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Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is an editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at bkoehler@tribune.com or visit his Web site at commonwonders.com.

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SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, December 14, 2006
Rules of Engagement What illegitimate secrets are hidden behind the word "classified"? Pull back the curtain on this war and you'll find cowards scrambling to cover their asses.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, January 21, 2010
Supremes on Corporate Personhood "The Constitution was written to protect real people,not to give corporations the power to challenge our fundamental rights and enacted laws,"said Price,Alliance for Democracy Co-Chair."With this decision, a business-friendly Supreme Court majority is further eroding the very basis of our democracy by allowing corporate money to dominate the political process.Corporate political speech is louder than that of ordinary persons.
(5 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, September 18, 2008
Goo-Goo America The problems & potential problems with hackable electronic voting machines, sloppy ballot chain-of-custody procedures & other matters related to the voting process itself are enormous & troubling,& I will address them as the election nears.For now,I focus on the basic fact of power.Its tendency to corrupt is known,documented & filed away under "history."┬ŁGoo-Goo America has to rouse itself & rise to the challenges because
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, October 5, 2013
Hope Flows from Hollow Water Residents of Hollow Water tried to save their shattered community. Maybe they wound up saving the world.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, September 21, 2006
Reclaiming Omelas Bush's arrogance is slowly forcing the nation into a moral debate about the paradox at the foundation of its prosperity. Does fear trump empathy? What about the child in the mop closet?
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, June 13, 2010
First, Do No Harm I know nowhere to start except here. And I know of nothing less to reach for than...salvation. I use this language not to promote existing religions, which far too often collude in the problem, but to reach deep into the human core, into the raw material of existence, to find new commonality with one another and to discover new -- or perhaps I mean to rediscover ancient, uncompromised and uncorrupted -- principles to live by.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, October 9, 2008
Brace Yourself Power transfer is no different in a settled democracy than anywhere else.It's as messy,greed-driven & trouble-prone as an unregulated free market.Probably the biggest threat to fair and free elections is our faith-based belief that on this one occasion,when the stakes are highest,no one in America-no one who has power to lose-is going to cheat.This is a fool's mythology.Our future is up for grabs in less than a month.
(16 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, October 11, 2013
A Rationality Shutdown The government's reptile brain remains in full operation. It hasn't shut down war, just compassion and common sense.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, August 23, 2007
The Nanny State As we belittle government we also erode patriotism -- and that's probably a good thing. Humanity is entering its political adolescence.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, April 5, 2007
Devil Weed Bernie Ellis could lose his farm for growing a few pounds of medical marijuana. Welcome to the Bush administration's other bogus war: the war on drugs.
(4 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, October 12, 2006
Naked and Afraid Who are these "experts" who have nothing to say in the wake of every psycho-terrorist rampage in an American school? Why do we pretend not to know what we must do to protect our children? In a heavily armed, fear-ridden society, the greatest fear of all is disarmament.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, November 15, 2013
Reclaiming 'Chiraq' Can Restorative Justice save Chicago? Violence is eating parts of this city alive. The civil rights movement needs to resummon its courage and demand a radically new social structure.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Sorry About That "The Bomber's Dream," a documentary on the history of aerial warfare, tears back the assumptions, paradoxes and good intentions of modern, high-tech war and brings us to the brink of the gaping hole at its center: No one is responsible for what happens.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Green Beacon Welcome to "Solartopia," the world just beyond the horizon, where King CONG and the fossil fuel junkies don't rule, and the great healing has begun.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Ignorant Armies What if we were so serious about peace on earth that we inconvenienced ourselves on its behalf?
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, June 10, 2010
First, Do No Harm The oil that continues to spill into the Gulf is a criis of civilization and implicates all of us. Can we rebuild our world on a foundation of core principles? First, do no harm!
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Smiling Buddha In other words, we're trying to develop usable nuclear weapons. Who's running the show here, Kim Jong Il? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? What the U.S. is up to is, in my opinion, far scarier.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, August 31, 2014
The Courage To Disarm Is anyone healthy enough, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, to be trusted with the use of lethal force?
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, June 8, 2007
The Conscience of Los Alamos "It was once believed that only God can destroy the world."
(5 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, January 9, 2009
Be the Peace Help us live without enemies, oh Lord!
