Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Leon Russell, R.I.P.

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2016

I was terribly saddened this morning to learn that Leon Russell died last night. He was a tremendous singer, songwriter, and musician, and one of my all-time favorite artists. He was 74, and his death comes much too soon.

Leon Russell was also Sir Elton John’s idol and biggest musical influence. In 2010, the two of them reconnected and recorded a highly-acclaimed album, The Union. See my post about that to learn more and listen to just a few of my favorite Leon Russell performances. It includes Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Young Blood from the Concert for Bangladesh, one of the finest live performances ever recorded, a ten-minute tour de force.

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A salute to our veterans

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2016

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

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A reason to celebrate

Posted by Richard on November 9, 2016

No, I’m not celebrating because The Donald was elected. He wasn’t in my list of top ten candidates for president. If I’d bothered to put together a list of my top 100 (or 1000) candidates, he wouldn’t have been in that list either.

I’m celebrating because Felonia McPantsuit (as Kurt Schlichter dubbed her) won’t be bringing her toxic, Chavista-like mixture of unbridled corruption and radical leftist ideology to the White House. And won’t be carting out yet more of its furnishings after four or eight years.

Oh, yeah, and I’m celebrating because … no hanging chads!!

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Apparently, “spirit cooking” isn’t about cooking with booze

Posted by Richard on November 5, 2016

The hashtag #SpiritCooking keeps popping up in my Twitter timeline, with references to Wikileaks, John Podesta, and the Clinton campaign. So when I saw a YouTube video about it, I checked it out.

The guy who posted it, Mark Dice, appears to be a nutcase. But the information about Marina Abramovic, who is clearly a nutcase, appears to be true. Her email inviting John Podesta to a Spirit Cooking dinner also appears to be legitimate, and strongly suggests that he too is a nutcase.

I don’t freak out worrying about Satanists (or see anything specifically Satanic in this), but I think it’s pretty amusing. And another interesting data point about the kinds of people running our country. Enjoy.

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Read Scott Adams’ Blog

Posted by Richard on November 4, 2016

If you haven’t been reading Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ blog, you’ve been missing out on the most interesting contrarian commentaries of the election campaign.

I was motivated to post this by his post Unhypnotizing a Clinton Supporter, but he’s since added a new post about Trump’s “closing argument” final campaign ad.

You should read both. But really, just hit that first link to his blog’s home page. Then scroll down and read as much as you have time for.

UPDATE: I guess, since I’ve decided to vote for the asshole over the felon, I should go ahead and embed the Trump ad video. Especially since YouTube has warned me to “think twice before sharing” it.

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Steve Goodman would be so happy!

Posted by Richard on November 3, 2016

Cubs win! Cubs win!

If only Steve Goodman had lived to see it.

In my not-so-humble opinion, Steve Goodman was one of the finest singer-songwriters ever to walk the earth. He was a Chicago boy and a huge Cubs fan. Tragically, he died of leukemia at the age of 36 in 1984, just four days before the Cubs won the National League Eastern Division title, sending them to the playoffs for the first time since 1945.

It’s nice to imagine that there’s a heaven with Steve Goodman in it, and that he’s got a huge grin on his face as he declares, “Damn, I’m gonna have to write some new lyrics for that song!”

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Vote for the asshole, it’s important

Posted by Richard on October 31, 2016

Billll has updated the “window sticker” he posted earlier this month (tape it to your car’s rear window), but hasn’t posted the new version yet. Here it is.

Vote for the Asshole sticker

 

It really is that simple. On the one hand, we have a person of flawed character (to put it mildly) who embraces our self-defense rights, cutting taxes, rolling back economy-stifling regulation, and “draining the swamp” of a corrupt Washington, D.C. On the other hand, we have a person with a decades-long history of corruption and self-dealing who promises to overturn Heller, likes Australian-style gun confiscation, and committed multiple felonies to cover up her corrupt reign at the State Department. One of the two will be the next president.

If you live in a state where there is no doubt about the outcome (like Massachusetts), please support and vote for the Libertarian candidates, Johnson and Weld. But if you live in a state that’s in doubt (like Colorado), and if the Second Amendment matters to you, download, print, and put this thing to work. Then put a big clothespin on your nose and vote for the asshole. It’s important.

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“Fake but accurate”: another Clinton anti-gun fraud

Posted by Richard on October 23, 2016

The Podesta emails released by Wikileaks contain a wealth of examples of how dependent on fraud, fakery, and manipulation of a compliant press the Clinton campaign is. Gateway Pundit pointed out an example of interest to those of us concerned about our civil gun rights:

So much about Hillary’s campaign is fake, even some of her supporters. A blog posted to Medium in January was made to look like it was written by a Hillary supporter who was a victim of gun violence was actually orchestrated and written by her staff. Then the piece was customized for the person assigned as the author.

