#SueMeSaudi: Twitter's Latest Trending Topic Taunts Saudi Government

I wrote last week about how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is threatening to sue people who compare their justice system to that of ISIS. Almost immediately, the Internet decided to take Saudi Arabia up on their offer and taunt them, leading to the Kingdom announcing a lawsuit against one unnamed Twitter user. However, Saudi Arabia had better ramp up its legal team, as "#SueMeSaudi" was one of the top trending topics on Twitter (and reached the front page of Reddit) Tuesday as Twitter users stated that they believe Saudi Arabia's justice system is like ISIS.

Here are some tweets:

Good News: Paris Attack Suspect Might Be In Syria, U.S. Embassy In Kabul Warns Of 'Imminent Attack'

Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, who allegedly  drove ISIS terrorists to the Bataclan Concert Hall during the Paris Attacks on November 13, might be in Syria, despite earlier reports that Belgian police arrested him. The UK’s Metro  described the hunt for Abdeslam, dubbed “public enemy number one,” as one of the largest manhunts in European history. The theory that he’s in Syria comes from French intelligence, while Belgium remains unsure (via CNN):

A source close to the investigation said Monday that Abdeslam had purchased 10 detonators from a fireworks shop on the outskirts of the city before the November 13 attacks.

The detonators cost 10 euros (about $10.60) each at the Saint-Ouen l'Aumone shop, Les Magiciens du Feu or "Fire Magicians." He also bought batteries.

Investigators have been looking for the Belgian-born French national since shortly after the attacks, which killed 130 people.

French intelligence services say they think he's escaped to Syria, according to the source close to the investigation and a counterterrorism source.

Belgian officials aren't so sure, however. Security services there have seen no indications Abdeslam has made it to Syria, although they've always thought he might be headed there, a Belgian security analyst in touch with Belgian security officials told CNN on Monday.

The store manager at Les Magiciens du Feu alerted authorities after Abdeslam's name and photograph were released to the public, the French newspaper Le Parisien reported.

CNN added that he also could have driven the suicide bombers to the Stade de France, as his fingerprints were found in one of the cars. There was also a chance to capture Abdeslam and his two associates when they decided to head for Brussels, but French police didn’t zero in on the culprits–ISIS–at the time and were allowed to exit the country.

While our European allies deal with finding Abdeslam, our embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan has received information of an imminent attack on the capital within the next two days, according to Reuters. Our embassy, staff, or any other American weren’t specifically listed as targets, but surely it’s a cause for concern.

It’s certainly wasn’t the best of days for the good guys, and the situation is further compounded with a president who is focused on a) not being like Bush (though in some regards he is) and b) his refusal to trust or listen to military and intelligence assets feeding him information on the current situation with ISIS.

President Obama has already mocked Republicans for their stance of the Syrian refugees, even though some on the left have characterized this position as out of touch. This is a cause for concern to anyone who is of rational thought because terrorists have feigned refugee status to enter this country. Maybe that’s why the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act passed the House with a veto-proof majority before the Thanksgiving holiday since there really isn’t anything controversial in the legislation other than making absolutely sure that we don’t allow terrorists into the country.

Guy has written about the alleged intelligence scandal over ISIS, how CENTCOM was told to “cut it out” over negative reports on the Islamic State, and how the reports that reached Obama’s desk only ended with the administration “kicking the can down the road.” Today, he touched upon the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn, who said that the rise of ISIS is due to “willful decisions” by the Obama White House to ignore sound reports, which has led to bad policy.

The president had resorted to calling ISIS the “JV team” and said they were “contained” until they proved they had global reach when they murdered 130 Parisians earlier this month. Even knowing the threat ISIS poses, the president refuses to do anything different, noting at the G20 summit that he isn’t interested in narratives about “pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning;” narratives that happen to be part of his 2015 national security strategy, but that’s for another time.

We did finally go after the source of ISIS’s income: oil. And destroyed close to 500 tanker trucks, which weren’t targeted for fear of civilian casualties. In one of the two airstrikes, our aircraft actually ran out of ammunition and was unable to complete the mission.

To make matters more maddening, Justin wrote about how former CIA director Michael Morrill reportedly said he was hamstrung by the Obama administration from going after the oil wells or the transport trucks that they knew were under ISIS control due to environmental concerns. Leah adds that ISIS is consolidating a fallback capital in Libya. The current ISIS capital of al-Raqqa, Syria is under air attack from France, while Russia has targeted the city with cruise missiles.

Shouldn’t we be quarterbacking this effort? Not with Obama as president.

Oh, and add Libya to the list of failures this administration has reaped for us abroad.

Obama "Confident in the Wisdom of the American People" to Elect a Democrat in 2016

At this morning's Paris climate conference (COP21) press briefing, President Obama took a second to weigh in on the 2016 Presidential elections:

Reporter: "Can leaders gathered here believe that the United States will keep it's commitments even after you've left office, if a Republican succeeds you in the White House?" 

Obama: "You know, just with respect to my successor, let me first of all say that I'm anticipating a Democrat succeeding me. I'm confident in the wisdom of the american people on that front."

Obama Confident the American Voters Will Do This One Thing

President Obama thinks the Democrats have 2016 locked up.Do you?http://bit.ly/1LLBlDj

Posted by Townhall.com on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I wouldn't be so sure, Mr. President. With a lack of strong leadership in opposition against ISIS, murky foreign policy with countries like Russia, China, Turkey and Syria, and an immigration and refugee crisis that continues to divide the country as just a few of the top issues being weighed by the American voter this cycle, I wouldn't place all my money on dear Secretary Clinton.

She's busy dealing with her classified emails, anyway.

The American people are wise enough to know this is not the leadership our country needs.

Hillary: Hey, Let's Learn From Latin America's 'Success' and Elect a Woman President

As I've said repeatedly, and as is flagrantly obvious, Hillary Clinton will seek to overcome her heavy personal and political baggage with a simple identity-based message to America's female-majority electorate: It's high time we elect our First! Woman! President!  That her allies have already played the gender card to neutralize mild criticisms from Mrs. Clinton's top Democratic (nominal) opponent tells you everything you need to know. They're going to blitz the eventual GOP nominee as anti-women at every turn, while hyping the historic nature of Clinton's candidacy. In her latest naked appeal to 'girl power' vibes, Clinton is explicitly and enthusiastically subordinating actual results to the cult of identity:

Let's examine a few of the recent "success" stories from which Americans can learn:

Brazil - 
Over to you, Washington Post...

