Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Jorma returns

Featured image Jorma Kaukonen was the lead guitarist of the Jefferson Airplane. Together with bassist Jack Casady, he split off from the Airplane to form Hot Tuna and pursue other interests, originally in acoustic blues. Their first album, recorded live in Berkeley, has been reissued in a deluxe two-disc format and sounds better than ever. The heart of the album consists of traditional blues songs with updated arrangements of numbers by Rev. »

Overheard high on Foggy Bottom

Featured image We understand that Secretary of State John Kerry placed a frantic call to Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Zarif yesterday after the Supreme Leader’s speech on the occasion of National Nuclear Technology Day. According to the partial transcript provided to us, the conversation went down like this: John Kerry: Mohammad, your Supreme Leader is killing us! We understand he might have gotten carried away in the spirit of the day. »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll returns with VISITING MY PEOPLE, a Six-Part Love Letter and Travelogue of Sorts. She writes: My parents were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary (Holy Moly, Rocky!), followed four days later, by my Mother’s 94th birthday. (More on these in Part Six. Hang in there with me!) It was time to leave Arizona for Minnesota. In March, the iffiest of months, weather-wise. We have discussed my aversion to flying. »

Marie explains, in words you can understand

Featured image Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz collaborated on a devastating Wall Street Journal column (accessible here via Google) criticizing the pending arrangement with Iran. Asked about the column at a State Department briefing, department spokesman Marie Harf demonstrated that she may not have learned everything she needs to know in kindergarten. Her response had a sort of na-na-boo-boo quality to it: “I didn’t hear a lot of »

A Stillness at Appomattox

Featured image Today is the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, ending our Civil War. Carl Cannon observes the occasion in this RealClearPolitics column as does Jarrett Stepman in a good Breitbart column. To these columns I would only like to append a brief literary footnote. Bruce Catton’s three-volume history of the Army of the Potomac concludes with Catton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Stillness at »

A word from their Supreme Leader

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to comment on the Supreme Leader’s speech today, posted here by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: Just making sure that you had Khamenei’s speech from today [linked above]. It was a barn-burner generally – he ruled out cooperation with the US and downplayed the prospects for a nuclear deal – but those parts won’t be any more problematic than his “Death to America” chants, which »

Mock this

Featured image In looking online this morning for the White House fact sheet (sic) on the arrangement with Iran, I found the image posted below on another White House page summarizing the framework of the arrangement. The White House is making an important point here, of course, and the Times of Israel expertly decodes it: “US mimics Netanyahu cartoon bomb to sell Iran deal.” For “mimics,” I’d read “mocks,” as the text »

Enter Sid Blumenthal

Featured image Jeff Gerth and Sam Biddle explore an important sidebar both to the affair of the Hillary Clinton homebrew email server and to the Benghazi scandal: “Private emails reveal ex-Clinton aide’s secret spy network.” Long story short: enter Sid Blumenthal, one of the most unsavory characters of the Clinton era. Enter Sid Blumenthal along with Tyler Drumheller and Cody Shearer, that is. Mark Hemingway reviews the triumvirate in “Meet the men »

Coming soon: sanctions relief

Featured image The lifting of the economic sanctions that have brought Iran to the table over its nuclear program necessarily constitutes an essential element of the deal, if and when it is reduced to writing and subscribed by the parties. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the current framework that is written in the hearts of the parties does not address specifically address the timing of sanctions relief. According to the “parameters” »

Judge Hanen sticks with it

Featured image Judge Andrew Hanen has filed a memorandum opinion and order denying the Obama administration’s motion to lift his temporary injunction preventing implementation of Obama’s post-election executive amnesty program. The memorandum opinion and order are posted online here. In media reports of Judge Hanen’s order, you won’t see this comment on the administration’s misrepresentations concerning implementation of the amnesty: The Court finds that the Government’s multiple statements on this subject were »

Marie clears it up

Featured image Omri Ceren emailed another update on the pending arrangement with Iran yesterday afternoon. If you’ve been following Omri’s comments here, this should be of interest: Just wanted to make sure you had the full text of President Obama’s interview in your inbox [omitted here]. There’s a particular quote that has gotten a lot of attention, and which was the source of a bit of confusion at today’s State Department press »

The Attkisson angle

Featured image The White House hacking story is in the news again today with the revelation by CNN that officials believe the hacking was performed by operators acting on behalf of the Russian government. According to CNN, the hacking took place via the State Department computer system. CNN’s story is reported under the headline “How the U.S. thinks Russians hacked the White House.” The relevance of the hacking of the Executive Office »

The case of the missing fatwa, take 6

Featured image The invaluable MEMRI observes: In President Obama’s announcement of the joint statement following the conclusion of the negotiations in Lausanne, he again mentioned the nonexistent fatwa, stating as fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.[1] This assertion by the president is not true. Such a fatwa has never been issued, and to this day no one has been able to show it, »

The gospel according to Tom

Featured image I can’t find a transcript of the apostle Tom Friedman’s interview with his lord and master Obama, the video of which I posted yesterday in “Fatuity and fatwas.” However, the Times has published an expanded version of Friedman’s account online in “Iran and the Obama doctrine.” It captures key quotes from the interview with one exception. The pending arrangement with Iran is Obama’s devoutly wished consummation of a one-sided love »

The Iran deal: It’s settled science

Featured image Back in the United States, Omri Ceren continues his reports on the pending deal with Iran. Today he comments on one of the Obama administration’s themes supporting the deal. It seems to have something in common with the administration’s take on global warming climate change. I thought readers who have been following this series might be interested in this report as well: According to the weekend reports – and based »

Of fatuity and fatwas

Featured image President Obama sat for an interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Saturday. When it comes to Obama Friedman is no doubting Thomas. He is the Apostle Tom. He believes in what he views to be “the Obama doctrine.” This is the gospel according to Tom. Friedman brings up the lurking issue of “red lines” at about 34:00. It’s Senator Cotton and his 46 colleagues who have crossed »

When their Supreme Leader disagrees with ours

Featured image Following the announcement of the Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) with Iran in November 2013, disagreements emerged regarding the terms of the deal represented in public by Iran and the United States. Insofar as could be determined by reviewing the terms of the JPOA itself (as opposed to some secret protocol), I found the Iranian representations to be consistently more reliable than those of the United States. The announcement »