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Secular Crusades


“To tell people the truth is not hatred.” — Jimmy Swaggart, 11/15/2002

You won’t have Ronald Springel to kick around anymore, apparently. Spokane’s SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, in its 11/15 edition, followed up its marginally researched “Militia Pamphlets Spur Review” with a piece entitled “Militia Defends Leaflet Distribution.” This writer hopes that his “Defending MOM”, which appeared Wednesday on the Counterpunch website, wasn’t the sole catalyst for his local paper allowing Militia of Montana head John Trochmann the luxury of speaking on behalf of his beleaguered organization, via quotes from a letter Trochmann sent to Spokane County Commissioners in his defense.

SPOKESMAN-REVIEW readers who might have expected a screed that was “anti-everything”, to borrow a Springel-ism, were likely disappointed by the quotes on offer. Trochmann claimed in the missive that his Militia’s “Taking Aim” newsletter addresses “atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinians”, “UN edicts and how far Israel is violating them and how Israel has bought off much of the US Congress”, and Israeli “genocide on a massive scale via the use of our military equipment and supplies.” The SPOKESMAN-REVIEW leaves it to the imagination exactly why Springel (or staff writer Bill Morlin) confused a rational argument against the US propping up Israel with anti-Semitism.

And you would expect the Spokane daily paper to leave that to the imagination. To analyze Springel’s knee-jerk reaction to being handed objectionable reading material would force that paper to analyze how mainstream US media forces the thinnest line of consent imaginable in a culture that produced Lenny Bruce, John Coltrane, and William Faulkner. The Springel line is the same old garbage given to us by soulless bastards who wrap themselves in banners of religion or government and advocate massacres on behalf of their sold-out creeds. It is impossible to reflect on the biographies of Arik and BiBi and think positive things about Judaism; at times it almost seems as if that image is projected intentionally. Billions around the world have their opinions of Jewish people daily shaped by horrific images; tanks spraying fire at children, or “settlers” gunning down Palestinians picking olives with the sanction of the Sharon government.

Of course, it’s not just the Israeli government that has a keen interest in having one part of society hold another at gunpoint. Consider the “Our Lady of Peace” Act [S. 2826], introduced in the US Senate on July 30th by a “bipartisan coalition. . . Including Senators Charles Schumer and Larry Craig”. Supported by the NRA, notably, this legislation provides three-quarters of a billion dollars over three years to states seeking to “improve database records of those not qualified to purchase guns,” to quote a letter from the office of Senator Maria Cantwell [D-WA].

Tyranny so often creeps in on cats’ paws, and this bill is a prime example thereof. Cantwell asserts that it is “appropriate to limit the ability of individuals who have been through a process that has judged them a potential danger to purchase guns.” Friendly fascism; 23 words, give or take, and not one truly active verb. Acceptable Democrats like Cantwell mask the true meaning of these initiatives with passive voice, as if intending to suggest that they believe people exist to serve the government and should actually be thankful for their impending opportunities to grovel at the boots of National Guard members rifling their cars at checkpoints throughout the nation.

But back to “Our Lady of Peace”. Our Lady of Peace affords states the opportunity to “compile lists of people judged to be ‘mentally defective’,” as Phil Jordan of the Washington Protection & Advocacy System put it in a recent email. As the recently murdered military wives in Fort Bragg might assert, there is a fine line between exhibiting mental defectiveness and bringing democracy to a failed state. However, Our Lady of Peace allows us to avoid such quandaries and simply establishes various categories of “mental defectives”. The cognitively disabled are “not qualified”. Neither are folks with mental illnesses who actually bought into the propaganda and “applied for services” because of their disabilities. Anyone who has even been “determined by any governmental agency to be a danger to themselves or others” would not be allowed to purchase guns. Likewise, those of “subnormal intelligence” are barred from purchasing them, though one supposes they’ll just get mall security gigs and hope for the best.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI, a regular contributor to CounterPunch, recently had his work recognized in Utne Reader’s “Web Watch”. Email him at


ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at

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