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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Comic Relief

Robin Williams: Visionary

by LEE BALLINGER

As a combat veteran who once was homeless, there are two things that stand out in my mind about the long and winding career of Robin Williams.

First is the movie Good Morning, Vietnam. I actually served in Vietnam at the time that Williams’ character, Adrian Cronauer, was broadcasting music and sly jibes at the Vietnam War. But for whatever reason, I never heard him until the film, whose celebration of music and camaraderie, whose awkward attempts to depict awkward attempts at friendship with the Vietnamese, still resonate with me today.

Second is Robin Williams key role in Comic Relief, the series of televised benefits for the homeless which began its twenty-plus year run in 1986. Comic Relief was, to be sure, charity and not change, but it was also a loud cry against the crime of homelessness in the richest nation on earth and at times it offered profound social commentary.

Robin Williams left us too soon but it is not too late to realize his vision of a world of peace where everyone has a place to live. The future is up to us.

Lee Ballinger co-edits Rock and Rap Confidential and writes about music and politics for CounterPunch.