New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Losing Another Decade

April 30, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Can We Turn the Tide While There’s Still Time?

by Robert C. Koehler

“We cannot afford to lose another decade.”

My God. There’s more darkness in this quote than the New York Times intended. I winced when I read these words of Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the committee that wrote the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC report, which the Times quoted in a recent editorial headlined “Running Out of Time.”

Suddenly, ten years felt vital, alive with possibility. Edenhofer wasn’t referring to some abstract decade embedded in the history of the human race, or the history of the planet, but ten years gouged out of our own lifetimes and certainly out of our children’s lifetimes. We can’t afford to lose … ten years of breath and heartbeat. (more…)

No Glory in War

November 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Guest Author, Politics

Reflections on the Day from a Veteran

by Andrew Larkin

I am a veteran — of the Vietnam era, as are my friends and my brothers.  My father, uncles, and an aunt were veterans of World War II.  A great uncle was stationed on a battleship during World War I.  A great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, an immigrant in an Illinois regiment who suffered the rest of his life from his bullet wound.

Veterans Day on November 11 was formerly Armistice Day, celebrating the end of the Great War.  But it has turned from a celebration of peace to a celebration of the false glory of war.

War damages everything associated with it, not only the sailors and soldiers but the civilians including the children, not only the body but the mind and the spirit.  Glorification of war becomes support for more war, for accepting the easy violence of war instead of the difficult peaceful resolution of human problems. (more…)

Global Rescue Plan

July 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Daring to Dream of a Just and Peaceful World

by David Swanson

When the wealthy nations of the world meet as the G8 or in any other gathering, it’s interesting to imagine what they would do if they followed the golden rule, valued grandchildren, disliked unnecessary suffering, or wished to outgrow ancient forms of barbarism, or any combination of those.

The United States alone is perfectly capable, if it chooses, of enacting a global Marshall plan, or — better — a global rescue plan.  Every year the United States spends, through various governmental departments, roughly $1.2 trillion on war and war preparations.  Every year the United States foregoes well over $1 trillion in taxes that billionaires and centimillionaires and corporations should be paying. (more…)

Anti-War Blockbuster

June 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

An Antidote to the Dominance of Pro-War Films

by David Swanson

There’s no end to the pro-war movies we’re subjected to: countless celebrations of bombs, guns, and torture.  They come in the form of cartoons, science fiction, historical fiction, dramas, and reenactments pre-censored by the CIA.  Movies show us the excitement without the suffering.  War in our theaters resembles almost anything else more than it resembles war.

Journalists appear in our movies too, usually as comic figures, talking-head air-heads, numskulls, and sycophants.  In this case, the depiction is much more accurate, at least of much of what passes for journalism.

But, starting in June, a remarkable anti-war/pro-journalism film will be showing — even more remarkably — in big mainstream movie theaters.  Dirty Wars (I’ve read the book and seen the movie and highly recommend both) may be one of the best educational outreach opportunities the peace movement has had in a long time.  The film, starring Jeremy Scahill, is about secretive aspects of U.S. wars: imprisonment, torture, night raids, drone kills. (more…)

A Silver Lining?

June 03, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Winslow Myers

Finding a More Constructive Role in War Prevention

by Winslow Myers

If the brutal and tragic agony of Syria today has one small glimmer of hope, it is that the great powers are completely stymied, blocked, paralyzed in their ability to resolve anything by military action. Were this 1914 and had we possessed nuclear weapons, the Syrian situation might have led to a war that ended the world.

But now we can see the old realpolitik tactics, supplying arms to the son-of-a-bitch that we thought of as at least our son-of-a-bitch, which never really worked anyway, completely revealed in all their emptiness. So why is this a silver lining?

Let us not oversell. The complete inability of tribes and religious rivals to resolve their conflicts in Syria hardly bodes a future without war. History has not ended.  Potentially there are terrible conflicts ahead, especially over scarce resources like water and arable land. (more…)

Peace Over Plutocracy

April 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Conference Remarks: Building Bridges and Creating the Beloved Community

by David Swanson

Several years ago a bunch of peace activists were eating in a restaurant in Crawford, Texas, and we noticed George W. Bush.  He was actually a cardboard version of George W. Bush like you might get your photo with in front of the White House, but he was almost as lifelike as the real thing.  We picked him up and stood him in the corner of the restaurant, facing the corner.  We asked him to stay there until he understood what he’d done wrong.  For all I know he’s still standing there.

Of course, a piece of cardboard wasn’t going to really understand what it had done wrong, and the real president probably wouldn’t have either.  The benefit of standing him in the corner, if there was one, was for everybody else in the restaurant.  And the benefit of impeaching or prosecuting Bush for his crimes and abuses would have been, and still would be, for the world — not for him and not for those who are angry at him. (more…)

Ending Violence

March 28, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Continuing the Status Quo Is Not Acceptable

by Robert C. Koehler

“The status quo in Chicago is no longer tolerable,” Andy Willis said, summoning the violent headlines of the past year and the past week.

This was Palm Sunday, in a church basement in a big-city neighborhood, and the time had come to stand for something enormous. My God, a six-month-old baby, Jonylah Watkins, was shot and killed this month in Chicago, as her father held her on his lap while sitting in a parked van. That was just the latest shocker. Violence is the norm, in this city and so many others. The death of children is the norm.

“We can’t live with a status quo like that,” Willis said. “We know things are breaking down . . .” (more…)


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