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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Friday Night Videos

November 30th, 2012 - 10:13 pm
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It’s the Full Emo Edition! I know, know — you never go full emo. But this Echo & The Bunnymen song is from Alternative’s early years, so we kind of have to.

Now these guys couldn’t produce a whole album of listenable tracks, even when they borrowed directly from The Beatles. Their dreary 1983 cover of “All You Need Is Love” would have been questionable even if they hadn’t stretched it out into almost seven minutes of filler. And what the hell, is that a sitar droning on like that?

On the other hand, E&B sure knew how to cut some fantastic singles, and here’s a live performance of one of their best.

Comment of the Day

November 30th, 2012 - 1:40 pm

From earlgrey133 in response to Ramesh Ponnuru’s latest:

I am torn between walking away and giving Obama everything he wants and just letting the country have what they voted for.

Yeah. That.

Turn Your Pretty Head and Walk Away

November 30th, 2012 - 12:24 pm

Krauthammer:

t is assumed that Obama has the upper hand. Unless Republicans acquiesce and get the best deal they can right now, tax rates will rise across the board on Jan. 1, and the GOP will be left without any bargaining chips.

But what about Obama? If we all cliff-dive, he gets to preside over yet another recession. It will wreck his second term. Sure, Republicans will get blamed. But Obama is never running again. He cares about his legacy. You think he wants a second term with a double-dip recession, 9 percent unemployment and a totally gridlocked Congress? Republicans have to stop playing as if they have no cards.

Obama is claiming an electoral mandate to raise taxes on the top 2 percent. Perhaps, but remember those incessant campaign ads promising a return to the economic nirvana of the Clinton years? Well, George W. Bush cut rates across the board, not just for the top 2 percent. Going back to the Clinton rates means middle-class tax hikes that yield four times the revenue that you get from just the rich.

So give Obama the full Clinton. Let him live with that. And with what also lies on the other side of the cliff: 28 million Americans newly subject to the ruinous alternative minimum tax.

Republicans must stop acting like supplicants. If Obama so loves those Clinton rates, Republicans should say: Then go over the cliff and have them all.

A couple weeks ago I took some heat for suggesting that the GOP — as a part of the price of losing, but mostly just to change the subject away from themselves — go on and cave on Obama’s tax hikes “for the rich.”

But as the Democrats dig in and refuse to do anything about our deficits except for hiking taxes, my play is becoming small beer, isn’t it?

Disaster is coming. Why not have it come sooner rather than later, and with the man mostly responsible for it still in the Oval Office? He might not take the blame, but he can sure as hell be made to feel the heat.

This decision isn’t an easy one to make, either. In this case, I’m not just a blogger sitting in my pajamas. My wife’s job could very well be eliminated if the sequester goes through, and she and I we would be two of those 28 million Americans who get socked right between the eyes by the AMT. I’ve taken hits from it before, and it isn’t fun.

A lot less income. A much bigger tax bill. Oh, yeah — I’ve got skin in this game.

But it might just be the only game in town.

The New Rule of Holes: Keep Digging

November 30th, 2012 - 12:05 pm

Matt Kibbe has his toes dangling off the fiscal cliff and advises:

This is no time to get cold feet.

Congress made a promise to the American people to produce those savings. Now, some members of Congress are concerned the sequester’s defense savings are too deep. But that’s not a good reason to “call the whole sequester off.” Rather, it’s a reason to come up with a new mix of defense and non-defense savings by Jan. 1. The overall level of savings is a promise to taxpayers that must be kept.

There’s must, and then there’s must-must, and then there’s modern American politics, where the only must is to get reelected.

So of course Washington must enact savings. But it mustn’t must-must enact savings, in the way a brick must fall to the ground when you drop it. The Senate won’t even take up discussing a budget, even though there’s a law saying — wait for it — that it must. Mandates apply only to you and to me.

Rube Goldberg Could Not be Reached for Comment

November 30th, 2012 - 9:39 am

Cato’s Michael Cannon thinks ObamaCare is still vulnerable, because of its structural flaws:

Contrary to expectations, more than 30 states have refused to create exchanges or are dragging their heels. And with good reason: State-created exchanges bring higher taxes.

