Writer’s Digest

I entered the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards (as well as several other contests) over the summer. I did not win anything, but I did receive some kind comments from Judge 55 and I very much appreciate that and wanted to pass them along. – Mike


22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards


Entry Title: Camp America
Author: Mike Palecek
Judge Number: 55
Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary:

Great cover, good details that really attract the reader’s eye, and then on further view during the reading of the book, details mean even more. Well done.

Great sense of movement in the opening scene, as well as a very vivid sense of place.

Sensory details are well used throughout; author does a good job of allowing the reader to step into the book and experience it on different levels.

There is a lot of intrigue on what he’s going to find in the woods. Draws the reader in, and is very well done. Reader can feel textures, see colors, smell scents, and embrace the heart-pounding of this scene.

Watch out for tiny typos, which stand out more when the writing is so good. Author has one on page 5, way too early for a typo to pop up: My ribs hurt to breath.

When typos happen early on in a book, reader becomes disappointed to see the next one, and the next, leading to a lessened view of the book. A good comb-through for typos would improve this book and allow the reader to stay within the experience, not be drawn out every time a typo occurs.

Use of lyrics and quotes at the start of chapters is very good. Reader gets to connect with the story through them. And reader looks forward to the ones to come.

The author’s admitted Kerouac influence really comes through, and author needs to take care not to get too rambly in Kerouac style. Use it in careful doses, connecting thoughts and sections with a bit more transitions. Think melodic with phrasing, and that can smoothe out the jumpiness of Kerouac-style jumps from observation to observation. That said, the reader soon thinks that maybe this jumpiness of topics is due to the character’s fear or an anxiety issue.

If author intended it as such, that’s a terrific narrative device. But if the reader is left saying then it’s not as clear as it needs to be.

Author brings in great details like the taking of spouses medications by accident, a very real human error that reader can relate to. Well done.

Inner monologue is crisp and fast-paced, which draws the reader along into the action of the book that develops. And author makes it easy to tell which section is in the POV of which character, so that’s a big strength to this book.

The Bigfoot show references are a terrific element of the book, especially for readers who love those shows and know well what he’s referring to with knocking and such. Author does a good job of describing these elements for those who may not know. Good job catering to the reader’s understanding levels.

Great lines throughout, like I pulled out my harmonica and played my worst.

Beautiful gems like that throughout the book make this a fun read. Reader is looking for more as the story progresses. Well done.

Very realistic confusion at the game when things go awry. Author does a good job of describing with a sense of the shock and disbelief that a character would observe from. Very visceral injuries and just brutal enough without passing into the tasteless category.

Watch out for when the pace gets too frantic, such as when things REALLY go awry in the stadium. There’s so much going on, so much urgency, that it can get to be too intense. Break it up with a flashback or a sense of the character disassociating with what’s going on, to give the reader a brief respite and a chance to breathe.

Very authentic as a survival situation, and we see depth of character in all subsets of characters. Nicely done.

The last page is very good re: what people know.That stays with the reader, which is a sign of good storytelling.

The back cover of the book, though, should have a summary of what the book is about, not an acclaim quote about the author. Move that to the inner front and add to the back cover an engaging summary that does the book justice.


Entry Title: Johnny Moon
Author: Mike Palecek
Judge Number: 55
Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary:

The front cover image is terrific, the big, full moon with John F Kennedy’s image in it draws the reader’s attention immediately.

And the figure in the window conveys a sense of deep thought and searching. Well done. The back cover would be improved by placing a summary of the book, not reviews by regular people. Reviews are best included when they’re written by other authors or reviews on Library Journal or the media. Without a summary, the reader’s interest generated by the cover doesn’t escalate into greater interest in reading the plot.

The Prologue provides a great sense of timing, giving the story a home in history. Well done.

VERY good: the old people at mass, the persons the young people were resigned to becoming.

Excellent introduction to the religious elements of the book, and the reader can relate to what being a churchgoer does with your identity, the path one takes, and the community they’re in. Good setup for his relationship with the nun (who is very amusingly nicknamed, by the way.)

The quotes and lyrics at the starts of chapters are, for the most part, very well-chosen. Some are a bit puzzling, such as ˜Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The reader doesn’t connect as well with that as with other chosen openers. Somewhere in the book should be permissions or attributions for these quotes.

The pacing is quick, making this an easier read, and the staccato nature of dialogue and lines also draws the reader along well.

The boys’ banter is rapidfire and cheeky, which is a great element of the book. The reader is interested in these characters from the start, invested in seeing where their storylines go. The voice of the nun is done especially well.

We get a sense of peacefulness about her, and when she steps behind Johnny to see what he’s looking at in the sky, it’s a great symbol of her being behind him in his explorations of faith and life. Nicely done.

Author does a good job with light description (the sun elbowed through the January clouds) for some rich sensory detail. All settings are painted well, given sensory details like color, texture and feel. The plot then comes more to life, since the setting is layered and detailed.

Author gives good voice to characters, like ain’t that right? and other dialect that rings true for the reader, differentiating characters. This little choice has a big impact.

The ending closing with sound is good, but would churchbells sound like gunfire?

A fine effort and good adventure with these memorable characters.


Entry Title: Speak English
Author: Mike Palecek
Judge Number: 55
Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary:

The front cover image is very telling, and spookily unique, excellent choice, as well as the blue-gray color scheme conveying a sense of a cloudy future. It would be better if the title was on the top and the author’s name on the bottom. A reader unfamiliar with the author might think the name of the book is ˜Mike Palacek.™

The back cover continues with the cloud color scheme, and the wording conveys a good sense of the storyline, engagingly written. The staccato lines on the back cover convey the rapid fire of this author’s style. Well done.

Very good to have endorsements from authorities and recognized authors right up front; conveys a sense of excitement and anticipation for the story to come.

But the line by Jeanne Norris: “Mike Palacek can take the worst events that happen (terrorist planes crashing on purpose into the Twin Towers on 9/11) and make them hilarious” is so very offensive, no matter what your political beliefs. That alone could make a reader put this book down. For a future edition, consider removing this. The strengths of the other endorsements get lost in the terrible effect of that line.

The author uses short sentences as part of his style, but it would be an improvement to mix up sentence length more often to get a better flow while reading. Some transitions would improve the reading experience.

Characters voices and dialogue are good, but let’s get some physical descriptions of them, as well as sense of movement so that they really jump off the page.

On page 29, author talks about a characters idea to start a ˜Retards Series.” That word, too, is extremely offensive. Granted, author is attributing this to a character, and making the character unlikeable in the process, which seems to be the idea. Still, so early in the book and after understanding that a character using the N-word is also part of his persona, it can be a bit much for a reader to undertake comfortably.

Author does a great job describing sounds, like ˜the gravel mumbled under my tires.™ Author is skilled at sound and avoiding cliches here. Well done.

A little layout suggestion: set off chapters with a more visible, centered marking. As it stands, with the chapter numbers done in the same font as the text, they get a little bit lost.

The author allows his characters to interject strong political beliefs, but the lead-in can sometimes be awkward, like a point where the character mentions that Rosie O’Donnell is off The View and then launches right into a big statement about the Bush/Cheney conspiracy. Reader has a tough time connecting the two.

Good mix of thought and dialogue throughout. Author has not relied on either too heavily. Nice balance.

Very good revelations from the alien, that humans have a spiritual fingerprint. That part delivers a good payoff.

Reader was looking forward to what can be learned from the alien, as well as the classes of aliens in society. Good ending.


Entry Title: The Progrrressive Avenger
Author: Mike Palecek
Judge Number: 55
Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary:

The cover design is very good, a modern design and strong illustration, with the tattoo on her stomach saying a lot. Well done.

˜The Girl Who Lived™ is very much reminiscent of Hunger Games, and reader may think of Harry Potter as the ˜boy who lived.” It may be better to avoid that description, since it pulls close to cliche.

The ˜progressive” comments made by the character always needs to be balanced with humanizing, character-rounding details“ including sensory details that bring a character to life on the page.

When the balance is off, we’re just getting bold statements. That may work into character building and a description of the world tone they live in, but add a bit more of her and less of her mindset.

Or dial her down to more moderate; when we see her doodling swastikas, some readers may unhook from her and not develop the level of high interest in what happens to her that you want.

While it’s true that a successful novel makes the reader feel something, what the reader may feel very often throughout the book is the character’s anger and dissatisfaction, which can be very tiring.

There’s a lot going on with many conspiracy theories mentioned which may be the characters anchors, but the reader at times feels too pulled along in rough waters. Watch out for when things speed up and pace is too rapid.

After joining the characters and feeling their dissatisfaction for so long, the reader just keeps getting hit with conspiracy topics (mammograms?) than can hit too close to home and mires the plot in talk of anger, suspicion and hate that is again too dialed up.

We need balance so that these topics DO resonate and we engage with the character’s hero journey.

We need a balance of good and bad in characters, so that they’re as fleshed-out as the scenery, which the author does a terrific job of illustrating. We get sounds and textures in the scenery, so we’re present. Sensory details are essential for a book that contains so many issues and goes to some dark places at times.

Rounds out well, and author does a great job of giving this a satisfying, natural closure, not leaving the reader hanging in any way. Characters are memorable, and author does a good job of creating resonance. The plot stays with the reader long after the book is done.

Bigfoot — Sasquatch

This recording is from March, 2011 in the Saginaw area of Minnesota, north of Cloquet, northwest of Duluth. Recorder was left in the woods overnight, picked up the next day in the afternoon.

As I walked up I heard a big knock and answered, did not get a return. I went up to my recorder, picked it up, took it home.

I didn’t see or hear anyone else out there, but when I listened back I could tell that there had been “voices,” that sound exactly like children at play in the area of my recorder just before I walked up, unaware.

I will go ahead and just say that I suspect they were Sasquatch children at play and that when they heard the knock warning they left.

I will also say that there is a path that sometimes has horses, riders, and there is a river within a quarter mile, but it was cold, too early and too cold for anyone to be playing in the river, and I did not see any people with horses.

And there is a house in the area, but from what I have found out they do not have children. I have also judged many times as I have been back to the area and the house is just too far, in my opinion, for the up-close sound of children to have been picked up by my recorder.

So, if you will take about ten minutes or a little more to listen, you will hear airplanes, geese, something close to the recorder, knocking, and you will hear children playing, perhaps Sasquatch children.

The Bigfoot Chronicles:3

My narrative of my Bigfoot experiences over several years.