Brazil’s economy is tanking — and it’s not just China, its principal trade partner, that is to blame. South America’s biggest economy fell into recession in August and is expected to shrink by 2 to 3 percent this year. Inflation is pushing 10 percent, its highest since 2003, unemployment has climbed to over 8 percent, and the Brazilian real has lost about a third of its value against the dollar this year. Just a few years ago, Brazil was a favorite of investors — one of the “BRICS” group of emerging markets named for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Its economy grew more than 7 percent in 2010. Yet last week, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s reduced Brazil’s credit rating from investment grade to junk. In a rare front-page editorial Sunday, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reacted by attacking President Dilma Rousseff, who was narrowly reelected in October, for the “generalized irresponsibility” of recent years, during which public spending soared.

Brazil's tanking economy comes amid a huge spike in government spending under Brazil's left-wing government, which has been consumed by a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal.  The country's credit rating has been downgraded to junk status.  Presiding over all of this is President Dilma Rousseff, whose approval rating has slumped to eight percent.

Argentina - The era of Cristina is over.  The left-wing president's hand-picked successor lost to a conservative opponent last month, ending an period marked by longstanding corruptioneconomic malaise, and multiple credit defaults.  Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner leaves office with another dark cloud hanging over her head:  She's been dogged by serious allegations that her government was actively complicit in covering-up an Iranian terrorist attack against an Argentinian Jewish center in 1994. In January, the chief federal prosecutor who'd investigated the case for a decade was found dead, literally the day before he was set to brief Congress on the evidence he'd compiled. The New York Times: "Mr. Nisman, 51, leveled explosive accusations that top Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had conspired with Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing as part of a deal that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina. Now, the mystery has deepened with the discovery of Mr. Nisman’s body on Sunday — the day before he was to testify before lawmakers about those accusations."  Cristina's administration declared the death a suicide, but no gunshot residue was discovered on the deceased's hands.  Authorities found a draft warrant for the president's arrest in the dead prosecutor's apartment.  The Economist summarizes Cristina's tenure:

Ms Fernández has hoarded power and suppressed dissent. She has bent the central bank to her will, muzzled the government’s statistics institute and bullied the media. She has tried, less successfully, to suborn the independence of the judiciary. She leaves an economy in even worse shape than it looks.

Costa Rica - Via Bloomberglast year: "Costa Rica’s presidential race is in a statistical tie with a third of voters undecided after corruption scandals and historically high unemployment undermined President Laura Chinchilla. Unemployment averaging 10 percent the past two years and a series of resignations tied to accusations of corruption pushed Chinchilla’s approval rating to 9 percent, the lowest among 17 Latin American leaders, according to a 2013 survey by Mexico City-based pollster Consulta Mitofsky."  Chinchilla, a center-Left economic moderate and social conservative, was replaced by a member of a different Chilean left-leaning party.

Chile - Via The Guardian, this spring:

Amid a series of political corruption scandals which have upended the Chilean political establishment and delivered a critical blow to her popularity, President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday dismissed rumours that she is considering resigning...Public opinion polls in March showed the president’s approval ratings fell to 31%, down drastically from the 84% with which she finished her first term in 2010. Over the past year the percentage of Chileans expressing disapproval with Bachelet’s leadership jumped from 20% to 61%. Long a champion of Chile’s poor, Bachelet is now battling to maintain her ambitious social reform agenda amid massive public criticism. “There is an important crisis of confidence,” the president said...Over the past 12 months, Bachelet has had multiple legislative victories, including an increase in corporate tax rate to finance free or heavily discounted higher education for tens of thousands of students. The president, a pediatrician, is also pushing to build thousands of free day care centers throughout Chile.

A more recent public opinion poll measures a further deterioration of the left-wing president's approval rating, which now stands at (24/72).  Between the failed leftism, the endemic corruption, and the flagging approval ratings, perhaps Hillary Clinton is right: There is a lot American voters can learn from these examples.  I'll leave you with two more instances of First! Woman! President! identity fetishism.  Eleven more months of this, friends:

Awesome: Oklahoma Wesleyan President Tells Students to Grow Up

While some college presidents have cowered under students’ cries of victimhood, resigning in shame or promising to change campus policies in order to maintain a “safe space,” Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper is giving these kids what they really need: some tough love. In an op-ed acquired by The Washington Post, he boldly tells these self-entitled students to “grow up.”

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up!

This is not a day care. This is a university!

I hope I’m not the only one applauding.

While these truths need no context, Piper felt compelled to pen this bold letter after a student complained to him that a chapel service about love made him uncomfortable. (Really). The president showed some grace in not completely embarrassing this student, but offering some sound advice, letting him know more PC-friendly schools are available.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered.

As a conservative college student at a liberal arts school, I had plenty of opportunities to feel “unsafe.” My ideals were challenged nearly every day. Did I demand the administration change their policies or my professors and peers silence their rhetoric so I could feel more welcome? Of course not. College is all about leaving your comfort zone and being exposed to different cultures and ideas. If you are as genuine to your values as you thought before enrolling in your classes, then you will graduate with those ideals more firm than ever and gain confidence that will translate to the real world.  

Today’s college students can’t even handle a chapel.

Read Piper’s whole op-ed here. Be warned, students: it will make you uncomfortable. 

At Climate Summit Obama Touts Stimulus Funding For Totally Failed, Bankrupt Solar Power Projects

Speaking from Paris Tuesday at the global climate change summit, know as COP21, President Obama touted his "investment" in solar power through the 2009 stimulus package.

There's just one huge problem. The so-called "investment" in solar power through the stimulus package was a total failure and was only issued as a favor to Democrat friends and big corporate campaign backers. Four years ago, the bankruptcy of the solar company Solyndra was a big scandal, but because there have been a number of Obama administration scandals since, it's difficult to keep track and remember. 

As President Barack Obama takes to the road to sell his Stimulus II, troubling news about the last stimulus continues to break.The House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee Wednesday begins its investigation of Solyndra, the stimulus-funded solar energy company that recently declared bankruptcy. The company, which laid off 1,100 workers after its sudden demise, once looked like the poster-child of stimulus success.

