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Feb 23, 2015

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Why the World Is So Bad at Tracking Dirty Money
Global regulations on money laundering are expensive to enforce and unfair to poor countries. Oh, and they don't work very well, either.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH - February 23, 2015: Rising interest rates won't subdue gold, Turk tells KWN

Rising interest rates won't subdue gold, Turk tells KWN

Submitted by cpowell on  Monday, February 23, 2015.  Monday, February 23, 2015

While the Federal Reserve lately has been all talk and no action about raising interest rates, GoldMoney founder James Turk tells King World News today, rising rates are no problem in themselves for gold. Gold is subdued by interest rates, Turk says, only when they far exceed inflation rates, and he doesn't see that happening, since it would bankrupt the United States. Turk's interview is excerpted at the KWN blog here:

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Al Jazeera English - February 23, 2015: Egypt minister 'recorded discussing protest crackdown' .

Published on Feb 23, 2015
Al Jazeera has obtained an audio recording, where Egypt's interior minister is apparently heard telling security officials to use force against protesters. The conversation is believed to have come from a meeting last year, before rallies in support of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Al Jazeera’s Rebecca Singh reports.

Al Jazeera English - February 23, 2015: Al Jazeera's Phil Rees on The Spy Cables

Published on Feb 23, 2015
Secret documents from numerous intelligence agencies, and obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, offers a rare insights into the interactions between spies. One such set of documents reveals that in 2010 Israel obtained stolen South African anti-tank missile technology. The manager of Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, Phil Rees, hints at some 600 pages of secret documents to be unveiled in the coming days. He says that unlike leaks by Edward Snowden, these leaked cables from agencies from around the world deal with “human intelligence” from people dealing directly with high-level information at ground level.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH - February 23, 2015: Lunar new year and pending Indian tax cut used to attack gold price.

Avery Goodman: Lunar new year and pending Indian tax cut used to attack gold price
By Avery Goodman
Seeking Alpha
Monday, February 23, 2015

The Lunar New Year celebration closed stores and markets throughout China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, and elsewhere in the Far East last week. That presented an opportunity to torpedo prices and trigger the stop loss orders of get-rich-quick dreaming paper-gold buyers. In addition, Indian buyers continue to wait for a big reduction in import tariffs. Part of the Indian government is recommending a reduction from 10 to 2 percent. This is expected toward the end of February. Accordingly, most Indian buyers hesitate to take delivery ahead of that big tax break.
Last week's action in precious metals looks like a last-ditch effort by the banksters to close paper short positions. ...

... For the full commentary:

WP Wonk P.M. - February 23, 2015: The wealthy are walling themselves off in cities increasingly segregated by class.

The Washington Post
The latest from Wonkblog  •  Mon., Feb. 23, 2015

The wealthy are walling themselves off in cities increasingly segregated by class
Concentrated poverty is one of the biggest problems facing cities today, as more of the urban poor become isolated in neighborhoods where the people around them are poor, too. Growing economic segregation across cities, though, is also shaped by a parallel, even stronger force: concentrated wealth. A new analysis from Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander …  Read full article »

All the things women could afford if it weren’t for the gender pay gap
This post comes via Know More, Wonkblog's social media site. Two houses, 14 cars, or 37 years of family meals: That’s what the inequality in earnings between women and men can end up costing a woman over her lifetime, according to analysis by the Center for American Progress. Patricia Arquette threw a spotlight on this …  Read full article »
There’s a disturbing truth to John Legend’s Oscar statement about prisons and slavery
The artists John Legend and Common received an Academy Award Sunday night for "Glory," their song in the film "Selma." In his acceptance speech, Legend called for reform of the U.S. criminal justice system. "There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850," he noted. It's true. There are some, as Politifact has written, 1.7 …  Read full article »

WP Opinions P.M. Editions - February 23, 2015: ‘Sickening brutality’

The Washington Post
Opinions P.M. Edition
Your afternoon update from Opinions blogs and columns  •  Mon., Feb. 23, 2015

Rubin: GOP’s support for Israel soars
Gallup reports: “Seventy percent of Americans now view [Israel] favorably, and 62% say they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the Mideast conflict. By contrast, 17% currently view the Palestinian Authority favorably, and 16% sympathize more with the Palestinians.” But as has been the case over a long period of time, there is an increasing partisan divide. “A key reason Americans’ sympathy for Israel has solidified at a sizable majority level is that Republicans’ support for the Jewish state has increased considerably, rising from 53% in 2000 to more than 80% since 2014 — with just 7% choosing the Palestinian Authority. A particularly large jump in GOP sympathy for Israel occurred in the first few years after 9/11 and at the start of the 2003 Iraq War.” Democrats’ support is now at 48 percent.  Read full article »

TV gets smart — and sensitive — about abortion
This post discusses the Feb. 22 episode of “Girls.”For all Lena Dunham’s indie comedy “Girls” has been lauded for its bravery, back in 2012 during its first season, the show took what felt like an early punt. On her way to have an abortion, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had one of pop culture’s infamous spontaneous miscarriages, saving her — and the show — from making a decision that Hollywood still treats as controversial. Last night, the show finally circled back around to the subject, when Adam’s (Adam Driver) new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose (Gillian Jacobs), revealed that she’d had an abortion without consulting him.  Read full article »