Photos taken at Jay Cook State Park in Minnesota, ca. 2010 showing some sort of structures. Who made them is up to the imagination of the viewer. I was walking in the woods and came upon the first one, the biggest, most prominent, and then looked around and there were more, maybe four or five, forming a sort of circle, a perimeter. I was out there not too long ago (Sept. 2014) and they are still there, but showing wear.





These are photos of mine of footprints I found. The first one is on a path by the St. Louis River, near Cloquet. The others were on the path at Jay Cooke Park. They could have been made by humans or Bigfoot. I don’t know.





This is a recording I made at Jay Cooke Park around the time we first moved to the area from Iowa. I put out a small Walmart recorder in the woods, on the ground, with onions scattered around. I was shocked when I listened to the playback. What I hear is something tapping on the recorder and then whispering “chinka,” and then a few seconds later, what I take as another individual whispering “binka,” or something like that. The recording was made in daylight, in woods off the path.

This is a recording made on the Fond du Lac Reservation near Cloquet, in the “Ditchbank,” area. It was in March, I think, early spring. I put out the recorder before I went to work in the early afternoon, and by the time this voice is recorded, it is dark. What I hear is a human-like voice and three clipped phrases. They are Native sounds. But it is in a remote area, in the woods, after dark. And, my question would be, do even Native Americans speak Native today in casual conversation, or do Bigfoot speak in a Native sort of tongue?

These are recordings I made in the Saginaw, MN area. The account of what occurred as well as the recordings can be found on the website of the Sasquatch Research Association: http://sasquatchresearchers.org/march-2012-minnesota-howls/

This was a recording that I got on the same night as the “chinka” “binka” whispers, same location, but this happened during the night, in a tiny valley, with a small creek running through.

He’s Not Responsible For What He’s Doing


(IN 2007-2008 I went on a two-part book tour of the United States that overall took about two years to complete. On the tour I wrote a column. During the tour I talked about two books: The American Dream, a novel I had written, on the first leg, to the east, and Cost Of Freedom, a non-fiction project I was involved in, on the second leg, to the west.)

Just sayin’.

by Mike Palecek

“He was born in Oklahoma. His wife’s name is ol’ Betty Lou Thelma Liz.
He’s not responsible for what he’s doing. His mother made him what he is.”

— Ray Wylie Hubbard, Up
Against The Wall Redneck Mother

The folks in Tulsa are there for us, every day, thank God …

DALLAS-FORT WORTH — “Fuck the FCC. Fuck the FBI. Fuck the CIA. I’m livin’ in the mother-fuckin’ USA.”

Wouldn’t you feel a little more like standing if that Steve Earl song were the National Anthem?

And it’s not anti-patriotic. It’s very patriotic, more in line with the Founding Fathers than what we have going on today.

What we have now in America, in terms of say Christianity and government are anything but what their founders intended.

Luckily, things are not totally out of control. We don’t have anarchy in the streets.

There is help out there. Some folks working to maintain the moral order.

Not along the lines of Dr. Phil.

More so along North Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

… “Is this the bible belt?”

“The buckle.”

That’s me asking another dumb question, this time at the Tulsa Peace House.

Joni and Timbre Wolf respond together politely.

Yesterday I drove from St. Joseph, Missouri to Tulsa, Oklahoma to speak.

This afternoon I am sitting in a hotel in Fort Worth, watching college basketball on the television. I spent the morning on the back roads.

It was warm on Tuesday when I was in Oklahoma, about sixty-two degrees. It was one-below the morning before in Iowa.

I thought I had never been to Oklahoma, but I do remember something now about a few days in the 1980s spent at El Reno Federal Prison. I think it was during the time of riots at the state prison at McAlester. I remember being glad about the rioting, somebody fighting back. It’s easy to hate when you are inside a prison bus wearing handcuffs and shackles.

Sometimes I think I hate America to this very day.

I see what we do and don’t do.

But on a long drive like this I realize I don’t hate as much as maybe I thought I did.

Last year on the tour I took the Interstate, whizzing, fighting traffic — and it kind of gets to you — by the end of the trip I was ready to fight if somebody in front of me didn’t react to the green light like a Formula I drag racer.

This time, when I can, I think I’ll take the blue highways, as William Least Heat Moon called them.

And so I got to drive through Coffeyville, Kansas. And I have now seen my first armadillo, albeit deader than shit.

I have been to Bowlegs, Oklahoma now, and seen some of the Sac and Fox, Cherokee and Seminole people, land, casinos — whatever that was close to the road. I also passed by Prague, Oklahoma and the Czech Car Wash. I thought for a moment about stopping and saying hello to “my people.”

And I have now driven past the sign for Osawatamie, Kansas, where John Brown took the slavery issue into his own hands, or rather at Pottawatomie Creek. Some say he started the Civil War, some say he was a hero, some say he was the first American terrorist.

“Now they’re draggin’ me back with my head
in a sack to the land of the infidel.”
— Steve Earle, John Walker’s Blues

And there was the sign outside the Highway Baptist Church, near Seminole.

“Will The Road You Are On Get You To God?”

That’s a good question. I was driving and did not have a chance to really read the map, so I really don’t know. Have you seen the film “Zeitgeist?”

Along the way to Tulsa I saw the tops of all the trees bent and broken, for miles and miles. I thought it was a tornado, a big-ass tornado, but I guess it was The Ice Storm of December 2007.

You know, I have done a few of these book tour “events” with last year’s eastern swing, but this was the first one this year, and it’s hard to get going again. It’s just weird to see signs set up with your name and to have people take time from their day to come listen to you.

At home there are no signs that say “Welcome Mike Palecek, Author & Activist.”

But I start in, get back to work, start shaking hands and meeting the people. They are mostly old friends and they welcome me into their circle, tell me about their lives, past and present.

And I remember why I am there. It is for them. Not for me.

That’s true, and that’s the way it should be, although in the end I get more out of it than they do.

I got to meet “B” and Huti and Jean and Joni and Timbrewolf and Brian and Gary and others. I hear them discuss intently their campaigns against high school military recruitment and depleted uranium and global warming.

Timbrewolf is a big man with long, graying hair. He was a music composition major at the University of Oklahoma years ago and used to be in a band called “The People’s Glorious Five-Year Plan.”

Huti is part Cherokee, and was in the Navy, and also worked in electronics in Silicon Valley, where he once worked on a project to provide “offensive weapons” for the Saudi government. “They said it was defensive, but we knew it wasn’t.”

Jean and Huti live in Muskogee. Jean has her white car plastered in bumper stickers, putting mine to shame. She is a registered nurse and often stands on street corners dressed in a polar bear costume to draw attention to global warming. She has been interviewed on National Public Radio, All Things Considered, within her polar bear capacity.

Joni got arrested at a few local protests, along with Huti and Jean, during visits by Cheney and Bush. Joni fought her conviction and was found not guilty by the necessity defense. That’s a big deal.

We went out to eat at a China buffet afterwards. The talk was about politics, about Obama and Hillary, locals like Senator James Inhofe, whom these folks despise, and his challenger, whom they love. They refer to Kucinich as “Dennis.” Joni is the organizer for the local Green Party and talks about a recent visit from Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. As always, I know waaay less about the issues than my hosts. It’s … well … disapointing to always-always be the stupid honored guest, but I am growing used to it.

Afterwards we take a drive around town. Tulsa is much bigger than I thought.

We stop at the praying hands at the entrance to Oral Roberts University — two gigantic paws in sculpture. We stop and everyone looks up, straining to take it all in out the window.

Huti wonders out loud how much money it would take to open up the hands.

For those of you who have negative thoughts about the Bible Belt, about the state of our nation, of Christianity, about what passes for theological discourse in this country at this time, take heart.

You can rejoice in knowing that there is a strong, small group of people in Tulsa who also do not buy the bullshit, the propaganda.

They get it.

They are there, on the ground, fighting every day for this country.

They are the ones we owe our freedom to. That is what I believe. That is what the book “Cost of Freedom” is all about.

That is what this tour is all about.


— Mike

p.s. I have been to Texas before.

I did not forget La Tuna.

“That’s right, you’re not from Texas,
you’re not from Texas. Texas wants you anyway.”
— Lyle Lovett, “That’s Right”

And tomorrow before I meet with the Fort Worth 9/11 Truth group at Crystal’s Pizza in Irving, I’m going to Dealey Plaza, the Crystal Cathedral for those of us who think that was the day we lost our country and our future.


by Mike Palecek

“You can’t arrest me, I’m on a book tour.” — Michael Moore


I am somebody from Nebraska who now lives in Iowa, who will soon be taking a country drive, a road trip, because our country seems on the verge of something bad.

Really, I’m not trying to get away.

Actually my mother told me once that when they heard the War of the Worlds broadcast on the radio they got in the car and just drove. Just to be going somewhere seemed to help because they were so scared. They thought it was the end of the world. This time the fire.

Well, I suppose I’m plenty scared, but I’m trying to run towards the blaze, trying to see what I can do to put it out.

I have written some books during the Bush era. I’m going on a book tour to promote my latest, “The American Dream.”

Before I leave I’m also going to send a letter along with a tax form with a black Magic Marker X through it as a protest against George W. Bush.
My book, “The American Dream,” is a punch in the nose to George W. Bush and Karl Rove. Somebody needs to punch those two in the nose.

They smirk while others die. They are getting away with murder. They are robbing us blind.

By sending off this crossed-out tax form and taking this drive around the country in my ’90 brown Honda with the driver’s side window and radio that don’t work I’ll feel that I’m at least doing something.


Can we say it? … Out loud? … In public? … Won’t people think we’re crazy? … Won’t they roll their eyes? Wouldn’t it be easier to just talk about American Idol? The people on Fox and the announcers on the radio don’t say this. They’d say it if it were true. … Right?


They— Bush & Co. — did 9/11 themselves.
They killed Paul Wellstone.
They sent the anthrax.
They lied about WMD.
They stole two presidential elections.
They would never have told us about Abu Ghraib.
They have secret torture prisons around the world that we were never meant to find out about.
They spy on us. And not because of “terrorism.”
They steal the oil.
They want power. They want to be rich.
They could care less about us, about the soldiers, about the freedom of the Iraqi people. They snicker about all that in the back rooms. Sure they do.
And there’s more.

Some [many?] of our news media “professionals” are actually professional propaganda ministers for this cabal. Who cannot wonder about Fox, Tom Brokaw, Rush Limbaugh, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings in this regard.
It sure seems that way.

