Robert C. Koehler

Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

Articles by this author

 The headsets, known as the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, are a way to “increase lethality” when the military engages the enemy. (Photo: Penn Libraries-TRL/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Artificial Morality
Artificial Intelligence is one thing. Artificial morality is another. It may sound something like this: “First, we believe in the strong defense of the United States and we want the people who defend it to have access to the nation’s best technology, including from Microsoft.” The words are those...
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“Humans might be the first species to knowingly choose self-extinction.” (Photo: Kevin Gill/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, March 07, 2019
Re-Inhabiting Planet Earth
“I believe that for a moment I thought the explosion might set fire to the atmosphere and thus finish the Earth, even though I knew that this was not possible.” These words of Manhattan Project physicist Emilio Segre , quoted by Richard Rhodes in his book The Making of the Atomic Bomb , refer to...
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I am torn apart by the suffering of refugees and the bombastic manipulation of politicians, who try to turn the planet’s most vulnerable into national enemies.(Photo: Sam Boal/The Journal) Views
Thursday, February 28, 2019
The Squirming Buddha
The world hemorrhages. Refugees flow from its wounds. Is there a way to be innocent of this? People are washed ashore. They die of suffocation in humanity-stuffed trucks. They flee war and politics; they flee starvation. And finally, we don’t even have sufficient air for them to breathe. For words...
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“I’ve been trying to come up with an idea to solve America’s race problem for over 25 years,” he told me. “Could I use what I learned in advertising?”  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Are You Black, White or Human?
Some of my best friends are colored. All of them are, actually. And so I introduce you to Lowell Thompson , artist — indeed, psycho-realist, as he calls himself — recovering ad man and “colored person.” He’s also, you might say, the king of irreverence and political incorrectness, but this is only...
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Saturday, February 16, 2019
The Music That's In All of Us
And suddenly the music burst through the borders. This was in May of 1999, in a city in the Netherlands called Alkmaar. Laura Hassler, an American woman who had been living in the Netherlands for many years by then — who was a choir director and, in essence, the “town musician,” the organizer of...
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A singing-and-dancing white man with his face blackened by burnt cork was at the center of what was once the country’s most popular form of entertainment: the minstrel show. (Photo: Eastern Virginia Medical School) Views
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Jim Crow Jumps into the Game
History in blackface slaps the present moment awake. What? The governor put that picture on his yearbook page? In 1984? The wave of outrage, the demand for his resignation — from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s own party, the Democrats — can’t be dismissed with a shrug and an apology. His career may...
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It’s also a brilliant way to marginalize the proponents of disarmament and keep the cash flowing endlessly to the military industrialists of the world. Even though nukes must never be used, we have to keep upgrading our stash. (Photo: Devin/Flickr/cc) Views
Friday, February 01, 2019
Disarmament, Not Low-Yield Nukes
Seven-plus decades ago, as humanity was ensnarled in a monstrous world war, its instinct to win — to dominate others above all else — achieved ultimate manifestation: the capacity to annihilate all life on Planet Earth. Nuclear weapons are, you might say, the logical outcome of the 10,000-year...
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He stands beyond the walls we build, embracing the children on either side. (Photo: Tony Spina / Detroit Free Press) Views
Friday, January 25, 2019
King’s Vision Is Still Defiant
Mike Pence, in his attempt the other day to commandeer the spirit of Martin Luther King to shill for his boss’s agenda, unintentionally did so much more. He brought the enormity of King’s vision back into national awareness, where it shattered the Trump Wall of Fear just as resoundingly as it...
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 While borders, just as any lines of definition, have a purpose, I fear that purpose is trivialized, mocked and ultimately obliterated by their militarized overprotection, which comes at a cost that we pay and a cost that we do not pay. (Photo: Reuters) Views
Thursday, January 17, 2019
What About Open Borders?
There are things that go unquestioned in the national discussion. Because this is a country wrapped in fear and self-importance, the basic, unchallenged premise determining how we behave, how we spend our money, is that we need to protect ourselves . . . from The Enemy. There’s always an enemy...
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The Green New Deal resonates with awareness and awakened conscience, with transcendent vision and, hallelujah, youthful determination. (Photo: Archive / History Channel) Views
Thursday, January 10, 2019
A Green Future Is One Without War
Donald Trump and his base — the leftover scraps of Jim Crow, the broken shards of racist hatred that once were the American mainstream and made the country seem “great” to those who weren’t its victims — have, it appears, a crucial role to play in our future. President Trump is the increasingly...
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