Thanks for the plug

West Like Lightning is highlighted at the almost-very end.

Thanks! Really excited about this book.
The trail

One piece of the puzzle:

It's the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications. One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.


Couldn't have done this better in a novel.
Lemons are a mobster's best friend

New theory on how the mafia started: it was all in the lemons.

Weaponized Facebook

We still don’t know the exact degree of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. But the debate over collusion, while important, risks missing what should be an obvious point: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other platforms were manipulated by the Russians to shift outcomes in Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, and unless major changes are made, they will be manipulated again. Next time, there is no telling who the manipulators will be.

How to fix it.

Censorship . . .

. . . . is still censorship, even if they want your book to replace the one (in this case, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451) they ban.

“Filth,” that parent called Bradbury’s work, as she pressed for it to be removed from an eighth grade reading list. The concerned mom leading the banning effort didn’t see its prophetic relevance. All she saw was a vulgarity, the word “bastard,” which she felt was inappropriate for her 13-year-old daughter. “I’m just trying to keep my little girl a little girl,” she said.
This kind of book-banning effort isn’t unusual, but this one was a gut punch. Why? Because the parent organizing the banning effort suggested that Bradbury’s work should be replaced with something more acceptable to her.
Among her suggestions for more “suitable” material: my own dystopian novel, When the English Fall.
I cannot imagine receiving a more troubling and heartbreaking endorsement.


Note that the author is himself a pastor.
Portrait of the artist . . .

. . . as an old man:

Like most struggling artists, Harry Bertschmann is hoping to be discovered. Unlike them, he already has a pedigree: he has shown his work alongside Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell while they were still alive and in their prime. In 1958, a large Bertschmann canvas was featured in the Carnegie International exhibition in Pittsburgh, a rarefied achievement for any artist, let alone one in his mid-20s. Since then, Mr. Bertschmann has painted or drawn nearly every day of his adult life, producing a body of work that has been praised by some of the art world’s foremost tastemakers. Yet he has remained virtually unknown.

There are many hundreds of men like Mr. Bertschmann; hopefully he and his wife will find some financial success soon.


People talk about a decline in American military power and look for exotic answers. The obvious one is staring them in the face:

You get what you pay for.

Drowning government in a bathtub has consequences.