Note from the Editor

When asked at a recent press conference about allegations of a Rumsfeld/Cheney cabal that formed public policy leading up to the war in Iraq, the innocent, virtuous Secretary of Defense was incredulous. "Of course not. My goodness gracious." His Goodness might have waged an illegal war funded by deep cuts to social services; he might profit from the latest terror alert; but my goodness, a cabal? In all fairness to Rummy, the cabal extends far beyond him and Cheney to a vast network of wealthy club members whose secret code is "profits before people."

If our recent edition examining the current state of America did not convince you of this, then read our blips for more on life in the greatest country on earth (if you can afford it.) See what you can look forward to in retirement (if you can afford it); and the new home you might build (if you can afford it). We're in a veritable Gilded Age of property and privilege for the lucky few. My goodness gracious, the oil executives can't help that a few disasters have increased their profits... Milo Clark provides an excellent analysis of power, privilege, and the oil industry, and Philip Greenspan elaborates on American-style democracy of, by, and for the elite. William Hathaway characterizes this current reactionary era as a revanchist, right-wing assault on the cultural changes of the 1960s and '70s.

What to do about all this? Gerard Donnelly Smith suggests, for starters, telling the oil companies to piss off, and George Beres shares New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's advice to stop this train from going over the cliff. Joe Davison looks to the dismantling of the United Kingdom to undermine the superpower's power, whose destructive forces are heartbreakingly described in a poem by Hani Faisal Saigh.

On a lighter, though noir side, Michael Yonchenko tells a tale of sweet vengeance, and Charles Marowitz gives a preview of his upcoming book on the early pioneers of recorded music. Finally, numerous letters on our Special Issue on America, ranging from the predictable "love it or leave it" response, to overwhelming empathy, and some good advice for getting through these trying times.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Property, Privilege, And Oil

Government centers on property and privilege. In process, this focus takes many forms such as power, sex, and money. It takes many names such as aristocracy, monarchy, republic, democracy, Capitalism, Marxism, Socialism, or Communism. No matter what name or form, every inch given through one variant is ruthlessly clawed back by another.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Democracy, Let's Bring It Here

The U.S. is continually spouting the word "democracy." It identifies itself as a democracy, and frequently promises to bring democracy to various countries around the world. But what does it mean by democracy?   More...


William T. Hathaway:  The Tenor Of Our Times

What the hell happened? How did we get to this? Who would've thought that this country we've been working so hard for so many years to change would still be invading other nations, building new nuclear bombs, forcing its financial will around the world, and jailing dissenters at home?   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Piss Off

Gas prices got you pissed off, well then tell Chevron, BP, Shell, et al. to piss off. The citizens of Bolivia told Bechtel to piss off by protesting in the streets about hikes in water rates. Bechtel left Bolivia, and as far as we know Bolivia still has water.   More...


George Beres:  Krugman Feels Administration Is Nearing A Train Wreck

Paul Krugman, whose syndicated column appears regularly in newspapers nationally, dislikes labels. "But," he told me, as we visited before his talk in Portland, "'liberal' may be a fair tag, although I'm really a centrist. I'm viewed as on the left because the administration feels my criticisms of it make me a leftist."   More...


Joe Davison:  The Case For Scottish Independence

For many years, on the Left in the U.K., a debate has been ongoing as to the nature of the British State; specifically whether or not it would be in the interests of the respective English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish working classes that it be broken up into its various component parts.   More...



Hani Faisal Saigh:  America, My First Love...Once Upon A Time

You used to radiate with hope across your open landscapes I remember
Warm arms extended you welcomed my flesh and I surrendered
You'd captivate my mind telling stories of the streets in your tender times   More...


Humor with a Zest

Michael Yonchenko:  Dancing With The Golden Bear

Richard Jones was a barrel-chested man. He wasn't very tall, nor was he a specimen of any particular physical aesthetic. But he was big. He had blue eyes that were hard not to notice. He was fair-skinned and had shiny, golden blond hair that was fairly long.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Charles Marowitz:  I'd Walk A Million Miles For One Of Your Smiles

At the turn of the last century, there was nothing more sacred than Mother. She was the loving, benign, considerate, wise and protective matrix from which all goodness sprang. Anyone who didn't love his mother or leap to her defense when insulted, belittled, or disparaged was more than a cad; he was a monster.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #28

"Everybody wants change so long as one does not rock the boat and it all remains the same. You want change? Me too. You start first."
—Gilles d'Aymery, November 2005

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk regarding people and profits, from retirement lifestyles of the rich and famous to contemporary Gilded Age castles; avian flu paranoia and its surprise profiteer; increasing hunger and decreasing food stamps; with a few blips on life in Boonville in between.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Feedback on our Special Issue that reflected on what America has come to, from kindred souls with empathetic advice, to the predictable "America: Love It Or Leave It," 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.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


Created: November 10, 2005