The very tax credits that are contingent on states implementing an exchange are also an essential part of the trigger mechanisms for the law’s penalties on employers and individuals who don’t purchase health insurance. Since those tax credits are only available through state-created exchanges, states can exempt their employers from penalties of up to $2,000 per worker simply by not creating exchanges. By my count, states can collectively exempt 18 million Americans from other penalties that, by 2016, will reach $2,085 on families of four earning as little as $24,000. California could exempt all employers and 2.6 million residents from those penalties just by scuttling its exchange.

The repercussions would be tremendous. The purpose of those credits and subsidies is to hide the cost of the law’s mandates and regulations. Blocking them would not increase the law’s costs; it would reveal those costs to insurers and consumers. Under those circumstances, even vulnerable Democratic senators probably would demand that Congress reopen the law. That seems rather likely: 14 states have enacted statutes or constitutional amendments that explicitly prohibit state employees from even assisting in the imposition of such penalties, a key function of an exchange.

To be sure, the Internal Revenue Service is trying to impose those penalties even in states that don’t create exchanges. Oklahoma’s attorney general has sued to stop them, and additional lawsuits probably will follow.

If any such lawsuits prevail, employers will flee states like California that have created exchanges to seek refuge in states such as Arizona, where those penalties do not apply.

A couple of things come to mind. The first is, almost three years after the law was passed, we’re still learning just how epic its powers of destruction are. The second? That’s not a bug; it’s a feature.

I don’t share Cannon’s optimism, either. Margaret Thatcher’s “ratchet effect” is in full force here, and this is one hell of a big ratchet.

So That’s What’s In It

November 29th, 2012 - 3:15 pm

Who will be hit hardest as ObamaCare puts the squeeze on care? You’ll never guess:

Medicaid is cumbersome, complex, and wasteful – already the worst health care program in the country. But rather than making changes to improve or modernize this program designed to finance care for the poor, the Obama administration is trying to convince states to add at least 16 million more people to Medicaid, including families making more than $30,000 a year.

That means the poorest and most vulnerable patients enrolled today will be competing with millions of new Medicaid patients for appointments to see a limited number of physicians. Those who have the greatest need and nowhere else to go are likely to have the hardest time getting care.

But at least they’ll have their ObamaPhones. Suckers.

The Price of Losing

November 29th, 2012 - 2:18 pm

It’s high. Unbearably high.

Microsoft has at long last announced pricing for the Surface Pro model, due out after the holidays. It will set buyers back $899, assuming any can be found.

This thing has the stench of fail all over it. Here’s why:

• The price. It will be harder to use than an Ultrabook, but cost the same or more.

• The size. Nobody has figured out a way to sell a tablet bigger than ten inches. Even Apple’s “ten-inch” iPad isn’t much bigger than nine and a half.

• The weight. It’s twice as thick as the Surface RT, so you can bet it’s in the three pound range. That’s as much as a MacBook Air, or a Windows Ultrabook.

• The screen. For $499 you can get a fourth-generation iPad pushing more even more pixels (three million of them, or 50% more than Surface), packed into a tighter space. Honestly, the Retina Display is breathtaking. This… isn’t.

• The OS. It runs Windows, which has flopped in the tablet space for more than a decade now.

• The stylus. Seriously, WTF? Microsoft has been trying and failing to sell stylus-based tablets without success for ten years, and their Big New Idea is a semi-touch OS with… a stylus? You’ll need it though, because Windows 8 is not a touch operating system. It has some touch features, but it is meant for a trackpad or a mouse.

• The price. Again. That $899 doesn’t include the $129 you’ll need to spend on the fancy keyboard, because (everybody say it with me now) Windows 8 is not a touch operating system. MS includes the cheaper version of the keyboard cover with the Surface RT for free, and they should have done the same here. Windows 8 without a keyboard is a like a fish without… a set of gills.

The Surface Pro will sell to a few Windows diehards and to stylus fans, which is a Venn diagram made of one circle.

The tragedy is, the Surface should have been a contender. The hardware is gorgeous, but the OS (both OSes, actually) is all wrong. If Steve Ballmer could see past his “Windows Everywhere” flop sweat, he’d realize that Windows Phone 8 is a damn fine touch OS — and that WP8 is what Surface should run.

Instead, the Surface Jr. runs Windows RT, which is Redmond’s redheaded stepchild. It isn’t quite touch and it won’t run Windows programs. And the Surface Sr. has Win8 unceremoniously grafted into a tablet so big and heavy it could box cruiser weight.

Heads should roll over this mess, starting with Ballmer’s big fat shiny one.

