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Hamas didn't kidnap the three Israeli teens after all

Dear Lord. Can't anybody here play this game? New York Magazine:

When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region. 

But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all. 

Non-plagiarizing BuzzFeed writer Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be a foolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions: 

[Gershon Baskin] pointed out that Hamas has earlier this month signed an agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, bridging, for the first time in seven years, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.

“They will lose their reconciliation agreement with Abbas if they do take responsibility for [the kidnappings],” Baskin added.

Today, she was proven right:

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In the garden: Squash catching up with themselves

I hope! (It's very very hot in that patch, so the plants are panting; in the evening, the leaves will unwilt.)

Look! A squash blossom! Read below the fold...

DCblogger's picture

Chuck Hagel is a horrible person

DoD quietly tightens tuition assistance rules

Force-wide changes to the military’s Tuition Assistance program may require troops to pay back their TA money if they perform poorly in class.

Read below the fold...

Insider and hack David Flanagan now President of University of Southern Maine, Kalikow cashes in at "the system" for $200K

I don't have the time to do the takedown this sleazy maneuvering by our local notables deserves, so I'll just quote the highlights:

David Flanagan, a lifelong Mainer with deep ties to the state’s education, business and political communities, talked of “hardships and sacrifices” Wednesday as he took the reins as the interim president of the University of Southern Maine.

When you somebody sat that, you can bet one thing: The “hardships and sacrifices” will never, ever apply to them personally, or their friends, or their families, or anybody they know. Read below the fold...

Louis CK: "Being Broke"

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VT's Shumlin hires Jonathon Gruber to vet single payer funding proposals, for $400K

VT Digger:

Vermont has hired a policy architect of the Affordable Care Act as an economic consultant to help the Shumlin administration vet different single-payer financing scenarios.

Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help Shumlin’s health care reform team understand how different tax structures will impact subsets of the population as they design a proposal to pay for a planned universal health care program.

Gruber is a veteran of health care economics and national health policy having served as technical adviser to the Obama administration and Congress as they designed the Affordable Care Act.

The contract is worth $400,000 and is expected to solidify the administration’s pitch to lawmakers when it presents its proposal to lawmakers in January.

The Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office recently signed its own more limited contract for economic simulations with Rand Corp.

I can't help seeing this as bad news. Read below the fold...

Looks like peak oil after all

Kevin Drum:

In just the past ten years, capital spending by major oil companies on exploration and extraction has tripled. And the result? Those same companies are producing less oil than they were in 2004. There's still new oil out there, but it's increasingly both expensive to get and expensive to refine.

(And all the hype to the contrary, the fracking revolution hasn't changed that. There's oil in those formations in Texas and North Dakota, but the wells only produce for a few years each and production costs are sky high compared to conventional oil.)

In a hypertechnical sense, the peak oil optimists were right: New technology has been able to keep global oil production growing longer than the pessimists thought. But, it turns out, not by much. Global oil production is growing very slowly; the cost of new oil is skyrocketing; the quality of new oil is mostly lousy; and we continue to bump up right against the edge of global demand, which means that even a small disruption in supply can send the world into an economic tailspin. So details aside, the pessimists continue to be right in practice even if they didn't predict the exact date we'd hit peak oil. It's long past time to get dead serious about finding renewable replacements on a very large scale.

Yes, market timing is hard, and by hard, we mean impossible. Read below the fold...

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DCblogger's picture

Solving your problem with violence is like solving your problem with alcohol, all you get is your problem plus violence

David Swanson has the best take yet on the current situation in Gaza. Since 1948 the Palestinians have chosen violence as a way to solve their problem and since 1948 their situation has gotten worse. Even if you could use the Geneva Convention and an occupied people's right to self defense as a way of rationalizing the use of rocket attacks, it is not working for the Palestinian people. Once again violence has left them worse off then they were before. Read below the fold...

EU court says CIA ran "black site" at Stare Kiejkuty (and Corrente blast from the past in 2006)

Reuters:

The CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday, piling pressure on Poland, one of Washington's closest allies, to break its long silence about the global programme for detaining al Qaeda suspects.

The court said it had been established that the CIA used a facility in a northern Polish forest, code named "Quartz", as a hub in its network for interrogating suspected al Qaeda operatives rounded up after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. .....

Thursday's ruling was the first time that a court in Europe had said that the CIA operated one of the secret jails - often referred to as "black sites" -on the continent.

The court case was brought by lawyers for two men, Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah, and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who are now both inmates at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military's prison on Cuba.

They alleged they were flown in secret to a remote Polish airfield, then transferred to the CIA-facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty where they were subject to treatment they said amounted to [was] torture. ...

The court found Poland violated its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to prevent torture, ensure the right to liberty, and properly investigate allegations a crime had been committed on its territory.

The ruling from Strasbourg may have implications for other European states alleged to have hosted CIA prisons: similar cases have been lodged with the court in Strasbourg against Romania and Lithuania. ...

That I did not know.

The court ruling did not directly cover the United States, which is outside its jurisdiction. ...

Yes, that would be the Hague, where Bush and Obama should be dragged, in chains, whenever they leave the United States, just like Pinochet. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Happier morning glories

These morning glories want something to climb on!

And so herewith: Read below the fold...

DCblogger's picture

Who votes in primaries

Voters in primaries are Democratic committee members and their friends and family. That is about it. If you look at turnout precentages, they are pathetic, usually less than 20% of the eligable voters will vote in a primary. It is better in a presidential primary, especially early in the cycle, but down ballot the turnout figures go from weak to pathetic. Once you understand this, you will begin to understand the challenge to Teachout. Read below the fold...

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