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Note from the Editors

Change is in the air -- you can almost smell it, but for the thick smoke billowing from the annual Southern California bonfires -- as the Obama administration begins to take shape with former Clinton administration lawyers, lobbyists, and the like while the pundits giddily anticipate the announcement of Hillary's new role in the New Way Forward. Yet with only 2,063 days until the next election and the globe slowly admitting it's in a recession and entities from entire countries to states, companies, and individuals go bankrupt, anyone soon to take power must recall James Carville's famous words, "It's the economy, stupid."

The economic meltdown that has yet to fully reveal itself is promising to make the Bonfire of the Vanities look tempered, while Treasury Secretary and former vanity himself Hank Paulson burns through the taxpayers' bailout with no apparent rhyme or reason. We would be well-served if Paulson reviewed Gilles d'Aymery's critique and implemented the Aymery Plan, which of course does little to safeguard the Wall Street lifestyle of yore... You'll certainly not find such criticism in The Nation magazine, which Louis Proyect notes has always been funded by members of the capitalist class who would never challenge the system it has criticized for over 100 years. And what of all the philanthropists who could turn their attention (and billions) to help out at home? Michael Barker once again follows the money, this time to the forces behind groups such as the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the National Endowment for Democracy. You'll be shocked by the strange bedfellows and agendas of these "liberal" foundations. With all this in mind, we'd like to take a moment to thank those remarkable individuals who work tirelessly, without gain, on behalf of our flailing democracy -- from Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez to Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente. We're reprinting Mr. Nader's overview of his 2008 campaign's accomplishments, while Martin Murie reflects on "fringe" candidates, gadflies, and who's really in charge of the planet.

But enough of politics already! Let's move on to culture, at its best and worst; the latter according to Raju Peddada being the celluloid soft-porn that is the Indian "Bollywood" film industry, and the former being the best of the books on Ataturk, which Peter Byrne enthusiastically reviews. Charles Marowitz lends his witty and critical theatre-director eye to the dubious foundation on which The Alchemy of Theatre was constructed. Guido Monte and Alison Phipps try to find their fil rouge of life through the verses of ancient poets, with a stunning collage by Nicola Spacca, and R. Scott Porter uses light as metaphor in his poem on our personal quest for optimism. Finally, we close with your letters in support of our editorial line but not our bottom line, and a word of warning for the next four (to eight) years.

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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Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #76

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the bright future we are promised to the dark reality of the economy; to who failed the American automakers and why (and how) we should save them; retooling the "greed is good" propaganda; to the state governments' typical response to their respective debts -- further squeeze hoi polloi, and more.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Louis Proyect:  The Early Days Of The Nation Magazine

The Nation magazine has always been funded by members of the capitalist class who would never challenge the system it has criticized for over 100 years.   More...


Michael Barker:  Co-opting Intellectual Aggressors: The "Progressive" Face of the CIA

Michael Barker examines the links between the CIA and various peace and democracy front-groups.   More...


US Elections 2008

Ralph Nader:  What We Accomplished Together

A message from Ralph Nader about what his campaign accomplished with the help of staff, volunteers, supporters, donors, and voters.   More...


Activism Under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  Today And Tomorrow

Whether one considers the health of American politics or the global environment, it's apparent that we humans are an endangered species and we must cede power to our ultimate authority - the Earth.   More...


Arts & Culture

Raju Peddada:  Bollywood Bungles

The Indian film industry known as "Bollywood" is a Western-based, wasteful bastion of soft-porn, unoriginal scripts, and cultural soup that does a disservice to the country's rich and diverse culture.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  He Is Turkey

Fabio L. Grassi's Ataturk connects the founder of modern Turkey to the present state of the exciting and rapidly changing country unlike any biography of Mustafa Kemal.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  The Alchemy of Theatre

Although Robert Viagas's The Alchemy of Theatre is a carefully edited and beautifully turned out book, it is built on a dubious theatrical foundation with which director and critic Charles Marowitz takes exception.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte & Alison Phipps:  Fil Rouge (Omnitude)

Phipps & Monte try to find their fil rouge of life through the verses of ancient poets.   More...



R. Scott Porter:  The Light

This poem addresses our personal quest for optimism.   More...


Letters to the Editor


A supporter of our editorial line but not our bottom line withdraws her alleged support, and a warning for the next four (to eight) years under Obama and his warmongering interventionalist backers.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: November 17, 2008