The Fifth Column

Independents Reassemble! Kennedy Does The Fifth Column

Trump, Russkies, Ta-Nehisi Coates, secret Fox channels, it's all there


So racist. ||| Chad

Do you miss The Independents? Ever wonder what it would have sounded like as a no-holds-barred podcast, only with Michael C. Moynihan hogging all the oxygen? WELL WONDER NO LONGER. America's favorite libertarian TV hostess and stalwart friend o' Reason Kennedy dropped by The Fifth Column last night for a wide-ranging conversation about Rex Tillerson, Russkies, internal cable news feeds, MDMA therapy, and Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest meditation on Barack Obama and American racism, among other topics.

It's a rollicking good time and you can listen to the whole thing here:

You can experience The Fifth Column at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play,, @wethefifth, and Facebook.

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  1. Sounds fantastic

  2. Welch is the guy who can only transform into various forms of water, right?

    1. Wonder twin powers, activate!

    2. I think Welch's secret power involves grape juice.

      1. I thought that was Kmele... oh wait, his involves grape soda, not juice. /RACIST

    3. Welch is the guy who can only transform into various forms of water alcohol, right?

  3. I don't know what Canucki bastard made the request (probably Rufus), but asking Hollywood Moynihan not to cuss is like asking Welch not to dress funny or Kmele to stop making money: it goes against the order of nature.

  4. Perfectly timed.

    I also think there should be at least one Amanda Knox-reference per show.

    1. Can you imagine what her dirty talk is like?

      1. "Ooh yeah, baby. Put it in me like i put that knife in my roommate. Allegedly."

        1. Do you think she slowly works it in over the course of the relationship or she's all in with that scary murder shit the first time you do it?

        2. Do you think she slowly works it in over the course of the relationship or she's all in with that scary murder shit the first time you do it?

          1. It's mentioned on her eHarmony profile.

            1. Yes, and apparently, her faves band is, "Stabbing Westward." Gee, what does the poor, downtrodden girl need to do to get a date these days. Clearly, she's lost her edge.

      2. Can you imagine what her dirty talk is like?

        "Can" I?

        you mean, "Do I"? And "how often do I"? or "What are you doing right now?"

    2. Has she done anything lately?

      1. Anyone?... not that i.... oh, *thing*. I think she wrote a book or something. Or is doing some journalism now.

        1. That Netflix documentary that came out a little while ago.

    3. If not actually getting Amanda Knox on as a co-host.

      Or maybe just putting up a picture of Amanda Knox. As like a mascot or something.

      1. Screw that, get the other Knox girl.

        1. Belle? Is she the pornstar from Duke?

          I will accept that as a halfway-step to Amanda. Perhaps then they can do a broadcast from within Ft Knox. There are so many ways to explore that theme.

            1. Only with a shovel. And anything with a serrated edge.

          1. Shooting for a special Knox-Knox-Knox episode?

            1. These Knox-Knox jokes are simply obKnoxiously, aKnoxiously, Knoxious.

          2. I'd love to Knox boots with her.

            1. Yes, it's all splendid fun and parlour games until she goes all Mandy McStabbyface on you.

              1. I want to write a love song to Amanda Knox =

                "I offered you my heart, but you pierced my spleen"

        2. I'd rather look at Amanda, myself.

          As must be done whenever a porn actress is in the news, I did investigate Belle, but wasn't terribly impressed.

  5. I loved how divergent you guys were on the Rex Tillerson pick, which probably means he's going to be somewhere in the middle, I especially loved Moynihans contention that the sitting CEO of one of the largest global energy companies, that deals diplomatically with more countries everyday than most states have in their entire history to be the least qualified secretary of state in recent memory, a department whose current leader is intellectual powerhouse John Kerry. How the fuck did anyone get through that Atlantic article? How did everyone miss points by not naming the author History of Cotton?

    1. Also how much would it cost to get Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kmele Foster together in a room with a recording device, and where do I send the check?

