Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Week: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Because it is.

Case in point:

The suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack was shot dead Friday at a Milan checkpoint by an Italian police trainee, bringing an end to an international manhunt for the 24-year-old Tunisian that had kept the continent on edge as the holidays approached.
Anis Amri was killed following a dramatic encounter in the Piazza I Maggio in the Sesto San Giovanni area outside Milan, after a two-man patrol stopped him for questioning around after 3 a.m. on suspicion of burglary. One of the officers requested his identification. Amri responded by pulling a gun, shooting one officer in the shoulder.

The second patrolman — trainee Luca Scata — fired back, killing Amri, according to Italian officials.
When encountered by police, Amri pulled a gun and shot one officer, before being shot dead. His identity was confirmed via a fingerprint match.

“He was the most wanted man in Europe,” said Minniti. “There is absolutely no doubt that the person killed is Anis Amri.”

Unconfirmed reports state that Amri travelled from Germany on a train through France and into Italy, arriving at a Milan train station at around 3:00 a.m. local time.

The news comes as German police said they had thwarted a new terror attack planned against a shopping mall and arrested two brothers from Kosovo, as Germany and Europe are on high alert for the holidays.
The Italians had to do Germany's job.

If one is unclear what motivated this poor little lamb, let this edify one:

Anis Amri, the suspect believed to have carried out the terror attack in Berlin that killed 12 people on Monday, pledged allegiance to ISIS in a new video released by the group’s Amaq News Agency on Friday.

The video features Amri, named by ISIS as “Abu al-Baraa al-Tunisi,” standing in a public place and pledging allegiance to ISIS’ leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi. He says the attack “sends a message to the Crusaders who bomb Muslims every day.” He adds, “We came to slaughter you pigs.”

Note to self: send Italy a fruitcake for a job well done.


Despite all this Yule tide turmoil perpetrated by one set of emotionally retarded thugs, there is still hope and joy motivated by what happened in a stable centuries ago:

From the ruins of a home in this deserted, once overwhelmingly Christian town, a trio of scavengers had plucked what was a sorry-looking Christmas tree and were spiriting it away in a pickup truck.

The tree was the sole hint of Christmas cheer on the eastern outskirts of Mosul. With savage fighting between Iraqi troops and ISIL continuing in Iraq’s second-largest city, this venerable cradle of Christianity on the Nineveh plains will be almost bereft of worshippers at Christmas Mass for the third consecutive winter after what had been an uninterrupted but increasingly problematic run of nearly 2,000 years.

Signs of ISIL’s attempts to destroy Christianity in Iraq are to be found everywhere in these recently liberated towns. The courtyard of a damaged Syriac Catholic Church in the Christian town of Khidr Elias that ISIL used as its regional headquarters was filled with graffiti glorifying jihad. Painted over, but still legible, were words in praise of ISIL, quotations from the Qur’an and an elegant riff comparing Islam to a palm tree in the desert.

Christian militiamen who now squatted triumphantly on the church grounds had counter-attacked with graffiti of their own mocking ISIL’s propaganda about ruling for eternity. The new messaging was clear: Christianity was back to stay.

Despite the recent defeat of ISIL from some of the Christian areas in northwestern Iraq, “we will not have a light Christmas,” said Sister Diana, a member of the Syriac Catholic Church.

The nun said she had been meditating about the nature of the Christmas celebration. “Despite what we have suffered, we will have a real Christmas of understanding of the birth of Jesus on a cold night at a difficult time. Because that, too, is our situation,” she said.


 Of course the UN did:

The United States on Friday allowed the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, defying pressure from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Israel and some U.S. lawmakers who urged Washington to wield its veto.

(Sidebar: in case one was unsure of how much of a vindictive douchebag Obama is, let this make one certain.)

Preserving this anti-Semitic, dictator-supporting toothless organisation defies reason and countries should withdraw from it. 

Also: Netanyahu is far classier than that Jew-hating douchebag the Americans voted in twice:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today released a video wishing Christians around the world a Merry Christmas and inviting them to visit Israel...

Note to self: send Israel a fruitcake for a job well done.

No one in the popular press wants to admit that some screeching pansy accosted a woman and her children on a plane:

Two men were ejected from a JetBlue flight Thursday for reportedly harassing Ivanka Trump and her three children.

We know about the alleged incident because one of the men tweeted about it in real-time, and JetBlue confirmed in a statement that there was indeed a "conflict" aboard one of its planes.

But despite the airline's statement, and the fact that one of the men involved specifically used the word "harass," some headlines have sanitized the reported incident to the point where it's basically a story about nothing.

Here is what Twitter user and Hunter College professor Matthew Lasner tweeted Thursday morning about his husband: "Ivanka and [her husband Jared Kushner] at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them. #banalityofevil."

He then tweeted picture of Trump's daughter, with the caption, "Ivanka just before [JetBlue] kicked us off our flight when a flt attendant overheard my husband expressing displeasure about flying w/ Trumps."

"Ivanka and Jared on our flight. My husband expressed displeasure in a calm tone, JetBlue staff overheard, and they kicked us off the plane," he concluded.

Lasner later deleted the tweets, and he appears to have suspended his Twitter account altogether following the incident. ...

What's really remarkable here is that even though media's coverage of the incident has centered almost entirely on Lasner's say-so, many headlines have omitted any sort of allusion to his own use of the word "harass."

From the Associated Press: "Man says he and husband removed from JetBlue flight after 'expressing displeasure' that Ivanka Trump was aboard."

From Yahoo News: "Man kicked off JetBlue flight for questioning why Ivanka Trump was on it."

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Passengers kicked off flight after run-in with Ivanka Trump."

From the Washington Post: "Passenger who confronted Ivanka Trump gets kicked off Jet Blue flight."

Who generates "fake news"? They do.

As the year winds down, let us not forget the sad state of our economy and who put us there:

The Canadian economy retreated in October due to widespread weakness in the manufacturing sector and a decline in oil and gas extraction.

The gross domestic product was down 0.3 per cent in October, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday, falling below economists’ expectations for no growth. September was revised slightly higher to growth of 0.4 per cent from the 0.3 per cent that was first reported.

“The GDP report is an ugly snowball of reality to the face of the economy to end the year after a nice run earlier in the fall,” said Douglas Porter, BMO chief economist.


The federal government ran a budgetary deficit of $1.5 billion in October as increases in spending on programs outpaced increases in tax revenues.

The Finance Department’s monthly fiscal monitor also says the federal government has a deficit of $9.3 billion since the 2016-17 fiscal year started in April.

That figure for the April-to-October period is a swing from the $600 million surplus the Finance Department reported during the same stretch in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The monthly check on government spending shows that revenues rose by 11.3 per cent, or $2.5 billion, compared to the same time last year, with more money coming in from personal income, corporate and excise taxes.

Personal income tax revenue rose by 7.6 per cent, corporate tax revenue rose by 16 per cent and GST revenues rose by $600 million.

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