Frank Schaeffer · Rachel Maddow · The Fifth Cloumn 1st Anniversary

The Fifth Column Of Insanity – One Year Later


Today makes exactly one year since I started this blog.  I thought I’d reproduce the first blog post that I wrote on September 20, 2009.

It’s been a helluva year, politically.  Yet, as you will see, via the following post:  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


The Fifth Column Of Insanity – September 20, 2009

Welcome to Day 1 of The Fifth Column.

Bob Reynolds, journalist, writes about the insanity going on in The United States over Barack Obama’s presidency:

Michelle Bachmann, the US Republican Representative for Minnesota, tells a radio interviewer she believes Barack Obama, the US president, plans to set up mandatory  “re-education camps”  to indoctrinate young Americans.

 Glenn Beck, a television personality working at the Fox news network, says on the air that Obama is a “racist” with a  “deep-seated hatred for white people”.

 Comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler, an Iowa man named Tom Eisenhower  speaks up at a town hall meeting held by Republican Senator Charles Grassley, and says “The president of the United States, that’s who you should be concerned about.”

“I’d take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me.”

 Retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson,  a prolific writer and speaker about conspiracy theories involving devilish sex cults and the Illuminati, tells a gathering of right-wing “Patriots” in Florida that the federal government has set up 10,000 internment camps across the country and is storing thousands of guillotines for mass executions.

 Mel Sanger, a self-described “political researcher”, offers visitors to his website a $24.97-report full of “cutting edge evidence”  that Obama is the biblical Antichrist.

 Tens of thousands of right-wing demonstrators march on the US Capitol waving signs reading “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy” and calling Obama a “bloodsucking Muslim alien”.

 Steven Anderson, the pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, preached a sermon last month entitled “Why I hate Barack Obama”, in which he declared, “I’m going to pray he dies and goes to hell.”

Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, was on the Rachel Maddow show on Thursday, September 17th.  He was explaining the craziness around the ‘tea party’ demonstrations.  His explanation included a term:  “The Fifth Column of Insanity”.  After listening to his explanation, and knowing that I wanted to start a blog about the craziness that is going on politically and culturally, the term sounded like a perfect title for my newly conceived blog.  Listen to Frank Schaeffer:

The video has since been removed.   However, it’s on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC site:

Justice Antonin Scalia · Right Wing Extremism

Scalia Says Constitution Does Not Prevent Gender Discrimination

I’ve often wondered about Justice Antonin Scalia’s political and legal stances for a while now.  This is just one more in a long line of questionable statements or opinions he has rendered.

Think Progress

Speaking to a law school audience in San Francisco last Friday, Justice Antonin Scalia expressed some strange views about the Constitution and gender equality:

Scalia also said he doesn’t believe the Constitution bans sex discrimination.

The 14th Amendment, enacted after the Civil War in 1868, guarantees due process and equal protection and in recent years has been interpreted by courts to prohibit sex discrimination as well as racial discrimination.

But Scalia said he believes the amendment doesn’t apply to discrimination against women because that use of the measure was not intended in 1868.

He said he personally opposes bias against women, but said it can be banned by laws rather than reliance on the Constitution.

“If the current society wants to outlaw sex discrimination, hey, we have legislatures,” Scalia said.

Scalia’s odd stance on gender equality is nothing new. In a 1996 Supreme Court decision limiting gender discrimination in Virginia’s higher education system, he cast the sole dissenting vote in favor of allowing the state to continue to deny educational opportunities to women (Justice Thomas was recused from the case).

What is new, however, is that Scalia may have significantly more support on the present Supreme Court than he did in 1996. Justice Thomas, who has even gone so far as to call for a return to the days when federal child labor laws and laws banning whites-only lunch counters were considered unconstitutional, would almost certainly be moved by Scalia’s claim that women’s rights under the Constitution must remain exactly the same as they were in 1868. Similarly, as a young lawyer in President Reagan’s Justice Department, Chief Justice Roberts penned an article claiming that only race discrimination — and not discrimination on the basis of other categories such as gender — is limited by the Constitution.

Justice Alito does not appear to have weighed in on the question of how much protection the Constitution gives women against gender discrimination, but as a lower court judge, he penned a dissent which would have “eviscerated” the law banning race and gender discrimination in the workplace. Alito was also the author of the Supreme Court’s unforgivable decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire, which cut off many women’s ability to seek equal pay for equal work until President Obama signed a law overturning the decision.

