DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.[1] ...


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September 6, 2010

No meeting (Labor Day).


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September 13, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXVI: Stone Age brains in the Age of Information

Daniel Gardner, The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain (Dutton, 2008; Plume paperback, 2009). — "Excellent. . . . . analyzes everything from the media’s predilection for irrational scare stories to the cynical use of fear by politicians pushing a particular agenda. . . . . Gardner never falls into the trap of becoming frustrated and embittered by the waste and needless worry that he is documenting.  A personal anecdote about an unwise foray into a Nigerian slum in search of a stolen wallet disposes of the idea that the author is immune to the foibles he describes.  What could easily have been a catalogue of misgovernance and stupidity instead becomes a cheery corrective to modern paranoia."  —Publishers Weekly.

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September 20 & 27, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXVII: The way out of empire

Andrew Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (Metropolitan Books, 2010). — "U.S. Army colonel turned academic, Bacevich (The Limits of Power) offers an unsparing, cogent, and important critique of assumptions guiding American military policy.  These central tenets, the 'Washington rules' — such as the belief that the world order depends on America maintaining a massive military capable of rapid and forceful interventions anywhere in the world — have dominated national security policy since the start of the Cold War and have condemned the U.S. to 'insolvency and perpetual war.'  Despite such disasters as America's defeat in Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis, the self-perpetuating policy is so entrenched that no president or influential critic has been able to alter it.  Bacevich argues that while the Washington rules found their most pernicious expression in the Bush doctrine of preventive war, Barack Obama's expansion of the Afghan War is also cause for pessimism:  'We should be grateful to him for making at least one thing unmistakably clear:  to imagine that Washington will ever tolerate second thoughts about the Washington rules is to engage in willful self-deception.  Washington itself has too much to lose.'"  —Publishers Weekly.

Chalmers Johnson, Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope (Metropolitan Books, 2010). — "In his prophetic book Blowback, published before 9/11, Chalmers Johnson warned that our secret operations in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe would exact a price at home.  Now, in a brilliant series of essays written over the last three years, Johnson measures that price and the resulting dangers America faces.  Our reliance on Pentagon economics, a global empire of bases, and war without end is, he declares, nothing short of 'a suicide option.'  Dismantling the Empire explores the subjects for which Johnson is now famous, from the origins of blowback to Barack Obama's Afghanistan conundrum, including our inept spies, our bad behavior in other countries, our ill-fought wars, and our capitulation to a military that has taken ever more control of the federal budget.  There is, he proposes, only one way out:  President Obama must begin to dismantle the empire before the Pentagon dismantles the American Dream.  If we do not learn from the fates of past empires, he suggests, our decline and fall are foreordained.  This is Johnson at his best:  delivering both a warning and an urgent prescription for a remedy."  —Book description.


Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County’s “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, has examined more than 300 books. (Summaries of about 200 of them have been posted online on the website Scribd.) Topics discussed have included the Iraq war, Peak Oil, climate change, torture, the corporation, Islam, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the writings of Robert Baer, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, Israel/Palestine, sustainability, war and human nature, the nature of money, September 11, energy geopolitics, the debt crisis, American immigration policy, the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, financial crisis, the politics of assassination, and Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, and social change. Occasionally the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation — Participation is free and open; anyone interested is welcome. Try King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) or other local bookstores for copies of books. More information: contact Mark Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see