Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Manchester this time

Featured image As we take in the carnage in Manchester, words fail us. Words fail to do justice to the tragedy of the lives taken and the bodies maimed. Words fail to account for the protracted and multifaceted conflict in which we are engaged. Words fail to do justice to our impotent outrage. Words fail to express our dread knowledge of the evil on display. We almost wish to be wrong this »

Let’s call the whole thing unlikely

Featured image Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist, a military historian and a shrewd observer of the current scene. Everything he writes is worth reading. I do my best to catch all his columns and essays, but I missed his recent appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. RealClearPolitics has posted a video of the segment below along with a partial transcript including embedded links here. In it Dr. Hanson argues that »

Another look inside that parked car

Featured image Week before last the Minneapolis police recently arrested brothers Abdullah and Majid Alrifahe sitting in a parked car in Minneapolis. Last week the Star Tribune reported briefly on it here. After checking with law enforcement sources, I followed up in “Inside a parked car in Minneapolis.” The Star Tribune hasn’t returned to the story so far, yet it clearly warrants a closer look. A friend forwarded a copy of the »

“Not my first sword dance”

Featured image Appearing from Riyadh on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning, Secretary Tillerson fielded a slightly offbeat question and responded with what (outside President Trump’s speech) may have been the quote of the day (transcript here). Wallace asked Tillerson about the traditional Arab sword dance in which he participated upon his arrival yesterday. “And I have to tell you,” Wallace commented, “you looked pretty good while you were doing »

Trump in Riyadh: Speaking of reset

Featured image President Trump just concluded his speech to the assembled leaders of 50 Muslim countries assembled to hear him in Riyadh. The ever popular New York Times quotes a bit from the speech in the course of reporting and opining on it in the story by Peter Baker and Michael Shear. I can’t find either a transcript or video yet. Here I would like briefly to offer a few preliminary impressions »

Meet Zach Wood

Featured image There is good news at Williams College. It does not come courtesy of the college administration, of course, but rather by way of junior Zach Wood. As the leader of the Uncomfortable Learning speakers’ program, Wood is the keeper of a good idea about opening up the school to diversity of the intellectual variety. Jennifer Kabanny told the story of Uncomfortable Learning in a 2014 article for the College Fix. »

I, nut job

Featured image We should note for the record the latest New York Times Trump-bashing leak. It arrives with a twist. This one seems to come — courtesy of “an American official” reading a memo to the Times — from inside the White House itself. Trump is now under attack by his own staff. Meeting in the Oval Office on May 10 with Russia’s ambassador and foreign minister, President Trump shared his feelings »

Life of Pai

Featured image President Trump named Ajit Pai chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. By my lights it ranks as one of Trump’s great appointments. Having served as a commissioner during the Obama administration, Pai had a front row seat to see the FCC’s assertion of control over the Internet under the guise of “net neutrality.” As a conservative Republican of libertarian stripe, Pai forcefully opposed the FCC takeover. See Tim Heffernan’s 2015 »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll decries A RACKET WRIT LARGE. She writes: A book that had a profound effect on me as a teenager was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Francie, the young protagonist, was, like me, a READER who discovers the library and it changes her life. Unlike Francie, however, we were middle-middle class, living in small towns in South Dakota and Minnesota, and Francie was starvation-level poor, living »

Trump agonistes

Featured image Reading the news stories that have created the consuming controversies of the past few days, this is what I see. Hostile officials inside the executive branch of the government seek the removal of Donald Trump from office. They are powerful. They lack any qualms about abusing their positions. And they are determined. With malicious intent, “current officials” inside the intelligence agencies with access to top secret information, for example, have »

Mr. Erdogan goes to Washington

Featured image A little bit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime came to Washington for Erdogan’s visit with President Trump earlier this week. In this case, a little bit is way too much, although it may be a representative sample. Tom Rogan notes that on Tuesday the Turkish Presidential Protection Department attacked peaceful protesters on American soil (video below). Making themselves feel right at home in Washington, TPPD officers launched a coordinated attack »

Trump’s big trip

Featured image President Trump departs later this week on his first trip abroad since taking office. It is a trip with five stops including Riyadh, Jerusalem, Rome, Brussels and Sicily. The stops in Europe involve meetings with Pope Francis at the Vatican, with our NATO partners in Brussels and with the leaders of the G7 countries in Sicily. This afternoon the White House invited journalists to join a conference call with a »

McMaster’s denial

Featured image General McMaster emerged from the White House last night to read a statement denying the gist of the eye-opening Washington Post story by Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe posted earlier yesterday evening. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reported companion versions of the story. Although General McMaster serves as President Trump’s national security adviser at the pleasure of the president, he is a man of unblemished »

Inside a parked car In Minneapolis

Featured image The Star Tribune reports that Minneapolis police discovered an arsenal of guns, a hand grenade, bomb-making devices, assault rifles and magazines along with a large quantity of ammunition, cellphones, computers and electronic equipment and drone parts during a routine arrest this past Thursday of one Abdullah Alrifahe. Officers found the materiel in their search of the car in which Alrifahe was sitting along with an unspecified number of others. This »

Ishmael Jones: Spy versus spy

Featured image Ishmael Jones is the pseudonymous former CIA case officer and author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture. He has forwarded his comments on certain aspects of the CIA’s vulnerability. He advises that his comments have been reviewed and approved by the CIA’s publications review board. Mr. Jones writes: CIA secrets were once typed on paper and stored in safes. Even the typewriter ribbons were removed at »

Sally Yates: What rough beast

Featured image Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past Monday, but it already feels like ancient history. Yates testified with former DNI James Clapper about events leading to the termination of Michael Flynn as President Trump’s National Security Adviser only days into his job. At the time of the events in issue Yates served as Acting Attorney General, holding over from the Obama administration until her dismissal by President »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image We made it to the Xcel Center this past Thursday night in St. Paul to see Daryl Hall and John Oates in concert. The Xcel Center is the home of the Minnesota Wild; it’s not built for music. The show did not disappoint, however, and the crowd filled the arena. The crowd packed all three balconies to the rafters. We were seated on the main floor. I milled around after »