In other words, the Supreme Court could be just one vote away from turning Scalia’s vision into a reality.

Tea Party · Tea Party Anger

Bill Clinton: Listen to the tea party

Well, Mr. President, I’ve tried to “hear” what the Tea party crowd is trying to say, but the message is entangled with so much racist, homophobic and xenophobic rhetoric, that it’s not easy to comprehend their “real intent”, IF there is one outside of those dubious but prominent messages.


Former President Bill Clinton is advising Democrats to pay attention to the grassroots tea party movement and talk openly about its fiscal concerns ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“There are a lot of real people in this tea party movement that are saying something everyone should hear – which is ‘seems like everyone but average Americans are doing all right here. The people that caused the financial crisis are all back in great shape,’ ” Clinton said in a joint interview with Yahoo and the Huffington Post released over the weekend.

Clinton advised Democrats that they may be able attract some voters who share the concerns of tea party activists if they project a more forward looking message.

“I would like to see the Democrats talk much more about how we’re gonna move forward,” the former president said.

“If the election is about apathy on our side [and] anger on their side, we can’t win that race,” he added. “If the election is about what are we going to do now and who’s going to do it, our side will do just fine in a difficult time.”

Still, Clinton said that while he understands the general concerns of tea party activists, the anti-government rhetoric and energy behind the movement would be a destructive force.

“The problem is that if you look at the financial energy behind the tea party movement, it’s not about restricting abuse of big public and private power,” Clinton said. “It’s about destroying the role of government in our life so that private centers of power will be untrammeled, and I don’t think that’s good for average Americans.”

Glenn Beck · Tea Party

Glenn Beck Mocks Michelle Obama At Right Nation Event In Chicago Suburb

So much for keeping the families out of his diatribes against Obama…

Right Nation 2010 came to Hoffman Estates this weekend, bringing Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart and about 300 anti-Beck protesters to the Chicago suburb.

Speakers at the event, which was meant to unify Tea Partiers, Republicans, Independents and other conservatives in a “massive rally for victory in November,” also took the opportunity to rip Illinois and Chicago for its history of corruption.

“Will you raise your right hand and swear you will stop sending politicians to the rest of us, until you get it right?” Beck said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Beck received a standing ovation from the Sears Center crowd when he took the stage, the Chicago Tribune reports. With his chalkboard behind him, Beck discussed many of his usual topics–Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution and God, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He also made fun of First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-junk food campaign:

The Sun-Times reports:

… [Beck] ridiculed first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to get people to eat healthier snacks like apples or carrots.

 “Get away from my french fries, Mrs. Obama,” Beck warned. “First politician that comes up to me with a carrot stick, I’ve got a place for it.  And it’s not in my tummy.”

Continue reading…


President Obama · Tea Party · Tom Tancredo

O’Donnell Aide: Obama’s a Secret Muslim

Here we go again…

Mother Jones – David Corn

In a 2009 article, an aide to the tea party’s latest darling contended that the president has spent 20 years creating an I’m-a-Christian cover story.

Mon Sep. 20, 2010 3:00 AM PDT

Christine O’Donnell, the 41-year-old tea party darling who won the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, has had on her campaign staff a longtime conservative activist who last year wrote an article suggesting President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim.

According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission by O’Donnell’s failed 2008 Senate campaign and by her current campaign, Jon Moseley has worked for O’Donnell in both of these Senate bids. In a recent statement issued in support of her and disseminated by ChristianNewsWire, Moseley described himself as the manager of her unsuccessful 2008 campaign against then-Sen. Joe Biden. Moseley has also served as a campaign treasurer for O’Donnell. But Moseley is not a political operative. For decades, he’s worked for conservative policy groups. A 2008 bio noted that he has been employed by the Heritage Foundation and Judicial Watch, as well as various congressional campaigns. It identified him as the executive director of a group called American Border Control, which says it “works for 100% American control of ports of entry.” (In describing its mission on its website, the organization reports it has collaborated with anti-immigration crusader Tom Tancredo “trying to secure American borders.”)

In 2009, Moseley maintained an intermittent blog that expressed his conservative views. He defended the Bush-Cheney administration’s use of extreme interrogation methods (declaring they were not torture), hailed the tea party movement, maintained that climate change was caused by changes in the sun’s magnetic field, and contended that Obama was and might still be a Muslim.

