Sorry Vox, the Swedes Are Irrelevant to the Second Amendment

by David French

It’s hard to know what’s more annoying to read. Is it a gun control piece by a progressive who knows nothing about guns? Or is it a gun control piece by a progressive who actually owns guns but completely misses the point of the Second Amendment? How about a gun control piece by a progressive hunter who thinks small, homogenous Nordic countries hold the key to American peace and prosperity?

If you think it’s the latter, you may want to avoid the latest Vox piece by Tom Heberlein. Last seen proclaiming the virtues of Sweden’s high taxes, Heberlein regales us with tales of Sweden’s strict firearms regulations. A prospective gun-owner has to take a year-long hunter training course, pass exams, and then store the weapons securely. Gun registration is mandatory. According to Heberlein, Swedish authorities can deny weapons to citizens they have “reasonable cause” to believe are “unfit” to own a gun.

The result? Heberlein trumpets the fact that Sweden is 10th out of 178 countries in gun ownership rates, yet it had only 21 gun homicides in 2014. The U.S. had 8,000. Controlling for population, the U.S. gun homicide rate was 700 percent higher than Sweden’s.

I would respond simply by asking Heberlein if he had any data on the gun homicide rate by Swedish-Americans, but heaven forbid anyone bring up cultural and historical differences in American and European demographics. There’s a deeper issue here, however — the persistent failure of gun controllers to seriously grapple with the history and purpose of the Second Amendment.

The right to keep and bear arms has nothing to do with hunting, of course. It’s about self-defense — not just from other individuals but also from potentially lawless government power. What does a hunter training course have to do with protecting your wife and kids from random street crime? How does a mandatory year-long class help a young women who’s living in fear of vengeful ex-boyfriend who may try to break into her house tomorrow? How is mandatory gun registration a deterrent against tyranny?

Moreover, the Second Amendment doesn’t grant the right to self-defense, it recognizes and protects that right. And for the right to self-defense to be meaningful, I must have prompt access to the weapons that give me a fighting chance to repel foreseeable threats. It’s not a problem that I can walk into a gun store, get a background check, and walk out an hour later with a firearm, it’s one of the blessings of liberty.

The fact that Swedes aren’t all that violent is irrelevant to my life in the United States, and it’s completely irrelevant to my right to defend my family and myself. We undoubtedly have a problem with gun violence — with all types of violence — but grappling with that reality requires grappling with our own nation and culture. And it requires understanding and protecting each and every citizen’s inalienable natural and constitutional right to self-defense. Another citizen’s criminality doesn’t diminish my Second Amendment rights. It instead demonstrates their necessity.

Poll: Can Trump Overcome His Own Gaffes?

Mass Delusion

by Jim Talent

The Democrats’ reluctance to mention Islamic terrorism during their convention reminded me of a point I’ve been meaning to write about. A fair amount of time in this country is spent discussing whether, in order to fight the jihadists, we should name the enemy, and specifically whether we should be willing to admit that the enemy is Islamic. The answer in any sane world, is, of course, yes.  Because the obvious reality is that the people attacking us and the Europeans, now seemingly every day, belong to a branch of Islam and are motivated by their version of Islam.

It’s hard to overcome any problem in your life if you refuse to recognize essential elements of the problem; in fact, one of the first objects of psychotherapists is to get their patients to face the real issues that are disabling them. It’s even harder to win a war if you won’t permit yourself to recognize whom you’re fighting — and not only because, as a practical matter, you have to know your enemy to properly assess his plans and tactics. It’s also because denying reality absorbs a huge amount of energy and attention that ought to be spent actually confronting the real issues.

That’s what is so frustrating about all this.  Rather than arguing about whether to connect the enemy to Islam, when it is obvious that there is a connection, we should be exploring how to define the connection for purposes of fighting the war to maximum effect.

Is all of Islam the enemy? No, thank God.

