Pic: S W A N S  Commentary - logo © Gilles d'Aymery 1996. All rights reserved. - size 6k

c o m m e n t a r y

(Since 1996)

July 28, 2014


Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves.
The power of questioning -- not simply believing -- has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it.


S U P P O R T   S W A N S


Note from the Editors:   Our deepest gratitude for the innumerable touching messages of sympathy and compassion we have received from around the world upon the tragic loss of Mark Baughman. Our heartfelt thanks to all.

It's been quite a traumatic experience for our family and his friends, causing pain, anger, sorrow, and a string of sleepless nights. It's hard to fathom the consequences of a loved one taking his own life, and the anguish that leads to such decision. Jan has not been able to go back to work. Gilles has stayed away from Swans...and we all have a long road ahead to recuperate and heal.

So please pardon us if this edition is short and does not show the careful attention you are used to and deserve. Jan shares the few words she spoke to eulogize her brother and remember better times, and Guido Monte offers a poem in Mark's honor. Michael Barker continues his examination of David Icke's life, where UFOs, the CIA, and a secret Brotherhood are in cahoots for world domination. Brazil did not dominate in the World Cup, but Jonah Raskin finds Mary Mackey's collection of poems, Sugar Zone, to be a Brazilian fix that won't go away any time soon. Unfortunately, newspapers continue to do just that -- Peter Byrne pens a short story on an obsession about the disappearing morning paper. Finally, we publish Part II of Raju Peddada's letter to his father, remembering a picnic in 1967.


Ecrasez l'infâme


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ISSN: 1554-4915


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Patterns Which Connect

Ruling-Class Aliens
by Michael Barker

Embarking upon a sharp "learning" curve, by June 1994, the born-again mystic known to the world as David Icke was no longer just preaching the good word about how humanity might vibrate to a higher consciousness. Now, within the pages of his latest monument to nonsense, The Robots' Rebellion -- this former sports presenter took the time to document (in mind-numbing detail) the full extent of the malevolent forces that have prevented humankind from reaching spiritual nirvana. By now well-versed in the world of conspiracies, Icke identifies these sinister all-seeing "manipulators" planning "to take over the planet and the human race" as the ones who secretly control our every thought.   More...

Michael Barker is an independent researcher who lives in London, England.


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

The Sweet And The Bitter Pill That's Brazil
by Jonah Raskin

If the world has learned anything about Brazil this summer it's that the Brazilians aren't as brilliant as they'd like to be in the world of football. (North Americans from the U.S.A. mistakenly call it ("Soccer.") What the world and the U.S. especially haven't learned is that there's much more to Brazil than football, as Mary Mackey, the longtime California poet makes abundantly clear in Sugar Zone, a collection of dazzling poems about a Brazil that few if any tourists will ever see.   More...

Jonah Raskin is a professor emeritus in communication studies at Sonoma State University, California.


Short Story

The Morning Paper
by Peter Byrne

Power cuts didn't usually matter. He had his own generator in the garage and an oil drum of gasoline. Usually, that is, not just now. Mostly, save the present, he also kept a spare lithium battery charged for a laptop. News demanded such precautions because it was vital, as necessary as food. More necessary. Most days he skimmed reports on planetary obesity and concluded he would be better off on only two meals a day. And what was so necessary about breakfast? One and a half intervals at table would do.   More...

Peter Byrne is an American-born teacher and writer who lives in Lecce, Italy.


Arts & Culture

The Picnic Of 1967: A Letter to My Father - Part II
by Raju Peddada

My dear Father,

Won't you agree that no human experience is ever devoid of purpose or import, or for that matter, undeserving of evaluation? Fundamental values, even if they are negative, are derived from specific circumstances -- which leads me to think of Delhi as a huge experiment. This kind of reflection is only in hindsight, but by experiencing it in the present, I could not help but feel Delhi being anything but a state of dissonance. There is no coherence to anything, except the profound banality of survival, and nihilism being that mechanism.   More...

Raju Peddada is an industrial designer who lives in Des Plaines, Illinois.


In Memoriam

Mark Baughman In Memoriam
by Jan Baughman

These are the words that Jan spoke at her brother's private memorial service on July 18, 2014. His obituary, photos, and guest book can be seen at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/houstonchronicle/obituary.aspx?pid=171783719. Gilles is Jan's husband. Carol is Jan's sister and Doug her oldest brother, married to Beth. Darla is Mark's wife, and Matt and Chris are his two sons.   More...

Jan Baughman is a clinical researcher and Swans' co-editor.


Multilingual Poetry

To Mark A. Baughman
by Guido Monte

who has already gone,
is sleeping, tired
the long or short life
reviewing in a dream
on the old ferry;
sans savoir pourquoi.

Guido Monte teaches Italian and Latin literature in Palermo, Italy.



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