So… Is Al-Baghdadi Al-Bagh-dead or not?

Al-Baghdadi

Conflicting reports emerged over the weekend suggesting that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was either killed in a coalition airstrike or injured in a coalition airstrike. Well, which is it?

An Interior Ministry intelligence official confirmed that al-Baghdadi was hit Saturday during a strike on al-Qaim, a border town in the western province of Anbar but the Pentagon did not provide any information on whether al-Baghdadi was wounded. Iraq’s Defense and Interior Ministries both released statements that al-Baghdadi was wounded in the attack led by Iraqi forces, but they did not elaborate on what types of injuries he sustained.

Well, the injuries must have not been very severe because several days after reports surfaced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have been killed or injured in an airstrike, the self-proclaimed leaders of ISIS released a new 17-minute audio statement.

In the recording, released via social media, the speaker says IS fighters will never stop fighting “even if only one soldier remains”.

“God has ordered us to fight,” he said. “For that reason the soldiers of the Islamic State are fighting… they will never leave fighting, even if only one soldier remains.”

Al-Baghdadi criticized President Obama’s decision to increase the number of advisers deploying to Iraq to help security forces battle the Islamic State.

“Here is Obama who has ordered the deployment of 1,500 additional soldiers under the claim that they are advisers because the Crusaders’ airstrikes and constant bombardment —day and night —upon the position of the Islamic State have not prevented its advance, nor weakened its resolve,” he said in the tape, which appears authentic and recent.

Al-Baghdadi also called for attacks against the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Baghdadi urged supporters in Saudi Arabia to take the fight to the rulers of the kingdom, which has joined the U.S.-led coalition in mounting air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

So the leader of a terrorist group is commanding his followers to attack a country that is notorious for funding terrorists? Bold strategy, al-Baghdadi. Let’s see if it pays off.

Leave a Comment

Oops, They Did it Again: Russia Invades Ukraine

Russian-Tanks-In-Ukraine-AGain

For what I believe is now the 50th time, Russia has once again invaded Ukraine. Russian military tanks, artillery, air-defense systems, and combat troops have reportedly entered eastern Ukraine over the past two days.

“Across the last two days we have seen the same thing that OSCE is reporting. We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air-defense systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine,” Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander, said.

Gen. Breedlove expressed concern that the border between the former Soviet allies was now “completely wide open,” allowing Moscow to potentially bolster rebels in eastern Ukraine who are continuing to pick fights with government troops despite a so-called ceasefire. Nothing says ceasefire like sending in tanks!

The ceasefire agreed by the pro-Russian rebels and government forces more than two months ago is pretty much non-existent now. Amid fears of a return to full-scale fighting, Ukraine is redeploying troops in the east.

And once again, Russia is denying the whole thing. A Russian Defence Ministry official, Gen.-Maj. Igor Konashenkov, said in Moscow that “there were and are no facts” behind such statements and Russia had given up paying attention to such accusations by NATO.  Moscow also denied sending in troops and armour back in August but said some Russians may have been there as volunteers during their holidays and some soldiers may have gotten lost and “accidentally” crossed the border. Come NATO, how many times do they have to say it?! They were tourists taking a family vacation in a tank!!

Leave a Comment

China Panics as Putin Puts the Moves on the First Lady

Putin China First Lady

Chinese censors went into panic mode in a rush to block footage of Russian President Vladimir Putin acting chivalrously toward President Xi Jinping’s wife.

At an APEC event to watch the fireworks in Beijing on Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, his coat on a chilly night – a common occurrence in Russia where people presumably freeze to death all the time. A smiling Ms Peng accepted the offer, but removed the shawl only seconds later, replacing it with her own black jacket. A little overly chivalrous maybe, but Putin was hardly putin the moves on her. I mean, it’s not like he tried giving her a shoulder rub… Bush.

Nevertheless, the moment quickly went viral on Weibo and other Chinese social media. Chinese citizens began to make a series of off-color, critical jokes about the First Lady and the world’s manliest, shirtless bear-riding leader after watching footage of the gesture on state broadcaster CCTV.

“Our first lady is a charming one indeed,” said one poster by the handle Li Shigong.

“The foreign hostile forces just cannot stand it, and must have its hands on it,” joked another.

“Like Putin. He is truly a man. He is the heart throb for many women. Cool!” one Weibo user swooned.

“All Obama and Xi can do is watch.”

Cue China’s notoriously paranoid censors. The country’s authorities quickly pulled the Putin-Peng video from Sina Weibo and the Web site of Phoenix TV overnight, along some of the more racy comments.

“China is traditionally conservative on public interaction between unrelated men and women, and the public show of consideration by Putin may provide fodder for jokes, which the big boss probably does not like,” said Beijing-based commentator Zhang Lifan. 

