Biden, Hamas, and Israel

In this rather confused video clip (some of it in text form in this article), Biden seems to be saying that (1) he believes the “30,000 Palestinians killed” number which has been circulating, which most observers believe is bogus, (2) that Israel is violating the international rules of war, which he says “we” changed following WWII, and (3) strongly implying that Israel is conducting carpet bombing, which is false.  He also says that Hamas would like a ceasefire because they would “have a better chance to survive and rebuild.”  He is apparently just fine with this outcome.

He also says he told the Israeli war cabinet:  “Do not make the mistake America made,’… we should not have gone into the whole thing in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not necessary. It was not necessary. It caused more problems than it cured.”

Whatever one thinks about the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it requires a special kind of cluelessness to not notice the geographical closeness of Gaza-based Hamas to Israel, and the immediate and murderous nature of the threat that Israel faces.

Or, more likely, he does realize this, but does not consider Israeli lives to be very important when measured against Michigan electoral votes.

“Public Service”

In a WSJ piece about the report recently issued by special prosecutor Robert Hur, John Sciortino notes that “The report also expressly weighed in its non-prosecution recommendation President Biden’s “nearly fifty years” of public service as a senator, vice president and now president.”

Left unsaid is why 50 years as a politician and officeholder should be considered as of more value than 50 years as a farmer, an entrepreneur, research scientist at a drug company, or night-shift worker at a steel mill or a semiconductor fab.  This kind of privilege seems directly contrary to the whole idea of equality before the law.  Indeed, it seems reminiscent of the kind of privilege that caused so much anger in pre-revolutionary France.

Note also that there are special student-loan forgiveness provisions for people who are employees of government entities (state, federal, local, or tribal) or of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

Who Are the Commissioners?

If you read English naval history, you are sure to run into a reference to The Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral.  Your first reaction is likely to be something like, “Huh?  WTF?  Why couldn’t the Lord High Admiral execute the duties of his own office?  Lazy, much?”

The way it worked, as I understand it, was like this:

–Some of the time, there was no Lord High Admiral.  Hence, it was the duty of the Commissioners to do what a Lord High Admiral would/should have done if such an individual had existed.

–At other times, there was indeed a Lord High Admiral, but his role was purely ceremonial, and the Commissioners were the ones who actually performed the duties of the office.

–And at still other times, there was indeed a Lord High Admiral who did the admiral-type work.  I’m not sure whether in these cases, the Commissioners were still there to serve as assistants, or whether the Commission was temporarily suspended during the tenure of such admirals.

It strikes me that there is a certain parallel with the current situation in the US vis-a-vis Joe Biden.  One key difference being that the English people knew who the Commissioners of the Admiralty were.  Yet while it is clear that Biden is getting a significant degree of direction and ‘help’ in executing the duties of his office, we in America today don’t have a good understanding of who these helpers/directors might be.

I don’t think there’s anything like a formal  “cabal” for telling Joe Biden what to do.”  Much more likely, we have a loosely-coupled set of influencers, with power even greater–much greater–than typical of a president’s inner circle.  Who are these people?  Barack Obama, certainly, and many members of the Obama administration: there is some truth to the statement that the Biden administration has really been the third Obama administration.   Doctor Jill Biden, playing the role of Edith Wilson.  Ron Klain.  Susan Rice.  We can only guess who else, because the influencers are not a formal organization from whom transparency can be demanded. It is clear also that Biden is greatly influenced by prominent media figures and academics–clearly, he believes that it is very important to stand in well with the Ivy League:

“Lemme tell you something,” Mr. Biden says, with a clenched jaw. “There’s a river of power that flows through this country. . . . Some people—most people—don’t even know the river is there. But it’s there. Some people know about the river, but they can’t get in . . . they only stand at the edge. And some people, a few, get to swim in the river. All the time. They get to swim their whole lives . . . in the river of power. And that river flows from the Ivy League.

Like many social climbers, Biden also cares a lot about what ‘Europeans’ think.

