Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Got Your Bullseye Right Here

Time for a little Holger Financial Review:

Target Stores stock:   April 20, 2016    $ 83.98

Target Stores stock:   May 31, 2016     $ 68.95

My!  It's almost like something "happened" on April 20th!  Lemme see...whatever could it be....

from CNN:

Target takes stand on transgender bathroom controversy
by Robert Mclean @robertmclean
April 20, 2016: 2:26 AM ET

Video: Feeling the "Bern" In Venezuela Supermarkets

Photo of the Day: Don't Say We Didn't Warn You


Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day - The Sacrifices To Keep Us Free

As is the tradition here at Holger Awakens, Memorial Day is a time where I pay special tribute to our Vietnam War heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

What's Worse? A Radical Leftist or a Scorned Libertarian?

Anyone coming to this blog can attest to the fact that I've pretty much stayed out of the GOP campaign - that doesn't mean to say that I haven't paid attention and over time, shook my head at what has come about.

And I'm not in the endorsing mood, I'm not even in a happy mood but I do want to point something out because it royally pisses me off - it always has and it is now, more than ever.

It mostly started with Rep. Ron Paul - here we had a Libertarian who had some solid ideas that I agreed with but who I found revoltingly moronic in his stance on 911 and even more disturbing in his general affection for and support of Islam.  Throw in the fact that because of that Islamic slant, the man is a crusader against Israel.  But what brought me to the boiling point with Ron Paul was his followers.  These snot-nosed Libertarian hot head know-it-alls.  You remember them, these were the people that told you you were an idiot, a moron, a bag of nickels if you didn't vote for Ron Paul.  They didn't join your discussion and try to paint a logical case for Ron Paul - no, they screamed and threw rocks at you for being so naive to even question the logic of voting for Mr. Paul.

Mixed into all of that is what I term:  Republican Derangement Syndrome.  Most dyed in the wool Libertarians that are active in politics seem to suffer from this malady, where they can sit through 8 years of Marxist dictatorship ruled by Obama yet shake their fists mostly at George W Bush and Donald Trump. 

You see, with the Libertarians...even though the Marxists Democrats go against every ideological thought of said Libertarians, those same Libertarians hold their true hatred, their deep-seated resentment for Republicans and Conservatives.  It comes from jealousy, it comes from decades and decades of losing.  It comes from envy.  Hell, even the flag-bearer Ron Paul had to stoop to the point where he ran as a Republican for President - even Ron Paul finally got it that Libertarians were destined to reside in the bowels of loss in a 2 party system that evolved into a 1 party system.

These are the #NeverTrump crowd to a large extent - these are the Brad Thors of the world who pinned their hopes on Ted Cruz .....NOT because Ted Cruz is a Libertarian but because he was the closest thing they had.  They tried to MAKE Ted Cruz a Libertarian.  So now that's it's all official and over, these "Constitutionalist" backstabbers, these turncoats slink back into their Libertarian hideouts in dark places in America and return to their GWB and Dick Cheney dartboards, they now can hold "draw a moustache on Trump" contests and continue to throw tantrums on blogs and websites and media outlets.  You see, just like their Ron Paul predecessors, only THEY knew who was right for America, only THEY had the smarts to figure it all out and so for the next four months we'll hear how Trump is a Nazi and a nuclear bomb fanatic and a hate-monger and a Progressive and a man who eats puppies for breakfast and they will totally ignore the very evils of Hillary Clinton.  They will ignore Hillary, not because they agree with her, not because they want her as President but because they want Donald Trump to LOSE.  If they can't have the Presidency with their guy then the first order of business is to make sure the damn favored son GOP candidate doesn't get it.

Would Ted Cruz be a better President than Donald Trump?  I'd say probably so.  But at the end, I was happy to see Cruz not get the nomination because I was sick and damn tired of these Libertarian elitist losers lecturing me on what to do with my vote.  Fuck 'em.  I turned my support to Trump out of spite - not really so much about Trump as a candidate but to support what I feel is a "movement" - a movement against the unConstitutional federal government of D.C. and the corruption of our one party system.  Sure, some of it was out of spite for ALL of the Washington D.C. machinery but a lot of it was out of spite towards these know-it-alls, the self-righteous flip floppers like Glenn Beck.

I got such a kick the other day when Glenn Beck had Dana Loesch on his radio show and they were talking about supporting the Libertarian candidate, Austin Petersen.  Glenn Beck, who has been riding his personal vendetta against Trump for six straight months, was starting to get a woody over Petersen and Loesch said she liked him too but then Loesch says to Beck:  "you don't have a problem with him being an atheist?"   And you could TELL that Beck had missed that - he stumbled ever so slightly and then came out with a feeble "oh sure I could."  Glenn Beck, the man who has set the bar for holiness in America, the man who lectures me each day on how to lead a more godly life, the man who proclaimed Ted Cruz' spirituality as a sign that Cruz was to be President....the man who has allowed his Libertarian jealousies and envy to so overcome him that he would now support a man who doesn't even believe in the existence of G_d.  