China and Russia have been eager to showcase their increasingly close economic ties, but I don’t think this is the kind of closeness Xi Jinping had in mind…

Leave a Comment

Indian Woman Paraded Naked on Donkey

india-donkey-woman-naked parade

A 45-year-old woman has been stripped naked and paraded through an Indian village on a donkey. WTF India?

The village council in Rajsamand district in Rajasthan state ordered the donkey parade after the woman was accused of killing her nephew. Her face was blackened with coal and her head was shaved to deepen the humiliation – because sometimes parading around naked on a donkey just isn’t enough.

The nephew’s family say she killed him, but the police, who could not inspect the body because it was cremated, believe he had killed himself. So they took the case to the council of elders, known as a panchayat, who sided with the family and dealt her the donkey punishment after deciding she was guilty. Orders given by panchayats carry no legal weight but are widely respected in rural areas – by everyone except the police.

“It’s a shameful incident that a woman was treated so badly on orders from the village council,” Senior police official Shweta Dhankhad said.

“Initially, she was even afraid to talk about what had happened to her but after the police and officials from the social welfare department arrived, she was able to feel a little safe and narrate her ordeal.”

Police arrested 30 people on Sunday, including nine members of her family. So far, their punishments do not include parading around naked on a donkey – although that would be quite fitting.

Leave a Comment

Boko Haram Takes A Break From Kidnapping Girls To Blow Up 47 Boys

Boys School Nigeria Bombing

At least 47 students have been killed by a suicide bomber during a school assembly at Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School, a boys’ science and technical school in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum.

Police say terrorist group Boko Haram is believed to be responsible for the attack, which was reportedly carried out by a suicide bomber disguised in a school uniform. Well, it’s nice to see they’ve taken a short break from kidnapping schoolgirls and selling them as child brides, but this isn’t much better.

The explosion ripped through the assembly hall at the Government Science Secondary School.

“The students had gathered for the morning assembly when something exploded in their midst with a thunderous sound at exactly 7:50 a.m.,” a teacher at the school told the BBC.

Witnesses report seeing mutilated bodies of students at the scene. A local resident described “a mass of abandoned footwear and blood,” AFP reported. Parents were seen wailing at the sight of their children’s bodies at the hospital.

Boko Haram, who is clearly trying to outdo ISIS in terms of evilness, has been known to target schools during their deadly five-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic state. The terrorist group is against any form of Western education, believing girls should not attend school at all and boys should only receive an Islamic education. Makes sense. The more education these children receive, the less likely they’ll agree that murdering a bunch of kids in the name of religion who are too young to even fully understand religion is a reasonable and well-thought out plan.

Leave a Comment

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Is A Man With A Plan… To Eliminate Israel

Grand_Ayatollah_Ali_Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has put forth a plan (via Twitter) to wipe Israel off the map, which he believes will be accepted by the international arena. Spoiler alert: I don’t think it will.

In a table posted on Khamenei’s official Twitter account on Sunday, the Ayatollah revealed his 9-step plan to destroy the “fake Zionist regime”.

The Supreme Leader of Iran tweeted a set of answers to what are described as the “key questions”, saying that Israel is guilty of a host of “crimes”. He proposes a referendum to install a completely new government that will decide whether “Jewish immigrants who have been persuaded into emigration to Palestine” are allowed to remain in Israel or will be made to “return to their home countries.”

Screenshot 2014-11-10 12.02.45

The nuclear talks must be going great…

On the plus side, the Ayatollah plan does not appear to involve a violent massacre of Jews. Khamenei is n o monster. He draws the line at a “classical war by the army of Muslim countries” and throwing “migrated Jews at the sea.” However, he did tweet that until his plan can be implemented, there should be “powerful confrontation and resolute and armed resistance” against Israel. Just don’t throw them into the sea.

Leave a Comment

A Disastrous Night for Democrats, But A Successful Night for Stoners

Mitch McConnell Disastrous NIght for Democrats

After a disastrous night for Democrats, the Republican Party has won control of the Senate and increased their grip on the House of Representatives.

Now controlling both chambers of Congress for the first time since 2006, the Republicans saw Senate victories in Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, pulled off an upset in North Carolina, came from behind in Colorado and Iowa, and won for the first time in West Virginia since 1956. The party now controls 52 seats, and is tipped to win at least one more as votes are counted in other states.

To sum up, America will be seeing a lot more of Mitch McConnell, the former Republican Senate minority leader who will now become the Senate majority leader, giving him control over the chamber’s legislative agenda and floor proceedings. But on the plus side, at least we won’t be bombarded with his creepy political ads… until 2016.

As for the gubernatorial races, the Republican Party managed to hold on to the governor’s mansions in Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin, states where the Democrats had hoped to make some inroads. The race in the Sunshine State was especially close, but incumbent Rick Scott, a Republican who initially refused to set foot on the stage for a statewide, televised debate because his opponent wanted a fan to cool his balls, managed (barely) to beat challenger and former governor Charlie Crist, a former Republican running as a Democrat – with presumably sweaty balls. Despite his alarmingly low favorability ratings among Floridians, Scott was declared the winner Tuesday night with nearly all votes counted. He held nearly 49 percent of the vote to Crist’s 47 percent.

