Note from the Editor

Whether the public, and not just the American public but the entire world, begins to wake up to the current actualities that confront us all; whether the main media and the "palatial intellectuals" are finally going to face up to those actualities (a doubtful proposition); one thing is becoming obvious. People in the alternative media, on the Internet, are increasingly getting to the heart of those actualities. See for example, the must-read analysis by Stan Goff published on August 13, 2004 on Counterpunch -- yes, yes, it's not on Swans, but please take the time to read his very comprehensive work on energy. Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but it appears that an increasing number of people are indeed getting it. So, allow us to add our voices to the choir.

Michael Doliner begins by quoting Marguerite Yourcenar and goes on delineating and choreographing the startling similarities between the decline of the Roman Empire and that of the U.S., as well as the current multi-facetted crisis we are all facing. Tim Keane, a new contributor, offers a keen analysis of the mushrooming religious fundamentalism (of all creeds) as he scrutinizes the work of Islamic scholar Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God. Ruthven presents his narrative of the forces that led to 9/11 (those of you who follow the work of Milo Clark will find much commonality), with a display of knowledge that eulogists of empire such as Niall Ferguson would be well inspired to emulate.

People of the South also get it, and as subjects of the empire, they raise their voices with more and more clarity -- and intensity. Arundhati Roy is undoubtedly such a person. Her conversations with David Barsamian, chronicled in The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile, are wide-ranging, passionate and right to the point -- and worthy of your time.

Richard Macintosh, facing the militarization of the U.S. -- a police state in all but name -- calls for breaking out of the cages in which the ideologues and their Fritz-helmet police are locking us. Phil Rockstroh, in his unique way, connects with Arundhati Roy by casting off the fear of being an outcast and joining the anarchic independence of the wild, which, in small or large part, is in each of us. Obedience to our corporatist masters is not a genetic feature! Milo Clark joins Richard and Phil in showing the long descent of the U.S., once considered as Beacon (was it not a myth?), into its present stage of decomposition, and makes a few suggestions, starting with getting rid of Mr. Bush and the neocons. Manuel García puts forward his own prescription for a non-violent revolution that would "overturn bipartisan imperialist, corporate-owned politics, and establish a Green Socialized economy."

Left much under the radar screen, and for cause, is Slobodan Milosevic (remember him?) and the fiasco of the kangaroo court in The Hague. John Steppling will bring you up to speed on this travesty of justice and historical revisionism. And Philip Greenspan dares say out loud what everybody knows but keeps quiet about, the long-running Zionist effort to play the anti-Semitic (anti-Judaic, to be once again precise) card in order to increase the population of Israel. Here now, Philip, you must be a self-hating Jew!

Gerard Donnelly Smith heard Mr. Kerry speak about religion in Boston and felt compelled to write the poem, "God On Our Side." Robert Rosenberg, of Ariga's fame brings a touch of sensitivity in his first poetic contribution. And we end with a volley of letters, including Steppling's regular review.

This issue is packed; plenty to read and think about. We are taking a week off and we'll be back on September 6. As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


America: Myths and Realities

Michael Doliner:  Historia Bush

The Historia Augusta is a compilation of dubious histories that questionably chronicle the Roman Empire in its decline. Most of it is incompetent lies. Yourcenar seems to be saying that this mediocre fumbling just fits the declining empire itself and is a better history of it than a more accurate one would be.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Tim Keane:  God Help Us
Malise Ruthven's A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America

Clocking in at five hundred eight-five pages, the gosh-darn-it, name-no-names tone of The 9/11 Commission Report subverts its own purported mission. But if you want to know why 3,000 plus Americans were murdered on their way to work three summers ago -- and why our government still doesn't get it -- a recent study by the prolific Islamic scholar Malise Ruthven asks us to try out some of the following random propositions:   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  The Journey Toward Justice
The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile, Conversations with Arundhati Roy

As Arundhati Roy is embarking on her 2004 US speaking tour organized by her publisher, South End Press, this series of four conversations with David Barsamian, The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile, is a fresh reminder of the power of ideas advocated with passion. Arundhati Roy has both, passion and ideas, and more (wit, intelligence, commitment, talent...).   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Richard Macintosh:  Courage III

In her recent book, Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit makes the point that progressives often miss the chance for success because they demand doctrinal purity: "There's a kind of activism that's more about bolstering identity than achieving results, one that sometimes seems to make the Left the true heirs of the Puritans.   More...


Phil Rockstroh:  A Thing That Waits For Lunch

The pathology of American culture is as ubiquitous as its strip-mall ugliness. It is abundantly evident, in almost every aspect of contemporary life: From the predatory (to the point of psychopathic) practices of its captains of the corporate boardroom, down to the pandemic enervation and proliferate anomie of its morally scurvy, gallery slaves languishing in their soulless cubicles -- from the genitalia-devoid mascots at DisneyWorld, to the genitalia-obsessed torturers of Abu Ghraib prison -- the soul-sickness spreads before us like George W. Bush's taunting, executioner's smirk.   More...


Milo Clark:  Beginning Of The End Or End Of The Beginning?

I'll date the beginning of the end of America as Beacon with the coming of Barry Goldwater. With Goldwater, what had been the Party of Lincoln, the Republican Party, shuddered and collapsed into itself. The implosion was to mature as the obdurate Southern Democrats morphed into the hard-assed Republican supremacists typified by Bible-Belt haters and Sun-Belt gimme folks.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  Outline For Revolution

Slavery in America is implemented by atomizing consciousness, which is done by arousing hostility and competitiveness, and this is accomplished by instilling greed and an attachment to impermanent materiality so that fear of loss becomes a permanent state of mind. The American public is a mob in psychic solitary confinement.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

John Steppling:  The Debacle At The Hague

It's interesting to note how most reasonable people I know accept the duplicity of corporate mainstream media. The run up to the invasion of Iraq was rightly seen as crass propaganda by most right thinking humans. However, these same people have a much harder time questioning the assumptions behind, and the statistics about, what is happening in the Sudan now, or Rwanda, and especially what took place in the former Yugoslavia.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Sharon, Israel, And Anti-Semitism

Governments obviously have numerous plans that they are reluctant to disclose; thus, they must create some justification to pursue those plans without disclosing their motives.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  God On Our Side

Let us not be hasty over words,
but seek to understand their master's intention.
One must concede the ethics, the morals of the speech:   More...


Robert Rosenberg:  The Precision With Which Love Invents

The precision with which love invents
is as clear as the ticking of an atomic clock.
Don't get this wrong. This is not about time.
This is about how much—how deep, how wide, how much—
and no ruler or meter is involved.   More...


Letters to the Editor


In addition to John Steppling's review of the last issue, a couple of letters that we forgot to publish, one on Ed Herman's piece and another on the Buddha quote in the left column, as well as a self-exiled Texan in Montpellier, on Julien Benda, Ralph Nader, José M. Tirado, a needle in the haystack, Alouette, gentille alouette...   More...



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Created: August 23, 2004