CORRECTION: The Surface Pro weighs only two pounds, not three. So why is it so thick? The only thing I can think of is that Core i5 CPU needs plenty of airflow.

Microsoft Surface RT Flops

November 29th, 2012 - 1:06 pm

That’s what DigiTimes is reporting:

The upstream supply chain of Microsoft’s Surface RT has recently seen the tablet’s orders reduced by half, and with other Windows RT-based tablet orders also seeing weak performance, sources from the upstream supply chain believe the new operating system may not perform as well as expected in the market.

Microsoft originally expected to ship four million Surface RT devices by the end of 2012, but has recently reduced the orders by half to only two million units.

Although Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Dell have all launched Windows RT-based tablets, consumer demand for those devices is also weak.

I hate to say I told you so, but… man, did I ever tell you so.

Coming Soon from Baen Books

November 29th, 2012 - 12:36 pm
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I got to interview science fiction author (and Casa Verde regular) Sarah Hoyt about her upcoming books. Here’s a preview.

UPDATE: Yes, that’s not one but two bottles of scotch on the table.

Realize Your Terrible Potential, Mr. President

November 29th, 2012 - 10:25 am

Trifecta: Here’s some helpful advice from Timothy Noah on how the President can be the tyrant we always knew he could be.

Kruiser is sitting in on this one while we install some equipment upgrades.

Fill ‘er Up?

November 29th, 2012 - 7:47 am

Are we headed towards some kind of “Global Spring?” Maybe, says Time magazine:

While the demonstrators that have mobbed the streets of Amman for two weeks now are demanding the overthrown of King Abdullah — a criminal offense in Jordan — it’s not the demand for democracy that sparked their protests. Instead, thousands of Jordanians have been spurred to act by a more basic issue: the rising price of gas after the government withdrew its subsidies.

Jordanians are hardly alone in their anger.

I dunno. Our President has been jacking up energy prices on purpose, and we just reelected the hell out of that guy.

The Runner-Up Was the Corpse of Idi Amin

November 29th, 2012 - 6:28 am

Layers of Fact-Checkers Update: Chinese People’s Daily falls for Onion parody naming Kim-Jong-un the “Sexiest Man Alive.”

When All You Have is a Welfare Check…

November 29th, 2012 - 5:08 am

Matt Welch is — sigh — depressingly on-the-money:

In fiscal year 2000, Clinton’s last as president, the federal government spent $1.77 trillion. Multiply that number by two, and you’re almost to federal spending in FY 2010: $3.72 trillion in Obama’s first wholly owned budget. If we had limited government’s growth—not actually cut government, mind you, but limited its growth—at the rates of inflation and population-expansion, the 2010 federal budget would have been a much more affordable $2.50 trillion. Instead of “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 1, 2013, we’d be facing a federal budget surplus.

Faced with the overwhelming evidence that the debt and deficit problem is definitionally a spending problem, negotiators and commentators are talking about everything except cutting the size of government.

We’re talking about talking about maybe reforming entitlements somewhere down the line. No cuts, mind you, just a reduction in growth. But Obama has already proposed to increase welfare spending by another 30% over his final four years — even while assuming economic growth and Americans getting back to work.

The economy is in the tank? Jack up welfare spending. Happy days are here again? Jack up welfare spending some more.

We live in the Welfare State. Act accordingly.

Lessons Unlearned

November 28th, 2012 - 3:20 pm

Lynette Ong on China’s Potemkin skyscrapers:

Underwriting the impressive facade, however, is an incredibly risky strategy. Governments borrow money using land as collateral and repay the interest on their loans using funds they earn from selling or leasing the same land. All this means that the Chinese economy depends on a buoyant real estate market to keep grinding. If housing and land prices fall dramatically, a fiscal or banking crisis would likely soon follow. Meanwhile, local officials’ hunger for land has displaced millions of farmers, leading to 120,000 land-related protests each year.

The recklessness can be traced to two things: First, local Chinese officials are evaluated for promotions and other rewards based on how well the economy they manage performs. Construction and real estate activities are among the most straightforward ways to stimulate growth. White-elephant construction projects thus offer eager officials a perfect opportunity to impress their political superiors, even if massive developments do not necessarily make any economic sense. Take, for example, the city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia: Its elaborate urban infrastructure and its sea of new flats and office blocks are nearly all unoccupied, making it China’s largest ghost city.