In an article—titled “Is Barack Hussein Obama (Still) A Muslim?”—Moseley asserted that because Obama had recited to a reporter the Muslim call to prayer (which he apparently learned as a child in Indonesia) he must be a Muslim: “According to Islamic scholars, reciting this Muslim declaration of faith makes one a Muslim.” Moseley noted that “recent events” had prompted “questions about Obama’s [religious] allegiances.” This included Obama’s supposed bow to Saudi Arabian King Abdullah: “Saudi Arabia is the guardian of the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina, making King Abdullah very important and revered among Muslims.” Moseley pointed out that Obama did not bow to Queen Elizabeth, “who is technically the head of the Church of England.” Maintaining that Obama attended school in Indonesia as a Muslim, Mosely noted, “Once a Muslim, always a Muslim.” He argued that Obama’s professed conversion to Christianity was not authentic. To back this up, he cited an interview Obama gave in 2004, during which he said of religious faith, “I believe there are many paths to the same place.” But, Moseley wrote, Jesus “stated there is no other way to God without him.” That is, Obama’s not a true Christian because he’s not a fundamentalist Christian. And in this case not-a-real-Christian equals Muslim.   Continue reading…

Tea Party

A Tale of Two Sisters

I find this quite interesting…

Mother Jones – By David Corn and Suzy Khimm

Tea party/Christian right Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has long decried homosexuality; her sister Jennie supports gay rights and says she lives with a girlfriend.

Imagine the family dinners: two sisters, one running for Senate as an anti-gay Christian conservative, the other an L.A.-based actor/director/spiritual healer who describes herself as living with a girlfriend.

Two days after tea partier Christine O’Donnell won the GOP Senate primary election in Delaware, The Daily Beast published a story that lit up the Internets: Wade Richards, a former employee of O’Donnell’s Christian right organization, The Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth, was saying that O’Donnell’s sister was openly a lesbian and in a long-term same-sex relationship in Los Angeles. (Richards noted that he hooked up with the SALT as a supposedly ex-gay man but eventually came out of the ex-gay closet—and says O’Donnell “totally turned her back on me.”)

As a Christian right activist, O’Donnell has decried homosexuality, condemning the sexual orientation as a “perversion.” SALT not only campaigned against masturbation; it crusaded against homosexuality and other “un-Christian” sexual behaviors. O’Donnell, according to The Daily Beast, would go on speaking tours to discuss “sexual purity and curing homosexuality. Along with other Christian groups, SALT protested when President Bill Clinton appointing a gay man to an ambassadorship, citing the nominee’s alleged “ties to the pedophile-rights movement.” O’Donnell also blasted the federal government for giving too much money to AIDS patients. And earlier in her career, she worked as a press secretary for the Concerned Women for America, which has long railed against “the homosexual agenda.” Yet according to Richards, she had an openly lesbian sister.

Continue reading…


From Mother Jones:  If You Liked This, You Might Also Like… 

Christine O’Donnell’s Jesus Squad – Does the Delaware insurgent represent the marriage of tea party and Christian right?

The GOP’s Christine O’Donnell Problem – After crusading against the Delaware upstart, what’s the GOP going to do about its latest tea party victor?

Why Gay Opponents Hated and Feared the Proposition 8 Trial – Conservatives are arguing against gay marriage in a very limited way.

Tea Party and Christian Coalition: A Pending Marriage? – Tea partiers and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed come together on Day 2 of Reed’s Faith and Freedom Conference.

Gay Activists to Mehlman: Not So Fast – The former GOP chief who helped re-elect George W. Bush now wants to be a gay marriage advocate. Really

President Obama

Midterms 2010: What you need to know

The Washington Post has put out a handy guide to the mid-term elections, which I have reproduced here.  

The Washington Post     Click to download the print version 

Which party will win control of the House and Senate in November? Republicans have the momentum heading into the post-Labor Day crunch, as the GOP has neutralized Democratic advantages on the issues, President Obama’s ratings have faded, and dissatisfaction with the government now surpasses its 1994 levels. Seventy-two percent of voters disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job, a 16-year high. 