What’s that expression about talking and sounding like a duck?

I was in third grade when our principal, Sr. Ellen, walked into the room just after lunch recess and said the president had been shot.

A few years later I went to sleep wondering if Bobby would make it through the night. And of course, they had killed Martin Luther King two months before.

So, well, now I’m 51, and those my age would do anything to really understand what happened during those few minutes after lunch in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22 1963.

My kids will grow up wondering what really happened on Sept. 11, 2001.
Perhaps none of us will ever know. They keep the truth locked away, marked to be opened after we are all dead. The rest the strike out with a black Magic Marker.

But the Bush family is in power.

And American oil companies recorded record profits last year.
The world turns.

They want power. They want to be rich. Human traits, desires.

The American Dream.

You look outside your window, you see robins and squirrels and Snickers wrappers and Labrador poop.

Fair to partly cloudy.

It’s all a fairy tale. You are a living character inside of a children’s book, with dragons and monsters and evil kings and queens.
How did we come to this?

We have fake history — our junior high and high school history books should be all in italics, presented with a wink by the teacher handing out the textbooks on the first day of school: Remember the Maine, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, Iran-Contra, Waco, OKC, moon landings, Watergate, stolen elections — millionaires in Washington D.C. who spend long days agonizing over the lives and living conditions of dump truck drivers and nurses aides. Right? Sure they do.

But even so, to talk about conspiracy in the United States … it’s like being … a person who has spent the day upstairs alone writing poetry … and he steps out onto the corner to hand those poems out to passersby. You can imagine the looks he’s going to get from people.

Because we accepted the Warren Commission we got the “9/11 What Controlled Demolition?” and our children will get the “XYZ Non-Investigation By Rich People Covering Up For Other Rich People Leaving The Poor Folks To Drown, Again.”

After the Supreme Court stopped the counting of votes. …
Stopped the counting of votes.
Stopped the counting of votes.

I sat by the upstairs window and looked out at the robins and the squirrels and the Labradors and thought, of course they killed the Kennedys, they can do whatever they want.

I thought about tossing a concrete block through the military recruiters offices over in Sioux City, just to put up some kind of resistance against all this. I even drove over there, about an hour away, to drive around the area and see how I might do it and get away.

I asked others to join me. Nobody wanted to.

Then I drank a quart of beer out on the patio and sort of measured in both hands the weight of a concrete block against a piece of paper, and decided to keep writing. (And looked around at the house and yard and wanted to stay there instead of jail.)

I don’t know what good I can do. Maybe I’m just driving around just to be moving because I’m scared.

Kurt Vonnegut once said that an anti-war novel is as likely to stop war as an anti-glacier novel is to stop glaciers.

But you still gotta. You gotta walk out the back door and put yourself up against that ice and push. Set your feet and lean and get your hands cold. Push with all your might, until you’ve got no push left.

There are many of us who see the murder of the Iraqi people for gold as evil, and who want their children to grow up in a world not perverted by the mind of Karl Rove. Those are also human traits, desires.

You got something better to do?

Join me. I’ll be writing a column along the way.

From Newton, Kansas to Omaha to Sioux Falls to Des Moines to … well, here’s the whole schedule. Here’s where that brown ’90 Honda will be pointed over the next three months.


— Mike

Tour route:

March 28: Drinking Liberally, Kansas City

March 29: Faith & Life Bookstore, Newton, Kansas

March 30: Lawrence, Kansas, public library

March 31: Crossroads Infoshop, Kansas City
April 2: A Novel Idea Bookstore, Lincoln, Nebraska

April 3: Soul Desires Bookstore, Omaha, Nebraska

April 4: The Reading Grounds Bookstore, Omaha

April 6: Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska

April 6: Zandbroz Bookstore, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

April 10: Hill Avenue Bookstore, Spirit Lake, Iowa

April 12: Southeast Minnesota Peacemakers, Rochester, MN

April 13: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
April 14: Ritual Café, Des Moines, Iowa

April 15: Iowa City, Iowa, Public Library
April 16: Magers & Quinn Bookstore, Minneapolis

April 17: Magus Bookstore, Minneapolis
April 18: Duluth: College of St. Scholastica
April 18: Duluth Catholic Worker

April 19: Mondragon Bookstore, Winnipeg, CA

April 21: Rainbow Books, Madison, WI

April 22: Cream City Collective, Milwaukee, WI

April 23: New World Resource Center, Chicago
April 23: Unitarian Church, Park Forest [Chicago]

April 24: Revolution Books, Chicago

April 24: Barbara’s Bookstore, Chicago

April 25: Volume One Books, Hillsdale, MI

April 26: Drinking Liberally, Indianapolis

April 27: Saginaw, MI, 303 Collective Bookstore

April 28: The Planet Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

April 28: Drinking Liberally, Detroit [Oakland Co.]

April 29: Drinking Liberally, Cleveland

April 30: Boxcar Books, Bloomington, IN

May 1: Drinking Liberally, Pittsburgh

May 2: Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY

May 2: Literary Café, Buffalo

May 3: Drinking Liberally, Rochester, NY

May 4: Bluestockings Bookstore, New York City

May 5: ETG Café and Books, Staten Island

May 7: AS220 Performance Space, Providence, RI

May 8: The Book Cellar, Brattleboro, VT

May 10: Lucy Parsons Center, Boston, MA

May 11: Elizabeth, NJ Catholic Worker House

May 13: Wooden Shoes Books, Philadelphia

May 14: Robin’s Books, Philadelphia

May 15: Drinking Liberally, Wilmington, NC

May 16: McIntyre’s Books, Pittsboro, NC

May 17: Internationalist Books, Chapel Hill, NC

May 18: Revolution Books, Atlanta

May 19: Beyond Your Ordinary Bookstore, Atlanta

May 19: Bound To Be Read Books, Atlanta

May 20: Koinonia Community, Americus, GA

May 21: Iron Rail Bookstore & Collective, New Orleans

May 22: That Bookstore in Blytheville, Arkansas

May 23: Monkeywrench Books, Austin, TX

May 24: Drinking Liberally, San Antonio

May 26: Peace Farm, Amarillo

May 28: Albuquerque, La Semilla Bookstore

May 29: Taos/Food Not Bombs

May 30: Tucson, Prescott College

May 31: Drinking Liberally, Las Vegas

June 1: San Diego Drinking Liberally

June 2: Metropolis Books, Los Angeles

June 6: Oakland Drinking Liberally

June 7: San Jose Drinking Liberally

June 8: Sonoma Peace & Justice Center, Santa Rosa

June 9: Revolution Books, Berkeley [?]

June 11: Medford Oregon

June 13: Drinking Liberally, Corvallis OR

June 14: Bend, OR: Book Barn; Bend Brewing Co.

June 15: Tsunami Books, Eugene

June 16: Laughing Horse Books, Portland

June 18: Last Word Books, Olympia, WA

June 21: Revolution Books, Seattle

June 23: Village Books, Bellingham

June 25: Vancouver, CA

June 27: Northern Idaho, sponsored by The Oberver, Don Harkins

June 29: Free Speech Zone, Salt Lake City, UT

June 30: Off The Beaten Path Bookstore, Steamboat Springs, CO

July 2: Left Books, Boulder, CO

July 3: Drinking Liberally, Colorado Springs

“It has been many years  since I picked up a book and didn’t put it down till I finished it. Mike Palecek’s  “The American Dream” smacks you right between the eyes with every turn of the page. This book tells the God-awful truth that none of us wants to accept.”

— Guy James


“No more than a few degrees from what currently passes for reality, ‘The American  Dream’ is a societal vision that hits too close to home(land) to be called a futuristic satire. Channeling both Orwell and Bill Hicks, Mike Palecek has created more than a powerful and engaging novel; he has let loose a global wake-up call.”

— Mickey Z

“Dark, brutal, blunt and disturbingly funny, Mike Palecek’s “The American Dream” is an inside joke for the outsider looking in. A satirical metaphor for the life we Americans now live, and the choice we Americans will soon have to make:  At what cost is the American Dream worth and who should ultimately pay it?”

— Ty Rauber, 
Producer & Director, 
“Who Killed John O’Neill?”

“Mike Palecek writes with passion, wit, and always with a profound social conscience.”

— Howard Zinn

I’m A Terror Watcher


To honor the ballplayers wearing camo on the Major League games on Memorial Day and President Obama’s statement about cutting the troops in Afghanistan from 30,000 to 10,000 but still keeping the whole war thing going, because we need to be there to be free, killing blue donkeys, we bring you excerpts of stories of real Americans at home doing their part.

These reports come from Iowa, the large pig state — the Iowa Department of Homeland Security civilian deployed detachment of The Downtown Dubuque Wednesday Noon Kiwanis Club.

by Mike Palecek

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
God Bless America.



Howya doin’? Let me catch my breath.

I’m deployed with the guys on one of the silver metal benches outside the city swimming pool.

We’re watching.

For terrorists.


They can’t swim.

Dead-dog giveaway.

It is also late in the summer, and I suppose the moms have those el primo tans, as well as the lifeguards in their one-piece red suits and those whistles that dangle like necklaces.


We — that would be myself, Don, Milt, Al, Fred — we are the newly formed municipal special forces team: Total Information Terror Surveillance.

We have been duly organized and chartered and deputized I think, by the city council, to guard against terrorists, beginning this month and running through the summer, is how I understand it.

Don came up with this idea to come here. The pool is open until Labor Day.

He says “why do you think they call them wetbacks?”

And the rest of us had to admit it made perfect sense.

And then of course everybody knows, Arab-types will often position towels on their heads. Lots of towels around here today.

Al’s got four in his lap, won’t give any out to anybody, “without good reason,” he says.

It’s hot today, big crowd, lots to watch, keep track of, monitor, observe.
Sometimes we get soaked. We’re pretty close to the action. We act like we like it that way.

Al’s got the beeper in case we need to call for backup towels. His wife’s home most of the day. Tomorrow she’s got shit to do.

By now the lifeguards don’t wear that white stuff on their noses, everything au naturel.

We’ve got sunglasses from the Ben Franklin store, orange terror vests and shorts, and special “Homeland” orange hardhats. That was Al’s idea. They came from the state highway maintenance shed from the big patch job they had last summer out by the Go-Kart track.

If it gets too hot … well, Don’s going to ask a councilman who’s his neighbor if we can take them off while the pool has rest break, get some breeze.

