Monday, April 28, 2008

Mike on the radio

Cost of Freedom editor Mike Palecek will be on some radio shows in the coming week; check it out:

April 28

5-5:30: on with Denny Smithson, Cover to Cover, KPFA Berkeley,

April 29

4-6pm: on with Jim Fetzer,

7-9pm CDT: on Freedom Fighter Radio,

May 5

10-12pm CDT: on with Carol Brouillet,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cost of Freedom magazine ..?

Mike, Michael and I are talking about developing a "Cost of Freedom" daily -- all the content of Cost of Freedom, brought every day.

We're discussing the format -- magazine, downloadable PDFs, blog -- and, at this point, are ready to welcome comments. What would you like to see?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

COF poet on CATALYST radio show, 4/18 at 11am

Activist, poet, and Cost of Freedom contributor Leigh Herrick will be reading some of her poems from Cost of Freedom on the radio show CATALYST this Friday, April 18th, at 11am. The show is on KFAI 90.3, and streaming at Info:

Tune in to hear this KFAI-exclusive interview with the beloved progressive historian HOWARD ZINN with a new book out PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF AMERICAN EMPIRE.

Also hear poems written & read by St. Paul poet-activist LEIGH HERRICK--from the new anthology COST OF FREEDOM and tunes from Michael Franti and Spearhead's cd YELL FIRE!

It's the SPRING 2008 Pledge Drive at KFAI and your support is needed more than ever--since Gov. Pawlenty is aiming to CUT FUNDING FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING by OVER 50%!

Zinn's book, the COST OF FREEDOM anthology & Franti's CD are all pledge premiums when you pledge on CATALYST at $100 or more. Be sure to say you're pledging on CATALYST so the show can get credit.

CALL FRIDAY 11AM: 612-375-9030

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thank you to all who helped with Book Tour '08


"Thank you for the use of the hall."
— Jimmy Breslin, the last line of his last regular column, Newsday


SHELDON, IOWA — "Owwwoooo!"

That's Michael Annis' cell phone.

He's the publisher of Howling Dog Press in Denver.

My computer quit a few days ago, but it's kind of working now, so I'll try to send something out, just to wrap this up.

I just want to thank all those who helped me out with this tour that began in Tulsa a month ago and ended in Denver and Fort Collins two days ago.

And thanks to those of you who were gracious enough to let me send these updates.

If you have read every one of them, you qualify for two tickets to see Head East at the Casino Pocatello. Call Dave Namanny at the Mitchell [IA] County Press-News, 641-732-3721 to claim your prize.

I think I quit writing at Seattle, so I'll add a little about the last few dates here.

Seattle, Revolution Books, April 2nd

I spent the day in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, walking up and down Broadway, had coffee at Tully's, watched a high school baseball game in the park. I couldn't stand to watch long though. The coach was terrible. Didn't seem to care about the kids at all. I think he was Cuban, not that there's anything wrong with it.

Better have your Mutt Mitts on if you're going to walk your dog in Seattle.

Lots of Ani DeFranco posters on the lamp poles.

A wo-man served me coffee at Noah's New York bagles. I'm not sure what I think about that transgender stuff. No. Really, I do. It's weird. I was buying coffee anyway just to use the restroom. I set the empty cup down and left.

We had a great talk at Revolution Books, with Terri and C.C., Emma and Charlie. Emma and Charlie are young. C.C., Terri and me, not so. Did you know they had a big protest at Berkeley, "The Battle of Berkeley" they are calling it.

And there were lots more protests in Washington, Oregon, along the coast, to mark the anniversary of the start of this war.

But we don't hear about it.

When the Berrigans poured blood and burned draft files in 1968, was it national news? If so, why isn't this Berkeley thing, where high school students went to the streets to fight the military recruiters next door, on the "Nightly News"?e

Emma says that because high school students are oppressed they are more likely to want to fight, whereas college students are learning to be part of the system and aren't really interested in fighting.

And these just in ...

Coeur d'Alene & Spirit Lake, Idaho

Where I find out I don't know my elbow from my Bilderberger.

At Spirit Lake Books in Spirit Lake, a man coming to my reading introduced himself as retired Army, "kind of in the mode of Charleton Heston," regarding taking the gun out of his cold, dead hands.

The store is owned by a young couple who came to Idaho from New York City after 911.

Okay, then, let's get started with my anti-war, immigrant-hugger talk.

This is the heart of militia country. Or not. Northern Idaho has militia connotations. I spoke to about thirty people one night, then about six the next day at the bookstore.

They were nice. One guy gave me $100 for a twenty-dollar book, and a big hug, and told his wife to hug me too.

I stayed with Don Harkins and Ingri Cassel. They operate the Idaho Observer from their cabin-like home with wood stove and computers and homemade sauna out back.

I get to sign their guest wall of fame. Pretty cool.

I learn about Gonzaga University next door in Spo-can. The Zags. A Jesuit university. They tamed the Coeur d'Alene Indians I guess, and all live happily ever after, is how it was told to me.