“The true engine of economic growth,” the president said in May 2010 while at the company’s California headquarters, “will always be companies like Solyndra.” It’s no wonder the economy is stalled.

Digging beneath the surface, the situation gets more troubling. The White House’s relationship with Solyndra, it turns out, was a mix of corporate favoritism, big-money politics, liberal ideology and Chicago-style deal making. As the Obama administration dealt favors, the American taxpayers got stuck with the $535 million bill.

In fact, the Solyndra scandal was the first time we saw company officials plead the Fifth to avoid congressional testimony. Since then, we've seen pleading the Fifth used repeatedly during administration scandals.

And by the way, Solyndra wasn't the only company President Obama dumped money into to pay back his friends. I'll leave you with this:

Oh Boy: Number of Emails With Classified Info on Clinton's Private Server Approaches 1000

When Democrat presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton was busted earlier this year by the New York Times for conducting not some, but all, of her official government business on a private email server during her time as Secretary of State, she said the following: 

Clinton's claims that there was no classified information sent or received on her private server have been repeatedly proven false. Over the past six months, we've seen hundreds of documents emerge with classified information, many with top secret information, from her personal email account. Now, Fox News is reporting at least 999 pieces of classified information have been found as the FBI continues their criminal investigation. 

The State Department’s latest release of Hillary Clinton documents brings the total number of Clinton emails known to contain classified material to nearly 1,000.

The department on Monday released its largest batch of emails yet, posting 7,800 pages of the former secretary of state’s communications.

The latest batch contains 328 emails deemed to have classified information. According to the State Department, that brings the total number with classified information to 999.

The emails in question were deemed classified before their release by the department – and the former secretary of state has said all along she never sent emails with material marked classified at the time.

But the large number of emails containing now-classified material further underscores how much sensitive information was crossing her private server, a situation her critics have described as a security risk.

As noted above, this once again emphasizes the carelessness Clinton used when handling important national security information during her time as Secretary of State. The big question everyone is waiting to be answered now is whether Clinton will be indicted. It's been four months since the FBI opened up their criminal probe of her server.

ISIS Is Preparing a Backup Capital in Libya

With ISIS’s de-facto capital of Raqqa the target of international strikes, the terrorist organization is making backup plans in the Libyan city of Sirte should its Syrian hub fall.

While ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) has other affiliates throughout Africa and the Middle East that have pledged their allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group's branch in Sirte is the only one that ISIS central leadership directly controls.

The Wall Street Journal reports that ISIS leaders in Libya have reportedly adopted a slogan that reflects Sirte's heightened profile within the jihadist organization: "Sirte will be no less than Raqqa." […]

ISIS's influence in Sirte has been growing over the past year, as it has evolved into what The Times describes as an "actively managed colony" of the central group.

The growth has been swift — the Libya affiliate has gone from 200 fighters to about 5,000 since ISIS announced its branch there, The Journal reports. (The Times reports that Western put that estimate at 2,000 fighters.)

The lack of a functioning government in Libya and its oil rich resources make it fertile ground for the terrorist group.

"We don’t have a real state. We have a fragmented government. Every day we delay on a political deal, it is a golden opportunity for Islamic State to grow,"Fathi Ali Bashaagha, a politician from Misrata, Libya, told The Wall Street Journal.

Watch: Recut - Honest Propaganda: ISIS

ISIS wants you to be scared when you see their propaganda videos, but what is there to be scared of?

Lack of Funding Will Leave 30,000 Graves at Arlington Cemetery Wreathless

Wreaths Across America has placed commemorative wreaths on the headstones of hundreds of thousands of veterans since 1992. With 230,000 fallen soldiers, Arlington National Cemetery is the largest of their projects. However, because of a lack of funds, 30,000 graves at Arlington will have to remain without a garland.

The project is not government-sponsored, leaving the organization responsible for raising $3.45 million to fund the $15 wreaths on each Arlington tombstone. As of Wednesday night, Wreaths Across America was $450,000 short of reaching its goal with five days until the Tuesday, Dec. 1 deadline.

Now, the group is hoping more donors will pitch in so every serviceman and woman buried at Arlington can be remembered.  

A featured video on the Wreaths Across America website explains why the group dedicates time every year to bring wreaths to these deceased veterans. “A lot of these stones don’t have people anymore to come by and pay respect,” one participant explains. Brad Winchester, a Patriot Guard Rider, said “These men and women give everything for their country and this is an opportunity just to give a little bit back.”

Others involved with the organization emphasize how the program offers a way to “honor the fallen” and “teach children the value of freedom.”

Thousands of volunteers are expected to help Wreaths Across America place the garlands on tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 12.

It is a small way to thank them for their service, but at the very least, Every Fallen Hero Deserves a Wreath.

Police Union to NFL: Fans Are Vulnerable to Terrorism in Stadiums, Change Your Concealed Carry Ban For Retired Cops

A little over one week after multiple ISIS terror attacks in Paris, one of which was carried out a soccer stadium, the National Fraternal Order of Police is asking the NFL to reverse it's ban on concealed carry in America's football stadiums for current or retired law enforcement officers. From Fox News:

More guns are needed at NFL games to keep fans safe, according to the nation's largest police union -- which recently asked the league commissioner to let certain firearms owners pack heat on Sundays.

The National Fraternal Order of Police has asked the NFL to lift its ban on fans carrying guns at games, at least for retired and off-duty law enforcement officers who hold permits to carry concealed weapons. In a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell, FOP President Chuck Canterbury said armed cops are the best bet for stopping a terrorist attack inside a stadium.

“Today, I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to urge you to rescind this policy, which weakens the safety and security of NFL players, personnel and fans,” read the Nov. 20 letter, which was reported by BuckeyeFirearms.org. “The terrorist attacks and threats of attacks from organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are selecting targets based on the amount of death and injury they can inflict -- mass murder and casualty events.

“Well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault," the letter continued. "Law enforcement, even when working actively with highly trained and skilled security professionals, cannot be certain that all threats will be detected and neutralized.”

It's a start. Better advocacy would be for concealed carry in stadiums as an option available to all with a permit.

