Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Last Post

Dear Friends and Readers

After 9 years of posting to the the Ruth Group blog, during trying times and trying to change the times, it is time for me to move on.

Since Feb of 2003 when I started, a month before the Bush invasion of Iraq, I’ve posted over 13,000 articles, pointers, links, commentaries and howls.   Bob Zuber, while he was with us, contributed over 6,500 posts from the news of mid-city America. Others have contributed points of view, news of events and most importantly kept readers in touch with Ruth Group projects, such as helping to fund Soldiers of Conscience, and bringing a young Iraqi boy to California to restore his hearing, lost in a US bombing attack.

It’s a good record, even if the blog never grew to be the community gathering place I’d hoped it might become.

Since those early months, when “blogging” was  little known and certainly not a phenomenon, many many new news and opinion sites have appeared on the Internet.   We users have incorporated our information gathering and discussions with such sites.  Major news corporations have had to include websites and blogs as part of their offerings.  Many new and interesting voices have found a home without needing investments of capital or phalanxes of editors deciding what is “news.”  We are all richer for it, if sometimes, overwhelmed.

Some of my regular favorite are:  Glenn Greenwald, Hullabaloo, War in Context, Tom Dispatch, Juan Cole and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now.  Common Dreams and Alternet continue to pull together articles from many sources.    I love to make regular drive-bys to English language news sites in Pakistan, India, Germany, France,  Greece, Turkey and others.  Perhaps the most important places to remember are those of vitally important public interest groups like CREW and OpenSecrets and human rights organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.  With new people and organizations starting blogs everyday, this far from exhausts the sites that should be at our fingertips — to learn from, to join in actions, and to support.

The most important climate change sites are and

Some, like Huffington Post have turned disappointing….

I will continue to post at my own site, All In One Boat, where I have concentrated on longer-form writing, book and movie reviews, stories, translations and poems.

I’ve also just started The Last Dog Watch, where I can post news and current events I just can’t ignore.  Even though part of my reason for stopping here is  to allow time for long postponed interests to gestate and come to fruition I’ve already found that it isn’t in the nature of this beast to not look, or to ignore what is going on.    I don’t know how regularly I’ll post, but it will serve at least as someplace for me to go to shout some news, holler about egregious or dangerous behavior from the powerful, or simply to flag events that seem to me to be of significance outside my own small pond.

This site,, will be left up as an archive.

All the best, and as everybody’s hero, Albert Einstein told us

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. 

Will Kirkland

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/26/2012 @ 7:54:21 PM in FrontPage

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hari Kunzru in Berkeley, Tuesday 13 March 2012 @ 7:30 P.M.


KPFA Radio 94.1FM presents:

An Evening with HARI KUNZRU


Hosted by Richard Wolinsky

Tuesday, 13 March @ 7:30 P.M.

Hillside Club

2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley

$12 advance tickets: :: 800.838.3006

or: Pegasus Books (3 locations), Mrs. Dalloway’s, Moe’s Books, Walden Pond,

DIESEL, A Bookstore, in SF – Modern Times Bookstore ($15 door)

In the desert, you see, there is everything and nothing . . . It is God without men.
Honoré de Balzac, Une passion dans le désert, 1830

Driven by the energy and cunning of Coyote, the mythic, shape-shifting trickster, Gods Without Men is full of big ideas, yet centered on flesh- and-blood characters who converge in the desert. Viscerally gripping and intellectually engaging, it is above all a hearfelt exploration of the search for pattern and meaning in a chaotic universe.

Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, and My Revolutions, and is the recipient of the Somerset Maugham Award, the Betty Trask Prize from the Society of Authors, a British Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Granta has named him one of its twenty best young British novelists, and he was a Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. His work has been translated into twenty-one languages, and his short stories and journalism have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, Wired, and the New Statesman. He lives in New York City.

In 2010 Kunzru was the keynote speaker at the European Writers Parliament in Istanbul. He currently lives in New York City.

“Gods Without Men is a dazed, erudite and unforgettable novel.”

David Mitchell, author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas.

Richard Wolinsky co-hosted and produced ‘Probabilities” and then “Cover to Cover” on KPFA-FM from 1977 to early 2002. His current program of literary interviews, “Bookwaves,” is broadcast Thursday afternoons at 3 pm.

KPFA benefit



Monday, February 20, 2012

Michio Kaku in Berkeley TONIGHT! 23 February 2012 @7:30 P.M.


“Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives By the Year 2100″

Hosted by Philip Maldari

Thursday, February 23, 7:30 P.M.

