New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

In the News…

November 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The Empire Sticks Around; Will Democracy Strike Back?

by Robert C. Koehler

“Mr. Obama and his senior national security advisers have sought to reassure allies and answer critics, including many Republicans, that the United States will not abandon its commitments in the Persian Gulf even as it winds down the war in Iraq and looks ahead to doing the same in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.”

I pluck a paragraph from the New York Times and for an instant I’m possessed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, aquiver with puzzlement down to my deepest sensibilities. I hold you here, root and all, little paragraph. But if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what empire is, and hubris . . . and maybe even, by its striking absence, democracy. (more…)

From Occupation to Liberation

October 19, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Economy, Politics, Randall Amster

Seeing and Believing in the Power to Change the World — and Ourselves

by Randall Amster

Words matter, especially in our mediated world where the resonance of language is greatly amplified. In this spirit, among some sectors that are otherwise sympathetic with and supportive of the overall aims of the Occupy Movement, there has been an important critique advanced about the nature of “occupation” as an operative premise, oftentimes seeking to deconstruct the racialized character of the concept as it applies to the legacy of occupiers and the makeup of the movement in its present form.

This critical perspective highlights the fact that Wall Street has always been “occupied territory,” tracing to its earliest days when an actual wall was erected, and even further back when the entire continent itself was taken by an occupying force that failed to recognize the humanity and validity of the original inhabitants. Most of us comprehend this reality — namely that we largely exist on thoroughly occupied land — even as we sometimes forget that for many of us working to #Occupy the centers of power, we ourselves are the beneficiaries of an ongoing and unremediated occupation. (more…)

When the Occupied Turn Occupiers

October 04, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Ending the Empire Through Nonviolent Resistance

by David Swanson

In a recent debate, Congressman Ron Paul claimed the United States military had troops in 130 countries.  The St. Petersburg Times looked into whether such an outrage could actually be true and was obliged to report that the number was actually 148 countries.  However, if you watch NFL football games, you hear the announcers thank members of the U.S. military for watching from 177 countries.  The proud public claim is worse than the scandalous claim or the “investigative” report.  What gives?

We are supposed to be proud of the U.S. empire but to reject with high dudgeon any accusation of having an empire.  Abroad, this conversation makes even less sense, because those troops and their bases are in everyone’s faces. (more…)

We Can Do Better

May 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

This World and the World Without War

by David Swanson

The New York Times published an op-ed on May 7th by a professor here in Charlottesville, Va., arguing that celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden is actually a good thing, because in so celebrating we are building solidarity with those we view as part of our exclusive group. Implicit in this argument is that we can do no better. Bonding over our common hatred of an outsider is better than no bonding at all, and therefore we should rebrand such hatred as altruism. Or so says psychology professor Jonathan Haidt.

And why? Why was putting the Nazis on trial rather than simply putting bullets in their heads not just an unusual occurrence but a physiological impossibility, something that did not occur because it could not have? Why? Because professor Haidt has read some research on ants, bees, and termites. (more…)

Greeting the Fall of the Empire

January 27, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg, Politics

A Message of Possibility for the New Year, and Beyond

by Jan Lundberg

Please join me in greeting the fall of the U.S. Empire, a healthy way to begin a new year. It is a positive sentiment among some thoughtful Americans. Their ungiddy feeling flows from observation of world developments and the state of the U.S. political system and economy. The timetable is fuzzy, but trends are clear. It’s not pretty, but there is a thin silver lining.

These days are for many of us the winter of our discontent. Weird and dangerous weather on the rise, persistent fossil-fuel dominance, never-ending wars, unraveling of the social fabric, looming shortages of food and water, and lack of money for basic needs aren’t just some unpatriotic ravings of those who want to put America down. Rather, the growing uncertainty of our survival, individually and for our families, has everyone’s skull in a vice tightened by unseen or unknown hands. Those hands are actually of our own making: our dominant culture has been building up to a colossal, spectacular, global failure. (more…)