Note from the Editor

"The terrorists are afraid of democracies," says George W. Bush, to justify Israel's bombing of Lebanon. As we all should be. Twenty-first century democracy is characterized by sham elections, installed leaders, gerrymandering, ballot trashing, and land grabbing. Democratic societies are at liberty to wage disproportionate wars (no one in their right mind would start a proportionate one), killing civilians at will and destroying the infrastructure of entire nations. If you can't catch a leaflet warning you to evacuate, or don't have the means to do so, you're as out of luck as a Katrina victim -- with bombs. What will it take to stop the utter madness? While it's tempting to withdraw and seek the sanctity and safety only offered to embryos in a freezer, each of us must face the harsh realities of the collective suicide under way and take some kind of action. Deck Deckert, Michael Doliner, and Milo Clark share their respective approaches, from the political, to the humorous, to peaceable means.

With evidence that change can be imposed from the ground up, Louis Proyect reviews Mark Lause's Young Americans: Land, Labor and the Republican Community and the many examples of working people acting on their class interests. Such political movements are nearly unimaginable in a time when the 3-year phasing in of a whopping $2.10 increase in minimum wage will only be considered by the Congress of Millionaires if they can throw an estate-tax-decrease bone to their wealthy constituents... For an inside peak into the panoply of psychopathologies of such a mindset we go straight to the top, with a review by Ted Dace of Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. And while it's unpalatable to even begin to think about the 2008 US presidential elections, it's even more unpalatable to imagine another Al Gore candidacy; but Charles Marowitz thinks he may just have the right time. (Wethinks Swans will pass on these elections altogether. Enough sham!)

Anyway, all this talk of war, death, and politics is depressing and besides, it's summer. If you've always fantasized about a trip to Venice, Peter Byrne gives a creatively entertaining, inside look into this revered and troubled island city, as seen through the eyes of writers and Venetians themselves, along with a fictional account of the experience of two American tourists. More words come from Italy in the form of the dramatic poetry of Guido Monte with thoughts for the exiled. Finally, the Blips decry the calamity of Israel's attacks on innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, and your letters illustrate the dichotomy of opinion on these unjustifiable assaults.

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


Middle East

Deck Deckert:  Banality Of Evil

It's long past time that we stopped referring to our wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, and now Israel's war against Lebanon, in dispassionate terms involving differing views of geopolitics, strategic interests, mistaken foreign policy, rights of self defense, etc.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Collective Suicide

The American project of a new Middle East is leading the world toward a global conflagration that will extend far beyond the old Middle East.   More...


Michael Doliner:  Country Joe And The Fish

"Stay the course," the sage Mr. Rove tells us. But what is the course, gentle reader? Do you know for what worthy end your hard earned simoleons are enabling war criminals? Neither do I. But maybe somebody else does.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Other Ponds

The Bush administration has adopted the worst possible combination of policies regarding Taiwan.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Louis Proyect:  Mark Lause's Young America

There is a tendency to look at American working people as part of the problem rather than as part of the solution. This was especially pronounced after the 2004 elections, when despairing liberals felt that "red state" voters chose George W. Bush against their own class interests.   More...


Ted Dace:  Welcome To Schizoia

You've just popped out of the birth canal. The doctor gives you a spank, and the nurse wraps you in a towel. As your retinas bathe in their first blast of light, your mother's face is forever imprinted on your mind.   More...


US Elections & Democracy

Charles Marowitz:  The Next President

For those of us who believe the Bush presidency has already proven itself one of the most inefficient, destructive, and anti-constitutional administrations in the country's history, the focus of attention must shift to the election of 2008 and, in the interim, we must simply pray that the "axis of evil" (Cheney, Rumsfeld, & Bush) doesn't cause the nation to implode before we get there.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  Venice: Nobody's Town

"What is it about Americans and Venice?" I ask myself. Then I burrow deeper into the mountain of books about Venice and realize that not only Americans are infatuated with the island city.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Post Cards

"But you didn't even like Disneyland," said Helen.   More...



Guido Monte:  Into Exile

why did you forsake me?

perch'i' no spero di tornar giammai,
for I've no hope to ever come back again,
as Cavalcanti said -- my land left barren
and other lands another home, altera patria   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #38, from the Martian Desk

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
—Mahatma Gandhi

With a few Boonville news appended at the end, the Blips are fully and depressingly dedicated to highlighting Israel's madness.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Peter Byrne's view of Venice vs. that of Alexander Cockburn, and two diametrically opposed opinions (will we ever find common ground?) on "Operation Summer Rains: Gaza, Lebanon...Where Next?"   More...



– If you wish to receive an e-mail regarding each new rendition (twice a month) with the Note from the Editor and the URL to each article, please send an e-mail with "Subscribe Swans" in the subject line. Please also include your first/last name in the body of the message.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: August 1, 2006