What are you reading? Political Books

We were talking about this yesterday, the UBI part anyway.

It’s a good read. He’s funny and swings a data based bat. I was not a fan of his Social Credit thing, as I felt I personally would not be interested in how society saw/judged me.

Was looking for Gabbard’s book yesterday and ended up getting Mad Dog’s. Skipped to part three, the CENTCOM years. He was not a fan of Obama telegraphing the Allied intentions a year and a half in advance. Not a fan of Pakistan’s duplicity. Saw Iraq’s Maliki as weak and knew he’d screw the Sunnis. Jordan is a bad ass country. What they did in Afghanistan is practically unknown in the US.

Some very good leadership nuggets:
No such thing as a crowded battlefield.
The tougher the situation, the calmer one needs to be.
On the job, your problems ARE my problems.
Silence doesn’t imply agreement.


Couple of articles here that reminded me of something Mattis wrote about Exit Strategies.

He was naught a fan of Exit Strategies.

For (A response to the Against article.):

I just finished Wild Ginger by Anchee Min. Dark as hell, but moving. It’s about Mao’s Cultural Revolution, in case you want some nice historical political fiction. :slight_smile: The author lived through the revolution herself, was part of the red guard as a teen, but was sent to a labor camp. Just knowing this makes the novel even more emotional to me.

Exposes the blatant hypocrisy of evangelical Christians in fighting for religious liberty.

Written by a Pakistani-American lawyer who has fought alongside Christians on the battle for religious liberty.

1 Like


An interview with Min. Speaks like a performance art piece. It’s cool, but weird and draws one innnnnnn.

1 Like


This book by Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard. Among the stories is one about Avigdor Feldman, who sued to make the Israeli Supreme Court decide on the illegal settlements in the West Bank.

If the Israeli SC ruled against the settlements, then that would stifle settlement activity, but they would face backlash from Israeli’s religious right wing, who believed God gave them that land according to the Bible. If they ruled in favor of the settlements, Sfard said, then the SC would become a laughingstock in the international legal community because those settlements are clearly against international law.

Between a rock and a hard place, the SC had know choice but to declare the settlements non-justiciable and let them proceed without a ruling.

Yet the SC spent their political capital defending Israel’s secular, upper-middle class’s right to watch movies on the Sabbath and eat non-kosher food, instead of defending Palestinians.

Did they have to make that verdict up or had it been used before?

I’m pretty sure it means they’re not making a ruling. I’ve never heard that word until reading the book.

Seems like they just got stuck between reality and the ideological buy in and decided upon:


…and people went for it?


An old one but so far interesting on how successive administrations supported involvement based on promises that the government forces would respect human rights. TLDR: promises continually broken after they had the money in hand.

1 Like

Wow, that paperback is going for $50. Intriguing. I’ll check the library.

That’s where I found it. You can also check to see if your library is part of Overdrive. I’ve found some ebooks and audiobooks that way when there was no paper copy available.

1 Like

I’m going to plug Jim Mattis’ book again.


Only because it make him sound like a sleeper cell candidate. His networking in the government and overseas is vaaaaaaaaast. He may be the one who helps put us back together after all current shitnado blows through.

This seems to back up what Mattis spoke of in his book. Part of the Marines intent, especially on the battlefield, was also to do this:

“We have to think about ways to complicate their thinking, make them uncertain, make them doubt their capabilities,” Modly said. “That’s the full spectrum.”

In the first Iraq war, it took the form of 30 straight days of bombing.

1 Like

MOre from Mattis:

I read this a year or two ago.

Good to know others are seeing what I see. Over empathising is not helpful:

The study had two parts. In the first part, Americans who scored high on an empathy scale showed higher levels of “affective polarization”—defined as the difference between the favorability rating they gave their political party and the rating they gave the opposing party. In the second part, undergraduates were shown a news story about a controversial speaker from the opposing party visiting a college campus. Students who had scored higher on the empathy scale were more likely to applaud efforts to deny the speaker a platform.

It gets worse. These high-empathy students were also more likely to be amused by reports that students protesting the speech had injured a bystander sympathetic to the speaker. That’s right: According to this study, people prone to empathy are prone to schadenfreude.

This study is urgently important—though not because it’s a paradigm shifter, shedding radically new light on our predicament. As the authors note, their findings are in many ways consistent with conclusions reached by other scholars in recent years. But the view of empathy that’s emerging from this growing body of work hasn’t much trickled down to the public. And public understanding of it may be critical to shifting America’s political polarization into reverse somewhere between here and the abyss.

It might help if we all learned to be less blindly obedient to the various feelings—including the beautiful, affiliative ones—that push and pull us through life. In the book Against Empathy , Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, after documenting various ways empathy can lead us astray, recommends “rational compassion”—a thoughtful, reflective deployment of affiliative feelings guided by well-informed skepticism about more instinctive patterns of deployment.

Unfortunately, this is super hard. It’s one thing to absorb all the evidence that human beings are less good than they think. It’s another thing—given the natural penchant for self-delusion that Alexander and others have emphasized—to really reckon with the fact that you’re one of these human beings. In one study, after experimenters informed people of various cognitive biases—like our tendency to claim lots of responsibility for successes and little for failures—the average person said they were less prone to these biases than the average person. Not a promising start.

Everything we need to know about empathy in one number:

he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships.[

Right, and that’s the average. So my four might be on the bell end. :roll::whistle: