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Letting Our Values out of Their Cage

By Robert C. Koehler My God, they put Jesus and his parents in cages, as though that’s what U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents would do — you know, keep the spirit of love and compassion from entering the United States of America. Are they suggesting there’s an equivalence here between the divine family and […]

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Envisioning a United World

By Robert C. Koehler Let’s bomb Iowa! Or maybe Texas or Michigan or Nebraska . . . Oh wait, I got confused for a second. Those places are part of America and we love them. We would never bomb them. These are places we would bomb: Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Congo, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Libya, El […]

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The Intelligence of Tomorrow

By Robert C. Koehler “Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her [expletive].” These words, uttered by some lost soul, were directed at U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar earlier this year. He had called her office and talked to a staffer, calling […]

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Celebrating Peace: A Work in Progress

By Robert C. Koehler Veterans For Peace, an organization that speaks truth to war like nobody else, is attempting to reclaim Armistice Day, the Nov. 11 holiday that was flipped on its head 65 years ago when it was renamed Veterans Day — and became a celebration not of the end of war but of […]

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A Tight Grip on Our Nuclear Toys

By Robert C. Koehler “Everyone wants to play with the big boys, and the only way to become one of the big boys is to have nuclear toys.” Attention Planet Earth! Attention Planet Earth! It is time to grow up. The words are those of Mohamed ElBaradei, then director general of the International Atomic Energy […]

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Keeping Peace, Not Waging War

By Robert C. Koehler Another shocking, divisive police video pops up in the news. This one shows a 16-year-old boy getting shot in the back of the head as he runs from the officers about to arrest him. And as he lays dying — unconscious, bleeding to death — a second officer cuffs the boy’s […]

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Deconstructing Russiagate

By Robert C. Koehler Oh, how the simplistic certainty resonates. Russsiagate, recently stoked by Hillary Clinton, comes saturated in ironies, which are usually media-invisible. The Democrats’ winning-but-nonetheless-losing presidential candidate of 2016 loosed some pent-up fury at democracy the other day, as well as annoyance with those who challenge the sacred status quo of the American […]

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The Collusion of Church and State

By Robert C. Koehler Intrigued by the controversy that erupted over Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech before the American Association of Christian Counselors last week in Nashville — it was titled “Being a Christian Leader” and was eventually removed from the State Department website — I wound up reading the whole speech. And I […]

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The Rights of Nature

By Robert C. Koehler “When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, women, indigenous peoples, and slaves were treated as property, without rights.” This isn’t over yet. In the same vein of exploitative ignorance, we’re still treating a living, life-sustaining, crucial being as property: the ecosystem. And in the process, we’re choking our own habitat — that […]

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Impeaching the Symptom, Not the Disease

By Robert C. Koehler I feel like I’m watching a sitcom called “America.” Next episode: Will they impeach the president? Stay tuned! “Impeachment is therefore imperative, not only to protect the integrity of next year’s elections but to secure America’s continued democratic existence. If the House does its job, it will fall to Senate Republicans […]

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Climate Change and Consciousness Shift

By Robert C. Koehler Climate change: It feels like the approaching End Times. But it’s the secular version thereof, which means that humanity is responsible for both its cause and — if possible — its transcendence. All we need to do is change everything about the way the high-tech, global society functions in the next […]

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‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’

By Robert C. Koehler The irony of this old New Yorker cartoon by Eric Lewis is so precise I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for two years. The speaker is the planet Saturn, clad in doctor’s garb — a stethoscope circling his forehead — giving the bad news to a […]

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Altruists of the World Unite!

By Robert C. Koehler The biggest joke on the planet may be the phrase “national security.” It almost always justifies something brutal, whether outright murder (a.k.a. war) or climate apartheid — the rejection and condemnation of refugees who are fleeing terrible conditions in their homeland, often created or intensified by climate change. Thus Mark Morgan, […]

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Defying the Nuclear Sword

By Robert C. Koehler “. . . and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” These lost words — Isaiah 2:4 — are nearly 3,000 years old. Did they ever have political traction? To believe […]

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We Are All Indigenous

By Robert C. Koehler “All things are interrelated. Everything in the universe is part of a single whole. Everything is connected in some way to everything else. It is therefore possible to understand something only if we can understand how it is connected to everything else.” These words, the first of the Twelve Teachings of […]

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Participatory Evolution

By Robert C. Koehler The big black pickup truck plunged into the protesters blocking the parking lot and I cringed, viscerally, as though I could feel it myself — this merciless crush of steel against flesh. I was recovering from a bicycle injury when I watched the event on the news last week, as members […]

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Dead Canaries

By Robert C. Koehler “Many people think that the fight for America is already lost. They couldn’t be more wrong. This is just the beginning of the fight for America and Europe. I am honored to head the fight to reclaim my country from destruction.” This is how the El Paso killer ended his white […]

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The Inner Nixon

By Robert C. Koehler The Nixon tapes are still in the news! My God, they’re still spewing bile, still making America’s eyeballs roll. They’re as relevant as ever. Donald Trump, it turns out, is merely the inner Richard Nixon, live and uncensored. He’s also the inner Ronald Reagan — the inner voice, suddenly made public, […]

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The Strongest People on the Planet

By Robert C. Koehler “Send her back! Send her back!” The chant: Is it merely a case study in collective stupidity or is it a signal of rising fascism? When I look at the viral video — the latest manifestation of Trumpism and the freeing of good old American racism from the constraints of political […]

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Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War

By Robert C. Koehler “The easy movement of high ranking military officers into jobs with major defense contractors and the reverse movement of top executives in major defense contractors into high Pentagon jobs is solid evidence of the military industrial-complex in operation.” I was utterly stunned when I read these words of former Wisconsin senator […]

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The Mop Closet of American History

By Robert C. Koehler “They were quiet, and just staring, blankly,” she said. “There were just blank stares and no expressions on their faces.” Welcome to hell, as presided over by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This image bears deep reflection. It doesn’t change. Children are taken from their parents, jammed into cages. They have […]

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Trouble at the Border

By Robert C. Koehler Yes, we have a serious problem at the border — indeed, at every border we create and defend with force of arms and bureaucratic indifference. “‘If you want water, just drink from a toilet.’ That’s what border patrol told one thirsty woman we met on today’s #DemsAtTheBorder trip. These are the […]

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American Concentration Camps

By Robert C. Koehler “These aren’t people. These are animals.” These words alone set off the alarm — the fascism alarm, you might say. Donald Trump is by no means the sole source of America’s democracy nosedive, but he’s its current, deeply troubling manifestation. Should I write this week about the wars he wants to […]

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War Begets War . . . and Nothing Else

By Robert C. Koehler Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran . . . Thanks, John McCain! Let’s mix a little humor in with war. It’s so much easier to take when we do. By the way, have you noticed that we’re always on the verge of war? “The bombing will be massive, but will be […]

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The Armed Bureaucracy

By Robert C. Koehler “Sooner or later they end up in a cage, where (they) belong.” This is hardly a surprise: A recent study by the Missouri attorney general’s office shows that black drivers are at least twice as likely — in some towns, much more than that — to be stopped by police as […]

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