Cover Design: Marcelle Toor
To democracy's unheard voices.
"I have finished your book now. I thought it was fantastic! With your wit
and your wry sense of humor, it makes the seriousness of the topic almost
funny (until the seriousness bites you a second later). My other favorite
chapters were The Parable of the Dog, Gorilla Glue Two, Why is Everybody
Always Picking on Me, The All-American Bowl Final Quiz and Addendum Katrina.
I thought you had just the right touch regarding Katrina."
--Jean Waldman, Wausau, WI
"Your latest book (Messy Freedom) should be required reading for every politician in Washington, D.C."
--Leah Silver, South Bend, IN
DEFINITION OF TERMS
A Pocketful Of Posing
Will Everybody Poor Please Shut Up
Singing Those Red State Blues or
Purple Mountain Majesties
A Haymaker Right To
Seriously---Why On God's Sweet Earth Would
Any Family Farmer Or Small-Town American
Ever Want To Be A Republican?
Rural Republicans Revisited
Was Howard Really My Man?
THE RELIGIOUS-POLITICAL NEXUS
The Ten Commandments
Religion And Democracy
The Fear Factory
Back To The Fear Factory
All The News That's Fit For Wrapping Fish
The Mother of all Gut Responses
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX,
JUST DON'T TRY TO GET OUT OF IT
The Corporate Box: It's All Locked Up
The Mute Button
Order! Order! Order!
Iconoclasm In Six Easy Questions
The Parable Of The Dog
John Philippic Sousa
THE GREATEST GENERATION
Gorilla Glue Bonding
Gorilla Glue II
Why Is Everybody Always Picking On Me?
The All-American Bowl Final Quiz
From the book:
Back To The Fear Factory
Karl Rove and his Bushite buddies know that there's nothing like a good war to bring the national family together---in a rousing patriotic feast of hate and fear. Why limit your vengeance to the guilty few when you can take down (er, liberate) a whole country. Or, better yet, two or three?
Even if you don't get the guys who did it, at least your friends get rich off the war, the plunder and the rebuilding.
If you put your mind to it, you can always find a war.
If not Afghanistan and Iraq, how about Cuba or Korea or Iran? If not Haiti, how about Venezuela? Or Nicaragua? Or those Mexicans? Or Indians? Before 9/11, we had the Lusitania, the Maine, the Mayaguez, the Gulf of Tonkin, Pearl Harbor, the Alamo.
Panama? Columbia? Salvador? Grenada? Don't you understand? It was either them or us---we had no choice! Those fearsome Salvadorans and Grenadans were coming to pollute our air and water! Cut down our ancient forests! Steal our oil and rubber and bauxite and tin! Replace our hospitals with prisons! Rewrite our Constitution! Brainwash our children!
It's them or us!
In times like these, we must bite our tongues, corral our protesters in pens like slaughter-ready cattle and always be prepared to prostrate ourselves and avert our eyes before the powers that be.
Oh, wouldn't that make our country's founders proud?
Ben Franklin, for instance, who said: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."
Or James Madison who said (1788): "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
Or Thomas Jefferson who said (1789): "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe despositories."
John Philippic Sousa
I've been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
a communist because I'm left-handhanded;
that's the hand to use . . . well, never mind.
---Paul Simon, "A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I
Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)," 1966
Oh, shush now. You and Paul and Ralph and Dennis and Howard. You're mushy-hearted and kind of funny sometimes, but so hopelessly romantic and naive. In this Depraved New World of ours, don't you get it that perception creates reality?
Maybe that's the real Culture War going on here. Not "Are you moral?" but "Who you gonna believe---the spin machine or your lyin' eyes?"
Well, instead of gasoline, try putting perception in your gas tank and see how far you get.
Instead of paying steelworkers and engineers, let your PR man and ad agent build your next skyscraper.
Instead of farm-grown food, have a meal of Virtual Victuals (patent pending).
Instead of going to a doctor, go to an actor.
Instead of giving your diabetic child insulin, try a placebo and a prayer.
Instead of assuming any moral responsibility for what you or our country does, just put a flag pin in your lapel or a sticker on your car.
We as a nation desperately need someone real to slap us in the face and say: "Wake up now, our sweet darling America, it's time to wake up!----"
A high-tech society that wants to run on faith instead of scientific method?
That thinks BMWs come from waving a Blessed Magic Wand?
That expects bananas to appear like manna at the snap of finger and thumb?
That thinks electricity comes from flicking a switch? (Of course not, Stupid---everyone knows that it comes from a wire! Actually, switches are so passé---I just use my universal remote. Any problem? Not to worry---because God is my Palm Pilot.)
What we need are fewer Framers and more Farmers, fewer Ad-men and more Dad-men.
Messy Freedom is a 100 page hand-sewn paperback with flat spine - $15.00.
TO ORDER Messy Freedom ON-LINE
Cover Photo: Jan Kather
From The Author
In March, 1965, at the University of Michigan, I attended the first Vietnam War teach-in and learned why our government's reasons for our deepening Indochina involvement were based on historical ignorance and political lies. Four years later, at the height of that insanity, I was reclassified 1A for the draft and was suddenly faced with the choice of going to prison, leaving the country I loved, or betraying my own sacred code which did not allow killing innocent people for bogus motives.
