New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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‘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…)

Continuing the Conversation

June 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

On God, Money, and Planet Earth

by Robert C. Koehler

Earth hovers on the brink of ecological catastrophe — actually, 20 years closer to the brink than it was at the first global climate summit, in 1992.

“Deserts continue to expand. The loss of plant and animal species has accelerated…. And greenhouse gases have continued to build up in the atmosphere,” the Los Angeles Times explains. No matter that, 20 years ago, most nations of the world “signed off on a long list of goals and agreements” designed to ensure a different future. Nothing came of it.

And my sense is that no one expects the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a.  Rio+20, which began last week, with representatives from 190 countries attending, to make any difference in our disastrous drift ever more deeply into unsustainability … because nothing can make a difference. We’re stuck, apparently, in a system that won’t be constrained by international goals and agreements, which are already compromises to that system. No matter that this is a life-devouring system that serves the interests of the very few — and at best serves them temporarily. No matter that more and more people see the insanity of this system. There seems to be no escape from it. (more…)

A Titanic Effort

May 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jan Hart, Politics

Getting Through Cognitive Dissonance and into Action

by Jan Hart

Our lives are no longer as simple or safe as we once believed.

The institutions we trusted to protect us, serve us, and tell us the truth have proven to be unworthy of our trust. Feeling powerless and afraid, we are easy prey for distractions and false prophets. What happened and where do we go from here?

I remember over 10 years ago reacting with my fellow humans in horrified grief when the planes hit the world trade center. In that moment we Americans came together. We wanted to hear from our leaders, watch the news and respond with action. Initially I agreed with the decision to go into Afghanistan to pursue the terrorists and I stayed glued to the evening news. But with the puzzling shift in focus toward Iraq, my intuitive gut began to question. When ‘weapons of mass destruction’ became a familiar phrase and the march to war gathered momentum, it just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t alone. People around the world were against this invasion and in one day of coordinated action 15 million took to the streets in protest. (more…)

Reinvigorate Democracy

March 08, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Evaggelos Vallianatos, Politics

Reflecting on the Delusions of the Corporate State

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

August 2011 marked 50 years since I left Greece for the United States.

In 1961, in Greece, I was a high school graduate with dreams of becoming a doctor. My beloved physician grandmother Demetra had shown me the way. Now, 50 years later, in the United States, I am not a doctor of medicine, but a doctor of philosophy caught in a time warp.

My American college education was a Renaissance for me, a moment of discovery and self-confidence. In a metaphysical sense, I became Greek in America. However, the moment I left the university looking for a job, I felt I had entered an alien realm. I developed a blurred vision.

The world now is more complicated and dangerous than the world of 1961. Communism is almost gone, but capitalism in America has evolved into a toxic system of poisoning and devouring the earth for profit while, for the Wall Street oligarchy, it is a method of enrichment. In 2008, this oligarchy precipitated one of its periodic national, financial meltdowns in order to reverse progress toward equality and democracy. The Wall Street bankers wrecked the lives of millions of Americans. And yet, the government did not punish the Wall Street bankers. In fact, the government itself is under their sinister influences. (more…)

Saving Sacred Spaces

August 25, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

Make Some Noise to Ward Off an Avalanche of Avarice

by Randall Amster

You might not be aware of this news from northern Arizona, since the reporting of it in the media has been less than robust, but in recent weeks there have been dozens of arrests at the Snowbowl ski expansion site in the San Francisco Peaks, just outside of Flagstaff. Following years of rancorous public debate and coming on the heels of circuitous court proceedings, the developers of the site have begun excavation in order to expand the slopes and lay a pipeline for the bringing of wastewater to make artificial snow on the mountain.

Can you say, “yuck” (expletive implied)? Shortsighted thinking, combined with unaddressed health risks and insufficient environmental impact assessments, threatens to turn these Sacred Peaks into yet another sacrifice zone for the sake of a buck. This is “dirty money” in every sense of the phrase, from digging into the home of the native kachinas to trampling on the integrity of the earth beneath our feet. (more…)

Can It Happen Here?

July 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg, Politics

The Zombie Shopping Empire Maintains American Exceptionalism

by Jan Lundberg

Listening to Thunderclap Newman, a revolutionary rock band of 1969-71, it’s clear that then, as now, we didn’t know where we were going. Their number-one song in the UK, “Something In The Air,” proclaimed “the revolution’s here.” In those heady days there was far more optimism for the revolution, defined variously in Marxist terms or what came to be lumped into “New Age” consciousness. The Movement and its revolution did not succeed in changing society’s course, as The Movement soon fragmented into submovements which survive today (feminist, environmental, peace, gay rights, etc.).

The answer to the question “Why not now” (for a revolution) has to do with (a) the worsening state of the Earth, saddening and depressing many, and (b) the power of what we can call the monumental greed machine and its police state. (more…)

Fighting for Peace

April 11, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Family, Pat LaMarche, Politics

A Father’s Struggle to End War and Honor His Lost Son

by Pat LaMarche

Bill Adams and his buddies from the Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice issued a press release last month.  It said that they were taking a fifty five mile walk from Lancaster, PA to Carlisle, PA so that Bill could drop off some baggage he’d been carrying for more than half a decade.

Bill was ready to let go of a ritual and burden that he’d used to expose wrongdoing on the part of his country.  And his country had been perpetrating this badness for a long time — from way back when he protested the Vietnam War — but now the U.S. thirst for resources and power had exacted a personal price: it had cost him his son. (more…)