Palecek Website: www.mikepalecek.com
- Czech it out: "Bin Laden Didn't Blow Up The Projects"
- More from Immortal Technique, "The Point of No Return"
Is This Heaven?
by Mike Palecek
Though we often think of it that way, I suppose. Movies sometimes make it seem like that. Like at the end of the day our faces hurt from smiling so much.
It's still Iowa - thanks for asking ...
There's really nowhere for you to go in Moville or Des Moines or Guthrie Center if you do not buy into this game being played.
The game is you do this and you get health insurance, sex, bottled beer, steaks when you want them, self-respect, clean sheets, warmth.
If you decide you do not believe in "a smile in every aisle" you lose those things almost immediately.
It's our ball and we're takin' it home ... fool.
From: Looking For Bigfoot, Howling Dog Press, 2005
Watching the All-Star Game tonight, probably won't send this out for a couple of days.
As always, the obscene Star-Spangled Banner and military fighter plane fly-over.
We don't need that. We're better than that. Smarter than that.
But we don't show it.
Maybe some day.
Not today, boy. Not today.
Nobody has the guts to tell the military to stay home, stay away from us, we don't need you, don't want you.
There's a new television show coming, I guess. Has something to do with music lyrics. Next they'll have one with house paint and toasters. Oh ... yeah.
Well, anyway. Until I was 45 I thought it was "twist and chow."
Now, there's reality for ya. Deal wid it.
This is Iowa, where we've got this douche-bag named Steve King representing us. [They could have had me!]
Some rare moments in the life of a highly-paid, respected, elected representative of the people:
* King's comments made at a Republican fundraiser in Boulder's Conference Center showed he compared illegal immigrants to stray cats that wind up on people's porches. King said at first stray cats help by chasing mice, so people feed them. King added that the stray cats then have kittens, which are liked for their cuteness, but eventually the strays, fed by the people, end up getting lazy, just like illegal immigrants. King would not comment on what he said on that day.
* King said about the recently killed al-Zarqawi, "There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at. And if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."
(Quote from a recording transcribed by Radio Iowa at the 2006 Iowa Republican convention.) Sioux City Journal, 6-22-2006
* Congressman Steve King called Senator Joe McCarthy, whose interrogations of alleged Communists was condemned by the Senate, a "Hero for America" and called a peace and civil rights activist not "consistent of American values."
* King referred to union organizers who sought employment at non-union employers as "economic weapons of mass destruction."
* King called the torture of Iraqi prisoners by their American captors as "What amounts to hazing."
* Des Moines Register editorial, 10-9-2005: Spare us more embarrassment: Replace King.
Okay, well, yep, I did run for Congress in 2000.
I had a paper route and was trying to write novels. I'm the guy sitting out in the front lawn at a card table, newspaper bag on the grass. I'm wearing no shirt, maybe no shoes- watch your eyes - sweat pouring down his face, wiping it out of his eyes, trying to see to make words with two fingers on a manual typewriter.
Believe it. I'm out here. Son of Spam.
The people deserved better than me, but I wanted to see what I could do.
Anyway, I ran for Congress as a Democrat, saying shut down the Air National Guard base in Sioux City, kill the death penalty, release Leonard Peltier, bulldoze the prison walls, open the border to any poor family trying to get in here to make a decent living for their family.
Typical Democratic Values.
One would think.
Anyway, not to go into too fine a detail, the local, state, and national Democratic Party did not take a liking to me.
But what they think should not be a priority.
Today's Democratic Party came here in the night from the planet Who-Gives-A-Flying-f*ck.
Look at them. You can tell they are aliens. They have no testicles, no breasts.
They are not real Democrats.
Some day we can only hope that the real Democrats will return.
You will know them by the scars on their knuckles, the steel in their eyes, the sand in their gut - by their spirit, their drive, their compassion for the poor.
Real Democrats do not give one holy crap about saving their own lives so that they may live so god-dam long they have to be finally unplugged - these folks would give their lives for the poor, for right, for truth.
You will know them when you see them, even though you probably have not seen one in your lifetime, unless you might have caught a glimpse of Paul Wellstone.
It's really no use looking now.
These aren't them.
And when you only have Democratic imposters from the planet Lets-Go-Windsurfing-Instead, you wind up calling a mutation like Steve King, "Mr. Congressman."
This is from Joe Coffee's Revolution.
Joe is someone who gets up off the sofa and says, goddamit, I'm going to run for Congress. I'm going to try. I'm not perfect, but I can't let this nonsense go on.
This is Joe speaking to the regional Democratic convention. His first speech of his campaign. He's scared to death. His wife is with him. She's sitting in the back row of the auditorium, behind a pillar, embarrassed for him, at first, then gains confidence as he tries and gets stronger himself.
