Hood on the Scarecrow by Mike Palecek

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Palecek
August 9, 2007



Over here!

Hey. How’s it goin’?

Yes. I am the scarecrow. You didn’t see me? Really?


I am on Double Secret Terrorist Duty. Securing the Homeland.

Actually to secure my homeland I would have to split myself into fourths and go back to Europe.

I think this is somebody else’s homeland. Oh, well, always willing to chip in and do my part. I’m also a member of Sertoma, Kiwanis and Noon Rotary. I love meetings. I’m a people person.

Anywho … hot enough for ya?

Well, what do you think?

Is this the end of our American Fascism Period – or just the beginning?

You think we will have elections in 2008? You think Bush and Cheney and Rove will walk out voluntarily?

Or do you think like Wingnut Willie or Wacko Wanda, that they might do another 911 and put us on Super Secret Double Probation for our own good?

That’s the question of the day, the week, the year, right?

I don’t know.

I am just here to do my duty. To protect and to serve and to eat pizza. That would be my motto, I have decided, if anyone ever asks what my motto is. I swear that’s what it is.

I was in the Hospers post office yesterday.

Rush Limbaugh is always on in there, loud.


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We Used to Believe by Mike Palecek

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Palecek
July 27, 2007
An excerpt from Mike’s new book: “The American Dream”

As I recall, in the summer 1968, Robert Kennedy came to Norfolk, Nebraska.

He was going to speak at the railroad station that these days is a flower planter or native 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 Shaw quote that I thought was Kennedy’s at the time.

“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.

“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 TV news anchors – and anything on radio news was true, of course. This isn’t Russia.


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No Fear: The Next “Terror” Attacks Against America by Mike Palecek + Immortal Technique: Bush Knocked Down The Towers (video)

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Palecek
Sunday, 15 July 2007

Is This Heaven?

Only if you say so.

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul says that America is in danger of a false flag operation. That would be another 911. Because the government wants to invade Iran, wants even more control of us, the nation, the planet.

Even though the birds are chirping and the sun is shining bright on the folks walking lockstep over to the church across the street, this seems more and more like hell, especially after seeing Michael Moore’s “Sicko” on Saturday.

The film starts out with Moore talking about the frivolity of pursuing The American Dream.

Ruth and I both didn’t have to work so we drove over to Sioux Falls.

It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin

Immortal Technique: Bush Knocked Down The Towers


God Bless Michael Moore.

Our country did something right to be able to produce somebody like him.


“Sicko” says a whole lot. It’s about health care, but it’s so well written and conceived. It ends up being a commentary on just a whole lot of things.

And you end up fantasizing about moving to France or Canada or Cuba.

Moore says that one reason the people of France get so much from their government is that the government is afraid of the people, afraid that they will revolt if they are not treated fairly.

In the United States the people are afraid of the government, afraid of their employers, their landlords, afraid that if they say or do anything they will lose the tenuous fingernail grip they have on their lives.

A poll this Sunday morning on the Sioux City Journal website:
Do you fear an Al-Qaida attack on American soil within the next year?

I voted “No” and got to see the results thus far. Sixty percent said yes.

We really don’t have much of a country. We are blubbery, weak-kneed people.

We nap in the bleachers at a tractor pull and call that being rugged individualists.

We don’t care enough to learn what this country is really about, who the terrorists really are.

Moore’s film also included a whole lot of time spent with a former member of England’s Parliament. He says that Democracy is radical, much more so than Socialism or Communism or any of the other isms.

Because it gives power to the poor, if they will vote.

But it is in the interests of those in power, the rich, the Bushes and Cheneys, to keep the poor, the people, ignorant, hoping to just get through the next day, the next week with some semblance of their lives intact, praying every night on both of their knees that somehow their children will grow up and have a chance at life.

That’s perfect.

That is how they want us, on our knees.

We have the power.

If we will get up off our knees and walk out into the street.

Here is the website for Cindy Sheehan’s walk from Georgia to Washington, D.C.


— Mike

This is from “The American Dream,” my most recent novel.

My website, book covers, blurbs, etc: www.mikepalecek.com

My blog, Is This Heaven?: http://isthisheaven-mike.blogspot.com/

“The American Dream,” published by CWG Press: http://www.cwgpress.com, 2007.


The Americans Dream
of marshmallow clouds
and lollipop lanes
and TV towns.

While the world wails,
fists clenched,
eyes blazing,
tears streaming.

The Americans Dream
of rocket ships,
freedom and alleluia.

