New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Now What?

November 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

An America Yet to Be Born…

by Robert C. Koehler

Legalization of pot (in Colorado and Washington state), a big hurray for gay marriage (in Maine), lots of progressive women in the Senate, and resounding defeat for the champions of “legitimate rape” (Akin, Mourdock) — oh my! Election Day 2012 went better than I thought it would.

And Barack Obama, the designated Lesser Evil, clobbered Mitt Romney in the swing states, despite Republican efforts to keep likely Democrats from voting there. I went to bed last night feeling an irrational joy, an enormous inner cry of relief, that the neocons and right-wing crazies were held at bay for four more years.

Now what?

In the dawn’s early light, the joy is ebbing. Last night’s victory high is wearing off, especially as I read the banal analyses and balanced blather in the mainstream media and realize that all the crucial issues that were off the table during the election season — drone assassination, the military budget, climate change, corporate hegemony, GOP vote suppression tactics — are still off the table. Not that I’m surprised or anything, but it reminds me that the presidential election is mostly spectacle.

As Laura Flanders said on election night on Democracy Now!, “The only thing that has ever brought about change in this country is social movements.” (more…)

Don’t Mourn, Organize!

September 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Peter Bergel, Politics

Working Together to Address Threats Ignored by Dysfunctional Government

by Peter Bergel

In my email recently was a message from one of my favorite organizations, the League of Conservation Voters, that began: “We just won a major victory: The Obama administration has finalized new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards that will raise the average gas mileage on cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Simply put, this is the single biggest thing the United States government has ever done to reduce global warming pollution.” The League urged me to thank President Obama “for protecting our planet.”

I know I should not look a gift horse in the mouth, but I have to admit that my reaction was “really?”

Modest Achievement

This “biggest thing,” raises average mileage on cars by 2025 — 13 years from now. Obama will be long out of office by then and the auto industry will have plenty of time to work on chiseling that mileage figure down. Besides, why did it take Obama nearly 4 years to get around to this? And why is the mileage figure so low? (more…)

The (Un)Realists

June 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

‘Protecting’ Us from a More Just and Humane World

by Robert C. Koehler

St. Augustine blesses the kill list. And liberalism is just a nicer, slicker, more PR-savvy way of carrying on the brutal work of empire.

Behold President Obama, on the second day of his presidency, flanked by retired generals and admirals, signing an executive order to ban torture and declaring that the prison at Guantanamo Bay would soon be closed — fulfilling, in other words, some serious campaign promises.

“What the new president did not say,” a recent New York Times story explains, in gleeful servitude to the ironies of military-industrialism, “was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes.” (more…)

Rethinking Elections

March 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

Moving from ‘Lesser Evil’ to ‘Greater Good’

by David Swanson

I think two opposing trends have been at work in U.S. history. One is that of allowing more people to vote. This is an ongoing struggle, of course, but in some significant sense we’ve allowed poor people and women and non-white people and young people to vote. The other trend, which has really developed more recently, is that we’ve made voting less and less meaningful. Of course it was never as meaningful as many people imagine. But we’ve legalized bribery, we’ve banished third parties and independents, we’ve gerrymandered most Congressional districts into meaningless general elections and left one party or the other to exercise great influence over any primary. Rarely does any incumbent lose, and rarely does a candidate without the most money win. Extremely rare is a winning candidate who lacks some major financial backing. Rarer still is a candidate who even promises to pursue majority positions on most major issues, or who convincingly commits to following the will of the public over the will of the party. Most Congress members are pawns in a government with two partisan voices, not the voices of 535 individual representatives and senators. Rare, as well, is any possibility in a close primary or general election of verifying the accuracy of a vote count. (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…)

Political Decay

January 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Evaggelos Vallianatos, Politics

Moving to Overcome Violence and Restore Democracy

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Political decay is a disease afflicting all societies. Like Aristotle said, all men are political animals but rarely honest political animals.

The Greeks invented political theory and democracy. They practiced democracy for centuries but their political failure to unite did them in. They succumbed to the Romans who used what they learned from them against them.

The Romans thought of themselves as exceptional people destined to rule others. Athenaios, a Greek of the second century on excellent terms with Romans, tells us that the Romans sucked the life out of their subject people. In 410, barbarians captured Rome.

Now America is uttering the slogans of Rome. Republican politicians competing for the opportunity to “defeat” the Democratic president Barack Obama in the November 2012 elections, ceasesly proclaim the “exceptionalism” of America.

The two millionaire Republican Mormons, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, want to further expand the hegemony of corporations and gut environmental, health and social protection. Romney keeps repeating his love for corporate America as well as his determination to expand the global reach of the Pentagon. (more…)

Beyond the Big Lie

December 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

War Is Over (Sort of), if We Want It…

by Robert C. Koehler

The war is over, sort of, but the Big Lie marches on: that democracy is flowering in Iraq, that America is stronger and more secure than ever, that doing what’s right is the prime motivator of all our military action.

And the troops will be home for Christmas. Hurrah! Hurrah!

(The men will cheer, the boys will shout, and we’ll all feel gay, except maybe Rick Perry.)

“The war in Iraq will soon belong to history,” President Obama told the troops at Fort Bragg last week. “Your service belongs to the ages. Never forget that you are part of an unbroken line of heroes spanning two centuries — from the colonists who overthrew an empire, to your grandparents and parents who faced down fascism and communism, to you — men and women who fought for the same principles in Fallujah and Kandahar, and delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11.” (more…)