But while the Democrats crashed and burned, stoners in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. celebrated by burning then crashing after voters approved ballot measures legalizing cannabis. Oregon and Alaska will now join fellow stoner states Colorado and Washington, where voters approved recreational use of pot for adults two years ago.

Meanwhile, Florida rejected a ballot measure that would have permitted the use of medical marijuana. No medical marijuana? How are Floridians supposed to cope with four more years of Rick Scott?!

Leave a Comment

Current Event Cat of the Day: Midterm Time!

Current EVent Cat Midterm Senate

Americans are voting in midterm elections today and while dozens of governors and congressmen are standing for election, the biggest prize of the 2014 midterms is the control of the Senate.

The Republicans, who already control the House of Representatives, need to gain just six seats to win control of America’s upper chamber for the first time since 2006.

Recent polls indicate a Republican victory as President Obama’s popularity rate has failed to climb much above 40% – but it’s still anyone’s game. In fact, the results could be so close that the longest and most expensive midterm election cycle to date could become even longer and more expensive with multiple runoffs. Runoffs are looking probably in two competitive states – Louisiana and Georgia – and several more races are so close that absentee and provisional ballots may determine the winner.

But Democrats haven’t given up all hope, insisting their ability to rally their supporters ahead of elections could still give them the advantage.

“Grab everybody you know, get them out to vote, don’t stay home, don’t let somebody else choose your future for you,” Obama said during a campaign rally on Sunday.

Still, the administration is mentally preparing itself for the likelihood of GOP control in both the House and Senate. Anticipating a less than friendly Congress (and possibly Senate), Obama and his staff are mapping possible compromises with Republicans on issues like trade, taxes, and infrastructure. White House aides also say the president will continue to use executive authority to further Democratic policy priorities on climate change, immigration, energy, gay rights, and the economy after the election.

Reagan’s prediction: The Republicans will take the House and the Senate and the American government will experience two years of gridlock and obstructionism. So pretty much business as usual…

Leave a Comment

Tim Cook Is Proud To Be Gay But Russian Politician Vitaly Milonov Is Even Prouder To Be Homophobic

Vitaly Milonov Bans Tim Cook

Vitaly Milonov, a conservative lawmaker from the ruling party in Russia, has declared that Apple CEO Tim Cook should be given a lifetime ban from entering Russia because he could have AIDS… or Ebola.

Last week Tim Cook revealed publicly for the first time that he was gay in an essay for Businessweek.

“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook said.

“Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.”

But not everyone is so open to embracing differences. Vitaly Milonov, a city legislator from St Petersburg who has gained a reputation in Russia for his homophobic stance and instigation of various anti-gay laws, claims that the Apple CEO would bring “Ebola, AIDS and Gonorrhea” if he was allowed into the country.

“What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there,” Milonov said. “Ban him for life.”

Milonov also accused Cook of trickery, saying, “He’s like an artist, who at first popularized himself and then revealed himself to be gay.”

Despite his fear of contracting Ebola from the gays, the Russian politician admitted that he himself was still using the iPhone 6 and had no plans to stop doing so.

“The phone should not be blamed. It was created by Steve Jobs, who was a normal guy. After Jobs’s death another manager took over. They come and go, maybe he will get AIDS tomorrow,” Milonov stated.

Steve Jobs was a normal guy? Well, there goes any credibility Milonov might have had left.

Leave a Comment

Current Event Cat of the Day: French Town Bans Clowns

Current Event Cat - France Clowns

Amid France’s bizarre crisis of pranksters dressed up as scary clowns terrorizing its citizens, one town in France has banned all clown costumes for anyone over 13 on Halloween and for a month afterward.

The phenomenon of dressing up as an evil clown and terrifying passers-by has spread across France in recent weeks. These evil clowns are causing all sorts of problems on the streets, scaring children and the general population, sometimes while armed with pistols, knives, or bats, and sometimes beating people up. A clown posse? That’s insane!

Last weekend, according to Agence France Presse, more than a dozen teenagers were arrested while dressed as clowns in the Mediterranean port town of Agde. They were reported to have pistols, knives and baseball bats. And in Montpellier, a man who assaulted a stranger with an iron bar while dressed as a clown was recently sentenced to four months in prison. The man later admitted that he was drunk and inspired by clown prank videos on YouTube. 

As a result of the recent clown terror, the village of Vendargues in southern France has put into place a ban on anyone wearing a clown costume. Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere said the ban is to “avoid any disruption… by evil clowns.. It’s about protecting children by preventing any ill-intentioned clowns from mixing with residents.” So if you see any “strange clowns” on the street, call the police – they can pack up to 200 of them in a squad car.

Leave a Comment