I learn that vaccines are evil as well as my good ol' diet Pepsi aspartame. And I promise to listen to what they have to say.

I'll tell you this.

These folks are free, open thinkers.

They are not to be found walking down the middle of the mall gabbing about American Idol. They are actively seeking the men in the shadows who are running our country. I thank them for that.

They are fighters.

Although ... the Army guy at the bookstore? After my talk he tells me I need to read more, learn more, understand better, regarding the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral something and the Bilderbergerers.

Likely true.

But ... well, I have this thing ... at my talks, I talk, and then I listen. I don't argue, because I am profoundly grateful for anyone taking the time to come to a stinking book reading for one thing, and for another, I have already had my chance.

But, for some guy who says he is so anti-government, what's this about spending your whole life as part of the government?

And, dude, I went to prison to fight this government. You carry around a copy of the constitution in your chest pocket and talk.

I would submit there's a difference.

Oh, well, thank you for coming.

Yes, these potato producers are to be found reading, discussing, caring, and preaching about the evils of fluoride — as I slowly, oh-so cleverly hide my toothpaste behind my back.

You can take my Pepsodent ... when you pry it from my cold, dead ...

South to Salt Lake City

Lots of mountains, snow-tipped scenic views.

From northern Idaho you go into Montana to get south to Salt Lake City, Utah.

You just do.

You go through Missoula and Butte in order to reach Pocatello and Ogden.

Get me the eff out of here.

I am so sick of mountain driving, especially at night, straight up, then straight down, with battallions of mule deer waiting in ambush.

Anyway, got to SLC in plenty of time to pull in backwards, as required, into my parking spot, then locate Cup of Joe coffee shop, on West South Street.

Not to be confused with West West Street or South Eastern Blvd.

Then I walk around a mall and walk back, past the homeless on the street, past the uber-folk of SLC at the outdoor mall, all mixed together like some eclectic bowl of Jello at a Mormon wedding.

At C of J I meet with Eileen and Deanna and Raphael and Tim. I do my reading while shouting at them from three feet away as some guys shout at each other over their chess game three feet behind me.

We talk about "Big Love" and Rocky Anderson and their having been arrested at the bomb test site near Las Vegas.

I realize that, well, here are some more folks fighting the good fight. They really are everywhere.

People howling at the moon, acting crazy to keep from going insane in this open-air asylum called The United States of America.


After our discussion I hang around to read at the Friday night Cup of Joe's poetry slam, a first for me.

Lots of young people caring enough to write a poem and get up in front of people to perform, while dishes clatter and doors slam and cars zoom past outside, and people talk, and still they do it — kind of like the folks fighting for peace all around — putting your whole self into something, not knowing if anyone will care or notice, and most often they do not — but still doing it.

And then into the Salt Lake City night.

Denver & Fort Collins, Colorado

And up the mountain and mule deer toward Wyoming — Evanston, that is.

Then you sleep fast then drive in a hurry to get to Cheyenne, turn right, down to Denver. And by this time you have mastered peeing in a cup going eighty.

I drive down 22nd Street just as people are going into Coors Field for the Rockies game. I've never seen Coors Field.


Then I find California and 21st Street, The Mercury Cafe.

Eileen from Salt Lake said this is a famous place.

I go inside and am warmly greeted by Michael Annis, Daphne Webb, Ken Greenley and Nick Vangel. They are smiling, shaking my hand, all that.

Very cool.

Daphne is the MC, Ken reads his great poetry, and Nick plays his harmonica while Michael reads an epic poem, "WAR," a section from his longer interstitial composition, "Brave New World Order."

I stay with Michael and Allison and Brennan that night. Michael Annis published my book, Looking For Bigfoot.

He is also the publisher of Cost of Freedom.

We have never met before this.

I get to see his workshop where he produces these beautiful books. I get to hear stories about Bukowski and Ginsberg and Kerouac.

Michael is 59, so he did not get in on the Beat era, but he knows all about it, and he published most of them, including Burroughs and Corso.

He is a street-fighter poet, an artist, a guy who gives a shit.

Something as rare as diet Pepsi at a militia soup supper.

I just can't get over this.

Someone with a family who produces books, who gets excited about the work of others, the lives of others, in this world of TV and malls and sports teams, where almost nobody reads or learns or knows anything or gives a shit about anything.

And here is someone who has devoted his life to art, to caring, and it's clear that he won't stop.

Fucking amazing.

The next day in Fort Collins we get skunked, nobody shows up, so Daphne and Michael and I exchange hugs and handshakes and hallelujahs and I hit the road, headed for Salt Lake City.

I get turned around and go towards ...

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

I pass the sign saying I have entered Nebraska: Bridges May Be Icy, People May Be Stupid.

I should know.

Kimball. Scottsbluff. Chadron. Rushville.

I find Robin Long Soldier's apartment on Main Street. I visit with Robin and her children. These people are anything but stupid.

