Note from the Editor

There are moments when you just want to crawl under a rock and hibernate until it's safe to come out; times when you cannot believe all that is happening around; the destruction, the violence, the stupidity... You want to scream; you want to shout, "bring the troops home!" "Stop pilfering the earth!" "Cease and desist!" But the silence is deafening; all you hear are some strange Austrian sounds with reactionary, womanizing, Hitler-admiring notes...and those are not the Sound of Music! Then, the pundits will move their propagandistic platitudes onto the next story du jour... How to break away from this senseless rat-a-tat-tat? When will we collectively break away?

It should come as no surprise that Swans' co-editors and California columnists wholeheartedly endorse Green Party candidate Peter Camejo -- a man of true convictions and real solutions -- for governor of California. Camejo's inclusion in the debates indicates he has become a force to be reckoned with (thanks to the hundreds of thousands of people who voted their conscience in 2002). All polls demonstrate that he won those debates. Vision and practical solutions to never-ending problems are his forestay (his bread and butter, literally). For those not familiar with him, we are posting a sampling of his viewpoints. Michael Stowell shares his first-hand experience with the Green Party and its leaders, and Scott Orlovsky describes the campaign circus with its biased reporting, virtually ignoring third-party candidates and slanting the race. Please Californians, vote your conscience!

Once voters do elect -- as undemocratically as the process may be -- a governor, people's attention will be redirected to the other political circus, the 2004 presidential election. Well, let's take a lead on the "competition." Eli Beckerman covers the Howard Dean phenomenon and hopes that a person of vision will emerge without abandoning the grass roots nature of what a campaign should be (Dean will abandon it...). Vision is not an abundant resource in our inanimate world of proliferate propaganda, aptly portrayed by Phil Rockstroh. Yet, it does exist. Individuals do inspire and motivate. Kim Stafford's words are living proof of this: in the excerpt of The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft, Stafford appeals to each individual to find and live his/her vision in order to "articulate new visions and collective responsibilities, and then [we] live them."

As individuals, we cannot truly participate in society without questioning and exercising critical thinking. See Richard Macintosh's plea to stand for what we think is right and debunk the essential lies, and Philip Greenspan's insight into political/corporate organizational deceptions and scandals. Cases in point: Manuel García explains what the U.S. really wants for China -- it's certainly not what's best for China -- and Deck Deckert's Martian friend Yyuran takes on the alleged link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, which Mr. Bush has finally admitted did not exist. Another topic that deserves questioning is the debate over medical marijuana. Jan Baughman reviews the book Prescription Pot, the story of one patient's fight to obtain and keep the right to government-grown pot to alleviate his suffering.

In the end, we'll always have poetry, with the creative likes of R. Paul Craig and Vanessa Raney -- two strong voices, each speaking for the voiceless.

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


California Recall & Countdown to November 2004

Michael W. Stowell:  The Green Folks

I like these Green Party folks; my first encounter with them was nearly ten years ago in an impetuous little college town in northern California. Out of dank boredom, I went to one of their meetings and ambled in as they were planning a local campaign for Ralph Nader, during his first run.   More...


Scott Orlovsky:  It's The Arnold Show

We witnessed a rare event in the California recall election debates on September 24, 2003, as gubernatorial candidates from the Green, Democrat, and Republican parties, and an Independent, were given equal time to voice their political, economic, and social platforms to a national audience.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Thank You, Peter Camejo: Summary of his Platform

It suddenly dawned upon me, in the midst of the California recall election, that while I have been a California legal resident for about 14 years I do not have the right to vote. What does it say about the type of "democracy" we have in the Golden State?   More...


Eli Beckerman:  Vision In 2004

It is in our nature to lack vision. We are most comfortable when there is no decision to ponder, no nuance to agonize over. When people of vision come forward, they usually say the obvious, only we wish we had thought of it ourselves.   More...


Patterns which Connect

Phil Rockstroh:  Dumb As Dirt

Animism: The belief the world in ensouled... That all things (rocks, trees, water, tea kettles, toothbrushes, words, clouds, tattered sport jackets) are alive, contain consciousness, long for intimacy, and should be afforded dignity. Ridiculous, you say.   More...


Kim R. Stafford:  Learning From Strangers

A friend called this life "a bridge from before to after." On this bridge, crossing as a writer, a teacher, and a seeker, what shall I do -- especially now? I have stories to tell, and ways to begin. But what is my particular calling in the world?   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Richard Macintosh:  Doubt And Essential Lies

Doubt is a result of questioning one's givens and having them come up short. A person's character is shaped by how he or she handles personal doubt. It is vain to expect any great light to shine on the world and enlighten us.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Super Deluxe Rip-Offs By The Most Distinguished

Scandals involving violations of the public trust are regular stories for the news media. Although the cast of characters, the locale and the plot of each sinister story will vary there is an underlying conformity to all.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  What The U.S. Wants From China

What is it the United States government, and elite policy makers, really want from China? They want China to fit within a global economic system controlled by the U.S., and most convenient to its trade and power interests.   More...


Iraq Lies with Humor

Deck Deckert:  He Lied

"I see your president lied again," my Martian friend Yyuran said to me.

"What are you talking about now?" I said with a sigh. He was always ragging President Bush about something or another.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Jan Baughman:  "Prescription Pot"

The story of George McMahon's life-long battle with a rare disease, Nail Patella Syndrome; the associated pain, surgeries and organ disorders, is characterized by his will to survive, thrive and help others find relief from suffering despite all the forces working against the use of medical marijuana.   More...



R. Paul Craig:  The Aborigines

We all
remain uneasy
about a stain
on our historic corridors
that will not be washed away,
that will not be washed clean.   More...


Vanessa Raney:  One Voice Strong

It's funny
I walked right
in the middle of
it and didn't
see you
know it's easy to
think that
what you do
has power   More...


Letters to the Editor


On the Greens.   More...



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Created: October 13, 2003