      1. Coates would tell Foster he's not a real black, and Foster would agree.

        1. Uncle Kmele.

      2. Would anything actually be said?

        1. It sort of sounds like Kmele would just go at him with open-handed slaps from both sides, and Ta-Nehisi would curl up in a ball and yell about false consciousness.

          1. I imagine Ta-Nehisi spouting his vapid metaphors about black bodies and Kmele hedging his criticism for the entire segment.

            Also, Coates's twitter handle is tanehisicoates. As it should be, but without the punctuation, I had a devil of a time figuring out that was him. tane his i coates? He shoulda gone with a more colorful handle that's scans easily, like @the_ta_brah or @therealcoates

          2. "Stop slapping my black body!"

  6. Moynihan's impersonation of Jesse Jackson is currently one of my favorite things in the world.

      1. Gulden Drak, Mongolian throat-singing, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and fuckin'.

        1. Mongolian throat-singing is an abomination.

          1. That is the worst and wrongest thing anyone has ever typed on Hit'n'Run.

      2. You really don't want to know. I say that knowing the predilections you happen to have.

        1. I did want to know, because X is a fascinating man with interesting taste. Thank you, Mr. X.

          1. But of course, my friend.

      3. Destroying my enemies, hearing the lamentations of their women.

  7. That look is the look Moynihan gets right before he has to feed, and I say that as one of the few Moynifans who are not among the undead. Goodness gracious get him a stray hipster to gnaw on or something.

    *looks again and shudders*

  8. *of course* the first piece of news was the Kanye/Trump summit.

    Does Kanye make music anymore, or does he just chase the press around and photobomb the daily news?

    1. He also markets incredibly expensive footwear to Kmele Foster.

      1. Yeezus Christ, what an asshole.-D

    2. Does Kanye make music anymore

      Did he ever?

      1. His first 3 records were a refreshing change from the increasingly vapid cookie-cutter rap music of the early 2000s.

        around the time of the "808s & Heartbreak" (2008) record... he shit sounded like every other vapid crooning-rapper autotuned crossover ballad. Everything he did was so universally praised that it he basically could phone records in.

        Since then i haven't heard anything that didn't make me want to turn it off after 30 seconds.

  9. Help me become less ignorant. I don't subscribe to any of those. I have an Android phone, but following the above link to Google Play just reforms the URL into some generic home page. Searching for The Fifth Column finds a bunch of other stuff. Searching BookFace doesn't find the podcast either, or anything which looks familiar.

    Do I have to actually pay money to subscribe to listen to these? I have no other reason to subscribe to any of them, and I sure ain;t gonna subscribe just for this alone!

    I am guessing that the lack of MP3 link means money is required somewhere.

    1. It's free. You can listen here, although i don't know if it will work on a phone.

    2. Do I have to actually pay money to subscribe to listen to these?


      I have no other reason to subscribe to any of them

      Other than finally doing something useful with your life?

    3. I found it through Google Play on my phone (though the volume was way too low). I think the idea is to use the stitcher app. But there is no payment required.


      1. Kmele can afford to be magnanimous.

    4. Get a podcast app on your phone. I like Pocketcast, but there are others at varying degrees of cost. From there you can find and download the episode. The only point that may (at your discretion) involve spending money is getting the podcast app.

  10. Can't think of anyone in media more tedious than Ta-Nehisi Coates these days.

    1. Fuck China. They have a human rights record only slightly better than the Norks, and their aggressive behavior in the South China Sea long predates Trump's call with the Taiwanese president. I'm cool with the president not kowtowing to the Chinese.

      1. This was not intended to be a response to your comment. Typed in the wrong spot.

        1. You see, you should have just left it without the explanation that you were typing in the wrong spot. We would have just assumed you were having a stroke,or that you got into Agile Cyborg's stash.

  11. re: on Rex Tillerson

    I haven't even heard all of the critique yet... but here's the thing =

    a Sec State has 2 sorts of jobs

    One is internal - managing a vast and sprawling department. its basically an 'organizational' set of skills. "who to hire/fire", how to delegate tasks and evaluate group-performance, setting agendas, etc

    the other is the "face-time" with foreign leaders & other diplomats. It requires more of a salesman's skills, and the ability to negotiate and guide conversations in the directions you want them to go. It requires charisma, character, gravitas, an ability to inspire the respect of others.

