New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Empty Vessel

July 22, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Missy Beattie, Politics

The Liar Negates His Own Existence

by Missy Beattie

“The liar negates his own existence.” I researched this quote, determined to find its source after e-pal, musician, and fellow writer Jeff Costello sent it in response to something I told him. I found plenty of interesting websites, one generating a precious memory and something else, but I’ll tell you more about that later.

On another, I bumped into Jean Paul Sartre and spent almost an hour with him — and Prof. Bob Zunjic’s analysis of Being and Nothingness. Here’s a sip to stimulate your thirst:

“In contrast to the conscious intention to distort something Sartre points out that ‘a man does not lie about what he is Ignorant of; he does not lie when he spreads an error of which he himself is the dupe; he does not lie when he is mistaken.’ This is a strong indication that there is a difference between a lie and a mistake.

After that detour, I continued to excavate, substituting the words “reality” for “existence” and “deceiver” for “liar” — but was unsuccessful. So this week, I wrote Jeff and asked him. He replied that it’s an original and gave me permission to use it. I had already, many times, just not in an article. (more…)

Privacy, Security, Sanity

July 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Caught in a Single, Interlaced Web of Danger and Possibility

by Robert C. Koehler

What I keep longing to hear, in the hemorrhaging national debate about Edward Snowden, whistleblowing and the NSA, is some acknowledgment of what the word “security” actually means, and what role — if any — the government should play in creating it.

“You can’t have 100 percent security and also have 100 percent privacy.”

A moment of silence, please, for the dying patriarchy. That, of course, was how President Obama explained it to the American public shortly after the spy scandal hit the fan. When did we become “the children” in our relationship with the government, irrelevant to its day-to-day operations, utterly powerless as we stand in its massive, protecting shadow? (more…)

Security with a Twist

July 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Missy Beattie, Politics

Neighborhood Watch Meets the Big Buddy System

by Missy Beattie

I have this feeling. I have this feeling and thought that people are gathering at water coolers, in hallways near their cubicles, and on the walking paths of their kingdoms, in the interest of country, duty, honor. You know, to scour each other’s lives. It’s not unlike the Buddy System. That other name, Insider Threat Program, sounds harsh.

So, check this out: There’s a woman who lives in my building. Occasionally, her door’s open. Not just unlocked but wide open. I’m fixated on this. And believe me, when I obsess, I cover every clue. I watch from my window when she’s outside — when she’s basking (ostensibly) in nature and checking the plantings — knowing she could be plotting, unearthing, hiding something among the greenery and behind her curious expression and amiable smile. Or is that an enigmatic expression and sly smile?

So, I lurk, examining minutiae that the less observant would miss. The way she gently touches a leaf — probably a ruse. She wants me to believe she’s kind and, yes, approachable. I almost reported her, but then I had this profound hesitation. Mainly about timing. I’m weighing options, thinking that perhaps the government eventually might offer Walmart vouchers for information. Patient I’ll be, waiting, skulking. (more…)

Fascinating Hypocrisy

July 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Missy Beattie, Politics

Like Love Notes from a Charlatan…

by Missy Beattie

I should unsubscribe to Organizing for Action (OFA) — a group supporting the election of Democrats, but I won’t, because I’m mining data from the obscenely insincere. The emails open with a clever ploy, use of the familiar, my given name. It’s almost intimate. Some are signed “Barack”. Here’s one, minus a few sentences:

Missy –

My administration is taking steps to cut carbon pollution, prepare our nation for the unavoidable impact of climate change, and put America’s best and brightest to work to solve this issue on a global scale.

One thing we know is we’ll face a well-organized and well-financed opposition by the special interests that profit from keeping things the way they are — and there are members of Congress who fundamentally deny the science on this issue.

I need to know you’ll fight alongside me. Say you will. [Subliminal, using the title of a love song.] (more…)

Time to Grow Up

January 30, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Family, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

From Independence to Interdependence…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

In his second Inaugural speech, President Obama gestured back to other great and trying times in American history — “Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall” — and even further back, to the Civil War period and the War of Independence.

In all of these historical eras, freedom was the watchword, and first slavery, then inequality, the great evil that had to be eradicated in order for us to move forward as a nation.Now we’re in a different period, unlike any we have yet lived through as Americans or as global citizens.

What we need now is not more freedom, but more connection.  If there are battles to be fought today — and there are! — they must be in the name not of liberty, but of interdependence.

It’s hard to make a stirring speech out of complex concepts like interconnection, collaboration and sustainability, and President Obama’s gestures in this direction were, at best, oblique. (more…)

Universal Responsibility

December 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Winslow Myers

“O that there were some virtue in my tears . . .” — Shakespeare

by Winslow Myers 

One of the Dalai Lama’s first principles is something he calls “universal responsibility.” However quick we are to place His Holiness on a saintly pedestal, it is only because the threshold of our own responsibility sometimes seems so very low — especially at this moment of reflection upon the massacre of the innocents in Newtown.

From a tearful President on down through the powerful talk radio demagogues to ordinary citizens, we all bear a share of responsibility for the climate of violence that is the context for the tragedy in Newton. I’m as responsible as anyone because I haven’t yet written my representative concerning my strong feelings about gun control. Great Britain endured 58 firearm murders in 2011, while America had 8,775. Great Britain banned modern handguns altogether in 1997 and studies show a slow but steady decrease in crimes involving handguns in the UK ever since. (more…)

Echoes of Howard Zinn

November 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

The More Things Change, the More We Need His Words

by David Swanson

We’re approaching three years since Howard Zinn left us, and to my ear his voice sounds louder all the time.  I expect that effect to continue for decades and centuries to come, because Zinn spoke to enduring needs.  He taught lessons that must be relearned over and over, as the temptations weighing against them are so strong.  And he taught those lessons better than anybody else.

We like to use the word “we,” and to include in it everything the Constitution pretends to include in it, notably the government.  But the government tends to act against our interests.  Multi-billionaires, by definition, act against our interest.  Zinn warned us endlessly of the danger of allowing those in power to use “we” to include us in actions we would otherwise oppose.  It’s a habit we carry over from sports to wars to economic policies, but the danger of a spectator claiming “we scored!” doesn’t rise to the same level as millions of spectators claiming “we liberated Afghanistan.”

We like to think of elections as a central, important part of civic life, and as a means of significantly impacting the future.  Zinn not only warns against that misperception with incisive historical examples, and with awareness of the value of the struggle for black voting rights in the Southern United States, but he was a part of that struggle and warned against misplaced expectations at the time. (more…)