New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Spring Forward

March 20, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Beyond Our Winter of Discontent

by Randall Amster

Spring may be upon us, but the prevailing political winds foretell a long, cold season ahead. We’re two months into the Tr$mp presidency, and the template has been set: incompetence, intolerance, scandal, strong-arming, divisiveness, duplicity. If America was longing for a “reality show” at the top of the news queue, this moment certainly fits the bill — but this is actual reality, and as time passes the damage being done will only increase in its potential to have long-term corrosive effects. And this may well include the likelihood that this Administration’s conflict-centric ethos will manifest in a full-on war soon enough.

If that happens, all bets are off as to what ensues. For those with slightly longer memories, you may recall George W. Bush getting off to a shaky start, with a series of missteps and a penchant for being more interested in golfing than governance. Granted, this is a different era and context, and the players are different — to such an extent that Tr$mp almost makes Bush seem reasonable by comparison (yet not). In many ways, we’re living with the direct consequences of the Bush years, and Tr$mp is the clear beneficiary of a playbook that calls for an imperial presidency and blatant disregard for the Constitution. (more…)

Party Time

March 10, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Nancy Mattina, Politics

You’ve Got to Fight for Your Rights…

by Nancy Mattina

Pine if you will for the eloquence, dignity, and erudition of our 44th President. Tragically, history will not accord him the status of a transformative political figure. What our highly selective record of accident and argument will show is that our first African-American Commander-in-Chief took the stage when our country was wracked with economic apartheid, spawn of greed. His response was cautiously pragmatic. He assumed that the nation would come to its middle class senses once the immediate crisis had passed. For maintaining his faith in capitalism and American exceptionalism he was jeered by the right as dictatorial and cowardly, by the left as fatally compromised.

Obama’s cool as he stood alone in the cloaca of party politics made him a culture-hero. But his style and personal belief system did not translate into faith in the political party he represented. More like us than not, the Democratic Party ran the last election as if a moral victory guaranteed an electoral one. With Obama gone, electoral defeat has never been more consequential. (more…)

In with the New…

January 01, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events

Reflections on Two Years (and Counting) of New Clear Vision

With the passage of another year, we are provided with an opportunity to reflect on what was and project toward what might be. Undoubtedly, for most of the planet’s inhabitants, 2012 will be remembered as a year where the stakes got higher and the cause for alarm grew louder.

Around the world, we are seeing mass movements for change, yet also mass complacency as the issues before us grow more complex and the elite decision-makers more remote in their processes and politics.

Here at New Clear Vision, we try to help make sense of these tidings by bringing forth incisive analysis of the news of the day, all wrapped with our usual penchant for highlighting solution-oriented perspectives and cultivating a sense of grounded optimism for the future. We are under no illusions that the road ahead will be easy, nor that hopefulness alone will somehow turn things around. Rather, we take the view that positive change is more likely to occur when people are motivated toward something instead of being in retreat or apathy. (more…)

Occupy the Media

August 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Guest Author

What Ecology Can Teach Us About Responsible Media Practice

by Antonio López

New media and cultural practices mirror each other in the same way that contemporary gamers now view the world differently than gamers of old. Consider how baseball evolved with radio. Its slow pace is perfect for the narrative storytelling style of the oral tradition. American football, on the other hand, is perfect for television, its visually impressive and vignette-driven coverage timed perfectly for the commercial break. In both cases, though, their dissemination requires top-down distribution and offers clear and definitive outcomes, making them excellent fodder for discussion, distraction, and catharsis. Not surprisingly, politics have come to mirror sports spectacles with teams (parties) and strategies (platforms) that have a way of eschewing actual discussion of issues, substituting real politics with horse-race-like coverage.

No wonder the native intellectuals of the colonial media system can’t deal with the open-ended politics of kids raised on “infinite” games. Infinite games are about keeping the gameplay going, not about definitive winners and losers. The goal of infinite games is not an “end game” — as so many corporate media pundits search for in the narrative of the movement — but sustainability. How do you keep it going? “It,” in our case, is just life for those of us who want to raise our children on a healthy planet and in a prosperous and just society. (more…)

Parallel Universe

July 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Taking the Leap into a Better World

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Lately I’ve been feeling like I am straddling two banks that are rapidly moving away from each other, leaving me performing ever more of a balancing act in the middle of a rushing stream.

One foot is still hanging on to the familiar dry land on which I was born and bred: the safe, predictable world of a privileged existence within the capitalist empire, where every problem has a technological solution, all needs are met, and there is nothing really to worry about, beyond what to have for dinner, or where to go on the next vacation.

This is the world in which I am a true-blue Democrat, I pay my taxes without question, and I work hard in expectation of an eventual pleasant retirement.

But I also have a foot in quite another realm, one that is still quite foreign to most of my peers.

In this other, parallel universe, security and predictability are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as the weather turns ever more erratic, leading to food shortages and a survivalist mentality.  Clashes between unarmed protesters and heavily armed police are common, with the protests mainly concerning lack of basic food and supplies. (more…)

Taking a Stand

April 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

What Will It Take to Accomplish Real Change?

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher and Jamphel Yeshi, the young Tibetan monk who recently set himself on fire, are more alike than might first meet the eye.

DeChristopher, one of the founders of the group Peaceful Uprising, took direct action to disrupt the sale of wilderness to mining companies in a closed Federal auction.  He ended up in prison, but he also did a tremendous amount to raise public awareness about the issue of land sales to corporate industry, and inspired the PeaceUp folks to greater activism.

Jamphel Yeshi also took a dramatic personal action at huge cost to himself — he lost not just his liberty, but his life. He and the 30 other monks who have taken this drastic step in the past have succeeded in letting the world know how deeply the Tibetan people are suffering under Chinese repression, and how passionately they yearn for autonomy to practice their religion and preserve their culture. (more…)

The Barbara Tree

February 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Family, Robert C. Koehler

How Do We Face the Future Against Impossible Odds?

by Robert C. Koehler

My daughter went jogging to the lake. When she came back, she reported: “Dad, someone hung a bird in the Barbara tree.”

When I went out to investigate, sure enough, it was still there, a brightly painted, reddish-orange papier-mâché bird, daggling on a wire from a low branch.

I live in the far north corner of Chicago, half a mile from Lake Michigan. Some years ago, I donated money to the Chicago Park District and they planted a tree of my choosing (a linden) in honor of my late wife. This is the Barbara tree, which I visit regularly. It has no plaque announcing its name or status; it’s just a tree, barely more than a sapling, standing on a tiny rise in Loyola Park, overlooking the lake. About 12 feet away stands the Fred tree, a silver maple, planted in honor of my sister’s late husband, who died a year and a half after Barbara did. Both died of cancer.

I haven’t written about these deaths, or the nature of grief, in a long time. Life goes on, unfolding unpredictably every day. My long-ago sense of irreplaceable loss has been given over, in many ways, to the tree, to life, to my grown-up kid, to the column I write and to a wary optimism that love is shaping the future despite so many reports to the contrary. (more…)