Amazing, isn't it?


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Welcome To the Security of Obama's America....New Taliban Leader Isn't Even On Our Terrorist List

That's right.  A guy heading up an army dedicated to the killing of hundreds and hundreds of American troops in Afghanistan doesn't even fall on the terrorist list of the Obama government. 

You might say....."they can't do that!"  Well, when Obama ran on "Yes We Can" - now ya know.

The story comes from DAWN.

Haibatullah not on terrorist list, says US

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has said that the new Taliban leader Mawlawi Haibatullah is not on its list of designated terrorists and urged him to opt for peace, not war.

“No, he’s not. You asked if he was on the designated terrorist (list), he’s not,” the department’s deputy spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing.

On Saturday, a US drone killed Mawlawi Haibatullah’s predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in a remote area of Balochistan and on Monday the Taliban elected him as their new chief.

When a journalist reminded Mr Toner that like his predecessor, Mawlawi Haibatullah had also rejected the peace process, he said: “We would hope that he would seize the opportunity. He does have an opportunity in front of him to choose peace and to work towards a negotiated solution. We hope that he makes that choice now.”

Asked if the new Taliban chief would be the next target for a US drone attack if he rejects the peace process, the State Department official said: “I’m not going to predict who we might target in the national security interests of the United States.”

In a statement issued by his office on Monday, US President Barack Obama said that Mullah Mansour was killed because he had rejected efforts to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence that took the lives of countless Afghan men, women and children.

Mr Obama said that Mullah Mansour’s death had created an opportunity for peace and “the Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict – joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability”.

The Pentagon in a statement on Saturday also noted that Mansour was not only an obstacle to reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban but was also prohibiting other Taliban leaders from participating in peace talks.

The two statements indicate a strong US desire to push forward the peace process, even if it requires to eliminate those who oppose it.

“The reminder that he (Haibatullah) was not on their list of designated terrorists could also be interpreted as saying, ‘you are someone we can deal with,’” said a diplomatic observer.

The US media, while rep­orting Mawlawi Haibat­ullah’s selection, noted that he was a religious scholar, not a warlord, and had served as Afghanistan’s chief justice in the Taliban government.

Friday, May 27, 2016

To the Ayatollahs of Iran....

To the ayatollahs of Iran and every terrorist you enable: Listen up.

You might have met our fresh-faced flower child president and his weak-kneed, Ivy League friends.
But you haven't met America.

You haven't met the heartland, or the people who will defend this nation with their bloody, calloused, bare hands, if that's what it takes. You haven't met the steelworkers and the hard-rock miners, or the swamp folks in Cajun country who can wrestle a full-grown gator out of the water.

You haven't met the farmers, the cowboys, the loggers and the truck drivers. You don't know the mountain men who live off the land, or the brave cops who fight the good fight in the urban war zones.

No, you've never met America. And you oughta pray you never do.

I'm the National Rifle Association of America, and I'm Freedom's Safest Place.


(Hat Tip: Gulfdogs)


Note to Self: If Your Hindu Son Wants To Learn To Swim, Don't Send Him To a Pool With Muslim Lifeguards

Just another head shaker from the Religion of Peace.

The story come from The Express Tribune via The Religion of Peace.

Inder Vineet was a 10-year-old Pakistani Hindu and he was drowned in Hyderabad club

April 13th was the perfect day for 10-year-old Inder Vineet to go for a swim. His father had finally become a member of the Hyderabad Club, only after Inder had begged him a million times to do so.

He had, at last, gotten his wish – one that he had waited for a long while. He could learn how to swim now.

On Wednesday, Inder left home around 3:45pm for his third swimming lesson. When Inder arrived at the club he was told to leave, perhaps, the pool was closed. But when Inder was heading back, he was called back by two men, presumably lifeguards.

At 4:30pm that day, Mr Chatandas, Inder’s father, received a phone call every parent dreads. He was told that his only son was found in the swimming pool, having drowned, and had been taken to Ghani Hospital, Hyderabad.

Inder was in critical condition and was not responding to any treatment. The Agha Khan Hospital, Karachi, refused to take this case as they believed the child would not survive. The young boy was then admitted to Liaquat Medical Hospital in Karachi where he struggled between life and death for a week before he passed away.

Young Inder, a student of grade six in Army Public School, Hyderabad, breathed his last breath on April 21st. The club management termed it as death by drowning. Inder would have turned 11 on June 5th.

Within 24 hours of the incident, Mr Chatandas had contacted the club administration to provide him with the CCTV footage of the tragic incident. The footage he was shown revealed the young boy being taken out of the pool.

When Inder’s family demanded the entire day’s footage from the club administrator, Mushtaq, they were conveniently told that the footage had been deleted and the management did not keep a back up. They even refused to return the innocent child’s swimming costume.

What was the administration trying to hide?

If the boy had passed away because of drowning, why was the management being so unhelpful? Did something else happen or was this an attempt to protect the club’s image?

