PowerLine -> Obama Portraits + The Liberals Invincible Ignorance

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PowerLine -> Obama Portraits + The Liberals Invincible Ignorance

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Feel Good Headline of the Day
  • Ellison speaks…a little
  • The Weak in Portraits: Obama Edition
  • Is Invincible Ignorance Required to Be a Liberal?
  • Rice papers the file
Feel Good Headline of the Day

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 09:59 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)The New York Times has this headline up at the moment:

From the story:

MOSCOW — Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials.

A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on Feb. 7 and 8, but news about Russian casualties has dribbled out only slowly, through Russian news organizations and social media. . .

On Saturday, American forces struck a Russian-designed T-72 tank in roughly the same location as the previous fighting. . .

The Kremlin — seeking to play down its involvement in the fighting in Syria and seemingly hoping to avoid escalating tensions with the United States — has sidestepped questions about the episode.

But remember The Narrative: Trump is in Putin’s pocket.


Ellison speaks…a little

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 08:04 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)In his Wall Street Journal column this past Friday, Jeryl Bier reported that Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison and Nation of Islam Supreme Leader Louis Farrakhan had a reunion of sorts in September 2013:

The occasion was a visit by Iran’s newly elected President Hassan Rouhani to the United Nations. Mr. Rouhani invited Muslim leaders from around the U.S. to dinner after addressing the U.N. General Assembly. Contemporaneous news reports placed Mr. Farrakhan at the dinner. Unreported by mainstream outlets was the presence of Mr. Ellison, along with Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York and Andre Carson of Indiana. (All three are Democrats; Messrs. Ellison and Carson are Muslim.)

The Nation of Islam website documents the event, noting that Mr. Rouhani “hosted the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Muslim leaders from different Islamic communities and members of the U.S. Congress at a private meeting . . . at the One UN Hotel in Manhattan Sept. 24, 2013 across the street from the UN headquarters.” The Final Call, a Nation of Islam publication, added that “ Keith Ellison of Minnesota . . . participated in the dialogue” after dinner and includes photos of Messrs. Farrakhan and Ellison at the tables. The Michigan-based Islamic House of Wisdom also reported on the meeting, with additional photos.

According to Mr. Farrakhan, the 2013 meeting was not the last time he and Mr. Ellison were together. After Mr. Ellison renewed his denunciation of Mr. Farrakhan in 2016, Mr. Farrakhan stated in an interview that Reps. Ellison and Carson had visited him in his Washington hotel suite the preceding summer.

For some reason, no one wanted to talk with Bier about it: “The press secretaries for Messrs. Ellison, Carson and Schumer did not answer emails seeking comment. Mr. Meeks’s press secretary said his boss had no response.”

Star Tribune political reporter Patrick Coolican followed up on Bier’s column and succeeded in extracting a statement from Ellison. In his Star Tribune Hot Dish email newsletter this morning, Coolican provides this statement attributed by an Ellison spokesman to Ellison himself (as Coolican puts it):

As part of the 2013 U.N. General Assembly, and as negotiations were under way for what would become the Iran deal, I attended a meeting with President Rouhani and nearly 50 American Muslim leaders. This was not a private dinner, I didn’t know in advance who else would be there, and my decision to attend was not an endorsement of the political views of other attendees. I attended the meeting to advocate for a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue and to press President Rouhani face-to-face for the release of former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, who was illegally detained and tortured by the Iranian regime. As always, I disavow anti-Semitism and bigotry in all of its forms.

Well, I guess it depends on the meaning of “private.” The dinner wasn’t open to the public. Ellison’s response otherwise confirms Bier’s account, though with apologetics and under a pretense of disputation that it must have taken a few days to concoct.

What about Ellison’s subsequent meeting with Farrakhan in his Washington hotel suite? The cat has Ellison’s tongue again on that one. Coolican notes: “I followed up with a question to Ellison aide Karthik Ganapathy about this claim last night, but heard nothing back.”

Here Coolican himself inserts the apologetics: “Bear in mind, during the interview in which Farrakhan says he met with Ellison, he also makes a ludicrous assertion about ‘Jewish control of politics, economics, Hollywood, music, media.’ Farrakhan’s credibility is less than sound.” But Ellison’s silence weighs on behalf of Farrakhan’s statement regarding the meeting with Ellison, though perhaps with a little more time he’ll come up with something.

As for credibility, Ellison has nothing on Farrakhan. Absolutely nothing.

This is the point of my Star Tribune column “Ellison remembers to forget” and the other pieces I collected in “An Ellison-Farrakhan reunion.” Today Ellison denies he was ever a member of the Nation of Islam. Back in 1998, however, Ellison first ran for office under the name Keith Ellison-Muhammad — a self-identified member of the Nation of Islam (see below, click to enlarge).