While they sleep on
through the alarm,
the house afire.

[This is John, a resident of Homeland, a small town in the Midwest where our story takes place. He lives in a little house next to the city park and the war memorial. He is a former protester, went to prison once. The townspeople call him “John The Baptist” because they have caught him peeing in the war memorial flowers after dark. John likes to watch the town through his basement window. He likes to call it being “underground.” Here’s Johnny.]

“There are those in America who knew that this was not the land of the free and the home of the brave long before Abu Ghraib.

Those people are the poor, the prisoner, the activist, the immigrant.

Anyone who has found himself face to face with the real, ugly face of America: the judge, the guard, the policeman, the soldier.

You know, though, you can make most people believe anything.

They’ll swallow the Star Spangled Banner with their Wheaties; they will believe they’ll burn in hell for eating fish on a Friday or not entering the building on the corner at least once every Sunday. Tell ’em there’s this place called Purgatory and tell them they live in a democracy and that everyone in a crowd of rich people in Washington, D.C. has their very own personal best interests on index cards taped to their bathroom mirrors.

And tell them we went to the moon once and never went back, and that the CIA works for them and the peace dividend when Russia folded, well, just didn’t quite work out, but we tried.

Tell ’em the war on drugs is vital to their lives, too, while you’re at it, and then make sure you get the rugs out of the closet for nap time at ten.

You can tell them a million and one things; they will believe it.

Those were drone airplanes that hit those towers and the real ones are at the bottom of the ocean. Where’s my CBS Christmas Special?

Even the poor Americans have their flags waving from the coat hanger antenna duct-taped to the side of the trailer.

Well, if there was any amount of real religion spoken in any of these jillion churches, and if the newspaper reporters actually wanted to find something out, the lies and the rich and the corrupt couldn’t stand up to that tidal wave.

But the churches and reporters are just a dribble, no more’n I leak on myself after I think I’m done peeing in the flowers.

…. I’ve spent considerable time in county jails and prison, nothing that would win any county fair prizes, but plenty enough to my way of thinking.

All for trying to topple the American Empire.

I would, too.

If I could I’d tie a rope around the Statue of Liberty and pull her into whatever bay or river that is. And then ram a flagpole way up her ass and call her Barbara Bush.

If I could will it, every little explosion in my toilet, when I push that silver knob would mean an American military base in Alabama, or a little bullet factory in Iowa, or some fucking high school history propaganda classroom in Indiana is blown to kingdom come.

I wouldn’t have even thought about that if I hadn’t ever gone to prison.

It’s the way you think now.

You are a tourist.

You haven’t really been to the United States.

You flit around and take pictures of all the tinsel and bows.

I’ve walked down the side streets.

Yep. Mount Rushmore, come tumblin’ down.



And I do believe ol’ Jesus would put a hand on the rope along with me.

Yes’m he would.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

On a Journey for Humanity By Cindy Sheehan

Disobey the USA by Mike Palecek

Dandelion Salad

July 10, 2007
by Mike Palecek

Disobey the USA.

That is what I encourage.

Sit down and consider how bad you think things are, our leaders, our lies, our FBI and CIA and CBS, and murdering troops.

And the truth is, it’s probably ten times as bad as the worst thing you can imagine.

And now …

Scooter Libby isn’t going to prison.

That part’s just fine.

Anybody named “Scooter” should not be put into prison.

Actually, nobody should be in prison.

Prisons and jails are immoral. They are mean and bad and nobody should go there.

You say, well, they are not supposed to be nice.

Well, they are not. And you do not know shit about the world. Go back to your church league softball game.

Okay, maybe I’m sorry I said that.

More likely I’m not.

Go to jail and then come and tell me that anyone should be there.

Or go visit someone you love who is in prison. Then come visit me. We might have more to talk about then.

We are supposed to be intelligent beings. We should be able to think of something else.

Bush said he commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence because it was excessive.

Of course, he is a liar. That is a given. When he tells his children it is nice outside they put on winter coats, because “Dad is a fucking liar.”

It wasn’t. Excessive. Bush gave Libby something and now Libby won’t snitch on Cheney and Bush and whoever else.

That’s the way it’s done.

Just for kicks, what about all the thousands of people in prison right now for marijuana “crimes.” For possessing and using a plant that grows naturally. Is there a chance that might be “excessive?”

Anybody in Terminal Island these days for distribution of Coors Light?

Is your headache and memory loss and spousal loss this morning due to … oh, forget it. Let’s move on.