But which part of Islam is the enemy? Is it just the military arm — the various networks of terrorists that include ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, and others?  Should we treat all of these groups as the enemy for all purposes? What about Hezbollah and Hamas and other groups that are Islamic and engage in terrorist acts, but tend to do so for distinct political purposes in specific regions?  What about the Islamic radicals in Chechnya?

What about Muslim preachers who advocate the hateful tenets and violent methods of Islamic terrorism, but provide no actual support for them?  Should we consider those preachers the enemy?

What about Muslim preachers who want Sharia law, and support the idea of a caliphate, but denounce violence as a means of achieving those things?

And if we have a broad rather than narrow definition of the “enemy”, does that mean we need to adjust our tactics depending on which part of the enemy we are dealing with?   In other words, should we have different categories of enemies, and should we use harsher means against some categories than others?

And which parts of Islam should be considered allies?

All of these questions are quite important, and some of them at least are quite hard.  Intelligent people across the political spectrum should be discussing them and trying to agree on a common policy that best protects the security and serves the values of the American people.

But we can’t get to discussing those questions, because one whole wing of Western political leadership is using all of its energy to prop up the mass delusion that men who scream “Allahu Akbar” after slitting the throat of a priest have no connection to Islam, and that anyone who thinks differently is a bigot. 

George Orwell accused the Left of “double think,” which is “the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.” Right now, I’d be happy if the Left were engaging in double think where Islamic radicalism was concerned. At least they’d be in the real world part of the time; the rest of us could catch them in their lucid moments and work out a joint strategy for defending our country.  As it is, I honestly don’t know how to get the Left to recognize reality where the war against Islamic terrorism is concerned — and I don’t know how America can ever win if they don’t.

‘The Easy Way’

by Jay Nordlinger

Impromptus today is a typical mélange, comprising presidential politics, Puccini, the city of Cleveland, and more. It begins with a little item about Nixon. And Trump.

“Some have counseled that I take the easy way,” Nixon used to say. William Safire and his pals on the Nixon staff joked, “You know, one of us should say, ‘Mr. President, you should take the easy way,’ just so he can say it truthfully.”

Think of Donald J. Trump: “Everyone always said I have the best temperament.” “People are amazed at how much I know about the military.” “I’ve always heard people say, ‘Donald, you have the most beautiful hands.’”

So, in the spirit of Safire, Trump staffers might say, “Mr. Trump, you have the best temperament.” “Mr. Trump, I’m amazed at how much you know about the military.” “Mr. Trump, you have the most beautiful hands.”

Anyway, I write the above in my column. Here on the Corner, I’d like to say something about Before the Fall. That’s Safire’s memoir of the first Nixon administration.

(In the old days, we referred to each term as an “administration.” So, 1985-89 would be “the second Reagan administration.”)

I’m pretty sure I got the story about “the easy way” from Before the Fall. There was a time in my life when I read gobs and gobs of White House memoirs. This was when I was about 20, I think.

I even read Lady Bird’s diary, for heaven’s sake. That’s hard-core. (The interest, not the diary.)

Anyway, I have not really read White House memoirs since the ’80s. So I am out of date (as usual, for a conservative like me?). But Before the Fall was certainly one of the best I ever read: informative, readable, entertaining, unusual.

And RN was, always, a rich subject.

Live from Homs

by John J. Miller

My new Bookmonger podast is with Marwa al-Sabouni, author of The Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria. The book caught my eye because the writer of the foreword is Sir Roger Scruton, who hails a fascinating voice from a war-torn country. Marwa spoke to me from her home in Homs; she describes the scene there right now and talks about how Syria, in time, might rebuild.

The Orlando Shooter’s Father, the Taliban Fan, Is Behind Hillary… Literally

by Jim Geraghty

From the genuinely jolting Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

The Orlando Shooter’s Father, the Taliban Fan, Is Behind Hillary… Literally

Each morning, you think 2016 election cycle can’t get any more surreal, or bizarre, or disconcerting… the news cycle jostles you awake and says, “oh yeah? Get a load of this!”

What the heck? I mean, really, what the heck?

