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Commander in Chief

By Robert Koehler Maybe it’s the phrase — “commander in chief” — that best captures the transcendent absurdity and unaddressed horrors of the 2016 election season and the business as usual that will follow. I don’t want to elect anyone commander in chief: not the xenophobic misogynist and egomaniac, not the Henry Kissinger acolyte and […] more

Nuclear Standoff

By Robert C. Koehler Values the size of Planet Earth are at stake, as the American presidential election grows ever smaller, ever pettier, ever more certain that rancor triumphs over relevance. Can you imagine, let us say, an issue the size of global nuclear disarmament emerging in this race, somewhere between the groper tapes and […] more

The Politics of Fear

By Robert C. Koehler “This politics of fear has actually delivered everything we were afraid of.” Well, OK, let’s think about these words of Jill Stein for a moment, as the 2016 presidential race enters, oh Lord, its final month — and the possibility still looms that this country could elect a hybrid of Benito […] more

The Debate: They Both Bombed It

By Robert C. Koehler Painful, stupid, trite . . . America! There was more than one loser in the big debate, but that’s no surprise. I hardly expected any issues of substance to get serious air time, let alone intelligent commentary, in Monday’s 90-minute presidential race spectacle, but something — something — matters here enormously. […] more

Stop the Killing

Maybe half a million dead, half a country — 10 million people — displaced from their homes, jettisoned onto the mercy of the world.

Welcome to war. Welcome to Syria. more

The Future Cries Out: ‘Water Is Life’

The dogs growl, the pepper spray bites, the bulldozers tear up the soil.

“Water is life!” they cry. “Water is life!”

This isn’t Flint, Michigan, but I feel the presence of its suffering in this cry of outrage at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. No more, no more. You will not poison our water or continue ravaging Planet Earth: mocking its sacredness, destroying its eco-diversity, reshaping and slowly killing it for profit. more

War vs. Democracy

The paradox of democracy is that it depends on the integrity of those who have the most to lose if an election goes the wrong way — you know, the people in power.

That’s a particularly thorny dilemma when the “fourth estate” — the speakers of truth to power, the public’s counterforce against political hackdom — are basically corporate wimps who view their job as the voice of public relations for the status quo, the defenders of our conventional beliefs, e.g., that God’s in his heaven and America is the world’s oldest, greatest, most secure democracy. more

Reflections on the Anthropocene

“However these debates will unfold, the Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of both humankind and of the Earth, when natural forces and human forces became intertwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other. Geologically, this is a remarkable episode in the history of this planet.”

This is a little too big to simply call “news.” Indeed, I can’t move beyond these words — especially that heart-stopper, “intertwined” — until I’m able to summon sufficient inner quiet and humility. Geologically, the paradigm has already shifted. How about spiritually? more

The Heart of Order

By Robert C. Koehler He’d left the water running, flooding neighbors’ apartments. He’d been running around outside naked. By the time police arrived, he was standing in the window of his fourth-floor apartment on Farwell Avenue — a few blocks from where I live in the diverse, unpredictable Chicago neighborhood called Rogers Park — threatening […] more

Beyond Winning and Losing

It’s the smallest thing in the world. Does the tennis ball land inside the line or outside? But somehow, as I watched this 60-second YouTube clip of an Australian tennis match last January, and heard an explosion of joyous approval surge from the crowd, I could feel the planet shift.

Or at least it seemed that way for an instant. more