Note from the Editor

We've been in the midst of an unending, year-end/new year rain storm, trying to keep our spirits up in the coldness, darkness and dampness of our environment. Hey, maybe we should have gone on the Love Boat Cruise that John Steppling alludes to in his review of our last 2004 edition. Or maybe we should whine about losing the job that has been paying for this endeavor for so many moons. Or maybe we should join the happy few at Amazon and Wal*Mart and see our investments grow accordingly. Well, we do not own any shares at all, but we do have shelter...and have not been swept away by a tsunami or a powerful army, or left behind to face illness and chaos... So here's to a hopefully saner year ahead, and good health to all...

We begin this year with a new formatting design that keeps with the philosophy of simplicity and ease of downloading, for which Swans is known. We've made a few incremental changes too (more to come); but no January 1 would be complete without our Infamous Predictions™, which we are publishing again here, along with some serious thoughts from Milo Clark on the spineless media, election fraud, and the sinking value of the dollar, and other not-so-serious views on next year's news from Manuel García. Jan Baughman describes the Christmas gift that she and many other Americans received this December, and Gerard Donnelly Smith provides advice on how to deprive the global hegemony of its power. Follow Gerard's recommendation: pour yourself a shot of whiskey, and read about how to boycott Halliburton and the war profiteers... The amorality and hypocrisy of these corporations -- and their politicians -- is staggering (hey, what's new in the land of honey?), yet, as Milo Clark points out in a second article, we the people continue to support the system. How long "we the people" will deny the obvious is anyone's guess... Can we unite? Can we move from resistance and dissidence to a proactive, visionary project? Are we condemned to continually whine or can we begin once and for all to move forward? Bring on your ideas, bring on your vision...from the bottom up, not the top down, and without tanks in the streets and guillotines galore.

The 1930s to 1950s was a golden era of music, says Philip Greenspan, who goes on praising the unsung heroes -- the lyricists -- and shares some of his favorite works. Not all icons age gracefully though, as Charles Marowitz shows in his review of Ray Monk's Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness 1921-1970. Marowitz describes Russell's demise and the repudiation of his doctrine and persona. Finally, Joe Davison offers a tale of a con game in the Paris textile exchange of time past; and the Martian editor's musing is on, among other tidbits, American "generosity" and the negative effects of and Wal*Mart (boycott them!), as well as an important dépêche from Chicago researcher David Peterson on "Prison USA..." We close this issue with the Letters to the Editor that include John Steppling's review of our last issue of 2004. Enjoy!

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Tiny Swans and the Big World

Gilles d'Aymery:  Things Evolve, But We Do Not "Change," Sorry...

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they fight you. Then you win."
—Mahatma Gandhi

2005 will see a few changes on Swans. We'll have a new design that will be incrementally implemented. We will get an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) and have the site registered at the US Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.   More...


Swans' Infamous Predictions™

SWANS:  2005 Predictions

"To laugh is proper to man."
—Rabelais (in Gargantua and Pantagruel, 1532)

"Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humour itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humour in heaven."
—Mark Twain (in Following the Equator, 1897)

[...] Here again, we present for your enjoyment our yearly, slightly obnoxious predictions, courtesy of the few clowns who find Swans' stables more appealing than the Emperor's clothes, and who, in the company of Max Ernst, prefer "one wild strawberry to all the thrones in the world."   More...


More Predictions

Milo Clark:  Three Short 2005 Vignettes

For more than six years now, we have spared ourselves from watching TV or listening to commercial radio. NPR, what little I can still stomach, has become vapid although the only possible alternative currently available to US ears. The Listener-Sponsored model of Pacifica has also been attacked and damaged.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  Twenty News Stories To Appear In 2005

1. The US Military Academy at West Point, New York, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will become Christian divinity schools in addition to being training centers for career US military officers.   More...


US Society: Resolution amidst Dissolution

Jan Baughman:  Livin' The American Dream

"Xmas: 'Tis the season (for year-end financials and layoffs)."
—Jan Baughman

In our final Swans' rendition of the year in which we published our various perspectives on 2004, I mulled over the faux reality in which we are living:

"Concerned about your dead-end job and your retirement benefits that we're spending? No worries, the economy is strong and there are still plenty of good quality jobs that have yet to be outsourced.   More...


Actions Under the Radar Screen

Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Boycotting the Hegemony -- Part One: Halliburton

After reading Arundhati Roy's lecture on confronting empire -- thanks to our kind editor -- I thought, indeed, don't feed the capitalist beast. If we are truly to deprive the global hegemony of its power, then we must also starve it: its sustenance is currency.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Morality, Reason and Reichs

Morality is a much used and horribly abused word especially now. Does morality have to do with matching behavior with words? Not really, since a threat to kill carried out matches stated intent with appropriate action. Must we, then, busy ourselves asking whether the murder was justified? And, if justified, a moral act? Is any murder a moral act?   More...


Art & Culture

Philip Greenspan:  Let's Hear It for the Lyricists

I was fortunate to grow up during some Golden Ages -- the Golden Age of radio and the Golden Age of talking movies. Back then radio and talking movies were in their infancy. Most of the people who created the programs and films had a genuine love for their baby.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Charles Marowitz:  Philosopher, Heal Thyself

In the sixties, when political zealousness was chic and occasionally even sincere, I saw Bertrand Russell address a great horde of demonstrators in London's Trafalgar Square. He was a short, erect, hawk-like man with hair that seemed to be consumed in great white flames and, in the midst of a wildly excitable throng, the calmest person in the square.   More...


Short Story

Joe Davison:  A Parisian Con Game

We arrived in Paris late at night. My first sight of the Eiffel Tower, spectacularly lit up under a full moon, was tempered by the fact Muktar wasn't sure how to get to our hotel. After working a full day in the showroom, followed by a three and a half hour drive from Brussels, I was exhausted.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #9

"A man can believe a considerable amount of rubbish, and yet go about his daily work in a rational and cheerful manner."
—Norman Douglas, An Almanac, 1945

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk: From US generosity, the Ukraine and Ohio, and Wal*Mart, an uncivil but amusing crétin, a wintery Boonville News, to military recruitment and plenty of money for education, sort of...   More...


Letters to the Editor


A view from Amsterdam on US aid for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunamis; how dare we dis Wesley Clark, "the future hope of the Democratic Party" (?!?!); raves (and a correction) for John Steppling's "Empire of Amnesia, 2004;" feedback on Exporting Death (and DU) and the denouncement of the Bush hegemony; and, of course, Steppling's review to put 2004 in perspective...   More...



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Created: January 10, 2005