list is attached to a memo in which the leaders of one faction consider a scheme to disqualify potential voting members from a competing faction, on the grounds that those voters had not renewed their memberships.

 The factional leaders worried that their opponents would legitimately object to this tactic, since a mailing that called for members to renew hadn’t been properly sent out. At any rate, the memo clearly demonstrates that, contrary to Rogers’s explanation, membership in the New Party entailed the right to vote on matters of party governance. In fact, Obama’s own New Party endorsement, being controversial, was thrown open to a members’ vote on the day he joined the party.

Were Harwell and Rogers deliberately lying in order to protect Obama and deceive the public? Readers can decide for themselves. Yet it is clear that Obama, through his official spokesman, Ben LaBolt, and the Fight the Smears website, was bent on deceiving the American public about a matter whose truth he well knew.

The documents reveal that the New Party’s central aim was to move the United States steadily closer to European social democracy, a goal that Mitt Romney has also attributed to Obama. New Party leaders disdained mainstream Democrats, considering them tools of business, and promised instead to create a partnership between elected officials and local community organizations, with the goal of socializing the American economy to an unprecedented degree.

The party’s official “statement of principles,” which candidates seeking endorsement from the Chicago chapter were asked to support, called for a “peaceful revolution” and included redistributive proposals substantially to the left of the Democratic party.

To get a sense of the ideology at play, consider that the meeting at which Obama joined the party opened with the announcement of a forthcoming event featuring the prominent socialist activist Frances Fox Piven. The Chicago New Party sponsored a luncheon with Michael Moore that same year.

I have more to say on the New Party’s ideology and program, Obama’s ties to the party, and the relevance of all this to the president’s campaign for reelection. See the forthcoming issue of National Review.

In the meantime, let us see whether a press that let candidate Obama off the hook in 2008 — and that in 2012 is obsessed with the president’s youthful love letters  — will now refuse to report that President Obama once joined a leftist third party, and that he hid that truth from the American people in order to win the presidency.