Note from the Editor

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Swanscast for an important message: We've always been low key on Swans as far as money is concerned. This year, our tenth, we began posting with each new published article a request for financial help. Keep in mind that what you find on Swans, you do not find anywhere else. We are about original material -- some you may like and agree with; some you may not. But it's only on Swans (except when it's stolen by unethical people). We absolutely need financial help. Our thanks go to Robert Wrubel, Philip Greenspan, Michael DeLang, Dimitri Oram, and Kandis Knape, who year-to-date have contributed a total of $500.00, of which $425 were received this past week. We are deeply grateful. Yet, dear readers, our regular columnists are not financially compensated and should not have to come to the fore. You need to help. You want a different world, a publication without ads galore? We are a persistent part of that wish. Please, support Swans!

Okay, back to the Swanscast. Ahh, can you believe those French descending in the streets to preserve their social security -- full (and free) health benefits, job stability, les congés payés (six weeks of paid holiday per year), retirement at 55? Dear, dear, dear, it's so passé! Why can't they be like us, flexible Americans, with our great health plans if any, two-week vacations, firing at will, retirement fast becoming a thing of the past? Raymond Garcia explains the contrast between the two social systems. Of course, if the French had a big stick and oil was pegged to the euro rather than the dollar they could run huge deficits and compete with our race to the bottom, but we are Numero Uno, from Iraq to, soon, Iran. But, fat chance; we have the big stick so that we can stick it to them, or your money back guaranteed. Dispossession is the name of the game, says Milo Clark. He's right and we've mastered that game here in the Brave New World. We ain't old Europeans, like the froggies. No sir, tells Seth Sandronsky, we are the 21st century herrenvolk, the master race.

Martin Murie offers a few vignettes of this old world, when Yugoslavia was whole, and people had not yet been Americanized by our big stick. It was a time when solidarity appealed to people more than individualism and profits, and the citizenry was better informed thanks to a media that had not yet corporatized. Phil Greenspan shows that this independent media still exists today, but we have to seek it out and help it to keep informing and expanding its reach by becoming more active and supportive.

Our Shakespeare expert, Charles Marowitz, has a fascinating piece worth reading in light of the recent controversies around James Frey's A Million Little Pieces and Elie Wiesel's "memoirs," Night. Peter Byrne writes from Italy on the latest film directed by Nanni Moretti, Il Caimano, which shows how low Italy has sunk in the era of Silvio Berlusconi. Jacob Amir, at our request, read Michael Neumann's book recently reviewed in these pages and shares his critical impressions. George Beres reports on the volatile mix of religion and politics through his reading of Kevin Phillips's latest book, American Theocracy.

We end with the potent poetry of Madeline Wiseman; some conspiratorial humor from Deck Deckert's Martian friend; and tons of your letters, including the conclusion of the conversation with Jacob Amir on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Raymond Garcia:  Paris: Center Of Anti-Corporate Globalization Today

Youth protest has again shut down the streets of France, rallying the public to an unjust exercise of social power. Echoes of 1968, you say? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Yet the facts are clear:   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Creative Destruction: From Iraq To Iran
Why the Coming Attack on Iran

Very few observers have noticed that the fix is in and that the U.S. is readying itself to bomb Iran. [...] The question, like with Iraq, always left unanswered, is what makes the U.S. so determined to create mayhem? The answer has much to do with the status of the dollar and the competitive forces at play.   More...


Milo Clark:  Dispossession

What an ugly word! Yet, how central, how essential to our culture. Ponder for a moment, if you will, how such ugliness of word could be a core factor of our society. Are you puzzled? Put off?   More...


Seth Sandronsky:  Herrenvolk And Untermenschen Now And Then

Who is Ben Griffin? He was an elite UK soldier in occupied Iraq. Griffin nailed the racial structure of the US occupation of that battered nation.   More...


The Balkans & Former Yugoslavia

Martin Murie:  Yugoslav Glimpses

The excellent analyses of the ordeal of Slobodan Milosevic by Gilles d'Aymery, Louis Proyect, John Catalinoto and Sara Flounders brought back a flood of memories. Tito was still alive in the winter of 1969-70 when Alison and Martin and daughter Raven, a high school graduate, debarked at Split, a Croatian city on the Adriatic.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Philip Greenspan:  Public Access TV Can Fill The Void

If a charismatic firebrand emerged on the scene as a presidential contender with an attractive new party, swept his entire party slate, Senate and House, to victory on Election Day, he would still be stymied, provided, of course, that our public servants fulfilled their obligations, which they sure as hell are not doing now.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Improving Shakespeare

No sooner had Charles II ushered in the Restoration in May 1660 than Shakespeare was reincarnated on the English stage. He had been dead for forty-four years, all the members of his company were moldering in their graves, and the man himself was largely a blur in the English memory.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Nanni Moretti's Il Caimano

Nanni Moretti's Il Caimano can't decide whether to take on Silvio Berlusconi or not. The film, which, let's hope, will be Englished as The Crocodile or at least The Gator, and not The Cayman, came out March 24th across Italy after some discussion about whether a political film should be shown in a lead up to the election.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Jacob Amir:  The Case Against The Case Against Israel

Here is my impression on Michael Neumann's book. The author states in the preface that his biases are pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. That statement is inaccurate. He thinks that Israel was founded in sin by an illegitimate movement and its foundation was wrong. He may have pro-Jewish bias but he has definitely anti-Israeli bias.   More...


George Beres:  Kevin Phillips's American Theocracy

No book is more politically insightful about the impact of religion on our nation today than American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips. Current failings of the national Administration may be self-evident, but too often disolve in the quicksand of humor that mocks a president's claim of "conversations with god."   More...



Laura Madeline Wiseman:  The Accident (for Kelso)

This is about my grandma
who died this week and how my eyes
tried to wet themselves unsuccessfully.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Deck Deckert:  A Martian Conspiracy

"I see your actor Charlie Sheen doesn't believe the official reports about 911," my Martian friend Yyuran said. "He wants a new investigation."

I snorted. "He's not MY actor. And anyway, what does he know? Is he one of those conspiracy nuts who thinks George Bush had something to do with it?"   More...


Letters to the Editor


Your thoughts on war and peace, from an Iraq vigil to the conclusion of a discussion on Israel-Palestine with Dr. Jacob Amir and a disagreement on Yugoslavia and Milosevic; (mis)understanding Ayn Rand; American Catholics out of sync with the Vatican, and more.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: April 17, 2006