Clinton held a rally in Kissimmee, FL, a suburb of Orlando, the site of June’s terror attack. She began her rally by paying tribute to those who were slaughtered by Mateen while the terrorist’s father, Seddique Mateen, sat right behind her, prominently displayed and in full view of the camera.

There he is, right behind Hillary’s shoulder:

This is no mistaken identity or look-a-like; Mateen spoke to reporters afterwards about why he wants Hillary Clinton to be president. He showed reporters a sign he made for her, declaring she was “good for national security.”

Yes, that father:

Florida corporations created by [the shooter’s father] Seddique Mateen, the Provisional Government of Afghanistan Corp. and The Durand Jirga Inc., are related to that border dispute.

And Seddique Mateen announced his candidacy for president of Afghanistan in 2015, one of several YouTube videos posted by Mateen related to the issue. A Washington Post translation of one video has the elder Mateen praising the Taliban: “Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in (the) Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said.

The obvious rejoinder:  “She says she’ll keep the pro-Taliban folks who are close to terrorists out of our country… but she can’t even keep them out of her own rallies. Maybe she should try building a wall.”

Donald Trump might be the luckiest son-of-a-gun to ever run for president. If he can’t make some noise over this and make up five points quick, he should just close up shop… 

Tuesday Links

by debbywitt

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori? Today is the anniversary of the 480 BC battle of Thermopylae.

The History of French Fries.

Man fought off armed would-be carjackers with high-pressure car wash sprayer.

Some people seem to need reminding: “We don’t negotiate with terrorists”: the supercut.

Norway Considers Giving Finland a Mountain to Celebrate Its 100th Birthday.

Wooden skyscrapers: a roundup of tall timber buildings.

ICYMI, Friday’s links are here, and include a compilation of dancing in ‘80s movies, the habits of highly mathematical people, the opening ceremony of the 1936 Nazi Olympic Games, and, from 1944, head shots of all of the ways US intelligence thought Hitler might try to disguise himself.

Krauthammer’s Take: Clinton Has Lied So Much “She Lies About Her Lying”

by NR Staff

Dissecting the current state of Hillary Clinton’s anatomy of misrepresentations regarding her email server, Charles Krauthammer pointed out that she is having to labor to use FBI director James Comey’s testimony in her favor despite the fact that it involves lying further. He discussed it in regard to a recent Trump ad that made Clinton out to be a malfunctioning robot, and Krauthammer said:

It’s a bit of a cheap shot, but what the hell, there’s a lot of cheap shots going on in this election. What she meant by “short-circuited” is that she was answering a question that was slightly different, and it’s not that she has a short circuit up in her neurons. So, look, this is just tit-for-tat.

I thought what was interesting is number one: she can’t escape her lies on emails. There are so many lies now that she lies about her lying, and when you have to say, “My testimony to the FBI, which they FBI director says was truthful”—when somebody has to cite someone else as the authority on the truthfulness of their speech, they’re in trouble.

It Is Hard to Win a Case When You Are AWOL

by Hans A. von Spakovsky

As my coauthor John Fund explains on the homepage today, in the last few weeks, we have seen federal courts in Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina throwing out or limiting voter-ID laws.  Those decisions can best be described, to paraphrase the words of dissenting Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones in the Texas case, as opinions that misapplied the law and misconstrued the facts. 

While these cases have gotten most of the media attention, there was also a fourth decision out of North Dakota on Aug. 1 on voter ID that ordered the state to provide a “fail-safe” provision that will allow Native Americans to vote even if they have no ID. This despite the fact that a tribal ID is one of the acceptable forms of ID under the law.

Before the opponents of common-sense reforms such as voter ID put too much stock in this North Dakota decision, they might want to read it first. The judge in the case, Daniel Hovland, wrote this in bold typeface on page seven of his decision:

It is important to note that with respect to the Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, none of the affidavits, declarations, surveys, studies, or data submitted by the Plaintiffs in support of their motion have been challenged or refuted by the State of North Dakota.