The Weak in Portraits: Obama Edition

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 07:41 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)The unveiling of the portraits of the Obamas for the National Portrait Gallery puts me in mind of Winston Churchill’s reaction to the ghastly Graham Sutherland portrait (left) presented to him for his 80th birthday, which Churchill (a talented painter in his own right, keep in mind—see his great short essay “Painting as a Pastime”) called “a remarkable example of modern art,” too much laughter in the audience. That was, of course, his way of saying he didn’t like it. Clementine Churchill later had the painting destroyed in a backyard bonfire, which the artist, Sutherland, complained bitterly was “an act of vandalism.”

The real vandalism was letting Sutherland paint Churchill in the first place. And ponder the vandalism that is the official portraits the Obamas apparently chose for themselves and approve. You may think the Obamas simply have no taste, but the departure from the traditional mode of presidential portraits is yet another subtle signal of their contempt for American traditions. They won’t have the good sense to throw these ghastly portraits on a bonfire. (And remember: Trump is vulgar.)

To the contrary, these portraits fuel the bonfire of their vanities, especially their vanity of being different and better than the ordinary run of Americans and the presidents they followed. Just take a look, and spot the one that doesn’t belong:

This seems to be an impulse for liberals. I know I have shown it before, but take in Gov. Jerry Brown’s official portrait that hangs in the California capitol building from his first turn as governor in the 1980s:

I often wondered, back when I lived in Sacramento and I liked to spring this portrait on visitors without warning (usually provoking gasps), what would happen if I attached a piece of bubble gum on the tip of Brown’s nose. How many months would go by before someone wondered whether it belonged there?

The good news is that the Obama portraits are already coming in for heavy mockery from all sides, and hence providing Power Line with a surfeit of material for a modified, special Tuesday edition of “the Weak in Pictures.” We begin with the real articles and then descend from there.


Though as Glenn Reynolds likes to point out, these should have been their portraits:


And it could have been worse, folks:

And hey, since this is the Week in Pictures, who cares if this is off topic. And finally. . .


Is Invincible Ignorance Required to Be a Liberal?

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 07:11 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)William F. Buckley used to remark about what he called the “invincible ignorance” of liberals. Too bad he didn’t live to see Sen. Brian Schatz. After Senator Schatz complained about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ use of “Anglo-American tradition” as a “dog whistle” for racists, Paul called him a moron, presumably because there aren’t many stronger words available for ignorance this epic. One thing I will say for liberals like Schatz: they have a finely-tuned sense of hearing, as they are able to make out “dog whistles” that even dogs can’t hear.

I wonder whether Sen. Schatz has taken a look at the flag of the state he represents (Hawaii) lately:

(Hat tip: Charlie Cooke at National Review.)


Rice papers the file

Posted: 13 Feb 2018 04:49 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)Those who believe in government transparency have (or had) it in the case of Susan Rice. She is a transparent liar. She is also a knave and a fool. On September 16, 2012, for example, she hit the Sunday morning gabfests to assert that the attack on our Benghazi facilities represented cinematic criticism gone wild. She peddled the same highly rehearsed line virtually verbatim on each of the five shows. Here is how she put it on Fox News Sunday: “The best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact, this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo, as a consequence of the video.”

In the eyes of Barack Obama, such service qualified her for a promotion. Rice was serving at the time as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He wanted her to serve as his Secretary of State. In the event, he installed her as his National Security Adviser. As such, she sent an email to herself on Obama’s last day in office. Released in redacted form yesterday, the email is one of the most intriguing if enigmatic bits of evidence to have emerged in the alleged Russian collusion scandal.

As part of their oversight efforts, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley and subcommittee chairman Graham obtained the email from the National Archives in response to their request for records of meetings between President Obama and Comey in the collusion investigation. Rice sent the email to herself with a copy to Curtis Ried (Twitter feed here) on January 20, 2017.

January 20 was, of course, the day of President Trump’s inauguration. If the timestamp is correct, Rice sent the email to herself at 12:15 p.m., within minutes of Trump’s inauguration and just before she must have departed the White House for the last time.

The email purports to document a January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting including President Obama, Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Vice President Biden and Rice herself regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. What a crew.

Rice wrote:

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book”. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.

Grassley and Graham were struck by the context and timing of this email and have sent a follow-up letter to Rice. The letter reads in part:

It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation. In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed “by the book,” substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed “by the book.”

According to the email, the meeting further took up the question whether Trump could be trusted with “information fully as it relates to Russia.” Senator Grassley has posted a press release and copy of his correspondence quoting the email here. The letter poses 12 numbered questions to Rice. I have posted the letter and the appended email as redacted below via Scribd. Allahpundit offers related thoughts construing the email here.

Take a look at the email with your own eyes. It is, as I say, an intriguing piece of evidence. I would draw every reasonable inference against Obama and Rice, but there is a level of uncertainty that necessarily attaches here. To me the email cries of “nobody here but us chickens.”

Grassley Letter to Rice and Attachment by Scott Johnson on Scribd


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