Lee Smith is a veteran journalist whose work appears in Real Clear Investigations, the Federalist, and Tablet. He is the author of “The Permanent Coup” and “The Plot Against the President.”
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What's coming soon...

Sorry for the light posting last few days but I've been working on a few things for here that I hope you'll find interesting, including an in-depth piece on the operation behind the DOJ's Trump indictment; as well as a fresh look at Hillary Clinton's emails — did you know the FBI hid evidence they were read by Russian intelligence? Also, a live stream Friday showing why the DNC has no plans to rotate out Joe Biden for Gavin Newsom or anyone else. Plus, What's the best way to understand the pathological evil spreading its wings over all society?

All this and more, very soon — in the meantime, thanks again! Yours, Lee

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Joe Kent: The leaked document story just isn’t possible.
Lee Smith asks Joe Kent about the leaked documents.
Joe Kent: The big Takeaway from the leaked documents is what was in them.
October 24, 2023
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Why is Biden Protecting Hamas?
The US has turned against Israel to preserve its partnership with Iran


Joe Biden and White House validators are counseling the Israelis not to make the same mistake US leadership did after 9/11 by lashing out angrily and without a long-term plan. But that’s not Israel’s real problem. Jerusalem’s strategic dilemma is that its longtime superpower patron has switched sides — the White House is defending Hamas in order to preserve its partnership with Israel’s chief enemy, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On Monday Biden’s former boss Barack Obama released a statement echoing the White House’s messaging campaign in support of its efforts to restrain Israel from a ground invasion of Gaza. In short, Israel is about to make the same mistakes we made after 9/11. “America itself has at times fallen short of our higher values when engaged in war,” Obama writes. “In the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government wasn’t interested in heeding the advice of even our allies when it came to the steps we took to protect ourselves against Al Qaeda. Obama's message is this: Israel has to listen to us because we resupply the munitions without which they cannot make war. 

Obama also listed articles, “with useful perspectives and helpful background information,” by his former communications advisor Ben Rhodes and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman hitting on the 9/11 theme.  Rhodes’ piece is intended to “remind us of the risks of responding to violence with greater violence,” like the “US’s vengeful reaction to September 11.” According to Friedman, Biden “pleaded with Israeli military and political leaders to learn from America’s rush to war after Sept. 11, which took our troops deep into the dead ends and dark alleys of unfamiliar cities and towns in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

America’s problem wasn’t that the George W. Bush administration responded to 9/11 with overwhelming force to make the cost of future potential attacks on the United States prohibitively high. The problem rather was that Bush changed the mission from deterrence to democracy promotion. And at that point, the boondoggle that enriched Washington, DC while impoverishing the regions that sent its children to war was on.

It seems that at least at first Bush was earnest about the freedom agenda. It was based on the thesis that terrorism was the result of despotic Middle Eastern regimes repressing their populations: With no other channels to express their political longings, the people of the region had no other choice but political violence. They terrorized the West because our governments supported the people who terrorized them. Thus, the best way to protect Americans was to topple their tormentors and liberate the Middle East.

In my 2011 book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, I showed why the freedom agenda was predestined to fail: American policymakers had risked US security on a thesis detached from reality. As Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghiyeh told me: “In Iraq, the Americans thought the problem was with Saddam’s regime. Once you get the regime out of the way, then things would be okay. But they’re not. The Arabs on the other hand have always thought the problem in the region was colonialism, Europe, the United States, but it’s not. The problem is the society.”

That is, the problem with the Middle East is not simply the regimes, but the societies from which the regimes are drawn. Or as Plato puts it in Book VIII of The Republic, “The states are as the men are. They grow out of human characters.”

Thus the freedom agenda sheds light on the question whether ordinary Palestinians support Hamas. In 2006, Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Palestinians to move to elections and as many observers had warned, Hamas defeated its ostensibly less murderous rival, Fatah. Fatah and its international backers, led by the United States, rejected the outcome, which led to an intra-Palestinian war that left Hamas in charge of Gaza while Fatah ruled the West Bank.

It’s true that much of the current population in both territories wasn’t yet old enough to vote in the 2006 elections, but the issue is not whether Palestinians today would vote for Hamas but whether they would vote for a faction that promised to end the war on Israel or one that would continue it. The historical record shows that Palestinians have overwhelmingly supported war against Israel since the 1948 founding of the Jewish state. Indeed, the only reason that Fatah doesn’t regularly wage terror attacks on Jews is because Israeli military and police protect them from superior Hamas forces.

The Biden administration forfeited the opportunity to try to split Gazans from Hamas after Israel cut off Gaza’s water and food supply as well as the electricity it supplies to the territory. There is no law, moral or even international, that requires one side to sustain enemy combatants or the population from which it draws its fighters. In effect, Gazans were given a choice as old as warfare itself: continued support of your leaders will lead to privation and eventually death; abandon your leaders and you will have life. By demanding that Israel restore water and electricity and allow aid trucks pass through Egypt, the White House lifted sanctions on an organization responsible for the largest one-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, and tied the fate of Gazans to Hamas.

