Note from the Editor

Before you begin accusing the French of once more sticking it to America for awarding the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" documentary, be aware that only one out of nine jurors was French. Four were American and one was British...prompting Moore to facetiously quip, "more than half came from the coalition of the willing." Anyway, of late, Americans need not the French to stick it to them. They're doing a good job on their own. To understand why a documentary won the top prize, a rarity at Cannes, suffices to read Frank Rich's superb review, "Michael Moore's Candid Camera," in the May 23 edition of The New York Times. Says Rich, "Subtleties and fine distinctions are not [Moore's] thing. That matters little, it turns out, when you have a story this ugly and this powerful to tell." Ugliness, as this new issue of Swans shows, is very much a part of the American landscape.

Whether the whole Muslim and Judeo-Christian fundamentalist caboodle is doing us in, with their respective apocalyptic policies having Armageddon and Rapture written all over them, is a matter of conjecture; but, posits Milo Clark, Wahabism, an extreme and powerful Islamist sect financed by Saudi petrodollars, may well be the most ruthless of all. That the Bushies have aligned their own interests and those of the USA with these fanatics should be exposed with the greatest urgency, suggests Clark in his well-researched historical analysis.

Civilization, a word coined by French physiocratic economist Mirabeau in 1756 (in his treatise, L'Ami des hommes), gives Phil Rockstroh serious pause. How can it be, he muses, with a gut-wrenching picture by Graphic Designer Angela Tyler-Rockstroh, that we in the U.S. have reached this ultimate stage in our development, the Wal-Martization of torture? Is this US destiny, "the true nature and heart of America," to use Mr. Bush's words? Michael Doliner, for his part, concludes that "we now claim we are fighting to make "them" into "us" . . . . [But,] to treat [Iraqis] as insects is to declare that we ourselves are insects."

And how can it be that the fossilized left and safe-states strategists spend so much energy demonizing and attacking Ralph Nader? Is this phenomenon also an inherent part of American "true nature"? Louis Proyect submits a clear analysis of the syndrome. Would energy not be better expended bringing potential voters to cast their lot with the ABB candidate? Have these "revolutionaries" anything to offer, plain and simple, besides trashing Nader? Instead of shooting at the messenger, could they come up with a positive rationale to vote for "their" candidate and cease emulating Mr. Bush's "us vs. them" axiomatic moronity? Is this too much to ask?

The news cycle is such that one cannot keep up with it. Just reviewing a few events and people who made the news in the past weeks requires a healthy dose of humor, if only to hide an increasing sense of revulsion at the "true nature" of this utterly debased culture. Gulags, psychoses, paranoid conspiracies, home-grown terror are some of the issues Manuel García and Richard Macintosh (welcome back, Richard!) address in their respective pieces. Philip Greenspan, once again, brings his observations to the fore in regard to the morale in the military and the causes for mutiny. We leave you with Joel Wendland's review of Rahul Mahajan's Full Spectrum Dominance, and a poem by Gerard Donnelly Smith that sums up how this orgy of violence might be viewed in history.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Wahabi And Saudi Arabia, Islam And America

Finally, long connected patterns are being noticed. In one sense, Watergate saved us from Nixon. Perhaps Abu Ghraib may yet save us from Bush. Slowly, slowly, major publications are getting closer to core actualities.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Phil Rockstroh:  Can We Torture Them For You Retail?

When Saddam was forced to close shop due to the fierce competitive practices of Bush Inc. -- the world witnessed the Wal-Martization of torture.   More...


Michael Doliner:  The Terrible Shrug

Much has been said about the torture pictures and reports, but I think one point has been missed.   More...


Countdown to 2004

Louis Proyect:  Behind The Anti-Nader Attacks

No matter how much the liberal and social democratic disillusionment with Senator John Kerry deepens, there is still no sign that the Anyone But Bush (ABB) crowd is ready to break ranks with their candidate.   More...


More Patterns Which Connect

Gilles d'Aymery:  Recent News, Personalities And Definitions

News, like a kaleidoscope, reflects a series of constantly changing patterns that both fascinate and confuse the onlooker. After a while, it all becomes dysfunctional. Attention slowly oozes away and the information disappears like a dream. So here are a few people and events that made the news in the past few weeks, with short contextual descriptions.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  American Gulag, And A Dogfight Of Psychoses

Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Kunduz/Sheberghan, Mazar-i-Sharif and the Naval Consolidated Brig at Charleston, SC: it is now an acknowledged fact that America has a Gulag Archipelago.   More...


Richard Macintosh:  Walking Wounded

Back in the early nineties, my wife and I briefly operated a Western-style bar and grill -- the Loading Chute Saloon -- located in a small town in California.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  A Cancer In The Military

The agony that afflicted the military by their failure to defeat the Vietnamese has never really been alleviated. Several excuses have been advanced -- all shifting the blame.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Joel Wendland:  Rahul Mahajan's Full Spectrum Dominance

Few writers have delivered clarity of analysis and the scope of information on the Iraq war as does Rahul Mahajan in Full Spectrum Dominance.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Twisted Ascension

From his wheelchair he arose a martyr;
he walked away from the rockets' red glare
while all round him arms and legs rained down.   More...


Letters to the Editor


John Steppling reviews Swans' past edition (a new feature); and other friendly and not-so-friendly readers have their say regarding Swans, and the perspectives expressed by John Blunt, Jan Baughman, Gilles d'Aymery, and, as in the famed Americana, more. We had our share of hate-mail. Sorry, didn't make the cut!   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.



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Created: June 3, 2004