Another major difference between our present situation and that of the administration of the Royal Navy:  Although the damage that the Commissioners of the Admiralty could do though mistaken decisions was quite substantial–ships sunk, sailors lost, colonial possessions lost, possibly in the worst case an invasion of England itself–there was no danger that a bad decision on their part would destroy the entire world.  That is not the case with the potential damage that could be done by bad advice from out present ‘Commissioners’

Last month marked the 60st anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It is now pretty clear that…despite the previous claims of some of the involved individuals…JFK stood almost alone against the advice of his advisors–including his brother Bobby–who insisted on air strikes and/or an invasion of Cuba. (See The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory, by Sheldon Stern, which makes extensive use of the now-declassified secret White House recordings)  It is also pretty clear that the advisor-recommended reactions would have led to a very bad outcome, quite possibly including general nuclear war.

What are the odds that Biden would stand strongly against the almost-unanimous view of his advisors in a similar situation? I’d say it is pretty low.

Regarding the influence of Obama, @wrtechardthecat wrote at X:

Like the dead hand of an ancient curse, Obama‘s vision, based on a now vanished world, will wreak a path of ruin until it finally collapses on the shambles of all it sought to transform…The once unipolar world is fractured — and is still fracturing — along two lines: the line of Great Powers, Russia, the West and China; and the line of civilizations, Islam and the West. Biden, now over 80, cannot hope to retrieve things in an Obama fourth term…

In less than two years, Biden and his ‘Commissioners’ have done tremendous damage to the United States and the world.  It is hard to imagine that any future Democratic administration would not also be heavily subject to the influence of Obama and the other ‘commissioners’ I mentioned above, leaving aside only Doctor Jill Biden.  The best hope of minimizing this damage lies in the potential for a Republican House and and Republican Senate.  True, many of the candidates are not what we would wish.  But ‘the best is the enemy of the good’, and the issue of the moment is not establishing ideal policies but rather avoiding multiple catastrophes.


See also:  Commissioner Doctor Jill Biden


About every 3 or 4 weeks, Peggy Noonan’s WSJ column has something worthwhile to say.  The September 14 column was one of those times.  Talking about Biden, she cites ‘Whatever it Takes’, Richard Ben Cramer’s history of the 1988 presidential campaign, which she says presages a great deal of what we observe each day of Mr. Biden, and it is suggestive of the origins of the Hunter Biden problems and allegations.

For one thing, Joe Biden has always been obsessed by real estate and fancy houses, and money was always an issue. On a house he would buy a few years into his first Senate term: “The house is gorgeous, an old du Pont mansion in the du Pont neighborhood called Greenville, outside Wilmington. It’s the kind of place a thousand Italian guys died building—hand-carved doorways, a curbing hand-carved grand staircase that Clark Gable could have carried a girl down, a library fit for a Carnegie. . . . And a ballroom—can’t forget the ballroom.” He bid more than he had, “but Biden never let money stand in the way of a deal. He got in the developer’s face and started talking—fast.” He got the house—he always got the houses—and thereafter scrambled to cover its cost.

He wanted it all and had a sharp eye for how to get it. There is a beautiful speech Cramer presents as Mr. Biden’s. He was sitting around a back yard in Wilmington with friends when his sons were young, and Mr. Biden asked, “Where’s your kid going to college?”

His friend said, “Christ, Joe! He’s 8 years old!” Another implied it wasn’t important.

“Lemme tell you something,” Mr. Biden says, with a clenched jaw. “There’s a river of power that flows through this country. . . . Some people—most people—don’t even know the river is there. But it’s there. Some people know about the river, but they can’t get in . . . they only stand at the edge. And some people, a few, get to swim in the river. All the time. They get to swim their whole lives . . . in the river of power. And that river flows from the Ivy League.

See my related post Harvard and America and the discussion here at Chicago Boyz.

Dumb Company Tricks


When General Motors began outlining plans in 2020 to fully switch to electric vehicles, it didn’t account for one critical factor: Many of the battery minerals needed to fulfill its plans were still in the ground. 

“I remember seeing a report from our raw-materials team at the time saying, ‘There is plenty of lithium out there. There is plenty of nickel’,” said Sham Kunjur, an industrial engineer now in charge of securing the raw materials for GM’s batteries. “We will buy them from the open market.”

GM executives soon came to discover how off the mark those projections were, and now Mr. Kunjur’s 40-person team is scouring the globe for these minerals. 

Of course,  the Biden administration’s energy policy basically does the same kind of assuming, but in their case on the scale of the entire US energy infrastructure.