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, July 5, 2007
Gorilla Suit No matter what the Pentagon flaks say afterward, the war on terror can be summed up thus: No civilian shall ever come in the way of America's intention to kill its perceived enemies.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, June 28, 2007
The Violence Interrupters "I was called six times in the last 24 hours. It's July, and this is the killing season."
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Smell of Fear What to do, what to do? Rather than think about changing course, in recognition of the fact that it's losing its base, the Bush adminstation, through calculated and highly sophisticated fear-mongering (no incompetence here), is pushing us deeper into more of the same. If the U.S. Constitution were color-coded, we'd be in code red.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, August 30, 2007
Presence of Mind Self-defense is more about eye contact than firepower. If you've ever defused a threat unarmed, let me know. It's time to disarm the myth of redemptive violence.
(7 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Deep Cry for Integrity $700 billion for the greedy few, a pittance at best for the common good? We won't solve our financial problems at the level of thinking that created them.
(23 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, July 12, 2007
The Secular God To save the wall that separates church from state, we may have to release God from the captivity of religion.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, May 3, 2007
The Crusaders Is it possible that religious zealots, with their contempt for the Constitution and zest for Holy War, are gaining control over the U.S. military? Does God have a nuclear arsenal at His disposal?
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, May 17, 2007
Blair's Law Violence always shows up disguised as a means to an end. When it's your child who's caught in the crossfire, the truth is suddenly apparent.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, September 19, 2013
Building Real Peace Building peace means more than protesting war. Nonviolent Peaceforce shows us how it's done in some of the world's most volatile trouble spots.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Dancing With Fear When chubby 9-year-olds are inspiring the language of Guadalcanal and 9/11, maybe as a nation it's time to rethink our rhetorical default settings.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Hold the Mushrooms Divine Strake, the big simulated nuclear blast the DoD wanted to set off at the Nevada Test Site, raised the specter of hell for local Downwinders and they raised hell to oppose it. This just in: The little guys won.
SHARE More Sharing        Friday, August 1, 2008
Citizens of the World The surge of history Obama's run for the presidency summons contradicts the petty, short-sighted politics he occasionally plays.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, April 12, 2007
Thwarted Warrior Why are so many GIs coming home sick? Could depleted uranium munitions have anything to do with it? The VA scandal is a minor part of the environmental havoc we're wreaking.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, August 16, 2007
Creative Destruction Our only hope is to remember not just the horrors of the neocons' war in Iraq but the ironies. Bush's "war on terror" is a terrorist's best friend.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, February 7, 2007
A World That Works for Everybody The creation of a Department of Peace would be no means extricate us from our dilemma, but it would signal our collective interest in making a start.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Electronic Treason Let's connect a few dots, OK? E-voting machines are easily rigged, the results of some of the congressional races last month look highly suspicious, and the national exit poll results are wrong again ... those machines must really hate democracy!
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, August 2, 2007
Mission Gone Bad The media are beginning their phased withdrawal from Iraq. They're hoping the lie of U.S. good intentions can be salvaged intact.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, June 27, 2008
An Urgency of Joy The culture of war gets what it wants. What it fears most is disarmament and the burgeoning forces of peace.
