Note from the Editors

To read Carol Warner Christen addressing once again the deep depravation and corruption that is the modus operandi of the US system of governance and corporate domination, and the sheer madness of politics as usual in Washington and the campaigns of the two front runners, which Gilles d'Aymery examines in his Blips, will go a long way toward understanding the rationale behind our editorial line (also reviewed in his Blips). Facing policies that are by and large insane and yet advocating voting for a candidate whose only promise is to keep digging a deeper hole in the big muddy borders on insanity itself. The stranglehold of the duopoly and the iron grip of authoritarian corporatism must be broken if one ever hopes to bring the democratic rule of, by, and for the commons back to the fore.

Both Martin Murie and Joel S. Hirschhorn analyze further the scope of the predicaments and the challenges -- the need to organize in the defense of democracy without fear of being smeared with the spoiler label. While the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney is a worthy candidate, Ralph Nader remains the only contender with a depth of knowledge about the issues that is unrivaled in this election cycle. Nader recently sent a comprehensive message on corporate rule to his supporters, which we are including in this issue. Evidently, the corporate media are doing their utmost to muzzle his challenges, as Gilles d'Aymery experienced recently and reports in stride (check the end of his report for actions you can take). Finally, a review of the documentary Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man by who else but the renowned film and theatre critic Charles Marowitz ends the political part of this issue.

On the literary side, how about embarking on a nice, long motorcycle ride? Peter Byrne takes us on a nostalgic trip with a different perspective on Robert Pirsig's journey 40 years ago that became Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Guido Monte recently journeyed to Moscow and St. Petersburg, and returned with a photo of Dostoevsky's room and some vibrant words for the Russian students that welcomed him. Karen Ritenour submits a satire from heaven where Satan finds an uncomfortable seat, Marie Renard shares her polesy of a lonely man dancing, and R. Scott Porter remembers the Southern California that people moved west for -- and then ruined. Finally, we close with your letters, on voting for sanity or voting incrementally; a French defender of lib-labs; more criticism of Michael Barker (from another of his targets); and more.

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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America: Myths & Realities

Carol Warner Christen:  Devolution: The New Terrible "Norm"

From Revolution to Devolution, the American government has abdicated its constitutional duties and we the People no longer have the country that document established.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #72

A few selected issues that landed on the editor's desk, from the smashing success of trickle down economics to the rampant rhetoric on offshore drilling and nuclear power; the quadrennial lesser-evil voting and Swans editorial line; to the miracle of Vatican modern art and the connards of French anti-Semitism paranoia, and more.   More...


US Elections 2008

Martin Murie:  Patrolling The Fringes

The political fringes hold the power to reverse the path to disaster.   More...


Joel S. Hirschhorn:  Misplaced Blame Undermines Democracy

Why lesser-evil voting got us where we are today, and only serves to undermine -- not preserve -- democracy.   More...


Ralph Nader:  Message To Friends And Supporters

A June 2008 message from Ralph Nader on the effects of Corporate Rule on American citizens and how we can fight it.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  The Gray Lady's Muzzle

Not only does The New York Times carefully control the content of its articles and letters to the editor, even posts to its Web site are systematically filtered when it comes to Ralph Nader and the Times' former reporter Chris Hedges who supports him, as Gilles d'Aymery learned.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man

Charles Marowitz reviews Ralph Nader, an Unreasonable Man, which left him depressed and angry over the state of alternative politics.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Zen Rides Again

On the 40th anniversary of Robert Pirsig's famous journey, Peter Byrne examines Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, from a slightly darker, less spiritual perspective.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Mondana Commedia n.3: Paradiso (World Comedy n.3: Paradise)

Paradise is the immediate consciousness of very simple things; usually we don't think that sometimes it is near or inside us...   More...



Karen Ritenour:  A Heavenly Satire: Satan Repents

A short satire imagining that Satan finds a seat in heaven.   More...



Marie Rennard:  Song Of The Gone

A polesy to a lonely man, dancing to the moon in the darkness of night.   More...



R. Scott Porter:  Orange Blossoms

A poem which, while lamenting the loss of the pastoral, presents a challenge to those who would regain what is lost.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On criticizing the electorate and voting for sanity -- or incrementalism, as many see it; a French defending lib-labs Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen Zunes (the Editor adds more names to the list); Michael Barker's alleged unscholarly left-wing ambitions as seen by the International Relations and Security Network; and the police reporting that got San Francisco Examiner columnist Kenneth Rexroth fired.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: August 11, 2008