New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Living with Reverence

November 01, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Believing in Something More Sacred than Money

by Robert C. Koehler

“To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you’re wrong.”

Move over, We Buy Ugly Houses.com and Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa. Here was religious faith on a billboard, refuting non-belief in letters three feet high. I was visiting Los Angeles, driving with a friend along La Cienega Boulevard, when this king-size ad for religious certainty smacked us in the eye.

Turns out that Answers in Genesis, an evangelical organization with money to spend, took the God debate to billboards this month in New York and Los Angeles. They were pushing back against a group called the American Atheists, who at Christmas time last year sponsored a billboard featuring images of Jesus and Santa Claus with the words: “Keep the Merry, dump the myth.” (more…)

BRICS and Sticks

October 02, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Deadly Diamonds, Violence, and the Future of South Africa’s Democracy

by Matt Meyer

As the World Economic Forum summit took place in Cape Town in early May 2013, the question of South Africa’s role on the continent and around the globe came into sharp focus. Though the remarks of Zambian Vice President Guy Scott — that South Africa is disliked among Africans for “the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the United States” — were uncharacteristically undiplomatic, many South Africans were forced to admit that Scott’s impression is increasingly on the mark. With South African National Defense Force (SANDF) troops deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the Central African Republic, in Liberia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, the Sudan, Burundi and elsewhere, it is not surprising that some analysts — such as University KwaZulu-Natal’s Patrick Bond — call South Africa’s current position nothing short of “sub-imperialist.”

A year after the headline-making “Marikana massacre” of 34 striking mineworkers, and the publication of anti-arms trade whistleblower Terry Crawford-Browne’s damning book Eye on the Diamonds (Penguin, 2012) — which asserts that South Africa has been complicit in the marketing of “conflict” or “blood diamonds” — the question emerges: on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the end of apartheid and next year’s South African Presidential elections, what does the future hold for this symbol of continental resistance and revolution? (more…)

Dead or Alive?

July 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy, Politics

Reflections on 30 Years of the Environmental Justice Movement 

by Devon G. Peña

I was having a very serious conversation this morning with a University of New Mexico graduate student preparing for her dissertation proposal defense when talk eventually turned to the question of the status of the environmental justice movement (EJM). My colleague — who is a highly respected activist in New Mexico — declared that the movement is largely dead. The EJM, she explained, is a casualty of defunding and especially the loss of financial support for the various national and regional networks. There is no national movement, she argued, because the funders abandoned their commitment to the EJ organizations.

I can vouch for at least aspects of this view in that sense that many of the larger, trend-setting grantmakers like the Ford Foundation refused to fund what would have been the Third Environmental Justice Summit we had planned for 2012; with the painful absence of Ford, no other funders stepped into the void to continue supporting an earth-shaking, history-making event. (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…)

Just Enough

March 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Economy, Family, Jan Hart

Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself…

by Jan Hart

For as long as I can remember money has been one of the most important relationships in my life.  I’m pretty sure I’ve paid as much attention to money as I have to any other relationship. I’m not proud of it. But maybe I’m getting better at putting relationships with people and my environment ahead of money.

I kind of had a fairy tale first bonding with money while I was young. I grew up in a middle class home and heard my parents talk openly about our finances and knew that we got along with money, and at times without it.  At 10 I bought my first 4H goat, Valentina, for $40. My father loaned me the money and I paid it off over the next year. He also taught me how to keep track of my income from chicken egg sales and allowance as well as my expenditures for chicken and goat food in a small brown spiral tablet. As long as I was a penny in the black it was good. (more…)

Two-Tiered Work

January 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy

What Happens in Bogotá Doesn’t Stay in Bogotá

by Diane Lefer

Jorge Parra is speaking out — even though his lips are sewn shut.

Parra was a skilled trades welder when he went to work for General Motors Colombian subsidiary Colmotores. There, he developed herniated discs, severe carpal tunnel in both hands, and upper spinal tendinosis.

In a translated written statement, he explained, “I underwent three surgeries and now walk with a cane due to the injuries I sustained at GM. When I first started feeling pain in my lower back and legs … I went to GM’s medical center. They gave me injections of Oxycontin and Diclofenac and sent me back to work.” (more…)

Time Is Money

January 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Erin Niemela

The Devastating Impacts of American Culture on Foreign Policy

by Erin Niemela

Two days before Christmas my brother called, frantically demanding I tell him what to purchase for my two young children and myself. For the kids, I said, buy Legos. For myself, I neither need nor want anything. I requested he write for me a brief letter answering the following question: If you could give me anything in the world for Christmas, what would it be and why?  My dear brother’s response was less than agreeable: “What the hell? I’m too busy to do that! Just tell me what you want!” In his defense, he just had a new baby, but his response warrants a closer look into American culture and how it impacts all of us.

My brother, like many other Americans, has aggressively adopted the metaphor for daily life time is money, and so asking him to spend 20 minutes thinking of me was in many ways more expensive than the 20 dollars he opted to spend for my brand new touch-screen Agloves. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, cognitive linguists, confronted the time is money metaphor in 1980 with their masterful text, Metaphors We Live By, explaining that in Western industrialized culture, time is a commodity, a finite resource that can be spent, invested, budgeted and borrowed. (more…)


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