Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll is pretty sure that it’s all about RECRUITING NEW DEMOCRATS. She writes: The summer of my junior year of high school, my boyfriend arranged for us to see The Smothers Brothers at the Grandstand Show at the Minnesota State Fair. They were an absolute delight – clean, fresh, hilarious – and became one of my earliest influences. Little did I know then, of course, that I would open »

Echo chamber music

Featured image Is the pathetic performance of the Democrats’ media adjunct in the synthetic Trump/Russia collusion scandal just a case of the usual cheerleading? In a provocative column at the Federalist, Lee Smith looks at the roles played by Franklin Foer (Slate), Anne Applebaum (Washington Post), Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic), and David Remnick (New Yorker) during the 2016 campaign to plant the seeds. He takes note of certain contradictions that emerged between their »

Schiff trashes law enforcement

Featured image The Democrats’ media adjunct amplified a key Democratic talking point over the past two weeks. According to the Democrats and their media friends, one is not to criticize the bad actions of anyone in the FBI or other such agencies. If you do, you’re trashing law enforcement. Retroactive application of this rule to the depredations of President Obama and the Obama administration is prohibited. Mollie Hemingway collected a few exhibits »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll has searched her archives and now discloses those filed under EMAIL TO SELF: To: Ammogrrrll From: Ammogrrrll Cc: Mr. AG In re: Missing Key Lime Pie It has come to my attention that the remainder of the Key Lime Pie (nearly ¾ of the pie, as it happens) appears to be missing. In no way could this have been consumed by me and certainly not in one sitting »

Adventures in administrative law

Featured image I wrote about the problem of the administrative state in “A new old regime,” my review of Philip Hamburger’s audaciously great book Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (Plot spoiler: the answer is yes.) Even with a lot of help from my friends at the Claremont Institute, it took me a long time to understand the problem. Professor Hamburger expedited the process. The problem is the unconstitutionality, unwisdom, unaccountability, and lawlessness inherent »

La-la means I love you

Featured image Written by William Hart and Thom Bell, produced by Thom Bell and Stan Watson, “La-La (Means I Love You)” is a classic of Philly soul, vintage 1968, and a memorable hit for the Delfonics. What a beautiful pop song. I don’t think they make ’em like this anymore. Hart sang the shimmering falsetto lead on the hit single. Laura Nyro responded deeply to the song. As she did with so »

Ellison speaks…a little

Featured image 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 »

Rice papers the file

Featured image 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. »

A green thought in a green shade

Featured image I await Roger Kimball’s commentary on the official portraits of President and Mrs. Obama unveiled today for display in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Speaking as a layman, I can say that I find Obama’s portrait unflattering and unaesthetic, so perhaps it fits in some sense. I can also say that it put me in mind of Andrew Marvell’s great metaphysical poem “The Garden,” which I have not thought about »

Terry Teachout recommends

Featured image Yesterday on Twitter Terry Teachout — my favorite critic, of theater for the Wall Street Journal and at large for Commentary — commented on The Third Man, the compelling 1949 film. If you are a fan of the film, you will undoubtedly recall that it was written by Graham Greene and features a chilling star turn by Orson Welles. Terry touted the film as a scrupulous study in moral complexity. »

Notes on Nunes

Featured image House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has to deal with ranking minority member Adam Schiff. It’s part of his job, but it can’t be pleasant. Schiff is of course an artist of the calculated lie and the straight face. Somewhere along the line, however, Nunes touched a nerve. The Democrats lodged a bogus ethics charge against him (now dismissed) and the Democrats’ media adjunct treats him like a leper. Yesterday »

“I was wrong”

Featured image To a great extent I have taken my bearings on the synthetic scandal of alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign from Andrew McCarthy. He knows what he is talking about. He is not a victim of Trump derangement syndrome. He does not seek the removal of Trump from office on a pretext. In his current NRO column he takes a look at the Grassley/Graham memo that we posted (in »

A genius for friendship

Featured image Abraham Lincoln stands not only as America’s greatest president but also as its greatest lawyer. At the time of his election to the presidency in 1860 he was the most prominent practicing lawyer in the state of Illinois. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom »

Remembering Mr. Lincoln

Featured image Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are »

Weird tales of Winer

Featured image The reemergence of Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal — this time from the crypt of the dodgy Steele Dossier — reminds me of Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th franchise or Dracula in the Bram Stoker classic. There is, however, at least one difference. Jason and Dracula have slightly more charm than Blumenthal. So long as the Clintons remain on the scene, Blumenthal lives. Paul faced up to the reemergence of »

Introduction to the Federalist

Featured image Hillsdale College’s John Miller hosts a series of podcasts on the great books for National Review. NR compiles the podcasts on this page (including access and subscription to the podcasts in the various podcast forms). There is a wealth of riches here. You will want to scroll through the list to find those you want to take in, such as Assumption College’s Professor Dan Mahoney on The Gulag Archipelago. In »

Where we are now

Featured image Collusion hysteria has bedeviled the Trump administration since day 1, precisely as intended. It has brought us the Special Counsel to provide the predicate for the removal of Trump from office. It has produced absurdity upon absurdity delivered by such artists of the calculated lie and the straight face as Adam Schiff. All the while, the mainstream media have made themselves instrumental to the production by serving as the faithful »