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Fri, 12 Feb 2016
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Black Magic

Mexicans worshiping skeletal 'Death Saint' a challenge for Pope

© Yuri Cortez/Agence France-Presse
Devotion to the Grim Reaper-like Santa Muerte (Holy Death) in Mexico is growing fast despite the Vatican's rejection of the figure as blasphemous.
Two weeks after baptizing her at a Catholic church, baby Adriana's parents put her in a white gown again for a second sacrament: This time, with Mexico's skeletal "Death Saint." As they held the sleepy three-month-old child, a priestess sprinkled holy water infused with rose petals on her in front of 300 people under a 22-meter (72-foot) statue of the Grim Reaper-like "Santa Muerte" in a Mexico City suburb.

When Pope Francis arrives in Mexico for a five-day visit on Friday, he will find a country where devotion to Santa Muerte is growing fast despite the Vatican's rejection of the figure as blasphemous.

Comment: Mexican culture has a much healthier relationship to death than its North American neighbors.

Dia de los Muertos, Celebrating the Day of the Dead


Sherlock

Federal investigation underway for Chipotle sabotage

© www.thefrisky.com
On Monday, February 8, 2016, Chipotle's two thousand restaurants closed their doors for the day to customers, in order to hold special employee meetings regarding last year's outbreak of E. coli, a bacteria often associated with food poisoning.

You may remember that last year Chipotle was the first restaurant chain to announce that it would phase out the use of genetically modified foods, also known as "G.M.O.'s". Shortly thereafter, and quite mysteriously, an E. coli outbreak was reported, across fourteen states, from Washington to Pennsylvania, and only in Chipotle restaurants. According the "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" (C.D.C.), the odds of an E. coli outbreak crossing a single state line is only three percent, as restaurants generally buy their produce and meat regionally for freshness. The likelihood of an E. coli outbreak crossing fourteen state lines, coast to coast, is probably a small fraction of one percent. Additionally, as many restaurant chains use produce and meat from the same sources, it is probably a fraction of a fraction of one percent that such a nationwide E. coli outbreak would only affect one restaurant and not any others.

After six months of thorough investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), the C.D.C., fourteen state and local Health Departments, as well as scientists hired by Chipotle themselves, all have independently concluded that there is not a single traceable source of E. coli from any Chipotle restaurant, in any food ingredient, preparatory surface, or piece of equipment. Literally thousands of individual tests were conducted on the all the foods, on all the kitchen surfaces, and on all the appliances at the suspect Chipotles, and no trace whatsoever of E. coli was found in any restaurant or food ingredient. The C.D.C. being unable to trace the source of a restaurant's food poisoning, after thousands of tests and half a year of effort, has never happened before in the entire history of the organization.

As employees of Chipotle enjoy free meals after a shift, it is also noteworthy to report that Chipotle was the first restaurant chain to announce that it would phase out the use of genetically modified foods, also known as "G.M.O.'s". Shortly thereafter, and quite mysteriously, an E. coli outbreak was reported, across fourteen statesnot a single employee suffered an illness, although customers did. Furthermore, with the advent of precise D.N.A. testing, there were two, specifically different, strains of E. coli discovered, when there should have been just one, though they both "coincidentally" appeared simultaneously in different locations, one type for eleven of the states, and another type for the other three states, the latter being a very rare strain of E. coli, normally found only in food research labs. There was also an additional "coincidence", in that the C.D.C., known through their own interdepartmental memos and former employees as a submissive servant and propaganda arm of the G.M.O. food industry, "just happened" to have federal officers on a "random" visit to the very local Seattle Health Department lab, at the very time, where and when the Chipotle E. coli bacteria was first analyzed, so as to immediately report the incident nationally, even though this was quite the opposite of standard operating procedure, which was suddenly changed in Chipotle's case, as normally the release of information about an outbreak is withheld until an in-depth investigation.