Doctors had pointed out that young Inder had abrasion marks on his neck, nail marks and scratches on his face with bruises on his arms, and these were inconsistent with the presumed cause of death. The doctors had hinted that this may have been a case of child abuse.

A radiology report by Agha Khan Hospital, Karachi, clearly indicated that there was no water found in the child’s lungs, therefore suggesting that the cause of death was not drowning.

Unsurprisingly, when Mr Chatandas and his family turned to the local authorities for justice, they turned a blind eye to the incident. Inder’s family was then forced to hold protests in Karachi and Hyderabad to gather support for justice for their son.

The protests caught the IG Sindh’s attention and further investigations were held. The police arrested Nadir and Sajid, the lifeguards, along with Mushtaq, the administrator and another staff member. The latter two were granted bail.

Since then, the investigation has come to a dead end and no progress has been made. Even today, when over a month has passed, Inder’s parents and relatives continue to seek justice for their dead son.

Hyderabad Club is a place where countless children, around Inder’s age (or younger), are found taking part in various sporting activities. What happened to Inder could have happened to any other child and no family should go through the grief of losing their child to such an act of violence.

The club management failed to cooperate with the grieving family and instead held a function on that same gruesome night. When I first heard about this nefarious act, I was in shock because my own siblings go to that very same club and I felt compelled to inquire, as an elder brother and fellow Pakistani.

Why are Inder and his family not getting the attention they deserve?

Why have the authorities overlooked this incident?

Why is it that whenever a non-Muslim is violated, their family has to resort to holding protests in order to get justice?

I know this question is frowned upon, but I want to ask anyway – would this tragic occurrence still be neglected, had Inder been a Muslim?

Having said that, would his parents’ questions remain unanswered?

I don’t think so.

I think we would have been all ears in that case.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Afghan Taliban reject peace talks, vow to continue fighting - New Taliban leader named

Oh my, what a surprise....you mean the Taliban in Afghanistan would rather fight for another six months and then take over the entire country than sign some sort of peace deal?  I know.  It's just so far fetched...at least it is to the likes of Obama and Kerry.

The story comes from DAWN.

Afghan Taliban reject peace talks, vow to continue fighting

KABUL: The Afghan Taliban under their new leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, on Wednesday rejected peace talks as a viable solution to bringing the Afghan insurgency to an end, and have stated that fighting will continue.

In an audio message released in Pushto, circulated by Taliban commanders, Haibatullah stated the "Taliban will never bow their heads and will not agree to peace talks."

Afghan Taliban's new chief added that "people thought we will lay down our arms after Mullah Mansour's death, but we will continue fighting till the end."
New Afghan Taliban chief

A spokesman of the Afghan Taliban on Wednesday confirmed the death of the group's chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike.

In a statement sent to media Wednesday, the insurgent group said its new leader is Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, a former head of the Taliban's judiciary and one of two Mansour's deputies.

It said he was chosen at a meeting of Taliban leaders.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of a network blamed for many high-profile bombs attacks in Kabul in recent years, and Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, will serve as deputies, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's main spokesman, said in the statement.

Both of the new deputies had earlier been thought to be the main contenders for the top job.

Mansour was reported killed in Pakistan on Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a US drone, believed to be the first time a Taliban leader was killed in such a way inside Pakistani territory.
After Mullah Mansour

The US and Afghan governments said Mansour had been an obstacle to a peace process that had ground to a halt when he refused to participate in peace talks earlier this year. Instead, he intensified the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year.

Examine: Mansour was not against talks, says Nisar

Mansour had led the Taliban since last summer, when the death of the movement's founder, the one-eyed Mullah Mohammad Omar became public. Mansour ran the movement in Mullah Omar's name for more than two years.

The group saw a resurgence under the firebrand supremo with striking military victories, helping to cement his authority by burnishing his credentials as a commander.

They briefly captured the strategic northern city of Kunduz in September in their most spectacular victory in 14 years. Southern opium-rich Helmand province is almost entirely under insurgent control.

The revelation of Mullah Omar's death and Mansour's deception led to widespread mistrust, with some senior leaders leaving the group to set up their own factions.

Senior Taliban figures have said his death could strengthen the movement, as he was a divisive figure. The identity of his successor was expected to be an indication of the direction the insurgency would take, either toward peace or continued war.

Akhundzada is a religious scholar known for issuing public statements justifying the existence of the militant Taliban, their war against the Afghan government and the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan.

His views are regarded as hawkish, and he could be expected to continue in the aggressive footsteps of Mansour.

The Taliban statement called on all Muslims to mourn Mansour for three days. It also attempted to calm any qualms among the rank and file by calling for unity and obedience to the new leader.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fallujah Today and Yesterday

So, it's time to try to take Fallujah, Iraq back from the bad guys.  Again.  For the second time.  Years ago, American Marines, primarily, as well as Army forces paid a HUGE price in freeing Fallujah from the grip of al Qaeda in Iraq.  Then, of course, Barack Obama stepped in and handed the city back to the likes of ISIS.  So now, Iraq is going to try and repeat the efforts of U.S. forces years ago.

