Israel knew: The October 7 attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas has already been widely regarded as a massive intelligence failure on the part of the Israeli military. But now, new information has been revealed that Israeli officials had access to a 40-page document, code-named “Jericho Wall,” which spelled out Hamas’ plan for the attack.
Though it did not specify when the horrifying acts would be carried out, it “described a methodical assault designed to overwhelm the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters,” which Hamas ended up following “with shocking precision,” per The New York Times.
The conventional wisdom among Israeli authorities was that such a plan could not realistically be carried out by Hamas, which proved to be an underestimation that cost 1,200 Israeli lives on October 7, and many more (possibly up to 15,000 Palestinians, though Hamas-controlled health ministry numbers are not reliable) in the hellish aftermath.
“In July, just three months before the attacks, a veteran analyst with Unit 8200, Israel’s signals intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted an intense, daylong training exercise that appeared similar to what was outlined in the blueprint,” reports The New York Times. “A colonel in the Gaza division brushed off her concerns, according to encrypted emails viewed by The Times.”
Trump won the debate: Last night, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for president, and California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who says he’s not running for president, squared off in a debate hosted by Fox’s Sean Hannity. It was even worse than it sounds.
What could’ve been a beautiful DeSantis victory lap on COVID-19, if he had even a semblance of political skill, might have been equal parts vindicating and entertaining to watch. This was not that.
The whole thing was light on COVID, yet heavy on the 2024 election. At one point, Newsom tried to hang DeSantis on his COVID record, saying that in the beginning, actually Florida hewed pretty closely to the Fauci-prescribed course of action. “You had quarantines, you had checkpoints … you followed science, you followed Fauci,” said Newsom. “You were promoting vaccines, you even wore a mask in September .” (Read Reason‘s Eric Boehm for more.)
DeSantis tried to pick at California’s dysfunction and outmigration, at one point holding up a map. “You might be asking, what is that plotting?” he said. “Well this is an app where they plot the human feces that are found on the streets of San Francisco, and you see how almost the whole thing is covered.”
“Human feces is now a fact of life, except when a communist dictator comes to town—then they cleaned up the streets!” DeSantis added while Newsom chuckled in response, with no real defense.
Neither exchange was particularly productive, and they used the stage to take the opportunity to trade barbs. “When are you going to drop out and give Nikki Haley a chance to take on Donald Trump?” Newsom asked DeSantis.
Culture war dialed up to 11: Apparently in Sean Hannity’s mind, one of the greatest issues facing our nation is the presence of the horny-and-gross graphic novel Gender Queer in school libraries (not inflation, war, crime, or the national debt). Though Newsom started off making sense on this question, correctly noting that there’s a difference between being able to access a book in a school library versus the book being taught as part of the sex ed curriculum, the exchange quickly devolved into the worst caricatures of left and right.
Newsom repeated the typical leftist talking points about how “these kids just want to survive”—referring to kids seeking sex changes and hormone therapy, as if that’s the only possible means of ensuring survival—while DeSantis kept acting like having Gender Queer on a library shelf is the same thing as teaching it in school which is the same thing as allowing kids to get sex-change surgeries.
The whole debate made clear what we knew already: that DeSantis will not win the nomination, and that Newsom really wishes Biden would croak already so he can lounge on the ornate rugs of the Oval Office.
Scenes from New York: On Wednesday night, the New York Police Department made a handful of arrests at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting in Manhattan. Pro-Palestine protesters chose to disrupt the tradition with chants of “from the river to the sea” as well as at least one sign bearing a Swastika, comparing the Israeli military to Nazis.
“I had planned my holiday around this event, being a big fan of Christmas. Now I’m walled in by a bunch of terrorist-loving a–holes calling for intifada,” one British tourist told the New York Post.
- It is STILL WEBATHON TIME! Please, beloved friends and foes, if you get even the tiniest morsel of joy from reading Roundup, give us some hard-earned cash! (Ewwww, fiat.) Do you need a reason to do so? LET ME CONVINCE YOU. In the last year, Reason has graciously permitted me to conduct a deep dive on how California and Texas have dealt with homelessness so differently (along with my all-around work partner Zach Weissmueller), ask provocative questions of the bitcoin bros (post-FTX collapse), dunk on RFK Jr.’s hypocrisy, and chat with various interview subjects—from historian Johan Norberg to porn star/data scientist Aella—on everything from Israel-Hamas to the sexual revolution. Now, Weissmueller—who will hopefully not escape Reason to become a Florida Man retiree—and I are starting a new YouTube show called Just Asking Questions. Our first episode is a lengthy in-person chat with the always-provocative Dave Smith on what divides libertarians. If any of this sounds interesting to you, please give!
- Canada’s national agency on statistics is apparently not doing a very good job of counting medically-assisted suicide deaths. “In the case of a disability or mental health condition, deaths are coded to the underlying disability or mental health issue that MAID was granted for,” the agency tweeted.
- Brazilian city councilman Ramiro Rosario “asked … ChatGPT to craft a proposal to prevent the city from charging taxpayers to replace water consumption meters if they are stolen. He then presented it to his 35 peers on the council without making a single change or even letting them know about its unprecedented origin,” per the Associated Press.
- More Henry Kissinger tributes keep rolling in: