Note from the Editors

As America prepares for the annual celebration of its birth, it is apropos to reflect upon the august document that guides us. In short, "If this is the birth of a new constitutional era, all I can say is, what an ugly baby," as Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan aptly summarized. A constitution is only as strong as the pillars that support it, and those American-made pillars are steadily being undermined by Bush's greatest accomplishment, the new conservative Supreme Court. The chain of broken promises for a constitutional showdown was lengthened when Vice President Dick Cheney declared himself outside the purview of the Executive Branch -- and then went back to work. Our resident Martian lends his perspective to the shenanigans of the three branches of government (excluding Cheney) and their corporate sponsors, the bold new US energy policy, and why a single-payer health care system is DOA.

Swans constitutional expert Carol Warner Christen expands upon the price we are paying for the misuse of its precepts in an era of diminishing checks and balances. Gerard Donnelly Smith speaks in defense of the Constitution's intensions, noting the role of ideologues in the present dysfunctional system; while Martin Murie contemplates the distinction between the founder's intentions and today's reality.

For more on the US health care system, politics are being disguised as film review in an attempt to discredit Michael Moore's latest exposé, Sicko, and who better to lift the veil on this matter than Charles Marowitz. It is said that knowledge is power; in other words, independent thinking is dangerous... Precisely why, according to Philip Greenspan, a state-imposed education system is necessary for molding our youth into patriotic citizens. As for US energy policy, Jan Baughman illustrates the politicization of the polar bear, whose protection as an endangered species could threaten America's constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

For a bit of levity -- sort of -- Peter Byrne presents part two of his reality show on these trying times. For a bit of poetry, visit the works of Marie Rennard, and Guido Monte and Francesca Saieva. In the book department, read about author Joseph Roth's unique perspectives that are sorely lacking today according to Michael Doliner. Finally, your letters run the gamut from constitutional nonsense to the rudderless antiwar movement, and more.

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

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Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #53, from the Martian Desk

"Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue."
—La Rochefoucauld, 1655

A few selected tidbits that landed on the editor's desk, from the single-payer health system that the for-profit big pharma-financed candidates won't touch; to the supreme power of a few men in black robes; subsidizing biofuels (and our demise) in the name of conservation; to Only in America, where they'll sue the pants off of you, and more.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Carol Warner Christen:  No System Can Measure Itself

Checks and balances are disappearing along with the birds and the bees. Just as governments can't govern themselves and corporations can't regulate themselves, humanity can't measure the consequences of its own complacency.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Defending The Constitution

Is it the US Constitution that is to blame for the stalemate of the two-party system, or the Democrats and Republicans, who ignore their duty to uphold its principles?   More...


Martin Murie:  The Vote

Voting rights thoroughy ransacked in a novel, published in 1866. There is a distinction between what the US Constitution actually says and what its authors intended. We can look back to George Eliot's Felix Holt for lessons on how to make adjustments to that distinction and put the power back with the people.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Sick Minds & Sick Bodies

Attacks on Michael Moore's documentary Sicko are not legitimate film reviews, they are intended to discredit his message and prevent the public from awakening to the crisis in which they are hostages to health care industry.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  The Education Route To Con Hearts And Minds

The modern US education system is designed to create compliant, obedient workers and new generations of consumers rather than independent thinkers, so do not expect reform from the power elite any time soon.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Global Warming Gag Orders

Editorial cartoon: While the polar bear struggles for its very existence, it has become the object of political wrangling between those who wish to protect it, and those who continue to deny global warming in order to preserve their own way of life.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Peter Byrne:  Trying Prime Times

Grab yourself a ham sandwich and a beer and join us for Part Two of our couple's viewing of the reality TV show that is the War on Terror. This week's episode examines the finer points of car bombings.   More...



Marie Rennard:  Wrecked

A morning-after lament by a wrecked man for a blond lover, with photograph by Jean-Claude Seine.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte & Francesca Saieva:  Polyhedron n.2: El Ahora

In the visions of Monte and Saieva, the Ego finds a sense in the disharmony and the silence of existing... because there're no dreams "in the lost parts of earth."   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Michael Doliner:  Joseph Roth's What I Saw

Joseph Roth's writing revealed a keen sense of observation and very human perspective on the Weimar Republic, a perspective that is lacking in today's scientific/statistical world.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Your thoughts on unconstitutional nonsense and looming dictatorship; support and advice from a few rudderless (and one Ruddered) antiwar readers; remembering the Congress for Cultural Freedom; criticism from an armchair editor, and more.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: July 2, 2007