Some ladies get up quick when they are napping on their stomachs and they get splashed, and maybe they have that one string not tied … Milt had to go home early yesterday. It gets to a guy … this work is not for everyone.

And we’ve each got a terror whistle on a string around our necks.
Fred blew his, loud, for about a minute straight just a few minutes ago when Mrs. de Champlain walked past on her way to the water fountain. I don’t think he even knew he was doing it.

Some days it’s about all a guy can do not to blow the damn thing all day long.

Don keeps his in his mouth all the time, like a referee. Does not move, scratch, nothing. He loves freedom that darn much. He is so dedicated, an inspiration to us all.

It’s what we need at times like these.
We need guys with things in their mouths — hamburgers, beer bottles, spoons, straw.

Girls too.

Girls and guys and dogs and cats with stuff stuck in their mouths staring.

Looking blankly over the prairie, into space, across the living room, the kitchen table — keeping an eye out — if we are truly to be free.
Free of knowing, caring.

About anyone but ourselves.

Of the true nature of our government or the history of our country.
Free. Free. Free!

Thank God Almighty.

Okay, well, nothing happening here at the moment.

Look out … cannonball.

God Bless the USA.

Go about your day.

I got this.


Available here:

Iowa Terror
art by Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Russell Brutsche, Ian Ward

Available here:



Iowa Terror: Pinche Puta Store Detective


To honor the ballplayers wearing camo on the Major League games on Memorial Day and President Obama’s statement about cutting the troops in Afghanistan from 30,000 to 10,000 but still keeping the whole war thing going, because we need to be there to be free, killing blue donkeys, we bring you excerpts of stories of real Americans at home doing their part.

These reports come from Iowa, the big pig state — the Iowa Department of Homeland Security civilian deployed detachment of The Downtown Dubuque Wednesday Noon Kiwanis Club.

by Mike Palecek

Que paso?

I am sitting here in Gregg’s Hometown Foods.

Store Detective, looking for terrorists, securing the homeland on the front lines.

As always, just trying to do my part to ensure the freedom of my fellow Americans.

I am looking for Mexicans who might be illegally alive, who do not have the proper stamp on the papers in their pocket, and thus deserve to be separated from their weeping children and sent to wherever we want to send them in a hot, crowded white INS van piloted by highly trained, intelligent professionals with their uniformed butts smearing Ho-Ho’s into the vinyl seats, who could have been anything in life, really, but made the conscious decision to drive around in the desert sucking down dust for breakfast.

The whole thing is planned by licensed Christians in churches, in chambers, in Congress, to keep poor people and their children from having Frosted Flakes in the morning.

Because … their crawling from zero to one might conceivably hamper us from getting from ten to eleven.

If you can see me from where you are seated you know that I am also sitting, on the floor, in the corner between the white milk and the tortillas, at the far end of the Mexican Foods Aisle.

It is my charge to find any Islamiscists, Hispanunists, or other terror-type individuals.

I am also to tackle anyone I suspect of being from Nebraska. Gregg says.

This is where I will find my insurgents.

And though I do not understand their language, I know enough to know when they are hiding something, or planning to meet with Jesus Iowa to topple the towers, collapse Casey’s, dump the Dairy Queen, pillage Pizza Hut.

That jabber-jabber is all about planning with other foreign types to seek out sales on box cutters, steal our beautiful fall leaves.

These they get here have dust and weird stickers on their shoes from walking all the way up through El Paso and stuff, and Agua Prieta, Douglas, all those off-brand towns.

And they have to leave their home towns behind or maybe, probably grandma and their new puppy. Whatever. My grandparents probably did the same thing.

I can almost taste the salsa in the jars across the aisle.

I like Mexican food. Everybody does.

I’ve never had any other terror-type food, except Fred claims the sandwich was invented by Iraq.

That sounds like bullcrap, but I wonder if I would like Afghan pizza … or Nebraska corn.

I am undercover, as per usual.

I am wearing a big, wide sombrero.

My head is drooping to my knees.

But I am not sleeping. Sometimes I am sleeping. Sometimes snoring.

I get a beeper. I am wearing a new, white T-shirt with blood-red letters: Pinche Puta Store Detective.

Pretty cool.

Go about your day.

I got this.


Iowa Terror
art by Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Russell Brutsche, Ian Ward





Iowa Terror: Securing The Perimeter


To honor the brave ballplayers wearing camo in the Major League games on Memorial Day and President Obama’s statement about cutting the troops in Afghanistan from 30,000 to 10,000 but still keeping the whole war thing going, because we need to be there to be free, killing blue donkeys, we bring you excerpts of stories of real Americans at home doing their part.

These reports come from Iowa, the big pig state — the Iowa Department of Homeland Security civilian deployed detachment of The Downtown Dubuque Wednesday Noon Kiwanis Club.

by Mike Palecek

Is this heaven?


From 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 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 the lights on the ball field, the construction site for the new middle school next to the high school, the kids arranging the lawn chair sale 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 lying bunch of 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 spanking 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 hell 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 killers have secret prisons in Poland and Romania and Disneyland and they torture people. All this for power.

Well, anyway … 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. Hey!

Heeey, Jordaaan!


Iowa Terror
art by Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Russell Brutsche, Ian Ward




“Guests Of The Nation” — 9/11 An Inside Job

GOTN chapter12lowres

by Mike Palecek

In recent articles on Veterans Today, Gordon Duff has put forth documents and statements saying that the 9/11 attacks were nuclear bombs in the World Trade Center towers.

We’ve long known that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were not what they were said to be by the U.S. media and government.

In 2008 I put out a book, “Guests Of The Nation,” in which I wanted to say how I think the attacks occurred. I wanted to try, in “fiction,” to tell how it really happened, to give us those behind the curtain scenes that we wondered about. I don’t think we quite got to where I wanted to go with this, but it was a start.

This book is available at cwgpress.com, also on Amazon.

Chuck Gregory is working to make it into an ebook. He says it should be available in that format “soon.”


GOTN chapter11lowres

Artists Michael Paul Miller, Russell Brutsche and Allison M. Healy did the art. Pretty amazing work, I think.

The idea for the book came to me when I heard that 9/11 activist Kevin Barrett was detained by the FBI in an airport on his way back from a New York City 9/11 Truth event. He was taken to a back room and questioned.

Well, I know that Kevin Barrett is not an “under cover agent for the FBI,” but I made the main character in this book an FBI agent, a 9/11 Truth activist who was actually in on 9/11 and his role is to “lead the opposition.”

He talks to the FBI agents and tells them what actually happened, because he knows that in the end he will kill them, which he does.

These particular FBI agents are good guys mostly, trying to find out the truth. The “guests of the nation” are the FBI agents, “guests” in this small room with one of the killers, the representative of the American nation.



“The hijackers were U.S. undercover agents. They were double agents, paid by the FBI and the CIA to spy on Arab groups in this country. They were controlled. Their landlord was an FBI informant in San Diego and other places. And this was a direct, covert operation ordered, personally ordered by George W. Bush. Personally ordered. We have incriminating evidence, documents as well as witnesses, to this effect. It’s not just incompetence — in spite of the fact that he is incompetent. The fact is he personally ordered this, knew about it. He, at one point, there were rehearsals of this. The reason why he appeared to be uninterested and nonchalant on September 11th — when those videos showed that Andrew Card whispered in his ear the words about this as he listened to kids reading the pet goat story, is that he thought this was another rehearsal.”

— Stanley Hilton, former chief of staff for Sen. Bob Dole [R-Kansas]

We’ll help.
She jumped, or let herself fall, through the 94thfloor to the 93rd or 92nd maybe.

They held up arms and tried to catch, cushion maybe, something, but still they all crashed and rolled, and it felt like they would fall off the earth.
How high up were they?
And we are going to fall from this high?
What will that be like.
Oh God.

But they were together, arms around each other for a moment. They took that split-second, less, to hug and almost smile.

And in the next moment … for to waste moments was sinful, there were only so many moments in a life, left in a life, save your breaths, conserve, breath fast, get the most out of each split-moment.
So the next instant was used up scrambling, helping each other up, lurching toward a door, maybe, over there, the stairs?
Head down, down.
They needed to get down.
Last moment.


The pops above became thuds.
The ceiling and remaining beams above exploded, down, out, up, every-fucking-where.
Then their floor exploded.
The world erupted.
They were shot out of a cannon that was a volcano.
The whole world roared, and time would now stop, be over.
We had had our chance.

God says he’s had enough of our shit.
The young girl in her first job was blown apart, neck, ears, fingers, toes, heart, lungs, whatever you can make yourself imagine, is how it was.
The parts which once had comprised the whole, the brain and lungs and eyes and being, shot out, in all directions.
How would they ever find each other again for eternity?
Becoming dust, joining the dust of all the others.


“It’s hard for us to come to any other conclusion than that the 9/11 Commission was a political cover-up from the word go.”

— Patty Casazza, wife of John F. Casazza, a government bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, WTC North Tower, 104th floor. One of the four Jersey Girls, New Jersey residents who were widowed by 9/11. Member of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission. Board member of September 11th Advocates. Instrumental in the eventual creation of the 9/11 Commission. Selected as one of Ms. Magazine’s 2004 Women of the Year.

• It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding. — Upton Sinclair

Did you know that Mohamed Atta received money from a fellow from Pakistan who was meeting with Karl Rove on September 11 in Washington?
“George Bush.”

“He was meeting with the President’s father.”
That’s right.
And all that stuff about seeing pictures of Atta and another guy coming through customs in Portland.


But … there aren’t any surveillance camera shots of them getting on in Boston. Or any photos of any of the hijackers getting on the airplanes. And their names do not appear on the passenger lists.
They were paid, or at least Atta was.
They take flight lessons in Florida to create a story.
Oswald went to Russia, handed out flyers supporting Cuba.
They do business on military bases. Oswald had FBI and CIA contacts.
Some have told us they are alive.
The magic photo I.D. found on the street.
Atta’s fucking last will and testament found in his car in the airport parking lot, with a list of hijackers, a Koran, a terrorist manual.

You believe that shit?
Remember that Colonel Prouty was in New Fucking Zealand when Kennedy was killed?
And he sees a photo of Oswald in the newspaper box as the guy who did it? On November 23, 1963 a newspaper in New Zealand, which is eighteen hours ahead of Texas time, printed facts about the assassination before they were known in the United States.
And on American TV with 9/11, within a half an hour of the first plane hitting, the newscasters, they know who did it and why and what our response should be.
And the British TV journalist tells us on camera that WTC 7 has come down, when in the background of the shot you can see the building is still standing.