But there is a difference.  Back when it fell upon the Americans to free this Iraqi city, those American fighting men and women were on a short leash - they had to go street to street, house to house, room to room to gut Fallujah of the jihadis of al Qaeda.  But NOW, now when it isn't American blood that will be shed, there's this big warning to the civilians of Fallujah.....why?  Here's why - because the city is going to be bombarded - something the Americans years ago WERE NOT ALLOWED TO DO, because it might hurt some Iraqi civilians.  You wait and see, the Iranian overlords are in command posts outside of Fallujah right now getting ready to lay Fallujah flat and you think those Iranian Shiite pricks give one shit about an Iraqi Sunni living in Fallujah?  Exactly.

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

50,000 Iraqi civilians ‘at great risk’ in Fallujah

The United Nations called Monday for "safe corridors" to be set up to allow Iraqi civilians to flee a military offensive against ISIS in Fallujah.

Some 50,000 civilians in the city are at "great risk" during a campaign against ISIS fighters by the Iraqi army backed by militias, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

"One of the problems is that civilians are under grave danger as they try to flee," he said.

"It is important that they have some safe corridors they could use."

Iraqi forces on Monday launched an offensive to retake Fallujah, which became an ISIS stronghold after its fighters seized the city in January 2014.

The UN spokesman said some civilians were able to flee and were receiving emergency assistance, shelter and water, but he did not provide figures.

Women and children were taken to a location south of Fallujah and men to central Anbar for security screening, said the spokesman.

The United Nations is "very concerned" about the fate of civilians and mobilizing its aid partners to assess the situation and send help, he added.

On Sunday, Iraq's Joint Operations Command warned civilians still in the city to leave.

It urged families that could not depart to raise a white flag over their location and stay away from ISIS headquarters and gatherings.

Fallujah and Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Nineveh, are the last two major cities ISIS holds in Iraq.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

At least 145 dead as series of explosions rock Syrian govt strongholds

I guess Bashir al-Assad got the message that he can't start sleeping more peacefully any time soon.

The story comes from DAWN.

At least 145 dead as series of explosions rock Syrian govt strongholds

BEIRUT: Bomb blasts killed scores of people in Jableh and Tartous on Syria's Mediterranean coast on Monday and wounded many others in the government-controlled territory that hosts Russian military bases, monitors and state media said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in the cities that have up to now escaped the worst of the violence in the five-year-old conflict, saying it was targeting members of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 145 people were killed in attacks by at least five suicide bombers and two devices planted in cars. State media said 78 people had been killed in what is Assad's coastal heartland.

The attacks were the first of their kind in Tartous, capital of Tartous province and home to a Russian naval facility, and Jableh in Latakia province, near a Russian-operated air base.

The Kremlin said the bomb blasts underscored the need to press ahead with Geneva peace talks after a Feb. 27 ceasefire collapsed in April as violence intensified in a war that has killed at least 250,000 people.

“This demonstrates yet again just how fragile the situation in Syria is. And this one more time underscores the need for new urgent steps to continue the negotiating process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with journalists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his readiness to fight with the Syrian government against “the terrorist threat” sent his condolences to Assad, the Kremlin said.

The Syrian foreign ministry sent a letter to the United Nations, state television reported, saying the blasts were a “dangerous escalation by the hostile and extremist regimes in Riyadh, Ankara and Doha”, referring to support given to the rebels by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
Blood and bodies

One of the four blasts in Jableh hit near a hospital and another at a bus station. The Tartous bombs also targeted a bus station, the Observatory and state media reported.

Younes Hassan, a doctor working at the Jableh hospital, said he heard an explosion at the bus station, followed less than a minute later by the blast at the hospital.

“Everything went into emergency mode, wounded people began arriving,” he told Reuters by phone.

The Tartous explosions also occurred in quick succession, no more than 10 seconds apart, a driver at the bus station said.

“People began running but didn't know which direction to go, cars were on fire, there was blood and bodies on the ground,” Nizar Hamade said.

Footage broadcast by the state-run Ikhbariya news channel showed several twisted and burnt-out cars and minivans.

Islamic State claimed the attacks in a statement posted online by the group's Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had targeted “gatherings of Alawites”.

Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said in an interview with Ikhbariya that terrorists were resorting to bomb attacks against civilians instead of fighting on the front lines, and vowed to keep battling them.

The government refers to all insurgents fighting against it in the conflict as terrorists.

Bombings in the capital Damascus and western city of Homs this year killed dozens of people and were also claimed by Islamic State, which is fighting against government forces and their allies in some areas, and separately against its jihadist rival al Qaeda and other insurgent groups.

Latakia city, which is north of Jableh and capital of the province, has been targeted on a number of occasions by bombings and insurgent rocket attacks, including late last year.

Government forces and their allies have recently stepped up bombardment of areas in Aleppo province in the north, which has become a focal point for the escalating violence. Insurgents have also launched major attacks in that area.

The only road into rebel-held areas of Aleppo city has suffered a week of increasingly heavy air strikes.