December 1, 1969---on my 27th birthday---I received the best gift of my life, a high number in the new Draft Lottery that freed me out of that hideous Hobson's choice.
August 1972, my wife Bobbie and I left Ann Arbor with baby Zack and moved to a former farm in Yates County, NY---with grandly simple desires to get back to basic verities, grow our own food and raise our children in a rural environment.
April 1, 1974, I had a knee operation at St. Joe's in Elmira and shared a room with a young man who had just returned from Vietnam and was suffering from an uncontrolable bleeding ulcer. All night we talked and shared what we knew, several times crying together at the senseless destruction of it all.
These Bush years have reminded my heart and gut and brain of Vietnam. Seeing my country once again being led to war in manufactured ignorance and fear, I've tried to conjure all the love and logic and satiric barbs in me to dissuade us from embarking down an equally unwise and immoral road. I marched, I protested, I wrote.
Since 1965, I've mostly been a writer of fiction and plays and my country memoir How To Walk A Pig. But this book is a collection of writings forced out of me by our times. From the strategic pre-war fear-mongering in 2002. Through our inexorable march to war. And up to the first anniversary of our invasion, miles still to go before we sleep.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Nothing to do with 9/11, a review
Two movies, one seen/one unseen
Spider-man/Al Qaeda-man and
Men In Black II
MARCHING ON THIRD AVENUE
THAT NEW TORTURE GAME
ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE
words of war
RECIPE for Neocon New Century
WE INTERRUPT OUR WAR
COVERAGE FOR THE FOLLOWING
THE THREE-STATE ISRAEL-
Uncle Sam We Am
JUST IN . . .
IDENTIFIED AS INSECTS!
The 21st Century
THE ELUSIVE ANTICHRIST
WHILE WAITING FOR ARMAGEDDON
DEFINING OUR FUTURE
A TOWN HALL MEETING
From the book:
THAT NEW TORTURE GAME
You've read about it, I'm sure. These Al Qaeda suspects we've captured, how we've got them naked, chained to the wall, semi-starving them, not letting them sleep for days, over and over changing the room temperature from zero degrees to a hundred. Not torturing them, mind you---we just call it subjecting them to "stress and duress". That's cute, isn't it.
Almost as cute as holding them in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay where we don't have to allow them any human rights, or even recognize them as human beings. No lawyers. No charges. No trials. Not even a list of their names. Wouldn't Stephen King love this story? Wouldn't Orwell? Wouldn't Kafka? Too bad it's not a story. It's real. It's what our country is doing.
Oh, this is cute, too. If they don't talk, we take them to countries like Egypt, Morocco and Syria to be interrogated by torturers. Oops, did I say "torture"? Well, we don't know if they're actually being tortured because we don't watch, we don't ask, and they don't tell. Kind of like those three monkeys, you know?--- See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. I know that Donald Rumsfeld thinks it's cute because he laughs while he tells us about how cleverly we're torturing these captives without having to admit to it. And the President finds it pretty hard to resist a smirk, too.
The really funny thing about it is that we were the ones who used to believe in "innocent until proven guilty", the right to face our accusers and defend ourselves in a public hearing. We were the ones who fought so hard for the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg Trials. We are, of course, sickened by the barbarity of Roman crucifixions, The Spanish Inquisition, our own treatment of slaves, Indians and Salem witches.
But this, this is good. Just ask John Ashcroft. This is justice. This is moral and ethical. This is legal and just. This is us at our best. But let's not be for torture because we're in any way barbarous or vengeful. No, rather let's do it because it feels good and we're so powerful that nobody can stop us.
Just too bad we can't put it on reality TV.
Ides of March 2003
What some readers have said about Peace Meal
I think it (Peace Meal) will have a big impact, and gives voice to what
many people feel, putting some action where most of us feel hopeless
and powerless. It is really a great book!
-- Suzy Koptur, Miami FL
Both Jack and I have read your book...wonderful. You have put into
words so much of what we think and feel.
Lots of laughter and a few tears at the truth you tell.
--- Judy Wilbert, Dundee, NY
Your book is lovely, both form and content. Thank you so much for
sending me a copy! From your mouth to God's ear.
-- Janice Weiss, Oak Park, IL
First and foremost, let me tell you that Jean read aloud to me over the
phone your poem on page 59. And your last line, ending: "songbirds"
gave me wave after wave after wave of goosebumps. . . . She also read
"Our New Bill Of Rights" and that's when I asked her to send me 2
-- Iva Reed, San Francisco, CA
What a handsome book!
-- Marsha Kite, Charleston SC
Hey, what a treat to get your book! Last night we both read little
snippets---I think that I will bring it to work after we're through and
pass it around. It seems like the kind of book that should be passed
-- Isabel Hamilton, Seattle, WA
Many thanks for sending Peace Meal. You're right "enjoy" is not the
right word to describe my response. To say that I'm filled with
admiration for your indomitable spirit may come closer. For me, the cumalitive effect of your brief essays, is like reading a single anguished poem expressing the grief of a heartbroken lover. Your refusal to succumb to despair serves as an example to us all.
-- Jack Goldman, Ithaca, NY
Peace Meal is a 72 page hand-sewn paperback with flat spine - $10.00.
TO ORDER Peace Meal ON-LINE
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