This is significant because in all of the other cases brought by the Justice Department and so-called civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, their experts have wildly exaggerated and inflated the number of individuals who supposedly lack an ID. Those claims have been sharply disputed and credibly challenged by experts hired by the defending states such as North Carolina and Texas. But apparently not in North Dakota.

On the next page of the North Dakota opinion, Judge Hovland summarizes the extravagant claims made about how uneducated Native Americans are about the voter ID requirement and how many of them supposedly don’t have even a tribal ID. He then notes, again in boldface, that the “Defendant neither disputes nor challenges these findings.”

In other words, the state of North Dakota did not bother to put up an actual defense in this lawsuit.  They didn’t hire any experts to review, evaluate or analyze the claims made by the challengers. Such inattention and inaction borders on malpractice.

The attorney general there is Wayne Stenehjem, who in June lost his race for governor in the Republican primary. Perhaps he was too busy running for higher office to do his job as attorney general and defend the state’s voter-ID law. The point, however, is that any reliance on the findings in this case are misplaced, given that the judge really did not have much choice in what he did — it is not his job to defend the state. That is the job of the attorney general, who was apparently AWOL in this case.

The Difficulties of a Statesman

by Kevin D. Williamson

Well done, Wadi Gaitan. The chief spokesman for the Republican party in Florida has resigned his post because he believes that he cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump.

Too often, people in politics want to be considered moral heroes without losing their positions, power, perches, and perks, to be celebrated for their self-professed courage without actually giving anything up or risking anything.

Alternative view: Given what seems the likely outcome in November, those who stick with the Republican apparatus may be taking a larger professional risk than those who do not.  

Polarization Helps Donald Trump, But it Helps Hillary Clinton More

by David French

Over at the Washington Post, James Hohmann writes about Trump’s “high floor.” The news cycle can be brutal, and he can make mistake after mistake, but Hillary Clinton is almost certainly not winning in a Johnson versus Goldwater landslide. Trump isn’t well-liked. Indeed, he’s perhaps the most-disliked politician in modern American history, but he’s not going to get buried — at least not in the popular vote.

Why? Well yes, Hillary is unpopular. But there’s another explanation — polarization:

The long-term trend of rising negative partisanship makes it nearly impossible for Clinton to win in a landslide. Partisans view the opposite party more negatively than they used to. These feelings have become dramatically more intense since 1980 and an increasingly large driver of the vote. (For the data backing this up, read this June 2015 article from Emory University’s Alan Abramowitz.)

This helps explain why popular vote blowouts have become less common during the post-World War II era. Barry Goldwater got 38.5 percent in 1964; George McGovern got 37.5 percent in 1972; Walter Mondale got 40.6 percent in 1984; and George H.W. Bush got 37.4 percent in his three-way 1992 race with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

In other words, the red shirts really don’t like the blue shirts. Indeed, the two tribes don’t even mix — socially or culturally — as much as they used to. 

But while polarization may help keep Trump from landing beside Mondale in the history books, it also means that Republicans have ever-lower ceilings of support. Simply put, Democratic constituencies keep growing and Republican constituencies keep shrinking (as a share of the population), and since the two sides hate each other more and more, blue shirts are less likely to change teams. There are good reasons why Democrats trumpeted their so-called “coalition of the ascendant” after the 2012 election. Romney won a share of the white vote that would have guaranteed a decisive victory in cycles past. Instead, it just brought him a respectable loss. 

The two constituencies are close enough in size that Republicans still have a path to victory, but the path is getting increasingly narrow. Indeed, given the different demographics, Hillary Clinton is far more of a beneficiary of polarization than Trump. In spite of her well-known dishonesty (even millions of Democrats don’t trust her), the Democrats could nominate a deeply flawed nominee yet still have reasonable hopes of victory no matter who the Republicans nominated. The Republicans, by contrast, simply don’t have the same margin for error.

That’s one reason why the Trump nomination is so grating. Republicans increasingly have to thread the presidential needle, not Democrats. Clinton’s likely nomination was born of Democratic arrogance. They trust their coalition so much that they can put forward a transparently dishonest and cynical population — the antithesis of “hope and change” — and dare the Republicans to beat them. So the GOP responds by doing its best to beat itself. 