    What the Sec *doesn't* need to be is a policy guru/wonk/multi-lingual cultural-expert.

    Tillerson has both those things nailed.

    I think you could debate how well his abilities translate to govt work from the private sector, but at the CEO level of the 4th largest company on earth is more or less a "World Leader" himself. Exxon conducts business in/with many of the petro-state nations that the US needs political expertise with. He's not just hip to America's role around the world - he's been functioning as a de-facto ambassador.

    Calling him "least experienced" is silly. people who work within government know one thing = How Government Works, and how to advance in Government. That doesn't necessarily translate to foreign policy acumen.

    1. ^Comments like this are why GILMORE(tm) currently occupies the Top Spot on The Top Ten Groovy List of Commentariat Excellence.

    2. Additional (Im in the middle of Kennedy ranting about him now)....

      ... his position on SANCTIONS is probably the most refreshing point of view a potential secretary of state has had since.... god, i can't even remember.

      Sanctions are the worst (*and easiest to use - partly why they're the worst) tools in the foreign policy toolbox. they simply don't work, and they cause far bigger problems than the things they're intended to address.

      yet no one who comes from the foreign policy establishment has the balls to say so. because it would be a confession that 90% of the USG actions in the past have been futile/misconceived/ineffective, etc.

      AND it would gain you the ire of all the hawkish assholes (see: McCain/Graham) who LOVE them some sanctions,because it allows congress the ability to wave their little flags and "Do something" to other nations, regardless of how ineffective or counter-purposive.

      Tillerson's outsider-status and honest assessment of the failures of US policy are his best qualities - not weaknesses.

      1. Are No Fly Zones not foreign policy? Because I nominate them as worst. But otherwise you're spot on.

        1. Are No Fly Zones not foreign policy?

          You're probably right - they are worse, but certainly less common than sanctions.

          I think my point is that Sanctions are the "Worst AND Most Used-policy"

          No-Fly zones are basically a prelude to actual war. Its a passive-aggressive assault on a nation's sovereignty by saying, "we're going to take over your airspace and shoot your aircraft down, because UN"

          It allows the technical air-power-superiority of the west to intervene in conflicts without really risking any troops, and then pretends the 'aggressor' is the one who violates their random diktat, and gets shot down.

          Its effectively declaring war but with "IM NOT ACTUALLY TOUCHING YOU" pretenses.

    3. people who work within government know one thing = How Government Works, and how to advance in Government. That doesn't necessarily translate to foreign policy acumen.

      Just look at our last 2 Sec.'s of State. Does anyone who's not retarded believe for one second that they had foreign policy acumen? He couldn't possibly be any worse than Lurch or Pantsuit Nixon.

      1. That's not fair to (real) Nixon. Pantsuit Nixon was corrupt like (real) Nixon, but the latter actually had decent foreign policy chops (peace with honor, China, etc.).

      2. oes anyone who's not retarded believe for one second that they had foreign policy acumen?

        Its been interesting - that if you read "Foreign Policy" magazine, that insiders have loathed Clinton & Kerry.

        Newspapers LOVED them, but the people who work in NGOs, in FP Academia, or in govt... didn't like them at all, thought them incompetent.

        Everyone from the "liberal interventionists" like the Kagans, who thought the dabbling-approach to regime-change was doomed to failure.'.. to the realists, who thought that the handling of the Arab Spring was incompetent and in denial about the prospects for change in the region.... to the Israel-watchers, who were appalled at the way Kerry has mismanaged relations, and turned our strongest ally into someone who insults our diplomats in public on a regular basis... and so on.

        They may have changed their tune during the election, but from 2009-2014, whether it was Russia, Libya, Israel, China, Yemen, or whatever.... there wasn't a single issue where 'experts' said, "this is being done deftly".

