Note from the Editor

With US midterm elections nearing, the Democrats are salivating with hopes of capturing both the House and the Senate. Toward that end they've fielded strong candidates that reflect the values of the party and its dominant force, the Democratic Leadership Council. Take Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., a DLC New Democrat and member of the Blue Dog Coalition who is campaigning in Tennessee for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist: Ford is a hawk on foreign policy and immigration; he is anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, and pro-guns; he supported the Terri Schiavo intervention and favors a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution and the abolition of the estate tax... Of course he voted for the Military Commission Act of 2006. Ironically, he is rated as a "liberal moderate" -- Welcome to the New Democrats of USA, Inc.

Read Jan Baughman's description of the Party and ponder whether they are people like you and if they defend your values...or their way of life. Lesser evil or not, a vote for these Democrats (with the exception of an almost invisible tiny minority) is a vote for what Gore Vidal calls the one-party system. Louis Proyect illuminates how threatening to that one-party system is the refusal of lesser evilism logic and the choice of a third party like the Greens. If you still feel, like Noam Chomsky, that there are differences of degree between the two branches of the one-party system, Professor Aleksandar Jokic will open your eyes to the realities of imperial bipartisanship. From there, you won't be surprised by our recommendations for the midterm elections. Vote Green or vote FOR candidates who reflect your positions. Milo Clark thinks that the fix is already in, due to voting frauds and other gerrymandering, and Phil Greenspan repeats his well-known stance that it's all a giant farce anyway and nothing will change. Both of them may be correct, but rather than leading us to despair it should reinforce the urgency of voting according to our convictions, not out of fear, convenience, or despondency. Let's not be "useful idiots."

Fourth generation warfare tactics are probably not in line with many readers' convictions. As described by Robert Wrubel, Craft and Subtlety will replace Shock and Awe, with large-scale covert operations and dissolving lines of central government. Not much room for diplomacy in this scenario; but then, as Milo Clark illustrates, it's an art that has long been shunned. One does not build an empire through negotiation and openness; one transports coffins in the dark of night, forbidding the casualty counts while perpetuating their numbers, as somberly described by Charles Marowitz. All this morosity is making Gerard Donnelly Smith a survivalist -- or at least wanting his family to Be Prepared to survive the future. Another option is to move to Canada, where life expectancy exceeds that of Americans. Seth Sandronsky reports on the soaring US health care costs and lack of access to care that have reached staggering proportions.

There are still some vestiges of American culture savored across the globe -- Peter Byrne examines Europe's embrace of the Beat generation with a book review of Jack Kerouac, Ravisher of Prose. Finally, a Guido Monte poem on genesis out of chaos, and your letters on token democracy, a free-trade debate, the Military Commission Act, and more.

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


US Elections & Democracy

Jan Baughman:  Change The Course

With the upcoming US midterm elections, observers are speculating on whether the Democrats can regain control of Congress and if so, what such change would mean.   More...


Louis Proyect:  Thoughts On The US Midterm Elections

The same liberal pundits who characterized the 2004 presidential election as a kind of Armageddon showdown against evil are now revved up in the same fashion for next month's elections.   More...


Aleksandar Jokic:  Get This: Imperialism Is Bipartisan

Some polls suggest voter interest in the run-up to the midterm elections is at its highest point in years. Should it be? One phrase politicians love to use in describing why they are running is "to make a difference." However, could any difference materialize as a result of voting in the current two-part political system?   More...


Jan Baughman & Gilles d'Aymery:  US Midterm Elections: Recommendations

These recommendations reflect primarily the opinions of Jan Baughman and Gilles d'Aymery, co-editors of Swans. They should not be viewed as an endorsement from all the contributors to Swans, though we think that they reflect the views of some of them.   More...


Milo Clark:  The Games Played And Called Elections

In terms of framing, holding elections is now the criterion for democracy. Elections in Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Myanmar, Eureka County, and South Chicago are cited as evidence of democracy in action. Nonsense!   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Election 2006: Delivering More of the Same

With an election approaching, torrents of babble are flooding the media with predictions of which congressional candidates in the various elections are gaining and losing and what the ultimate impact of the election will mean.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Robert Wrubel:  Fourth Generation Warfare And The Limits Of Empire

Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) is getting a lot of attention around the blogosphere these days.   More...


Milo Clark:  Diplomacy

Diplomacy was once a gentleman's game (should I now say Gentleperson's game?) with rather precise rules and processes. Politesse was the supreme virtue, measure and mark of skills.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Dead Earnest

The way we respond to death reveals our attitude to life. If we can empathize the death of a child or a peasant in some far-flung field thousands of miles away, we can appreciate the peculiar tragedy of a promise -- a potentiality -- brutally stamped out.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Survival

With the "inevitable" world-wide environmental disasters predicted by scientists due to global warming, with the "sooner or later" nuclear winter forecast by Rapture artists and military pragmatists, and with the start of the Age of Purification on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar (whether or not the catastrophe will be caused by a electromagnetic shift or by an asteroid named Nemesis), one should be prepared!   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Seth Sandronsky:  US Health Care In Crisis

The cost of US health care has climbed 43 percent over the past nine years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This price jump is close to double the overall rate of inflation (price increases) of 26 percent in the same nine years.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Jack Kerouac In The Heel Of Italy

A Bulgarian boy walks along a muddy road in the Rhodope Mountains. He has his baseball cap on backwards. He bought the cap at the village market, and it was made in Turkey.   More...



Guido Monte:  Genesis Two


at the beginning
from a universe named chaos   More...


Letters to the Editor


On the American-style of democracy that remains token without citizen participation -- what to expect when we are, as one reader calls us, the civilization of stupid narcotized citizens...; George Kenney and William J. Baumol debate free trade; the ongoing debate about the state of Israel; Italian fascism and the big screen; the Military Commissions Act and the Constitution, and more.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: October 24, 2006