What about these headlines that we have pretty much forgotten, just like the millions of lost souls in our prisons:

? Is it possible that the anthrax attacks were launched from within our own government? A former Bush 1 advisor thinks it is.


Point of View By JIM FETZER
One man’s opinion: Evidence indicates that Wellstone crash was no accident

? Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan No Coincidence
by Ira Chernus

Shit, there are one hundred more headlines that could go here regarding the Bush crimes: torture, stealing elections.

I still can’t believe those two.

Can’t believe we don’t tear down the White House fences to get at these criminals and haul them to federal district court.

And yet they are not sitting in prison, eating meatloaf squares next to some guy from Duluth who sold a plant and won’t be able to ever watch his son’s ballgames, because he doesn’t get out of the federal prison in Milan for another eighteen effing years.

I was happy to serve my country in prison, but for the record, I went to prison for Stepping Over A White Line.

It was definitely political. I kept doing it and doing it, and it was well-known that it was in opposition to the United States military.
I wasn’t trying to get onto the air force base to oooh and aaah at the new Stealth bombers.

It’s obvious that it’s all political, that’s all.

Bush is a liar. He is a murderer.

He should be in Terre Haute Penitentiary right now, or Lewisburg or Leavenworth or a SuperMax in Colorado.

Or, might I also recommend the Sarpy County Jail, not so far from Offutt Air Force Base, south of Omaha.

That would do just fine. The people of the United States would be well served by having His Moron Fuck Highness in one of those dark little cages for a few years.

That’s all I’m saying.

If we are going to have these idiotic things called prisons, then there should be a bunk and a register number and a meatloaf square and a stainless steel toilet for the biggest idiot of them all.


– Mike

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Devil and Daniel Berrigan by Mike Palecek

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

— Daniel Berrigan

“Daniel Berrigan was born in Virginia, Minnesota, a Midwestern working class town. His father, Thomas Berrigan, was a second-generation Irish-Catholic and proud union man. Tom left the Catholic Church, but Berrigan remained attracted to the Church throughout his youth. He joined the Jesuits directly out of high school in 1939 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1952….

“Berrigan, his brother Philip, and the famed Trappist monk Thomas Merton founded an interfaith coalition against the Vietnam War, and wrote letters to major newspapers arguing for an end to the war….

“In 1968, he was interviewed in the anti-Vietnam War documentary film In the Year of the Pig, and later that year became involved in radical violent protest. He manufactured home-made napalm and, with eight other Catholic protesters, used it to destroy 378 draft files from the Catonsville, Maryland draft board. This group, later known as the Catonsville Nine, blamed American Christians and Jews for showing “[…] cowardice in the face of […]” the U.S. government, and for their racism “[…] and hostil[ity] to the poor.”….

“Berrigan was promptly arrested and sentenced to three years in prison, but went into hiding with the help of fellow radicals prior to imprisonment. While on the run, Berrigan was interviewed for Lee Lockwood’s documentary “The Holy Outlaw.” Soon thereafter, the FBI apprehended him, sent him to prison, and released him in 1972….

“Berrigan later spent time in France meeting with Thich Nhat Hanh, the exiled Buddhist monk peace activist from Vietnam….

“On September 9, 1980, Berrigan, his brother Philip, and six others (the “Plowshares Eight”) began the Plowshares Movement. They illegally trespassed onto the General Electric Nuclear Missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where they damaged nuclear warhead nose cones and poured blood onto documents and files. They were arrested and charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts. On April 10, 1990, after ten years of appeals, Barrigan’s group was re-sentenced and paroled for up to 23 and 1/2 months in consideration of time already served in prison. Their legal battle was re-created in Emile de Antonio’s 1982 film In The King of Prussia, which starred Martin Sheen and featured appearances by the Plowshares Eight as themselves.”

[Excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Berrigan%5D

Essay by Mike Palecek


I owe my life to Dan Berrigan.

For good or for bad.

I think for good.

I drove from a smallish, conservative town in northeast Nebraska in January 1979 to begin seminary at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In February or March, Berrigan was speaking at Macalaster College, up Summit Avenue a few blocks at a Vietnam Symposium, whatever that means, along with Eugene McCarthy and a journalist named Gloria Emerson.

Anyway, I went, and I heard, and I walked up to him afterward to introduce myself and ask a stupid question.

