The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier by Imtiaz Gul. Book about the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, which are heavily used by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. It's a fairly short book which goes through the problems of the regions.
Dominated by tribes, the government exerts its power through old Colonial era power structures, where central governments have near dictatorial powers. This often spurs resentment and resistance, in particular when corruption is involved. For a long time, the Pakistani security services encouraged the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups, who also had some influence over them. In recent years, as terrorists have started attacking civilian society and the military in Pakistan, the security services seem to have started genuine efforts to defeat them.
The book has quite a lot of detail about the various groups involved: the different tribes and regions; the different security services; the different terrorist groups. However I have to admit I forgot almost all of it pretty much as soon as I'd read it. The book does tend to be a bit dry: there's lots of abstract information, but not much sense of what it's actually like to live there in a pincer between drone strikes and the military on one hand, and fanatics on the other.
Overall: informative, but a bit dry and specialized.
What I'm Watching
Saw Deadpool on disk. Good Marvel movie, less serious a more racy than most, with lots of fourth wall breaking, wisecracking, and violence. Enjoyed it a lot. For people bothered by the complexity of the Marvel universe, it's pretty standalone and you don't need to have watched any of the others. Well worth seeing.
Socioeconomics. Half of working Britain has seen no rise in living standards since early 2000s. Video of how people react to a child alone if they look rich or poor. 787: the plane Milton Friedman built: "unallocated costs... flow towards the party with the least clearly defined role." We can and should have a moratorium on trade agreements. Nicholas Nassim Taleb on Employees. FT: UK will miss unskilled migrants after Brexit:
There is also something about the nature of these jobs that makes them tough for UK nationals to do. These sectors usually require extreme flexibility from staff: the salad-baggers who wait for a text message to say they have work that night; the cleaners who cobble together piecemeal shifts at dusk and dawn; the fruit pickers living in caravans on farms.Articles. Living in a library: The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries Elevated walkways.
UK Politics. David Graeber: The elites hate Momentum and the Corbynites. Richard Seymour: This is not 1981, and an SDP Mark II will not work. By parliamentary constituency Leave would win 421 seats across the UK, while Remain would win just 229. Referendum youth turnout higher than thought at 64%. The Resistible Rise of Nigel Farage. John Gray: The world is changing in ways the British left cannot comprehend:
Like bedraggled courtiers fleeing Versailles after the French Revolution, they are unable to process the reversal that has occurred. Locked in a psychology of despair, anger and denial, they cannot help believing there will be a restoration of an order they believed was unshakeable.US Politics. Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them. Leaving Conservativism Behind
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