Note from the Editor

Before beginning our traditional look back on 2005, we thought we'd highlight an event we anticipate in early 2006: the publication of The Case Against Israel, by Michael Neumann. Neumann's book is an exceptionally coherent argumentation in support of a two-state solution to the century-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- a conflict that evokes fervent debate but is rarely discussed with such objectivity as this. One might call it the antidote to Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel, countering its polemics and regurgitation of falsities with a reality-based analysis. You can place an advance order directly from CounterPunch's On-line Bookstore. Please do read this book and share it with others. It is truly a rare gem.

As to the past year, our regular columnists and occasional contributors looked at it from myriad perspectives with, of course, some common themes. Ed Herman found 2005 disastrous for its policy trends but found some bright sides to note. Louis Proyect reviewed the post-2004 election fallout and what it means for future politics; and Louis's clear analysis is followed by an appraisal of the fallout from the lesser-evilism/safe-states strategy that so direly divided us all. 2005 was seen as a year in which the Bush administration's propaganda reached record heights according to Jan Baughman; its whole hypocrisy and cronyism made Charles Marowitz very angry, indeed.

Eli Beckerman spoke for the defenseless planet that continues to take a beating from its Homo sapiens and Bob Wrubel lamented the charade of democracy shrouded in empire. Philip Greenspan lent his keen eye to the major events of the year and Gerard Donnelly Smith considered organic solutions to help rid the garden of its weeds. Milo Clark took on the impact of our obsession with militarism, and Joe Davison questioned how to counter the militaristic powers-that-be.

Finally, a few blips about execution and our injustice system, revisionism and capitalism, and more as usual. Your letters round out this last full edition of the year. We'll be back in two weeks with Swans Infamous Predictions™. Our best wishes for peace and justice to all in the New Year. The struggle for a sane world carries on.

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


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Gilles d'Aymery:  Michael Neumann's The Case Against Israel

The British essayist and novelist Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970), author of A Room With A View and A Passage To India, wrote in his 1951 collection of essays, Two Cheers for Democracy, "I suspect that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have yet gone ourselves." Amidst the one hundred-plus books I've read on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, none fits Forster's sentiment better than Michael Neumann's The Case Against Israel.   More...



Edward S. Herman:  Reflections On 2005 And The Future

The year 2005 has been another disastrous one from the standpoint of policy trends in the dominant and pace-setting states and their welfare impact. On the "bright side," things have been so bad that stoked fear and patriotic ardor have not been enough to prevent growing numbers in the United States from opening their eyes to administration dissembling, incompetence and illegal and immoral behavior.   More...


Louis Proyect:  After The 2004 Elections

Last year radical supporters of John Kerry kept insisting over and over that unless George W. Bush was removed from office, the consequences for Third World peoples would be disastrous. Tariq Ali warned that a Bush victory would be a mandate for stepped up economic penetration of the South and military intervention against any nation impudent enough to resist such penetration.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  2005: Navigating The Doldrums

2005 was first and foremost another year where "business as usual" carried the day: the deepening corruption of the governmental and corporate elites, the war against terror waged to defend the interests of those tiny elites, the ongoing worldwide transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top, the intensifying curse of environmental degradations.   More...


Jan Baughman:  2005: Annus Propagandus

A friend was recently summonsed for jury duty in a capital murder case in Oakland, California, in which a group of six teenagers who called themselves the "Nut Cases" were alleged to have randomly, nonchalantly murdered five people from 2002 to 2003, taking their pastime of playing the videogame Grand Theft Auto III to the streets. Perhaps the reality in which they live -- a world of violence and drugs and little hope for the future -- was given some meaning by a game through which the players attain a sense of control, domination, and influence over the world around them, experiencing no difference between life and death.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  2005: A Look Back In Anger

The thing that most sticks in my craw from 2005 is the fact that one of the few instances in which Bush threatened to use his presidential veto was when members of both parties got behind the McCain legislation to abolish torture and reinstate the principles of the Geneva Convention.   More...


Eli Beckerman:  2005: Earth Responds, Illusions Crumble, Vision Needed

Holy shit, what a vigorous beating we've been giving this planet the last 200 years! Imagine the whole Earth as a living organism, as in the Gaia philosophy, and the violent extractions of resources and toxic releases of poisons as though they were performed on a living organism. Imagine mining our bones for the materials to build machines on the surface of our skin, fueling those machines by burning the plasma sucked from within us, and spewing harmful waste byproducts directly into our lungs. We wouldn't survive long.   More...


Robert Wrubel:  2005: A Lamentable Year

Twelve months ago (I'm writing in October, 2005) an unnamed "senior advisor" (with strong resemblances to Karl Rove) said to journalist Ron Suskind "we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  2005 And Its Possible Impact

The events of 2005, or of any period, are markers along a journey in time that may have originated before the current year and whose consequences may extend well into the future. What follows are a few of this year's news items that I think were significant and/or important.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Good Gardener

Terror, fear, paranoia, insurgency, freedom, patriotism, disaster -- those words define political rhetoric for the last year, and perhaps for the first decade of the millennium. What do we have to fear? Another bombing, another invasion and occupation, another pandemic like HIV/AIDS, or avian flu, another hurricane, tsunami, an 8.5 earthquake, global warming or a meteor slamming into the Earth.   More...


Milo Clark:  2005: Pessimism Unleashed

How can I look at 2005 dispassionately? Is it my shadow over which I consistently trip? I am thrown back most involuntarily to 1971-72 when Vietnam and Nixon were unraveling, imploding in Kohr's sense. Rove shadows Haldeman. Colson was the muscle mind of the times. McNamera played a combination Cheney and Rumsfeld.   More...


Joe Davison:  Resistance Is No Longer A Choice

I don't like the concept of predictions. I don't even like the word. As a materialist and a socialist I believe in extrapolating an analysis from events and using that analysis to plan the way ahead in challenging the state.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #31

"Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!"
—Huey Pierce "The Kingfish" Long (1893-1935)

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from executing justice humanely to America as Victim, and other delusional fables; to our non-negotiable way of life and who provides for it; to Anderson Valley's finest, with a few blips in between.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Support for Bob Wrubel and Milo Clark on not supporting war; missing the point on what makes for a great mind; Charles Marowitz's top-notch appreciation of Shakespeare, and the annual attack on Alma Hromic's opinion of National Novel Writing Month.   More...



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Created: December 22, 2005