Note from the Editor

Patterns which connect: Bush and Enron? Ashcroft and theocracy? Ignorance, fear and reactionary politics? The Bush administration's roundup of "evildoers" in Afghanistan, paving the way for hugely profitable oil and gas pipelines? The most powerful country in the stratosphere with intelligence agencies full of holes bigger than those in the Swiss cheese that makes up the moon? Hello, is anybody out there?

Not likely, you'll see, when you read "General Anxiety Disorder: Or Is It Dystopia?" and Steve Gowans' "Must We Always Learn Too Late?" Manipulated at will by the Washington-controlled guard dogs, we are kept off balance, left ill-informed, fearful and confused, allowing Corpocracy to have its way with the world while the news stories quietly come and go. And the dance carries on... Michael Stowell may be correct in seeing a "House of Cowards" that is an old, dilapidated shack ready to fall... but, meanwhile, the powers-that-be stand atop the ivory tower of the oligarchy while proceeding to bulldoze their way to world domination, carving a path to imperial sovereignty across the globe, always in the name of freedom and "democracy," of course!

Perhaps we've succeeded in exporting our form of democracy to Botswana, whose government is rounding up the hunters and gatherers because it's "no longer a viable way of life," and relocating them to nice little settlements rife with instant unemployment, alcoholism, violence -- and a nonviable way of life... (A footnote would read that there may be mineral rights issues involved, given the joint venture between the government and De Beers, the diamond powerhouse. Bush and Enron?) But, what kind of democracy are we talking about anyway? As Steve Gowans shows in his piece on the subject, those who profess to be committed to democracy are prepared to abandon or limit it whenever it moves in an undesired direction. Where does this leave us? Myths and realities again...

We've tried and tried to export our US democracy to Cuba, even with exploding cigars and hair remover, as Deck Deckert describes. If Cubans adopted our wonderful system, would that mean they'd have to forfeit their free education and health care, adopt a 1:400 income disparity and return to being a casino island for the rich and famous? Whatever... When reluctant governments don't yield to our demands, we'll find a way to make them, through sanctions and/or military intervention, and we're preparing for immunity as ever from our "friendly" bulldozing practices -- oops, sorry, for the collateral damage, just know we could have nuked you! -- by making sure we're above the law (ICC treaty, what treaty?) ... "Operation 'Infinite Power,'" as Aleksandra Priestfield aptly defines it.

Is there a chance to reach beyond the deafening silence of the main media? It is the writer's duty, the poet's duty to help man endure and prevail, said William Faulkner in his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. So, here it is, another series of essays and poems (as well as letters to the Editor) that we hope you will read and savor.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Gilles d'Aymery:  Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Or Is It Dystopia?

In a recent interview (April 24, 2002) with Gary Kamiya, the Executive Editor of Salon, Gore Vidal comments that geography is no longer taught in US high schools. Vidal goes on, "They asked a cross-section of Americans, they showed them a globe of the world with all the continents and islands and oceans, and asked them to identify the United States. Nothing was labeled. And something like 80 percent couldn't find it. And a great many of them had a sense of humor, they picked Panama, because it's a nice little thing with two big globes, one above it, one below it."   More...


Stephen Gowans:  Must We Always Learn Too Late?

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, once called Washington the media's foreign affairs assignment editor. The White House, the State Department, the Pentagon, have considerable power to set the foreign policy agenda: to decide which countries the media focuses on, when, and which they ignore.   More...


Activism Under the Radar Screen

Michael W. Stowell:  House Of Cowards

When our local Redwood Peace and Justice Center ( opened last November someone donated a big box full of buttons, all sorts of buttons; from John Lennon 'Give Peace A Chance' buttons, to Martin Luther King 'I Have a Dream' buttons, to 'Nature Bats Last' buttons; hundreds of buttons, all loose and unorganized. While sorting through them, I found one very unique button that I kept for myself. It has a picture of George Bush I and the words, "I'm not a wimp - I'm a mass murderer."   More...


Realpolitik and US Foreign Policy

Deck Deckert:  Exploding Cigars & Dueling Presidents

There are a lot more important issues facing the U.S. and the world today; there are more dangerous and ugly policies currently embraced by the U.S. ruling war party.

But no policy is more irrational and ludicrous than America's 40-year war against Cuba, fought with terrorism, invasions, an economic embargo, propaganda and exploding cigars.   More...


Aleksandra Priestfield:  Operation "Infinite Power"

Well, it's pretty much official now -- any treaty signed with the United States of America is not worth the paper it's printed on. An AFP newswire story from May 5, 2002, states baldly that "...US will...assert that it will not be bound by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a 1969 pact that outlines the obligations of nations to obey other international treaties."   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Stephen Gowans:  Democracy? Count Me Out
Along With Ralph Nader, Richard Swift,
Fidel Castro And The US Government

I've only ever heard Ralph Nader speak once, about 20 years ago. I remember little of the talk, but somehow, over two decades, one exchange has stuck with me. Nader had finished his speech, and had invited questions. He must have been making the case for direct democracy, or at least more citizen participation in decision-making, because someone asked, "What if the majority decided to outlaw abortions, cut welfare, gut social programs, and eliminate taxes. Would you still be for direct democracy?"   More...



Alma A. Hromic:  Going Home: iii - Rainbow's Arch

[Ed. This is the third part of a ten-part poem]

If you should chance to pass
under the rainbow,
so the ancient folk wisdom says,
you will change, and turn into
a man if you are a woman,
a woman if you are a man.   More...


Mary Oliver:  Wild Geese

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

William Faulkner:  Nobel Prize Speech

[Speech given in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 10, 1950]

[...] that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.   More...


Letters to the Editor

The Side Of The Ledger

Two significant letters, one from England, the other one from Macedonia, regarding Stephen Gowans's article, Massacre Or Not? It Depends On Which Side Of Washington's Ledger You're On (May 6, 2002)   More...



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Created: May 25, 2002