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More right wing subterfuge and lies leading to more violence and suffering-this time in Israel.

I received this article from Tikkun. I’m both relieved that the source of the current nightmare is underhanded dealing by extremists in Israel’s government rather than the intractable hatred between Israeli and Palestinian people as portrayed in mainstream media and disgusted that the same bad behavior we reviled in our government is not unique to the United States.

Let’s keep praying-this article makes it seem that but for dirty dealing peace has nearly been achieved in the longstanding conflict.

Editor’s Note: The followikng article from The Forward by JJ Goldberg tells us how the Israeli government lied about what it knew and when it knew it, and about how it manipulated the circumstances of the kidnapping and murders to create a full scale attack on Hamas, despite Hamas having done what it could to avoid confrontation with Israel. Please read it carefully and then understand how little you can believe in the media when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Personally, I’m shocked and angered at what this story reveals about Israeli behavior, how the Netanyahu government conspired to rile up public opinion to blame the kidnapping of the Israeli teens on Hamas though it knew that Hamas had nothing to do with it, and to justify a war with Hamas (presumably to force the Palestinian Authority to break its newly shaped reconciliation with Hamas). I commend JJ Goldberg for writing this account and the Forward for publishing it. –Rabbi Michael Lerner RabbiLerner.tikkun *Bloody Gaza Onslaught Built on Foundation of Politics and Lies
Israeli Military Dragged Into New Quagmire by Politicians*

*By J.J. Goldberg (a weekly columnist of long and distinguished pedigree)

*The Forward, Published July 10, 2014, issue ofJuly 18, 2014

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/201764/bloody-gaza-onslaught-built-on-foundation-of-polit/?p=all#ixzz374CXcrLV

In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”

That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”

Admittedly, demurrals on government policy by Israel’s top defense brass, once virtually unthinkable, have become almost routine in the Netanyahu era. Usually, though, there’s some measure of subtlety or discretion. This particular interview was different. Where most disagreements involve policies that might eventually lead to some future unnecessary war, this one was about an unnecessary war they were now stumbling into.

Spokesmen don’t speak for themselves. Almoz was expressing a frustration that was building in the army command for nearly a month, since the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva boys. The crime set off a chain of events in which Israel gradually lost control of the situation, finally ending up on the brink of a war that nobody wanted – not the army, not the government, not even the enemy, Hamas.

The frustration had numerous causes. Once the boys’ disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock. Only on July 1, after the boys’ bodies were found, did the truth come out: The government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.

The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gil-ad Shaer’s desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel’s 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning – neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff – the teen was heard whispering “They’ve kidnapped me” (“hatfu oti”) followed by shouts of “Heads down,” then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers’ abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys’ DNA. There was no doubt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was “acting on the assumption that they’re alive.” It was, simply put, a lie.

Moti Almoz, as army spokesman, was in charge of repeating the lie. True, others backed him up, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. But when the truth came out on July 1, Almoz bore the brunt of public derision. Critics said his credibility was shot. He’d only been spokesman since October, after a long career as a blunt-talking field commander with no media experience. Others felt professional frustration. His was personal.

*”Nor was that the only fib. It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus. Hamas’ Hebron branch – more a crime family than a clandestine organization – had a history of acting without the leaders’ knowledge, sometimes against their interests. Yet Netanyahu repeatedly insisted Hamas was responsible for the crime and would pay for it.

This put him in a ticklish position. His rhetoric raised expectations that after demolishing Hamas in the West Bank he would proceed to Gaza. Hamas in Gaza began preparing for it. The Israeli right – settler leaders, hardliners in his own party – began demanding it.

But Netanyahu had no such intention. The last attack on Gaza, the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, targeted Hamas leaders and taught a sobering lesson. Hamas hadn’t fired a single rocket since, and had largely suppressed fire by smaller jihadi groups. Rocket firings, averaging 240 per month in 2007, dropped to five per month in 2013. Neither side had any desire to end the détente. Besides, whatever might replace Hamas in Gaza could only be worse.

