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A Good Democrat

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Message Mike Palecek
To stop receiving Is This Heaven, please write to the Democratic National Committee. Thank you.

Palecek blog:
Palecek website:

a) Interview stuff:
I'll be a guest of Denny Smithson on Cover To Cover, KPFA radio, Berkeley, Monday, Aug. 27, 3 pm, PST. We will be talking about "The American Dream."

b) This past Sunday I was a guest on Free Range Thought, WKNY, Kingston, NY, with hosts Adam Roufberg and Robert Johnstreet. The audio is archived at: and is currently posted on the front page.

c) Invite to join A Presidential Occupation Project (SODaPOP) Nonviolent Civil Resistance During the Presidential Campaign in Iowa

Is This Heaven?

by Mike Palecek

If I were to run for Congress, this is how I would do it.

Ten-point Plan.

1A) Of course, U.S. out of Iraq, yesterday. We should not have been there. The killing and dying has all been in vain.

1) Cut military spending and pay for things like alternative energy research, global warming research, inner city housing, infrastructure [bridges], schools, social services. The military budget is huge. I really think we could pay for all these things by taking out what we don't need in the military, which is most of it. When the Soviet Union folded, there was no "peace dividend", no switch from military programs to others - because those who were making money on the defense industry scrambled and made sure they did not lose money.

And the Democrats were like, oh, okay. It's not okay.

2) Investigate 911. We don't have the answers yet. Ever wonder why the Bush government did not want an investigation? I do too. This is big, this is huge. We need answers.

3) We need Democrats who are willing to push to prosecute Bush for war crimes, things like torture and lying to start a war and people dying because of that. How about stolen elections and anthrax and a dead Senator? We do not need to get past this until it's time to get past this.

4) Repeal the Patriot Act. Or at least read the damn Patriot Act and see if there is anything there we need. We just accepted it and said, oh, okay. It's not okay.

5) Decriminalize immigration. Where did you come from? Yeah, me, too. Or, perhaps put Native Americans in charge of the INS and go from there. We are Christians, some of us, right? We should help poor people, not throw them in jail. Lots of our Iowa towns lost population during the '80s farm crisis. Here are people who actually want to live in Early and Lone Rock and Spencer - and we don't want them? What's up with that?

6) Universal health care. Should have happened long ago. Go see "SICKO." Go sit in an emergency room, see what their first question is. It ain't "what can we do to help you?"

7) Pardon non-violent drug offenders. Let them go home to their families, watch their children grow up, have lives. The drug war was just another ruse, something for politicians to shout in a crowded theater to get themselves elected. It got more prisons built and more schools crumbling down, but it was wrong. Democrats are like, oh, okay.

8) Marijuana. What are we going to do about it? We need to think about it. What are our children supposed to think when we put people in federal prison for twenty years for marijuana and have "this Bud's for you" on the TV every day?

9) End the death penalty. It's simple. Don't kill.

10) End the requirement for young people to register for the draft. Don't kill.

*And how about something about unions and the minimum wage and a dozen other things that we don't even consider but would make perfect sense to consider.

I just think Democrats could say so much more.

People are pulling their hair out waiting for the Democrats to say more, say something.

The whole world is waiting for the Democratic Party to not be afraid.



It's me.

I'm sitting outside Democratic Headquarters, Iowa Division, Corn Battalion, in the Humvee guarding the place out on the street.

Nobody around. My feet were tired. I need something to write on.

And what I have here is something I think you should have too.

It's a flyer, a handout I'm working on. Maybe I could get the volunteers inside to print them up and send them out to about a million people. Or maybe the newspaper would print it as a letter to the editor, or the radio station would say it, or the TV news anchors.

I call it My Flyer.

My Flyer

Any candidate who does not talk about these while seated on the bale of hay with a piece of new straw behind both ears and an orange hunting cap pulled tight over his or her head is lying to you.

They don't care about you.

They are smiling in your face, eating your chili, your Ho-Ho's, getting spit on your nose, and they are lying to you.

Like any insurance salesman stinking up your sofa.

You would be better off going fishing or getting drunk, preferably both, than listening to his or her horse sh*t.

* The pre-planning of this whole scenario: Bush elected, 911, anthrax, war, profits from war.

There's more, lots more. This is enough. He or she won't want to hear even this and - he or she should be bringing it up, not you.

If you bring it up, they will run away, tie and or skirt flying, while grabbing straw from ears and tossing it away.

* Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, kidnapping people and taking them to secret prisons and torturing them for years.

* Stolen elections, 2000, 2004.

* The deaths of Paul Wellstone, Pat Tillman, the phony rescue story of Jessica Lynch.

* The profits made by the vice-president's old company during the war.

