Note from the Editors

Although the 2008 presidential election still seems about as far away and illusive as Bush's "time horizon" for getting the troops out of Iraq, time is actually running low for those principled third-party candidates to jump through the hoops, over the hurdles, into the public's attention, and on to the ballots, let alone in the debates. Problem is, the corporate media's utter blackout of Ralph Nader has raised the bar to Olympic heights, and the notion of equal time for all candidates seems to have been filed away somewhere between "Democracy" and "Geneva Conventions." Were it not for a cadre of dedicated individuals working tirelessly alongside those candidates -- without corporate sponsorship -- the two parties' monopoly on the Constitution would have been sealed long ago. One such individual is the eclectic film director and author Jürgen "Rommel" Vsych, Nader's photographer and filmmaker for the 2004 and 2008 campaigns. Jan Baughman interviews Ms. Vsych about her experiences and reviews her latest book, What Was Ralph Nader Thinking?, a creative and entertaining chronicle of Nader's grueling 2004 campaign, in which the Democrats spent millions to keep him off the ballots, and it took a Rommel to get Ralph in the debate.

With the Beijing Olympics fast approaching, the propaganda from the National Endowment for Democracy and Human Rights Watch is ramping up against China. Michael Barker shares his scholarly analysis of America's imperial humanitarian interventions, following the money and the individuals behind these two key manipulating organizations. Barker recommends the disassociation of progressive activism from liberal philanthropy, just one among the many challenges we're leaving for the next generation to tackle, without the funds to do so... Carol Warner Christen shares a moment of generational insight that she recently experienced, and at least the next Gen is made up of pragmatists!

On the musical front, Charles Marowitz mourns the death of Jo Stafford, whose lush, romantic vocals serenaded him through the 1940s and '50s, while Peter Byrne reviews Black Voices, White Visions, which explores the history of the blues as sung by blacks yet controlled by whites. Our poetic offerings from Guido Monte, Michael Doliner, and Marie Rennard reflect the solemn mood of the times -- crisis, helplessness, loneliness, but Byrne also penned a humorous antidote blending the 40th birthdays of Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge and Robert Crumb's Mr. Natural. Finally, our Martian Blips shoot at some of his favorite targets, from irredeemable lib-labs, good spoilers, essential inequality, the financial tsunami and the bums we elected to create it, free-markets, lesser-evilism, incrementalism, philanthropy's dirty little secret, to rattlesnakes; and your letters take on Stephen Zunes, Lee Iacocca, and two approaches for returning democracy to the people.

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

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US Elections 2008

Jan Baughman:  An Interview With Jürgen Vsych

Writer, director, and Ralph Nader filmmaker Jürgen Vsych talks about her work on Ralph Nader's 2004 and 2008 campaigns; the barriers they face; her campaign videos, and more.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Desert Fox Meets Wolf Counselor

A review of Jürgen Vsych's humorous chronicle of her work as petitioner and filmmaker in the 2004 Nader campaign, What Was Ralph Nader Thinking?   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  Waging Democracy On China: Human Rights and an Endowment for Democracy

The author examines America's imperial humanitarian interventions in China, following the money and the individuals behind the key manipulating organizations, the National Endowment for Democracy and Human Rights Watch.   More...


America: Myths & Realities

Carol Warner Christen:  The Sands Of Time Grinding Again Exceedingly Fine

There are four types of generations, and the Baby Boomers have left the Thirteeners -- the thirteenth generation from the first in America -- quite a mess to clean up as the country fall into disrepair.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  A Wreath For Jo Stafford

Charles Marowitz mourns the death of Jo Stafford, whose lush, romantic vocals serenaded him through the 1940s and '50s and linger powerfully in his soul to this day.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Delta Dreaming

Marybeth Hamilton's In Search Of The Blues: Black Voices, White Visions explores the history of the blues as sung by blacks yet controlled by whites, leading to the question, Can authenticity have any meaning in the popular arts of a post-industrial democracy in the third millennium?   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Crisi (Crisis)

On this Monte's blending sometimes everything appears meaningless... As Leopardi said, "everything is fading away, quite traceless."   More...


Humor with a Zest

Peter Byrne:  Myrn Dreckinbridge Meets Bob Crumbo

A humorous play in which Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge meets Robert Crumb's cartoon character, Mr. Natural forty years after their creation.   More...



Michael Doliner:  Break Down

Michael Doliner waxes poetic in a familiar scene that explores our powerlessness to address the problems that engulf us.   More...


Marie Rennard:  Outlandish Sail

A poem for the lonely sailor in the dark, wet air of night.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #71

A few selected issues that landed on the editor's desk, from irredeemable lib-labs, good spoilers, and essential inequality; the financial tsunami and the bums we elected to create it; free-markets, lesser-evilism, and incrementalism; to philanthropy's dirty little secret; a kitty close to a rattlesnake; memories of Dolorès Vanetti et al., and more.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On returning democracy to the people, though not through Democracy Now! nor George Soros's media empire, and not voting for any of those corporate bums; and indirect and direct rebuttals to Stephen Zunes's defense of the Albert Einstein Institution and critique of Michael Barker's Sharp Reflection Warranted.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: July 28, 2008