Polarization gives the GOP a solid base — so solid that not even Donald Trump can squander their support. That’s cold comfort when the same cultural forces give Democrats the larger tribe.

BLM Matters — a Lot to the Left. It Should to Conservatives, Too.

by Jack Fowler

At the end of last week, David French wrote an excellent piece on Black Lives Matter, and the see-no-evil media’s ignoring BLM’santi-American and fundamentally Marxist demands.” His dead-on analysis meshes well with an important new report by my friend Anne Sorock, the president of The Frontier Lab, which specializes in applying private-sector market research to political and cultural trends (I am on the FL board, and have to warn that its “deep values” techniques — the kind used by major corporations to figure how to better sell their wares — are ignored by the political-consultant class, which considers anything outside of likely-voter polls or focus groups to be weird or cootie-infected).

Anne’s impressive research finds that BLM is the baton dropped by the seemingly vanished Occupy Wall Street movement. Now picked up, BLM has the potential to be broadly appealing, and therefore a tremendous force for the Left, and against what she calls “marketers of freedom.” In essence, “BLM has within its grasp the radical revolutionary goals the Bill Ayers activists of old, and more recent new class of far-left operatives, had before now been unable to attain.”

How she finagled access to BLM organizers, activists, and allies, in order to conduct her research, I don’t know, but Anne did, and her findings are something all conservatives should read, or know about. What’s at stake is described in the report’s introduction:

Black Lives Matter as a movement represents the hopes and dreams of leftist organizers who shared with us that, until now, they had never felt such a sense of hope and excitement that their goal – as one operative put it, “total social upheaval,” and “systemic change” — could be realized in their lifetime. From veteran agitators like the Weather Underground’s Bill Ayers to a new crop of social-media-wielding female and LGBTQ leaders, Black Lives Matter is encapsulating the hopes and dreams of multiple generations of progressives in a way, they say, no movement has before.

The three female founders of the movement have made it clear, and the message has seeded itself as far down the chain as the operatives we spoke with, that Black Lives Matter is the vessel through which all progressive causes can flow. LGBTQ, illegal immigration, abortion, and countless other causes are simmering just beneath the public face of the focus on police violence. Even police violence flows neatly, according to Black Lives Matter, into economic violence — wage issues, workers’ rights . . . The panoply of leftist groups come together under this banner.

It’s a fascinating and consequential report. My friends with big conservative brains would be foolish to ignore it.

VIDEO: The Ransom That Was

by NR Staff

Last week we found out that the Obama Administration paid $400 million in cash to Iran on the same day four Americans were released from Iranian custody. As our Andrew McCarthy wrote on Saturday

The Iranians have bragged that the astonishing cash payment was a ransom — and Obama has been telling us for months that we can trust the Iranians. The hostages were released the same day the cash arrived. One of the hostages has reported that the captives were detained an extra several hours at the airport and told they would not be allowed to leave until the arrival of another plane — inferentially, the unmarked cargo plane ferrying the cash. The reason American policy has always prohibited paying ransoms to terrorists and other abductors is that it only encourages them to take more hostages. And, as night follows day, Iran has abducted more Americans since Obama paid the cash. No matter how energetically the president tries to lawyer the ransom issue, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

Read his full piece on this here.

Evan McMullin Press Statement: ‘It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing’

by Jack Fowler

Provided by staff. His website is now live

Evan McMullin was born in Provo, Utah on April 2, 1976 to David McMullin, a computer scientist, and Lanie (Bullard) McMullin.

He graduated from Auburn High School in Auburn, Washington, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from Brigham Young University (BYU) and a Master’s of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Evan served as a Mormon missionary in Brazil and Volunteer Refugee Resettlement Officer in Amman, Jordan on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

On September 11th, 2001 Evan was in training at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He completed his training and repeatedly volunteered for overseas service in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, spearheading counterterrorism and intelligence operations in some of the most dangerous nations.