RTWT.

HT: Billlls Idle Mind, which appropriately labeled the Medium post as fantastic, according to one of the definitions of that word.

UPDATE: NRA-ILA reported this story along with a lot of other evidence from the leaked emails of the Clinton campaign’s commitment to make war on gun owners. See also their dissection of the preposterous lie Clinton told during the third debate when asked about her statement that the Supreme Court is “wrong on the Second Amendment.”

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Tragic consequences of the left’s control of education

Posted by Richard on October 22, 2016

Those of us who intelligently embrace the concept of American exceptionalism don’t do so in the “Rah, rah, we’re number one” way that sports fans embrace their team; we do so because the United States is unique among nations because of the nature of its founding. America isn’t based on a shared ethnic or religious or geographic heritage, it’s not based on conquest or assimilation by royal marriages. Instead, it’s based on a set of ideas, the ideas of John Locke and the Enlightenment: the sovereignty of the individual, the natural rights of all human beings, government as the servant of the people and not their master. The Declaration of Independence outlined these ideas and the Constitution was their implementation. As Margaret Thatcher said, “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”

For as long as there has been an organized “progressive”/leftist movement in this country, it’s tried to diminish and destroy those ideas and with them American exceptionalism. It has succeeded to a large extent because the left gradually, and in the last couple of generations almost completely, took over education all the way from kindergarten through college. The result today is young people full of ignorance and indoctrination.

Some of the consequences of the left’s current monopoly of education are on display in the depressing results of a recent public opinion survey (emphasis added):

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released its first “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Towards Socialism” Monday. The survey showed a distinct generation gap regarding beliefs about socialism and communism between older and younger Americans.

For example, 80 percent of baby boomers and 91 percent of elderly Americans believe that communism was and still is a problem in the world today, while just 55 percent of millennials say the same.

Just 37 percent of millennials had a “very unfavorable” view of communism, compared to 57 percent of Americans overall. Close to half (45 percent) of Americans aged 16 to 20 said they would vote for a socialist, and 21 percent would vote for a communist.

When asked their opinion of capitalism, 64 percent of Americans over the age of 65 said they viewed it favorably, compared to just 42 percent of millennials.

The survey also revealed a general lack of historical knowledge, especially among young adults. According to the report, one-third (32 percent) of millennials believed that more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.

Let that last statistic sink in for a moment.

Where do you think they got such an insane idea?

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The October surprise ignored by the media

Posted by Richard on October 5, 2016

On Tuesday, Clinton cheerleaders and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) were practically chortling because a much-anticipated Julian Assange press conference turned out to be just about WikiLeaks’ tenth anniversary, with no Clinton-damaging October surprise.

But there had already been an October surprise on Monday. It’s just that only Fox News (and various alternative media sites piggy-backing on their story) chose to report it (emphasis added):

Immunity deals for two top Hillary Clinton aides included a side arrangement obliging the FBI to destroy their laptops after reviewing the devices, House Judiciary Committee sources told Fox News on Monday.

Sources said the arrangement with former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson also limited the search to no later than Jan. 31, 2015. This meant investigators could not review documents for the period after the email server became public — in turn preventing the bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice, sources said.

Think about that for a moment. Not only did the Department of Justice and FBI hand out immunity deals to most of the people involved in the Clinton email affair (apparently without the usual requirement that they provide complete and truthful testimony), but they also agreed not to examine documents that might reveal a cover-up and to destroy the computers holding those documents so that no one could ever examine them.

I can think of only two explanations. Either the DOJ/FBI people responsible are so naive and easily duped that they shouldn’t be trusted to manage a kindergarten classroom or they colluded with the Clinton team to destroy evidence and obstruct justice. The latter is clearly far more likely. And it makes Watergate seem like the equivalent of jaywalking.

This is an October surprise that should have been breathlessly declared breaking news. It should have led off questioning at the vice presidential debate. It should have led to countless reporters clamoring for answers from Mills, Samuelson, FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Hillary Clinton herself. It should still be dominating the news cycle today.

Instead, a Google News search for “fbi destroy laptops clinton aides” (sans quotes) yields only this. Nothing from the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, or Boston Globe; nothing from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC; nothing from the Associated Press or Reuters.

The people who in journalism school worshiped Woodward and Bernstein, who preened about how they were going to “speak truth to power,” are in cahoots with the Democratic power elite to keep the American people in the dark.

Meanwhile, four Republican congressional committee chairmen have sent a letter to AG Lynch:

… The Republicans expressed “concern” that the “FBI inexplicably agreed to destroy the laptops knowing that the contents were the subject of Congressional subpoenas and preservation letters.”