I can already hear the "drunk idiots will be shooting each other" arguments in response to this proposal, but it's important to point out that when the Virginia legislature (home of many RedSkins fans) voted to allow concealed carry in restaurants and bars (for everyone, not just cops), the same argument was made. The reality seen, however, was a drop in crime at restaurants and bars by more than five percent. Like stadiums, people also watch football in restaurants and bars, where the law requires those practicing concealed carry to remain sober.

Virginia's bars and restaurants did not turn into shooting galleries as some had feared during the first year of a new state law that allows patrons with permits to carry concealed guns into alcohol-serving businesses, a Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis found.

The number of major crimes involving firearms at bars and restaurants statewide declined 5.2 percent from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, compared with the fiscal year before the law went into effect, according to crime data compiled by Virginia State Police at the newspaper's request.

And overall, the crimes that occurred during the law's first year were relatively minor, and few of the incidents appeared to involve gun owners with concealed-carry permits, the analysis found.

Rand Paul to Run for Re-Election in the Senate

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will officially be running for both the presidency and for re-election to the United States Senate. He is the only current senator running for president that will also seek re-election to that post in 2016; Marco Rubio (R-FL) will not. (Sens. Graham and Cruz are not up for reelection in 2016.)

It initially appeared as though Paul would be unable to run for both offices as Kentucky law prevents a person from appearing on a ballot twice in the same election. To circumvent this, Kentucky's Republican Party will hold its presidential caucus in March and its "normal" primary election in May.

Paul is currently averaging about two percent in national polls.

A Bloody Thanksgiving Weekend For Chicago

Holiday weekends in the Windy City have become shooting galleries. Chicago had a bloody Fourth of July and Labor Day, along with countless weekends in between. Now, Thanksgiving can be added to the list, with 8 dead and 20 wounded (via Chicago Sun-Times/Fox32):

Eight people were killed and at least 20 others were wounded in Thanksgiving weekend shootings across Chicago.

The most recent fatal shooting happened Sunday night in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.

At 7:55 p.m., officers found the 28-year-old man unresponsive in a gangway in the 900 block of West 59th Street, according to Chicago Police. The man suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The Cook County medical examiner’s office could not immediately confirm the death.

Early Sunday morning, a 27-year-old man was fatally shot in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side.


At least 16 other people were wounded in separate attacks between 10:15 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Monday.

Contrary to what anti-gun liberals have been peddling aggressively since the 2012 Newtown shooting, there is no gun violence epidemic embroiling the nation. Concerning our urban areas, there seems to be a spike, though these cities, like Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., are notoriously anti-gun, with some of the most stringent gun control laws on the books. Gun control liberals often blame pro-Second Amendment states for flooding their communities with firearms, yet criminals don’t go to Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Sports, or Cabelas* for their guns. They usually obtain them through stealing, straw purchasers, or corrupt FFL dealers, all of which is already illegal. Moreover, these two felonious ways of becoming armed have the added bonus of bypassing the background check process progressives have obsessed over for the past few years.

Maybe it’s time to rethink having enclaves that leave the law-abiding unarmed and the criminal element armed is a good start.

*Yes, we all know this, but it's a friendly reminder for our anti-gun "friends."

Obama and Putin Have Another Sideline Meeting

Barrack Obama and Vladimir Putin had another 'off the script' meeting today at the climate summit in Paris. The two discussed a number of issues including the events that have taken place in the Middle East.  This comes weeks after their last meeting at the G20 Summit where the two addressed the ISIS attacks in Paris.  

During the half-hour long meeting, Obama addressed the downing of a Russian Su-27 over Turkey and expressed regret.

Obama requested that Putin keep airstrikes in Syria aimed at ISIS militants rather than rebels fighting against Bashar Assad.

Larry Hogan Still Riding High In Maryland, Even With Democrats

We all knew Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had a lot on his plate. Personally, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June. Politically, he was a Republican governor in a deep-blue state with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Yet, somehow, he’s managed to draw praise from across the political spectrum in a new Baltimore Sun/University of Baltimore poll, where Marylanders also feel that their state is finally heading in the right direction. A far cry from the numbers seen during the O’Malley administration:

Less than a year into his term, Hogan's approval rating among likely voters has soared to 63 percent and exceeds that of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, typically the state's most popular politician, the poll found. She is supported by 61 percent of voters.

The governor's popularity is coupled to a dramatic swing in optimism about Maryland's future.

A majority of likely voters — 57 percent — now believe the state is moving in the right direction. It marks what pollster Steve Raabe calls an "enormous" swing in attitudes from the final months of former Gov. Martin O'Malley's tenure, when only 44 percent felt that way.

"You almost never see that sort of shift," said Raabe, president of Annapolis-based OpinionWorks, which conducted the poll. "Everybody, regardless of political stripe, feels like we're moving in the right direction."


His populist moves, such as lowering tolls on the Bay Bridge, and his relative newness in office have contributed to high approval ratings, Raabe said. Hogan is enjoying "an extended honeymoon," Raabe said, especially among Democrats in state where they outnumber Republicans more than 2-1.

"I'm a strong, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. And I approve," said Larry Regan, a 61-year-old lawyer from Rockville. "Hogan appears to be taking action. … I like his work on tolls. Boom. Doing something."

Gov. Hogan was recently declared cancer-free. And his approval rating seems to be holding steady from his October numbers, where the Washington Post noted that he enjoyed a 61 percent approval rating in October; a huge jump from his 42 percent rating in February.

Keep up the good work, governor.

Texas Health Commissioner Threatens Lawsuit Over Refugees

Texas accepts 10 percent of the refugees seeking safety from religious persecution – more than any other state. The influx of migrants has forced state officials to balance their open door policy with the safety of native Texans. Gov. Greg Abbott has already declared that his state will not accept any Syrian refugees. Yet, resettlement groups, like the International Rescue Committee, have thus far proved to be uncooperative on this front. Texas health commissioner Chris Traylor wrote a letter to the executive director of the committee's Dallas branch, Donna Duvin, warning that she will face a lawsuit if her group doesn’t adhere to Abbott’s directive:

Specifically, your agency insists on resettling certain refugees from Syria in the near future. I must ask that you fulfill your statutory duty to conduct your activities “in close cooperation and advance consultation” with the State of Texas pursuant to section 1522 of Title 8 of the United States Code. If you remain unwilling to cooperate with the state on this matter, we strongly believe that a failure to cooperate with the State on this matter violates federal law and your contract with the state.