They get it.

We are talking about Bigfoot. Robin tells me about her experience one night while working at a treatment center in Kyle. I tell them about my experience over near Spearfish in the '80s.

Robin takes me over to see her friend, Tammy, who has photos that Bigfoot left in her backyard, but Tammy is not home, or the dogs are barking too loud for her to hear us.

I thank Robin and head off toward Pine Ridge. I then go to Porcupine and park. I walk around in the pines. There have been several sightings on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the past couple of years.

I don't see anything except three horse skulls in one pasture.

But I do see that the reservation is a vast wilderness that could, possibly ... well, you just never know.

About six hours later I pull into our driveway.

The snow is gone, the grass is starting to turn green.

I can't believe I'm here.


— Mike

* This year's tour was an extension of last year's tour.

All in all, the two tours, "The American Dream Tour," and the "Cost of Freedom" tour, made these stops.

[Again, thank you goes out from the tour staff to all those who made this year-long tour possible. The only place we haven't gone yet is The South. Look for plans for that tour next spring.]

Drinking Liberally, Kansas City, Missouri; Faith & Life Books, Newton, Kansas; Lawrence [KS] Public Library; Crossroads Infoshop, Kansas City, Missouri; A Novel Idea Books, Lincoln, Nebraska.; Soul Desires Books, Omaha; The Reading Grounds Books, Omaha; Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska.; Zandbroz Books, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Hill Avenue Books, Spirit Lake, Iowa; Southeast Minnesota Peacemakers, Rochester, Minnesota; Ritual Cafe, Des Moines, Iowa; Magers & Quinn Books, Minneapolis; Magus Books, Minneapolis; College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota; Duluth Catholic Worker House; Mondragon Books, Winnipeg, Canada, canceled, denied entrance to Canada because of prison record; Rainbow Books, Madison, Wisconsin; Cream City Collective, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New World Resource Center, Chicago; Barbara's Books, Chicago; Revolution Books, Chicago; Unitarian Church, Park Forest, Illinois; Volume One Books, Hillsdale, Michigan; Drinking Liberally, Indianapolis, Indiana; 303 Collective, Saginaw, Michigan; The Planet Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Drinking Liberally, Detroit, Michigan; Drinking Liberally, Cleveland, Ohio; Boxcar Books, Bloomington, Indiana; Drinking Liberally, Pittsburgh, Pennsylania; Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, New York; Literary Cafe, Buffalo, New York; Drinking Liberally, Rochester, New York; Bluestockings Books, New York City; ETG Cafe & Books, Staten Island, New York; The Book Cellar, Brattleboro, Vermont; Lucy Parson's Center, Boston.

Tulsa, Oklahoma peace group; Dallas-Ft. Worth 911 Truth; Brave New Books, Austin, Texas; Unitarian Church/Peace Farm, Amarillo; Peace House, Taos, New Mexico; Women in Black, Bisbee, Arizona; 911 Truth/Peace group, Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas Drinking Liberally; Track 16 Art Center, Los Angeles; Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, San Francisco; Peace & Justice Center, Santa Cruz, California; Public Library/Cheshire Books, Fort Bragg, California; Chico State University, Chico, California; 100 Fires Books, Eureka, California; The Book Barn, Bend, Oregon; Veterans For Peace, Corvallis, Oregon; Laughing Horse Books, Portland, Oregon; Revolution Books, Seattle, Washington; Idaho Observer event, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Spirit Lake Books, Spirit Lake, Idaho; Cup of Joe, Salt Lake City, Utah; The Mercury Cafe, Denver; Abo's Cafe & Restaurant, Fort Collins, Colorado.

For extra credit, and to receive tickets to "Bread," appearing at Casino Fort Huachuca, read the following and then call Dave Namanny.

Cost of Freedom talk outline


Introduce two books, Cost of Freedom, Iowa Terror.

Talk about "terror in a small town," how we are watching everyone but those we should be watching.
Talk about Homeland Security is a joke. Christian nation keeping poor people from having a chance.

READ: Pinche Puta Store Detective, IT
READ: And I Laugh, from "The Truth," COF
READ: From "Looking For Bigfoot," COF

Two large tasks we face:

Knowing what is really going on.
Deciding what to do about it, if anything.

They say 911 changed the world, but really it changed in 1963 when JFK was murdered. And it continues to this day, same players. We even have a photo of George W. Bush Sr. outside the Texas School Book Depository that day, even though he says he was not there.

That is when our country was stolen from us, then ... RFK, MLK.

Then 911 - and now we may be about to attack Iran.

An intelligent populace would be able to look at news reports and decipher them, read between the lines, much as the Soviet people would have looked at any pronouncement coming from Tass or Pravda.

All we really have to trust is our gut, our heart.

We else are we going to trust?

The Dallas Police Department? The Los Angeles Police Department? The Memphis Police Department?

The Warren Commission?

The 911 Commission?