First Congregational Church

2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

$12 advance tickets:  t: 800.838.3006
 or: Pegasus Books (3 locations), Mrs. Dalloway’s, Moe’s Books,
Walden Pond, DIESEL, A Bookstore, in SF – Modern Times
Bookstore  ($15 door)

“With his lucid and wry style, his knack for bringing the most ethereal ideas down to earth, and his willingness to indulge in a little scientifically informed futurology now and then, Michio Kaku has written one of the very best accounts of higher physics.”  - Wall Street Journal

In “Physics of the Future”, Michio Kaku The New York Times bestselling author of “Physics of the Impossible”  gives us a stunning, provocative, and exhilarating vision of the coming century based on interviews with over three hundred of the world’s top scientists, who are already inventing the future in their labs. The result is the most authoritative and scientifically accurate description of the revolutionary developments taking place in medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy production, and astronautics.

“Mesmerizing, the reader exits dizzy, elated, and looking at the world in a literally revolutionary way.”

- Washington Post Book World

Kaku also discusses emotional robots, molecular medicine in which scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life forms. He considers the development of the world economy and addresses key questions: Who will be the winners and losers of the future? Which nations will prosper? Synthesizing a vast amount of information to construct an exciting look at the years leading up to 2100, “Physics of the Future” is a thrilling, wondrous ride through the next 100 years of astonishing scientific revolution.

Michio Kaku is a professor of physics at the CUNY Graduate Center, cofounder of string field theory, author of several widely acclaimed science books, and has a Science Channel show and two radio programs, including “Explorations”.   

Philip Maldari, a veteran broadcast journalist on KPFA, is currently host of the “Sunday Show”.

KPFA benefit

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Terror Attack against Israelis in India Work of Iran? Not So Fast

Juan Cole bring his informed opinion to bear on today’ headline story about car-bomb attacks against Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia.  The morning news showed Benjamin Netanyahu stating with certainty the hand of Iran was responsible, and that vengeance would be forthcoming.

Cole says:

Indian Investigators do not Suspect Iran in Israel Embassy Blast

there is no evidence for this cynical allegation, which makes no sense. India is Iran’s economic lifeline, and Tehran would not likely risk such an operation at this time.

India gets 12% of its oil from Iran and sees an $8 billion annual export opportunity in filling the trade vacuum left by unilateral US and European boycotts of Iran. Contrary to a bad Reuters article, Indian officials denied Tuesday that the bombing would affect trade ties. (Logical because no evidence points to Iran.)

Indian investigators are first rate. Based on the modus operandi, their initial thesis is that the attack was the work of the “Indian Mujahidin” group. It had used a similar remote controlled sticky bomb, placed by a motorcyclist, in an attack on Taiwanese tourists outside the Jama Masjid cathedral mosque in 2010. IM is a Sunni group, not connected to Iran, and doesn’t like Shiite Muslims (Iranians are Shiites). IM like other Sunni radicals support the Palestinians and they are unhappy with increasingly close ties between India and Israel.

American media that just parrot notorious thug, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in this unlikely allegation are allowing themselves to be used for propaganda. Why not interview Indian authorities on this matter? They are on the ground and have excellent forensic (“CSI”) abilities. Stop being so lazy and blinkered; that isn’t journalism.

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/14/2012 @ 9:38:02 AM in Terrorism
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Revisionist Imperative: Andrew J Bacevich

“With the possible exception of Israel, the United States is the only developed and democratic nation in which a belief in war’s efficacy continues to enjoy widespread acceptance.  Others, the citizens of Great Britain and France,  of  Germany and Japan took from the 20th century a different lesson.  War devastates.  It impoverishes.  It coarsens.  Even when seemingly necessary or justified, it entails brutality, barbarism, and loss of innocence.  To choose war is to lead into the dark …


Americans persist in believing otherwise..


Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/7/2012 @ 10:04:50 PM in War
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Truth, lies and Afghanistan

In the Armed Forces Journal no less…

How military leaders have let us down

I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.


More on Davis in the NY Times

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/7/2012 @ 9:40:20 PM in Asia | War
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Eastern Tibet under lockdown following self-immolation of three Tibetan herders

“The Serthar area of eastern Tibet remains under tight lockdown after three Tibetan herders, including a 60-year old man, set themselves on fire on Friday (February 3). This brings the total number of self-immolations by Tibetans in Tibet since February 2009 to 20.

The three self-immolations by Tibetan herders are the first by laypeople in Tibetan areas – the 17 Tibetans who self-immolated since February 27, 2009, have been mainly monks or former monks, and include two nuns. (ICT self-immolation fact sheet). The Tibetans who set fire to themselves in Serthar are also older than most others who have self-immolated, with one of them being 60 years old. Most of the self-immolations have been carried out by Tibetans in their late teens and early twenties, with the exception of Lama Sobha, the first reincarnate Tibetan religious figure to self-immolate and CampaignForTibet.