To best understand the current balance of power in the region, it’s useful to see the sides in terms of a normal war scenario in which combatant one (Israel) and combatant two (Hamas) occupy two separate territories. A third party (the US) opens a corridor of aid to territory two. By doing so, the third party makes clear it is the ally of the combatant that rules territory two — that is, Hamas. At the same time, the third party constrains and sabotages the attack plan of combatant one, thereby signaling it is an enemy of combatant one, Israel.

The Biden administration is doing everything in its power to derail Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza. While Biden gives public support to Israel, White House aides leak anonymously to show that Washington has no faith in Israeli leadership’s plans and goals. Washington asks for more time to get military assets in place across the region, which only gives Hamas more time to dig in, as world opinion inevitably turns against Jerusalem.

Obama, Biden, and their validators warn that Israel may get America dragged into a wider regional war with Hamas’ patron Iran, thereby embroiling the US in a replay of our post-9/11 disaster. But first Obama and now Biden have given the Iranian regime access to hundreds of billions of dollars in an effort to legalize its nuclear weapons program. Those are not signs of enmity but rather indicate an alliance.

The simple fact is this: with Obama and Biden, the US has switched sides. The White House is deterring Israel from striking against Hamas to preserve America’s new partnership with the Islamic Republic.





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August 11, 2023
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Charlottesville 6 Years Later
The "Very Fine People" Hoax And Obama's "Traitor" Narrative

Tablet just published my reflections on Charlottesville and "the very fine people" espisode six years on. I discussed some of my ideas about it here last month on a live stream and wanted to say thanks to my Locals community for helping me think it through some. Feel free to leave your comments and we can discuss it more if you like. In the meantime, withing you a great weekend. LS


How Charlottesville Broke the Peace

The South already lost the Civil War. Why are Trump’s opponents so interested in restarting it?

Last month, officials at Washington & Lee University removed the headstone at the burial site of Traveller, a horse whose famous rider, General Robert E. Lee, served as president of the school after leading Confederate forces in the Civil War. After complaints from alumni and others, another headstone was substituted for it—one without Lee’s name or that of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who dedicated the memorial in 1971.

On social media, some users mocked activists for having gone so far as to target animals deemed “racist,” but the impulse to pick on Lee’s steed signals something dark. Americans are famously sentimental about animals. The easiest way for moviemakers to communicate a character’s cruelty is by showing them mistreating one. Desecrating the grave of a pet verges on pathological evil—and fixating on one associated with the Civil War is like casting a spell to stir spirits that will once again set Americans at each other’s throats...


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August 07, 2023
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Obama’s Jan 5 Conspiracy
Trump’s Problem, and America’s, Isn’t the Deep State — It’s His Predecessor


The day before Donald Trump was arraigned in a Washington, DC courtroom last week, the Washington Post reported on a late June meeting between Trump’s successor and his predecessor.

Former president Barack Obama, at a private lunch with President Biden earlier this summer, voiced concern about Donald Trump’s political strengths — including an intensely loyal following, a Trump-friendly conservative media ecosystem and a polarized country — underlining his worry that Trump could be a more formidable candidate than many Democrats realize.

Obama, the report continued, “promised to do all he could to help the president get reelected.” Sourced to “two people familiar with the meeting,” the story is Obama’s way of signaling that he means to finish what he started a day before congress counted the electoral college vote confirming Trump’s 2016 victory.

On January 5, 2017, Obama met in the Oval Office with top law enforcement officials, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI director James Comey, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to discuss the FBI’s Russia investigation.

According to Rice’s notes: “President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.’ The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”

Her memo continues: “From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”

When Rice’s memo was first released to the public midway through Trump’s term, Republican officials wanted to know why she emailed it to herself in the Obama administration’s final hours, just before Trump’s inauguration. GOP investigators and Trump supporters speculated that she was covering for Obama, and herself, should anyone come asking questions about the White House’s role in the unlawful surveillance of the Trump circle.

Obama knew that the Bureau’s investigation was phony from the outset. CIA director John Brennan had told him days before the FBI opened its Trump probe that the story tying the Republican candidate to Russia was a Hillary Clinton campaign ploy to vilify her opponent.

And that’s the crux of the issue: Rice’s January 5 memo documented how after the election the outgoing president credentialed a dirty trick with White House authority and took control of it. Obama wasn’t trying to cover up his role. He wanted his national ssecurity advisor to get it on the record that he’d turned Russiagate into an instrument to undermine his successor.

The next day, Brennan did the same on Obama’s behalf, validating Russiagate with the outgoing president’s official imprimatur. On January 6, the CIA-led intelligence assessment that Obama ordered was released, claiming that Vladimir Putin helped Trump win the election. More than six years after Obama poisoned the public sphere with a conspiracy theory designed to divide the country, America is steadily descending into madness.