The CIA?

The FBI?

The Democratic Party?

Can we trust the President?

The Congress?

Our churches?

Our press?

Can our children even trust us?

READ: How to explain the war to your children, by Antler, Wisconsin, Cost of Freedom. [pg 38]

Are there any clues to help us understand what is happening in our country?

1) Me - arrested in 1980s at Offutt AFB, ban and bar: Peace is Our Profession

Arrested 1999 after Clinton bombing Yugoslavia, ban and bar letter: Global Power For America.

2) 1989, me out of jail last time, Council Bluffs, six months.
Tienenman Square, Berlin Wall, Clinton elected - time of hope - peace dividend?

No - did not happen. Not seen as opportunity, but problem to be solved. Money must still be made on weapons.

Gives us another clue about the kind of country we live in.

Plans made for empire.

Project For a New American Century.
Elections Stolen.
New Pearl Harbor.

Iraq and Afghanistan invasions.

All according to plan.


Me - election 2000, Dem. candidate.

Thought of throwing brick to protest stolen elections. Asked friends to join. No.

Held brick and paper out in hands, judging the weight of each.

Decided not to throw.

My books are my bricks — through my neighbor's window for mowing his lawn the day we bombed Iraq, through the neighborhood church's window for saying nothing about thou shall not kill, through the recruiter's window for teaching our beautiful children to kill, to slit throats, to shoot through the heart, to torture.

How would we act - the American populace - if we knew the truth? Good question.

Some say we are just stupid, apathetic, too comfortable.

But, at least part of it is that we are brainwashed, manipulated by those who devote their lives to that manipulation, while we remain focused on one job, two jobs, tomorrow's To-Do list, paying for health insurance, unable to focus on anything out of cell phone range.

READ: David Ray, COF [pg 17]

Many, many people, everywhere are fighting Bush, fighting for our freedom. It is they who we owe our freedoms to, not the soldiers, that is a lie.

Ex: Doug Wight, recently arrested in Northampton, Mass., for burning American flags.
Ex: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker/Jonah House Holy Week retreat at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church, NW D.C.

Read my tax protest letter.

... But, still ... no matter what we seem to do, it goes on and on and on.

People die. Every day. We kill people. Every day.

American values.

Some say there will be no election, that propaganda and false terror will win out, that the pieces are all in place for that to happen.

Or maybe the next election is also rigged.

Or the people "they" want are already in place. Dennis Kucinich and the like impolitely elbowed out of the way.

We don't know ... but we can feel.

What sort of country we live in, that we are leaving to our kids.

The good news, the great news ... is that, despite all evidence to the contrary — it is still up to us to determine.

[Personal aside]

Encourage peace movement to adopt 911 Truth - that is the why - that is the root - that gets us to the truth about our country - fights the lies in our high school history books - leads down the road to finding out.

Otherwise, they will just keep doing the same thing ... again and again and again - as has been happening up to now.

*Also - voting for Obama is not nearly enough. He is not talking about prosecuting Bush for war crimes, for finding out about stolen elections, about truth about 911 - without that, it's just not good enough.

READ: Other People's Kids, by Mary Walworth, New Jersey [pg. 19]

Thank you

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Be open to your dreams, people. Embrace that distant shore. Because our mortal journey is over all too soon."

"Spring has sprung. We're free at last, people. Free at last. Thank you mother nature, we're free. Time to toss open that metaphysical window and check out that psychic landscape.

"See lots of possibilities budding out there. Time to hoe those rows, feed that seed. Pretty soon you get a garden."

— Chris In The Morning, KBHR Radio, Minnifield Communications Network
CICELY, ALASKA — I cannot believe I'm here.

Actually, it's so real, that I can believe I'm here.

Even if I am really in Roslyn, Washington.

Today I am sitting at the top of the hill, at the east end of Pennsylvania Avenue, in Roslyn, aka Cicely, where the television show of the 1990s, Northern Exposure, was filmed for six seasons.

This is the view I expected, the one so familiar from the show opening, when the theme music played, with the wailing harmonica, looking down into town, down into the lives, the very hearts and souls of all those great people, those great characters.

I park and look into the very window of KBHR and see where Chris sat to give his morning radio show. Stenciled in the door: Minnifield Communications Network.

There is dust on the microphone. The albums are bending from being in the shelves so long, the photos on the wall have turned blue.

Then I walk over to The Brick.

It looks just right, just like it should, from the outside. On the inside, there is the bar, and the wood stove is putting out a scent of maple honey, but the rest is not quite right. I look around and walk out.

And the bar is really is right over from KBHR, just like Chris saw out the front window of his radio perch.

Down the street I walk into a gift shop that used to be Joel Fleishman's office. A man behind the counter with a thick European accent says this is where it was filmed. He says his son had a part in the series. I can't understand the name.


"Message of the day. Listen up now, because this one's important. Brush those teeth, eat that roughage, pop those vitamins, and wear sensible shoes.