Completing his service in the CIA, In 2011, McMullin transitioned to the investment banking sector at Goldman Sachs in the San Francisco Bay Area, raising capital, as well as working on mergers and acquisitions across several industries, including technology, energy, consumer goods, biotech, industrials and real estate.

In 2013, McMullin became a senior adviser on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and later the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference.

He declared his candidacy for President of the United States on August 8, 2016, saying “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.”

Evan McMullin

by Jack Fowler

He is a #NeverTrump advocate, and #NeverHillary too, and he is now offering himself as a conservative choice for president, an alternative for disaffected voters..

Here’s his LinkedIn page, his Facebook page, his Twitter account.

The online announcement will come at noon (Eastern) via

Ricochet Time

by Jack Fowler

For years, as we promoted webathons, I kvetched about mooching — in this case, the art of visitors’ daily feasting at the NRO all-you-can-eat bar without ever throwing a sawbuck in the tip jar. It’s kind of embarrassing when the kvetcher (me!) realizes he too lives in a proverbial glass house. I am a big fan of Ricochet, founded by our pals Rob Long and Peter Robinson, and home to a terrific line-up of podcasts, including Jay’s Q & A, Charlie and Kevin’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Jay and Mona’s Need to Know, the Ricochet Podcast (where Rob, Peter, and James Lileks do their amazing thing), John J. Miller’s The Bookmonger, GLoP Culture (John Podhoretz, Rob, and Jonah’s monthly jam session), and so many more. Many of which I listen to, for hours and hours . . . free.

Sandwiched in all the smart podcast talk is Rob Long’s inevitable commercial — join Ricochet. Why I didn’t think his appeal applied to me is surely the typical reaction of nearly all listeners. But Rob’s spiel – that they need it, that Ricochet is quality content, is a welcome forum, that membership is worth it — finally got through this thick skull and my sense of entitlement. So today I signed up. And now that I can say that I am a paying member of Ricochet, I want to encourage those who, like me, are Ricochet podcast junkies, to end the mooching. Become a Ricochet member. You can sign up here and begin enjoying all the benefits. Your conscience will appreciate it. And then there’s this: The world’s a better place for Ricochet existing, so it’s important that its fans make sure that it not only survives, but that Ricochet even thrives.

Iranians Execute Scientist Mentioned in Clinton’s E-Mails

by Jim Geraghty

From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Iranians Execute Scientist Mentioned in Clinton’s E-Mails

Yes, the Iranian regime executed a nuclear scientist who reportedly helped U.S. intelligence who was mentioned in Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. From this, one might think that Clinton’s insecure server got the man killed. It probably didn’t help Amiri, but the story is a bit more complicated than that.

Back in May, 2015:

New Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department appear to lift the curtain on the bizarre circumstances surrounding Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who claims to have been abducted by the CIA.

The just-released emails, which were sent to Clinton back in 2010, seem to support what State Department sources have long maintained: that Amiri was not abducted, but a defector and paid informant who changed his mind about helping the U.S.

Amiri’s behavior was contradictory and complicated. One theory is that he wanted to get paid by the Americans – the Washington Post cited sources saying Amiri was paid $5 million — and then return to Iran, claiming that he had been taken against his will. Others wondered if his family was being threatened. Depending upon his motive, Amiri was daring, crazy, stupid, or engaging in a noble act of self-sacrifice.

Amiri’s complicated story began in 2009, when he mysteriously disappeared while on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Almost immediately, Tehran accused the U.S. of abducting him. The U.S. denied the accusation, saying it had no knowledge of Amiri’s whereabouts.

Fast forward to nearly a year later, when a series of videos surfaced online of a man claiming to be Amiri.

On them, he denied being a defector and claimed to have been hiding out from CIA operatives in Virginia. In a subsequent video, however, he said he was living freely in Arizona.

Two weeks later, on July 14, 2010, CNN reported that Amiri had returned to Tehran after going to Iran’s interest section at the embassy of Pakistan in Washington. 

