Note from the Editors

A week ago Friday, in the afternoon skies surrounding Swans headquarters, dramatic cloud formations developed followed that night by a dry storm with lightning bolts exploding through the sky, illuminating the surrounding hills, and rumbling through the valley in thunderous roars. The following day, smoke began to appear in a dense, noxious fog and the extent of the storm's impact, over 130 fires and 36,000 acres burned so far in Mendocino County alone, slowly immerged (over 8,000 lightning strikes, 1,100 fires, and 250,000 acres in the entire state). Fire season has yet to begin, Mr. Bush has declared a state of emergency in northern California, and FEMA help is on the way... Mostly, we're grateful to the local firefighters and myriad volunteers that are working tirelessly to keep us safe and minimize the destruction. We thought it would bring a breath of fresh air to start this edition with the wit and photography of Art Shay, who shares his humorous experience capturing the likeness of conductor George Szell for the cover of Time magazine; and the thoughts of one Maestro of Language, Charles Marowitz, on the passing of another whose social commentary will be sorely missed, George Carlin.

Despite having enough natural disasters to tap our resources and drain our coffers, man can't help but making a few of his own. Carol Warner Christen has some suggestions on how the money we borrowed to finance the theft of Iraq could be better spent; Charles Pearson asks forgiveness for the economic terrorism unleashed by our debt-based capitalist system; Michael Pravica predicts our collision course with reality as oil rises, the dollar sinks, and alternative energy sources are not being seriously pursued; and if these analyses don't resonate, perhaps Michael Doliner's cat Mitzie will help you understand what is happening with our economy, in which profits are privatized but losses are socialized. Do not count on the so-called liberal think tanks for a paradigm shift -- Michael Barker follows the money trail from their coffers back to the wallets of the elites, nor to the candidates of the duopoly -- Gilles d'Aymery outlines the pressing issues that will help you determine who best represents your views. (Speaking of Ralph Nader, we've updated our dossier on ways to help his campaign.)

In the meantime, we just learned that John McCain met with evangelist Billy Graham today -- will he soon declare himself Born Again, digging himself deeper into Mr. Bush's footsteps? And what will become of his beer-soaked wife and all her helpful money that's been tithed to his campaign? Questions to ponder before taking in Peter Byrne's book review of Gang Leader For A Day; Charles Marowitz's first-hand look at what's hot and what's dross on Broadway, from Hitchcock to Mamet; Guido Monte's ethereal poetry; and your letters, from fans to flames, with a touch of je ne sais quoi in between.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

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Arts & Culture

Art Shay:  Shooting Szell In Cleveland

Art Shay recounts in words and pictures his challenging and amusing experience photographing composer George Szell for the cover of Time Magazine in 1963.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  George Carlin: 1937-2008

Was George Carlin ultimately done in by CIA operatives after forty years of disassembling the American Way of Life? Charles Marowitz remembers the brazen truths Carlin turned into revelatory comedy.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Carol Warner Christen:  Theft: Our National Pastime

The war on Iraq: Has anyone given much thought to the idea that it is apparently quite easy for the United States of America with its gigantic budget for the Pentagon to steal an entire country and bankrupt its own?   More...


Charles Pearson:  Forgive Us Our Debts

Creation of money through debt is a little known but disastrous feature of world finance. Forgive us our debts, our trespasses, our sins, our usury -- however it's put -- there is a monumental fraud in play in the capitalist system that can be characterized as economic terrorism.   More...


Michael Pravica:  The Insatiable Quest For "Cheap" Energy

The price of oil is at an all-time high and global security is at an all-time low, and we are on a collision course with reality by entering to a new Cold War over oil rather than developing alternative energy sources.   More...


Michael Doliner:  My Bailout

A humorous allegory on the not-so-humorous reality in which profits are privatized and losses socialized in the US financial crisis.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Michael Barker:  Sharp Reflection Warranted: Nonviolence in the Service of Imperialism

A critical examination of the work of the Albert Einstein institution and its links to imperial elites.   More...


US Elections 2008

Gilles d'Aymery:  Want To Waste Your Vote?

Before choosing which presidential candidate to support, you must evaluate each person's stance on the issues that matter most to you and to the country. There are myriad reasons you may not want to vote for Nader/Gonzalez -- this article outlines just a few of them to help you decide.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  PR Man For The Black Kings

Sudhir Venkatesh's Gang Leader For A Day, A Rogue Sociologist Crosses The Line, is a sober, academic variety of gonzo journalism, and though he got too close to the Chicago gang members he studied, it is worth reading.   More...



Charles Marowitz:  High & Low Comedy On Broadway

Charles Marowitz returned from Broadway, where the dross flourishes and the gold disappears, with reviews of Maria Aitken's Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and David Mamet's November.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Ramo d'Oro

Monte describes his cosmic and mystical vision of the human mind in the universe, and the necessity of an interior peace and kàtarsis for everybody.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Supporting Ralph Nader's inclusion in the debates and defending Ron Paul; a correction on Harold Washington's candidacy; the gratuitously nasty article on Tim Russert; the theatrical impeachment of George W. Bush, and more.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: June 30, 2008