New Clear Vision


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Archive for the ‘Politics’

Lowest Common Denominator?

January 17, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Firmin DeBrabander, Politics

It’s Baked into Democracy’s Design

by Firmin DeBrabander

The Tr$mp victory, and the general disaster for Democrats this year, was the victory of ignorance, critics moan. Writing in Foreign Policy, Georgetown University’s Jason Brennan called it “the dance of the dunces” and wrote that “Tr$mp owes his victory to the uninformed.”

New York Times columnist Neil Irwin noted the unprecedented list of inexperts and political novices filling out Tr$mp’s administration. These include Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts as deputy secretary of the Commerce Department. Irwin observes that “the Tr$mp transition’s news release announcing the appointment cites the Ricketts family’s success in building the Cubs into a World Series winner.” This has led to a steady stream of apocalyptic warnings from Irwin’s colleague, the esteemed economist Paul Krugman, who, among other things, has declared that this is “How Republics End.” (more…)

Still Have a Dream

January 16, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Time to Wake Up and Make It Come True

by Jennifer Browdy

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, his I Have a Dream speech has never seemed more imperative, or more poignant.

In 2008, Americans had the dream that electing our first Black president would lead to a permanent undoing of racism, opening the door to a new age of American egalitarianism. But here we sit on the other side of eight years of a stellar Black first family in the White House, feeling like Hamlet looking from Hyperion to a satyr.

As we gaze grimly at the nightmare of the Tr$mp inauguration, it seems like a bad dream — except that every day we wake up and it goes on, but worse. (more…)

Faux Real

January 09, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Randall Amster

What’s in Your Worldview?

by Randall Amster

We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the unvarnished lens of protofascism. Retrenchment and revanchism arrive with a new pitchman, selling rollbacks disguised as opportunities and promising to reclaim that which has been lost after decades of social progress and cultural liberalization. This isn’t a “new normal” but rather an old one reemerging, and the only sort of normality it represents is that which is perversely defined by a type of mass insanity.

Things have been heading in this direction for a long time now, but the pace obviously has accelerated in the digital age. The lamentations about the demise of truth and the advent of bogus “news” are legion, as are the observations about the omnipresence of technology and the implications thereof. But all this hasn’t happened to us — it has veritably been demanded. Obscured by the handwringing and finger-pointing is the deeper reality of a culture obsessed with on-demand indulgences, no matter the cost. (more…)

Too Many Deaths

January 04, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Laura L. Finley, Politics

Jurors Should Say No to Executing Dylann Roof

by Laura L. Finley

It is clear that 2016 was a challenging year, as is not-so-subtly displayed by John Oliver’s “F*ck 2016” and the subsequent meme of the same name. As I reflect on the many things I would like to see improved in 2017, I am thinking about both immediate and long-term goals. One of my dreams in the long-term is an end to the death penalty in the US. In the short term, however, my hope for January is that the jury that sentences Dylann Roof chooses life over another death.

Roof was found guilty of the June 17, 2015 murder of nine African-Americans parishioners engaged in a Bible study group at Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. After sitting through their prayer service, Roof gunned down Reverend Clementa Pinckney and the other members with his .45 caliber Glock pistol loaded with hollow-point bullets. His murder spree was considered a hate crime based on his frequent visits to the websites of racial hate groups and publications on his own website, where he was pictured posing with symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism and which featured a manifesto declaring his hatred of black people. Roof also had a list of potential targets, predominantly black churches. If he is sentenced to death, Roof would join only three others who have received federal death sentences in the past half century, and would be the only person to have been so sentenced since 2003. More recently, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a federal death sentence for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. (more…)

Pledging Resistance

December 23, 2016 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

With Allegiance to a Better World in the Making

by Robert C. Koehler

I pledge allegiance to . . . what?

The Electoral College, to no one’s serious surprise, voted Donald Tr$mp in as the nation’s 45th president, and the pot of outrage in the American spectator democracy begins to boil.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no — no to all his right-wing and idiotic cabinet and Team Tr$mp appointments, no to his conflicts of interest and serial tweets, no to his sexism, his reckless arrogance, his ego, his finger on the nuclear button.

The word of the day is resistance. For instance, Nancy Altman and Ira Lupu, writing at Huffington Post, point out that Tr$mp, though legally the new American president, lacks political legitimacy, thanks to widespread voter suppression, his huge loss in the popular vote and the anachronistic absurdity of the Electoral College; and even more disturbingly, is a thin-skinned, dishonest, immature jerk, utterly lacking the moral authority a national leader must project. These are flaws that cannot be ignored.

“Other elected officials, the media, and the citizenry at large have no obligation to afford him the slightest political respect,” they write. “Rather, the next four years should be a time of resistance and outright obstructionism. Opponents of Tr$mp should be at least as aggressive in challenging the political legitimacy and moral authority of his presidency as Republicans were in disrespecting President Obama, whose political legitimacy and moral authority were beyond reproach.” (more…)

Graduating from the Electoral College

December 16, 2016 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

“Don’t Know Much About History…”

by Randall Amster

It’s understandable why some are viewing the Electoral College as the last bastion of democracy right now, even as this is also ironic given its ostensibly anti-democratic nature. Without delving into the historical debates, including the potentially gendered and racial roots of the system, it is generally accepted that the framers “feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power” and thus “did not trust the population to make the right choice” every time. The genesis, then, was apparently the quite undemocratic notion of limiting the electoral power of the people.

Of course, this is also a republic, and the Electoral College reflects that reality. We can debate endlessly whether it’s a fair system, whether it skews power to smaller states or a handful of swing states, whether it decreases incentives for turnout, whether it reflects elitism, and more — but that won’t help us in the here and now. Instead, we might consider the paradox of how this structure applies to the present situation, one in which the “will of the people” actually “elected” the “losing” candidate by nearly a three million vote margin. As such, the call is being made for the Electoral College not to override the consensus of the majority, but actually to uphold it. (more…)

The Working Dead

December 09, 2016 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Randall Amster

Signs of Life in Making a Living?

by Randall Amster

I’ve noticed a subtle shift in recent years that seems relatively minor but is perhaps quite revealing of larger trends. People rarely seem to ask the question anymore, “what do you do for a living?” Instead, it’s usually expressed in more transactional terms as, “where do you work?” or “what’s your job?” By itself this appears insignificant, except that when coupled with more macroscopic shifts in the nature of employment across a wide range of fields, it says something about the erstwhile notion of “making a living.” Indeed, with increasing routinization and the advent of 24/7 technology, work is becoming less about our living (as in, someone pursuing their “life’s work”) and more about trying not to let it kill us.

With all of the post-election analysis about the issues of the “working class” as a determinative factor, we now find ourselves in a liminal space between the reality of economic dislocation and the fantasy of redemption. How much disbelief needs to be suspended in order to buy the notion that (a) outmoded industrial jobs will literally be coming back, and that (b) a billionaire real estate magnate is the one to do it? The burgeoning Cabinet picks and associated rhetoric should be all working people need to read the tea leaves. As such, we are steadily traversing the fine line from fake populism to genuine dystopianism. (more…)