Note from the Editor


Actually there are fourteen of them in this new edition. We'll begin with one of the most insightful pieces Louis Proyect has ever filed, as he reviews the HBO series, "The Sopranos," and relates it to the collusion between politics, big business and the mob. That's the US domestic agenda. Its foreign agenda is covered by Joe Davison, who details the soft imperialism enforced by the international financial institutions to ruthlessly subjugate countries and people. Of course, when "softness" is not doing the job well or fast enough, other, harder tools are used like in Iraq, and Richard Macintosh (welcome back, Richard) takes a severe look at these hard and criminal methods, in "Killing People." To make sense of all this current value-laden bigoted hysteria turn to Phil Rockstroh: You'll get the full meaning of values, which "are what the clergy and the oligarchs let you keep -- after they've made off with all the valuables."

Now, please excuse this little detour into crass commercialism as we shamelessly plug the new Weekly newspaper published by Bruce Anderson (a real human, not an android of the X-Files' fame), the AVA Oregon. Bruce needs all the help he can muster to see his latest publishing adventure through the first few months (the hardest part) and then keep bringing his weekly talent and that of his friends and contributors, as he's done with the Anderson Valley Advertiser for the past 20 years. More than ever we need true independent media that are not whoring in the name of business titans and local bureaucrats, be they Dumbocrats or post-Viagra hippies turned bigwigs!

Charles Marowitz muses on political satire through his review of Lisa Appignanesi's chronicle The Cabaret. Then, not surprisingly, we have a series of perspectives on the US presidential election and its aftermath (six of them), and even less surprisingly, the opinions are diverse -- from what the Dems should do to what should be done without the Dems, etc. Even Ian Werkheiser's story is a dark horror look at what goes on behind the presidency!

Gerard Donnelly Smith offers another Dead Horse poem and the Blips look, among various other issues, into the privatization and commodification of water all over the world. Finally, a good number of Letters to the Editor and John Steppling's excellent review cap this edition -- lots of food for thought...

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

Salam Alaikum, Yasser Arafat.


Patterns Which Connect

Louis Proyect:  The Sopranos, Capitalism And Organized Crime

Having just completed its fifth season on premium cable station Home Box Office, "The Sopranos" has garnered well-deserved accolades for innovative writing, directing and acting. Along with other HBO series such as "Sex and the City" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," it is continuing evidence of premium cable's ability to rise to the standards of golden era television.   More...


Joe Davison:  Checkbook Imperialism

The US occupation of Iraq has spawned the reemergence of the word "imperialism" into the lexicon of everyday language, after an absence of five decades stretching back to the end of Second World War. US military adventures since then -- particularly in Korea, Vietnam and Central America -- were dressed up as defensive operations against the spread and threat posed by Communism and all its evil manifestations: namely national liberation, self-determination, and social and economic justice.   More...


Richard Macintosh:  Killing People

For most Americans the distraction, euphoria and angst of the recent presidential election are over. The blood-lust of war is not. That will take time -- if such things can be measured. Killing people, after all, carries with it destructive power that lasts for decades, if not for generations. Killing innocent people is murder.   More...


Phil Rockstroh:  A Consumer's Guide To Faith-Based Bigotry

Day-to-day life within an empire consists of the mendacious leading the ignorant. By popular plebiscite, the corporatist subjects of the United States of Halliburton have proclaimed to the world that they are comfortable within their bubble of toxic obliviousness.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book...and the AVA OREGON!

Gilles d'Aymery:  Bruce Anderson's AVA Oregon!

"Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."
—Thomas Jefferson

So, did you get the very first issue of Bruce Anderson's new Weekly, the AVA Oregon! in your mailbox this week? I did!!! Friends, colleagues, comrades, dear readers, if you haven't gotten it, then, well, you can't know what you're missing, but, let me tell you, you are missing lots of goodies, for sure.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Lisa Appignanesi's The Cabaret

The effectiveness of political satire is in direct ratio to the oppressiveness of the government it is satirizing. When the Weimar Republic passed repressive legislation which caused wide-spread poverty and a clampdown on free speech, satirists such as Kurt Tucholsky, Walter Mehring, Paul Wedekind and George Grosz, in cabarets and periodicals throughout Berlin, began to draw blood from German parliamentarians.   More...


Elections 2004 and Beyond

Milo Clark:  Passions Unleashed

Passion, simple passion tightly held, overwhelms all in its path. And there, I suggest, may be the answer to what happened November 2nd, 2004 in the once United States of America.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  "Voting" with the Non-Voters

As I predicted, my group, the eligible non-voters, far outnumbered the voters who chose Dubya. It wasn't much of a prediction -- it was a sure thing. Non-voters always outnumber the winning candidate.   More...


Eli Beckerman:  Help Is On The Way: Implications Of A Stolen Election

Impulse and reaction were two great forces conspiring to take the 2004 US elections out of your hands. Greed and contempt for democracy was another pair of forces.   More...


Joel Wendland:  Ride This Donkey: Why The Left Needs A Fundamental Realignment

Polls, polls, polls. The pulse of America. Everyone wants to know what we're thinking. A recent British tabloid called the majority of Americans idiots because they voted for Bush. Whether or not the fact of simply pulling the lever for Bush reflects one's mental capacities is a subject up for debate.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  Dear Democrats

Greed wrapped in reactionary beliefs is the unbeatable force in American politics. Given the choice, Americans prefer real Republicans to Democratic simulacra however faithful in detail to the originals -- "there's nothing like the real thing, baby!" as Ray Charles intoned for the Coca-Cola bottling company.   More...


Milo Clark:  November 4, 2004

Again I am plunged into acute awareness that the nature of actuality remains paradox. Talking heads and pundits, I am sure, are having field days as never before. Thoughts are running rampant, jumbling and tumbling over and through each other searching for way, for path, for ground.   More...



Ian Werkheiser:  The President

On conspiracy-theory webpages, the number of secret passages running into and out of the US White House range between one and over a hundred. They are used, we are told, for everything from smuggling foreigners with undue influence into the oval office, to sexual dalliances (a particular favorite), to secret trade with aliens, to the more prosaic backup exits in case of war.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Resurrected Dead-Horse

Despite the flesh's corruption and overwhelming stench,
the dead-horse rider spurs on the dead horse
made whole by wholly unreasonable means: fear and faith.
Beside him, other dead-horse riders rally to the clarion call—
War and Death; Pestilence and Famine—   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #6

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk: Of course everything is value-based, like the privatization of water, for example. It's all value-loaded, indeed -- like saying that the father of Palestinian nationalism was a corrupt "terrorist," or that we are fighting Satan in Fallujah, or deporting immigrants by the tens of thousand. Value, value, value... Michael Albert, too, has values to cherish, like the infuriated infuriating scavengers. We've entered the Value Era based on a putrid culture...   More...


Letters to the Editor


A bunch of letters! John Steppling's letter to the Asia Times and his review of our past edition; more on Revolution and Zionism; fan mail for Steppling and Rockstroh; and a horde of me-me-me comic supporters of Dissident Voice who help to reinforce Swans' 'no multi-posting' policy; and more...   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: November 22, 2004