New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Love in Our Time

May 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Brian Terrell, Politics

Security for All as a Requisite for Survival

by Brian Terrell

In the final weeks of a six month prison sentence for protesting remote control murder by drones, specifically from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, I can only reflect on my time of captivity in light of the crimes that brought me here.  In these ominous times, it is America’s officials and judges and not the anarchists who exhibit the most flagrant contempt for the rule of law and it is due to the malfeasance of these that I owe the distinction of this sabbatical.

As I share in the perspectives gained from residing in the federal prison camp in Yankton, South Dakota, it is important to disclose that as a political prisoner sent up on trumped misdemeanor charges for a few months, my situation is not the same as my fellow inmates!  Of  all nonviolent “offenders,” most by far are prisoners of the war on drugs and most are serving sentences of many years.  I also try to avoid the temptation to exaggerate the hardships and privations I’ve suffered here.  Certainly, doing time in a minimum security camp is easier time than in most other kinds of jails.  If basic necessities are barely met, they are met.  I am in good company and time is passing with little drama and without fear.  For me, these months have been more a test of patience than of courage. (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…)

Drone World

April 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The ‘Fun’ Is Just Beginning…

by Robert C. Koehler

In the not so distant future, America’s skies will be full of . . . drones. What could go wrong?

“Although the prospect of drones flying over U.S. cities is generating cries of spies in the skies,” writes the Los Angeles Times, “groups from California to Florida are fiercely competing to become one of six federally designated sites for testing how the remotely piloted aircraft can safely be incorporated into the nation’s airspace.”

It’s just technology and technology is neutral, or so the forces of mainstream capitalism assure us. Drones are an emerging market, with worldwide sales expected to double in the next decade, to $11 billion, if not much more. And these will be good drones, the kind that look for lost children or leaks in pipelines, the kind that catch criminals. (more…)

Stuck in the Pipeline

April 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Robert C. Koehler

Reclaiming the Future for Young People … and Us All

by Robert C. Koehler

Are the bad ideas dead yet? You know, the ones that have been hollowing out the country’s soul for the last 30 years.

In Atlanta, they just indicted 35 teachers, principals and administrators, including a former superintendent, for routinely altering their students’ standardized test results — and in all likelihood this massive fraud is an aberration only because the cheaters got caught.

Everything is at stake in these tests, so perhaps it’s dawning on us that fraud — by adults — is inevitable, but there’s a bigger issue here that continues to escape public outrage: The tests are stupid. They measure virtually nothing that matters, but monopolize the classroom politically. Teachers, under enormous pressure, are forced to teach to the tests rather than, you know, teach critical thinking or creative expression; and education is reduced to something rote, linear, and boring. (more…)

A Helping Hand

February 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Winslow Myers

Hard Power, Soft Power, and the Power of Good 

by Winslow Myers

Mark Helprin’s novel, In Sunlight and in Shadow, tries to articulate as noble as possible a justification for the tragic violence of war. The novel is set just after World War II, so it is not surprising that the rationale is based in the Churchillian mindset of the campaign to defeat Hitler. In the novel, an older veteran argues: “How many millions have to die, Harry, before we stop worrying about unintended consequences?”

Harry, a younger vet, responds: “What if all nations decided to kill off what in their eyes was mortally dangerous leadership? It would become a Hobbesian world.”

“The world just lost 50 million dead. Is that Hobbesian enough? Politeness can be a form of collaboration, or suicide…. You have to play it by ear, as you know, as you must know, having fought your way through Sicily, France, Holland and Germany, your responsibility is not to be morally pristine, but to preserve the maximum number of innocent lives. How many men have you killed?” (more…)

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…)

Empire and Its Consequences

October 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The Morality of Domination Has Caught Up to Us

by Robert C. Koehler 

Ever notice the way certain basic human values quietly transform into their opposite on their way to becoming national policy?

At the human level, the immorality of murder is fundamental, and most people understand the insanity of armed hatred. Keeping these dark forces under wraps is essential to the existence of human society. So why is it, then, that at the abstract level of nationalism, those forces are honored, worshiped, saluted, extolled as glorious, and given command of an enormous budget?

Why is it that their perpetuation via increasingly sophisticated technology is equated with national security and no one talks about the completely predictable negative consequences of basing security on murder and hatred?

And why does it feel so naïve to be asking such questions? (more…)