Thursday, July 06, 2017

Is there a goal in all of this: the argument for a paranoid, worst-case scenario

Many are trying to make sense of the Trumpist Revolution, seeking to decipher some pattern or plan, under all the chaos.  And like those blind, wise men fondling different parts of an elephant, smart people are yelling “aha!” and proclaiming they have it sussed. Take this theory by Michael Klare, on Salon: Is Trump launching a New World Order?

Domestically, he’s pulled out all the stops in attempting to cripple the rise of alternative energy and ensure the perpetuation of a carbon-dominated economy.  Abroad, he is seeking the formation of an alliance of fossil-fuel states led by the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, while attempting to isolate emerging renewable-energy powers like Germany and China. If his project of global realignment proceeds as imagined, the world will soon enough be divided into two camps, each competing for power, wealth, and influence: the carbonites on one side and the post-carbon greens on the other.”

Well… if you squint hard… maybe. Especially if you throw in policies blatantly favoring states like Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma and the Dakotas, arm-twisting companies like Boeing to shift jobs from green states along the west coast to rescue red ones, like Kansas.

But this axis of fossil (fuels) is at-best overly simplistic.  The Trump Administration promised to be a tiger with China, but has turned into a purring lapdog. The White House overflows with zealots who want war with Iran, an oil state. A contradiction that eases when you realize how much Putin and the Saudis will benefit, if Persian oil is removed from the market.

No, you need to add more ingredients, to parse this out, like the administration’s savage attack upon U.S. science. Not just efficiency and sustainable energy, but also the R & D that gave America its shale gas and oil boom, and its first brush with energy independence since the 1960s. Without that research support, small-scale companies might have to sell out to Big Boys, like Exxon, and petroleum independence could become a fleeting thing.

(Noteworthy: Trump is the first president since Hoover not to appoint a scientific adviser -- apparently even the radically weird candidates he had been interviewing were prone to, occasionally, saying the forbidden words: "that's not true." Under Trump, the White House Office of Sciene and Technology Policy (OSTP) has been eviscerated, as Newt Gingrich earlier demolished the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA.)

In fact, studies have long shown that at least half of the U.S. economy arose from our spectacular advances in science and technology — which is why our core confrontation with China should not be about currency manipulation or trade sanctions, but the stunning, bald-faced theft of our crown jewels of intellectual property.  Yet, the Trump Administration has backed off from such efforts, begun under Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the GOP budget plans burn through or gut almost every kind of federally supported R&D.

Michael Klare’s article is worth reading.  He makes a strong case, but doesn’t step back to see a bigger picture.  Yes, Trump is doing everything in his power to help dictators, especially most — not all — of those who count on us continuing our fossil fuel dependence.  This maps onto those U.S. states that Trump favors, as well. But the model needs expansion.

Under their current strongmen, Turkey and the Philippines have joined the loose alliance being corralled by Putin’s Kremlin, in an arc that stretches from Ankara to Manilla.  While the Beijing mandarins are navigating their own path, they are at minimum fellow travelers.

== He's a symptom ==

Naturally, I like Stephen Colbert.  I mean, what's not to like? At least once a week, he drops some sci-fi or fantasy reference. A couple of months ago he quoted Salvor Hardin, the mayor of Terminus in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series! (Which I completed for Isaac.)

So it's with trepidation that I disagree with this paladin of civilization, who at one point said: "Donald Trump is not a symptom; he's the disease."

Oh, that got lots of applause!  But no, no, no.  Elsewhere I go into details as to why this fellow is much less dangerous than most folks think, because all of our civil servants and the FBI, intelligence agencies and most military officers can see that there's a cranky toddler in the White House. They can be trusted to prevent worst-case things. And hence, all the "impeachment " talk is just loony.

A Pence presidency will be far, far worse. Instead of leaky chaos, we'd have a White House packed with tightly disciplined Dominionists bent - with deliberate malice and fierce intent - upon bringing about the end of the world. Picture that, Stephen, please.  And let's plan out the campaign.

== The Russian Question ==

This article by Max de Haldevang on “What Russia Wants” adds insight into why Vladimir Putin - with support from much of the Russian public — seeks to restore a sense of empire. Indeed, not just a sense, but the reality.

Moreover, the mullah faction in Iran is blatantly cozy with Moscow. As we speak, Iranian volunteers fight side by side with Russian advisers, in Syria. When Steve Bannon rails about a coming U.S.-Iran conflict, all it accomplishes is to make Tehran more dependent on the protection of Russia’s nuclear umbrella, turning the Persian Republic into a Kremlin client state, despite the clear wish of that nation’s huge and educated middle class to join the modern world.