Petri: A first look at Settlers of Catan: The Movie.
The rights to the popular board game Settlers of Catan sold, according to Deadline, to the producer behind “Sacrifice Pawn.” This is just the board game movie we deserve, but probably not the one we need right now.  Read full article »
Sargent: Will we see a left-right alliance against broad warmaking authority for Obama?
With Senators and Members of the House returning from recess, one looming question is whether Congress will figure out a way to pass a measure authorizing President Obama’s escalation against the Islamic State. Coming a mere six months after that escalation began, this whole episode is already suffused with absurdity. But passing something might make it marginally less absurd, which is all we can hope for at this point.  Read full article »
Monday’s outtake
  Read full article »
Rubin: Giving Iran everything it wants
Perhaps Congress should have invited King Abdullah of Jordan or Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to speak about an impending deal that would look like this: Iran gets to keep its entire nuclear infrastructure and, in 15 years, gets to build a bomb. I am certain the two leaders would have the same reaction as the Israelis or as any sentient member of Congress, namely that this would be a complete capitulation to the mullah’s demands, a repudiation of Democratic and Republican administration’s position, and the first step in a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.  Read full article »
Wemple: Former New York Times correspondent cited favorably by Bill O’Reilly rips Bill O’Reilly
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.comIn a series of statements on Fox News yesterday, host Bill O’Reilly repeatedly cited a June 1982 story by Richard J. Meislin of the New York Times to substantiate his claims that he encountered a “combat” situation in Argentina while covering the Falkland Islands War. “I want everybody to read the New York Times article by [Meislin]. It’s up. You can get it.”  Read full article »
Post Partisan: The Insiders: Why would anyone think Obama doesn’t love America? Plenty of reasons.
Is it possible that a reasonable person could think President Obama doesn’t love America? Well, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has faced heavy criticism for saying just that, but Giuliani isn’t crazy. His thoughts are usually well-collected. He is a Republican leader, and his opinion matters. That said, his comments aren’t helpful in today’s election context, and attacking Obama is generally off-message for Republicans who want to win in 2016, but Giuliani has a right to say what he thinks.  Read full article »
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All Opinions Are Local: Closely watched trains?
The small town of Pembroke in southwest Virginia is used to seeing endlessly long unit trains of coal cars rumbling past. But last week, it got an unexpected surprise: trains of similar length hauling crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken fields started going by.According to Reuters, Pembroke is one of many Virginia towns affected by CSX’s derailment and explosion of oil tank cars filled with Bakken oil a few miles east of Montgomery, W.Va., on Feb. 16. The massive blast sent fireballs hundreds of feet in the air and forced the evacuation of nearby residents, including a college. It also stopped all rail traffic on a major, east-west CSX line for days.A similar derailment involving a CSX oil train happened last April in Lynchburg on the same rail mainline. Several tank cars caught fire down, causing a spill into the James River.CSX needs to keep its tank cars rolling to a big oil terminal in Yorktown near the Chesapeake Bay. That site had been an Amoco refinery for years but the refinery shut down and was switched to an oil water terminal now owned by Houston-based Plains All-American.The facility receives Bakken shale oil cars and loads the crude on barges that are then pushed or towed to East Coast refineries, notably in the Philadelphia area. Presumably, if petroleum exports from the United States start again, the Yorktown site would be excellent embarkation point.[Continue reading Peter Galuszka’s post at Bacon’s Rebellion.]Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon’s Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.  Read full article »
Petri: The trouble with Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech
Watching the Oscars for the political statements is, I find, something like watching the State of the Union for the fashion. If you expect much, you are bound to be disappointed.Somehow, we expect more from the Oscars. I don’t know why. But every year, we do.  Read full article »
Rubin: Lessons from Chris Christie’s collapse
The Wall Street Journal reports: “For two years, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie crisscrossed the country to help his fellow Republican governors, raising money and campaigning for their election. And yet the nation’s 31 Republican governors, faced with a wealth of choices in the still-forming presidential field, so far aren’t racing to back Mr. Christie in his anticipated White House campaign.” There are, it seems, many viable alternatives who do not raise the same concerns that Christie does: “Republican governors gathered here said they were eyeing an array of fellow chief executives who may campaign for the White House, among them Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and former Govs. Jeb Bush of Florida and Rick Perry of Texas. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence are also thought to be considering campaigns.”  Read full article »
Sargent: Scott Walker can probably get away with pandering to ‘Obama hates America’ crowd
The reason for Scott Walker’s recent rise in the early stages of the 2016 Republican primary contest isn’t his stunning personal charisma, his inspiring life story, or his extraordinary rhetorical gifts. He’s getting more attention because unlike most of the contenders, he seems like a candidate who can unite establishment Republicans and grassroots Republicans, appealing equally to both. You can see it in a pair of articles out on him today: this one in the Post on how he crushed labor unions in Wisconsin, and this one in the New York Times on how he has been emphasizing the divisive social issues like abortion that he played played down in his races in the state.  Read full article »
Intermission: Morning after
My night at the Academy Awards wrapped up around 2 this morning, so I’m trying save all my energy for today’s chat, where we can covet those Lego Oscars and debate how well Neil Patrick Harris did at diffusing unusually pointed criticism of the Academy. As a result, no question today, just links!  Read full article »
Post Partisan: Rudy Giuliani just can’t bring himself to apologize
Not good enough, Rudy Giuliani. The former New York mayor (R-Glass House), who spent nearly a week questioning the patriotism of President Obama while blowing a racist dog whistle even humans could hear, now says in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that he was misunderstood.  Read full article »
The Watch: More forfeiture outrages
When it comes to civil asset forfeiture reform, we might be making some progress at the margins, but the most outrageous incidents go on. From the Detroit Free Press: Thomas Williams was alone that November morning in 2013 when police raided his rural St. Joseph County home, wearing black masks, camouflage and holding guns at their sides. They broke down his front door with a battering ram.   Read full article »
Rubin: Hillary Clinton should be disqualified, not Scott Walker
The mainstream media are ready to write off Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as a coward and unfit for the presidency because he wouldn’t denounce Rudy Giuliani’s comments questioning the president’s love for America. One can think it was ill advised (as a number of GOP contenders, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as well as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, have said), but it is a strange standard to apply (Denounce an ex-official’s rants, or get out!). Who else has not commented on others’ remarks?  Read full article »
Thiessen: Don’t just ‘counter’ violent extremists. Defeat them.
The White House just held a three-day summit exploring ways to “counter” violent extremists. It could have saved itself some time. The answer is simple: Defeat them.We know how to counter the radical ideology of the Islamic State because we have done it before — during the 2007 surge in Iraq. When President Obama took office, al-Qaeda in Iraq (which changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq during the surge) had been defeated militarily and ideologically. Militarily, it had been driven from its strongholds in Anbar and other Iraqi provinces, and its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been killed. This was more than just a military victory; it was an ideological victory as well. The terrorists had also suffered a massive rejection by the very Sunni masses they claimed to represent. Iraq was supposed to be the place where al-Qaeda/the Islamic State rallied the Sunni masses to drive the United States out. Instead, the Sunni masses joined with the United States to drive the terrorists out. This was far more crippling than the simple loss of territory.   Read full article »