* The lies that got us into war.

* The sham of an investigation into 911

If these candidates act like, yeah, the sum total of the discussion is whether and when our troops leave Iraq, they are phony bastards and should have the straw ripped from their phony hands.

If he or she does not talk about these things, that means they are not important to him or her - which means they are stupid, or they are lying, phony bastards.

Dude, not one of these candidates is stupid.


The American Dream: I like The American Dream because it's like punching America in the nose, it's like punching George W. Bush in the nose and Karl Rove in the nose. And I think those two pussies need to be punched in the nose. And it punches those ministers with American flags and dead children on their altar, and it punches my neighbor right square in the kisser for mowing his lawn and worrying about his damn lawn while we are killing children in Iraq.

174 Pages
Publisher: CWG Press/
ISBN: 0978818601

"Palecek is fearless, skewering religious extremism, political right wing fundamentalism, gung-ho patriotism and the use of fear to play upon the innocent...and ignorant. And it works. I finished the book in one night...but it's been in my brain ever since, like a song that won't go away ... haunting."

- Marie Jones, Book Ideas

From the American Dream:

As I recall, in the summer of 1968, Robert Kennedy came to Norfolk, Nebraska. He was going to speak at the railroad station that is now a flower planter prairie grassland display, I think.

I remember going down there myself, on my bike. I was just out of the eighth grade. I wanted to go to pick a saying out of his talk to live by.

I sat-stood on my banana seat and listened and watched him stand at a podium and gesture with his thumb inside his first finger and I heard that paraphrased Shaw quote that I thought at the time was a Kennedy original:

"... but I see things as they never were and say why not."

Sounds like a plan for someone who wants to try writing novels, I suppose.

At the time I was a pretty mediocre paperboy.

We lived through John Kennedy's murder and Martin and Bobby, barely.

Most of us still breathe.

I remember the night I went to sleep while we weren't sure yet if RFK was dead. My mother said that for him to recover was "what this country needs."

Well, we didn't get it.

Through my adult life I have breathed through a number of presidential elections and watched the Democrats get creamed with such sorry candidates that it was all a person could do to drag himself down the church basement steps to vote and then run home to gargle with Listerine.

I went to seminary at the end of the '70s and then prison, newspaper work, and ran for Congress in 2000. I ran as a Democrat. I was a Democrat because I remembered asking Mom and Dad what we were when Kennedy went against Nixon.

I would have been proud to be a Democrat standing next to Robert Kennedy, but standing next to the big shots of the Iowa Democratic Party on the platform at the state convention in Des Moines made me want to be somewhere else.

These folks did not dare mention war, military, prisons, immigration. Weak and not inspiring and to this day they continue playing the same games.

Back then we believed Oswald did it. We believed in the Warren Commission, Johnny Carson, the Catholic Church, the Norfolk Daily News, and the Omaha World-Herald, because we were brought up to believe. Go Big Red.

We believed in the network news anchors - and anything on radio news was true, of course. This isn't Russia.

Now we have the Internet and we don't believe in any of that stuff - we know they killed Wellstone and did the whole 911 thing themselves, actually stole elections - but still we drift toward fascism as if on a rubber raft on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the Niobrara River, not having the energy to really care about anything, or even lift up our heads to see where we're heading, just toss the empties into the water and stare up at the sky.

And leave it all to the people in Congress who are either cowards or too rich to care or both.

We go to sleep at night without hope.

Bobby Kennedy died.

If any children, my own perhaps, are tying to get in close and hear what I'm going to say, grab something to live by, they might hear, "What time is the game on tonight? Is this enough beer?" But ... there is still some time on the clock. When we die we will be dead for a long time.

We're not dead yet.

Kids, here is what I think.

We should change the national anthem from that firecracker farce we have now to "This Land Is Your Land," and sing all the verses. And we shouldn't stand up like tired robots every damn time somebody plays the other one. And I know you give it all you've got, but you can easily end up giving your "110 percent" for a tyrant, and that ruins everything, like those young people now serving in the military for George W. Bush.

We shouldn't pay taxes for bombs or prisons.

We should let any Mexicans who want to come here to come on in, this being a Christian nation and all, Wally.

Any bishops or priests or ministers who say war and bombs and whatever or A-OK should be sent out to get a construction job.

Phony bastards.

And the Democratic Party - oh, God, the Democratic Party - should say a prayer and light a candle and do penance and look over those pictures of the folks lining the tracks when they brought Bobby Kennedy's body home.

Stand for something.

Care about something.

Feel something.

Imagine health care and poor children fed and bomb factories bulldozed and prison walls torn down and say "why not."
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Author, former peace prisoner, journalist, candidate.
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