PJM WEEKEND UPDATE: A Big Week for a ‘Big Boy.’ “Make no mistake about it, Biden may have survived his ‘big boy’ press conference Thursday night, but the defining moment of the event was when he said, ‘I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be Vice President if she wasn’t qualified to be president.’”

REPORT FROM ISRAEL, PART I: I went on a fact-finding mission to Israel via the World Jewish Congress with a dozen other law professors, some Jewish, some not. On Wednesday, we visited kibbutz Nir Oz, site of one of the worst massacres on 10/7, with 47 kibbutz members murdered, 71 taken captive, including children and elderly. During the visit, we saw the kibbutz dining hall, which still had a lingering smell of the dead bodies that were stored in the kibbutz refrigerator until they could be given a proper burial. Outside the dining hall, a sign (see Hebrew sign below) remained advertising a peace demonstration to be held on the evening of October 7 in Be’er Sheba, sponsored by Israeli/Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace. The sign says that “it will never end until we talk” and “we should leave the settlements and return to ourselves.”

Nir Oz is a left-wing kibbutz populated by peace activists. One elderly victim, still held hostage by Hamas, was a long time peace activist with many friends in Gaza. Two days a week he drove Gazans in need of medical care to Israeli hospitals. Palestinians living on the border near the kibbutz were undoubtedly aware of the kibbutz’s peacenik and humanitarian endeavors, but nevertheless after the first and second wave of attacks by Hamas, “civilian” mobs invaded and looted, tortured, and murdered. Indeed, we heard that Hamas had to protect its hostages from the “civilians,” who wanted to murder them on the spot. If anyone in Gaza tried to stop or even dissuade the marauders, I haven’t heard about it.

Going back to the elderly hostage, you can see the remains of his house in the pictures below. We met his daughter, who questioned why Hamas has been unwilling to release elderly, sick, hostages (some of whom undoubtedly are now dead), and small children on humanitarian grounds. After all, it would be good propaganda, and they would still have plenty of hostages for negotiating leverage. The obvious answer is that they know that Israelis are especially haunted by the elderly and child hostages, and Hamas prefers psychological torture of Israelis above other goals.

MARTIN GURRI: Joe Biden and a Tear in the Fabric of Things. “Last month’s debate destroyed the carefully crafted myth of Biden as an empathetic, intelligent and resolute leader. For the establishment that perpetrated this hoax, what comes next won’t be pretty.”

PRIORITIES:

YOU’RE WELCOME: American Farmers Are Pretty Happy With That SCOTUS Fish Decision. “So many bogus, standard-of-living-impacting pet projects became law by virtue of department head wand-waving. It’s been a couple of weeks now, and there is an idea of what size tsunami of change, thanks to this decision, might actually wash through the office buildings in D.C.”

OPEN THREAD: Ring in the weekend.

BOTTOM STORY OF THE DAY: SUSAN COLLINS WON’T SUPPORT TRUMP? WHEN HAS SHE EVER?

LIFE ON MARS (SORTA): Lessons From NASA’s 378-Day CHAPEA Experiment. “The CHAPEA simulated missions are unique because they test the impacts of extended isolation and confinement with the addition of Mars-realistic time delays of communicating to Earth – up to 44-minutes roundtrip – along with resource limitations relevant to Mars, including a more limited food system that can be supported on the space station and in other analogs.”

THEY NEVER LEARN:

Say what you will about Harrison Butker, but he’s a harbinger of things to come.

WHAT IF WE KNEW THEN WHAT WE KNOW NOW ON COVID? The Heritage Foundation’s Bob Moffit, writing in The Daily Signal, offers this fascinating fact:

“Did you know that four months before the world had ever heard of COVID-19—on Sept. 3, 2019—authorities in the Veneto region of Italy discovered COVID-19 antibodies in local blood samples. Of course, you didn’t. The deadly and mysterious COVID-19 was around much longer than anyone had previously suspected.”

And this:

“The genomic features of the novel coronavirus are incompatible with a natural origin. Among the many reasons pointing to a lab origin, Dr. Quay noted, ‘ … the genome of SARS-CoV-2 has seven features that would be expected to be found in a virus constructed in a laboratory and which are not found in viruses from nature. The statistical probability of finding each feature in nature can be determined and the combined probability that SARS2 came from nature is less than one in a billion.’”

And that’s just for starters!

Just think – How many lives would have been saved with a four-month head start on responding to what became the Pandemic that has thus far killed an estimated six million people around the world, including 1.2 million Americans.