I’m reminded of a lesson learned years ago reading Austin Bay and James Dunnigan. Third World leaders (and I include the old Soviet Politburo in that definition) always loved to buy or build lots and lots of missiles and tanks, and then put them on display.

It’s comparatively easy to own a lot of impressive-looking equipment, and to march around lots of young men in smart uniforms. You count the tanks, you range the missiles, you raise the divisions — and on paper you have what looks like a fearsome military.

Of course, then that military goes to war and you find it doesn’t actually, you know, fight very well. Or maybe you never have to go to war, but you find that building all those missiles and raising all those divisions have devastated what little economy you ever had.

Exhibit A for the former is the Iraqi Army circa 1990. Exhibit A for the latter is the entire Soviet Union just one year later.

What’s hard — what’s really, really hard — is training all those young men to fight. It’s hard on the equipment, which will need extra maintenance or earlier replacement — or forces you to build your stuff up to Western milspec. All that training costs money you don’t have for fuel and bullets, and tears up the countryside. And it keeps the men from doing typical Third World army tasks like helping to bring in the crops. But in the end, you get an army that can fight. You’ll also end up with a smaller military that might not look as impressive on paper.

China is putting up entire new cities like a teenage boy pours on the Drakkar Noir before his first date. Neither is likely to end with a big score.

Don’t call me, I’ll call you:

Medicare and Medicaid savings should be part of future debt-reduction efforts, but not on the table in talks regarding the impending “fiscal cliff,” the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate said.

In the prepared remarks of Sen. Richard Durbin’s speech today to the liberal Center for American Progress, he writes that progressives cannot “pretend” the programs can “continue forever” without changes to ensure their solvency. But the majority whip from Illinois insists that any adjustments should come after the immediate budget is passed.

“Progressives should be willing to talk about ways to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” it reads. “But those conversations should not be part of a plan to avert the fiscal cliff.”

Yes. Exactly. Because if entitlements aren’t on the table now, Durbin will be happy to revisit them a later date. A much later date. At a muchly much-much more later date.

The fun part, to mix my children’s stories reference, will be watching the GOP try and kick that football just one more time.

Your G-g-g-g-g-generation Sucks

November 28th, 2012 - 1:12 pm

Here’s a story that will shock absolutely nobody in my age bracket:

But Gen Xers who own small businesses will, for starters, greet the new year with the payroll tax reverting to its 1990s levels. This is especially pernicious for the self-employed, who must pay both the employer and employee side of the tax.

Our cohort was hit harder than any other during the Great Recession, and the middle class under age 45 is likely to get battered again even if Congress and the White House come to the kind of solution that Washington pundits deem responsible. If Congress doesn’t fix the Alternative Minimum Tax (which it typically does yearly — but never indexes for inflation), it will smack folks in the $75,000 a year range, which is above the average American salary but hardly represents the “millionaires and billionaires” President Obama is so fond of excoriating.

In the same way that we at the kids’ table crane our necks to hear what the grownups are talking about, we watch as the president invites the bosses of big labor unions to the White House one day and the CEOs of major corporations the next.

“We’re all in this together” is a great talking point — unless your generation is among the groups hit hardest by tax increases, yet also with the smallest voice to do anything about it.

We were the generation the Baby Boomers were too busy doing –whatever– to raise, and now we’ll be the ones stuck, once again, with the bill for their good times.

We’re used to it. We don’t like it. But we’re used to it.

Our generation’s motto, if we were big and loud and self-absorbed enough to have one, would be, “Never trust anyone born between 1946 and 1964.”

Deja Vu All Over Again

November 28th, 2012 - 12:10 pm

Here comes the big parade:

On Wednesday, Obama meets with the chief executives of major corporations, while congressional Republicans and Democrats will talk separately with deficit-reduction gurus, including former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who co-chaired a special panel appointed by Obama in 2010 to study the matter.

The president also will meet with those described by the White House as middle-class Americans who face a major impact from the fiscal cliff — higher taxes and automatic reductions in military and discretionary federal spending at the end of the year.

Obama concludes the week with a trip Friday to Hatfield, Pennsylvania, to visit a manufacturing operation and deliver a speech.

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner’s office announced Tuesday that congressional Republicans will hold a series of events in Washington and home districts across the country with small business owners to frame Obama’s tax policy as a threat to new jobs.
The series of events on both sides showed the high-profile tactics being used to demonstrate to the nation, including financial markets, that a deal can happen.

