Note from the Editor

There comes a time, after scandal upon scandal, indictments, smoking gun memos, evidence of blatant disregard for law, mounting casualties, endless war, and pro-elite economic policies bankrupting state and local governments, when one gives up thinking that this will be the turning point for change and mark the beginning of the end empire. Yet, the beast keeps gaining strength, and even Milo Clark has begun to question his judgment and that of Leopold Kohr -- that implosion is the predictable outcome of excesses. Still, one can easily see the gradual erosion of infrastructure; case in point, the US health care system, whose approach from avian flu preparedness to treatment of military veterans and their families is laughable -- almost -- as Jan Baughman laments.

No laughter occurs in response to just about anything written on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- whether a book review or letter to the editor, daggers fly. Philip Greenspan describes the mainstream media's effort to silence Norman Finkelstein, whose writings shatter the myths of Zionists, and Michael Neumann responds to a criticism of his new book, The Case Against Israel, slung before the book was even released but based on our recent review. There is more debate on this subject in the letters to the editor, and surely more will follow.

Meantime, we present a review of Fran Shor's collection of essays in Bush-League Spectacles, which summarizes all the important events and actions of the Bush administration from 2001 onward. Charles Marowitz offers a superb look at Las Vegas in all its splendor, crime, and pretension as metaphor for the Great American Dream; and our world of make believe receives a visit from Deck Deckert's Martian friend Yyuran, who observes all too clearly George W. Bush's affinity with authoritarianism.

For the animal lovers among us, all of the above is put in perspective when the loss of a companion strikes. Michael Yonchenko and his wife Lea were devastated by the sudden death last week of their beloved bob. Michael's heart-wrenching tribute shows how much these friends teach us. From the dog to the swan, our animals take care of us, and we must respond in kind. Martin Murie contrasts a beautiful story of his childhood surrounded by fieldwork in Yellowstone National Park and the joy brought by the trumpeter swans with the current wilderness adventures that are destroying that very wilderness.

Finally, Joe Middleton of Scotland's Independence First goes beyond Joe Davison's recent advocacy for Scottish independence. No Blips this time around, so we end with your letters.

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


Sense Of The Moment

Milo Clark:  What If I Got It Wrong?

What if all the stuffs I want to believe I know and on which I rely in my soul of souls are simply wrong? Will I then join the human race and find acceptance and succor?   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Jan Baughman:  À Votre Santé

While numerous countries are struggling with avian flu cases and destroying their vast flocks of poultry (and food and livelihood), others are implementing plans to protect their citizens from potential exposure, and the World Bank is seeking over a billion dollars to address global needs. Meantime, America is getting prepared in its own special way for a potential pandemic.   More...



Philip Greenspan:  Norman Finkelstein In The Cross Hairs

The boastful assertion of a Bushite that they would create their own "reality" to overshadow what actually occurs might seem like a way-out, kooky notion. But it is not!   More...


Michael Neumann:  Response To Jacob Amir

Dr. Amir makes several criticisms of my book, [The Case Against Israel], without having so much as laid eyes on it. Unsurprisingly, he offers for the most part red herrings.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Gilles d'Aymery:  Fran Shor's Bush-League Spectacles

With the main media distilling the news like the plat du jour at your favorite restaurant, one rapidly looses the thread of what one has ingurgitated over the past few months -- to say nothing of what one was served four or five years ago, repetitive pêchés mignons included.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Las Vegas: "When We Dead Awaken"

Las Vegas is the most morbid city in America. It dotes on the dead and aggressively resurrects them on stages and nightclubs all along the Strip. Being a dead headliner is no detriment in Las Vegas; in fact, in many cases it continues to swell the income of the deceased's estates and, in some bizarre way, confirms their immortality. Fact is, the dead are everywhere in Vegas, and they are thriving.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Deck Deckert:  He Can Do What He Wants

"Your President Bush sounds like he wants to be a dictator," my Martian friend Yyuran said to me the other day.   More...


Heartfelt Poetry & Sad News

Michael Yonchenko:  Goodbye bob, Old Friend

Thank you for your warm condolences. As for your Priam...give him a treat, give him a hug, and let him sleep on the bed. Very few things matter to dogs. Only the important things. We all need to learn this and remember it.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  Trumpeters

I sat in the shade of a big boulder watching the two swans and their cygnets move along the marshy shores of a small lake. They were excruciatingly slow in everything they did and sometimes I couldn't see that they were doing anything.   More...


Joe Middleton:  Why Scotland Must Put Independence First

In "The Case For Scottish Independence" (Swans, November 7, 2005), Joe Davidson seems to want independence on certain terms only, those terms being that it is an unambiguous socialist republic.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Welcome encouragement for our collegial work; more reactions to the review of Michael Neumann's The Case Against Israel, or, more precisely, reactions to readers' letters; and don't mess with statisticians.   More...



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Created: January 19, 2006