Traylor has reason to be concerned about Texans’ safety, especially after the terror attacks in Paris last month that left 130 people dead. 

The potential for ISIS to infiltrate our borders under the guise of a refugee status cannot be overlooked. In fact, it’s why a majority of states are refusing to accept Syrian refugees until their security concerns can be addressed. As it stands, the FBI has admitted the screening process is nowhere near as thorough as it needs to be.

Traylor will send similar warnings to any resettlement group that places refugee rights over Americans’ safety. His letter has Gov. Abbott’s blessing.

Classy: Climate Change Protesters Destroy Memorial For Paris Terror Attack Victims

Global warming/climate change protesters kept things super classy in Paris yesterday ahead of the global Conference of the Parties Climate Change Summit, which President Obama is currently attending. Not only did protesters destroy a memorial left in remembrance of those killed by ISIS terrorists a little over one week ago, they picked up candles dedicated to victims and threw them at police. 

H/T Twitchy

About Those 'Significant' Airstrikes on ISIS–We Ran Out Of Ammo On One Of Them

So, remember those airstrikes last weekend that were deemed somewhat significant since we destroyed close to 500 tanker trucks? CBS News reported that the U.S. hadn’t gone after the Islamic State’s source of revenue for fear of killing civilian truckers. Yet, in at least one of the two strikes carried out, our aircraft actually ran out of ammo:
American A-10 and C-130 warplanes targeted a group of about 300 trucks near Abu Kamal, in Syria. Given that the Islamic State is thought to have just over 1,000 trucks in its entire fleet, the group of 300 represented a huge target for U.S. planes. At a Pentagon news conference last Wednesday, reporters wanted to know why American forces did not take out more than 116 trucks. Why not all 300, or something close to that? A U.S. official said the American attackers simply ran out of ammunition. "There were 300, I think, to begin with, and then you hit 116. Why didn't you go back?" a reporter asked Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren. "Frankly, the aircraft expended 24 500-pound bombs, and all of their ammunition," Warren answered. "So they — they shot everything they had and then they had to go home."

France and Russia are taking the lead in the fight against ISIS. And placed the Obama White House in a position where it embodies (yet again) the criticism that this administration either leads from behind or is outright aloof on how to lead an effort such as this. Then again, our president isn't concerned about “pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning,” which is contrary to what he outlined in his 2015 national security strategy. Oh, the irony.   

Just like Iraq, this president is looking to “run out the clock.” President Obama probably knows that ground forces will be needed to truly finish off ISIS. It’ll be smaller in scope, but he’s sure as hell doesn’t want to be in office when that decision is made, even if delaying means exacerbating a national security issue for us and our allies. The same logic could be tagged to the Iran deal. Commentators have written previously that all this deal truly does is delay a military decision; something that Obama desperately wants while he’s still in office. The Free Beacon reported that the Obama administration blocks 75 percent of airstrike requests. Why? Again, it’s out of fear of civilian casualties. It’s a classic move to prevent further escalation, or the horrific notion that our military might actually get the job done. And even with those protocols, the situation has already escalated; Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter. As a result, an emergency NATO meeting in Brussels has been called later this afternoon. Brussels itself remains on high alert for a possible terror attack–and France is still recovering from their horrific ISIS-led Paris attack on November 13. At the same time, France bombed the ISIS capital of Al-Raqqah, and they’ve declared to increase their involvement in the region after this “act of war.”

As for U.S. strategy, we’ve seen a $500 million rebel training program collapse; a president unwilling to bomb the source of the enemy’s revenue, and our plan to capture the ISIS capital beginning to suffer the same fate as the training program since we really don’t know what happened to the 50 tons of ammo we airdropped in last month. No wonder only 23 percent of Americans feel we have a cogent strategy to defeat ISIS.

#PopeBars Trends on Twitter as Users Imagine Pope Francis Rapping

Twitter users have noticed for a while that when Pope Francis is photographed, it sometimes looks like he's about to start rapping.

On Monday, an image of Pope Francis speaking in Africa prompted the hashtag "#PopeBars" to trend on Twitter, as users imagined what subjects the pontiff could be rapping about.

Here are some of the funniest examples:

Pope Francis departed from his first pilgrimage to the African continent today after spending the past six days visiting three countries.

Hillary Had Ample Time To Meet With Big Corporate Donors During Time at State Department

According to a new report from the Associated Press, Hillary Clinton had regular openings in her schedule to meet with wealthy donors to the Clinton Foundation during her time as Secretary of State: 

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton opened her office to dozens of influential Democratic party fundraisers, former Clinton administration and campaign loyalists, and corporate donors to her family's global charity, according to State Department calendars obtained by The Associated Press.

The woman who would become a 2016 presidential candidate met or spoke by phone with nearly 100 corporate executives and long-time Clinton political and charity donors during her four years at the State Department between 2009 and 2013, records show. Those formally scheduled meetings involved heads of companies and organizations that pursued business or private interests with the Obama administration, including with the State Department while Clinton was in charge.

The AP found no evidence of legal or ethical conflicts in Clinton's meetings in its examination of 1,294 pages from the calendars. Her sit-downs with business leaders were not unique among recent secretaries of state, who sometimes summoned corporate executives to aid in international affairs, documents show.

But the difference with Clinton's meetings was that she was a 2008 presidential contender who was widely expected to run again in 2016. Her availability to luminaries from politics, business and charity shows the extent to which her office became a sounding board for their interests. And her ties with so many familiar faces from those intersecting worlds were complicated by their lucrative financial largess and political support over the years — even during her State Department tenure — to her campaigns, her husband's and to her family's foundation.

There are a number of reason's why Clinton's schedule at the State Department is relevant, but the news in this report is most relevant to allegations made in the book Clinton Cash earlier this year, which was about Clinton's habit of doing political favors in her capacity as Secretary in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation. 

Further, this once again brings up the issues surrounding Clinton's use of a private email server during her time at State, her decision to delete 60,000 emails she deemed "personal" and without oversight before leaving her position.