A couple of us ended up driving Dan around town that night, to a church to hear John Trudell speak about the FBI burning his family in their home, then over to a TV station where Daniel Schorr was hosting a discussion between Berrigan and some guy from the Kennedy administration. I think it was Ted Sorenson.

All’s I know is they let me into this one room and pointed at a table full of food. I could graze as long as we were there. Have at it church boy.

Berrigan also came over to the seminary and spoke to us, about Vietnam, prison, the United States, the Catholic Church.

I was enthralled. I had never heard this stuff before, and likely would not have ever heard it in my seminary instruction.

Well, on a home visit I asked the parish priest who had hooked me up with the seminary, Fr. Walter Nabity.

I asked him about Berrigan and protesting and nuclear weapons and war and all that.

Fr. Nabity told me to forget about the protests, stick to my studies, stay away from the likes of Berrigan.

Well, I was confused.

I told Berrigan what Nabity had said. Dan wrote back to me. [Below]

Over Easter vacation, on Berrigan’s invitation, two of us took a train to Washington, D.C. for a Holy Week retreat and protest. We stayed at the Church of St. Stephen in northwest D.C.

There were lots of “famous” folks from the peace movement there that week, that I only found out were famous, within the peace movement, over the following years: Richard McSorley, Sr. Elizabeth Montgomery, Art Laffin, Elizabeth McAlister, Fr. Carl Kabat.

And of course, Phil Berrigan. I remember going up to Phil and asking him a stupid question. He was wearing this army coat. He took me to the middle of the church and sat with me. He listened to my questions.

“What’s a nuke?”

And we talked about the Catholic Church, celibacy, marriage, prison, the United States, the military, Thou Shall Not Kill. Lots of stuff. And he took the time to talk to me.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that, unless I eat way too many Ho-Ho’s … again.

It was pretty cool. We planned these protests at the White House — Jimmy Carter’s administration — and the Pentagon, and some people went to the Department of Energy, too, I think.

We boarded the bus in small groups so that it would not appear to be a big group, I guess.

We went through the White House visitor tour line in those small groups and inside we looked at tables and tablecloths and silverware, and I tried to not look like someone who needed to be apprehended and sent back to Nebraska — or even worse.

The tour exited out onto a porch, a portico? And then those who were doing the protest took out banners from their purses or coats and held them out.

Fr. Carl Kabat poured blood on the pillars and was put into a headlock and hauled away. I got a good picture of that.

And then we went over to the Pentagon and held signs, slept on the floor of the church, ate vegetarian vegetables, then got on the train and went back to Minnesota, never to be the same again.

I think for the better.

I ended up leaving the seminary. On my way out the door I posted a manifesto on the bulletin board by the front door and the elevators, something about how I couldn’t stay at a rich Catholic school, that I had to go be with the poor, now.

A friend who went on to be ordained for the Omaha archdiocese later told me my bulletin board manifesto was weird. It probably was.

I know for one thing, that I really liked the idea of hanging out with these famous guys who had been on the front pages of all the big newspapers in the 1960s. It made me feel important.

But I don’t think the Berrigans and others felt that way. Not at all. I think they did it because they feel it in their guts.

And I think I take away the best part of all that today, the part about the importance of standing with the poor and against war.

In the end, there is no glitter that sticks to that. It’s your lonely self in a prison cell and it’s a family on a hot hillside outside of Pine Ridge trying to live.

That is what you feel in your heart when you hear this message and you want to be a part of it. And you walk that way. Sometimes you run. Sometimes you try to run too fast and maybe you fall. But that doesn’t matter. You get up and try to keep going.

I ended up going to New York City to work at the Catholic Worker on the Bowery for a while, and then Ruth and I got married.

I went to prison myself. I remember being in the hole in Chicago MCC, the federal prison downtown. I was having a rough, rough time.

The guard comes up to my window with this quizzical look on his face. He has this letter asking for my release, signed by Fr. Daniel Berrigan and one million other Jesuits. The guard looked at me like, who are you?

Well, I am nobody, but I know somebody. How about another slice of that shitty bread?

Well, for me, I went to prison, went crazy, went home.

I thank Dan Berrigan for taking the time to talk to me, for one thing, when so many people were clamoring for his attention, and for having the heart and soul and wisdom to know what the truth is, and passing it along.

Back in Norfolk I only had “Choice A” as to how to look at life.

After going to St. Paul, I had “Choice B” as well, and that really makes all the difference.


Letter from Daniel Berrigan

from “Prophets Without Honor,” by William Strabala, Algora Publishing, New York, 2002.