"Man, we homo sapiens carry around a heavy psychic knapsack: consciousness.

"We all know we're going to be asked to get off the merry-go-round someday. Best we can do is keep the corpse beautiful, right? And what is the right stuff, anyway, crossing a double yellow on your hog or looking a thirty-year mortgage flat in the face?

"The long haul. I'm going to need some clean undies; got my toothbrush, got my library card. What did the man say? A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, right?"


There, behind the T-shirt rack is where Marilyn's desk was, and back there, behind the beads and the loose boards is the examining room and Dr. Fleishman's office.

It's like there should be a shrine here, but there is absolutely no ceremony. This is where Marilyn-Effing- Whirlwind and Dr. Joel Fleishman made magic, and it's overshadowed by a postcard carousel and tables stocked with KBHR glasses and moose pencils.

The man in the store gives me a map of the town with numbers and circles to mark Maurice's house and Marilyn's house.

I drive around a big white dog in the road who does not move.

There it is, the Roslyn mural.

I've got something I need to ask Chris, so I look behind me.

I wonder if Holling wants to go hiking. Would he be working at this hour?

I can see Ed and Chris and Maurice up on the roof of The Brick when Chris saved Maurice from falling.

There is the scene from the episode Northern Lights, there is the Running of the Bulls, there is where they dug up Maggie's front lawn looking for artifacts.

Ruth and Sam and Emily and I were living in southeast Minnesota in the early '90s. We were running our newspaper, The Byron Review. The show was on Monday nights, which was our layout night, which usually lasted until dawn. Ruth and I would try to take a break at seven to relax and watch the show.

Now I have all the shows on CD. I watch them over and over. I feel comfortable, at home, with my people.

Fantasy is better than reality.

It's cool to see the town, but it's missing something.

You have to have the people.

There are two guys talking on the street, and there's a young guy sitting on a chair outside Leftie's Bar, strumming a guitar. They look open to starting up a conversation with a stranger. I walk past, my tourist chin in the air, looking around.

And the guy at the gift shop, I could stay and talk longer.

But I don't.

How cool would it be to be a part of all of that when it was happening? To be a writer, a cast member, some guy with water bottles.

That's all I want to think about, the fantasy, the town of my dreams.

I have no time for reality, not today.


"My friends, today when I look out over Cicely, I see not a town, but a nation's history written in miniature, inscribed in the cracked pavement, reverberating from every passing flatbed.

"Today, every runny nose I see says 'America' to me. We were outcasts, scum, the wretched debris of a hostile, aging world.

"But we came here, we paved roads, we built industries, powerful institutions. Of course, along the way we exterminated untold indigenous cultures and enslaved generations of Africans. We basically stained our Star Spangled Banner with a host of sins that can never be washed clean.

"But today, we're here to celebrate the glorious aspects of our past. A tribute to a nation of free people, the country that Whitman exalted:

"The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislators, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people."


Speaking of democracy in America.

Check out these kids, teaching their elders what it's all about.


— Mike


April 2nd: Seattle, Revolution Books, 1833 Nagle Place.

7 p.m.

from ...

"Iowa Terror"
by Mike Palecek

Chapter Eight
Bridge To Nowhere


I mean, ahoy!

It's me!

Out here in the water, in the rowboat.

Me and Carl.

We've got this one oar in the water. We dropped the other one. One should do it.

Homeland Bridge Inspectors, reporting for duty, sir!

At your service.

What we see here, and our report will show this when we find the pen, is that this bridge failed after a truckload of money headed for the military caused it to collapse.

Wait, just a moment, please.

It's my beeper.

"Yes, yes, uh-huh. I don't know. Dropped it. Not me, Carl. Yes. Yes-sir. No-sir. Yes, ma'am. Okay, fine, then. You smell good today, sir-ma'am. Of course, not through the phone, impossible, yes-ma'am. Buh-bye."

Okay, I'm back.

Seems we now have reports of the same types of trucks running into schools in Cleveland and Detroit and Oakland as well. And similar bridges in New York and Charlotte and Denver have also apparently crashed and burned.

Oh, boy, reports are now coming in about sub-standard housing in every major city in the United States, mostly black neighborhoods it seems, that have somehow been run straight through by large trucks full of cash in large denominations, headed for military operations all over the country as well as overseas.

I guess they go to Stratcom in Omaha so we can have missiles in space. Cool. God knows we need that.

And control the world for Warren Buffett.

Ma-an, lucky for us he was there at Offutt that day to meet with George Bush.


... And to Fort Benning in Georgia and Vanderberg in California and Leonard Wood in Missouri.

Lots of insurgent types in California and Missouri.

I guess we need all those because we are so free.

And we need lots of bases and soldiers and money in Germany and Phillipines and Columbia and Japan — and Uzbekhistan and Kadzikastan and Dakotastan and Nevadastan.

And we just cannot afford to buy everything.

Our parents knew that.

You have to make choices.