Rubin: Hillary’s cowardice in face of looming Iran debacle
Dennis Ross suggests to heal the rift with Israel the administration should take two steps:First, it should ensure that the verification measures in the deal provide for “anywhere, anytime” access to all declared and undeclared facilities, and buttress these measures, which are in the additional protocol of the NPT, with new means to enable effective inspection of a large nuclear program. Since any deal with Iran would serve as a precedent, the United States’ five negotiating partners should support this.  Read full article »
Sargent: Morning Plum: The ‘veto phase’ of Obama’s presidency begins
This week, President Obama is expected to veto Republican legislation expediting the Keystone pipeline. The New York Times surmises that this will mark the start of a new era in which the president uses the veto pen with more frequency, as an “extension of his second-term strategy to act alone in the face of Republican opposition and safeguard his legislative record.” This, in turn, will set in motion a spin war over which side is making actual efforts to work together to achieve common ground.  Read full article »
The Watch: Morning links: The architecture of solitary confinement
New York’s top judge says the state needs to change how grand juries investigate shootings by police and alleged police misconduct.When police go rogue on Facebook.I think the answer to this question is, “You’re kidding, right?”A Georgia crime lab informs a family that due to a mix-up, it buried the wrong person.An interesting look at professional ethics and prison architecture.Kentucky lawmakers are looking to increase mandatory minimums for heroin distribution.More tales of government secrecy surrounding the use of StingRay surveillance.  Read full article »
Rubin: Ups and downs
UP: Jeb Bush on foreign policyDOWN: President Obama’s speech at the summit on (we won’t say what kind of) extremismUP: Hillary Clinton’s cluelessness about conflicts of interest  Read full article »
At the Oscars, sincerity beats snark
Neil Patrick Harris had more than just the already difficult task of hosting the Academy Awards before him last evening. The treatment of Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” which was held to an unusually high standard for historical accuracy (starting with an opinion piece in this paper), was one of the biggest stories of the Oscar campaign season, and frustration over that prompted some viewers to sit the ceremony out. In managing those tensions, last night’s Oscars became most interesting not for the winner in any particular category. Instead, the big question became whether humor or sincerity would turn out to be the most powerful way to address charges that Hollywood had forfeited its claim to move the country forward.  Read full article »
Rubin: Morning Bits
No wonder the administration would rather make a fuss about a speech. “Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, the prime minister said that it was ‘astonishing that even after the recent IAEA report determined that Iran is continuing to hide the military components of its nuclear program, the nuclear talks are proceeding. Not only are they continuing, there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks,’ Netanyahu said.”  Read full article »
Rudy Giuliani Must Not Love America
I was going to let this go, because who is Rudy Giuliani anymore anyway? But it turns out he still has a semi-revered place in the GOP, and on Fox News, and a big enough mouth to get his stupid, hateful views covered by the rest of the media. Take it away Rudy!  Read full article »

Post Partisan: The love litmus test
Republicans seem ceaselessly enamored of litmus tests, but the newest one — Do you believe President Obama loves America? — makes birthers seem witty.The question arose after former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told a private audience that he doesn’t think Obama loves America. He further noted that Obama wasn’t raised like him or members of the audience (conservative business people and assorted media), which, though probably true (Obama grew up in Hawaii and for a time in Indonesia), wasn’t really the point.  Read full article »
Hear out Israel’s leader
Last week, 23 House Democrats asked Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress scheduled for March 3. But it is absolutely clear that the speaker will neither postpone nor rescind his invitation. The prime minister will be there to speak.   Read full article »
Paris’s mayor: ‘These are people who are lawless and faithless’
Taking time out from the White House summit on countering violent extremism last week, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo spoke with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, anti-Semitism in France and other topics. Excerpts:  Read full article »
Samuelson: The real middle-class challenge
Given the obsession with economic inequality, you might think it’s the main force squeezing the middle class. It isn’t. We have this not from some right-wing think tank but from President Obama’s top economists. The bigger culprit, they show, is the slow growth of productivity — that messy process by which the economy improves efficiency and living standards. Greater inequality is a distant second in assaulting middle-class incomes.   Read full article »
Dionne: Taking Obamacare for granted
Will it take the repeal of the Affordable Care Act or its evisceration by the Supreme Court for us to appreciate what it’s done?Critics of the ACA are so insistent on pointing to the problems it has encountered — erroneous tax information to 800,000 taxpayers is the latest — that it was especially enlightening to talk on Friday with Sylvia Mathews Burwell,the secretary of Health and Human Services.  Read full article »
Hiatt: A credibility gap
Can President Obama sell an Iran deal at home?If his negotiators strike an agreement next month, we already know that it will be far from ideal: Rather than eradicating Iran’s nuclear-weapons potential, as once was hoped, a pact would seek to control Iran’s activities for some limited number of years.  Read full article »
Editorial: ‘Sickening brutality’
RARELY DOES a United Nations investigation produce such clarity and impact as did the Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in North Korea. The report, issued a year ago, documented the existence of political concentration camps in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and a regime that has treated its people with sickening brutality. The stark prose and searing details of the report prompted votes at the United Nations that, in effect, put the issue on the ongoing agenda of the Security Council.   Read full article »
Editorial: Loosening up on Dominion
MANY VIRGINIA politicians complain that the Environmental Protection Agency has set a harsh greenhouse-gas target that they say will harm consumers and businesses. But instead of adopting a smart strategy for minimizing costs, the General Assembly has approved a bad bill that would loosen regulation of Dominion Power, one of Richmond’s most powerful lobbies, for five years. The bill is now with Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). He should reject it, and then lawmakers should take more productive action.  Read full article »
Editorial: Pulling the plug on Franklin School
D.C. MAYOR Muriel E. Bowser (D) is right to review major economic development decisions made in the final months of her predecessor’s administration. Successful implementation now falls on her shoulders, and the District has learned the hard way the problems of last-minute deals that can’t be undone. The process, though, must be fair, transparent and convincing, conditions that aren’t apparent in the recent decision to change direction in the development of the Franklin School.  Read full article »

