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constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Saving Seeds

October 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Politics

Free-Market Fundamentalism versus Food Democracy

by Devon G. Peña

People frequently ask me why I save seeds. I reply, “Because I want my corn to dance.”

When I am not teaching at the University of Washington, I work on a 200-acre flood-irrigated farm that also serves as the home for my family’s foundation, The Acequia Institute. We run the farm as an almunyah, which is essentially a private, non-profit “agricultural experiment station”. We serve acequia farmers who are among the oldest family farms in the United States, dating back to well before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1598.

As an experiment station we take our business of preserving and protecting plant genetic resources very seriously. Without the diversity of seeds developed by native farmers, the traditions of sustainable agriculture as we know it today would not exist. (more…)

Fascinating Hypocrisy

July 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Missy Beattie, Politics

Like Love Notes from a Charlatan…

by Missy Beattie

I should unsubscribe to Organizing for Action (OFA) — a group supporting the election of Democrats, but I won’t, because I’m mining data from the obscenely insincere. The emails open with a clever ploy, use of the familiar, my given name. It’s almost intimate. Some are signed “Barack”. Here’s one, minus a few sentences:

Missy –

My administration is taking steps to cut carbon pollution, prepare our nation for the unavoidable impact of climate change, and put America’s best and brightest to work to solve this issue on a global scale.

One thing we know is we’ll face a well-organized and well-financed opposition by the special interests that profit from keeping things the way they are — and there are members of Congress who fundamentally deny the science on this issue.

I need to know you’ll fight alongside me. Say you will. [Subliminal, using the title of a love song.] (more…)

Right Before Christmas

December 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Pat LaMarche, Politics

The Tenor of the Times in Verse 

by Pat LaMarche 

‘Twas right before Christmas and all through the house
The Fiscal Cliff proved Congress an unfaithful spouse
The elections were but a few weeks gone by
Leaving lame duck politicians unwilling to try
 
In a nation where children sleep without beds
And political hacks argue the sex of who weds
Stories of straight generals betraying their wives
Captures more front pages then these children’s lives.
 
Meanwhile in Pakistan amidst drones’ late night clatter
One lone college kid tweets the facts that do matter
He noted the incidence of each deadly strike
Showing the world what true terrorists are like.
 
(more…)

Christmas Past

December 18, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Jerry Elmer, Politics

After Sorrow Comes Happiness…

by Jerry Elmer 

Today, December 18, 2012, is the fortieth anniversary of the notorious “Christmas bombing” of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), pejoratively (and inaccurately) referred to at the time by U.S. leaders (and the U.S. media) as “North Vietnam.” This coming January 27, 2013, will be the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement that ended direct U.S. involvement in the war; I will be in Vietnam observing and participating in the commemoration of that anniversary. But today it is time to remember the Christmas bombing that started on this date in 1972.

First, a word about the context. The 1972 presidential election was a race between peace candidate Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) and the incumbent President, Richard Nixon, who had continued and escalated the Vietnam War throughout his first four years in office. (more…)

Report from Palermo

November 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Nancy Mattina, Politics

Reflections from Abroad on Electoral Politics

by Nancy Mattina

Who says we can’t yet travel into the future? For the two weeks prior to the 2012 Presidential elections I woke up every morning in a proud republic that’s suffering from a bad case of stunned. A place where the national debt exceeds GDP and family savings have been drained by unemployed adult children, declining wages, and stone-faced lenders. Where abortion is illegal and ‘choice’ means having a family or a job. Where all media outlets, including public TV, are unapologetically affiliated with political parties. Where anti-immigration rhetoric demonizes the destitute. Where a prominent editorialist advises women to accept the fact that they are ‘sitting on their fortunes’, no metaphor intended. (more…)

Give Peace a Chance

November 12, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Patrick T. Hiller, Politics

‘Big Stick’ Ideology Becoming Irrelevant in Light of Peace Science

by Patrick T. Hiller

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” was a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. To no surprise the recent electoral season turned politicians into stick-carrying hunters, only now it doesn’t seem necessary to speak softly.

In political and even in broader public discourse we are discussing strategies of war when talking about peace. Strength can only be conveyed through military might. Presidential candidate Romney’s ideas for a “peaceful planet” require us to be strong, to have a strong military, second to none in the world with its terrific soldiers and extraordinary technology and intelligence and to have growing influence in the world. Similarly, President Obama states that America remains the one indispensable nation, that the world needs a strong America, that military spending has gone up every single year he’s been in office, and that the United States spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined. In fact, the research of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute proves that our spending is more than the next 15 countries combined — not that it matters. Without overemphasizing the presidential debates, my point should be clear. (more…)

Now What?

November 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

An America Yet to Be Born…

by Robert C. Koehler

Legalization of pot (in Colorado and Washington state), a big hurray for gay marriage (in Maine), lots of progressive women in the Senate, and resounding defeat for the champions of “legitimate rape” (Akin, Mourdock) — oh my! Election Day 2012 went better than I thought it would.

And Barack Obama, the designated Lesser Evil, clobbered Mitt Romney in the swing states, despite Republican efforts to keep likely Democrats from voting there. I went to bed last night feeling an irrational joy, an enormous inner cry of relief, that the neocons and right-wing crazies were held at bay for four more years.

Now what?

In the dawn’s early light, the joy is ebbing. Last night’s victory high is wearing off, especially as I read the banal analyses and balanced blather in the mainstream media and realize that all the crucial issues that were off the table during the election season — drone assassination, the military budget, climate change, corporate hegemony, GOP vote suppression tactics — are still off the table. Not that I’m surprised or anything, but it reminds me that the presidential election is mostly spectacle.

As Laura Flanders said on election night on Democracy Now!, “The only thing that has ever brought about change in this country is social movements.” (more…)


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