April 16, 2007

The American Dream Book Tour & Protest Across America - Dispatch 6

... by Mike Palecek

"You open up their hearts, and here's what you'll find ... some humans ain't human, some people ain't kind."

John Prine

DRIVING TO DES MOINES It's sixty-three songs from Sheldon, Iowa to Rochester, Minnesota.

I got my iPod back up and running. I won't be alone anymore.

Got the Dixie Chicks, John Prine, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, John Denver, The Clash, Bill Hicks, Cat Stevens, The Soggy Bottom Boys, Alison Krause, The Eagles, Green Day, Greg Brown, Woody Guthrie, Steve Forbert, Harry McClintock, all squeezed into the brown Honda.

Austin, Minnesota is thirty-four songs from Rochester.

It is the home of the Spam Museum. I'm probably in there somewhere, maybe in the hall of fame with all my emails over the past ten years trying to hawk my books.

In the early 1990s, Ruth, Sam, Emily and I lived in Byron, eight miles west of Rochester. We owned the tiny Byron Review, ran it out of the north side of our home on Byron Avenue. We scrimped and saved and hustled and fought with the city council, school board, lumber yard, elevator, fire department, and won the newspaper of the year award from the MNA in 1994. We went out of business later in the year.

Sitting in traffic in Rochester was the first time I felt kind of vulnerable with my bumper stickers: 9-11 Was An Inside Job, Jail Bush, Impeach Bush. Rochester is a conservative island in Minnesota. But it wasn't really that. I think I was just tired, depressed a little from having to leave home and think of three months ahead of me on the road, and so maybe I was poking along a little and getting some looks from my fellow Americans.

But I've got a license to drive slow Iowa plates.

And now I remember how fast people in southeast Minnesota drive. They are busy people, getting things done, going places. I try not to get in the way.

Sitting in heavy traffic on Broadway Avenue in Rochester I kept an eye on the fat blonde woman behind me with no neck driving the forest green Dodge Caravan. Had my hand on the auto-lock in case she opened her door.

Once when I was a seminarian at the College of St. Thomas in Saint Paul in 1979 I flipped a trucker the bird as I drove past him in my 1959 brown and white Chevy. Just because I thought I could, and get away with it.

As I sang along with an Eagles song I could see a familiar truck getting bigger in the rearview mirror.

I had to stop and the trucker pulled up next to me, got out of his truck, came around to my door and pounded on the door and the window, saying somebody should teach me a lesson.

I did learn a lesson.

Don't stop.

Or if you have to stop, keep one eye on the lady in the fur-lined jacket in the side mirror.

When we were in Byron in the early '90s I did a story on the Leonard Peltier case, and interviewed an FBI agent in the Rochester office.

One of them, David Price, was mentioned in the book In The Spirit of Crazy Horse, and had been accused by some in the American Indian Movement of having murdered Anna Mae Aquash. He wasn't in the office the day I was there, so I did not get to meet him.

The other, Don Dealing, did visit with me. He talked about Peltier, Jack Coler, Ronald Williams, Wounded Knee.

He had been at Wounded Knee as a member of some sort of FBI special forces team.

By searching Google for Don Dealing tonight I found that he testified in 2004 in a trial regarding the death of Anna Mae Aquash. He says he was the first FBI agent on the scene. I don't recall talking to him about that. In the 2004 testimony he also says that his only knowledge of COINTELPRO is through what he has seen "through media and that sort of a thing."

Have you ever met an FBI agent? I have talked to a few, while in custody, as a reporter, watching a friend be arrested by a boatload of them once in Omaha. They don't seem human. They have a non-terrestrial aura. Stay away from them if you can. Your life will be richer for it.

Anyway, I spoke last night to the southeast Minnesota peacemakers group in Rochester, perhaps the most organized peace group in the continental USA. They have name tags and agendas and motions and seconds, and non-acidic tea.

In my talk I raise the question of whether Senator Paul Wellstone was assassinated by the Bush government. I really didn't know what to expect in giving the talk in Minnesota. But during and afterwards some said they agreed, and some thanked me for saying out loud what was on people's minds.

They were not aware of Jim Fetzer's book, American Assassination.

And so when someone asked what additional information I had about the Wellstone affair, I told them about the book. And I said that an electro-magnetic weapon was a possibility, and told how the FBI was on the scene too soon not to have left Minneapolis before the plane crashed. And the fire burned blue-white, which is how an electrical fire burns.

These are things I found out from reading Fetzer's book.

I have to admit, out loud, that a lot of what I say comes not from knowing, but from feeling.

I don't apologize for that.

I don't think there is anything wrong with saying what you feel. I would actually like to have someone show me, to my satisfaction, that I am wrong about Bush and 9-11, Bush and Wellstone. That would be fine with me.

To have to imagine the alternative, that persons within our own government did these things, is not particularly easy to live with. I would be glad to let it go.

I first found out about Wellstone's death when I turned on my computer that day and went to Common Dreams and there was Wellstone's photo. I then went over to run on the treadmill at nearby Dordt College, and the Wellstone news was on the TV in the corner. A couple of college girls were snickering, implying that he got what he deserved. Gotta love those pro-lifers.

The timing of the death of Wellstone was perfect for the Bush administration. They needed that seat to control the Senate. Wellstone stood in the way of a lot of things.

Think how excited they would be at about that time, after pulling off 9-11, and set up perfectly to run the table, to take over the world. Would people like this let one guy stand in their way after all the work and struggle they had committed to become rich and powerful?

Not likely.

There was an investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that pilot error was responsible for the plane not maintaining adequate air speed, which led to a stall from which they could not recover.

And so we can be certain Wellstone was not murdered, because a commission said he was not.

Well, I don't agree.

I think these things can be rigged: the Warren Commission and the 9-11 commission come to mind.

I just think someone like Wellstone, who had heart, who was twice the man, twice the human being, that George W. Bush is, deserved better. He deserves justice. He deserves a real investigation.

He deserves to not be forgotten.

See you in Des Moines [The Ritual Cafe, April 14, 3 pm], Iowa City [Public Library,330 pm.].

- Mike

My website: iowapeace.com

My books available at cwgpress.com, howlingdogpress.com, mainstaypress.com, badgerbooks.com. Also from your local bookstore, along with Amazon.com.

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