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Note from the Editors

When Edmund Burke wrote in 1756 that "No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear," he could not have imagined that over 250 years later, vitriolic fear-mongering would be so successfully waged against the notion of providing for people's health and well being. While the War on Health may appear unreasoned and reactionary on the surface, behind the scenes is a well coordinated, financed, strategic attack. Gilles d'Aymery continues his analysis of this debate, uncovering the influence-meddlers, pundits, and demagogues hard at work to preserve, not reform, the US for-profit sick care system. We cannot be mere spectators on this important debate; nor can we sit passively while the case for an attack on Iran is manufactured. Aymery hits hard against perpetual war and the ignorant masses that swallow the propaganda, from Iraq to Iran and beyond.

It's not only the legal drug trade for which the mainstream media manufactures consent for capitalist prerogatives -- Michael Barker delves beyond a book on the CIA, the Australian drug trade, and the Mackay murder that has been all but banned by the media. Nigerian corruption is also far from the news, so Femi Akomolafe takes task with the government officials who fill their coffers and bury their heads in the sand with no accountability while the nation suffers from lack of electricity, environmental devastation, and assaults by militant youth. Activist Martin Murie considers how our very minds and bodies succumb to acquiescence, relating to rock climbers and laborers who transcend physical demands and care for the other. Yet from Nigeria to New Orleans, recalling Hurricane Katrina and the lack of care for the other, we learn from Garry Potter just how dystopian realities already found in much of the Third World have begun to visit the First.

Moving on to counter-cultural matters, Steve Shay tells of stuffing his hundred-pound dog in the Volkswagen and making a cross-country move from suburban Chicago to life on a boat in Washington State; Peter Byrne considers the profound collection of the exiled national poet of Palestine, Mahmoud Darwish; and Charles Marowitz reviews a book on the complexity of poet and mystic-philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Jeffery Klaehn presents a love poem in seven chapters, from the promise of love to the ultimate decision, and circling back to health care and the impact of obesity in America, Raju Peddada would like to impose a punitive approach on the obese to cut the fat from both the population and the Medicare budget, though having read Fast Food Nation, the editors would rather punish the food industry for its fattening and addicting products. As always we close with your letters, demonstrating the diversity that Swans provides, from cartoons to music, culture, and international politics.

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 #91

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the Kafkaesque health insurance labyrinth and rural health centers; to the right-wingnut fear mongerers and the powerful think tanks influence-meddling in the health care reform debate, and how it all works in between.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Gilles d'Aymery:  Iran: War Madness

From the US Congress, the powerful think tanks, to the mainstream media, the case is being made for our next stop in perpetual war: Iran, while an ignorant populace continues to swallow the propaganda.   More...


Michael Barker:  The CIA, Drugs, And An Australian Killer Cop

Review of John Jiggens book The Killer Cop and the Murder of Donald Mackay (2009).   More...


Garry Potter:  New Orleans And Katrina: Past Prediction, Future Dystopia

The author reflects upon predictions concerning hurricanes, New Orleans' ill-prepared state and what this portends for the future.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  Climbing, Work, Activism

Just as rock climbers and laborers transcend physical demands and care for the other, when we the people act for the betterment of our world we will find new fine-tunings of body and mind among the great diversity in American citizenry -- new sensitivities, new openings, loyalty to each other.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Yar'adua Fiddles While Nigeria Burns

While Nigeria suffers from lack of electricity, environmental devastation, and assaults by militant youth, President Musa Yar'adua pulled a Nero and headed off to Brazil.   More...


Short Story

Steve Shay:  Old Macho And The Sea

The author recounts his experience leaving suburban Chicago to live with his Golden Retriever on a boat in rural Washington.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  The Poet Who Would Not Be Expelled From History

Peter Byrne considers the profound poetic collection of the exiled national poet of Palestine, Mahmoud Darwish.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Coleridge: Journey Through Heaven And Hell

Coleridge: Darker Reflections, a biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, reveals that we owe more to the magnitude of his mind and the complexity of his character than the weight of his oeuvre.   More...



Jeffery Klaehn:  Red, Red Roses

A love poem in seven chapters, from the promise of love to the ultimate decision.   More...


America: Myths & Realities

Raju Peddada:  We Are A Fat Country!

The author has not taken kindly to the obesity epidemic in America, and would like to impose a punitive approach to cutting the fat from both the population and the Medicare budget.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Jan Baughman's cartoons and Isidor Saslav's repertoire; Art Shay, the kookaburra, and the other David; remembering Teresa Sarti Strada and her remarkable humanitarian work; and a few exceptions to Femi Akomolafe's take on Africa and the ICC.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: October 5, 2009