Ever hear of Operation Mockingbird? Coo-coo.
Anyway, they’ve got it all figured out. Got it going on.
It’s Ahab … Bin Fucking … Laden … Al Queda.
We need to invade Afghanistan and put in a new pipeline, and then invade Iraq.
Simple as that.
Anyone who isn’t with us is a dumb fucker.
It was the same with Oswald.
But we didn’t have the Internet then. People weren’t able to talk to each other. They just sat in their isolated living rooms and watched the military and CIA tell us what to believe, with sports and weight loss dreams and Coco Puffs, and sexual fantasies, to take our mind off it as quickly as possible.

Oswald was the one within minutes, hours at the most.
George Bush Sr. was there, too.
It wasn’t that long ago.
On the timeline of world history it’s still today.
George says he wasn’t there, that he didn’t work for the CIA then, but he was and he did. He was photographed standing outside the school book building after it happened.
On nine-one-one. Catchy isn’t it? He stays at the White House the night before and meets with Bin Laden’s brother and the guy who sent money to Atta the next morning, as well as the Carlyle group, investors in the new American century.
The hijackers got on board with the Bin Ladens, the only plane in the sky, plenty of room, all aboard.
Drinks all around.
Allah rocks.
God is great.
He takes care of those who … take care of themselves.

You believe that?


“George W. Bush’s grandfather had his assets seized by Congress on Oct. 20, 1942 due to his decade of money laundering for Hitler. … There were actually a number of American ruling familes who outright admired the Master Race idea and corporate control of society, and they frankly hoped this elitist-traitorous agenda would take hold in America. …

“They actually attempted a coup, a takeover of FDR and the White House, in the early 1930s. Most of their names, these American ruling families, were kept out of the media in exchange for their agreement to stop obstructing legislation for programs such as Social Security for the elderly, the poor, and the sick.
“Copious evidence further indicates these evil ones and their ‘proud descendants’ have given shadow support for, and have experienced benefits from, the assassinations of key anti-war figures — JFK, MLK, RFK, John Lennon, and others.
“And the general public’s failure to grasp the nature of evil further explains why most of the American population still cannot, and will not, comprehend the copious and obvious evidence of September 11th — that the attacks were planned and carried out by traitors high in our government — that they did this.”

— Connie Cook Smith, Speculations On The Nature of Evil, May 14, 2008

Well, at that point, Bill called for a little break.
We did the team bathroom thing.
Laura went by herself. She’s used to it I would imagine.
She came back with a tray of coffees, sodas, vegetarian burrito, hamburgers, fries.
I guess the burrito was for me.

Bill ended up eating it.
He said it wasn’t so bad.
Not in so many words.
Ron sat on the floor by the door to eat.
The rest of us scattered our junk on the table.
Afterward we all smoked.
In silence like soldiers in the field.
“Oooh!” I jumped at a buzz of Bee Gees bolting from the corner speakers.
“Anybody play cards?” I asked, only half kidding.

“Nobody plays cards anymore, do they?” Ron asked as if he really wondered.
“Nursing homes, prison,” said Bill.
Firehouse, I blurted, proud of myself.
“My folks used to have card night,” said Laura.
She smiled and then took almost a whole hamburger into her mouth.
I looked away, at the lovely concrete block wall, to chase naughty thoughts.
“Where you from?” Bill asked.
I turned and saw that he was asking Laura.
I thought he knew.

She smiled with a full mouth and stuck a pointer finger into the air, hunched her shoulders.
We waited until she swallowed.
She smiled again.
“Boulder?” said Ron.
She nodded with her whole body while she wiped her mouth with both hands with a napkin.
“Interesting,” said Bill.
“I’m from Ohio,” I said. “But I guess you all already knew that.”
Bill took the hint.
“The city,” he said. “New York. Brooklyn.”
“Ronald?” I said.
He stared at me as if he might be about to charge.

First he would have to stand up though, and nobody could move very fast from that position. And he looked tired for some reason.

I thought Boulder was this liberal mecca, I said.
“It might be. It’s a great place. I love it,” said Laura.
The FBI? I said.
“Nothing wrong with the bureau,” she said, brushing crumbs from her pants.
She spoke without irony, sarcasm, defensiveness, or onomatopoeia.
You have a big family, Ron? I asked.
He stared.
“I have four sisters,” Laura smiled.
“I’ve got six boys,” smiled Bill.
“My brother is in Afghanistan,” said Ron.

My parents still have the farm, I offered. No livestock anymore. Several cats.
Just as we were about to bond and group hug and hum Halloween songs and shit, this veil of silence descended, like we all discovered we didn’t really want to get to know each other. Did not want to expend the energy.
Which was fine by me.

“What’s the matter, John?” said Laura.
I’m under arrest, locked in seclusion, by the FBI, and you wonder, what’s the matter?
“No, really, I want to know,” she said.
I looked up from the floor and into her eyes, to the fourth grade playground, the volleyball team, the homecoming court, Quantico, and hanging in there day in day out in a man’s world with looks like that.

Wow, I said out loud.
She pushed back in her shitty chair, crossed her arms, then her legs, and looked at me like I had wet the bed and she honestly wondered why.
“How about Bert?” said Bill.
I must have looked puzzled because Ron added, “and Ernie.”
What about them? I said.

… Well, they were joined by a white, unmarked fighter plane.
Pretty clever, actually.
We saw a white plane.
It was big.
It was small.
Well, which was it?


But, it was also functional.
The cruise missile that hit the Pentagon was launched from the little white plane at about the time that an airliner was landing at Reagan — more confusion, deniability.
It doesn’t take that much.
A little goes a long ways, like peppermint raspberry ice cream.
The little white plane was fast — whoosh!
And busy — boom!
It also made the little hole in the soft dirt in Pennsylvania.
“What about the scattered debris?” said Bill. “Some of it was human remains.”
“We shot that aircraft down. It was headed for the White House,” Ron said.
Perhaps, or WTC 7. Maybe Camp David, right?
But where are the bodies if it was shot down?
I actually think that Bert & Ernie dumped bogus debris, remains, to make it seem like a hit. A hit to save the White House is one hell of a lot easier to swallow than what really happened.

“You think?” said Ron.
“You think?” said Bill.
“I thought you knew,” said Laura, dusting herself again, then wiping her hands with a crushed napkin, as Bill began to gather up the trash like we were getting ready to be done here.
Laura, I thought at least you understood.
Well, I said, trying to scramble without appearing to stall … extend the moment.
Who would really know … besides someone on the inside, right?
I leaned over to unzip my bag. I shoved both hands inside and felt all over.
I sat up and saw three big faces: Ol’ Laura, Ol’ Bill, Ol’ Ron.
All with their hands on the table, waiting to find out what I had found in my bag.
I held my hands up to say nothing.


“John O’Neil was a friend of mine,” said Bill.
Bill recounted portions of O’Neil’s career as it intersected with his own and Bin Laden, Al Queda, all that jazz.
He became increasingly angry, standing up even, at one point and pacing.
I covered a yawn with a fist.
Ron did an amazing thing.

He hopped up from an almost-supine position, from his ass to his feet, without using his hands.
Laura knew all about John O’Neil. You could just tell.
S.S. agent, I said, right in the middle, or maybe it was toward the end of Bill’s monologue. I guess we’ll never know.
Secret Service.
WTC 7.
One guy died.
“O’Neil was in the towers,” scowled Bill.
I know, I said. I’m talking about something else now.
“This building is going down!”
“You need to exit immediately.”
Don’t you suppose that probably was how it went?

GOTN chapter9lowres

“Ever since that day, I believed the official story for all about two minutes. I always had my questions. My family had their questions.
“The government sent us the 9/11 Commission or I should say omissions, really.
They sent us that. I read the whole thing. As I’m reading the whole thing; it was just ncredible; the lies in this book. … It hurt me to read this book.
“I researched it on the Internet and I seen — I noticed the little squibs coming out of the building as they’re coming down, ‘cause I seen it a million times, as everybody else did. And I said, “Gee what’s that?” I’m wondering what’s going on.
“A friend of mine actually gave me Loose Change. And I seen that and I was amazed. I was so amazed. When I seen it, seriously I broke down. I didn’t sleep that night. I was just insanely distraught about it. So I joined this group; 9/11 Truth. …
“The truth: to actually be out there knowing that I’m fighting for something that’s right and something that’s American. That’s the American way. … My father was a true patriot and I will follow in his footsteps. I’m gonna try so hard. I’m gonna try to the death of me to get him justice. Not only him, but the three thousand others that died, too. …
“My father was a patriot. I’m a patriot and everybody in this room that believes in truth and wants to find justice is a patriot. Because this is America. It is of the people; for the people; and by the people. And that’s the America I know and that’s the America that I’m gonna defend, no matter what.”

— Daniel Wallace, son of Lt. Robert Wallace, Engine 205, Ladder 118, FDNY [Died Jan. 29. 2007, age 23]

He had all fucking day to get out of that building, yet he died in there.
Why. Why.
Why you suppose he died in there?
He knew.
You see the headline of the front page of the Postafter 9/11?
Bush Knew.
Well this guy, he knew too.

He knew there was a command center in there, too.
You ask why don’t more people talk, come forward, do the right thing.
This guy did.
He knew Giuliani’s command center in WTC 7 was talking to Cheney in the resort lake home bunker and Bert & Ernie, guiding those planes in, with Silverstein and Pataki and the chief of police, can’t think of his name.

“There were only a couple of small fires,” said Laura. She adjusted her light blue blouse and I saw the gun in its holster under her arm.
I think this is where things don’t go exactly according to plan, even with Osama’s photo on the Amalgam Virgo logo way back in June — before Bush gets the nomination — Cheney and Rumsfeld with Reagan and Shultz and Casey — all that time.

Still, we’ve got a mixup over Pennsylvania.
I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s supposed to hit WTC 7 after all the President’s men are out.
But they still have that building wired, prepped, primed, and all that incriminating shit in there: emails, notes, computers — that need to not be there at the end of the day, as they say.
And so this one guy — well, John O’Neil’s already dead — but then he didn’t really know what hit him.

GOTN chapter8lowres

So we’ve still got our one guy, one good cop.
Matt Dillon saying you boys are not going to lynch my prisoner, not while I’m sheriff of this town, you’re not.
And they shot him.
First they tied him up, to a chair, hands behind his back, like mine here, not that I’m tied up, the chair I mean.