The kidnapping and crackdown upset the balance. In Israel, grief and anger over the boys’ disappearance grew steadily as the fabricated mystery stretched into a second and third week. Rallies and prayer meetings were held across the country and in Jewish communities around the world. The mothers were constantly on television. One addressed the United Nations in Geneva to plead for her son’s return. Jews everywhere were in anguish over the unceasing threat of barbaric Arab terror plaguing Israel.

This, too, was misleading. The last seven years have been the most tranquil in Israel’s history. Terror attacks are a fraction of the level during the nightmare intifada years – just six deaths in all of 2013. But few notice. The staged agony of the kidnap search created, probably unintentionally, what amounts to a mass, worldwide attack of post-traumatic stress flashback.

When the bodies were finally found, Israelis’ anger exploded into calls for revenge, street riots and, finally, murder.

Amid the rising tension, cabinet meetings in Jerusalem turned into shouting matches. Ministers on the right demanded the army reoccupy Gaza and destroy Hamas. Netanyahu replied, backed by the army and liberal ministers, that the response must be measured and careful. It was an unaccustomed and plainly uncomfortable role for him. He was caught between his pragmatic and ideological impulses.

In Gaza, leaders went underground. Rocket enforcement squads stopped functioning and jihadi rocket firing spiked. Terror squads began preparing to counterattack Israel through tunnels. One tunnel exploded on June 19 in an apparent work accident, killing five Hamas gunmen, convincing some in Gaza that the Israeli assault had begun while reinforcing Israeli fears that Hamas was plotting terror all along.

On June 29, an Israeli air attack on a rocket squad killed a Hamas operative. Hamas protested. The next day it unleashed a rocket barrage, its first since 2012. The cease-fire was over. Israel was forced to retaliate for the rockets with air raids. Hamas retaliated for the raids with more rockets. And so on. Finally Israel began calling up reserves on July 8 and preparing for what, as Moti Almoz told Army Radio, “the political echelon instructed.”

Later that morning, Israel’s internal security minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told reporters that the “political echelon has given the army a free hand.” Almoz returned to Army Radio that afternoon and confirmed that the army had “received an absolutely free hand” to act.

And how far, the interviewer asked, will the army go? “To the extent that it’s up to the army,” Almoz said, “the army is determined to restore quiet.” Will simply restoring quiet be enough? “That’s not up to us,” he said. The army will continue the operation as long as it’s told.

The operation’s army code-name, incidentally, is “Protective Edge” in English, but the original Hebrew is more revealing: Tzuk Eitan, or “solid cliff.” That, the army seems to feel, is where Israel is headed.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/201764/bloody-gaza-onslaught-built-on-foundation-of-polit/?p=all#ixzz374C7CfC2 [http://forward.com/articles/201764/bloody-gaza-onslaught-built-on-foundation-of-polit/?p=all#ixzz374C7CfC2 ]

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Protecting the Prince

Thank you for posting this! I love frogs too.

Serenity Spell

Here’s some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs and members of Parliament. -Kermit the Frog

I missed National Frog Month (APRIL, by the by), but no worries. It doesn’t diminish my excitement (squeal!) when I see these lovelies, and I still spend a ridiculous amount of time snapping them. Like this little guy, who was posing next to his bronzed brethren in a pond fountain….

[Click on photos to enlarge]

Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia Such a look. I giggle every time I look at him….

Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia What beautiful eyes you have, my lovely

Frogs are amphibians, which comes from the Greek meaning “both lives.” Below are a few fun facts on these fascinating creatures, those that live in water and on land.

Frogs continue to be seen as an indicator species, providing scientists with valuable insight into how an ecosystem is functioning. Because…

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Truthout Daily Digest Wednesday, 9 July 2014

From Somaly Mam to Eden: How Sex Trafficking Sensationalism Hurts Sex Workers

Mike Ludwig, Truthout: After one investigation surrounding a well-known anti-sex trafficking activist, Somaly Mam, sex worker rights activists have been busy working to expose another former sex worker’s story as a sensational, dishonest trafficking narrative, good for fundraising but bad for human rights and public policy.

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Where Does $2 Trillion in Subsidies for the Wealthiest Hide in Plain Sight?

