New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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The Tragic Voice of Truth

November 12, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos, Politics

Fukushima: Danger, Deception, and Betrayal

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Last month I watched a documentary on the March 11, 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture, Japan. The showing of the 2013 documentary, A2-B-C, took place in a cafeteria of Pomona College where students gather at tables and speak foreign languages. I am a guest at the Greek table.

The American producer, Ian Thomas Ash, introduced his film and answered questions. He is young and unusually virtuous and talented. He sees himself as a witness of a tragedy he has to report to the world.

He said he felt morally obliged to document the effects of the horrific nuclear accident. That is the reason he is not married and without children. For the duration of filming he lived in the contaminated Fukushima prefecture with the affected local people. He ate the food they ate and drank the same water. In addition, he speaks Japanese and has lived in Japan for several years. (more…)

Who Should Decide?

November 07, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Peter G. Cohen, Politics

Congress Is Making a Critical Decision

by Peter G. Cohen

The Pentagon is lobbying the Congress to provide funds for the “Modernization” of the B-61 gravity  bombs now stored in Europe. Making this bomb more accurate and more “useable” will cost an estimated $8.1 billion through 2024. At the same time, many experts File:B61internals.pngand some European nations would like to see the bombs withdrawn from Europe.

“I would never have thought those silly things would still be there in 2013. I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking.” said former Dutch Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, to Time Flies, a National Geographic Television documentary. In 2010 a parliamentary resolution called on the Dutch governments to inform the United States that its nuclear weapons were no longer required for Dutch security. (more…)

Making Peace with War

October 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The Time Has Come…

by Robert C. Koehler

What if we had politicians who believed in the abolition of war with as much passion as the Republican right believes in the abolition of taxes?

For me, the question that immediately follows is: What kind of politics draws power from resources other than the deep pockets of billionaires? Just because the world is sick of war, how will that ever translate into serious political action to defund standing armies and ongoing weapons research? How will it ever cohere into a consensus that has political traction? Does Washington, D.C. only have room for one consensus?

For the Democrats to stand moderately tough against GOP right-wing zealots in defense of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Social Security, there’s no way they could also — even if they wanted to — stand tough on, let us say, nuclear disarmament or a movement toward demilitarization. Such concepts aren’t on or anywhere near the fabled “table” of national debate; they’re as marginalized as segregated restrooms. This is a deep problem from the point of view of anyone looking clear-eyed into the future. (more…)

Discussing Disarmament

September 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Lawrence Wittner, Politics

Eliminating Nuclear Weapons as Important as Eliminating Chemical Ones

by Lawrence S. Wittner

The apparent employment of chemical weapons in Syria should remind us that, while weapons of mass destruction exist, there is a serious danger that they will be used.

That danger is highlighted by an article in the September/October 2013 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Written by two leading nuclear weapons specialists, Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists, the article provides important information about nuclear weapons that should alarm everyone concerned about the future of the planet.

At present, the article reports, more than 17,000 nuclear warheads remain in the possession of nine nations (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea). Over 90 percent of that inventory consists of U.S. and Russian warheads. (more…)

A Clear Choice

August 12, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Peter G. Cohen, Politics

Time for a Convention to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

by Peter G. Cohen

We now know that nuclear winter, ozone layer destruction, phytoplankton reduction and other effects of a nuclear exchange would massively impact health and life everywhere on Earth. How can we respond to something so overwhelming, so huge, so threatening that there is nowhere to hide except in denial? We’ve been trying that for almost 70 years. The numbers of weapons are down, their accuracy and lethality are up. It is time to try something new.

After the disaster of Fukushima, several nations, including Germany, abandoned nuclear generation because of its dangers. But 13 nations are now constructing new power reactors. The problem is that the refinement of nuclear reactor fuel, if carried further, becomes weapons grade highly enriched uranium. The operation of nuclear plants results in the byproduct of plutonium, which also can be used to make a bomb. (more…)

The Ultimate Wish

August 01, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

Taking Steps Toward a Nuclear-Free World

by David Swanson

We’ve managed to outgrow or to come within sight of outgrowing cannibalism, slavery, blood feuds, duels, capital punishment, child labor, tar and feathering, the stocks and pillory, wives as chattel, the punishment of homosexuality, and listening to Rush Limbaugh.  To various degrees, these practices — and many others — have been eliminated or reduced and stigmatized.

While the stupidest practice ever created — the mass killing known as war — remains, we’ve seen most of the world ban poison gas, land mines, cluster bombs, biological weapons, depleted uranium, napalm, white phosphorous, and other disgusting weaponry.  But the worst weapon of all remains, and the treaty requiring its reduction and elimination is completely ignored.

We’ve begun learning to avoid long-lasting environmental damage.  We try not to poison our fruit trees or our grass or our rivers.  But when it comes to damage that lasts longer than humanity has existed, we go right on producing it. (more…)

Beyond Secrecy

June 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Winslow Myers

Rebuilding Trust and Resilience

by Winslow Myers

As lowly citizens trying to understand the enormous resources poured into the national security state, it may help to examine the “meta-thinking” behind the mass mining of “meta-data” from our telephones and e-mails.

Aside from debate about whether our government may be massively violating the 4th Amendment, we need to begin with compassion. It is not hard to see how fear and political necessity are among the engines driving the growth of the secrecy bureaucracy. There are bad actors out there, and a certain alertness is required to prevent them from doing their worst. Political leaders do not get elected by advocating love for enemies.

Thus President Obama cannot say aloud that the lives of children in Pakistan or Yemen are worth as much as the lives of his own daughters. That such evasions are politically necessary is one indication that our “meta-thinking” may be inadequate. (more…)