Note from the Editor

Politics and religion; religion and violence; violence and politics...what culture and religion have not played their part in this triangle? You may be surprised that the answer is not Tibet, nor Buddhism nor the Dalai Lama, as Michael Parenti reveals in a superb analysis of the Tibet myth and a less-than-saintly Dalai Lama. And if you think the United States has its hands clean given its alleged tradition of separation of church and state, think again. To quote George W. Bush (July 5), "As we celebrate our independence in 2003, we still place our trust in Divine Providence." Indeed, politics and religion mix quite well here -- just read the book review of The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America, edited by Kimberly Blaker, for a disturbing look at the right-wing fundamentalist movement in America.

Another interesting triangle explored in this rendition is the connection between the US Department of Energy, the University of California, and the US nuclear weapons labs at Los Alamos and Livermore. Manual García, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, provides an insider's exposé of the surprising threads that sustain this nuclear monopoly. García's clear and cogent analysis filled with information little known by the public would be unlikely to find its way into the main media. But as Richard Macintosh points out, the key to political change is getting to the minds of those who disagree with you. Short of change, we continue to live in a paradoxical world as described philosophically by Milo Clark and poetically by Phil Rockstroh. The American system was founded on paradox, as Philip Greenspan describes in his look at the true motives of the Founding Fathers, which were not liberty and democracy, by the way.

Deck Deckert and Alma Hromic remain in our thoughts as they continue their struggle to improve and cope after Deck's recent stroke. We are encouraged by reports of Deck's progress and expect him to be fighting his way right out of the convalescent home. Alma shares with us a heartbreaking essay about some of the forgotten people she has encountered there.

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


Politics and Religion

Michael Parenti:  Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth

Throughout the ages there has prevailed a distressing symbiosis between religion and violence. The histories of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are heavily laced with internecine vendettas, inquisitions, and wars.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Kimberly Blaker's The Fundamentals of Extremism

It is said that 95 percent of Americans believe in god. Though estimates vary, about a fourth of them, some 68 million, belong to born-again or evangelical Christian churches of many denominations and styles -- Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. -- and half of those claim allegiance to fundamentalist Christianity.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Manuel García, Jr.:  America's Nuclear Weapons Labs: The Reality Beneath The Headlines

On 30 April 2003, US Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced his decision to hold an open bidding for the contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory -- the birthplace of the atomic bomb -- for the term beginning in October 2005.   More...


Richard Macintosh:  Perception

Some time back, I began an essay called "On Lies." The idea was to discuss lies, much the same as Mark Twain did, covering my own experiences as a child and working forward to societal lies and perceptions at an older age.   More...


Milo Clark:  Paradoxical System

Paradox remains the nature of actuality. And, yes, the more it changes, the more it is the same. Yet, never the same same.   More...


Phil Rockstroh:  Muck And Mire

Widow's veils of steam rise from the blacktop highway. The sullen air
still grieves its loss. Years ago, men drained the swamp to put through
the old state road.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Founding Father's Formula Fulfilled

Some historical myths have become pervasive because they are repeated and repeated and repeated without any dissent.   More...



Alma A. Hromic:  I Want To Go Home

"I want to go home," an old woman keens quietly, to nobody in particular, sitting by herself in her wheelchair in the middle of the dining room with its shiny linoleum floor laid down for the ease of cleaning.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  No More Posse Comitatus

No more dulce et decorum est,
from embedded journalists;
here to eternity blow to eternity
in a sudden shadow cast.   More...


Scott Orlovsky:  Seeing Through It All

I wish we had x-ray vision
politically-correct color blindness
only envisions shades of gray   More...



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Created: July 14, 2003