The letter repeatedly cited Congress’ interest in the “evidence” that may have been jeopardized under the side arrangement.

The new letter asked Lynch why the FBI agreed to destroy the laptops and, significantly, what legal authority the FBI has to destroy records subject to a congressional investigation or subpoena. The letter also asked if the FBI followed through and in fact destroyed “evidence” from the laptops or the laptops themselves.

Asked for comment, a Justice Department spokesman said: “We have received the letter and are reviewing it.”

Based on past history, I predict DOJ will provide a less than satisfying response, various Republicans will bluster for a few minutes in front of microphones (and will be completely ignored by the MSM), and nothing more will come of it.

This country has become no better than a banana republic.

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Free coffee!

Posted by Richard on September 29, 2016

Happy National Coffee Day! USA Today has a list of places where you can score free or reduced-price coffee today. Krispy Kreme will even throw in a free doughnut.

It seems that yesterday was National Drink a Beer Day, so if you celebrated that to excess, some coffee might help. I celebrated National Drink a Beer Day without even being aware of it. Go figure.

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TLAPD! TLAPD!

Posted by Richard on September 19, 2016

Shiver me timbers! I almost forgot that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. And there’s not a drop of rum in the house!

Q: What comic strip do pirates like best?

A: Gary Larrrson’s The Farrr Side

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Hillary’s health problem

Posted by Richard on September 15, 2016

First, there were weeks of recurring coughing fits (which prompted this gem from Mad Magazine). Then, she was rushed out of the 9/11 remembrance ceremony, and some private citizens recorded her collapsing and being dragged into a waiting van. She became overheated, her staff said. It was 77° at the time. Oh, she was dehydrated, they added, due to the pneumonia she was diagnosed with last Friday. That’s why she’s been so frail that she needs to be helped up steps and is always coughing.

So of course, that van rushed her to the nearest hospital emergency room to get IV fluids and be checked out, right? Um, no. They took her to her daughter’s apartment. An hour later she came out and danced a jig. And a small child just happened to walk toward her, so she exposed the child to her pneumonia in order to complete the photo op.

Bill filled in for her on the campaign trail and, having failed to get the pneumonia memo, talked about her “flu.”

If you’re confused and/or suspicious, some posts by Aesop at Raconteur Report will make you less confused (but much more suspicious). He apparently has expertise in emergency medicine, as well as some personal history that’s relevant. The first post from last Tuesday includes this about the latter (emphasis in original):

1) I’ve had actual “walking” pneumonia, for real. In my twenties.
It absolutely kicked my 20-year old ass, around the block, and down the hill.
Forget about what it would do to a corpulent 68-year old woman.
I did not, for instance, simply go into an air-conditioned apartment for an hour, and come bouncing back to normalcy, same day.
Not just no, but HELL NO.
I was put on a course of antibiotics for a week. I dropped half my college classes for a semester, and it took two weeks at home, doing abso-effing-lutely nothing, to get to where I could come back and struggle through the half that I didn’t drop.
And before and after I got to that point, I looked and felt like death warmed over, thinking I just had a bad chest cold. I did not, for example, look bright and perky in the morning, and then faint dead away in a matter of an hour and a half on a pleasant fall day.

After you’ve read the eight other important points he makes in that post (note: I think he was wrong about Chelsea’s apartment), read the follow-up from Wednesday. And then read today’s update regarding Hillary’s miraculous recovery. If, by the time you read this, Aesop has posted again, you’ll probably want to read that too.

Hillary’s real health problem isn’t her health per se. It’s that this health issue has further exposed the fact that Hillary and her campaign staff are, as Kurt Schlichter says in his latest must-read column, not even competent liars. Even Bill, once the world’s greatest prevaricator, has become maladroit.

Yet why should they bother? Why should Task Force Pantsuit expend any effort at all trying to construct convincing prevarications when the mainstream media is going to smile and nod at whatever they say? Without resistance, you aren’t going to get any stronger, and Clinton’s lies have just gotten weaker and weaker. For her, lying to the mainstream media is like weightlifting by pumping Styrofoam.

Personally, I think all the covering for them that their sycophants in the media can muster isn’t enough to hide the clumsiness of their lies from the public.

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Fifteen years have passed, but we must never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2016

Fifteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Many millennials have no meaningful recollection of it, and apparently their parents and teachers did nothing to inform and educate them. They haven’t seen the video or images (or saw just fleeting glimpses with no context) of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!”