Harry Stein, Next New Deal: Defenders of tax breaks for investment income argue they encourage savings and grow the economy, but there’s no obvious relationship of their contribution to economic growth.

Read the Article

A New Way of Life: Making a Break for Freedom During the Era of Mass Incarceration

Chris Moore-Backman, Truthout: Susan Burton’s A New Way of Life Reentry Project is a sort of underground railroad for people returning home from prison that helps them find food, shelter and work – and models how to embrace those labeled “criminals.”

Read the Transcipt and Listen to the Audio

Like His Dad, Charles Koch Was a Bircher

Lisa Graves, PRWatch: Many commentators have noted that the father of the controversial Koch brothers, Fred Koch, was a leader of the John Birch Society from its founding in 1958 until his death in 1967. Documents reveal Charles Koch followed his father’s footsteps.

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The Silent Power of Boycotts and Blockades

Kanya D’Almeida, Inter Press Service: Scattered amongst the barracks of this planetary war zone are scores of white flags, wielded daily by the many millions of people engaged in nonviolent resistance to the forces that threaten their existence.

Read the Article

Japan’s Near Miss Shows It’s Time to Say “No” to Nukes

The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program: Nuclear power never has been and never will be safe, and the only way for us to guarantee that there won’t be any more disasters in Japan and around the world is to abandon nuclear power once and for all.

Read the Article

Despite Crackdown, Palestinians Organize for Long-Term Peace

Bethan Staton, Waging Nonviolence: Despite Israeli military bombardment and displays of violent, deadly racism in response to the murder of three Jewish teenagers, both Palestinian and Israeli activists are building networks for a peaceful future.

Read the Article

Sugar Plant Removed Safety Device Thirteen Days Before Temp Worker’s Death

Michael Grabell, ProPublica: A federal report on the gruesome accident that buried a temp worker alive in sugar and killed him reveals how difficult a challenge regulators face in changing the way temp workers are treated.

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Singing Songs of Struggle: How a Folk Music Movement Helped Elect a Marxist Reformer in Chile

Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout: In his book Venceremos, author Gabriel San Roman writes that assassinated Marxist Chilean president Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity Coalition was aided by Nueva Cancion, “the strongest folk music movement in Latin American history.”

Read the Review

Look What Congress Wants to Hide From You Now

Kevin Matthews, Care2: Let’s not kid ourselves. When politicians are treated to $10,000-plus getaways, someone is expecting something in return. Until recently, politicians had to disclose such trips on financial disclosure forms that the public could access. Now this requirement has been removed.

Read the Article

Mississippi Freedom Summer – A Personal Account

David Kotz, Popular Economics: A volunteer for the civil rights-era Mississippi Freedom Summer recalls the project, whose subtext was “to force America to face the oppression and violence in Mississippi,” with hopes of resulting in wider change.

Read the Article

The Kochs’ Anti-Civil Rights Roots: New Documents Expose Charles Koch’s Ties to John Birch Society

Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté, Democracy Now!: New documents show billionaire oil industrialist Charles Koch was, like his father Fred, an active member of the controversial right-wing John Birch Society during its campaigns against the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript


Bush-Cheney Mission Accomplished: Iraq Terrorists Now Have Remnants of Chemical Weapons

Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The US public was lied into a war with Iraq based on the claim that Saddam Hussein threatened us with weapons of mass destruction. Now ISIS has control of an unknown number of disassembled chemical weapons.

Read the BuzzFlash Commentary

Is There Another Cliven Bundy-Like Federal Government Armed Standoff Coming Down the Pike?

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Senate Intelligence Committee Adopts Cybersecurity Bill Opposed by NSA Critics

Read the Article at The Guardian

Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

Read the Article at The Intercept

Higher Cancer Rates and Tainted Local Foods Linked to Tar Sands Operations

Read the Article at Al Jazeera America

West Virginia Chemical Company Fined $11,000 for Poisoning 300,000 People’s Drinking Water

Read the Article at The Raw Story

US Military Studied How to Influence Twitter Users in DARPA-Funded Research

Read the Article at The Guardian

Rachel Maddow: Koch-Backed Texas Attorney General Helps Hide Chemical Plant Dangers

Watch the Video at MSNBC