With the Post piece last week, Obama used the bureaucracy's hometown paper to announce to the Democratic Party's elite base that he’s still in charge of the anti-Trump plot — he’s got this, he’s leading from behind, just where he said he wanted to be for his third term. And his people are in place to enact his will: Attorney General Merrick Garland, the far-left enforcer Obama wanted on the Supreme Court; Special Counsel Jack Smith, married to the producer of the Michelle Obama documentary; and the Obama-appointed judge hearing the Jan 6-related case, Tanya Chutkan.

Obama needs his people to know that he’s running the show, like that day at the White House when he made sure the cameras were rolling when he ignored Biden, the presidential avatar. It’s in Obama’s nature. The man who left evidence out in the open to take credit for interfering in an election and pushing America to the edge of the abyss by accusing his successor of treason can’t help it. He’s proud of what he did. In destabilizing America, Obama arranged for the country he was twice elected to lead to mirror his own broken psyche. He’s pathological.

Last week Tablet magazine published an important David Samuels interview with historian David Garrow. His biography of Obama, Rising Star, was mostly ignored when it was published in 2017 and it’s not hard to see why — Obama supporters don’t want to hear criticism of Obama, especially when it's coming from the left. Garrow, whose biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize, says Obama’s presidency was a failure and believes history’s assessment will be even harsher.

It's a great piece, with an excellent introductory essay by Samuels, a Tablet colleague and friend. He’s done more than anyone to detail the narcissism and mendacity at the heart of ObamaWorld, most notably with his May 2016 piece on Obama’s propaganda minister Ben Rhodes and the “echo chamber” built to market the Iran nuclear deal. Obama’s communications infrastructure would later become the media platform for Russiagate and is now a crucial pillar of the regime’s intelligence apparatus, detailed to censor, propagandize, and surveil Americans.

The comms architecture has been in place for decades, but it was Obama who fully activated it as a weapon to be used against political opponents, seemingly at least one half of America. In the run-up to the Iran deal, he spied on Americans opposed to it, US legislators and pro-Israel activists. After the 2016 election, dozens of Obama aides, including Biden, unmasked the identities of Trump transition officials caught on intelligence intercepts to spy on them. During his tour to promote the “disinformation” industry this spring, Obama claimed leadership of the whole-of-society effort to censor Americans. “He’s not normal,” Garrow told Samuels. “As in, not a normal politician, or a normal human being.”

Evidence of that has always been out in the open but the precedent for ignoring the obvious was set during the 2008 campaign when his opponent John McCain declined to run an ad about the preacher whose church Obama attended for decades. McCain it seems feared that calling out Jeremiah Wright as a racist, and by extension Obama, would make him look racist.

Subsequently, what motivated Obama’s abnormal ideas appeared to be shrouded in mystery. Why would he make it a priority to legalize the nuclear weapons program of a terror state that embodies antisemitism? Why did he use the intelligence services to spy on opponents? Why does he want to censor them now?

Why was he so determined to destroy Michael Flynn? Even as he warned Trump not to hire Flynn, he made the retired three-star general a special focus of attention in the January 5 meeting. According to Rice’s memo, “President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the [National Security Council] should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn.” In May 2020, Obama leaked a phone call in which he complained that because the DOJ dropped charges against Flynn the “rule of law was at risk” — in fact it was Obama himself who'd undermined the rule of law to satisfy a vendetta against Flynn .

Obama uses language like this all the time, twisting the normal meaning out of words to make them mean the opposite. His much-praised oratory is pop-culture messianism overlaying the systematic inversion of logic. He said the Iran deal was to stop the terror state from getting the bomb when the purpose was to protect its nuclear program under the umbrella of an international agreement. He says protecting democracy means censoring his opponents. He told the FBI director to continue his unlawful investigation of the incoming president “by the book.”

We ignored the evidence that Obama was not normal, evidence he made public, because it meant facing a reality unfamiliar to Americans, though known to anyone subjected to the chaos and violence that are the dark flowers of pathological regimes. It was easier to source what was happening in America to the Deep State, a sprawling assemblage of faceless bureaucrats who move as one to protect its institutional privileges and preferences. It’s a thesis that best suits cyber-futurists — actually, political power is a function of the collective authority of networks to displace hierarchy, etc — because the fact is that someone still has to flip the switch. If the administrative state has a century-long history dating back to the Woodrow Wilson-era birth of the expert class, it’s worth noting that its violent insurgency began only after Obama moved into the White House.

It wasn’t Susan Rice or John Brennan or James Comey who made the ultimate decision to turn US intelligence services on the Trump campaign and gave the order to target the incoming president. And it wasn’t the Deep State that leaked to the press that it’s determined to finish what it started January 5, 2017. It’s time we turned to face our problem.





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