Note from the Editor

Here is a big edition of Swans in celebration of its seventh anniversary. So, let's get right down to it. Last February, Michael Bérubé, the good professor at Penn State, contacted us to point out a factual error in an essay written by Lou Paulsen on what was then known as, but is now long forgotten, the Lerner Affair. Bérubé admonished this editor gently, advising that "Paulsen should have been fact-checked." We issued a correction. Of course, had we the resources of The New York Times, facts would have been checked more thoroughly; certainly as accurately as the venerable paper did with one of its about 375 reporters. Jayson Blair, who instead of repeating anonymous sources emanating from the bowels of Washington and spinning the news as The Times is so inclined to do, went on to fabricate, plagiarize and falsify many of the 600+ stories he wrote for the paper. It took almost four years to uncover the journalistic fraud! "Let's not begin to demonize our executives . . . . or, dare I say, the publisher," said Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., the paper's...publisher! Faced with such perils we made sure that all the assertions made by Nikhil Shah in his analysis on the illegality of force on North Korea were factually documented. It only took 197 footnotes, all meticulously reviewed by our own NYT-subcontracted fact-checkers! Since we were into facts Greg Elich ran a few of his own in a quiz that should help clarify what actually constitute war crimes. Facts, like WMD, can evidently have a different meaning according to the double-speak world presented by Baffour Ankomah. And, to follow Milo Clark, facts would suggest that our recovered-alcoholic president, drunken with power, is experiencing his own ecstasy of catastrophe.

Not surprisingly, the aftereffects of the Iraq invasion, err "liberation," deeply permeate this edition. They undoubtedly triggered Scott Orlovsky's powerful statement of conscience as well as Eli Beckerman's heated condemnation of the plutocratic gang that is literally destroying the societal fabric of the U.S. with its calamitous policies. But, while the current situation is undeniably dire, and the Christian Right threatens the core values of the US fabric (see Kimberly Blaker's piece), both Robert Macintosh and Philip Greenspan with their life-long experience show that there are profound divisions in the USA today, that one should not give up, and that it's only a matter of time before the "game is over" with this ravaging oligarchy. People count!

You may have noticed that the 2004 US presidential campaign is in full swing. Yyuran, Deck Deckert's Martian friend, did not miss the meaning of the Commander in Chief's tail-hook landing on the aircraft carrier and his now famous smirk. So, Michael Stowell decided to look into the résumés of the candidates with a special emphasis on the White House Resident; and Jan Baughman offers a few hints about what she would like to see in, and hear from an aspiring president. Just so you know, Bush II raised $100 million in 2000. The goal is twice as much this time around... It should buy a lot of votes in this "dollarized" democracy!

"Has Alma Hromic disappeared?" asked a few readers. Well, no; she's back smiling and kicking. Read her lively and creative story and you'll understand her recent sojourn! In the poetry corner, Sabina Becker presents two short poems and the work of a new contributor, Phil Rockstroh, is a must-read. Finally, another Letter to a Young Poet.

Hopefully, we've crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's. But don't curse this poor editor if he failed the test. Call Sulzberger!

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


On My Mind

Gilles d'Aymery:  Seven Years And Going...

The only way not to play a game is to not play it.

Billions of human beings at or under the subsistence level; 1.5 billion people with no access to clean water; eleven million kids dying of hunger or disease each year; an estimated 200 species disappearing daily to sustain human biomass; planet-wise ecological disaster; global warming; increasing ozone layer depletion; plundered natural resources, fast deterioration of infrastructure; rapacious privatization (or "commodityfication," to coin a word) of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we seed;   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Nikhil Shah:  North Korea And International Law

With the recent crisis with North Korea, the Bush administration has been considering using military force against the regime there to prevent them from gaining nuclear weapons. The administration has stated that such a strike could be justified as North Korea has violated all of its obligations to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons and has threatened the U.S. with force.   More...


Gregory Elich:  Can You Spot The War Crime?

There is much confusion about what does and does not constitute a war crime. While many have a clear notion of the concept, others are befuddled. In order to bring clarity and understanding to this troublesome subject, a quiz is offered...   More...


Baffour Ankomah:  Did We All Do A Clare Short?

So the people of Iraq have been liberated? God bless the liberators! But if liberation was the goal, why were they so coy about it before the invasion? So it wasn't weapons of mass destruction after all?   More...


Milo Clark:  Maybe It Is Just Bush After All...

Howard V. Hendrix titled his 1989 Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ecstasy of Catastrophe. Since then he has written five novels, with another due out later this year, plus numerous short stories classified as "science fiction."   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Scott Orlovsky:  I Believe

I believe in shrewd investigation, critical thinking, spiritual polytheistic ecumenicalism, cultural diffusion, biological symbiosis, and the individual development of holistic consciousness necessary to wrest humanity from the shell of ape-like emotionally-stunted xenophobic territoriality.   More...


Eli Beckerman:  Freedom Dollars: Last Frontier for the New Pioneers

Operation Iraqi Freedom was a resounding success for the Bush oligarchy. Anyone who questions that is a traitor. Operation Iraqi Freedom was also a momentous failure for democracy, for justice, for the Iraqi people, the American people, and the people of the world. Anyone who questions THAT needs to consider the disastrous state of politics and democracy inside these United States.   More...


Richard Macintosh:  The New America

I liked the American Republic. I grew up as a citizen of the United States of America -- a Republic -- and my loyalties are there. I dislike the idea that the Republic is dead and that my country has become an Empire.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Curing The Pro-War Pandemic

Just the thought of war and its horrendous consequences is enough to make an intelligent individual sick.   More...


Kimberly Blaker:  Pledge And Prayer Amendment Threatens Religious Freedom

Republican Rep. Ernest Istook, known for his failed Religious Freedom Amendment (RFA) and other similar radical proposals, is back at it.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Deck Deckert:  Landing A Campaign Visual

"That's awesome!" I said enthusiastically to my Martian friend Yyuran as we watched President Bush make a tail-hook landing on the aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln.   More...


Countdown to November 2004

Michael W. Stowell:  The Mud

Eighteen months until the next general election and my "inbox" is already filling with discussion about the presidential candidates.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Looking For A Leader In 2004

So while the president rides high on his 'victory' in Operation Iraqi Freedom,' landing squarely on the platform of campaign 2004 with his reaffirmed co-pilot Cheney, the Democrats made their first bold entrée into the campaign with a Saturday Night Special debate seen by no one.   More...


On the Lighter Side

Alma A. Hromic:  A Moving Carol

On the first day of moving my true love gave to me
One shiny new front door key.

Well, all right, I skip and jump a great deal. This was hardly the first day of moving, as such -- but it was the first day I allowed myself to get excited about it.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Rainer Maria Rilke:  Letters to a Young Poet (Letter Four)

About ten days ago I left Paris, tired and quite sick, and traveled to this great northern plain, whose vastness and silence and sky ought to make me well again.   More...



Sabina C. Becker:  Djinn Rummy Over Baghdad

Who let him out of the bottle? His scowl
is hard and pinched, as from too much sun.
Plus life inside a hookah bowl
has a way of doing that to one.   More...


Phil Rockstroh:  He Who Damns A Lie Will Have To Answer To Me

Lies take on a life of their own. They take wing... can soar, dive and
hover, can mate in air like dragon flies, and, like those flying-fuck
insects, they will devour their mate. Then: Eggs are laid, gestates
occurs, and a new generation of lies swarms forth into the delusional air.   More...



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Created: May 19, 2003