Sept. 21, 1979


I was happy to hear from you. I’m sorry, though, that things have become so unclear in your thoughts since we met and you came East for the protests.

I think your parish priest is full of baloney. Please don’t hesitate to tell him so, if you want to.

He reminds me of all the cutout-clerics I’ve met over the years who went on to get their degrees while innocent children died in Vietnam and many of us went to prison.

I don’t envy him his degrees from Harvard and Columbia. I’ve lectured on both places and find them rich centers of moral retardation.

As for people getting paid to protest, it’s here that the baloney goes rancid. Our payment was years in prison to protest the killing; his payment was something else again.

I hope someday he picks up the New Testament and gets some light on the life, imprisonment and death of Jesus. Also on some texts like, “love one another, as I have loved you.”

Well, enough of that. If I am angry, it’s at his defamation of those I love. He sounds as though any outrage in the world would find him indifferent among his books and degrees. I just wonder what sort of advice someone like him is capable of giving someone like you.

As far as the cult talk goes, I think your seminary is closer to the cult reality than Jonah House. There, you and other young people seem to be being brainwashed — cleansed of all traces of the gospel and of Christ, in order to prepare for a safe and pallid clerical future, in which you can go on to advise other young folks against becoming Christians and witnesses. How’s that for turning things around?

Any place (like Harvard, Columbia, or St. Thomas) that is neglecting to give young people a vision of life, faith, a human future, doesn’t deserve to go on. I hope you leave there. I hope you find a community that is not lost in fantasy and immaturity with its mutterings of Communism and cults.

That’s all so much useless bullshit. It has absolutely nothing to do with Christ or our Church. In fact, it’s like a so-called religious branch of the State Department or the Pentagon, peddling the kind of religion that will allow murder to be legitimized, nukes to be created, the innocent and poor to be wiped out.

I thought, when I came to your seminary, Mike, something better might be in the air. (Usually I avoid such places.) Evidently I was wrong. But for Christ’s sake, don’t condemn yourself to such a future.

Come back and see us when you want. You’ll always be welcome. Meantime, we go on with the work of non-violence, responsibility, hope.

— Daniel

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Give us what we deserve by Mike Palecek (28)

Give us what we deserve

June 27, 2007
by Mike Palecek
Writers often have a person in mind when they write.

I don’t know how that happens or how we choose that person. But I think we imagine that person liking a particular sentence, or not liking, and hoping to please.

I think we also start out imagining things like being famous, like Hemmingway, or about one million writers in The Large Book Of Hot-Shot Writers that has everybody in it but us.

The other day someone posted a comment on one of my articles on Op-Ed News.

Nothing to add to try and further your line of thought.

I just want you to know that I am reading your articles and I enjoy them and your perspective very much.

It seemed important for me to simply tell you.

Tell you Thank You.

Please keep up the good work and the great articles.

A Fan

That’s all the thanks I get?

You know, you really do imagine yourself writing for “the masses” – for a whole bunch of people. But for a whole bunch of us, that just isn’t going to happen. And it’s an awful lot of work, years and years, to have put into this and not have a whole bunch of people reading what we wrote.

But I was thinking, what is wrong with having spent all that time for one person to have enjoyed it.

Nothing is wrong with it. Everything is right with it.

Just imagine someone dusting off your old paperback, “How Brown Was My Rhubarb,” and taking it off to a corner of the library and spending the afternoon lost in this world you have created – just as you had imagined when you spent a whole fall, winter, spring and summer sweating and swearing and worrying and lovingly piecing this 100,000 piece puzzle together.

I’d say that’s more than a plenty.


Recently I asked a friend in Des Moines to send out a note about my books to his list of contacts around the state.

I appreciated that he did that, but I had to notice what he included in his synopsis of who I am.

He said that I was a friend of the Des Moines Catholic Worker “despite my run for Congress.”

I think that is hilarious.

It’s just like someone from the left. I do it myself all the time. I applaud that person’s work with lepers and shutting down the private prison industry. He gets my praise despite his evil love of arena football.

I know the Catholic Worker movement frowns on organized politics and voting and all.

But I remember as I was driving around the state back in 2000, sweating in my little car, trying to talk to mostly conservative folks about prisons, and the military and immigrants – well, I already knew my old friends in the peace movement didn’t think much of my running for office.

But I also had to smile to myself – I was out working on my own so I was the only one there – that one reason there was nobody out there with me was because it is just a tremendous amount of work and it’s much easier to say it doesn’t matter.


Mike Palecek