It’s nice of Erskine Bowles to agree to be used as Obama’s deficit reduction prop one more time, but I doubt any deal will do much more than kick the can past the next election.

Again.

Stimulus!

November 28th, 2012 - 11:00 am

Ouch:

Superstorm Sandy caused $36.8 billion in damage in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.

Mr. Christie is requesting that amount, which is greater than the state’s entire budget, from the federal government.

The governor said more than 30,000 homes and businesses were destroyed or sustained substantial damage.

The nation’s chief exponent of the Broken Window Fallacy must be pleased at the scale of the devastation.

Unexpectedly!

November 28th, 2012 - 10:20 am

It’s funny how these things always happen after November 6:

New single-family home sales fell slightly in October and the prior month’s pace of sales was revised sharply lower, casting a small shadow over what has been one of the brighter spots in the U.S. economy.

Emphasis added, of course — but did I really need to?

The one bright spot in our economy is looking dimmer than we were told.

Havana Man Cometh

November 28th, 2012 - 9:51 am

From Cuba, yet another case of just not getting it:

The landmark regulations will change the relations of Cubans with their government and are a signal that market-oriented reforms, launched since President Raul Castro succeeded his brother, Fidel Castro, in 2008, are here to stay.

The recently published code constitutes the first comprehensive taxation in Cuba since the 1959 revolution abolished just about all taxes.

The story should have mentioned the terrible price Cubans have paid for their “freedom” from taxes.

Your Wednesday Dose of Doom and Gloom

November 27th, 2012 - 12:00 pm

Yikes:

We most often hear about the alarming $15.96 trillion national debt (more than 100% of GDP), and the 2012 budget deficit of $1.1 trillion (6.97% of GDP). As dangerous as those numbers are, they do not begin to tell the story of the federal government’s true liabilities.

The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.

I’m not actually worried about it. Washington is going to hit the wall — fall off the cliff, set its hair on fire, whatever — long before those other bills come due.

Already it’s safe to say there’s no market for the amount of debt Washington is already issuing. Last year the Fed, the lender of last resort, bought up three-quarters of all of DC’s new debt. 77%. It will do about the same this year.

It used to be that when Congress wanted to borrow money, it went hat-in-hand to America’s savers. But Americans stopped saving enough for DC’s appetites, so Congress went to Japan to borrow, then to China. And since Japan and China had to do something with all those dollars they’d gotten from selling us cars and consumer electronics, why not?

These days Japan has troubles of its own, and China seems somewhat less interested in buying securities with a payout lower than the rate of inflation. Go figure.

But fear not! Congress need not go hat in hand to anyone, so long as Ben Bernanke is willing to run the printing presses and use his Make Believe Dollars to buy all the real debt Congress and the president can dream up. And inflation remains low (except for buyers of food and fuel and other exotic goods) because nobody in the private sector is doing much buying. They’re staying hunkered down, trying to avoid being beaten by ObamaCare and the EPA and reenergized union thugs.

It’s further down the line where things get really interesting.

As previously noted, there is not enough demand in the whole entire world for all the new debt we produce each year — but at least it’s cheaper than producing oil pipelines, right? Anyway. There also exists no politically feasible plan for getting our deficits very much under a trillion dollars a year, every year, for as far as the eye can see. Yes, unemployment checks aren’t going out with the same happy ferocity they were a couple of years ago, but entitlement spending is going nowhere but up. And eventually, Uncle Ben is going to have to stop conjuring up Make Believe Dollars.

Because eventually the economy will pick up some steam. It’s at that point that Uncle Ben has to start selling bonds, to hoover up all those Make Believe Dollars he’s been injecting into the economy. If he doesn’t, they’ll run around in their trillions, chasing the same number of goods. This is what we call “nasty inflation.”

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One of Time’s candidates for Person of the Year is Sandra Fluke?

Look, I’ve got a six-year-old who probably demands even more free stuff than Sandy — so where’s his cover story?

I know Time also selected Hitler one year, but at least Hitler could draw a crowd.

But, hey, it’s the Year of the War on Women or something, so Sandy probably fits right in with our zeitgeist of ignoring important things while elevating the trivial. Maybe they ought to pick her after all.

A Little Hair of the Dog

November 26th, 2012 - 3:28 pm
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But Can it Make Julienne Fries?

