Note from the Editor

"The blood of politics or the plagues of greed......."  Honestly, I don't know where to start to present this rendition. It's one of the densest ever, not in quantity but in quality. It covers several themes that we have often broached, like the betrayal of our modern intellectuals which Steve Gowans takes on with thundering power; those fat cat pundits, simile scholars, false prophets and other third class thinkers who in the name of whatever ideology and religion (belief systems), career advancement and blind arrogance can justify the unjustifiable: mass murders, whether denominated civilian casualties or collateral damage. As a companion piece to Gowans', read the excerpt of Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, a novel Gowans refers to. If you are not chilled to the bone, then we are not the right place for you to visit...

Anyway, these low-life people -- the ideologues out there and among us -- demonstrate a human behavior that, says Milo Clark, is downright destructive, unsustainable barbarities for which, thinks Michael Stowell, we all, personally, bear responsibility. How many times should it be repeated that there is a direct correlation between consumerism....and mass murders, as Jan Baughman shows in her tongue and cheek piece? It's called "patterns which connect."

Connecting patterns are surrounding us in whirlwinds if we would only care to look. Whether we are blinded by mind manipulation and the creation of illusions, as Philip Greenspan reviews in a well-researched piece, or whether thinking has long become an obsolete endeavor, David McGowan, in his first contribution to Swans, offers a most intriguing blueprint as to what's really happening under our nose, bloodied by ignorance, intellectual cowardice, ideological idolatry, myth-building and sheer hypocrisy. For myth-building and sheer hypocrisy you should read the first part of Alma Hromic's essay on a nation of immigrants. It's a sad observation.

Oh yes, let's not forget the daily newscasts filled to the rim with the bad Arafat and the good Israelis (who should keep the path to peace open, of course....after having leveled the territorial opposition). "I expect better leadership and I expect results" was the President's personal contribution to the speech he gave on April 4, 2002. According to The New York Times, this was a "language of decision." Well, we cannot decide much (or anything at all) from where we stand but we certainly can contribute the words of Deck Deckert who's had his own journalistic experience with the conflict; and we can offer you the words of Assaf Oron, an Israeli "refusenik" as well as, to put this ridiculous, ludicrous, and oblivion-leading conflict in perspective, those of Dr. Lilienthal (certainly a Jewish self-hater!).

Then, there is Sandy Lulay who labors to keep our humanness alive through her poetry. Hang in there, Sandy. We need you!

As always, form your OWN opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

Note: We have removed the "mail to someone" feature. It was not being used much in the first place and we cannot compete with the CNNs of this world anyway. Then again, when all is said and done, the only way not to play a game is to NOT play.... Right? You disagree... let us know.


Patterns which Connect

Stephen Gowans:  Shepherding Us Into History's Charnel House

There are few acts more chilling than intellectuals justifying mass murder.

Martin Van Creveld, a military historian, urges Israel "to strike so hard that there won't be a need for a second strike. Perhaps 5,000, or 10,000 killed won't be enough and then we will have to kill more."   More...


Milo Clark:  The Time The Great Ogre Hacked And Spit

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Said many times, many ways, the consistent and continuous response remains a scrupulous denial. Should one be motivated to attempt to live present with an understanding of past, what understanding would that be? How would one move into future with a recognition of validity of past as guidance?   More...


Michael W. Stowell:  Peekaboo

If I had a crystal ball and could see into the future, would you like to know what I see? Would it be easier for you to take chances, to speak out, to cause a ruckus, if you knew everything would turn out okay in the end? If you knew what the future holds, would it be easier to make a difference in history, to change the patterns of the past, to create justice and peace? We hold the future in our grasp, you and I.   More...


David McGowan:  America Through The Looking Glass

In the immortal words of Lewis Carroll, things are getting curiouser and curiouser. If there has ever been a more bizarre presidential team in place at the White House at any other time in U.S. history, it doesn't immediately come to mind.

Consider, if you will, that we have a vice-president (and I use that term rather loosely) who has all but disappeared from public view without any kind of credible explanation having been given to the American people.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  A Verbal Analogy - Mind : Body :: Illusion : Reality

In our journey through life we comprehend our world through both our minds and our bodies. While the body continuously encounters the real world, the mind through its ability to imagine creates an illusory world.

To illustrate this dichotomy of perception, consider the con man. He creates an imaginary situation so convincingly that it is accepted by the mind of the victim. When the victim, through the five senses of his body, discovers the truth he realizes he has been fleeced.   More...


Middle East Quagmire

Deck Deckert:  The Untouchable Israelis

There are a lot of taboos and untouchable stories in the Establishment Media -- corporate crime, racism, the insanity of the failed drug war, criticism of the war budget, corporate control of government, Bush gaffes, etc..

But one of the oldest and currently the most powerful taboo is this: One must never speak ill of Israel.   More...


Assaf Oron:  An Open Letter To Jewish Americans
by Assaf Oron

Dear People,

Yesterday I was informed of an interesting phenomenon: a peace-supporting Jewish organization called Tikkun published an ad in favor of us, the Israeli reservist refuseniks, and was immediately bombarded with hate mails and phones from other American Jews.   More...


Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal  What Price Middle East Peace?

Ed. Note: This is an address given by Dr. Lilienthal, an ardent advocate of a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, on April 23, 1992 at the University Club, in Washington, D.C. -- that is just about 10 years ago. What's fascinating about his lecture is its relevance in 2002. It could be given today; only the figures would change. More settlements, more killings and destruction, more "revenge" and "retaliation," etc.; but the story and its narrative, even the actors, are frozen in time. Read this address. There is no better reminder and clearer explanation of what can only be defined as a path into self-oblivion. And yet, we all know it could be different...if reason prevailed.   More...


America, Myths and Realities

Alma A. Hromic:  The Immigrant Nation (Part I): Mother Of Exiles

America is a nation of immigrants.

Twist that as you will, every single (modern) American not of Amerind origin can trace their roots, early or late, to an old continent and someone who chose to come to a new world in search of something better, something greater, something freer than what they had left behind.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Food. More. Now.

We need food, and we need it faster. And god forbid we should have to move our bodies to get it. Walking up to a fast-food window is not fast enough for our instant-gratification needs: We have someplace to be, and need sustenance to get there. Drive-thru fast-food "restaurants" are the new wave of the future, so says our cultural barometer USA Today (April 3, 2002).   More...



Sandy Lulay:  Orenda

Beneath the granite earth the old Indian chants.
His voice can be heard in the winds
Serenading the Catskills any day or night.

My grandmother called the wind voices.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Dalton Trumbo:  You're Dead Mister. Dead.

Book Excerpt from "Johnny Got His Gun"

It was funny how calm he was. He was quiet just like a storekeeper taking spring inventory and saying to himself I see I have no eyes better put that down in the order book. He had no legs and no arms and no eyes and no ears and no nose and no mouth and no tongue What a hell of a dream. It must be a dream. Of course sweet god it's a dream. He'd have to wake up or he'd go nuts. Nobody could live like that. A person in that condition would be dead and he wasn't dead so he wasn't in that condition. Just dreaming.   More...



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Created: April 16, 2002