Note from the Editor

The Kerryistas have the jitters. Their man increasingly looks like the flake he actually is. Advice pours in from all quarters. Old Clinton hands have come on board. Pick a message, they say, any message. Take on the prez. Run with passion. Problem is, the man has no message except Anyone But Bush -- will out-do Bush, just better, see. You can't take on a Teflon president (remember Reagan?) and his friendly smile and homey nature (relatively speaking) with a stiff deadwood à la Kerry (remember Gore?). As to passion, Kerry looks more like Mel Gibson's hero than Don Quixote... He has no position on anything, and he can't. The country's only course ahead is war with no end till we all walk over the cliff. All other indicators are going south and the American people, in their majority, are "progressively" more reactionary. Even the security moms (the soccer mums are passé) have turned to Bush, the savior! The funny part of this entire rigolade is that these two tartuffes are related -- sort of cousins all the way back to their New England (not Texan) and English roots.

For his fiftieth Swans' essay, Philip Greenspan does not mince words and explains lucidly the nature and workings of the US system, all the while demonstrating that the majority of Americans, the non-voters, the poor and downtrodden, may know more about the inner-workings of a government made of, by, and for the elite than most voters do (we're looking forward to Greenspan's next 50). And, as Milo Clark shows, while the liberal intelligentsia is endeavoring to change this system, it is being shown as impotent, irresponsible and hypothetical, both collectively and individually. Why's that, Clark does not say...yet.

So what does our vote mean?, asks Manuel García, who struggles to find any real meaning, yet prods everybody to vote, to remain engaged, to agitate, to keep in mind the growing legions of poor people, and "to help in softening those blows we know will fall."

Too bleak an assessment, in your estimation? You say we are being much too pessimistic -- an un-American trait? But do the "candidates" talk about any real issue at hand, beside the usual indoctrinated perceptions, the lies and super-lies about a war without end, and machismo galore? And do Americans want to hear about the real issues? Got a beer? Phil Rockstroh provides a clear depiction of our current actualities, ensconced in our materialistic selves and our fear-addicted and antidepressant-gorged bulimia -- hard to blindly embrace optimism... And see, thanks to Macdonald Stainsby, our latest new contributor, the ecocidal and genocidal colonization that is happening right under our nose with our Canadian cousins up north. Any reason to rejoice?

Want to talk about education and how American kids are rapidly falling behind the rest of the industrialized world? Jan Baughman's cartoon says it all...

No book review this time around, sorry; but two poems (even our poets have the election on their minds), and the blips from the Martian desk as well as the Letters to the Editor.

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


Countdown to 2004

Philip Greenspan:  The Continual Election Winner

The pundits will continue predicting the approaching election for six more weeks. Relying on polls, that appear every few days from various media sources, their crystal ball will disclose how the swing states will swing, how ethnic groups will sway, and it will spew out loads of other trivia. Issues? No need to consider them. Kerry endorses all of the Bush policies.   More...


Milo Clark:  Impotent, Irresponsible And Hypothetical

Wally Shawn is an impish little guy with a grand presence. Some remember him from "My Dinner with Andre," some from his cameo roles in "Star Trek" and in a long list of movies. Shawn has spent his life living down a very famous daddy and carving out a distinctive reputation of his own as playwright and actor.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  What Your Vote Means

It's all about oil. See http://www.worldp, and click on the map called "Oil and Gas Pipelines in Central Asia," or find, (active 8 September 2004).

Welcome to the next war. It should be over in about 40 years.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Phil Rockstroh:  From Suburban Subdivisions To Sadr City: An Ode To My Comfort Level

There are no oak trees to be found in the Oakdale Estates subdivision. Years ago, they were cut down to clear the property for development.

Do the residents of Oakdale Estates ever contemplate the irony of the situation?

Or that: Here in the United States of America, in the "Land of Liberty" -- dissenters are shunted into "Free Speech Zones."   More...


Macdonald Stainsby:  The Creator Vs. Canadian Imperialism: Exercise Narwhal, Gunboat Diplomacy, and Oil

Before the Republican Guard vanished on the outskirts of Baghdad in early April 2003, the US invasion had run into two major stumbling blocks in its advance on the Iraqi capital: first, there was massive guerrilla resistance that held the advancing troops back, nervous about exposing their over-extended supply lines. Second, there were major sandstorms -- with granules getting inside each and every nook and cranny of the military equipment. Jeeps, tanks, even the food was reduced to a standstill or made useless by this "act of God."   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Jan Baughman:  No Child Left Behind

The state of US public education through a cartoon.   More...



Eli Beckerman:  Vote for America, My Love

Lurching forward, shortsighted, reactionary, lost.
The mighty colossus must be slowed at all costs.
Two voices vying for her reins,
One will yank her rightward, with no turning back,
One will knock her wayward left, jumping off her tracks.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The President who Never Was (for Al Gore)

When someone tells you lies,
fabricates and exaggerates,
twists the facts, then twists the knife,
call him by his name, call him by his name.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #2

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk: from the terrorist bees to the Human Rights Brigades, US sanctions against Venezuela, make-belief in the honeyed land, oil and empire, another unsigned diatribe, McNamara sings the blues, a fine observation by William Blum, and some local Boonville news.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Philip Greenspan is both taken to task by a friendly and civil reader and lauded by John Steppling in his usual review of our past edition. The editor, in turns blames the same John for typos and like; and no she's not related to Voltaire but knows of Dorothy Day.   More...



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Created: September 27, 2004