Note from the Editor

For those of us who've not been in combat, the actualities on the ground are incomprehensible; conveniently kept that way by the censorship of photos and news stories that would expose the horrors, not progress, in the misadventure in Mesopotamia. Yet occasionally one encounters a voice that resonates to the core, and you can begin to imagine the sheer depravity experienced by the troops on the front lines, whether in the cities of Iraq or the jungles of Vietnam. One such voice belongs to a neighbor, Bruce Patterson, whose columns we've followed for many years in the Anderson Valley Advertiser but whom we only met last week. He is a talented, powerful, and sensitive writer -- whether on war, politics, or weed-whacking -- and his debut article, "The Grind," will make you recoil at the thought of Donald Rumsfeld's quip, you go to war with the army you have...

Many who oppose war hope and/or believe that the Democratic victory sent a mandate to Washington; we're not holding our breath. To put it another way, see Jan Baughman's second cartoon on "Revolutionaries for Democrats." It's not voting party line that will make change, it's voting on issues (case in point, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, the lone Republican who voted against the war on Iraq, was voted right out of power; while Bernie Sanders, a pro-war Socialist, was voted in). What we need is a change of paradigm, and we are publishing a call for practical input on defining the issues on which we should focus our efforts. For example, we cannot affect change when neither Democrats nor Republicans will admit that we do not want to exit Iraq; we have built permanent bases there, as Philip Greenspan explains. Robert Wrubel saw the elections as more of an "intervention" than a mandate against Republicans, yet George Beres thinks that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld impeachments are the natural next step. In the final analysis (for the time being) Charles Marowitz eloquently sums all of this up -- it is neither elections nor politicians that will improve society; rather, it is a changed consciousness in the populace.

One good start might be reconnecting with nature. Martin Murie's satirical play captures just how far from the natural world the corporate material one has sucked us when a few inner-peace seekers find themselves alone in an Old Growth forest. First-time contributor Troy Headrick -- an American expat in Turkey -- shares his culture shock upon returning to the land of the sacred Car. One invention America can be proud of is the Blues -- Peter Byrne reviews a book and a film about Chess Records and the birth of the music genre in 1950s Chicago. Finally, Guido Monte's colorful experimental poetry; our editor's blips with more about Bruce Patterson, some inspirational words by another Boonville neighbor, Alice Walker, and some patterns related to our non-negotiable way of life, venture philanthropy and hunger, redefined. We close with your letters on genocidalism, fascism, Zionism, criticism -- the usual mix.

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


From Vietnam to Iraq: An Anti-War Voice

Bruce Patterson:  The Grind

It was my experiences in Vietnam that turned me against the war. It wasn't like, after carefully weighing all of the evidence and balancing the pros and cons, I'd up and changed my mind. What happened to me was more like -- the process was so common among us grunts that we had a name for it -- "getting turned around in your boots."   More...


US Elections & Democracy

Jan Baughman:  Viva La Revolución

Now, let's put real pressure on the Democrats. Let's go back to organize for the Revolution. That will scare them alright!   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  It's The Issues, Stupid!

Whether the election of the Democrats in both the House and the Senate will bring some much needed breathing room and slow down the freight train that has long gone out of control at an increasing speed under the Republican conductors is at best debatable and quite possibly irrelevant. The train will not change direction.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Consequences Of A Domestic And A Foreign Election

Ron Suskind did not initially grasp the implications of a senior Bush advisor who ridiculed the "reality-based community" and bragged, ". . . when we act, we create our own reality. . ." In time, those statements took on more meaning as the numerous lies of the administration were exposed.   More...


Robert Wrubel:  Election 2006: Turning Point Or Charade?

When you look at the new crop of conservative Emanuel-Democrats in Congress; when you consider the bellicose statements, and avid pro-Israel stances of senators like Biden, Schumer, and Clinton; when you realize that the Democratic Senate majority depends on "independent" Joe Lieberman -- it's tempting to say we're worse off than before.   More...


George Beres:  Terrorism? Impeach The Bums

Terrorism is a comparatively new word in everyday parlance. Tragically, it has been a self-serving habit for many decades for one nation: the United States.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  "Lives Of Quiet Desperation"

Karen, working for the first time in a large corporation, began experiencing severe stress symptoms. The schedules were brutal and no sooner had she met one deadline than she was obliged to meet the next. Often they came in great clusters and she found it necessary to stay long hours and take work back home with her.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Martin Murie:  Inner Essence

Late summer, four o'clock in the afternoon, a small clearing in an Old Growth forest. Hilda Hrska stands next to a huge fallen tree. She is dressed in white trousers, white blouse, her dark hair held back by a maple leaf fillet.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Troy Headrick:  No Longer Looking For Good Hands

It's July and I'm "home" for my annual two-month-long summer vacation. I arrived in Texas a few days ago and will stay here through the twenty-fourth of August. On the twenty-fifth, I'll repack my bags and return to Ankara, Turkey, my real home, the place where I live and work.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  The Birth Of The Blues

Rich Cohen shows straightway that he's on to a winner by setting his story astride two meetings of strangers. The first took place in Chicago in 1948 between Lezjor Czyz and McKinley Morganfield. The second also occurred in that city when, one morning in 1955, a young man from St. Louis, not long out of high school, waited with his guitar for the same Czyz to open his office.   More...



Guido Monte:  Two Poems

Poetic experiment with colors and languages.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #44, from the Martian Desk

"The voice is a second face."
—Gerard Bauer (1888-1967), Carnets

Let's begin with the Boonville News for a change to introduce Bruce Patterson, then, a turn around the neighborhood corner with Alice Walker, and a quick view of the new philanthropists with the help of video gamers and hungry people. Life's good! Of course, we do mess up a few things here and there, but acknowledge it when it happens.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Bruce Patterson discovers Swans; more from Aleksandar Jokic on genocidalism; another debate on the so-called difference between Democrats and Republicans; some parting thoughts on so-called Zionist political lobbying; good advice on how to donate to Swans; and more.   More...



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