Note from the Editor

While FEMA's president Bush "monitored" Hurricane Rita from the safety of Colorado, creating photo-ops of the Mission Accomplished variety, thousands of people marched in Washington, D.C. (it's impossible to know how many, since we don't do body counts of protesters, either...) to demand the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Two powerful women (Katrina and Rita, not Hillary and Diane) finally exposed the crumbling infrastructure, naked racism, and rampant class-ism behind the Great Superpower's façade, and with the help of Cindy Sheehan, perhaps the country is waking up to the tragedy we've inflicted on Iraq, as well. Many of our contributors have thoughts on these matters, from Gerard Donnelly Smith on the American character -- that of the people vs. that of the leadership -- to the comparison of hurricane preparedness -- and humanity -- in Cuba and the U.S. Charles Marowitz provides an instruction manual for the much-needed Leader Of The Opposition, whose affirmations would be a far cry from those of the current administration -- see George Beres on tolerance and fascism. Philip Greenspan evokes the great actor Ronald Reagan with some advice Bush & Co. may want to heed when the next hurricane hits land. (To date, our Commander-in-Chief's most sincere response has been his conviction that the evil terrorists wished they had caused the destruction in the Gulf...) Visit Linda Eve Diamond's unraveling of the dogma, and give some thought to Milo Clark's reflections on karma.

Two very relevant books are reviewed in this edition. Robert Wrubel covers Afflicted Powers: Spectacle and Capital in a New Age of War, an exploration of the events of September 11 and its aftermath; and Ken Freeland recommends Ward Churchill's On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, an exposé on the myths of American innocence.

On a lighter note, and we certainly need one, Michael Yonchenko lets us laugh at his expense, with musings about rats and navigating the maze of managed care, another American institution in dire need of attention. Finally, the editor's blips on hurricanes, oil, class, and hypocritical white millionaire reporters. Your letters conclude this edition with an interesting definition of "progress," and more.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Gerard Donnelly Smith:  American Character

If it were not for the compassion of my fellow citizens, I would have given in to despair long ago. Yet, time and time again, the true character of the American reveals itself. Hurricane Katrina brought that character again into action.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Neo-Liberal Vs. Socialist Hurricanes

Just about one year ago, in September 2004, Cuba was hit by a horrendous category 5 hurricane (Ivan), more powerful than Katrina, with winds topping 160 mph. Wide swaths of the island were devastated. Some 20,000 houses and buildings were wiped out. It was a natural disaster of catastrophic proportion. How many lives were lost? None.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  The Leader Of The Opposition

As the criticisms of the President and his war-mongering cabinet grow from day to day, it swells into a predictable litany. Columnists such as Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman, and a bevy of strident voices from the Internet continue to condemn the administration's lethal inefficiency and lament the dire human cost of America's War on Terrorism.   More...


George Beres:  Too Much Tolerance By Americans Could Feed Fascism

From my earliest days as an Illinois schoolboy, I learned tolerance is an attitude encouraged in civilized places, part of a good and caring way of life. I no longer fully accept that. I've learned there sometimes is a flip side to tolerance.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Katrina: A Missed uh Messed Opportunity For Bush

I recall elementary school teachers telling us kids that anyone could become president of the United States, in a democracy everyone has equal opportunities to attain powerful and exalted positions in the country, and conscientious and diligent study would be rewarded with success.   More...


Linda Eve Diamond:  Lines

Talking heads feed us so many lines we can't swallow as their words fill our mouths. When news turned to dogma no one told us, so we've been singing their headlines as gospel. Then you'll hear some talking head and say he's so on target, right in line with your views, but whose line is it?   More...


Milo Clark:  Bede Griffiths 1906-1993: Making Statements Through Action

In the Bhgavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, plagued with doubt in the center of a great battlefield, that he cannot not fight. He cannot avoid actions for which he is uniquely prepared, uniquely sited to act. He cannot escape his karma.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Robert Wrubel:  Military Neo-Liberalism

Iain Boel et al.'s Afflicted Powers

Afflicted Powers (AP) is a "deep" exploration of the events of September 11 and its aftermath. It brings Marxist and post-modernist perspectives to bear on an important historical moment that was almost immediately buried in layers of cliché and propaganda.   More...


Ken Freeland:  For Whom The Bell Tolls

Ward Churchill's On the Justice of Roosting Chickens

The first useful chronology of US war crimes was published by William Blum, initially his well-annotated Killing Hope in 1986, which gave us the country-by-country skinny on the history of US post-WWII interventions, then with his turn-of-the-millennium, more user-friendly Rogue State, which took a sort of weapon-by-weapon approach, offered a condensed country-by-country summary, a US war criminal-by-US war criminal summary, a chronology of blameworthy US actions at the UN, and in Chapter 17, a "Concise History of US Global Interventions, 1945 to the Present."   More...


Humor With a Zest

Michael Yonchenko:  Managed Care Is Neither

You can have a great laugh in hospitals. Good medicine aside, I have learned MANAGED CARE, as it is called by the healthcare industry, is neither. And when did healthcare become an industry? To survive the rat-in-a-maze system requires that you be long on patience and short-fused when the cheese is moved to the other end of the labyrinth.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #26

"Entre le fort et le faible, entre le riche et le pauvre, entre le maître et le serviteur, c'est la liberté qui opprime et la loi qui affranchit."

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the winner of Swans' Anti-Semite Idiot of the Year Award and hypocritical patter by white millionaire reporters in New Orleans, to SUVs and disappearing oil, with a few blips on poverty and classism in between.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Why Wal*Mart represents progress in the most powerful nation in the world, according to one Swans reader; a personal note on the trauma of Vietnam; and designer wear for small dogs?!?   More...



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Created: October 10, 2005