Megaphone

Iranian newscaster speaks out about sexual harassment, emboldens others to break silence

© Sheena Shirani/Facebook
Shirani said there was nobody she could seek help from.
Allegations of sexual harassment at an Iranian TV station are emboldening Iranian women to break their silence and share their experiences of a problem traditionally not acknowledged inside the country.

Sheena Shirani, a news reader at Press TV, the state broadcaster's English language news channel, broke the taboo by speaking out about sexual harassment she says she endured from two of her managers over a prolonged period of time.

Her allegations went public in spectacular fashion when she posted online a recording of a phone conversation in which a man believed to be her boss, Hamid Reza Emadi, repeatedly asks her for sexual favours.

Following the incident Shirani quit her job and left the country and later published the audio file, which has been listened to more than 120,000 times on her Facebook page and an Iranian news site based outside the country. She also shared what appeared to be a screengrab from a text exchange in which Emadi asked her to take the audio down.

Comment: This same sexist and women-denigrating culture can, unfortunately, be seen throughout the world. And in this respect, Iran is certainly not unique - and some other countries most probably far worse:

Ex-Air Force lawyer: Victims of rape in the military face revenge, backlash from superiors for coming forward


Book

Texas mother teaches textbook company lesson on accuracy

© Coby Burren
The page in a McGraw-Hill Education geography textbook that refers to Africans brought to American plantations as “workers,” rather than slaves.
Coby Burren, 15, a freshman at a suburban high school south of here, was reading the textbook in his geography class last week when a map of the United States caught his attention. On Page 126, a caption in a section about immigration referred to Africans brought to American plantations between the 1500s and 1800s as "workers" rather than slaves.

He reached for his cellphone and sent a photograph of the caption to his mother, Roni Dean-Burren, along with a text message: "we was real hard workers, wasn't we."

Their outrage over the textbook's handling of the nation's history of African-American slavery — another page referred to Europeans coming to America as "indentured servants" but did not describe Africans the same way — touched off a social-media storm that led the book's publisher, McGraw-Hill Education, to vow to change the wording and the school's teachers to use other materials in the class.

Gold Bar

Lines around the block to buy gold in London while banks placing 'unusually large orders'

This is the best quarterly performance for Gold in 30 years...
And as Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog details, physical demand is soaring...
First, let's look at the improved fundamentals. Gold bugs will exasperatingly proclaim that fundamentals have been great for the past four years yet the price plunged anyway, so who cares about fundamentals? To this I would respond with two observations. First, large institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds have been anticipating a rate hike cycle for a very long time now. They didn't know when, but they expected it. The fact that the gold bugs never believed this is irrelevant; what matters is that big money believed it, and it was perceived to be very gold negative. In their minds, this anticipated rate hike cycle would confirm that things were getting back to normal, and if things are normal you don't need to own gold, right?

The problem is that this assumption is quickly being called into question. Sure the Fed hiked rates once, but it is starting to look more and more like a policy error. Meanwhile, other major central banks around the world are going in the opposite direction, toward negative rates. I am a huge believer in market psychology, and the psychology dominating the minds of most institutional investors over the past few years has been that things were slowly getting back to normal. This has weighed on institutional demand for gold in a big way, and been a meaningful factor in the bear market (manipulation aside). If this psychology shifts, the shift back into gold could be very meaningful.

While that backdrop is interesting in its own right, what may make the move into gold that much more explosive is the lack of alternative investments...
- From the February 3, 2016 post: GOLD - It's Time to Pay Attention

Heart - Black

The inhuman factor: Greek maritime police arrest and charge volunteers on the island of Lesbos for providing assistance to refugees

The refugee crisis in Europe seems endless, the arrival of people mainly from Syria, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Kos did not cease despite the strict controls applied by the European Union to prevent the exodus refugees.

The European bloc approved the construction of walls and electric fences to reinforce security in the countries of the alliance in order to prevent the arrival and passage of refugees.