And finally, these schedules won't do Clinton any favors on the campaign trail as she attempts to distance herself from corporations and Wall Street.

Former DIA Director: Manipulated ISIS Intel Probe 'Ought to Start at the Top'

Last week, Fox News and the Daily Beast followed-up on a September report in which dozens of US intelligence professionals accused their superiors of "cooking" intelligence assessments related to the threat posed by ISIS. There was a "persistent effort... to downplay or even change reports that that questioned how much progress a U.S.-led coalition is making in the Obama administration’s stated goal to degrade, destroy, and defeat ISIS. Draft reports that contained a more pessimistic view, or that questioned the efficacy of hitting certain targets, were sent back to the analysts for more extensive rewriting," the Daily Beast reported.  Who gave these orders and why?  We floated an obvious theory: The Obama administration suppressed and discouraged analyses that failed to align with a self-serving political narrative to which the White House has been wedded since at least 2012.  This speculation isn't merely intuitive; several pieces of evidence support it, including intelligence officials' murmurs about "political pressures from Washington" dating back as far as the late summer.  The New York Times also reported that America's former Defense Intelligence chief has alleged that Team Obama ignored 'dire' warnings about ISIS' rise in 2012 because they "didn't meet the narrative."  That same official, former DIA director Michael Flynn, has been leveling serious accusations for months, asserting that the White House's failed policies are attributable to a series of "willful decisions" to ignore clear intelligence:

Flynn told Fox News' Megyn Kelly last week that based on his personal experience, the probe into manipulated ISIS intelligence should start inside the Obama White House:

"The warnings that have been provided on the rise of radical Islamists over the last few years have been very, very clear. So what the president has actually received from the national intelligence system is pretty good intelligence, and I would say it's very accurate...The focus of this investigation -- and they'll find whatever they're going to find in terms of the tactical issues at CENTCOM -- but the focus of this investigation ought to start at the top. Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House. The president sets the priorities, and he's the number one customer [of intelligence]."

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes quotes several current and former US intelligence professionals who allege that the administration has a long record of ignoring and concealing politically unhelpful information.  This issue came to a head, they say, over the handling of data retrieved during the Bin Laden raid that contradicted the administration's rosy public pronouncements:

The current storm over ISIS intelligence is not a new controversy, though most of the media are treating it as such. It’s better understood as an installment in a long-running scandal that extends beyond CENTCOM in Tampa, into the upper reaches of the U.S. intelligence community and perhaps into the White House...Taken together, this new primary-source intelligence [gathered at the Bin Laden compound] undercut happy-talk from the White House about progress in defeating jihadist terror. Al Qaeda wasn’t dying; it was growing. The Afghan Taliban wasn’t moderating; its leaders were as close to al Qaeda as ever. The same Iranian regime promising to abide by the terms of a deal to limit its nuclear program had provided safe haven for al Qaeda leaders and their families and had facilitated al Qaeda attacks on the interests of the United States and its allies...

Analysts on the CENTCOM/DIA team were told they could not include information from the bin Laden documents in finished intelligence products. As word of the contents of the documents began to circulate informally in intelligence circles, one official on the team was summoned to Washington and ordered to quit analyzing the documents. To date, only a fraction of the document collection has been fully exploited, and fewer than 150 of the documents have been declassified and released...“We were certainly blocked from seeing all the documents, and we were given limited time and resources to exploit the ones we had,” says Michael Pregent, a DIA analyst on the CENTCOM team. In late spring 2012, the CENTCOM team received approval from Clapper’s office to review the documents uninterrupted for five days at the National Media Exploitation Center in McLean, Virginia. CIA director David Petraeus, whose agency retained executive authority over the collection, supported the trip. But shortly after the visit was approved, it was canceled. The travel “was canceled hours before our trip by the NSC,” says Pregent, and the CENTCOM team was “disbanded” a short time later.

The NSC is the president's National Security Council, and the CENTCOM intelligence team was told the decision to disband was triggered by sequestration. Hayes' sources say this incident, and the reengineering and burying of ISIS intelligence, wasn't unusual:

This was not an isolated incident. Four sources with knowledge of the bin Laden documents tell TWS that the White House was intimately involved in limiting access to [evidence]. NSC officials handpicked the first set of documents released to the public—chosen to reinforce the impression that bin Laden was weak and isolated when he was killed and that al Qaeda was in disarray. The release of those documents, six months before the 2012 presidential election, coincided with a push by the White House and the Obama campaign to position Obama as strong on terror. Derek Harvey, a senior DIA official, served as a lead analyst on the DIA team that exploited the documents. Harvey recently told TWS that the U.S. government hasn’t “done anything close to a full exploitation.” ... These are not anonymous officials making frivolous claims against the commander in chief. They’re professionals with nearly a century of experience between them who are speaking out because of what they saw and what they’re seeing now. And they’re speaking for many in the ranks...The allegations that intelligence on ISIS was being manipulated at CENTCOM are not noteworthy because they’re new. In this case, they’re noteworthy because they’re not.

The president -- who refuses to meaningfully alter his ISIS strategy, focusing instead on slandering his domestic critics -- insists he's committed to the truth:

Internal investigations with significant political implications are always carried out with the utmost integrity and thoroughnessright

ICYMI: Amnesty International Condemns Palestinian Attacks On Israelis

Amnesty International has condemned the Palestinian attacks against innocent Israelis, calling them “reprehensible” and without justification in a statement released on November 20, according to the Jerusalem Post. Of course, this statement wasn’t without criticizing Israel for their alleged illegal activities:

“Deliberately attacking civilians is contrary to one of the most fundamental principles of international law and can never be justified. Both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities must ensure they take measures, in line with their obligations under international human rights law, to protect the right to life and to bring to justice in fair trials those responsible for such attacks."

Amnesty also took Israel to task for its policies of retribution, including house demolitions and "extrajudicial executions."

"Amnesty International has also documented a pattern of unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions, by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians and a series of attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian civilians and homes over the past two months," the group said.

Israel has seen a surge in attacks against their citizens from Palestinians since October when erroneous reports of changes to the Temple Mount were circulated over social media. Additionally, the impatience over the peace process exacerbated the situation, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declaring that he was going to ignore the Oslo Accords. The Accords established the blueprint for a two-state solution.