He's a good Joe, this Coffee dude. He is what we deserve. We don't deserve the Kings we get. What an idiot. He needs to meet some Hispanic families, sit down with them, learn the language.
We all deserve so much better.
Joe Coffee's Revolution; Badger Books, Madison, Wisc.: badgerbooks.com
It was also a time of the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the release of Mandela and later the election of Clinton.
He began to make eye contact as he read his speech.
Along with others, I hoped for the better, for a peace dividend in the United States that would give hope to the poor. It never came.
Those in places of power, who make money from military procurement, could breath a sigh of relief that it was deemed prudent that the United States military remain unnaturally strong. My sister in Nebraska with eight children to raise on her own could find her own way to get by, our leaders said.
We have schools in Agnes and Ernest, all around the district, that need fixing. We have made staff cuts at our school. Many school boards are making the same sorts of heart-wrenching decisions, for lack of money.
And yet we continue to build state and federal prisons at a rapid rate. The United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any nation on earth. State governments invariably spend more on prisons and jails than on colleges and universities.
... It is a mistake to regard idealism as a sentimental weakness.
Joe put a touch of bass to his voice. He heard his voice going out. He knew where he was, but willed himself not to think about it.
Those quotes come from the early Wilson era, when providing for the poor while seeking to limit the reach of the rich and powerful were talked about openly.
Today liberal is a swear word.
The real obscenity is the way political parties and politicians will stick their fingers into the air to check the wind and then sprint in that direction.
... I did not choose to run because I suddenly felt qualified. I just realized that I wished politicians, newspaper reporters and news anchors talked about issues the way I wanted them to be talked about - as if they thought we had a brain in our head.
Jane cheered with a half dozen others in the audience. She had not seen Joe's speech because she demanded he write it himself.
Nobody comes around and asks you if you want to bomb Iraq or Kosovo, whether you want thirty new federal prisons built this year. Nobody asks you if you want your son forced to sign up for military induction. Nobody asks you - so sometimes you just have to tell them how you feel.
... Until we come to grips with our idolatry of the military and of prisons the rest is secondary. How many persons are we willing to kill or starve or lock up in order to ensure our own postcard-perfect lives. How can we act as if the only real problem we face is the fine-tuning of our own comfort?
Reporters ask me why I am running. Well, do you remember, just after the Columbine tragedy, President Clinton asked our young people to find non-violent ways to solve their problems. Well, that was while President Clinton and the rest of us adults were bombing Yugoslavia every morning, afternoon and night.
Our children are watching us, every step we take. And they are down there, low, with a perspective to be able to really see which direction we go.
... Joe stood on one leg and turned over his last page to find the rest of his speech.
With all due respect, the standard Democratic platform is as boring as watching paint dry, and just as useful.
As the song goes, you have to sing like you don't need the money.
Joe looked up, expecting applause or a chuckle.
Our children expect, they just assume that this is a good world.
Joe tried to speak slowly and louder.
We owe it to them and to the child within ourselves not to give up on that dream too soon.
* And ... this in from Frank Cordaro in Des Moines:
Des Moines Register
July 12, 2007
Local protesters finally win one in court
"Iowa is a state that has perhaps the strongest anti-war movement in
the country . . ." according to Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at
the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), in conversation with Ron
Elving, NPR's Washington Editor; Jeanne Cummings, reporter for "The
Politico"; and Diane Rehm, on Rehm's nationally syndicated program,
The Diane Rehm Show, on WAMU-FM, the American University NPR affiliate
station in Washington, DC, on Thursday, July 5, 2007.
You can hear it for yourself at six minutes and twenty-three seconds
(using RealOne Player) into the broadcast, at this link:
Most of the program, and it's typical Big Media product, is devoted to a discussion of which candidates have the most money and how their various strategies are playing out in Iowa and other early primary states. As usual, it's mostly about the horse race, and there is precious little meaningful discussion of ideas, ideals, and issues.
But it's worth listening to the context of Ornstein's comment about Iowa having "the strongest anti-war movement in the country." And if you've been wondering whether anyone in Washington has noticed what the anti-war movement in Iowa is doing and saying, if you've been wondering if we're making a difference, you can put any such doubts aside.
If you think we're not making an impact at the national level, think again. AEI is the primary neocon think tank, and this kind of grudging recognition from a far-Right AEI flak like Ornstein, in a nationally- syndicated public conversation with three other high-profile Washington insiders, is reason for some celebration and should give us all a boost in confidence.
And that's good, because we're probably going to need it: No good deed goes unpunished. ;-)
Seriously, brush the dust off your best dancing shoes.
It's all about to get a bit more interesting!