Note from the Editor

There are some interesting developments lately. Have you noticed the good showing of the Greens at the polls in the mid-term elections as well as the uneasiness of a growing segment of the U.S. public reflected by substantial antiwar demonstrations? Well, if you haven't some have. The Greens are showing positive results against all odds and without any media help, to say the least. Result? Calls like that of Ronnie Dugger in the paragon of the anti-left Left, The Nation no less, for the Greens to re-join the warm, comfy, gas-heated, foggily fuzzy and largely fossilized big Democratic tent and not run a candidate in 2004 are making the rounds (oh, Ronnie, how sad...). They should close ranks with the Progressive Caucus of the DP to help defeat the bad guy (Bush II). Hey, Tom Lantos-Peter Camejo, same combat! Excuse the acronym but, really, LOL! And since the antiwar movement appears to have some momentum, the guard dogs of bien-pensant liberalism (Corn, Berube, Cooper, Gitlin & Co.) spend much ado discrediting the organizers of the antiwar demonstrations; they are too left-Left, Red Left that is, to be credible, see. One would think these kinds of attacks to be the domain of the Raimundistas who consider anyone not to the right of Rep. Ron Paul a member of the worldwide socialist revolution led by the Israeli-Jewish-Bilderberg-Trilateral conspiracy (am I forgetting anyone?); but no, the "liberals," having joined the warring legions on the road to Baghdad, have nothing much to write about when not talking about themselves. So, why not a bit of name-calling and red baiting? It always works! Truly hilarious... If this is what the "loyal opposition" is supposed to be about, the Bushites have it made for a long while!

Those of you who think like Ronnie Dugger should read Michael Stowell's article. It provides a good idea of the type of people the Greens would work with if they joined the Democrats. Meantime, control remains the name of the game. Jan Baughman has more to say about this, and the "punishment" and witch-hunting of Prof. Peter Kirstein is a good case in point; but we wanted you to experience the humor of John Ashcroft (no, no, he has not joined Swans' staff, but in light of his flip-flopping convictions, who knows, anything's possible!). You undoubtedly will appreciate Ashcroft's style. But you won't laugh much when reading Greg Elich's investigative report on torture and the travesty of justice. This is not an article for the faint of heart. Yet the story must be told.

Sometimes one wonders how the Palestinians are able to keep hope in their hearts, and yet in spite of the ruthless occupation and terrible hardship some do, as Sam Bahour demonstrates from Al-Bireh, in the West Bank. There is little hope in Philip Greenspan's overview of the Iraqi quagmire however. Just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts.

Milo Clark's take on "reality" deserves attention. Writes Clark, "As what is sold as 'real' becomes more and more surreal, I caution all to be aware of both their own and others' needs to call it what it isn't." Then we offer you poetry as always, a book review on the search for a non-violent future, a few letters to the Editor, and if, as many children do, you want to know more about Swans, the birds, we even have this for you!

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


How to Control the Game

Gilles d'Aymery:  Censorship By Other Means
The Witch-Hunting of a Professor

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
--Attributed to Voltaire (1694-1778)

Why does the episode surrounding Professor Peter N. Kirstein of Saint Xavier University (SXU), Chicago, Illinois, smack me as a flagrant example of censorship -- not actual censorship in the traditional sense but censorship nonetheless?   More...


Jan Baughman:  Asymmetric Total Information Awareness

"The most serious asymmetric threat facing the United States is terrorism, a threat characterized by collections of people loosely organized in shadowy networks that are difficult to identify and define," as stated in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Awareness Office's (IAO) newest shadowy project, Total Information Awareness (TIA).   More...


John Ashcroft:  Keep Big Brother's Hands Off The Internet

[Look at what we have found in the dustbins of history... Is this the same John Ashcroft as the current Attorney General of the USA? It is. This piece was originally written in 1997. It begs a question: who's the real John Ashcroft? A MUST-READ!]

[...] The Clinton administration would like the Federal government to have the capability to read any international or domestic computer communications. The FBI wants access to decode, digest, and discuss financial transactions, personal e-mail, and proprietary information sent abroad -- all in the name of national security.   More...


Barbarity Kept Under the Radar Screen

Gregory Elich:  Screams And Cries
Prison Camp Lora and the Trial of the Lora 8

Sometimes beauty can be a mask for horror. The ancient and lovely city of Split, located along the Adriatic coast, possesses such charm that it is difficult to imagine that unspeakable crimes were committed there. Nor could one guess that a momentous trial has just concluded there, given the cloak of invisibility given it by Western reporters. Eight former guards at the Lora prison camp stood trial, charged with murder and torture. Lora has much to say to us about the nature of human rights issues in the West. Why do some cases merit obsessive attention, while other evoke complete disinterest? Certainly it cannot be argued that attention was undeserved, for Lora was remarkable from every standpoint. What took place at Prison Camp Lora defies understanding and must rank among the most disturbing examples of inhumanity.   More...


Activism Under the Radar Screen

Michael W. Stowell:  Hold The Turkey

In the autumn of 1997, the federal government and the State of California rewarded Maxxam Corporation CEO Charles Hurwitz with $380 million. That is more money than any Nobel Prize winner ever received. To what did our society owe this great debt of gratitude?   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  An Invitation To Catastrophe

I no longer use the word "reality." Why? Whatever may be called "real" is totally subjective. My antennae go to full alert whenever I see or hear something alleged to be "reality." Same with anything claiming to be The One of anything.   More...


John Godfrey Saxe:  The Blind Men And The Elephant

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.   More...


Middle East Hopes

Sam Bahour:  Palestinian Children In The Night

It happened last night. Ramallah was pitch dark and the breeze was cool and brisk. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was out during the night with my wife and two daughters, Areen, 8 and Nadine, 2. We were taking advantage of the lull in nightly curfews imposed by the Israeli military over the past year. We found ourselves in the midst of a crowd of over 300 cheering Palestinians.   More...


Middle East Quagmire

Philip Greenspan:  Pity the Poor Iraqi

Pity the poor Iraqi. He is potentially a very rich man. His country sits on the second largest pool of oil assets in the world. But since 1980 he has suffered from wars and sanctions that brought poverty and misery to his people.   More...



Frank Wycoff and Jan Baughman:  The First Winter Storms

What's it like being in an ice storm?

a little frightening,
very cool.

Would hug the wood stove,
but you know.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Book Review by Mac Lawrence:  The Search For A Nonviolent Future

I had lunch the other day with a friend. When I mentioned Michael Nagler's book, Is There No Other Way? he dismissed nonviolence as a wimpy, impractical, unworkable idea. It's a view that's shared by many, many people. Hopefully, Nagler's book will help change some minds.   More...


A Holiday Gift to Children and Curious Minds

Gilles d'Aymery:  Swans, The Birds

I frequently receive inquiries by e-mail regarding Swans, the birds. Most often, the queries come from pupils. They ask questions about the name of a mother Swan, the baby Swan, a group of Swans; and they invariably ask for pictures.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Professor Kirstein's controvery, voting, and a friendly note.



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Created: December 12, 2002