Zakaria Malahefji, a senior official in the rebel group Fastaqim that operates in the Aleppo area told Reuters that the road was heavily bombarded again on Monday and was dangerous to use.

He said Iranian-backed fighters, who are supporting government forces, were mobilising in the southern Aleppo area.

France's foreign ministry called the Tartous and Jableh bombings “odious”, and said violence from all sides must stop if a political transition is to take place.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Photo of the Day: You Wanna Talk Problems?

Whatever problems you may currently have, consider yourself lucky that you aren't the young lady in the front center of this photo - talk about a serious "Grandpa Complex"......


End Times

I don't think anyone needs more handwriting on the wall.

The story comes from Yahoo News.

Pope and top imam embrace in historic meeting at Vatican

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis met the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican on Monday in a historic encounter that was sealed with a hug and an exchange of kisses.

The Vatican meeting between the leader of the world's Catholics and the highest authority in Sunni Islam marks the culmination of a significant improvement in relations between the two faiths since Francis took office in 2013.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The World Is a Better Place As Taliban Leader Mansour Is Turned Into Worm Food

If indeed Barack Hussein Obama gave the order to have Taliban leader Mullah Mansour taken out by a U.S. drone strike, then it would be the first time in my life that I would want to slap Obama on the back and say "good job."  Ridding the world of all Taliban takes precedence over political, ideological and Constitutional objections to our traitorous President.

I won't rest easy until Mullah Mansour's death is confirmed as most Taliban leaders have nine lives so full celebration will wait, but for now, it appears the world is much better off.

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

US targeted Taliban emir Mullah Mansour in unprecedented Pakistan drone strike

The US military said it targeted and possibly killed Taliban emir Mullah Mansour today in an “airstrike” in a remote area along the “Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.” Mansour’s status is unknown and the military said it is attempting to determine if he is dead or alive.

“We are still assessing the results of the strike and will provide more information as it becomes available,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in an official statement.

“Mansour has been the leader of the Taliban and actively involved with planning attacks against facilities in Kabul and across Afghanistan, presenting a threat to Afghan civilians and security forces, our personnel, and Coalition partners,” Cook said, offering justification for the strike. “Mansour has been an obstacle to peace and reconciliation between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, prohibiting Taliban leaders from participating in peace talks with the Afghan government that could lead to an end to the conflict.”

Mansour officially replaced Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban, as the group’s emir in August 2015 when Omar’s death was disclosed. But Mansour has really been at the helm of the Taliban since April 2013, when Omar died and the Taliban kept his death secret for more than two years. Since taking the role of emir, Mansour fought and won a divisive power struggle against senior Taliban leaders who preferred Omar’s eldest son as heir to the group. Mansour led a deadly uprising that saw the resurgent Taliban gain more territory than any time since the US invasion in 2001.

It may take days for the US to receive physical confirmation of Mansour’s death, if at all possible. The Taliban has not issued an official statement announcing Mansour’s death. Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website, has been offline most of the week.

While the Pentagon did not state the location of the airstrike which targeted Mansour, Reuters reported that it took place at 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (3 p.m. local time) in the town of Ahmad Wal in Baluchistan province.

“Multiple US drones targeted the men as they rode in a vehicle in a remote area in Pakistan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal,” an unnamed official told the news agency.

US intelligence officials confirmed to The Long War Journal that the strike took place in Mansour’s home Baluchistan province.

A strike in Baluchistan is unprecedented and may signal a shift in US policy which previously confined drone strikes to Pakistan’s tribal agencies. This is the first reported strike by the US in Baluchistan, where the Taliban’s top leadership setup shop in Quetta. All of the other 391 drone and airstrikes reportedly executed by the US took place in Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Only one other strike took place outside of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal. Of those 390 strikes that occurred in the tribal agencies, 280 took place in North Waziristan and 90 took place in South Waziristan.

Conducting a strike in Baluchistan raises questions whether or not the US sought permission from the Pakistani government to carry out the attack in an area other than North and South Waziristan. Mansour was believed to be operating under the auspices and protection of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.

If Mansour is confirmed killed, one likely successor is Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network which is also closely tied to the Taliban. Siraj is one of Mansour’s two deputies and serves as the Taliban’s overall military commander.

If Siraj replaced Mansour, he is even more unlikely than his predecessor to negotiate a peace agreement.The Taliban has insisted that only the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the imposition of its harsh brand of sharia – or Islamic law – and the withdrawal of all Western forces is acceptable.

The Taliban released a statement last month sternly denying another senior leader – Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, a former Guantanamo detainee – had called for negotiations with the Afghan government and the West. Although he might represent a coup for the US, Mullah Zakir is an unlikely successor to Mansour. And Zakir, who is also closely tied to al Qaeda, is just as committed to restoring the Taliban to power as Mansour and Siraj.

Two other possible successors include Omar’s eldest son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub, and Omar’s brother, Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund. Both were appointed to key Taliban leadership positions last month in the group’s executive council as a way to smooth over any lingering discontent. Omar’s kin opposed the appointment of Mansour and Yaqoub was rumored to have sought the seat to replace his father. It took nearly two months after the change in leadership for Yaqoub to swear allegiance to Mansour in September 2015.

