Note from the Editors

It's starting. You think it can't possibly happen, given the results of the 2006 election and the recent antiwar protests; with the backdrop of the Scooter Libby trial, and the Senate debate over whether to debate the troop surge in Iraq, and hearings on waste and fraud in the alleged reconstruction efforts? Think again, for this weekend the first real asphalt was poured on the highway leading to Iran. In the lead article of Sunday's Washington Post Web site, three senior defense officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity so that they could reveal more detailed information from the anonymous explosives expert whose job was undefined, told a group of reporters who weren't permitted to record or videotape the briefing that "Iran is a significant contributor to attacks on coalition forces," while displaying weapons said to be exclusively made in Iran and found in Iraq. The smoking gun on the global war on terror has been produced... Next, watch and listen as "EFP," or explosively formed penetrators, enters the Bush administration's lexicon. So what is it all about, that when we "failed miserably" in Iraq the movers and shakers even dare to think of taking on Iran? Three articles will help you understand: "Oil And War," by Michael Doliner; "Lubricating Our Megamachines," by Gilles d'Aymery; and Milo Clark's "Two Views: Reasonable/Rational and Neocon/Born Again." The clues lie in the titles.

As is so often the case, one is left feeling helpless and hopeless and turns to TV, where the mainstream media placates us with distractions, from the Anna Nicole Smith saga, to Obamamania, and the tiresome debate on the endless road to 2008, which is even longer than the road to Iran. We'll not succumb to such tactics, and instead heed Carol Warner Christen's suggestions for rediscovering We the People; take inspiration in Michael DeLang's call for participatory democracy and the support of alternative, free press. We'll talk about how to preserve the planet, not our way of life, with the sage advice of Martin Murie; and we'll value Peace Corps Volunteers, and educators like Troy Headrick and the many others whose ideas fill these pages, over war wagers and profiteers.

We'll continue to wander a winding and sometimes circular road lined by Arts & Culture, this time with a British film's review by Peter Byrne; Charles Marowitz's thoughts on the Danish version of The Producers; and Peter Byrne's praise for a Charles Marowitz book on the legendary Michael Chekhov. An excerpt of William T. Hathaway's book Islamorada combines fact and fiction on military testing off the Florida Keys, and Guido Monte invokes James Joyce in another of his colorful poems. Our Martian's blips illustrate the widening chasm between the wealthy and the rest of us, where from time to time a ray of sunlight emerges; and finally, your letters, including differing thoughts on what will happen in Iran.

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

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Energy Challenges & Democracy

Michael Doliner:  Oil and War

Michael Doliner calls the war on Iraq, and next Iran, for what they are -- efforts by the United States to secure access to oil, and the consequences could mean a sharp rise in oil prices, oil shortages, global recession, and wider war.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Lubricating Our Megamachines

So long as America does not address its dependence on fossil fuels, foreign or otherwise, wars will continue and the antiwar movement will continue to fight a losing battle in denial of the actualities. Sanity deserves better from the commons.   More...


Milo Clark:  Two Views: Reasonable/Rational and Neocon/Born Again

The neoconservatives' agenda includes two key goals: secure oil and protect Israel -- but will they receive a pass or no-pass grade for their efforts?   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Carol Warner Christen:  A Mess Of Potage

A government of, by, and for the plutocrats leaves nothing but a pittance of foul-tasting potage for We the People.   More...


Michael DeLang:  On Obligation In A Participatory Democracy

A free and independent press is a vital component of any properly functioning democracy, and the Main Street Free Press of Longmont, Colorado, served that purpose during its short lifespan. It is important to support such endeavors, which are created by volunteers at great personal sacrifice for the benefit of others.   More...


Martin Murie:  Attitude

Pushing hard for a drastic change in attitude toward Earth and its creatures. Attitude counts, and we need to turn away from dependence on corporate driven profits and their damaging technologies, embrace the ecosystems, stand up for our earth, and take care of her.   More...


Troy Headrick:  A Freak Speaks

Though many Americans view expatriates as freaks, the opportunities and lifestyle outside the U.S. -- particularly for educators, can be quite favorable. One such freak, an American in Turkey, shares his experience.   More...


Middle East

Philip Greenspan:  Beware Of Those Desperate Hawks

Israel's standing in the world is a public relations challenge, having been ranked last across six areas of national competence in a global poll.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  Pimps and Ponces at War

Paul Andrew Williams's first film, "London to Brighton," invokes British realism and a flavor of John Cassavetes in this powerful story of child prostitution and familial cruelty.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  "The Producers" In Denmark

The Danish productions of the musical The Producers is not simply a rowdy, tuneful, over-the-top Broadway musical but an uproarious exercise in revenge against Nazi occupation.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Another Chekhov Worth Meeting

A review of Charles Marowitz's indispensable introduction to the seemingly fragile but in fact indomitable man of the theatre who was Michael Chekhov.   More...


William T. Hathaway:  Islamorada

Book Excerpt: Missile testing from the Florida Keys has actually been approved by the Pentagon, but it is on hold due to public protests.   More...



Guido Monte:  Satori

Guido Monte invokes James Joyce's Anna Livia in a colorful poem, Satori.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #47, from the Martian Desk

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the make-believe world according to Lou Dobbs; how to invest your tennis riches and Google shares in San Francisco real estate, and the emergency room treatment you can expect if you have neither; with a ray of sunshine in Boonville in the person of Mark Apfel, a not-for-profit doctor, and more.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Philip Greenspan elicited reactions with his prediction of another neocon disaster in Iran -- Paul Buhle offers a thoughtful word of caution and another reader provides a thoughtless anti-Semitic attack; and recommended reading, including Bureau of Public Secrets, polemical authors translated at, and an interview of columnist/commentator Jim Pinkerton by George Kenney.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: February 13, 2007