That might explain (but not excuse) a mattress store advertising its “twin towers” mattress sale with a spoof in which two “towers” of mattresses collapse. Nothing can explain or excuse what Comedy Central did, as reported on Twitter by Tabitha Bliss, since apparently mature adult entertainment industry professionals approved and aired it. I refuse to view it and hope you won’t either, but here is her tweet:

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them.

But before moving on to that portion, let me suggest that you read an Esquire article by Tom Junod entitled The Falling Man. It’s about one of the most horrifying aspects of that horrifying day. It’s about something that to this day wrenches my gut and makes my eyes well up when I think about it or see images of it, and which caused me some years ago to struggle to create lyrics for a song in my head that, if I had any musical talent, would have been recorded by now. It’s about this picture, and the countless others who did what the man in it did, but perhaps not quite as well.

falling man

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Fifteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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It’s not just the Supreme Court we should worry about

Posted by Richard on September 10, 2016

For many pro-freedom folks, the strongest argument for voting for a deeply flawed GOP presidential candidate revolves around the Supreme Court. Donald Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court appointees a while back, a list strongly influenced by the Federalist Society and widely praised by conservatives and libertarians. Of course, there’s no guarantee that he’d stick to that list (although he’s promised to nominate people like those on the list). But it’s a virtual certainty that Hillary Clinton would nominate candidates like Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, if not worse.

But the Supreme Court isn’t the only judicial issue of concern. The Heritage Society points out that President Obama has fundamentally transformed the federal judiciary:

When Obama entered the Oval Office, liberal judges controlled just one of the 13 circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Fifty-five successful presidential nominations later, liberal majorities now control nine of those appeals benches, or 70 percent.

Outside of legal circles the transformation of the influential federal appeals courts has gone largely unnoticed, though.

“The Supreme Court grabs the spotlight, but it hears fewer than 100 cases a year,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett said, “while the 13 federal courts of appeals handle about 35,000.”

More than one-third of the 179 judges on federal appeals courts owe their seat to Obama, Willett told The Daily Signal. “That’s a legacy with a capital L.”

Obama also has left his mark on the U.S. District Courts, which are the lower federal courts, successfully appointing 268 judges—seven more than President George W. Bush.

All those appointments were of course confirmed by the Senate. The GOP establishment and its critics disagree about whether Senate Republicans did the best they could or “handed over the keys to the judiciary without a fight,” and the Heritage article fairly presents both sides. Personally, I think the critics have the stronger argument. That’s not just water under the bridge; it gives us an idea of what to expect if Hillary Clinton is elected.

The next president could tip the balance of the four remaining circuit courts of appeals still dominated by conservatives.

“It’s hands down the most fateful issue of the election,” said Willett, who is on Republicans’ short list for the Supreme Court.

“When Americans vote in November, they’re choosing not just a president but thousands of presidential appointees, including hundreds of life-tenured judges.”

In 2013, Sen. Harry Reid invoked the “nuclear option” for all appointments other than to the Supreme Court, ensuring that a simple majority could end debate (quash a filibuster) and vote to confirm. This precedent will cut both ways going forward.

If Clinton is elected and the Democrats retake the Senate, anyone she nominates to the federal bench is, barring a scandalous revelation, certain to be confirmed. Even if Republicans retain the Senate (I think they probably will, but wouldn’t bet on it), history suggests that most of her nominees would be confirmed. There are several Republican senators who will will not oppose a Democratic president’s nominally qualified nominee based on ideology (unless the nominee is an avowed Stalinist, and maybe not even then).

If Trump is elected and the Democrats retake the Senate, I suspect the self-described deal-maker would nominate judges and justices who could get enough Democrat votes to be confirmed, perhaps people like Souter and Roberts. But I consider this scenario highly unlikely. Given the tepid support for Trump among the GOP base, I can’t imagine him being elected, but the GOP losing the Senate.

So the election of Trump would almost certainly be accompanied by the election of a Republican majority Senate. The nuclear option would then ensure that his lower court appointments could be confirmed, and he’d have every reason to nominate judges acceptable to the conservative base and no reason not to. In just four years, that could easily mean 25 or more circuit court and 100 or more district court appointments.

The Reid precedent doesn’t cover Supreme Court nominations, so that’s a different story. Senate Republicans could tell their Democrat colleagues “you started this, we’re going to finish it” and extend the nuclear option to cover Supreme Court nominations. But I can’t see Mitch McConnell doing that; it would require new leadership with a stiff spine.

The more likely scenario is, again, the nomination of people like Souter and Roberts in order to attract enough Democrat votes to invoke cloture (Roberts was confirmed on a 78-22 vote, with fully half of Senate Democrats voting for him). That’s not something I’d cheer, but it would be far better than two to four more Breyers or Kagans. So maybe a sigh of relief.

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