Note from the Editor

Desperately seeking approval -- and money -- or perhaps as a strategic misstep intended to demonstrate that Karl Rove is no longer controlling his brain, Mr. Bush had the audacity to step foot in Northern California...on Earth Day! It was a charade symbolic of the entire oil-soaked regime's environmental policy: a mountain-bike ride in the redwoods above luxurious Napa Valley, at one with nature, exercising the body and soul...with a motorcade of SUVs in tow carrying medics and machine-gun wielding security agents. If that's not enough to make you laugh, playwright Hank Bunker conjured up a bizarre tale of Bush gone AWOL, from the perspective of one dead JFK. Italian politicians and the elections that select them are as bizarre as America's -- Peter Byrne offers an amusing poll of the Italian voter's opinion of Silvio Berlusconi. And it would be funny, if it weren't so true, to follow the maze of international customer disservice that Milo Clark is experiencing with his new Dell dud of a computer.

Also in disastrous disrepair, but certainly not the least bit amusing, is the continuing Israeli-Palestinian quagmire. Author of The Case Against Israel Michael Neumann responds to the critique of his book by Jacob Amir. Swans' review of Neumann's book prompted a Letter to the Editor by Amir and an ensuing debate among various parties that we publish here in its entirety. It is a revealing insight into an unequal conflict in perpetual search for a just solution. Philip Greenspan adds to that his viewpoint on the power of the Israel lobby in US politics. As to another quagmire, people waxing sentimental for the Clinton days of old (or potential days of new) must not forget that he and his contemporaries were no more peaceable and, in fact, were responsible for the destruction of Yugoslavia. Walter Trkla, upon reading Martin Murie's "Yugoslav Glimpses," was prompted to share his own memories -- and read about the helmet!

On the bookshelf, Charles Marowitz found a tale on the life of the legendary Laurence Olivier by Terry Coleman; and Martin Murie selected Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West by Michael J. Robinson.

Poetry flowed from Michael Doliner in two directions -- one toward the powerless refugee with no future but darkness; another toward the omnipotent power of the POTUS. Speaking again of POTUS, Gerard Donnelly Smith's Insurgent series continues with a look at the consequences when those in absolute power have absolute faith, and George Beres has some thoughts on the path we're being led down by the born-again man in the White House (hint: it's not a path to socialism, but see Joe Middleton's thoughts about the possibility of that future for Scotland.)

Typically irreverent and always political, our editor's blips cover the gamut: the Republicans' Midas touch from Terri Schiavo to the immigration "problem"; what the corporate media didn't tell you about Iraq's al-Jafaari; musings on 21st-century life in the boonies, and more. Finally, we end with your letters -- continuing the Israeli-Palestinian debate, praise for Martin Murie and Charles Marowitz, US meddling in Iran, and Easter in perspective. And get ready for Swans tenth anniversary two weeks from now.

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


Humor with a Zest

Hank Bunker:  JFK, Detective

The call came as I was bracing up my orthopedic truss after another perfunctory lay, this time with Paris Hilton, who was in town that day to receive absolution from Cardinal Spellman. Never mind she wasn't Catholic. Or that the two of us were dead.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Italy: A Poll To End Polls

It was 02:00 a.m. I watched the Italian election returns on TV. Eight or nine tired men sat around as if they'd just finished a poker game in a deadlock, all their craft wasted. Talk had dried up. A man on his feet seemed to be in charge. He stooped over loose sheets handed him from off camera.   More...


Milo Clark:  A Farmer In A Dell

[ed. Poor Milo is struggling with the mighty Dell company, the computer assembler, that sold him a lemon. For two months and counting, he's tried to have his lemon, which is under so-called warranty, fixed once and for all. He's gotten the run around, from India to Tennessee, or wherever.]   More...


Israel & Palestine

Michael Neumann:  Ethnic Nationalism Versus Common Sense

Jacob Amir's review of The Case against Israel is an almost textbook case of common sense crushed by ethnic nationalism. Amir says:   More...


Jacob Amir & Gilles d'Aymery:  The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Contextual introduction to this conversation (by Gilles d'Aymery): Following my review of Michael Neumann's book, The Case Against Israel, Dr. Jacob Amir, a retired Israeli medical doctor, a veteran of the 1967 and 1973 wars, and an ardent Zionist, sent a Letter to the Editor that criticized the book through his reading of my review (the book had not yet been published at the time of my review).   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Is The Israel Lobby Effective?

The repercussions that have occurred since "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" appeared seem to bear out the premise of the piece, the immense power and influence of that lobby. The article by two prominent professors, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard consisting of 82 pages (a 42-page report with 40 pages of notes) was published as a working paper on Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government Website.   More...


The Balkans & Former Yugoslavia

Walter Trkla:  A Helmet For Dung Collectors - Yugoslav Memories

I cannot remember being unhappy as a child living in Yugoslavia. Every time I remember Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, which I almost know by heart, I visualize the idyllic village life of my childhood. It is interesting how a child's mind works since my childhood was far from idyllic.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Charles Marowitz:  The Age Of Olivier

To those of us who resided in England in the late 1950s and '60s, who had the legend of the wartime Old Vic years firmly planted in the back of our minds and the burgeoning National Theatre in the forefront, who had been captivated by the film version of Henry V and then, four years later, dazzled by Hamlet, this was unquestionably the Age of Olivier.   More...


Martin Murie:  Collateral Damage

Another sentimental wolf story? No. It's a wolf story intellectuals and activists of all persuasions ought to study. Michael J. Robinson's Predatory Bureaucracy. Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West is a closely documented examination of human and animal encounters on this continent.   More...



Michael Doliner:  The Refugee

Our future is dark. We see no light.
You will go on, but we must stay here.
All this, soon your past, will not pass for us.   More...


Michael Doliner:  I Am Potus (For Osip Mandelshtam)

I am POTUS, the exalted,
The invisible, the distant,
The secure, the secret,
The unspeakable.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Signs

Faith, either secular or religious, in absolute truths may inhibit the believer from accepting the consequences of his/her actions. For example, the unnecessary deaths of soldiers may seem an acceptable consequence if the commander in chief has absolute faith in the righteousness of his mission.   More...


George Beres:  Judas Gospel: A Major Revisionary Approach To Easter?

As Easter approached, it gained a startling focus with reports of a newly discovered ancient papyrus. The New York Times was among many newspapers to give front page space and a large picture to the revelation by researchers for National Geographic in early April that a so-called Judas Gospel has been discovered among crumbling papyrus in the Holy Land.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Joe Middleton:  The Only Road To Scottish Socialism Is Independence

The question "Is there a Scottish Road to Socialism?" begs the obvious answer, "yes there is and it's called Scottish independence."   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #35

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
—Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations

The downfall of Republican wingnuts, from Terri Schiavo, to the Downing Street memos, to Libby, DeLay, and Katrina; to the illegal immigration "problem" and the Iraq prime minister "inconvenience"; to the need to keep denouncing the hogwash in order to pass the torch to the next generation, all the while trying to make progress in the 21st century with failing phone lines.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Readers perspectives, from Martin Murie's Yugoslav Glimpses to a modest Charles Marowitz; the Israeli-Palestinian conversation regarding Michael Neumann and Jacob Amir; the motive behind US meddling in Iran through the writing of Jonathan Nitzan; and Easter, in perspective.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: April 25, 2006