Since Amnesty’s statement, there have been more attacks against Israeli citizens. A soldier was stabbed near Hebron, which has become one of the focal points for the violence, on November 25 near Fawwar Junction in the West Bank. YNetNews reported that the attacker, 19-year-old Mohammad Shobaki, was shot and killed.

The next day, Israeli security forces shot and killed another Palestinian man outside the Tapuah settlement in the West Bank. The Times of Israel added that the man exited his taxi and charged at Israeli solders with a knife shouting “Allahu Akbar.” The Jerusalem Post noted that it’s the same site where four Israeli soldiers were injured in a vehicular attack last Tuesday. In a separate incident, Israeli forces killed a 21-year-old Palestinian after conducting a raid to apprehend radicals and clear weapons caches in the village of Katane near Ramallah, according to Reuters. It was reported that rocks and petrol bombs were thrown at Israeli security forces that were forced to open fire after peaceful means to disperse the crowds failed.

Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, released transcripts of the interrogations of two Palestinian boys, aged 11 and 14, who committed a string of stabbing two weeks ago. In the interviews, the two boys, who are cousins, who wanted to avenge a relative, but added that they know they made a mistake; they didn’t want to kill anyone; and one of them said he wanted to be back in school and no longer wished to “resist the occupation” (via Times of Israel):

The Shin Bet security service on Wednesday published the transcript of an interrogation of two cousins aged 11 and 14 from East Jerusalem who went on a stabbing rampage two weeks ago and wounded a light rail security guard.


In their interrogation, the two children said they carried out the attack as an act of revenge, without planning in advance and with no encouragement from any adults.

“I met my cousin at the entrance to school,” said the 11-year-old, who was not named. He said they decided to revenge the death of their relative, Muhammad Ali, also from Shuafat, who was shot dead as he tried to stab a Border Police officer near the Damascus Gate of the Old City on October 10.


“We travelled from Shuafat to Damascus Gate in order to stab a soldier but did not do it because the soldiers were in groups and we didn’t find one standing alone,” recalled the 11-year-old. “Then he told me ‘let’s do an attack together to revenge the death of Muhammad Ali.’ He opened his bag and showed me the knife. At Damascus Gate I bought a pair of scissors and then we boarded the light rail and looked for Jews to stab.”

Two light rail security guards boarded the train, but the boys decided “not to stab them because there were two of them. Later on one of them got off and we immediately attacked the one that remained.”

“I stabbed him in his head, my cousin stabbed him in his chest and stomach until the guard pushed me and fired three bullets in my stomach,” said the 11-year-old.


“I wanted to die as a shahid [a martyr] but now I understand I made a mistake and I am sorry,” he was quoted saying.

At the end of his interrogation, according to the Shin Bet, he repeated: “I made a mistake. I want to be in school like any normal person. I don’t want to resist the occupation any longer.”

The older cousin confessed early on in his interrogation, but said he did not mean to kill anyone, the TV report said.

It appears the violence won't subside anytime soon, as a 30-year-old woman and a border police officer were wounded in knife attacks in Jerusalem yesterday.

Americans Stand in Solidarity with Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

Members of Witness Against Torture (WAT) gathered at Guantanamo Bay on Thanksgiving to fast in solidarity with the 107 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

One member wrote, “I want you to know that I’m here until the end and until you are free… I hope that one day, inshallah, we will greet each other at the Mosque, saying Assalamu Alaikum, knowing that you are my protector and that I am yours.”

Upon arriving last Wednesday, the protestors each faced the detention center and chanted: “Courage, Muslim Brother… You do not walk alone… We will walk with you… And sing your spirit home.”

As each member wore the orange jumpsuit in support of the prisoners, the group said that they were “representing the terrible pain endured by hunger strikers, past and present, at Guantanamo and that forced feeding continues to be used to wound the bodies and break the spirit of hunger-striking men.”

GOP Candidates: It's Wrong to Blame Pro-lifers for Planned Parenthood Shooting

No one would argue that Friday’s shooting near the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood is anything other than a tragedy. Another mass shooting has resulted in the loss of innocent lives. The suspect, Richard Lewis Dear, killed three people and injured 11 others after a standoff with police. An additional tragedy, however, is the liberal media's notion that the pro-life movement is to blame for the carnage.

According to The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti, this incident demands that “the violent radical language and lies about abortion stop.” Believing she now has a justification for her pro-abortion agenda, she launched into a lecture about pro-lifers' role in the violence:

The attack in Colorado, which left three people dead and nine wounded, was shocking, but it was also the predictable result of a culture that demonizes abortion, uses fantastical and false rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and allows politicians and activists to make false representations about women’s reproductive health.

Media pundit Sally Kohn offered a predictably similar analysis:

Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, insists the attack on her clinic “was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.” 

Even the Obama administration is blaming the shooting on anti-abortion rhetoric. Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a statement declaring the shooting a crime against women’s health care.

Republican presidential candidates are not letting liberals get away with their political agenda. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one of the first conservative leaders to shame pro-abortion liberals for using this tragedy to demonize pro-lifers:

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, chafing at the suggestion that conservative criticisms of Planned Parenthood might have played a role in the attack at a Colorado clinic on Friday, lashed out on Sunday at the “vicious rhetoric on the left, blaming those who are pro-life.”

Authorities have yet to determine the shooter’s motive, he added.

Carly Fiorina, the only female GOP candidate, said liberals are using “typical left-wing tactics” in trying to use this tragedy to smear pro-lifers.  

Whatever his motive, Robert Dear does not represent the pro-life movement. Pro-lifers are dedicated to protecting and preserving life, not senselessly killing. We still don't have all the answers, but the media is quick to jump to conclusions to protect abortion clinics. 

The suspect will appear in court for the first time Monday.

