New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


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…)

Stop Stop-and-Frisk

August 20, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

From Outside Occupation to Community Engagement

by Robert C. Koehler

Stopping crime before it happens is a great idea, but stopping young men for “walking while black” — touted by true believers as the same thing — is a game played by an occupying army.

The tactic is called stop-and-frisk. As practiced by many police departments, including New York’s, it amounts to blatant racial profiling. Stop-and-frisk makes it impossible for young men of color to lead normal lives, to walk outside without fear of preemptive police harassment. The long-term hatred and tension it engenders does far more harm to a community than all the questionable good that proponents ascribe to it. Security based on racism is a sham. (more…)

Cognitive Assonance

June 20, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Congratulations! You’re Being Watched

by Randall Amster

With revelations (yet again) that we are all essentially being watched virtually all the time, we might expect a popular backlash espionajeagainst such a massive and unprecedented intrusion on privacy. Americans may differ on a plethora of political issues, but there’s a common wisdom suggesting broad agreement on core principles such as individual liberty. Alas, widespread pushback against a total surveillance society seems unlikely to emerge, and having the full scope of such a program become publicly known may only increase its acceptability.

Modern America is built on the ethos of the “reality show” — and people want to be watched. (more…)

Addicted to War

June 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Erin Niemela, Politics

Time for an American Awakening

by Erin Niemela

The recent NSA revelations of widespread surveillance on American citizens should be cause for intense protest.  Surely it will be, as a day of nationwide mass action to restore the Fourth Amendment has been planned for the fourth of July. But any awake American can see that PRISM is only one sock on a long line of dirty laundry. The list of U.S. government abuses and failures to protect stretches far and wide, an alphabet soup of depravity: PRISM, NDAA, CISPA, SOPA, Patriot Act, the Monsanto Protection Act, drones, secret kill lists, Guantanamo Bay, DNA tests, Abu Ghraib, Afghan Massacre, Keystone, Tar Sands, Hanford. I’m certain you’ll think of more.

While PRISM and the rest of the gang are individually sordid, when combined they are the track marks of a far more pervasive, widespread, life-wasting problem. One that has systematically attacked not just the Fourth Amendment, but also the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and 10th. No matter how hard we advocate for the Fourth Amendment now, others will fall so long as this substance burns through the veins of the Republic. (more…)

Organize Some More

May 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Angola 3 News, Current Events, Politics

Russell Shoatz Files Lawsuit Against Long-Term Solitary Confinement

by Angola 3 News

Last week, on Wednesday, May 8, lawyers for Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz filed a federal lawsuit regarding his placement in solitary confinement for over 22 consecutive years. The written complaint, directed at Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary now clockJohn Wetzel and the Superintendents of SCI-Greene, where Shoatz was last held, and SCI-Mahanoy, where he was transferred to on March 28, 2013, states that this “is an action for injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

Last month, when a 30-day action campaign was launched calling for Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz’s immediate release from solitary confinement, the campaign promised to file this litigation if Maroon had not been transferred into general population by the morning of May 8. On Thursday, May 9 the lawsuit was announced at a press conference was held in Pittsburgh, outside the City-County Building. (more…)

Rolling Back Democracy

March 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Priscilla Stuckey

Closing the Door and Keeping the Rabble in Check

by Priscilla Stuckey

We learned in grade school about the Constitutional Convention, right? That summer of 1787 when the founding fathers gathered in Philadelphia to write the US Constitution? Many of us would be shocked to learn that what the framers of the Constitution did was roll back democratic gains of the American Revolution. They were frightened of too much democracy.

Why does this matter? Because the pressures against democracy today — the interests of the 1 percent of the wealthiest, most powerful Americans who make corporate decisions that threaten the health and well-being of people and Earth — are the same pressures that led to limiting democracy at the start of this country.

The delegates who wrote the Constitution were the 1 percent of their time — white men of means who were merchants and landowners and slaveholders, the majority of them lawyers and a few of them, like Washington, extremely wealthy. They had been living in a democratic experiment for eleven years under the Articles of Confederation, and most of them didn’t like it. They’d seen social upheaval — poor farmers revolting because they were losing their land on account of taxes levied against them to pay for the revolution. Slaves growing more numerous, in some states threatening to outnumber whites. How could elite interests remain safe? A strong central government was needed to keep the rabble in check. (more…)

Year in Review

January 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, James Russell, Politics

Three Books Encapsulate the Spirit of 2011’s Protests

by James Russell

If 2011 was the year of the protester, as TIME Magazine recently declared, then it was also the year of the protest publication. Before Occupy Wall Street encampments set up in early September, handmade pamphlets detailing protesters’ rights were the primary publication of protests. When at a large-scale action and the activists’ goal is arrest, these pamphlets often appear, replete with legal information.

But with the emergence of Occupy movement, mock newspapers replaced these pamphlets. Publications like The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Occupied Chicago Tribune served as a chronicle of the various speeches, messages and tactics surrounding Occupy. As reported on The Huffington Post via the Associated Press, some of these items, including the newspapers, are now even being acquired by archives, museums and historical societies. (more…)