November 26th, 2012 - 1:10 pm

It’s a toaster that opens your garage door! It’s an aquarium with a built-in juicer! It’s the world’s first luxury automobile that can automatically repel cheetahs!

No… it’s just the latest misguided attempt to make a laptop that’s also a tablet. Or maybe the other way around. It’s Lenovo’s new Yoga 13.

It’s a half-pound heavier than the MacBook Air with the same screen. It has a touchscreen with far fewer pixels than a third- or fourth-generation iPad. But then the keyboard snaps off leaving you with what might be the world’s thickest and heaviest tablet. Oh, and for reasons science cannot explain, it can do this:

Hence the name Yoga, I suppose. It looks better when a pretty girl in yoga pants is doing it, though.

It’s said to be a pretty good Ultrabook.

So why didn’t Lenovo just make an even better Ultrabook, and skip the gimmicks?

That Old Devil Moon

November 26th, 2012 - 12:34 pm

When the stakes are high, people get a little crazy sometimes. Especially when those people are in government:

During the height of the Cold War, U.S. officials debated whether to detonate nuclear bomb on the moon in order to send a message to the Soviet Union, the Asian News International reports.

The secret project dubbed, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” and nicknamed “Project A119,” was seriously being considered until it was scrapped because military officials were worried it would hurt the people on Earth.

It pains me to realize that after all these years, Frank J. has been stealing his best material.

A Balanced Approach to Doom

November 26th, 2012 - 10:26 am

How many times since 1980 has Federal spending actually declined?

The answer may shock you. It sure shocked me — I needed almost three fingers.

So Be Good for Goodness Sake

November 26th, 2012 - 8:29 am

Another headline like this and I’ll become an atheist again before you can say, “happy heretic.”

How Big a GOP?

November 26th, 2012 - 7:22 am

Rick Moran: How the implementation of ObamaCare will make the GOP a majority party.

Rick makes some very good points, and I found myself nodding along most of the time. Especially when you think of how ObamaCare will require your doctor to ask you about tons of things unrelated to your visit (or to your health) and then report your answers to some bureaucrat in DC, raising the painintheassitude of simply trying to get some codeine cough syrup.

So maybe, yes, people rise up in a massive Health Care Revolt of 2016, to mirror the great Tax Revolt of 1979.

But what does the GOP do? Will it take a bold stand for dismantling this monstrosity? Or will it trim ObamaCare’s rougher edges, for a kinder, gentler democratic tyranny?

The GOP has some soul-searching to do between now and then.

Launching Your Seed Corn

November 24th, 2012 - 8:39 am

Iron Dome is good — very, very good — but it has a voracious appetite:

One factor Israel may have considered in agreeing to the recent cease fire with Hamas was a possible shortage of Tamir missiles (used by the Iron Dome system to shoot down rockets). The problem was that Israel was not sure how many long (over 20 kilometers) range rockets (that could reach larger urban areas) Hamas had left. Hamas had managed to about a thousand rockets in a week, with most of them hitting unoccupied areas, or being intercepted by Tamir missiles. Israeli aircraft had made over a thousand bombing raids on Gaza, hitting hundreds of rocket storage sites. But the rockets appeared to be stored in small quantities all over the place. Israel won’t say what their count was of Hamas rockets destroyed by air strikes, but it was apparently less than the 12,000 rockets Hamas is supposed to have.[Emphasis added]

This has to factor in to any Israeli decision to go to war against Iran. Hamas (to the south) and Hezbollah (to the north) would certainly join in the fun — and quickly deplete Israel’s stockpile of Tamirs. At $90,000 per missile, that puts a real crimp in the IDF’s ability to keep Israeli civilians safe for the duration of a protracted conflict. And don’t think the Mullahs and jihadis don’t know it.

This reminds me of Nasser’s plan to strangle Israel in 1967. He put the massive Egyptian army in the Sinai, forcing the IDF to mobilize and suck thousands and thousands of productive men and women out of the Israeli economy. Eventually, Israel would have to settle on terms favorable to Egypt, as their economy imploded.

Of course, that little gambit got shot to hell when the IDF struck first and destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground and beat their army back to the Suez in a lightning campaign.

It would seem that the Iranian/Jihadi alliance is trying the missile version of Nasser’s gambit. This time around, it’s civilian Jews being held hostage — along with the economy. The stakes are somewhat higher now, yes?

It will be interesting (ahem) to see how the Israelis raise them.