New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


November 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Missy Beattie, Politics

The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

by Missy Beattie

The stage was almost dark, quiet, but we could see 36 (Erma counted) tiered boxes with red curtains. Each was bordered with globes that were illuminated softly. Suddenly, a stringed instrument broke the silence as the lights brightened and the curtains of one of the boxes opened to reveal a cross-legged, turban-wearing musician playing the kamancheh. Then another curtain opened. Another musician behind that curtain. And another. And another.

The Sisterhood sat in a North Carolina concert hall Monday night, transported to an exotic world. Our jaws dropped. The Manganiyars, a 43-member troupe spanning three generations, are from Rajasthan, a desert region in India. Their performance suitably is called The Manganiyar Seduction. Seduction, yes — the visuals and music are alluring. During the extravaganza, a dancing conductor lead the musicians. He’d face the performers, then turn to the audience, back to the musicians, to the audience, clicking castanets and encouraging the audience to clap hands, mimicking the castanet-ing. Gracefully twirling, leaping, landing, this artist was an 80-minute, cardio-vascular demonstration interrupted only once when director Roysten Abel took the stage near the show’s end. (more…)

Know-Nothing Security

May 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

No One Is Safe in a Police State

by Robert C. Koehler

Let’s all work together to stop terrorism!

The Palm Beach County, Fla. Sheriff’s Office has a new video out urging local citizens to call them if something smells bad or seems a little weird, like, oh, a tourist is taking a picture of a bridge but there’s no one in the foreground — no spouse, no grinning kids, just . . . a bridge.

If it seems suspicious, call — because, I guess, if everyone is vigilant (“Hello, I want to report two young men carrying backpacks”) and we work with the authorities, America will be safe as pie in no time.

This program is called Community Partners Against Terrorism, though I’m tempted to call it know-nothing security — the kind based on stereotypes, unexamined fears, self-righteousness, external projections and an us-vs.-them social organization. Terrorists are bad people with inscrutable motives. All we need to know is that they’re out to get us. This is the message of the terrorism “experts,” who leverage their authority from their ability to keep us scared and vigilant. (more…)

Indefinite Enemies

May 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Looking at the Humanity of Others

by Robert C. Koehler

You’re strapped to a metal table, unable to move. They stick a two-foot plastic tube up your nose, then down the back of your throat into your stomach. They squirt in the liquid protein. You gag, bleed, vomit. It’s unbearably painful.

The practice of involuntary force-feeding is condemned by most medical organizations, including the AMA. It’s banned by most governments. It’s torture.

When I read about the process by which authorities are breaking the hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention center — a process that’s also used regularly in U.S. federal prisons, by the way — I was struck by the utter efficiency of it. The “food” is transmitted directly from bureaucracy to digestive system, bypassing the consciousness of the individual hunger striker. The human being inhabiting this body is completely irrelevant; he only dies when we say so.

Just think about how powerful we are. Just think about how secure we are.

In the overall context of the war on terror and the harm it has unleashed on the world, the Guantanamo hunger strike, involving 100 of the 166 detainees still being held at the facility — about two dozen of whom are now being force-fed — is a fairly small matter, perhaps. But the symbolic significance of it is beyond description, not only because of the hatred it foments against the United States and the combatants it recruits, but also because of the obvious common decency and common sense it flouts. (more…)

Chasing Infinity

April 30, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

‘Security’ Without Ethics Is a Bitter Farce

by Robert C. Koehler

In the new security state, not even garbage will have privacy.

“Terrorism,” the Chicago Sun-Times informed us last week, “has created a new market in Chicago and other big cities for a company that started out making bear resistant garbage containers about 14 years ago.”

Clear plastic trash bins are coming! They cost up to $900 apiece. “Monday’s deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon demonstrate a need for the bins at events like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon,” a company salesman said, and I marveled at the security minutiae that is now called news. We are kept informed of everything except what matters. (more…)

Grief Without Borders

April 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

This Is the Way the World Must Change…

by Robert C. Koehler

“She had a great sense of humor and freckles and red hair that brought her right to her Irish roots.”

She was “a dream daughter.”

I have a daughter, so maybe that’s why these words cut so deep.

This was a dad’s description of a young woman, Krystle Campbell, who was one of the three people killed in the Monday bombings at the Boston Marathon, with well over a hundred wounded, some critically. The bomb went off in the final stretch of the race — which had been dedicated to the victims of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., four months earlier.

My God. Now another wound has opened in the social fabric. Another enormous question tears at our hearts. Once again we ask: Why? (more…)

Lessons from Iraq

March 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author, Politics

Hard Realities Ten Years After a Preventable War

by Robert F. Dodge

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. As one of the longest and one of the most costly wars in U.S. history, the true costs in dollars, lives, environmental contamination and opportunity costs may never be fully appreciated.  This “preventive war” waged on our behalf has forever tainted the world view and standing of the U.S. Disregarding international and domestic public opinion and international law before the war, this illegal war was destined to happen regardless of that opinion. Perhaps the most significant outcome of the war is the identification and clarification, a “How To” of what doesn’t work in resolving international conflict. Namely war itself.

Dollar estimates of the combined war costs range from $1.4 trillion to $4 trillion dollars spent and obligated or a bill of between $4,500 and $12,742 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. (more…)


May 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

Confessions of a Violent Consumerist

by Randall Amster

I have a confession to make. I am part of a vast international conspiracy that is bent on violently destroying our way of life and, ultimately, threatening our very survival itself. This cabal has as its unstated purpose the erosion of public institutions, theft on a global scale, and the decimation of democratic structures wherever they may be found. It is a relentless enterprise, rife with hatred and vitriol, and it will not rest until it eliminates all competing systems of ideology and belief.

You see, I am a consumerist.

I didn’t intend to become one; it just sort of happened. My parents were ones too, so I guess it must have started there. All my teachers were ones, and my role models as well. Looking back, pretty much all of my friends and family, and just about everyone I’ve ever known, were also consumerists. My recruitment started early on and was reinforced at every turn by those around me — and likewise by every highway billboard, television commercial, and eye-level point-of-purchase display to which I was exposed. (more…)