By that point, it was already clear Mansour had navigated through turbulent times. In August 2015, Mansour accepted the oath of allegiance from al Qaeda emir Ayman Zawahiri, as well as pledges from “Jihadi organizations spread throughout the globe.” Mansour’s public acceptance of Zawahiri’s fealty above all others signaled the new face of the Taliban had no intention to break longstanding ties with al Qaeda. The reconciliation with Omar’s family was a final piece to the puzzle. His apparent unification of Taliban ranks did not keep Mansour out of the crosshairs, however. In December, Mansour released an audio statement denying reports of his death, which he said were floated by his enemies to divide his group.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Holger Respite

Folks, time for a bit of a Holger break from the perils and tribulations of blogging...so I'm taking about a week off or so.  Make sure to check back, though...don't make me come find you.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

ISIS Hits Baghdad HARD - Nearly 100 Dead In Bombings

Just when the Iraqis start to get a little momentum and a little spring back in their step, ISIS unloads with their deadly versions of car bombs.  Bloody man, bloody.

The story comes from DAWN.

94 killed in triple Baghdad car bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State

BAGHDAD: Three car bombs in Baghdad, including a huge blast at a market in a Shia area, killed at least 94 people on Wednesday, the bloodiest day in the Iraqi capital this year.

The attacks, the deadliest of which was claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group, came with the government locked in a political crisis that some have warned could undermine the fight against the militants.

The worst bombing struck the frequently targeted Sadr City area of northern Baghdad at around 10:00 am, killing at least 64 people and wounding 82 others, officials said.

The blast set nearby shops on fire and left debris including the charred, twisted remains of a vehicle in the street.

Dozens of angry people gathered at the scene of the bombing, blaming the government for the carnage.

“The state is in a conflict over (government positions) and the people are the victims,” said a man named Abu Ali.

“The state is responsible for the bombings that hit civilians,” the local resident said. The politicians “should all get out."

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who spearheaded a protest movement demanding a cabinet reshuffle and other reforms, has a huge following in the working class neighbourhood of Sadr City, which was named after his father.

Another suicide car bomb attack killed at least 14 people at the entrance of the northwestern neighbourhood of Kadhimiya, which is home to an important Shia Muslim shrine.

Access to the neighbourhood, which has also been repeatedly targeted over the years, is heavily controlled.Several members of the security forces were among the victims, hospital sources said.

In the Jamea district in western Baghdad, another car bomb went off in the afternoon, killing at least eight people and wounding 21, an interior ministry official and medics told AFP.

IS issued an online statement claiming responsibility for the attack in Sadr City and saying a suicide bomber it identified as “Abu Sulaiman al-Ansari “detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle.
Political crisis

There was no immediate claim for the two subsequent bombings but all such attacks recently have been perpetrated by IS.

The UN's top envoy in Iraq, Jan Kubis, condemned the bloodshed.

“These are cowardly terrorist attacks on civilians who have done nothing but going about their normal daily lives,” he said.

IS, which overran large areas in 2014, considers Shias, who make up the majority of Iraq's population, to be heretics and often targets them with bombings.

Iraqi forces have regained significant ground from IS, but the militants still control a large part of western Iraq, and are able to carry out frequent bombings in government-held areas.

The months-old political crisis has led to repeated mass demonstrations that required a huge security deployment and hampered government action at a time when Iraq is still battling militants on several fronts.

Security forces are currently engaged in large-scale military operations in the provinces of Anbar and Nineveh as they close in on Fallujah and Mosul, IS's two major remaining hubs in Iraq.

The United States and the United Nations have warned the political impasse could undermine the fight against IS.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has sought to replace the cabinet of party-affiliated ministers with a government of technocrats, a move opposed by powerful parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.

Angry demonstrators last month broke into central Baghdad's fortified Green Zone and stormed parliament after lawmakers again failed to approve new ministers.

While the protesters withdrew the following day, parliament has still yet to hold another session.

Zainab al-Tai, a lawmaker from Sadr's political movement, said the most recent efforts to resume the parliamentary process were still floundering Wednesday.

“Some disagreements remain, there is no session and we have yet to set a date for the next session,” she told AFP.

“Parliament is divided in three groups... I don't think we can reach a result, the decision will be in the hands of the people,” she added.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

China Puts the Transgenders In Their Place

 In this photo released by Mr. C, a transgender man who uses the name Mr. C to protect his parents from discrimination, holds up the arbitration results while posing for a photo at a government office in Guiyang

The timing of this is hilarious - while we have the U.S. federal government suing a state over transgender access to public restrooms, China has told the first transgender complainant to pound sand.  That's the world we know now....we root for Putin over Obama and China over our own government.

And it sucks.

The story comes from CNS News.

Chinese man loses in country's 1st transgender labor dispute

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese transgender man said he was disappointed but will continue to fight for equality after a labor arbitration panel on Tuesday rejected his complaint that he was fired unfairly, in China's first transgender job discrimination case.