And they beat him, maybe his friends, maybe they were from another agency.
They beat the holy shit out of him and there was no going back. He wasn’t going home for supper once they laid hands on him.

They put a white bag or paper bag or shirt or jacket, over his head.
And pretty quick there was a hole in that hood with deep, dark stains.

They untied him and let him drop to the floor.
This sorry son of a bitch, this snitch.
They took back their hood and left him in there as they blew up that building, and it came down, and he felt the weight of the world upon his shoulders.
Giuliani, as he had been told, made certain the rubble and remains were scooped up and hauled to Fresh Kills.
Fresh Kills.

And the victors write the history books.
Fighter jets, white ones, fly over the Super Bowl.
What’s for lunch? For supper?
What’s on? What’re you doin’ tonight.
Not much.

That’s how it works.


Chapter TWENTY

“I never could make out what duty was myself … but I think you’re all good lads, if that’s what you mean. I’m not complaining.”

— Belcher, Guests of the Nation, Frank O’Connor, 1931

• “We were there to record the event.” — one of the Dancing Israeli Mossad members from the white van seen filming the crashes into the WTC, being interviewed on an Israeli talk show.

He never got the call.

Never got the appointment to the White House.
He graduated in May, same as our young lady of the north tower.
Spent the summer waiting, emailing, writing letters, trying to remind Karl Rove about their little tryst, get him to return a call.

He takes a job in August as a fucking bank teller.
That day he’s watching TV in the break room, listening on the radio at his station, just like everyone else.
And he begins to think.
He starts to connect the dots.
He doesn’t say a word to nobody.
He’s still got the Audi. Dad signed it over without being asked.
He goes home.
He lives alone.
Nice neighborhood, apartment. Trees, kids and shit.
He parks on the curb, goes inside, opens a beer, bottle, pops some fat-free popcorn, kicks off his shoes against the kitchen wall, walks into the living room, clicks on the TV, leans way back to put the footrest up.

And shoots himself.
You believe that?
“The demo team, WTC,” said Bill.
Yes, actually, I was getting to them.
Darnell, I believe it was, well, he went to Iraq, got blown up almost right away by a roadside whatever.
Jose had a car accident.
The other guy we, I don’t know what happened to.
“Fender-bender?” asked Bill. “You know, car accident, c’mon.”
Oh, no, I explained.

He’s dead.


“I just embrace people that understand that four airplanes an hour and half between the first impact and the second impact with zero military response in the United States. It didn’t happen that way. It couldn’t have happened that way. You’re talking about the most intelligent agencies that we have on the face of the earth.
State of the art agencies … And there was zero military response? …
“It’s very transparent that our own president did not want to investigate this tragedy. And I’m standing before you today for one reason. The only thing that I can give my brother is the truth. That’s it.”

— Barry Zelman, brother of Kenneth Zelman, Oracle Corp., on assignment at Marsh & McLennan, WTC North Tower, 99th floor

“You are a liar, and un-American. I served so fucks like you could protest.”
Thanks, I thought.

He must have seen something in the smirk on my face that he didn’t like.
Ol’ Ron reached back and slapped at me with an open hand.
I lurched back.
He missed me, but he threw dots of ketchup across my cheek and into my mouth.
I tipped over in my chair, flat on my back, feet in the air.
Well, I wiped the ketchup across my nose and looked at it on my hand and maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly.
I jumped up, tasting, and I should know that blood is not sweet, but I went into a tizzy.
And I smiled.

I winked at Laura and fucking jumped over that grey table with the hamburger bags mostly picked up by now.
With both arms out I literally flew.
I dived over and we smacked shoulder to shoulder.
I knocked him onto his back.

I wrapped my legs around his legs, and pressed his head to the floor with a little well-placed direct pressure on his throat with my forearm.
Pressing down with my whole body, and my nose almost touching him Eskimo-style, I looked deep into Ron’s eyes and he discovered fear I believe.
Ol’ Ron ceased struggling.

I stood. I did not hop. More that I got to my knees then used the wall with both hands to drag myself up.
Laura and Bill were standing right there.
They silently advised me to go back to my chair, please, and Ol’ Ron to lie there or stand, or whatever.
With my back to them I squeezed around the table, tucking here and straightening there.
I sat.

The two remained standing.
Ron sat up and pushed back against the door, as he was wont to do.
Laura and Bill did not appear to want to sit and talk any longer.
What happens now, I asked, thinking maybe I did not want to know. Maybe I do ask too many questions.

You now know everything I know, I reminded them of our previous agreement.
Ron got to one knee to begin to stand.
Laura came forward, leaving Bill in the middle of the room. Again he began to pick up here and there. The man is amazing.

She placed ten fingertips, clear polish, sort of a clam shell color, maybe, I dunno.
She looked me straight in the eyes.
She had really blue eyes. Maybe contacts.
“We believe you.
“At least, I do,” she looked around to Bill.
Bill now looked me straight in the eyes and nodded, sending a tingle down my spine in a way only Bill Cosby could.
I stood.
Laura looked at the bulge in my pants. I put a hand down to cover.
“I believe we need to …”
“Hey!” shouted Ron.

He hopped up the way he does and started patting like he was on fire but not sure where.
“My gun,” he said.
Chopin began to play in the speakers up in the corners.
I winked at Laura and stuck my hand down my pants.
I’m just so glad to be able to tell someone.
I pulled out Ron’s black Glock 22.
Is this what you’re looking for?
I held it up.

Fondlng the piece with both hands, I spread my feet to the recommended shoulder width, pointed at Bill and Laura to remove their hands from their weapons.
“Over there,” I commanded Ron.
“Por favor.”
They shuffled over, together.
They kind of looked like calves in the corner of the corral for the first time, wondering what was expected of them.

“Now, you know,” I said.
The music reached a crescendo, I think that’s what they call it.
This is my favorite part, I said.
And we waited.
I’m not sure who was playing the piece, what band or group or whatever they call it.
But they were pretty good.

There was a rhythm, and I felt a part of the whole, and it was all kind of unreal because of the music and I kind of wondered if it was really happening.

But there were these three frightened people, real folks, standing in this corner of this forgotten room of this American airport.
And here I was with this gun, in my own hands, pointed at them.
And it really is such a beautiful country, just a gorgeous time of year. We love where we are, great town, nice people.
Except somebody. Some gi-normous asshole Goober!
Keeps running his power saw at night and stacking bodies next to my garage.
All night long.

And just before light he takes them away.
I’m just glad to have a job, something interesting to do. My wife loves me and my kids go to a good school.
As long as I go to work every day, everything stays on track.
Do … Do-Do-Do-Do-Do-DO-DO!

We’ve got nice neighbors and this weekend should be fun, with the ball game and well, I’ve got a fix-up project in the upstairs bathroom that I’m actually looking forward to.
Here it comes.
And I have my part to play.
The show must go on.
Oh, Ron.


interrogation lowres

“Astounding, astonishing, and haunting, ‘Guests Of The Nation’ offers an intriguing alternative to what the late George Carlin called the 9/11 “consensus reality.” Philip K. Dick would love how this deft American novel captures our imagination and never lets go. Mike Palecek has graced us with a sparkling gem you’ll read non-stop and more than once.”

— Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt Col [ret.], USAF, Ph.D, working at the Pentagon on 9/11

“Once again, Mike Palecek deftly connects the dots with Guests of the Nation. The picture that emerges is horrifyingly clear for those who have eyes to see.”

— David Mathison, Publisher

“Mike Palecek has the uncanny ability to convey an understanding of real events through the medium of fiction. No one who reads this book will ever feel the same way about our government and will burn to learn how close he has come to revealing the truth about the events of 9/11. The answer, alas, is, all too close!”

— James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., Founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth


“I loved it!

“I think GOTN is a timely published 9/11 story, a quick and easy read for our too busy lives, and one that just might sink into the American people’s consciousness, finally. I wish it could be placed for sale on every store’s “impulse” check-out counter across the USA . . . “

— Elizebeth O. Metz
Summer of Truth, 2008,
The Plane Truth Project REDUX

“Once again, Palecek leads us sleepwalkers through Nightmerica, the twisted
beyond corruption conspiracyland of a million fears. Our tour begins in the nooks, crannies, and crawlspaces necessarily accessed to bring a building down in its footprint.

“Before George W. Bush’s bloody rampage across the world could commence there
need be a “catalyzing” event. Enter the crime of the century on the eleventh day of the ninth month of the first year. Palecek goes among the real 9/11 conspirators to prove fiction is no stranger to truth.

“Palecek chronicles better than anyone America’s legion nobodies, shocked, awed, and standing appalled as their president careers around the globe, death and hellfire marking his passage.

“From headless corpses bobbing down the Tigris, to Lousianna’s unidentified “floaters,” Palecek reminds, we’re all little people in this not so brave Neo World; no more citizens, but merely “guests” serving at the
pleasure of the president.”

— Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio

“Gripping, insightful character dialogue leading to that nagging suspicion that something doesn’t seem to add up within our currently accepted, main stream media promoted worldview — finishing with the only possible solution of a totalitarian agenda.

“Great Read!”

— Dan Nalven, 911Truth.org


On Memorial Day, Remember Our Victims: THE TRUTH


cover art by Marylyn Felion

“And I Laugh”

from The Truth

by Mike Palecek

There’s a photo on the Internet that makes me laugh.

A little brown boy holding a silent scream forever in four-color.


The horrified little fellow now has no arms or legs, or brothers, sisters or parents, and I laugh out loud.

I laugh at the Marines, being all they could possibly be in God’s creation, at their tough-man commercials.

The Army of One. What a hoot.

The rough-guy coaches and players who let this boy die—what comedy watching them feel strong while letting the real battles be fought by little guys with sticks and bicycles.

The boy has a bandaged head. He looks so scared his hair might turn white, as in a Hitchcock film, and it sort of makes me chuckle.

I laugh at the ministers here in town and here on this TV saying bless our troops as they defend our freedom.

I laugh at the well-schooled and coifed newspaper columnists with their earnest close-cropped photos in four hundred papers read by forty million people in forty million cities.

And I laugh.

The boy is flat on his back on dirty cement, with his stubs hastily wrapped in Ace bandages, surrounded by the world trying to get a look, by photographers and people on their way to work and out to dinner.

We are nothing. Nothing. Nothing!

Because this boy now has no arms. No legs.