        The main thesis behind Obama's FP approach was, "Look like you're doing something = while not really getting involved". that's the "don't do stupid stuff" theory, expanded.

        It has many weaknesses and 1 benefits = it plays well domestically. But it tears international relationships to shreds, because no one trusts your motives.

    4. Indeed. I don't know much about Tillerson, but he's the freakin' CEO of Exxon-Mobil; it's not like he's gonna enter the job out of his depth. Clinton and Kerry only appear to be better picks because they are seen as Serious Statesmen (Statespersons?), but I'd bet that Tillerson will enter the department having weathered more high-pressure situations, juggled more deals, and conducted more diplomacy overseas than the two senators.

  12. Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest meditation on Barack Obama and American racism

    You couldn't pay me enough to read that.

    1. Apparently, Barack Obama has been black all along.

      1. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that Coates also argues that the election of Trump proves beyond all doubt that America is still a deeply racist nation no matter he or anyone else may have said 8 years ago.

        1. America is a deeply white supremacist nation because a lot of political and technological advances took place during times when there was still slavery or Jim Crow. That's the gist of it.

          1. a lot of political ... advances took place during times when there was still slavery or Jim Crow

            Political advances like abolition, suffrage, and civil rights?

            1. Don't ask me how it's supposed to work. They were talking about Coates's thesis on the show and it was so illogical my brain had a hard time holding on to it.

      2. He finally made a monkey outta me!

    1. I'm glad white men have finally joined the other races and colors in lacking agency and being "lured" into things.

  13. Eli Lake =

    Good guy, but during his appearance on Nick's podcast a while back, he seemed (if i remember) to have completely swallowed 100% of the bullshit about the "Neonazi Alt Right" thing ... (remember, like 2 weeks ago? when the Russians weren't the panic-du-jour?)... i'd link to his specific comments if i could, but it was depressing. I've always liked his POV.

    1. I assume a lot of the journalist panic is because of whatever gets sent to them on Twitter.

  14. Kennedy (re: the agency heads that Trump has nominated) =

    "Its like a minimalist going into a hoarder's house"

    Of course there's reason to be skeptical about *how much* these people will actually reform/strip-down places like HUD/FDA/EPA/DoE, etc. But it is surprising there isn't more cheering from this magazine (or anywhere, really) that for the first time there's a genuine prospect of the direction of government at least *changing*.

    No, I don't think there will be radical reform; but i think a vigorous housecleaning and dismantling of the Obama-era efforts to expand the mandates of these agencies would be, at the very least, a good start.

    While i get the skepticism from the hosts, i would still expect far more *enthusiasm* and mild-enjoyment at the prospect for chaos within the administrative-branch.

    1. In short, GIL, the wrong guy is doing all this stuff, therefore Fruit...Poisoned Tree, etc. He is not of The Approved Caste, and besides, he said Mean Things.

      I'd never thought I would see Special Kaynnedy et al. seriously arguing that bona fide Establishment, Top. Man. approved FedGov service is essential, nay, VITAL to these various and sundry Cabinet positions, as opposed to actually trying something different.

      It actually reminded me of Gillespie's pontificating in his exceptionally nasally voice, all knowing tone, in all those years of his guesting on Jerry Doyle's radio show, how if TEAM RED JUST. LISTENED. TO. GILLESPIE. they would, and I quote Breakdancing Grampa, "...the Republicans would clean up at elections and really change the dynamic.."

      They're just pissed off that Troomp, of all people, actually took note of advices like Breakdancing Grampa's (except Troomp actually knows something about MARKETING), and actually parlayed that into a demonstrable victory.

      1. I'm thinking it might wear off in a few months. The media-hangover from the election is still so ridiculously brutal, no one is remotely sober yet.

          1. I think we're talking 2 different kinds.

            Sober as-in "sane" = yes, of course they are.

            But i'm suggesting that the post-election environment is so full of absurd narratives* that there's hardly any space for any measured and honest reflection about the state of affairs. Its not their fault- it just is.

