New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Secretary of Peace

April 25, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Time to End the Epidemic of Violence and War

by David Swanson

I’m honored to have accepted the position of Secretary of Peace in the newly formed Green Shadow Cabinet. Of course, I cannot contrast my positions with those of the actual Secretary of Peace, as the United States has no such position.

There is a Secretary of War, although that title was changed to Secretary of Defense 66 years ago.  It was changed the same year George Orwell wrote his masterpiece, 1984, in which he suggested that language is sometimes used as a disguise.  In fact, ever since the War Department became the Defense Department, its business has had less than ever to do with defense and more than ever to do with promoting the use of war-making as an instrument of national policy.  President Dwight Eisenhower observed and warned of this worsening situation 52 years ago in one of the most prescient but least heeded (even by Eisenhower) warnings since Cassandra told the Trojans to be wary of giant horses. (more…)

Pump Fiction

March 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

We’re Not Going to Drill, Dig, or Frack Our Way Out of This Mess…

by Randall Amster

We have entered a critical era for the future of humanity on this planet, and the stakes are indeed as high as whether there will be anything left for those who come next. In the period of expansive consumer growth following World War II, and then again with another quantum leap in the age of globalization and digitization, humankind has been collectively taxing the planet’s carrying capacity and altering basic processes that have sustained our existence for eons. At this juncture, we cannot simply go back to a more pristine time (real or imagined), and the question of where we go from here is an open and urgent one.

Unfortunately, elite interests of both the national and multinational varieties are already in the process of making this all-important decision for us. Rather than reconsidering the profligate lifestyles and extractive mindsets that have pushed us to the brink, the profit-seeking powers that be are doubling down on their efforts to procure every last usable penny’s worth from the planet in short order. (more…)

The Nature Connection

November 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Jan Lundberg

Understanding Energy and Dropping the Ego

by Jan Lundberg

Two major aspects of our lives are habitually kept separated, to our detriment and confusion. First, let’s agree we are often socially concerned, sensitively aware and observant beings, but coping with ubiquitous, mechanized, artificial environments driven by “the market.”

Whenever our deep understandings of nature and of our animal presence on the planet are in the forefront, we improve our chances of survival — or at least we find relaxation in such meditations. Meditation or submission to a greater reality, it is said, requires somehow letting go of the ego.

Realizations can then form, even though this can short-circuit having a quiet mind. Mindfulness means being aware, and not being perpetually caught in an internal dialog or seething mental disturbance. Or, not being a slave voluntarily to excessive, exosomatic (non-human) and ultimately inefficient energy. (more…)

Changing Landscapes

November 05, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Pat LaMarche, Politics

Candidate Will Keep Running Until He Wins or Dies Trying

by Pat LaMarche

West Virginia Mountain Party’s Jesse Johnson says he’ll keep running for Governor of the Mountain State until he wins or until he dies trying. He just hopes there are still some mountains left by the time he gets his chance to govern. Johnson, 53, who declared his most recent of three campaigns for governor in August, was born in Charleston when Appalachia had roughly five hundred more mountains than it does today.

Since the late 1950s, coal mining has changed immensely. Rather than men crawling through tunnels and harvesting veins of the fossil fuel, vast amounts of ordinance is used to blow the mountains to smithereens along with every living thing that’s on them at the time of the explosion. (more…)

Affluence Out on a Limb

August 10, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

An American’s Letter from Europe

by Jan Jundberg

The time for a revolution of a deeper sort comes when the imbalance of unequal sharing of the land and its resources reaches the ultimate crisis point. People don’t want to contemplate this, but at least the unprecedented socioeconomic disintegration ahead will be the portal to achieving real sustainability.

This will occur despite any redistribution of present wealth through compassionate reforms or wrenching de-classism. For the hour is too late ecologically. This applies to the entire modern industrialized world.

A great measure of middle and working class affluence has brought European nations together. Rather than serving lofty goals of advancing civilization and peace, it was more to convenience the region’s powerful corporations and increase Europe’s bargaining muscle for importing energy. Digging deeper into the seamy side, the elevated material life was accomplished largely by borrowing money and wasting material resources (albeit only half as recklessly as the U.S., per capita). The come-down will be far more painful and chaotic than what has been glimpsed, such as the Spanish miners’ objections to their getting squeezed. The bright side is that the failure of affluence — of the post-war European Dream — will give way to strong local economics and bioregional power. (more…)

Revitalizing

June 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jay Walljasper

Young, Talented, and Living in Detroit

by Jay Walljasper

Declining, desperate Detroit is old news.

It’s not that the city’s economic woes, struggling schools, racial friction and crime have been magically solved. A glance at local headlines will tell you that.

But there are new stories to tell about Detroit today. Which doesn’t mean the old stories are all wrong — just that they’re not the whole story anymore.

In recent years, for instance, Detroit has become a magnet for ambitious young people. Some grew up in the area; some move in from the coasts or other parts of the Midwest. Many are motivated by idealism or a sense of adventure, seeking to play a part in reviving a Great American City. Others, however, simply see an opportunity to fast track their careers. (more…)

Frack You!

June 25, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Diane Lefer, Ecology, Economy, Politics

From Culver City to the Inglewood Oil Fields

by Diane Lefer

Since I don’t ordinarily attend Chamber of Commerce meetings or Tea Party gatherings, I’m not used to hearing hundreds of people object to new regulations for industry, but when the California Department of Conservation sent representatives from the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to Culver City on June 12 for a workshop seeking input on how to regulate fracking, the community response was close to unanimous: Don’t regulate!

What the standing-room-only and overflow crowd of several hundred people wanted instead was a total ban.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, makes it possible to exploit oil and gas resources that were formerly too difficult or expensive to reach — factors which, until recently, left California’s oil fields in a state of decline. Today, horizontal drilling techniques make it possible to access distant sources. Then, the high-pressure injection of water mixed with chemicals forces the oil or gas up to where it can be pumped or skimmed off the surface, but the process is controversial enough that it has been entirely banned by the State of Vermont and the whole country of France. (more…)