Iran publicly greeted him as a returning hero; but apparently right after the public celebrations ended, he was arrested and tortured in prison.

You may see the stories indicating that being named in Hillary Clinton’s e-mails led to Amiri’s ultimate fate. It probably has a lot more to do with his decision to return to Iran.

The news this weekend:

The spokesman for the Iranian judiciary confirmed on Sunday that Amiri had been hanged, claiming he had given away state secrets. The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i as saying that Amiri had been convicted of spying and put to death after his sentence was upheld by the supreme court.

Did Clinton’s e-mail get Amiri killed? Not directly, but it’s unnerving to see she was discussing such material on an insecure system. We don’t know for certain that the Iranians had successfully hacked into Clinton’s server – as FBI Director Comey said, hackers are good at covering their tracks – but it seems foolish to assume Tehran could not. Friendly references to Amiri in private e-mail by Hillary and her staff would destroy his claims to his captors that he wasn’t voluntarily helping American intelligence.

Amiri was probably a dead man the moment he decided to return to Tehran, no matter how secure Clinton’s server was. Having said that, it’s hard to believe that this story won’t discourage other potential defectors. Getting away from a hostile regime is dangerous enough for the defector and everyone he cares about; now there’s always the chance that your name might pop up in some e-mail, sealing your doom. 

Cokie Roberts Tries to Play the Sexism Card for Hillary

by Carrie Lukas

This weekend, Cokie Roberts claimed that Donald Trump’s characterization of Hillary Clinton as “unhinged” is “totally code for we shouldn’t elect a woman.”

This is a big stretch.  Plenty of people have called Donald Trump unhinged, including Joe Scarborough, the conservative website RedState, a writer for the DailyKos..and that’s just in the last two weeks. 

There is nothing sexist about the term, or questioning whether a candidate has the mental capacity and relationship with reality to make a good president.  People feel free to question if Trump has the judgment and capacity to serve as commander in chief – Hillary Clinton has called him “unmoored” and President Obama called him “unfit.”  

Mrs. Clinton can clearly give as good as she gets in trading insults, and there is no reason to try to claim that any attack on her is sexist just because she’s a woman. 

Defining Being on Message Down

by Rich Lowry

Donald Trump made pro forma endorsements of Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte on Friday, which has led his supporters to argue his campaign is back on track. It does show that Trump can sometimes be forced to do things he doesn’t want to–the Pence pick was another example–but this wasn’t exactly a watershed event. His original non-endorsements were an exercise in pointlessly destructive pique, and quickly backtracking was literally the least he could do. But every time he reads from a script his boosters hopefully pronounce it a major turning point (presumably there will be more of this after tomorrow’s economic speech). 

The problem for Trump now is that his numbers on suitability to be president are extremely weak. I think it’s pretty likely that Hillary’s current bounce settles down some, but the Trump campaign has its work cut out for it, to say the least, trying to reverse his poor ratings on presidential attributes. This isn’t a matter of focusing on the issues or giving a few speeches, it has to do with his public persona, which he has cultivated for a very long time and would be difficult to change even if he wanted to. Obviously a couple of endorsements of key Republicans, which should have been routine, aren’t going to make much of a difference. 


A Word About Marines

by Mona Charen

Col. John Folsom runs an organization called Wounded Warriors Family Support. I have the honor of serving on its board. I had known that Col. Folsom was a decorated Marine, but I didn’t know that he was a sentimental animal lover. His wife has written Smoke the Donkey: A Marine’s Unlikely Friendan account of Col. Folsom’s encounter with a stray donkey (later nicknamed “Smoke”) when he was in command of Camp Al Taqaddum near Fallujah in Iraq in 2008. The donkey became more than Folsom’s friend. He became a camp mascot, a way for Marines to bond with their kids back home through shared pictures and stories, and a bridge to the local Iraqi population. He was a “morale booster on four legs.” It’s a touching and often amusing story (I didn’t know that donkeys can be affectionate and smart) that also offers some interesting glimpses into what life was like for American servicemen and women in Iraq.