We cannot have strong bridges in Minneapolis, smooth streets in Cleveland, warm schools in Detroit, and still be able to change the tires on our tanks in Turkey.

We need to pay our taxes for that every year because that is what we have always done.

And we are more than smart enough to decide which is which.

I'm sure we are.

Somebody is.

Thinking about it.

Well, what we are going to do here is to keep rowing, see what we can see, report back, monitor the beeper.

That's kind of what we do.

And we get to wear these orange terror vests.

it's all pretty cool.

It's amazing how our president and vice-president have this whole thing under control, the different ins and outs, scenarios, plans, all those beepers.

Hey, you have a good day, you ol' American you.

Just go another beeper call. Just wait ...

... Seems that we're going to be dragging for our other oar. ... Then either me or Carl will need to put on the wet suit and goggles and deploy to the bottom.

Carl's shaking his head.

Don't you worry about a thing.

Go about your day.

I got this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

To Obama, or Not To Obama -- Is That the Question?

(By Paul Corman Roberts, reposted from

How to rate what is supposed to be one of the most culturally and politically bleeding edge book fairs in the United States?

On March 22nd, 2008 I attended the fabled San Francisco Anarchists Book Fair for the first time in my 15 years of living in the Bay Area. I’m not exactly an “on the scene” kind of guy in either the activist or small press world of the Bay Area (though that last part is changing some now) and it seems like I should have at least gone to the last few if only to get an idea of what real underground literature is doing.

It was a mixed bag to say the least. For me personally it was fantastic. In the way that a family reunion can be fantastic. I was reacquainting with activists I hadn’t seen in over a decade, and many of the writers I’ve been working with so recently. Old friends and new friends all together in one place is nothing to sneeze at. For the press I was there to represent, it was a tougher day. We had no poster and were squeezed in between Food Not Bombs and Z Magazine.

It became clear pretty quickly, not just to me but also to my Howling Dog Press partners in rabble rousing; Mike Palacek and Dan Benbow, that this event was a lot more about “networking” than it was about sales, or, god forbid, active or unified social change (I guess it wouldn’t be “anarchist” then.)

At least for the smaller, poorly organized presses like those of us in the HD crew. AK Press, Bound Together Books, and Left Bank Book Collective from Seattle all seemed to be doing a nice brisk trade in T-shirts, posters, chaps, DVD’s and stickers. Food Not Bombs, Coyote and the SF Bike Messengers union were all fundraising (Food Not Bombs under Keith McHenry could truly be classified as its own press/media outlet) and getting petitions signed for various good sounding causes, including the forming of a Tent City outside the White House in D.C. (inspired by Camp Casey) and the legalization of Prostitution (Coyote.)

But really and truly we were hoping to talk with other activists and other small press publishers about the war, about the peace effort and what is widely considered a genuine conspiracy when it comes to the events of 9/11 which has propelled the greatest superpower the planet has known to the brink of credibility, and yes, possibly even collapse.

A funny thing happened to the outrage over the war and the possibility that it was encouraged by profiteers in the U.S. government…

…no one really gave a shit. Part of the reason is that most of these folks has been down this road in one form or another…it’s even a big reason why all of us were even at this convention in the first place. It’s not as if disbelief in the corruption of the U.S. war machine were the issue. Why it is, so many hard edged activists refuse to identify with the 9/11 Truth Movement? Mostly it’s an insidious mix of hopelessness, helplessness and fear. Hopelessness in that the movement has nowhere to move to (what if Cheney admitted he knew the Twin Towers were coming down months ahead of time? What is there to allow us to believe anything would actually happen to him?) Helplessness in that the truth movement is overrun with agent provocateurs and manicacs. Fear in that already marginalized citizens are only going to be further marginalized by identifying with “conspiracy extremists.” These three things have manifested as a collective pathology in much of the working activist and progressive communities, not just the middle classes.

Dan Benbow said he resented the term “conspiracy theorist.” He much preferred the label “conspiracy realist.” Dan and Mike and I spent some time debating the semantics of the LIHOP (”Let It Happen On Purpose”) school of thinking versus the MIHOP (”Made It Happen on Purpose”) school when it comes to theories involving just how involved were aspects of America’s war machine in the events of 9/11. The obvious demolition of Building 7; the unexplained car bomb outside the Old Executive Offices in Washington DC; the status and mission of numerous military exercises taking place in Manhattan that particular day…not to mention the plain and obvious profit motive the petroleum industry would benefit from in the wake of a middle eastern war, which is why many in the peace movement have this extra paranoia working into the overarching everyday question “how the fuck did it get this bad?” It leads naturally too, “who let it get this bad?” which quite naturally ends up at “why would someone let it get this bad?”

Just take a look at the profits of Exxon/Mobile, Haliburton and Blackwater over the past few years.

Mike Palacek said he has heard from many quarters that Osama bin Laden is not even alive anymore; that he is kept alive like a construct, like Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s 1984.

