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War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell

By Robert C. Koehler It’s so easy to paper over the real American security void with verbiage about strength vs. weakness and the endless need to upgrade the military. Here’s Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, for instance, quoted the other day in The Guardian: “It is incumbent upon us to field a more lethal force […]

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The Other Superpower?

By Robert C. Koehler “I’m so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I’m so moved by what’s going on in our world today.” This was 2003. The words were those of Robert Muller — the other one, the one from Costa Rica, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations […]

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Yemen’s Crisis Belongs to All of Us

By Robert C. Koehler What’s a little cholera — excuse me, the worst outbreak of this preventable disease in modern history — compared to the needs of a smoothly functioning economy? A week before he was kicked out of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet for allegedly having watched pornography on his government computer, former […]

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Governing by Scapegoat

By Robert C. Koehler Got a problem? Simplify and project. When you have a country to govern and you have no idea what to do — and, even more to the core of the matter, you also have a crony-agenda you want to push quietly past the populace — there’s a time-proven technique that generally […]

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The Wisdom of Mass Salvation

By Robert C. Koehler Incoming! Incoming! Uh . . . pardon me while I interrupt this false alarm to quote Martin Luther King: “Science investigates,” he says in The Strength To Love, “religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals […]

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The Sanctity of Life

By Robert C. Koehler Breathe deeply, suck in your fear, value life. Some psycho-pranksters have made this national conversation unavoidable. The game is called “swatting”: Call the cops, report a terrifying emergency — “they’re holding my mother hostage!” — and wait for the fun to start. A SWAT team swings into action. Police surround a […]

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The Button, the Wall and the Myth of Nations

By Robert C. Koehler “Mr. Kim may be partly motivated by an intense need to roll back sanctions that, by all accounts, have begun to bite.” Whoa and ouch. This was my wakeup paragraph. I was sitting at Starbucks, reading the New York Times, feeling confusing old emotions wash over me on the first day […]

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Turning Perpetrators into Healers

By Robert C. Koehler Al Franken the serial groper. Al Franken the scapegoat. History proceeds clumsily. Innocent people — or “innocently guilty” people, like the junior senator from Minnesota — often get unfairly hung out to dry. Should he have to resign? As far as I can tell, his alleged sexual wrongdoings over the years […]

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Peace on the Far Side of Nuclear Weapons

By Robert C. Koehler “. . . real security can only be shared . . .” I call it news in a cage: the fact that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. In other words, how nice, but it has nothing to do with the real […]

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Rebuilding Jim Crow Nation

By Robert C. Koehler Dred Scott lives! With the Supreme Court’s declaration that President Trump’s third version of a Muslim travel ban is now enforceable, even as legal challenges against it proceed, the court and the country reopen the racism that permeates American history. “The question is simply this: Can a negro, whose ancestors were […]

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