The man, who uses the name Mr. C to protect his parents' privacy, said the panel in the southwestern province of Guizhou granted his demand for about $62 in back wages but also ruled that his employer broke no law in dismissing him.

"I am not satisfied with just the paid-back wages. What I want is respect, and respect from the whole of society for minorities like us," Mr. C said in a phone interview shortly after the arbitration panel handed down its decision.

"I am very disappointed about the result," he added. "This (arbitration) process has made me realize that discrimination against sexual orientation is far worse than I had expected, and I will continue to appeal to defend my rights."

Mr. C was hired in 2015 for a sales job with a local health services center but was let go eight days later, when the probation period ended. Mr. C believed he was dismissed because he lives as a man even though he was born a woman.

The arbitration panel rejected a voice recording in which the company's sales manager told Mr. C that the way he dressed would negatively affect the firm, said Huang Sha, a lawyer for Mr. C. The panel ruled that the conversation "did not represent the company's true intent," citing the fact that the sales manager did not work in the personnel department.

Instead, the panel accepted a performance evaluation produced by Ciming Health Exam Center that stated Mr. C did not demonstrate adequate skills for the sales job, Huang said.

"We think the evaluation is an excuse," the lawyer said, adding that the sales manager had previously acknowledged Mr. C's abilities.

Both Huang and Mr. C said they plan to appeal the labor panel's decision at a local court.

A woman who works for Ciming denied Tuesday that the company discriminated against Mr. C. She refused to provide her name or further details.

China does not recognize many LGBT rights such as gay marriage and its laws do not protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The DOJ Washroom

13 Iranian troops killed in Syria clashes

Well, we finally get some good news out of Syria and that is the report that 13 Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops have bit the dust in the past couple of weeks - send those bodies back to Tehran and remind the Ayatollah why he hasn't actively participated in a war in about 50 years.

The story comes from Israel National News.

13 Iranian troops killed in Syria clashes

Thirteen military "advisers" with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been killed in Syria in recent days and 21 others wounded, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

It was Iran's biggest loss of forces within such a short time, based on official figures. The names of those killed and when their remains will be repatriated will be announced later, the Guards said.

Iran describes all active personnel in Syria as "advisers", even though many are fighting alongside and even commanding front line pro-regime forces.

All of the 13 dead were from Iran's northern province of Mazandaran, Hossein Ali Rezayi, a Guards spokesman in the region, told the ISNA and Fars news agencies.

The deaths and injuries occurred in Khan Tuman village some 10 kilometers (six miles) southwest of the battleground city of Aleppo, the official IRNA news agency reported a Guards statement as saying.

Pro-regime troops had driven jihadists out of Khan Tuman in December, but on Friday a monitor reported more than 70 killed in fighting between regime forces and Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists and their allies south of Aleppo.

Al-Nusra Front and allied Islamists seized Khan Tuman and surrounding villages after less than 24 hours of clashes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Around 30 pro-regime troops were killed in the battle, said the Britain-based Observatory which relies on a network of sources in Syria.

Russia said late Friday that a temporary truce in Aleppo had been extended for 72 hours "in order to prevent the situation from worsening."

More than 300 civilians were killed in two weeks of fighting in the divided city before the truce took hold on Thursday, in regime air strikes on its opposition-held east and rebel shelling of the regime-controlled west.

Iran is Syria's main regional ally, sending financial and military aid, including military personnel and volunteer forces from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, to prop up President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Dozens of Iranian "advisers" have been killed in Syria since late 2015, including Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Saturday's news came as Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, met Assad in Damascus and assured him of Tehran's support.

"The Islamic republic of Iran has employed all of its capacity for the fight against terrorists committing crimes against oppressed nations in the region," state television news agency IRIB quoted him as saying.

Assad told Velayati that Syria was "very hopeful of victory in this unbalanced war, thanks to Iran's selfless support", IRIB reported.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

ISIS execute 7-year-old boy in Syria’s Raqqa

The story comes from ABNA24 via The Religion of Peace.

ISIS execute 7-year-old boy in Syria’s Raqqa

Militants of the ISIS executed a kid in Syria’s northeastern city of Raqqa, rights activists and eyewitnesses reported on Thursday.

ISIS has reportedly executed the child in the Naeem Square in the city of Raqqa, the main bastion of ISIS in Syria.

The rights activist S.Y. said that ISIS terrorists have executed a 7-year-old child on Thursday in Syria’s eastern city of Raqqa on charges of ‘insulting divinity’.

“Daesh police arrested the Muaz Hassan earlier this week in the city of Raqqa, after they heard him ‘cursing divinity’, while playing in the street with his friends,” the source quoted an ISIS member of Court as saying. “The act was considered an insult to the Caliphate, regardless of the age of the boy.”

An ISIS member of the Sharia Court read a statement before conducting the execution, explaining the reasons for his execution, eyewitnesses said.

