New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


A Titanic Effort

May 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jan Hart, Politics

Getting Through Cognitive Dissonance and into Action

by Jan Hart

Our lives are no longer as simple or safe as we once believed.

The institutions we trusted to protect us, serve us, and tell us the truth have proven to be unworthy of our trust. Feeling powerless and afraid, we are easy prey for distractions and false prophets. What happened and where do we go from here?

I remember over 10 years ago reacting with my fellow humans in horrified grief when the planes hit the world trade center. In that moment we Americans came together. We wanted to hear from our leaders, watch the news and respond with action. Initially I agreed with the decision to go into Afghanistan to pursue the terrorists and I stayed glued to the evening news. But with the puzzling shift in focus toward Iraq, my intuitive gut began to question. When ‘weapons of mass destruction’ became a familiar phrase and the march to war gathered momentum, it just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t alone. People around the world were against this invasion and in one day of coordinated action 15 million took to the streets in protest. (more…)

Rolling Back Democracy

March 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Priscilla Stuckey

Closing the Door and Keeping the Rabble in Check

by Priscilla Stuckey

We learned in grade school about the Constitutional Convention, right? That summer of 1787 when the founding fathers gathered in Philadelphia to write the US Constitution? Many of us would be shocked to learn that what the framers of the Constitution did was roll back democratic gains of the American Revolution. They were frightened of too much democracy.

Why does this matter? Because the pressures against democracy today — the interests of the 1 percent of the wealthiest, most powerful Americans who make corporate decisions that threaten the health and well-being of people and Earth — are the same pressures that led to limiting democracy at the start of this country.

The delegates who wrote the Constitution were the 1 percent of their time — white men of means who were merchants and landowners and slaveholders, the majority of them lawyers and a few of them, like Washington, extremely wealthy. They had been living in a democratic experiment for eleven years under the Articles of Confederation, and most of them didn’t like it. They’d seen social upheaval — poor farmers revolting because they were losing their land on account of taxes levied against them to pay for the revolution. Slaves growing more numerous, in some states threatening to outnumber whites. How could elite interests remain safe? A strong central government was needed to keep the rabble in check. (more…)

Restore the Middle Class

February 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author, Politics

Promoting Economic Security Beyond Jobs

by Peter Barnes

A cushion of reliable income is a wonderful thing. It can help pay for basic necessities. It can be saved for rainy days or used to pursue happiness on sunny days. It can encourage people to take entrepreneurial risks, care for friends, or volunteer for community service.

Conversely, the absence of reliable income is a terrible thing. It heightens anxiety and fear. It diminishes our ability to cope with crises and transitions. It traps many families on the knife’s edge of poverty, and makes it harder for poor people to rise.

There’s been much discussion of late about how to save America’s declining middle class. The answer politicians of both parties give is always the same: jobs, jobs, jobs. The parties differ on how the jobs will be created — Republicans say the market will do it if we cut taxes and regulation. Democrats say government can help by investing in infra¬structure and education. Either way, it still comes down to jobs with decent wages and benefits. (more…)

The Pleasures of Excess

August 02, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Family, Guest Author

Deconstructing the Mass Spectacle of Consumption

by Mira Kamdar

The groom was Lalit Tanwar, son of a leading New Delhi-based Congress Party politician, Kanwar Singh Tanwar. The bride was Yogita Jaunapuria, daughter of Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria, a former member of the Legislative Assembly. The Indian news media estimated that between 18,000 and 30,000 guests attended the March 2011 wedding, including a Who’s Who of India’s Bollywood stars, leading industrialists, and some senior politicians — up to and including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The groom’s arrival in a new BMW was beamed on giant television screens to the assembled thousands. In addition to their daughter’s hand in marriage, the bride’s family also bestowed on her husband a new Bell 429 helicopter, which sells for upwards of $5 million. The full price tag for the nuptials was estimated variously at between $22 million and $55 million. (more…)

Give the Money Back

April 18, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Will Wilkinson

Are We Missing the Obvious?

by Will Wilkinson

An online headline proclaims “The ‘Key to Recovery’” — which apparently is rebuilding America’s infrastructure — but then the rest of the article mentions that funds for this have been slashed in the new budget.

Duh.

What’s so difficult about acknowledging the real key to recovery: some Americans have way too much money and some have way too little. So, spread it around.

The idea of “redistributing wealth” surfaced a while back and was immediately branded as a socialist horror. Politicians who preferred to keep their jobs distanced themselves from the concept pronto, but it is the obvious answer. And there’s nothing radical about it at all, actually. What’s radical is what we already have — a huge gap between the rich and the poor. (more…)