In recent days, the European security (Frontex) was given the task to criminalize the work of volunteers who assist in rescuing refugees by preventing them go out to the people unless there is a shipwreck.

Comment: The EU has put its inhuman screws to Greece (yet again) and now Greece feels compelled to comply...

See how this came about:


Fire

New Jersey train depot engulfed in massive blaze

© Northeast Bravest / Periscope
Massive plumes of black smoke rose from a Hillsborough, New Jersey train depot. Firefighters are on the scene.

Around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, users on social media reported the blaze. Multiple fire trucks and dozens of firefighters from the Hillsborough Township Volunteer Fire Company could arrived at the scene. Strong winds pushed the thick black smoke miles eastward far from the scene of the fire.

Brick Wall

Netanyahu to entirely fence in Israel, protect it from 'predators'

© www.jpost.com
d'Net & d'Fence
Israeli Prime Minister has announced that he wants to surround the whole of Israel with a fence to protect the Jewish state from Palestinians and citizens from neighboring Arab states, whom he called "predators."

Netanyahu announced his plan during a tour of a newly-completed security fence along the border with Jordan near the Red Sea port of Eilat in southern Israel. The project was described by the Israeli PM as a "multi-year plan to surround Israel with security fences to protect ourselves in the current and projected Middle East," which will cost billions of shekels, The Times of Israel reports.


Comment: "projected Middle East" and what would that be exactly?


"In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from predators," Netanyahu said. "At the end of the day, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence like this one surrounding its entirety...We will surround the entire State of Israel with a fence, a barrier."

Comment: Interesting that Netanyahu wants this total-surround fence defense, most likely paid for with US tax dollars. Looks reminiscent of a WWII containment camp. A purposeful constant reminder for Israelis? for everyone else? Not too subtle.


Eye 2

Psychopath: Notorious German cannibal gives interview describing how he killed and ate his lover


Killer: Notorious German cannibal Armin Meiwes (pictured) has described how he killed and ate his gay lover 'with his permission' in 2001, in a shocking interview for a new documentary
A notorious German cannibal has described in shockingly graphic detail how he killed and ate his gay lover 'with his permission'.

Armin Meiwes became one of the most infamous cannibals in history after killing and consuming 43-year-old computer technician Bernd Brandes in 2001. The pair met after Brandes posted an advert online entitled 'Dinner - or your dinner' and offering 'the chance to eat me alive'. Meiwes, 42, from Rotenburg, has given horrific insight into the killing which stunned the country.

'I decorated the table with nice candles,' he said. 'I took out my best dinner service, and fried a piece of rump steak - a piece from his back - made what I call princess potatoes, and sprouts,' he said, in an unprecedented interview for new documentary 'Docs: Interview with a Cannibal'.

'After I prepared my meal, I ate it. 'The first bite was, of course, very strange. It was a feeling I can't really describe. I'd spent over 40 years longing for it, dreaming about it. 'And now I was getting the feeling that I was actually achieving this perfect inner connection through his flesh. The flesh tastes like pork but stronger.'

Meiwes became the first person in Germany to be charged with murder for sexual satisfaction, or 'love cannibalism'.

Comment: See also: Europe's hypocritical history of cannibalism


Red Flag

New York's finest hotels are suffering from bed bug infestations

Tourists visiting some of New York's most prestigious hotels have reported being bitten by bed bugs despite their five star surroundings.

Guests at the Waldorf Astoria and Marriott Marquis hotel are among those to have been affected by the infestation. Reports of bed bugs in the city's hotels have jumped by 44 per cent over the past year.

According to the Bed Bug Registry, which lists reports of alleged incidents, there are almost 6,000 incidents in their databases relating to New York. The registry said that reports of infestations had increased by more than 44 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

According to the reports, it is not only cheap motels who rent rooms by the hour who are affected by the uninvited guests.

One couple who were staying at the Astor on the Park hotel overlooking Central Park posted a video on YouTube of the mattress of their $400-a-night room.