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/7/2012 @ 9:33:45 PM in Asia | Religion
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Greece: Anti-Austerity Anger

From Link TV


Protests have erupted in the Greek capital with thousands of people joining strike action over the prospect of more budget cuts. Unions say the economy is being driven downwards by the government. Greece’s EU partners are also frustrated but they blame the government’s failure to implement reforms. Despite all night talks with the “troika” of lenders, the EU, IMF, and the ECB, Greece’s Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said more time is needed to agree on the right package.

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/7/2012 @ 8:49:41 PM in Economy
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Focus on French Economy Fuels Gains by Far Right

“This small city in northern France has few immigrants and little crime. But in the last local elections here, the candidate of the far-right National Front eliminated the standard-bearer of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party in the first round of voting and then won 30.2 percent of the vote in the runoff, losing to a Socialist.

With the presidential election less than three months away, Mr. Sarkozy’s party fears the same results on a national scale. The president is facing strong competition on the right from the National Front and its leader, Marine Le Pen, and his party is worried that she may eliminate the sitting president in the first round of voting on April 22.

What is most striking is how well she and the party are doing not only in the south of France, where immigration and radical Islam are traditional issues, but here in the post-industrial north, where the issues are more economic: unemployment, factory closings, competition from inside the enlarged European Union, from Poland and Slovakia, and from outside, particularly China.”


NY Times

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/7/2012 @ 7:13:40 PM in Europe
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Radical Islam in the U.S? Not So Much

“A feared wave of homegrown terrorism by radicalized Muslim Americans has not materialized, with plots and arrests dropping sharply over the two years since an unusual peak in 2009, according to a new study by a North Carolina research group.

The study, to be released on Wednesday, found that 20 Muslim Americans were charged in violent plots or attacks in 2011, down from 26 in 2010 and a spike of 47 in 2009.

Charles Kurzman, the author of the report for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, called terrorism by Muslim Americans “a minuscule threat to public safety.” Of about 14,000 murders in the United States last year, not a single one resulted from Islamic extremism, said Mr. Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina.”


NY Times

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/7/2012 @ 7:06:55 PM in Terrorism
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Ron Paul Supporters Hacked: Not Pretty

Several sites have picked up on claims by Anonymous that it has hacked into American Third Position (A3P) and discovered a trove of data linking Ron Paul with members of A3P and the Board of Directors, as well as Nick Griffin of the British National Party.

International Business Times was the first to report, but it has been followed by Little Green Footballs, a formerly dependable right-wing site (now not so much,) which  calls A3P  “racist Neanderthals,” and Pensito Review.

Paul’s campaign denies any connection with A3P.

I can’t find any of the actual “dump,” from Anonymous, just their statement about what it found, and a list of racist sites it  claims to have defaced.   Release them, please.  We’d like to see.

The New Republic in its January 17, 2012 edition posted a long article detailing the articles that appeared under Ron Paul’s name in his newsletter Survival Report, in the 1990s — most of which Paul has recently claimed were not actually his thoughts. Yes, of course, people do change their minds over matters as serious as these.  To be convinced of a change, however, ownership of both before and after has to be acknowledged.

From left, Paul at the 2007 Values Voters debate with Don Black, of the neo-Nazi web site Stormfront, and his son, Derek Black

Posted by Will Kirkland on 02/3/2012 @ 12:21:47 PM in Politics | Race
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Loud Mouth Braggart Watch

I for one can’t watch the Repugnant Debates.  I have to depend on others to give me the details textually so I can skip and skim. Newtie, as usual, slung his tongue around without much relation to the facts of his own life, or that of others.

In Monday night’s debate, Gingrich characterized the end of his Congressional career after the 1998 midterms as wholly volitional, making his exit sound like a self-sacrificing blaze of glory rather than the acrimonious firestorm it was.

With Gingrich, the distance between reality and rhetoric isn’t shrinking but growing, and the incongruities mount. He has lately fallen in love with his rants against “the elites,” and casts himself as their most determined foe, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a definition of elite that doesn’t include him.

Frank Bruni in the NY Times

I’m with Bruni is his caution to those Dems who think Newt would be the easiest for Obama to wallop.  Sanity would suggest so, however the American people gave W Bush a second term despite knowing what he had given us in the first four years.

In a country which celebrates loud-mouthed braggarts it isn’t a given that one wouldn’t be elected in a kind of American Idol p0erversion of the thoughtful consideration of men and matters the forefathers imagined.

The lead editorial in the NY Times reminds us, as does Bruni, that the Gingrich contempt for the “elites” must surely be self contempt.

Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina turned on an almost comically broad deception, an inversion of the truth in which the insider whose personal wealth and political experience are entirely creations of Washington becomes the anti-establishment candidate. That it worked speaks poorly of voters who let themselves be manipulated by the lowest form of campaigning, appealing to their anger and prejudices.

Posted by Will Kirkland on 01/24/2012 @ 10:56:19 AM in Politics | Republicans
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