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October 17, 2013 1:43 PM The Fringe Beyond the Fringe

By Ed Kilgore

If you need a reminder that there are people out there harboring beliefs that make even the Tea Folk seem rational, consider last night’s brief spectacle when a House stenographer interrupted the vote on the Senate Deal to berate her employers about their perfidious defiance of God’s Will:

A government stenographer is believed to be in a Washington, DC-area hospital on Thursday after being forcibly removed from the House of Representatives chamber Wednesday night while shouting into the microphone during the vote on a compromise bill that ended the government shutdown and raised the debt limit.
U.S. Capitol Police told ABC News that the stenographer, who helps keep the record of the proceedings of the House, was interviewed by officers before being transported to a hospital “for evaluation.”
The woman was Dianne Reidy, an official reporter with the Office of the Clerk, two sources told ABC News.
She was not arrested or charged and it remains unknown whether she will keep her job. Since last night, the Office of the Clerk has not responded to inquiries seeking comment.
As members cast their votes Wednesday evening on legislation to end the 16-day government shutdown, Reidy was seen calmly ascending the rostrum before unleashing a verbal tirade at members of Congress.
She was heard shouting “the House is divided,” according to one congressional source. After about 30 seconds, Reidy was pulled off the rostrum by two people from the House chamber security staff.
“He will not be mocked,” the woman said, according to an audio recording of the incident posted online by Public Radio International reporter Todd Zwillich. “This is not one nation under God. It never was.”
“The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under god! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons!” she added.
The incident caused a moment of chaos in the chamber as the presiding member, Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, R-Fla., repeatedly banged the gavel, trying to restore order.

Perhaps the poor woman is simply suffering from mental illness. But anyone familiar with European history is aware of a rich tradition of right-wing paranoia about Freemasonry as the source of all modern evils, or as a major branch of the international Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy to destroy religion. This was, in fact, the absolute centerpiece of the rationale for the Franco-led insurrection against the Spanish Republic in 1936.

It’s scary to hear that sort of talk in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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