Jump to:  

Races to watch  |  Indicators that matter  |  Is history a predictor?  |  Amounts raised 

The Big Issues 


The economy doesn’t just top the list of issues shaping the political environment this fall. It dominates that list. Earlier, the administration came up with the phrase “recovery summer” to highlight the progress the economy has made since President Obama took office. Since then the economy has hit another rocky patch. The jobs report released Friday showed the unemployment rate ticking up to 9.6 percent. In the second quarter, the economy grew at a rate of just 1.6 percent, a downward revision from initial estimates and slower than in the first quarter. The administration’s stimulus package prevented the downturn from becoming even worse, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But the public’s view of the stimulus is far less positive. The economy’s impact can be seen in races across the country. Nevada, hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, now has the nation’s highest unemployment rate. In California, the downturn has contributed to the state’s enormous economic and budgetary problems and affected statewide races there. In Ohio, anti-free-trade sentiment and the decline of manufacturing jobs color key statewide contests and a series of competitive House races

Health Care 

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said her vote in March in favor of the health-care bill was “probably the most difficult” of her career — and she could pay the price in November. Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) win in a special Senate election in Massachusetts early this year forced Democrats to rethink their health-care strategy, but they wound up getting the bill through the House and making changes afterward. Most recent polling shows that the law continues to be controversial, and a new Washington Post-ABC News poll has voters about evenly split on whether to trust Democrats or Republicans on health care. Just six months ago, Democrats had a double-digit lead on the issue. 


“Reckless government spending” is a perennial issue for Republicans, but in a cycle in which candidates are being targeted for their votes on the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the stimulus plan and the health-care overhaul, incumbents in both parties are at risk — and the ascendancy of the “tea party” movement only increases the pressure. Watch the Missouri Senate race, where Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) has hammered Rep. Roy Blunt (R) for his TARP vote. Will Blunt follow Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), who was ousted by his party earlier this year for supporting TARP? 


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s signing of the nation’s strictest immigration bill stirred a national debate about the issue. While Republican strategists fret that it could damage the party’s relationship with Hispanic voters in the long term, the short-term political gains have all been on the GOP side, as polling suggests that a majority of voters back the Arizona law. Brewer is a prime example of how the bill has benefited Republicans: She went from deeply vulnerable to a solid favorite this fall in her race against state Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Newt Gingrich

Bill Clinton: Gingrich is just doing his ‘schtick’

Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House. November ...
Image via Wikipedia

That’s one thing about former President Bill Clinton, he tells it like he sees it:

The Washington Post

Sunday Rundown: A quick wrap-up of the Sunday talk shows.
NBC: MEET THE PRESS – Powell not sure if U.S. is winning in Afghanistan

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the tea party movement is “fascinating” but said it will not become a serious force in American politics unless it offers policies to address issues. He decried “fringe” attacks on President Obama, singling out former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s recent description of Obama’s worldview as “Kenyan” and “anti-colonial.” Powell said he remains a Republican, though he said he is a moderate, and declined to say whether he intends to continue his support for President Obama in 2012. He said Obama must focus on bringing down the unemployment rate and will likely have to shift “the way he’s been doing things” if Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress. Powell said he is unsure if the U.S. is winning the war in Afghanistan.

Former President Bill Clinton also addressed Gingrich’s comments, saying that he’s just doing what he always does. “It’s his schtick,” Clinton said. Clinton predicted that if the Democrats can make the election about proposed solutions to problems, they can remain in control of both houses, but if the election is about voter anger, they won’t do well in November. Clinton said voters who support the tea party “have good impulses,” but they should demand specifics from their candidates. He wouldn’t say if candidates like Christine O’Donnell are helpful to Democrats, but said, “Karl Rove says they are.”

U.S. Politics

Monday Morning Roundup

Does Christine O’Donnell think homosexuality is an identity disorder?
This passage from a 2006 profile of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s Wilmington New..

From the Vault …
Al Franken vs Christine O’Donnell on the Maher show. Christine O’Donnell – Bill Mahe..

Random Thought
Exactly why is anything Newt Gingrich says newsworthy?

Right-wing media attack Michelle Obama for fighting childhood obesity
Conservative media figures are attacking Michelle Obama over her efforts to encourag..

Foster conspiracy theorist media now promoting Foster conspiracy theo..
The same right-wing media figures who promoted conspiracy theories surrounding Vince..

Obama Advisers Ponder Ad Campaign Against GOP That Points To Rise Of T..
President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter t..

Gay servicemen and women talk about life under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’..
From President Obama to Sen. John McCain to pop star Lady Gaga, numerous politicians..