July 11, 2007

Cost of Freedom

... by Mike Palecek

The price of democracy is eternal vigilance. Somebody said that.

We have not been vigilant, we have been watching TV.

We think the country runs on its own, the heavy lifting having already been done by those who gave us the minimum wage, eight-hour day and worker’s compensation, ended war.

They suffered, they struggled, they died, that we might be free – that is where our thanks should go and where our examples lie – not in the military.


Is This Heaven?

I just kinda doubt it.

When I was working for the Cherokee Daily Times, about an hour from here, I did a story on a local rendering works operation. Inside there was a chute, a window, under which there was a huge pile of pig carcasses in various stages of decay, decomposition, the journey to the next world.

The tour through the plant follows a dribble of stuff that is the slush, the breakdown, the demi-glace of those carcasses.

Hog Hell is how I imagined it.

Geezuz God. I really, really doubt we are treating our animals as Yahweh or Buddah or Allen the Alien intended it. This can't be right.

Hot enough for ya?

In Iowish that can mean either, I see you are lathered in a sweaty foam from your head to your toes, or I can't think of anything else to say that you might understand.

They come from Remsen and Grand Rapids, San Antonio, Idaho Springs, Bloomington, Laguna Beach, and everywhere else.

I have to tell you about a great book project I am involved with. It's been gestating for about a year now and is almost ready to pop.

"Cost of Freedom" is a non-fiction book that tells the story of a whole bunch of United States people who have been working for peace during these incredible Bush years.

The book was my idea. I guess I can say that. But beyond that there are lots of great people who have taken it from there, big-time.

I heard something on local radio that said the soldiers dying in Iraq were preserving our freedom.

That is a damn lie.

It's the protesters who are fighting to preserve our liberty. Our liberty is not in danger over in Iraq. We are in dutch right over here on our own Main Street. We've got trouble right here in River City, Des Moines, Early.

I was lucky to find Whitney Trettien in Baltimore to help me find the stories, edit, compile, and then send on to this fantastic publisher, Michael Annis at Howling Dog Press in Berthoud, Colorado.

This from Annis asking me to try my hardest not to say anything too stupid when I tell everyone about COF:

"...review copies being sent out now; retail and online copies available soon.

"Also, please refer to it as Cost of Freedom without the "The," when you use it as a title formally, and give the ISBN. We need to stay clear on the title for how it will be listed, keeping it as consistent as possible now."

I don't know the ISBN. I'll find out, then I'll forget it again. How's that?

Whitney is a young genius and Michael is an old dog genius, a street-fighter publisher who does beautiful work.

Actually, I don't know how old Michael is. I don't think anyone does. He is the mysterious mountain man of the publishing industry.

The three of us have never met, never talked on the phone, never seen each other or heard the sound of each other's voice.

Is that weird?

I dunno.

I have to say that I "know" a lot of people just by email. That's probably not great, but without email and the Internet I would not have known them at all.

Anywho ...

This is a great book. I'm pretty sure.

Just check out the endorsements it has received already from Ralph Nader, Thom Hartmann, Noam Chomsky and Harry effing Belafonte.

Can you believe it?

Believe it.

For myself, I am just so genuinely grateful to be a part of this project that I could spit.

I'm serious.

Just as I was serious when I got so pissed off when I heard the radio announcer say the military was protecting our freedom.

I know for a fact, that it's folks in Kalamazoo and Cleveland and Council Bluffs and Carmel who are saving our bacon.

These goddamn modern heroes take it upon themselves to listen to the nightly news on TV and decipher what is a lie and what is the truth.

They go to Ben Franklin and buy poster board and Magic Markers and clear everything off the dining room table and go to work.

And then they walk out the front door and stand on the street corner of Their Own Hometown and say what they know is the truth.

That is exactly what this country is about.

All those colonial dudes would be most-awesomely proud of these people.

We all are.

THIS is what freedom is all about.


Published by Howling Dog Press.

Cost of Freedom websites: Blog, Myspace


Are you civically indifferent to officialdom's criminality and brutality against the powerful and defenseless, against children, mothers and fathers, against our constitution and other laws of the land? If this collection of quotes from our courageous forebears does not stir you to join with other patriots for democratic actions and restorations, you are indeed civically inactive. And that's no way to be self-respectful. — Ralph Nader

This varied and exciting collection graphically reveals the vitality and expanse of the popular movements opposing violence and criminal ventures abroad. It should inspire many more to join in these efforts to create a powerful force of concerned citizens that cannot be ignored, and that will help shape a much more hopeful and decent future. — Noam Chomsky

'Cost of Freedom' is a beautiful, accessible, and meaningful history of recent American anti-war movements that should be on the coffee tables of every American home. — Thom Hartmann, Air America Radio

There is good reason to have at your disposal things that remind you of things as they are. Cost of Freedom is a perfect candidate; it does more than remind: it also informs. — Harry Effing Belafonte


Excerpt from Cost of Freedom

Frank Kaiser, of Clearwater, Florida, sends out an email newsletter called "Suddenly Senior."

In one of his letters he sent his readers an essay of his own asking How Many More Must Die? in which he questioned the war.

"I decided to write the column because ... the truth was not being told."

He received many responses from his readers. Some are included in "Cost of Freedom."

— I know you are a liberal and doing a great injustice to our great men that wear the uniform. My husband was a Pearl Harbor Survivor. He thinks you are misinformed and don't know what you are talking about. You should be ashamed of yourself!! Oh! and by the way, our men and women over in Iraq feels [sic] deeply this war is just!

— We know that this war, like Vietnam, was born of lies. Phanton WMDs. Phony links with 911.

— No doubt about it. Bush is an idiot leading this country down the path towards being a third world entity! And the sooner he is removed from office the better off the country [world] will be.

— I think that you are the most misguided person I have ever heard from. We lost 2000+ men and women so far. If we hadn't gone over there there's no telling how many Americans would be dead now. By terrorists. I hate to see anyone die in war but this time I think it is necessary to kill as many terrorists as they send to Iraq to kill our troops.

— I am disgusted with you. You want to tell jokes? Fine. But now you are one of the left wing zany nuts comparing 2005 to Vietnam of the '60s. Phoooey on you and all of you liberal no-gooders. I won't read you again. I am an American and I am proud to be an American. I enlisted in the Army -- dropping out of college in 1961 -- when the Berlin Wall went up. Good-bye forever you no-gooder.

— Keep up the good work informing us old farts on the spin that this little spoiled SOB and his greedy crew are pulling on its citizenry. I often ask myself, just how much money do they want. Christ, this is way past greed.

Palecek website: www.mikepalecek.com

Palecek blog: http://isthisheaven-mike.blogspot.com/

Palecek books: KGB [Killing George Bush], Joe Coffee's Revolution, Terror Nation, The Last Liberal Outlaw, Looking for Bigfoot, Twins, The American Dream.

Contact Mike: mpalecek@rconnect.com

Palecek books are available through local bookstores, Amazon, cwgpress.com, howlingdogpress.com, badgerbooks.com, newleafbooks.net, essentialbooks.com, mainstaypress.com.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Guest Op-ed submissions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website. Writers are solely responsible for content.

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