Nothing we do today will mean a thing because we have ripped the arms and legs from this boy as if he was a fly and we are us.

This boy who could be my boy, lying there at the feet of the world and the world looking the other way.

Goddamn us.


Give us what we deserve.

If you are a just God, rain down fire and hell upon our heads.

Lighting bolts upon our backyard decks and rivers of excrement down our smooth, well-scrubbed streets.

Please, dear God we pray.

When I awoke this morning I thought it essential to the world order and being right, and a good person, that I shave, help out with the dishes, be on time, and drive on the right side of the road.

Do a good job. Be pleasant. Smile.

But now I just can’t stop laughing.

The world thinks it still matters, and that’s kind of funny in a way.

There, the flag flying over the Catholic elementary school and the yellow ribbons tied to the light poles on both sides of Main Street.

Stray cats wearing yellow ribbons around their necks, roaming the night, looking both ways before crossing the street, as if it mattered.

You are never so wrong as when you damage a young boy.

We sit down here like the Who’s in Whoville celebrating the coming of War Season while this boy lies on the cold floor.

Tee. Hee-hee.

Book Review
The Truth
by Sheila Conroy
International Progressive Publications Network

Against the backdrop of history, we have the story of a small-town mailman whose son is one of the U.S. casualties during the Occupation of Iraq.

We see his almost inevitable realization of the cruel, deceptive and cynical context within which many sons and daughters continue to sacrifice their lives.

Mike Palecek’s latest book The Truth is a vital book on a vital subject.

Democracy (of any definition) is threatened in the United States more than any time in her history.

It is threatened not only by the erosive events enacted by the Bush Administration (and the events are many, both in domestic and foreign affairs), but also by the inertia in response, or non-response, by a truly frightening number of the American public.

The book is organized with even-numbered pages carrying quotes of significance to the point of the lockdown of America (from Goebbels, from Goering, from Ari Fleischer – but also the wonderful and inspiring words of such human beings as St. Augustine, as Thomas Jefferson, as well as writers and thinkers and journalists ranging from Helen Thomas to William Shakespeare..) and the odd-numbered pages relate the story of Pete Penny.

Either the quotes alone or the story would be fully satisfying, but together they serve in creating an acute tension of the individual life in historical context.

This same tension is further played out in the very, very funny sections that run throughout an otherwise almost Kafkaesque unraveling of the life of one man.

The extremely comic attend the tragic of both the story and history’s narrative, just as the ludicrousness of an absurd President underline the daily horror.

The horror of the Administration’s avarice and lies in a bloodshed which shows no signs of abating; the mockery and indifference to much that the American people have valued; the ravaging of any American dream.

It is without hesitation that I urge everyone to read this book.

For those who are lost in the chaotic events of our times, it is illuminating and for those who are familiar with the aspects that Mike describes, his lucidity and fine perceptions further organize our thinking.

(“I found out the truth, man, but it’s better to stay stupid, go to ball games, smoke cigarettes and fish from the shore. Figuring it out is not the hard part. It’s what are you gonna do, now, man? That’s when it gets tough. What you gonna do now?”)



(Oh, brother)

Palecek book covers, inside art pages by various artists

Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Ian Ward, Russell Brutsche, Brian Barber, Monty Borror, Marylyn Felion, Robert Carter, Michael Paul Miller, Anthony LeTourneau, Jeremiah Palecek, Keith McHenry


The New American Dream Radio Show:


This week’s Guests, Thursday, May 22, 2014:

Phil Farruggio, Anthony Rayson, Michael Annis.

Bigfoot Howls: Actual Bigfoot howls (I think) that I recorded near our home in northern Minnesota:

And ….
Like nine million other people in the United States I call myself a writer.

And like any writer I want to be read, that’s the main thing.

And thanks to my friend and radio show co-host, Chuck Gregory, who has been helping me since, well, way back when we put out The American Dream together and I drove my car all around the country, I have been able to make my books available.

Go here for Chuck’s CWG Press.

For a long time the books have been only print books, in the $15 or so range, which might be too much to afford.

Chuck is working to put all of my books in ebook form, which puts the price down to the $5 range if you like ebooks and have a way to read them.

Right now we have:

One Last Liberal Outlaw
Camp America
A Perfect Duluth Day
The American Dream
Speak English

… available in ebook form, ready for ordering.

We have these books yet to put into ebook form:

Looking For Bigfoot
The Progrrressive Avenger
Terror Nation
Joe Coffee’s Revolution
The Truth
Johnny Moon
Iowa Terror
Guests of The Nation

FREE on Smashwords

The Bigfoot Chronicles


SWEAT: Global Warming in a Small Town & other tales of The Great American Westerly Midwest


Thanks for taking a look.

The Troops Are Idiots, Terrorists; Protesters Protect Our Freedom


One of the guests for The New American Dream Radio Show this Thursday is Michael Annis, legendary book publisher (Howling Dog Press, Denver), who produced the legendary anti-war book “Cost of Freedom.”

Whitney Trettien was the editor of the book.

I was the one with the original big idea.

from Cost Of Freedom

by Mike Palecek

In a speech at the Naval Academy in November 2005 President George W. Bush said “we fight the enemy in Iraq.”


We fight the enemy within the United States.

We fight the enemy within the United States government.

The enemy is George W. Bush.

Dare we say it?

Yes. We Dare. We say it. We shout it. With a fist for punctuation.

Our enemy is not Iraq or the Iraqi people, nor does our enemy lurk in Afghanistan. More likely in the dark cave of an elite D.C. pub.

Our soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere are not protecting our freedom.

That’s someone’s spin on today’s news, someone else’s sermon. They die in vain. They are unjustified in their killing. Their young blood can never be washed from the hands of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and parents, teachers, ministers, editors who could have told them the truth.

And sadly, the blood of the Iraqi people — mothers, fathers, little children — also stains the hands of those who should not have been there.

Thou Shall Not Kill.

Judy Plank in Remsen, Iowa, Jeff Nall in Florida, David Ray in Tucson, Leigh Herrick in Minnesota, Maria Allwine in Maryland, and Liam Wescott in Fairbanks, Alaska, are protecting our freedom.

We are behind enemy lines. We are the underground, the resistance, the freedom fighters — here in Bismark, Boise, Bemidji, Brooklyn, Berthoud, Bellingham.

And we celebrate that. We give thanks for those who have had the courage to light a candle in the fiercest of winds. We rejoice for Lori Price, Marc Ash, Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, Helen Woodson, Jim Fetzer, Fr. Carl Kabat, Lisa Casey, Bartcop, David Ray Griffin. There are thousands of names that should follow here, millions.

Remember the photo of the young woman at a protest in Denmark that appeared on Common Dreams before the invasion? She had a red peace sign painted on her face and her look was dour. That image was everywhere and it spoke to us, spoke for us. We knew it was going to happen and we were sad.
And it did happen.

But there were more signs made on kitchen tables and church floors. And we kept marching. We learned it was a controlled demolition, serving the lust for riches of a demented few. We studied and we dug for the truth, and we told each other, on the internet, on the street corner, on the subway.

We came to know the Bush cabal for what it is, and we screamed for justice.


These were ugly times. The ghouls in the dark forest were real, and they’re still out there.

For me, after 9/11, I knew things were bad when I heard “God Bless America” on my car radio while headed to Dordt College to go jogging on the treadmill. Kate Smith scared the crap out of me.

I taped a little sign on the fire hydrant by our house.

I had a paper route then, so I would put out the sign when I left, very early. The sheet of paper read: “The United States Air Force, Our Terrorists.”

Someone tore it down every day.

Then somebody put a sign on our front door that said I should go to Canada.

I wrote a letter to the editor and a local policeman came knocking to say someone had said I had ties to Osama bin Laden. Just checking it out.

Well, then things went on. Lots happened. We mowed our lawn, many times, many people died, we grilled outside, cities were bombed, we changed our oil — had someone else change it.

Bumper stickers faded and peeled. New stickers replaced them.

I heard one day on that car radio of mine — though now the brown Ford Contour was a white Honda Accord — anyway, the radio said that I, we, all of us, owed our freedom to some soldiers who had died in Iraq.

So I thought about the cost of freedom.

And I decided quickly that it had nothing to do with those local men dying in Iraq.

I stormed into the house, head down, short, quick little steps, charged upstairs, puffing, and put together a generic email, and in a few hours sent that damn thing all over the country, asking folks to send me their stories of how they or others they knew had fought Bush and paid the real price for freedom in these past, very dark years.

People responded, just as they have ever since we watched those towers come down. They sent their stories and photos.

These are the heroes.

Just as forever in American history, it is to these few that we owe our freedoms and lives.

Those who rise up from the kitchen table, not deluded, aware, pissed-off, courageous — who walk out into the street and demand justice from those who always seek to take it away.

These real American Heroes rip the scepter from the hand of the despot, force open the prison door, breach the walls of the bullet factory, gather the riches and place them in the hands of their rightful owners: the people, the poor, the children.

They hold up the mirror to the clergyman who displays an American flag and a dead Iraqi child on his altar.

I looked for help and found two great people: Whitney Trettien in Maryland and Michael Annis in Colorado.

They are also American heroes, as are the contributors to our book. Whitney is young, bright, energetic, talented, the hope of the world. Michael is a street-fighter publisher, a craftsman, something rare in American media — a poet willing to base a life’s work on truth rather than riches.

And here we all are, as Bill Hicks might say, shooting spit wads at the mad elephant — placing snares made of twigs, poster board and magic marker in its way, hoping to bring it down before it destroys the village.




(Oh, brother)

Palecek book covers, inside art pages by various artists

Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Ian Ward, Russell Brutsche, Brian Barber, Monty Borror, Marylyn Felion, Robert Carter, Michael Paul Miller, Anthony LeTourneau, Jeremiah Palecek, Keith McHenry


The New American Dream Radio Show:


This week’s Guests, Thursday, May 22, 2014:

Phil Farruggio, Anthony Rayson, Michael Annis.

Bigfoot Howls: Actual Bigfoot howls (I think) that I recorded near our home in northern Minnesota:

And ….
Like nine million other people in the United States I call myself a writer.

And like any writer I want to be read, that’s the main thing.

And thanks to my friend and radio show co-host, Chuck Gregory, who has been helping me since, well, way back when we put out The American Dream together and I drove my car all around the country, I have been able to make my books available.

Go here for Chuck’s CWG Press.

For a long time the books have been only print books, in the $15 or so range, which might be too much to afford.