The ISIS-led Sharia Court sentenced the victim to death on charges of ‘infidelity’, in a move contrary to every legitimate principle which says children are not held accountable for their acts, according to human rights activists.

The Hisba police force shot him dead on Thursday afternoon in the Naeem Square in front of hundreds of people, including the child’s parents, who collapsed after the execution of their child, according to eyewitness.

Last Thursday, ISIS executed two young men in the city of Manbij in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo on charges of spying to the US-led coalition, local sources reported.

Over the past two years, ISIS has publicly executed hundreds of civilians, activists, and journalists on various charges in areas under its control across Syria and Iraq.

However, it is the first time the extremist group executes a child in a blatant violation for law itself, according to observers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Obama Lied, The American People Fried

For those that thought the Iranian Nuke Deal was a bad deal...well, you ain't seen nothing yet when it comes to how this "deal" actually went down.

The story comes from CNS News.

Obama Adviser Quoted: ‘We Created an Echo Chamber’ to Sell the Iran Nuclear Deal

(CNSNews.com) – A lengthy New York Times Magazine profile of President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes portrays him as a spinmeister contemptuous of the foreign policy establishment who fed credulous journalists a misleading narrative to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American people.

According to writer David Samuels, Rhodes oversaw a “war room” whose task was to sell the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to Congress ahead of crucial votes last fall that failed to kill the agreement.

“In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters,” Samuels wrote.

“We created an echo chamber,” he quoted Rhodes as admitting. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

According to Samuels’ piece, the strategy included the White House’s TheIranDeal Twitter feed. Rhodes used groups like the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates the elimination of nuclear weapons and lobbied for the JCPOA.

“We drove them crazy,” he quotes Rhodes as saying of the opponents of the nuclear deal.

Samuels wrote that Rhodes does not think much of the journalists the war room was using to spread its narrative: “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Rhodes was quoted as telling him. “They literally know nothing.”

‘Obama was able to evade … debate over the actual policy choices’

According to the article the administration put out a deliberately misleading narrative about the way the nuclear negotiations came about, linking them to the rise in 2013 of the “moderate” President Hasan Rouhani at the expense of “hardliners,” ushering in a supposedly new political reality in Iran.

In fact in 2012 State Department director of policy planning Jake Sullivan – a close aide of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – began holding talks with the Iranians in Oman and elsewhere, and he and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns drew up the framework of what would eventually become the JCPOA three months before the election that brought Rouhani to office.

Obama was known by insiders to have wanted to make a deal with Iran from the beginning of his presidency in 2009, but the idea that the rise of “moderates” provided the opportunity was “largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,” Samuels wrote.

Samuels argued that the misleading narrative was useful for the administration.

“By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making,” he wrote.

He characterized the approach as part of a broader strategy – helping the U.S. to extricate itself from existing regional alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey, with the ultimate goal of U.S. “disengagement from the Middle East.”

It’s an objective, Samuels said, that Rhodes – a determined critic of the Iraq war – views with a sense of “urgency.”

The profile depicts Rhodes as being comfortable in spinning the issue to the American people.

“I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” Samuels quotes Rhodes as telling him. “But that’s impossible.”

Rhodes holds a dim view of the foreign policy establishment, according to Samuels, referring to it contemptuously as “the Blob,” and including in that grouping Hillary Clinton, Obama’s first Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and “editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere.”

‘Dude thinks he’s on House of Cards’

Samuels also described how Rhodes, on the day of Obama’s last State of the Union address last January, tried unsuccessfully to keep out of the news until after the speech the fact that Iran had detained 10 American sailors in the Persian Gulf.

After predicting that media outlets would start showing “scary pictures of people praying to the supreme leader,” Rhodes quickly decided how the issue would be spun instead: “We’re resolving this, because we have relationships.”

(Secretary of State John Kerry would later tell lawmakers that if it wasn’t for his relationship with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif – whom Kerry phoned within minutes of hearing about the sailors’ plight – they would probably have ended up as hostages rather than been released some 14 hours later.)

Leading critics of the JCPOA reacting on social media to the NYT Magazine article were scathing – both of Rhodes and his colleagues and of the reporters they used to sell the deal.

“Now [we] know why we worked so hard during Iran debate,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) executive director Mark Dubowitz wrote on his Twitter feed. “Had to do own research & analysis. Create own talking points. No Rhodes to write for us.”

“Rhodes brags of lying to the public & creating echo chambers,” tweeted FDD senior fellow Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “That’s the work of a propaganda minister, not a deputy nat’l security adviser.”

“White House admits it played liberal media, NGOs, & think tanks for fools to sell Iran deal,” said Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Doran.

“Hi there journalists,” tweeted Omri Ceren of The Israel Project. “Did you take quotes from Ploughshares at suggestion of WH comms? You got played for chumps.

And at Rhodes and colleagues, he directed this barb: “This is what happens when you put children in charge of US foreign policy.”

Hudson Institute adjunct fellow Michael Pregent opined: “Dude thinks he’s on House of Cards – Rhodes lied to sell Iran Deal and is proud of it.”