            (*ranging from the pearl-clutching about "neo-nazis", the belief in Russian-Cyber-ubiquity, the ridiculous hagiography of soon-to-be-gone Obama's tenure as president, the notion that some fictional, monolithic 'white working class' are the only people who mattered during the election, etc)

            sober, as-in "lacking sufficient alcohol to be charming" = I certainly hope *not*. Tho I've not heard anyone saying, "Pass the Bailey's" so far in the broadcast.

  15. "Kmele Foster hates Ta-Nehesi Coates with a passion that is so profound, yet he's never been able to ever fully express it..."

    As if it were possible to love Kmele more.

    You really distracted from what was going to be a great discussion there by getting into your east-coast/west-coast rap debate.

    Yes, Kmele= Nas fell off. But he's not "Lame". He shines every now and then.

    re: Coates - yeah, he's a terrible writer. But he's as bad as he is because everyone keeps telling him how amazing he is. He's a product of the undeserved adulation of his peers.

    1. Any chance that's what happened to MattY? I used to hear, and by now it's a looong time ago, that MattY was a brilliant dude from Harvard. I haven't heard that in...6+ years?

      1. Any chance that's what happened to MattY?

        I think there have always been equal numbers of people telling Yglacias that he's an idiot as blowing sunshine up his ass.

        Coates has mostly avoiding getting hammered by anyone significant (like actual book-reviewers in literary mags) out of a feeling that black writers must be first celebrated merely for showing up...

        ...with a few notable exceptions. McWhorter's takedown of Coates was epic. But its the same point = only other black writers have the guts to point out how shallow his race-trolling game is.

        McWhorter points out that Coates is basically a "preacher", not really a writer. He's not there to question or explore subjects - he's there to repeat and reinforce perceived grand-narratives. To tell people exactly what they want to hear (*"Its true - says white america - "we're so racist"). he chastises "White America" in a way that allows half of white-america to feel like its always "those awful *others*... not them!"

        1. *note - that first link was actually supposed to be to JMcW's essay about the religion of race-trolling....

          worth noting = Coates wrote about his critics here

          At The Washington Post, Carlos Lozada argued that because "liberal elites" enjoyed Between The World And Me, the book must be wrong. Jacobin writer Cedric Johnson addresses himself to "Ta-Nehisi Coates And The White Liberals Who Love Him." David French felt so moved by the accolades given by "white liberals" that he wrote the same blog-post three different times. The writer Thomas Chatterton Williams reviewed the book twice?once when it was published, and then again after it was being celebrated. By his own admission, the writer John McWhorter did not bother to read the book, but did read what everyone else was saying about the book. This disturbed him so much that he considered giving up writing about race entirely. "Oh God," moaned McWhorter. "One of the Men of The Year is going to be Ta-Nehisi Coates."

          ...and basically says that the criticism is racist too. Because it sets white-standards for what sort of race-discussion is 'allowed'.

          His whole shtick is so far up its own ass its basically a self-referential feedback-loop.

    2. Coates' prose is unreadable, and I don't say that just because I disagree with him... it really is unreadable.

      I'm sure my disagreement with his highly melodramatic worldview makes it slightly more unreadable, but Jesus.

  16. If Kennedy needed explaining what a "journalo" is, then that means she doesn't listen to your podcast. How do you feel about that?

    1. I think the intro where she mentioned that her husband had to wear headphones while listening gave that away.

      1. I was on the phone during the beginning of the podcast where everyone was cracking wise. I heard something about that, but I was helping someone elses IT department fix their problem. Information didn't really start sinking in until the Journalo part. The discussion occasionally disappears into the background because despite my playful, boyish exterior, I have a day job.

  17. FIF Column,
    You need to be on soundcloud like Reason is so I can follow you dummies.

  18. "A minimalist going into a hoarders house"-- excellent way of describing Donald Trump picking the people who hate these agencies to run them.

    I can't help but wonder-- if you've got a compulsive hoarding problem, do you want a compulsive hoarder to run the hoarder's house?

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