(4 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, October 19, 2006
A Few Corpses Past 'Whatever' A study in The Lancet puts the death toll in the Iraq war at "worse than Saddam" levels. The first conclusion we must draw is that nationalism and the pursuit of national self-interest are hellishly obsolete.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, August 9, 2007
Disciples of Yossarian Relax! Barack Obama would only target non-civilians with nuclear weapons. This is why we need a Democrat in office.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, May 10, 2007
Rescuing the Democrats The moms of the world are getting tired of the politicians who feed their children into the maw of war. They're angry and organized! Woe be unto Democrats who fail to take them seriously.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, April 19, 2007
Season of Grief Let's get clear about the questions raised by the Virginia Tech horror before we start demanding answers.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The Cry of Our Inner Gandhi A lot of Americans are aching to do something with their lives that matters. Working to establish a Department of Peace may be just the ticket. The entreched and powerful are scared of it.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"Un-Inventing' Nukes Temporary necessity is the fallback justification for every initiative that pushes against conscience and sanity, however permanent the ramifications.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, September 28, 2006
'This Cannot Be' Judge Bedford's anger and incredulity still reverberate. The Republicans are rolling back the civil rights movement.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Mission Accomplished Four years into the Big Mistake, we're poised to do it again, and probably -- in a generation, in 10 years, before the next election -- we will. The American gun is cocked.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, September 6, 2007
The Prerequisite for Salvation Over and over again, we mobilize ourselves around the illusion of consequence-free, violent eradication of threats and annoyances, and in the process run roughshod over a more complex view of human interaction and effective problem-solving. True self-defense begins with eye contact.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Stale Glory After 25 years, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is closer to the American heart than any other monument. Its purpose is to heal a wound, not celebrate a war, and it has become sacred space. It also opens up the possibility of a future that transcends war.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Heaven Waited I edited Art Buchwald's column for the last six years of his life, which gave me a front row seat for viewing his miracle year, when he became "the man who wouldn't die" -- until last week. So long, Art.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 31, 2007
A New Manifest Destiny What's missing is a coherent, sustaining vision of who we are, something that ignites our passion and self-interest, but isn't based on greed and conquest -- and isn't, at its core, irrational
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, June 24, 2006
Shushing Big Money; Ending Corporate Personhood corporate personhood is an abomination. Humboldt county just got rid of it.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, November 24, 2006
The Peace Majority How can a few city council resolutions stand against the tide of war? What chance does a Department of Peace have to be implemented? About the same chance the human race has to survive the 21st century.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, January 11, 2007
A Different Story If the truth about war is fated always to be tangled in secrecy, how can we ever become less stupid in our assessment of the new one on the horizon? What the Middle East needs instead is something like South Africa's Truth Commission, which investigated not merely the crimes of the agents of apartheid but the brutalities of the African National Congress as well, with an eye far less to punish than to understand.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, July 19, 2007
Homeland Conspiracy National coherence takes more than hymns and hoopla. Only a good dose of fear will get us to stand up and salute. We've always been at threat level orange.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Hemorrhaging Nirvana You want a tour of the human brain? You probably can't do better than Jill Taylor's "My Stroke of Insight," which courageously opens the door to the mysteries of the brain's right hemisphere, and the vast peace it harbors.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Symbolsim and Duct Tape How come recruitment video games don't have names like "Friendly Fire" and "Rape"?
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Semper Why? Part of the toxic waste of war embeds itself in the emotions and the soul of the combatants. That Guantanamo energy, that gusto to terrorize helpless detainees, to humiliate unarmed civilians, isn't so easily contained, and begins corrupting the whole system. When a designated enemy isn't available, anyone - a new recruit, say - will do.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, July 26, 2007
Caged Priest The growth of the Prison Industrial Complex is fueled by its own ineffectiveness at curbing crime. When it comes to making matters worse, it could be a model for Bush's war on terror.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The Vote Protectors In the midst of the chaos, dirty tricks and possible fraud, a principle emerged from the 2006 election that will be our salvation: The fairness of the election is more important than the results.
SHARE More Sharing        Friday, September 15, 2006
THE WORST OF THE WORST Holding innocent prisoners indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere is a grotesque violation of the true spirit of 9/11.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Count the Quagmires To be constantly prepared for war -- to be a superpower -- means that no cost is too great for the latest weapons system, but almost any cost is too great for the care of the wounded.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Blood Fatigue U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel's reprised proposal to reinstate the draft is a deliciously terrible idea that forces the nation's hypocrisy out into the open. Why shouldn't kids from gated communities be radiation guinea pigs or rapists' fodder?
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, November 8, 2006
The Drama of Empty Numbers There are reasons to be joyous about the midterm election results, but the celebration should be brief and tentative. We haven't quite reclaimed the country yet, or restored democracy's integrity.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Live Spring A 5-year-old's curiosity is a wonder to behold -- more than a wonder if you haven't had your coffee yet, or if you're trying to get last-minute Christmas shopping done at Target and your son says he wants to die right now so he can meet God.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Celebrity Carnage With Saddam's execution, the war's supporters got one last swig of moral clarity -- at about a trillion dollars a shot. Media coverage politely omitted U.S. complicity in the Butcher's rise as well as his fall.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, October 5, 2006
The Headless Crisis We can't count on being rescued from the predations of the Bush administration by the Mark Foley scandal. Ensuring a fair election in 2006 and defeating the Party of Torture and Hypocrisy will require an unprecedented degree of citizen participation.

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