State Department: Iran Never Signed Nuclear Deal, Which Isn't 'Legally Binding'

This story broke last week, just as millions of Americans were tuning out of the news cycle for Thanksgiving. Given the seriousness of the subject matter, it deserves a re-up. National Review reports:

President Obama didn’t require Iranian leaders to sign the nuclear deal that his team negotiated with the regime, and the deal is not “legally binding,” his administration acknowledged in a letter to Representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) obtained by National Review. “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,” wrote Julia Frifield, the State Department assistant secretary for legislative affairs, in the November 19 letter. Frifield wrote the letter in response to a letter Pompeo sent Secretary of State John Kerry, in which he observed that the deal the president had submitted to Congress was unsigned and wondered if the administration had given lawmakers the final agreement. Frifield’s response emphasizes that Congress did receive the final version of the deal. But by characterizing the JCPOA as a set of “political commitments” rather than a more formal agreement, it is sure to heighten congressional concerns that Iran might violate the deal’s terms.

Oh.  Joel Gehrke notes that Iran's president -- much like our own -- strongly discouraged his country's legislature from voting on the agreement at all, arguing that parliamentary approval would "create an obligation" and impose an "unnecessary legal restriction" on the regime.  Rouhani warned that passage would force him to sign the document, which he'd avoided doing.  A vote was held anyway; the deal was approved, 161-59.   It apparently remains unsigned.  (The United States Congress never formally weighed in on the terrible deal because Senate Democrats repeatedly obstructed any vote, in order to shield President Obama from the political humiliation of explicitly overruling strong bipartisan opposition).  The vote in Tehran was purely symbolic, of course.  The 'Supreme Leader' runs the show in that country, and he allowed his so-called Guardian Council to sign off on the accord, guaranteeing its adoption.  But according to our State Department, that "adoption" wasn't technically binding under international law.  The agreement represents "political commitments" secured by negotiators, we're told, "and is not a signed document."  Question: If this pact isn't binding or even signed, wouldn't the resulting flexibility cut both ways?  Couldn't the next American president simply tear up the empty signature page of the deal upon entering office and be rid of it?  Maybe so, legally speaking.  But Allahpundit lays out the grim reality that the die has already been cast:

We’re lifting $100 billion in sanctions in exchange for a legally binding promise of … nothing. The flip side of that, I guess, is that the deal’s not binding on us either; if the next president or even Obama himself wants to reimpose sanctions on a whim, that’s fair game. The problem with that logic, though, is that no one believes our European partners, who crave renewed access to Iran’s markets (and vice versa), will reinstate sanctions unless Iran cheats flagrantly and egregiously on the deal, to the point where it would humiliate the EU internationally to look the other way. One of Iran’s core goals in all this, re-opening its trade relationship with Europe, will be achieved whether or not the deal is binding. And once achieved, it’ll be nearly irreversible...there’s a difference between a country voting to implement an agreement voluntarily and making a binding promise to another country that they’ll implement it by signing a statement to that effect. In theory, the latter gives the treaty partner some legal recourse — international sanctions, most likely — that the former doesn’t. Like I said above, though, international sanctions are already almost certainly off the table, in which case what is Iran’s formal promise via signature really worth? Especially when — wait for it — everyone expects them to cheat regardless.

And there are many, many reasons to expect Iran to continue to cheat. It's what they do.  The trick for Iran was to convince America and Europe to pump tens of billions back into its struggling economy, in exchange for handing Western leaders a "historic document" to wave around as a triumph of war-avoiding diplomacy, or whatever.  The terrorist-financing regime knows full well that it can obfuscate and cheat at the margins for 10 to 15 years, supplying their enablers with various excuses to kick the can on re-imposing sanctions, then break out as an internationally-blessed nuclearized state just as soon as the deal's restrictions automatically expire.  The agreement leaves Iran's illegal nuclear program almost completely intact, only "paused" (we know how that's gone so far).  It also does not guarantee intrusive "snap" inspections at all suspected nuclear sites, erecting a lengthy appeal period in which Iran can at least partially cover its tracks as the international bureaucratic process churns along.  Furthermore, Iranian officials have flatly stated that certain military sites are not subject to any inspections, period.  Iran is furnished with the billions it craves and a legitimized nuclear program, Europe gets a lucrative new trading partner, and Obama gets a "legacy-enhancer" among the left-wing academic and cultural elite, even as it's opposed by a sizable majority of the country he leads.  This president's alleged triumph is appropriately embodied by an aspirational, unsigned document that contains many words that sound wonderful in theory, but appear dangerously naive in practice. It ultimately weakens America and strengthens a sworn enemy.  Alas, the seemingly-significant admission showcased in the headline of this post is dismissed as a silly technicality by the Obama White House -- which apparently sealed a controversial deal with Iran with the diplomatic equivalent of a handshake.  Smart power.  Meanwhile, Iran's emboldened leaders would like to remind the world that they remain fully committed loathers of the United States:

A video reportedly produced by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and posted to social media Tuesday blames the United States and its allies for the Paris terror attacks. The video, posted to a Facebook page affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and first reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute, explains that the U.S. created the Islamic State to advance its own agenda...The narrator further alleges that the U.S. trained moderate Syrian rebels to “join” the Islamic State in the Middle East and purposefully dropped weapons into the hands of IS terrorists there. He also suggests that IS has been benefiting “financially” from Western media reports. The video also includes footage of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivering congressional testimony about the rise of the Taliban in 2009 during which she stated, “Let’s remember here, the people we are fighting today, we funded.” “Of course, no one should be surprised by U.S. support for ISIS, as this was not unprecedented and American politicians had already admitted having supported al Qaeda,” the narrator says in the video. The video concludes with the narrator appearing to question al Qaeda’s involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The regime released another anti-American propaganda video in September, featuring images of flag-draped coffins and a warning that Tehran would "humiliate" the US military in a potential conflict. In addition to these PR provocations, Iran has test-fired an illegal long-range missile, "convicted" a Washington Post journalist, detained yet another American citizen, and intensified its cyber warfare against the US government.  Obama defenders and Iran apologists will downplay these moves as gestures designed to reassure domestic hardliners that the regime hasn't gone soft against the West.  It's all just internal political posturing, they intone knowingly, and it's still preferable to an unchecked nuclear advance.  If only the nuclear accord came close to achieving the goals laid out by supporters at the outset of negotiations.  It does not. And at the risk of betraying a lack of sophistication, perhaps the regime's "death to America" words and actions are exactly what they appear to be: Manifestations of abiding enmity harbored by a cabal of religious fanatics who've viewed America as the Great Satan ever since they violently seized control of their country several decades ago.