New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Closing Cages

March 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Politics, Victoria Law

People Power Helps Stop Youth Incarceration

by Victoria Law

While Illinois is closing two youth prisons as a cost-cutting measure, other states are not. Washington State’s King County recently passed a $210 million renovation and expansion of its youth jail. Undeterred, activists work to halt the jail. In Baltimore, organizing against a youth jail proves that popular disapproval can derail supposedly done deals.

With the number of youth behind bars at an all-time low — dropping 41 percent from 107,000 in 1995 to under 71,000 in 2010 — are more youth jails really necessary? Research has shown that community-based programs that keep youth connected to their families are more likely to succeed than jails or prisons. So when Dede Adhanom learned that King County was proposing to renovate and expand its current youth jail in Seattle’s Central District, she was outraged.

On April 5, 2012, King County Council members held a public meeting at Seattle University to introduce Proposition 1, a $210 million tax levy to renovate the dilapidated King County Youth Services Center to include a youth detention center with 154 dorms as well as ten family courtrooms. “It was at 1 PM. A lot of people can’t make 1 PM meetings unless they work at a job that pays them to be there,” Adhanom noted. Undeterred, she and several others attended. “We shouted them out of there. That they’re having the public meeting at 1 PM shows their intentions.” (more…)

The Foodopoly

February 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Ecology, Economy, Politics

Too Big to Eat?

by David Swanson

We’ve come to understand that the banks are too big to fail, too big to take to trial, too big not to let them write our public policy, too big not to reward them for ruining our economy.

Why have we come to understand that?

We’ve been told it by a mega media cartel that has itself been deemed too big to fail, too big not to subsidize with our airwaves, too big not to reward with political ads buying back our airwaves in little bits and pieces.

Speaking of which, the buying of elections is moving rapidly in the direction of monopoly ownership itself.

The concentration of wealth and power in the United States over the past half century is not a story of ineluctable forces of technology or progress.  It’s a story of orchestrated corruption.  Some of its key players were born after it had begun.  One of them, the man who was president when some of the worst of the deregulatory legislation was passed, was of course Bill Clinton — who ended welfare as we knew it and recreated it as we wish no one had ever imagined it.  Giant corporations and banks are feeding at the public trough. (more…)

Two-Tiered Work

January 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy

What Happens in Bogotá Doesn’t Stay in Bogotá

by Diane Lefer

Jorge Parra is speaking out — even though his lips are sewn shut.

Parra was a skilled trades welder when he went to work for General Motors Colombian subsidiary Colmotores. There, he developed herniated discs, severe carpal tunnel in both hands, and upper spinal tendinosis.

In a translated written statement, he explained, “I underwent three surgeries and now walk with a cane due to the injuries I sustained at GM. When I first started feeling pain in my lower back and legs … I went to GM’s medical center. They gave me injections of Oxycontin and Diclofenac and sent me back to work.” (more…)

‘Tis the Season

December 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Lawrence Wittner

Consumerism Is America’s Real Religion…

by Lawrence Wittner

Although fundamentalist fanatics have been working for decades to turn the United States into a “Christian nation,” they have not had much success along these lines. One reason for their failure is that religious minorities and non-believers have resisted. And another is probably that a large number of Americans want to preserve religious tolerance and avoid theocracy. But it might also reflect the fact that the United States is now firmly in the grip of a different religion: shopping.

After all, in this “holiday season” the dominant activity does not seem to be traditional religious worship or prayer. The recently concluded Black Friday provided the occasion not only for an orgy of consumer spending, but for ferocious action by screaming mobs of shoppers who engaged in mass riots in their desperate attempts to obtain a variety of products. (more…)

Economic Indifference

December 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

On Brand Names and Mass Graves…

by Robert C. Koehler

Cheap clothes! Their cost, as it turns out, is beyond calculation.

“Babul Mia said he identified his wife Mariam Begum, 25, who was apparently burnt beyond recognition, but he could identify her bangles and her small teeth,” reported Bangladesh’s main English-language newspaper, The Daily Star.

“Zahera Begum, who worked on the fifth floor of Tazreen Fashions, too, was identified by her husband Iqramul from her nose ring, bangles and necklace.”

So a fire swept through a sweatshop in Bangladesh on Nov. 24, killing at least 112 people, nearly half of whom were unidentifiable and buried in a mass grave. (more…)

Mired in Irony

November 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Chellis Glendinning, Culture, Ecology, Economy

The Luddite Rebellion, 1811-1813 to 2011-2013* 

by Chellis Glendinning

Native peoples in earlier centuries were stymied when they tried to talk about the European conquest; their pre-Columbian vocabularies had no words to describe such a battering. And it’s like that again. You and I can only peg together language to describe the invasion overwhelming our bodies, psyches, and cultures by technology. And that assault, taken together with the economic/political institutions that fuel it, is swiftly diminishing life’s future on this Earth.

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, I thought I had a few words. I was part of a society of activists and thinkers collaborating to refurbish the analysis of technology that the original resisters against industrialism, the Luddites, had initiated. We were a lively collection of folks from countries all over the world. (more…)

Solid Gold Peanuts

October 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Mary Sojourner

There’s No Such Thing as a Corporate Courtesy

by Mary Sojourner

“You can’t put a price on sensory experiences. They are so invaluable and so total.” — Hyatt Regency Scottsdale spokeswoman, Arizona Republic, Business, May 31, 2007

Totally. The wordsmith read the article on Hyatt’s plan to use soundtracks in their lobby, bars, restaurants, and spas. Five compilations are available on their website for download. One can download fifteen songs for $22. The first artist named was Thievery Corporation. I did not make that up.

The article pointed out that some properties were also “dabbling in branding tools….” Bend over and pull down your pants, tourist. We gotcha. (more…)