WP Evening Edition - February 23, 2015: Republicans split on DHS funding, edging closer to partial shutdown.

The Washington Post
Evening Edition
The most important stories of the day  •  Mon., Feb. 23, 2015

Republicans split on DHS funding, edging closer to partial shutdown
Congressional Republicans remain sharply divided over the looming standoff over funding the Department of Homeland Security, prompting White House officials to prepare to shut down an agency designed to protect everything from the nation’s borders to the president.   Read full article »

CIA looks to expand its cyber espionage capabilities
CIA Director John O. Brennan is planning a major expansion of the agency’s cyber espionage capabilities as part of a broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work, current and former U.S. officials said.  Read full article »
Mike Huckabee, tour guide in the Holy Land
MASADA, Israel — Whether or not Mike Huckabee becomes president of the United States, the nation of Israel — and especially Israel’s hard-line right wing — have few more devoted fans than the former Arkansas governor, evangelical pastor and gung-ho tour guide to the Holy Land.  Read full article »

NYT | Times Video - February 23, 2015.

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Monday, February 23, 2015


As international terror warnings deflate Kenya's coastal tourism industry, growing unemployment leaves many vulnerable to recruitment by Islamic extremist groups like the Shabab.
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A surge in spending on health care is translating into well-paying jobs, but opportunities are only available to those willing to put in the time and money to retrain.
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Travel - 36 Hours

Compared with China's other megacities, Beijing is still a traditionalist at heart, so delve into the shops, galleries and restaurants in the city's old, alleyway-threaded hutong neighborhoods.
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Science - ScienceTake

Scientists studying the behavior of endangered leatherback sea turtles put video cameras on their shells.
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The ISIS Conflict

How has ISIS, a 21st-century terrorist organization with a retrograde religious philosophy, spread from Iraq to Syria, Libya and beyond?
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The Sturgeon Bay, 662 tons with three decks, is specially designed to break ice.

New York

Along the frozen Hudson River, Coast Guard ice cutters clear a channel for barges carrying essential winter supplies such as heating oil and road salt.
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Alray Nelson is an outspoken opponent of the tribal law that bans same-sex marriage.

U.S. & Politics

Alray Nelson is an outspoken opponent of the tribal law that bans same-sex marriage.
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Technology - App Smart

A new generation of meeting organizers helps you invite guests, set agendas and distribute shared documents, all from your phone.
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Real Estate - New York Neighborhoods: Block by Block

The Ditmars section of Astoria is a cultural melting pot with a spacious take on New York living.
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Style - Bill Cunningham

People at New York Fashion Week had many style ideas and found creative ways to stay warm.
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Fashion Week: In the Studio

Jonathan Anderson chats with Vanessa Friedman about the evolution of his small fashion label while balancing his new position as creative director at Loewe, the Spanish luxury brand.
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