Chuck is working to put all of my books in ebook form, which puts the price down to the $5 range if you like ebooks and have a way to read them.

Right now we have:

One Last Liberal Outlaw
Camp America
A Perfect Duluth Day
The American Dream
Speak English

… available in ebook form, ready for ordering.

We have these books yet to put into ebook form:

Looking For Bigfoot
The Progrrressive Avenger
Terror Nation
Joe Coffee’s Revolution
The Truth
Johnny Moon
Iowa Terror
Guests of The Nation

FREE on Smashwords

The Bigfoot Chronicles

SWEAT: Global Warming in a Small Town & other tales of The Great American Westerly Midwest


Thanks for taking a look.

My Big Fat New York City Book Reading


by Mike Palecek

… A while back, in the Bush days and the Iraq war days, the post-911 days, very bad old days, I wrote “The American Dream,” a novel, to try to stop war and tell the truth about what really happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

And then I borrowed a bunch of money, scheduled about 80 book tour stops all around the country and took off in an old Honda Accord with bumper stickers that said “Impeach Bush” and something else that I can’t remember.

Well, I wrote a column a day while on the road and Tony Sutton of Cold Type Magazine published them, in volumes I & II, because it took me two years to complete the tour.

May 5, 2007

“I don’t care if it rains or freezes, long as I got my plastic Jesus, ridin’ on the dashboard of my car.”
– Cool Hand Luke

NEW YORK CITY — If I can make it here. I’ll make it anywhere.

I got skunked Friday night at Bluestockings Books in New York City.
Oh, well.

Right now I’m sitting in Everything Goes Books & Cafe in Staten Island. It’s Saturday afternoon. A beautiful day.

Did I tell you?

I was in Rochester, New York on Thursday, then drove down to NYC for my evening debacle on the Lower East Side.

I don’t think I told you.

I crossed myself about a hundred times and then drove into New York City in the brown Honda yesterday afternoon.

That car, if it were a person, deserves most of the credit for me getting this far on this trip. What heart that old soul has, seven thousand miles already, 170,000-plus all told.

Actually drove into the city, through the city, down the Palisades Parkway, the FDR, across the Williamsburg Bridge, into Brooklyn. I was going under the train, on the street.

It reminded me of some movies, maybe “Finding Nemo,” maybe “The French Connection.”

And I think about Jimmy Breslin, going all-effing around these freaking neighborhoods, with his tie loose, his shirttail out, his hair stickin’ out every-friggin’-way, a pad in one hand, pen in the other, walking fast, headed to his desk to punch out literature on a real typewriter, with two fingers, on deadline.

I got lost and stopped to ask for directions, twice.

The people were extra nice. I kind of knew they would be. Ruth and Sam and Emily and I had been to New York over New Year’s. We saw “Hairspray” and walked around Times Square for four days. The people in the city were nice. The cab driver talked to us about Queens and Harlem and the bridges we passed as we stared out the windows trying to take it all in.

And the New York drivers were not the eleven-headed monsters the folks in Rochester had told me about.

I made it to Jim Fleming’s place in Brooklyn.

Jim lives there with his wife, Lewanne Jones, in an old warehouse building. It’s huge. It used to be a publishing house, back in the 1800s. I think he said McLaughlin House.

McLaughlin House published children’s books, then moved to board games when that became more profitable. One of their games was a puzzle called “Chopped Up Niggers.” Then they either moved somewhere else or they got real jobs, I dunno.

Anyway, Jim and Lewanne moved in about twenty-five years ago and live in this huge loft with walls made out of books and a view of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Hudson River.

For about the first hour when you walk into this place you just say “Wow” about one million times.

Jim is a small press publisher, Autonomedia. He is originally from Clear Lake, Iowa, not so far east of where I live now in Sheldon, Iowa.

Lewanne does research work for documentary films. She worked on the PBS “Eyes on the Prize” series, and also “Fahrenheit 911”. Her name is on the credits. She is working now on something about the life of George H.W. Bush.

On Sept. 11, 2001 Jim watched the burning buildings out his living room window. Their son was in a school about a block from the burning buildings.

You know the first time you drive into anywhere it’s like, I LOVE this effing place. And then after you meet some people, do some things, maybe you change your mind. Maybe you don’t and you stay twenty-five years.

Well, me driving into Brooklyn on this sunny day in May, it’s like, “It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood!”

There are Hasidic Jewish people all over, and I can see that some of them live in these huge high-rise buildings, and there is the neighborhood grocery store, and there is a Mom with her kids and the grandpa.

And I’m pumping my brake, down-shifting, looking here and there, searching for Big Bird and Elmo.

That’s just me. I like Sesame Street. I like the Barney show. You know why? Because I remember watching those shows with Sam and Emily when they were young. They’ve outgrown them. Doesn’t appear that I have. That was pretty cool. I was so worried about driving into New York City and then it was fine.

Jim accompanied me to my reading over on Allen Street. He and Lewanne moved into their neighborhood when it was much more dangerous than it is now. Now it is dangerous because they are being forced out by a raise in rent.

On one of the pillars in the kitchen there are height marks for their kids Ryder and Bronwyn, up, up, up. Now those kids are in college.

Jim moved here from Iowa to be with this wonderful woman and it worked.

Well, down at Bluestockings they set up all these effing chairs and I want to say, no, maybe don’t do that.

I talk to Jacob because he has read my T-shirt: “No Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?”

He is a young man with a blond mohawk. He shows me the anarchist “A” he has etched permanently into his left forearm. I ask him if he is glad he did it. He says, yes. His eyes say, I dunno.

That time leading up to a reading is always tense, especially when it really looks like nobody is going to show up. There’s nothing you can do about it, though. I’m a writer, not a magician or a harmonica player or a rodeo clown. It’s a novel, not a new brand of beer, or movie, or car.

Anyway, I decide it’s time to fold it up. We go over to another part of town, the Brecht Forum, where one million people are sitting and listening to Grace Lee Boggs.

It was a boring talk.


I had never heard of her. Probably my own fault.
These people should have been over at Bluestockings listening to me.

She was talking about Malcolm and Martin Luther King Jr. and a million years ago and how to build nurturing relationships and … zzz … zzz. It’s naptime in the neighborhood.

There was nobody to hear me talk about stopping the war, impeaching George Bush, putting George Bush in Terre Haute Penitentiary and finding out how Dick Cheney planned and carried out 9/11.

I’m supposed to be a gracious loser, say that I understand this. I am nobody, and Grace Lee Boggs is an icon and zzz … zzz.

They had wine and cheese and crackers, and thanks for that, but, well, I don’t remember much else. I must have blacked out.

In Rochester on Thursday, after drinking with the Democrats at Monty’s Korner I got pulled over by a giant Rochester police man.

I was not drunk, had two beers during five of the longest hours of my life, so the reason I failed to stay in my own lane was because I was so tired and bored with Democrats, not the two glasses of Guinness.

Sir. [Of course, he shines his giant cop flashlight into my eyes.]
Have you been talking to Democrats?
Yeah, I mumble.
Would you step out of the car, sir.

Please place your index finger, sir, next to your lips, run it up and down and go “bbb-bbb- bbb.”

Scared the shit out of me.

Couldn’t find my registration, anything.

Why are you here? Book tour. What kind of a book tour? There are kinds? How long have you owned this car? I would have to ask Ruth. Where are you going? Some Democrat’s house.

Oh, well, now I am on/in Staten Island. My reading is in one hour and then I am going to find my shorts and some beer and go sit by the water like an old man should.

I am staying at something called the Ganas Community, on Scribner Street in/on Staten Island.

The owners of the bookstore are members here. I guess Ganas is Spanish for having the will to do something, In other words, the balls, the cajones.

I’m here for one night for twenty-five dollars and laundry is free and food, too. They have businesses owned in-common on the island and they have a bunch of houses and kids running around and everyone greets you and smiles and a garden and shit. And already I need to get away from here.

I guess they started about twenty-five years ago when some people from San Francisco wanted to live together, moved to New York City, then over to Staten Island where the housing was easier to come by.

Aviva just showed me around.

She is having her fifty-first birthday tomorrow and the community is having a picnic down by the water. She is from Argentina and Israel, has been here three years.

Later I meet someone working on the house who has been here since 1991.

Then I talk to Robert, who has just moved into the community. He drives a rickshaw in Manhattan, charges people twenty-five dollars a ride. Some are tourists, some need to get places.

I’m not going to ask if I can bring in the rest of my twenty-four pack of Coors that’s heating in the backseat of my car. Better to apologize than ask permission. Didn’t Geronimo say that?

Oh, well.

Did you know that Staten Island is pretty large and at least the part that I am on is extremely hilly?

The Honda is parked on Scribner Street and looks like an old car on the launch pad ready for lift-off. It wants to go, is ready for the journey, willing.

May we all have the ganas to do what we really want to do.

It is a beautiful day on the island.




(Oh, brother)

Palecek book covers, inside art pages by various artists

Ben Heine, Allison M. Healy, Ian Ward, Russell Brutsche, Brian Barber, Monty Borror, Marylyn Felion, Robert Carter, Michael Paul Miller, Anthony LeTourneau, Jeremiah Palecek, Keith McHenry


The New American Dream Radio Show:


This week’s Guests, Thursday, May 15, 2014:


Bigfoot Howls: Actual Bigfoot howls (I think) that I recorded near our home in northern Minnesota:

And ….
Like nine million other people in the United States I call myself a writer.

And like any writer I want to be read, that’s the main thing.

And thanks to my friend and radio show co-host, Chuck Gregory, who has been helping me since, well, way back when we put out The American Dream together and I drove my car all around the country, I have been able to make my books available.

Go here for Chuck’s CWG Press.

For a long time the books have been only print books, in the $15 or so range, which might be too much to afford.

Chuck is working to put all of my books in ebook form, which puts the price down to the $5 range if you like ebooks and have a way to read them.

Right now we have:

One Last Liberal Outlaw
Camp America
A Perfect Duluth Day
The American Dream
Speak English

available in ebook form, ready for ordering.

We have these books yet to put into ebook form:

Looking For Bigfoot
The Progrrressive Avenger
Terror Nation
Joe Coffee’s Revolution
The Truth
Johnny Moon
Iowa Terror
Guests of The Nation

FREE on Smashwords

The Bigfoot Chronicles

SWEAT: Global Warming in a Small Town & other tales of The Great American Westerly Midwest


Thanks for taking a look.