New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Rethinking National Security

November 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Honor and Scandal as Covers for the Wrongs of Militarism

by Robert C. Koehler 

Here’s one take on U.S. militarism and the culture of domination:

“Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

“Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time …. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.” (more…)

Dreaming of Duvets

November 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, David Smith-Ferri, Family

Dreams of Peace Laying at Their Feet…

by David Smith-Ferri

“I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” –– William Butler Yeats

Haroon has recurring dreams. Haroon whose father was killed when he was a boy and who remembers a gnawing hunger during the long winter in every year of his childhood. At night, he dreams that someone drops him from a great height. He freefalls through the air, crashes to hard ground, and dies. During the day, he dreams of relief from the anger and confusion that pursue him, and of being a photographer, a traveler.

Faiz, who lost his parents when he was a boy, and whose brother was shot and killed in front of him, has nightmares, too. Each night at the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) House here in Kabul, as he sleeps against the wall a few feet away, his moans and cries wake me. By day, he dreams of being a journalist, of marrying and raising a family, of a world without borders and war. (more…)

The Invisible War

October 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Politics

New Film Focuses on Combating Military Sexual Trauma

by Diane Lefer

After The Invisible War,  a documentary about sexual assault in the US military, screened Thursday evening, a woman stood up from the audience to say she had just celebrated her 80th birthday and that, as a young woman, she’d been raped by a stranger. She wanted everyone to know that today she’s a happy person. Yes, she said to loud applause, “it is possible to heal.”

Healing, being able to move forward with their own lives, is surely what everyone wishes for survivors of sexual violence. But as documentary producer Amy Ziering suggested to the audience during the post-film discussion, in the military, it’s a lot harder to recover if you are far from home, have no support, are called a liar and threatened with retaliation or even death if you tell, and surely worst of all, have to report to your job the next day to the very person who raped you.

Kori Cioca was stalked and harassed by her commanding officer in the Coast Guard for weeks before he attacked her. (more…)

Know No Differences

October 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Jennifer Browdy

Malala Yousafzai Stands Up for Us All

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

There are a couple of old saws that I was taught as a young journalist, which I continue to pass on to my media studies students now.

One is: if it bleeds, it leads.

And another: one powerful human interest story is worth a million statistics.

We saw both of these principles in action with the news of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls “one of the world’s most persuasive advocates for girls’ education.”

Everyone probably knows by now of how the Taliban viciously shot Malala in the neck as punishment for her outspoken insistence that girls should be allowed — and indeed, encouraged — to go to school, just like boys. (more…)

Return of the Malthusians

October 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy

Population Bombs, Consumptive Violence, and Environmental Justice 

by Devon G. Peña

I have long detested the work of Paul and Anne Ehrlich. I was an undergraduate at the University of Texas in Austin when I was first introduced to the Ehrlichs’ infamous book, The Population Bomb, which was first published in 1968 and reprinted countless times before being “updated” and reissued in 2009 as The Population Bomb Revisited. It always struck me that the topic became a mini-industry and the authors made a pretty profit from pandering to the crowd that invests so much in the sentiment: “Oh my! There are way too many little brown people on the planet. What are we to do?”

The Bomb was required reading in a demography and population class I took as a sophomore in 1974. There are passages in this book that made me cringe then and continue to remind me that much of what is written by the privileged Stanford scientists displays a complete lack of understanding of colonial history, capitalism, patriarchal domination, and the political ecology of environmental degradation. It seems to me that the Ehrlichs do not much like humanity, or at least not brown people. In one of the more oft-cited passages they display a discernible contempt for humanity that is probably derived from an inability to situate events in historical and political context and to respect or at least perceive cultural differences for what they are, i.e., examples of human variability to adaptation: (more…)

My Heroine, Too

September 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Jennifer Browdy

Hats Off to the Central Park Rape Victim

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

The gutsy 73-year-old woman who was raped by a drifter in Central Park has been on my mind since I first heard about her. The assailant has been caught, and it turns out he has a history of raping and murdering elderly women, going back to the 1980s.

The mystery is why a man like that was let out of jail.  We keep kids in prison for minor drug infractions, but we let a psycho rapist and murderer out on parole and allow him to drift across state lines without supervision?

Like so many other homeless people, he ended up drifting around in Central Park, and according to the victim, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, he had it in for her because a couple of weeks earlier she photographed him masturbating in a lonely section of the park. (more…)

Unshackling Childbirth

September 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Angola 3 News, Family, Politics, Victoria Law

An Interview with Tina Reynolds and Victoria Law

by Angola 3 News

A bill opposing the shackling of pregnant prisoners, AB 2530, has been passed unanimously by the California State Legislature and is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, with thirty days to either approve or veto it. Last year, a previous version of this bill was also passed unanimously by the Legislature, but it was ultimately vetoed by Governor Brown.

With Governor Brown’s decision expected anytime, local activists are urgently mobilizing to stop him from vetoing this important bill once again. AB 2530 supporters have created a webpage for the public (not just California residents) to contact the Governor. Take action here.

The action page states that “AB 2530 addresses Governor Brown’s veto by clarifying language and prohibiting the most dangerous forms of shackling. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) opposes the use of shackles on pregnant women in all but the most extreme circumstances. Pregnant women in correctional facilities are more likely to experience miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight infants, and potentially fatal conditions like preeclampsia. Excessive shackling could not only increase stress and lead to further complications, but also render doctors unable to treat women in emergency situations. AB 2530 provides medical professionals the authority to have restraints removed in order to treat pregnant inmates.” (more…)