We discussed these issues passionately, openly, and without any harassment, and conversely, without any interest from hardly anyone else.

Perhaps that is what drove what seemed to be the real topic of interest: Will Obama truly make a difference? Even here amongst this disparate group of radicals, there dialogued a sizable and hardened minority that feels Obama does have what it takes to take our nation out of its self-imposed dark age. But a minority nonetheless. The real overriding sentiment at the Fair could be summed up in a what a bike messenger’s union organizer from L.A. said to me: “Obama basically sucks at the same teat as McCain and Hillary.”

Certainly the people who question Obama see him pulling the most regular military from the middle east, but letting the mercenary groups and contractors who make up the larger part of the occupying Western forces stay on and play at whatever games is deemed necessary for them to play for the greater good of the economic interest.

We didn’t sell a single copy of the “Cost of Freedom” anthology, which is likely the finest anti-war anthology put together in recent history. I couldn’t help but notice that Keith McHenry was only having limited success in garnering enthusiasm from the browsers for an ultra-confrontational tent city in Washington D.C., but make no mistake: Food Not Bombs will be there to do their damndest to feed activists.

Still, I got to meet two fellow Howling Dog writers, folks who share a passion for representing the truly just, the truly more American concept of fairness and justice and not just business death scams perpetuated on other civilizations in our name. Writers aren’t necessarily the best people to unite the activists of the world…after all, theirs is a solitary trade to begin with. But we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it if we feel the human species is worth saving. If not, what’s the point in even trying? The reason I don’t give up is because I know there are some out there who want us to come to just this conclusion of despair…and those who want that most are people who invest in and control the arms and energy industry.


Howling Dog Press:

AK Press:

Bound Together Books:


Food Not Bombs:

9/11 Truth Movement: or

Not In Our Name:

Jon Turner: I am no longer the monster I once was ... Bush cannot say this..

Jon Turner went to Iraq with an Arabic phrase tattooed on his wrist.

It says ‘fuck you.’ “I got that because it was my choking hand. Anytime I felt the need to take out aggression, I would go ahead and use it."

MOTEL 6, Olympia, WA — Today I met with a few of the high priests of the Bigfoot research community.

Joe Beelart took me to Ray Crowe's house in Portland, and we had lunch with M.K. Davis and Don Monroe. Davis has done some extensive research on the Patterson-Gimlin film. He believes that not only is the film authentic, the creature is human, not ape.

Davis, from Mississippi, was in the area to speak at a meeting of the Western Bigfoot Society. While he was here, he also visited with Roger Patterson's widow in Yakima and Bob Gimlin, who lives south of Portland.

If you have not seen the video of the Winter Soldier hearings, here
they are

How can we go another day without having a national discussion about this? Discussion is not quite the word I'm looking for. How about screaming fucking cage match?

You ever hear those professional football announcers talking about how this team or that team plays "smash-mouth" football?

Oh, yeah? Really?

They must be tough mo-fo's.

Wonder what those smash-mouth guys are doing about standing nose to nose with those who are lying to them, killing in their name, stealing from them?

What sense does it make to fill out the day's To-Do list without putting "What About This Sending Our Kids To Murder People In Other Countries Thing?" in there somewhere between "Pick Up Milk," and "Drop Off Big Lebowski/OVERDUE!"

It makes no sense.

Shock & Awe.

They Shocked & Awed US with 9/11, then they bombed Iraq, and now, and now .... and now.


I've had a few days to hang. Yesterday I drove south to Salem, Oregon, from Portland, then east to Mill City for the afternoon.

Another old-home experience. Roger and Bob and I came out there in the '70s for our big adventure. We met the Huckabees. They fed us fresh-caught salmon and we smelled the wood that Lester was cutting in his shed to make shakes for his son's new home.

I then came out again later by myself in my dad's '59 Chevy with the wings, and with my dog, and a new cowboy hat I bought in Fort Collins on the way.

I worked for a few days in the hills, on a core-drilling team, me and another guy. We saw a mountain lion up close one morning on the drive up to work.

I saw the exit sign for Mt. Angel on the way. There is a monastery there, I know.

I went there on that second trip, with my dog, thought this is pretty cool, the big stone edifice. They said I couldn't keep my dog if I joined up, so I went home and joined the seminary in Saint Paul.

The North Santiam River flows through Mill City. You cross over an old steel bridge.

The town is small, about 1,500 population. It smells like rain and wood. I found a walking path up close to the mountains and took it, beating my sticks against the trees and howling, in order to call the Bigfoot to me.

That must not be how you do it.

I didn't see anything, but it was cool to finally be up there in the big woods where something actually might happen.

Bush was booed, loudly, as he threw out the first pitch at the Nationals game yesterday.

That's effing-great.


"I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how
it comes out."

— Bill Hicks


Next time, get security to tackle him and handcuff him.

He is a criminal, a murderer.


He is.

He and his crew did 9/11. They lied in order to start a war and got young Americans killed and traumatized and turned into murderers as well.

