Note from the Editor

With the Divided Nations General Assembly off the news, we now hear from the US National Intelligence Assessment that the war in Iraq is increasing extremism. Increased extremism is then presented as a danger to American security, which entails according to both the Democrats and the Republicans that we must re-double our efforts to keep the country secured. With this logic, who is next? Time for change?

How to tell people that voting for change does not equate to voting Democrat? Watching the president patting the shoulder of Bill Clinton at the end of the UN assembly was a stark reminder of how much the coming elections should be viewed in terms of principles, of putting people before profits, of voting for candidates like Howie Hawkins, Peter Camejo, and Donna J. Warren -- people who reflect the values we keep advocating. Liberals, post-modern or otherwise, are once again focusing on trying to bring the Democrats back to power so that the latter may pursue Republican policies with a friendlier face. For them, class struggle does not exist, as Louis Proyect brilliantly shows in his piece on education. But class struggle does matter, especially in an era of growing inequities, and won't be buried, whatever the rewriting of history by liberals and conservatives alike. Whether we are in the minority within and without the classroom we must stick to our principles. Those principles, as Martin Murie so eloquently shows, apply to the natural world too.

The US "ideological struggle of the 21st century" is heading toward Syria and Iran. Both countries, forced into corners, are not permitted to negotiate until they relent to American pre-conditions. Gerard Donnelly Smith has some thoughts on this not-so-new environment. Israel takes the same attitude -- negotiations, yes, but only once the other parties accept the terms imposed on them. There is, of course, another approach that would go a long way to deflect the growth of extremism and resistance, as suggested in this edition...

In a science and religion moment, Jan Baughman offers a cartoon on Faith-Based Research that made the semi-finals of a Union of Concerned Scientists contest. Peter Byrne provides a few cultural gems from the Venice Film Festival and insights into the strong-tempered Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, and Karen Moller shares more memories of the London hippie era in the 1960s.

Finally, the Blips are focusing on the real Sudan story behind the headlines and the strange bedfellows in the campaign to save Darfur (a must-read), the twisted logic that slipped from W.'s mouth, how billionaires have become the new millionaires, the reliable sources of The New York Times, and more; and we conclude with the 100th iteration of your letters.

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


US Elections & Democracy

Gilles d'Aymery:  Voting One's Conscience

America, please vote your conscience, not your calculations. Vote on the issues.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Louis Proyect:  The Classroom And The Class Struggle

At first blush, the "campus wars" would seem to pit rightwing ideologues like David Horowitz against nearly everybody to the left of Howard Dean. While this is supported by the meat cleaver approach of "The Professors," Horowitz's McCarthyite dossier on the 101 most "dangerous" professors in the USA amalgamating true revolutionaries like Peter McLaren and Penn State postmodernist liberal Michael Bérubé, in reality the differences within the left are quite sharp.   More...


Martin Murie:  Road Kill

On my morning outing today I found a dead frog on the asphalt, so squished I couldn't get a positive ID. I think it was a wood frog. Also an orange eft, alive, heading north. I tossed it into the woods on the north side. Also two squashed beer cans (Busch Light and Coors Light), a large paper cup, a bottle cap, a smashed plastic bottle, and a crumple of wet tissue.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  "In Light Of This New Environment"

While he was still secretary of state, Colin Powell said, "We believe in light of this new environment, they should review their actions and behavior, not only with respect to who gets haven in Syria, and weapons of mass destruction, but especially the support of terrorist activity.   More...


Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict

Gilles d'Aymery:  Ecstasy Of Peace

Jacob Amir ponders: "It would be very interesting to see how [Mrs.] Tennenbaum will do talking to Nasrallah. Or for that matter, yourself." I don't think Jacob has any genuine interest in finding out what we would do.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Jan Baughman:  Faith-Based Research

This summer the Union of Concerned Scientists held Science Idol: the Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest, soliciting cartoons related to political interference in science.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  Where're The Stars?

There's no greater bore than the novel reader who goes to see the movie of his favorite novel and insists on telling us about all the wonders that the script has left out. He turned up at the 63th Annual Venice film Festival (Aug. 30-Sept. 9) and had a field day with Gianni Amelio's La stella che non c'è, "freely adapted from" Ermanno Rea's novel La dismissione.   More...


Karen Moller:  Tony Blair: Child Of The Hippie Generation

The aims of the cultural and social revolution in the early years of the sixties in London (when Tony Blair was a young boy) were awesome and far-reaching.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Oriana Fallaci, 1929-2006

Like the brilliant journalist she had been, Oriana Fallaci chose a newsworthy time to die. Her new friend, Pope Benedict XVI has just put his Prada-shod red foot in it.   More...



Guido Monte:  Aha n.4: The End

So che si può esistere
non vivendo,
tu epilanthanoménoy ei e odòs ághei   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #41, from the Martian Desk

"Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles."
—Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), The Devil's Dictionary

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the real Sudan story behind the headlines and the strange bedfellows on the money (and oil) trail to saving Darfur; to a gem of truth and some twisted logic that slipped from W.'s mouth (quite ironic indeed); San Francisco surreal estate according to the "trusted" New York Times and the Forbes 400 sans millionaires; to the crime report from idyllic Boonville, and more.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Celebrating our 100th issue with Letters to the Editor, complete with Jacob Amir's continued diatribe from Israel; a tempered view on doublespeak from the Radical Middle; a defender of Malibu, an inquiry on Darfur gone MIA on Swans; and fan mail from a retired Air Force expat.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: September 26, 2006