The only way we stop the war, the coming war, and start to bring this country around, away from the waterfall, is to march George W. Bush into court.

And put the cuffs on behind his back. He is an asshole.

If there is a hell, George W. Bush will have his own box seat in one of the highest rings.

Burn Dubya burn.


— Mike

* This afternoon I was on Gorilla Radio, Vancouver, Canada, with Chris



April 2nd: Seattle, Revolution Books, 1833 Nagle Place.

7 p.m.


This is from Iowa Terror.

We are watching everyone except those we should be watching. The terrorists are in Washington, D.C.


Iowa Terror
by Mike Palecek

Chapter Four

Securing The Perimeter

Is this heaven?


From way up here it kinda does, maybe seem like that.

I am waaay up here.

Up here.

On the water tower!

Not on the water tower, on that walkway that goes around.

We've got one of those silver, pointed ones, not so big, not like the big, round white ones they have in Des Moines and Cedar Falls.

Ours depicts, at various times, the town name, the current graduating class, the current mayor's current girlfriend, and the current state of the local educational system via spelling acumen.

Well, I have been stationed here by the local city council to look for terrorists, for Jesus Iowa, maybe his gang. He might have a gang, that's some of the reports we've been getting.

I am scanning the perimeter.

Looking for The Iowa Terrorist, Jesus Iowa.

As well as any other terror types.

Hey, they gave me this cool pith helmet with netting, and a beeper. I get a beeper. I've tried it. It beeps.

And I've got this assistant, Jordan. He's going to be in fifth grade in the fall. He sends me up extra water on this pulley system he has fixed up ...

Anyway ...

Maybe I'm facing the wrong way, but what I see is Mrs. Van der VanDreesen pulling into the Hy Vee lot. She's been pulling in for most of the morning. There's a special on iceberg lettuce.

And I see Jarrod van de Boom. He's driving around in the cruiser, mostly watching me.

There's most of the city council coming out of coffee at Family Table. They're not really supposed to get together like that, makes people think they're planning, making decisions outside of meetings.

They're pointing up at me. Hey, guys.

There's the spire of Saint Judy's Catholic Church over in Creameryville, on the other side of the corn and soybeans and the river and the dump and the national guard armory.

There's lights on the ball field, the construction site for the new middle school next to the high school, the kids arranging the lawn chair display in the Pamida parking lot.

Some of our teams went to state last year.

The one-act play group got a gold medal in Ames. They always do. It's a tradition.

I can see apple pies cooling and blueberries ripening and I hear cardinals.

The noon whistle of the white picket fence factory is more of a toot.

And I can see how Jesus Iowa would want to ruin it all.


It's rumored that he hates us for our hand-sized bluegills and the smell of wood smoke and lawn leaves and he steals leaves.

As any good terrorist knows, the way to really stick it to freedom is to demolish icons.

Well, I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Is this a great country?

Or what?

That is the question.

Looking for the truth about America. It's become a cottage industry these days.

Most of us are in the habit of believing things — especially when they come from mainstream sources. We believe things mostly because we see them on TV, or because a "respected" expert or leader assures us they are true.

Geezuz, don't do that.

That's where we are, where we're heading, to the place where nobody believes anything coming out of Washington, D.C., printed in our major newspapers, seen on TV, heard on the radio, because we know it's all lies — the way the folks leaning on the bar in the Rusty Sickle in
downtown Moscow must have felt about each pronouncement that came from the Kremlin, Tass, Pravda.

Just shaking their heads, saying, what a bunch of lying sons of midgets and musk ox.

Show me the difference.

The only difference is that it is us, and it's now, and it's here — and we can't believe this is happening to us. And we will deny it is happening to us for the rest of our lives.

Remember those press conferences on TV where the director of Homeland Security stands up there with the director of the FBI?

They are sporting new "Look The Fuck Out" terror-orange hardhats and T-shirts and padded vests, with hip waders, and camo, waterproof hunting boots cut to the calf.

Duck calls sticking out of their back pockets.

That was leading up to the last presidential election.

They don't have those anymore. I wonder why.

We're getting ready to blow the fuck out of the Iranians — who are each and everyone born terrorists of course — and so now we have to have terrorists in a New York City airport.

Well ... to show that it makes perfect sense to kill the Iranians.

Time to re-Duct Tape your windows, dude.

We forget too easily.


Remember how George W. Bush came to power.

A coup d'etat.

He stole The Presidential Election.


Abetted by The Supreme Court and The Free Press.

We, some of us — I, suspect he and his junta engineered 911, murdered Paul Wellstone, lied about WMD.

The fuckers have secret prisons in Poland and Romania and Disneyland and they torture people.

All this for power.

Don't worry about a thing.

The perimeter is secure.

I'll let you know if I see anything.

Hasta los tacos.

And there is Lula Vander Zwaag.

I could see a lot more if I had some binos.


Heeey! Jordaaan!