But all of this leaves out the biggest and most rabid elephant in the room — the concerted, 25-year campaign to destroy America’s political resilience.  Our once-renowned genius at negotiating pragmatic solutions to problems… partly through a once-respected process called “politics.”

Starting with Newt Gingrich, then the “Hastert Rule,” and enforced ferociously by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the U.S. right shifted from tough bargainers at the political table to adamant and absolutely rigid obstructionism. Controlling Capitol Hill for 20 of the last 22 years, the GOP ran the laziest and least productive Congresses in U.S. history, passing fewer bills, per capita, holding fewer hearings — even on topics that obsessed them — especially if you subtract theatricals like Monicagate and the Benghazi Imbroglio, that went nowhere.

Add to this the incitement of levels of red-blue animosity not seen since the Civil War. Now stir in Donald Trump’s deliberate spurning of our oldest friendships and alliances. Throw in a stench of Kremlin collusion in the top ranks of the Republican Party, and a picture starts to emerge.

The only trait that unites all of these factors is that each and every one of them weakens America and the West

How ironic! I have long expressed skepticism toward most conspiracy theories. Yet, in this maelstrom, most of those who are sniffing at the Russia Collusion stench seem unable to step back and smell the obvious. This is not about getting the U.S. to ease sanctions on Moscow.

It’s not about propping up an already-doomed fossil fuels industry — though that (and an Iranian War) would certainly help Trump’s Saudi-Russian-Murdoch-Koch patrons.

It is about weakening the west and its entire set of enlightenment values, from democracy and science to transparency and negotiated politics. 

It is already war. Vladimir Putin has said so, as do the Saudis, in the textbooks that they give to boys in madrassas all over the Wahabbi-influenced world. It is already war. And our capital has been seized, and fools like the D.C. shooter only hurt the cause

With Washington occupied, the revolution that stunned the world with creativity and gradually improving goodness since 1776 is exiled to Berlin, Paris and Sacramento, where the resilience and brilliance of our renaissance will face its greatest test, since the 1940s.

Elsewhere, I talk of a vastly important tactic that could help us to march through this madness, all the way from mountains and plains to the sea. 

But first, we must awaken. This will be won by reminding our fellow citizens that men and women of knowledge and skill are not the enemy. They are the people who will lead us to victory.

== Cross Check ==

Is this posted remark true or a rumor? Write in to comments!:  The RNC had a plan even before Trump was their candidate. They used a system called Crosscheck (now adopted in over 30 states) to knock registered minorities off the voter rolls. The system checks if someone named James Washington (for example) is registered in more than one state, then knocks someone in Georgia and someone in Pennsylvania off the voter rolls (it's supposed to check DOB and middle name, but it doesn't and that's proven) and then they show up to vote, are told they are not on the roll (even though they voted there for years) and are given a provisional ballot which is later checked against the same roll and thrown away (no evidence).


Eric said...

"In 2014, Kobach spearheaded a program to purge voter rolls. The program, called Interstate Crosscheck, compiled a master list that included the names of one-seventh of all African-American voters in 27 states, whom officials alleged were under suspicion for voting twice in the same election, according to Al Jazeera America. Millions of the names were mismatched and the program ignored discrepancies."

Alfred Differ said...

The only consistent thing I see in Trump's behavior is a desire to be the hero America needs to be strong again. Too much romanticism. Since the evidence doesn't support him, desire overrules reality and we have a character struggling in his own idiot plot.

On a related note, my wife was commenting earlier today just how much she hates reality TV. She feels she is living in one of those shows now. To test her level of passion, I offered my usual 'what would you do with a time machine' question. Her comeback was to go back and smack the writers who wanted to go on strike. She said it with a smile, but only just barely. (She wouldn't hurt a fly.)

Tony Fisk said...

Like battling the Hydra, cutting off the head of this beast can get you into more trouble.

On the other hand, while Trump is a symptom, it's often the symptoms of a disease that kill you.

Impeachment is, as my wife puts such things "a good game played slowly". I hope people who are playing this game seriously are spreading a wide net, very slowly.

The goal should be "Impeach the pair".

Once more, I point out Sarah Kendzior, who's been accurately reporting the way this is playing out from the start.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
I agree with the sentiments but every time you rail at China for stealing US IP I am reminded of the USA blatantly stealing IP for the first years of it's existence - in fact only stopping that theft when it started to have worthwhile IP of it's own!

As far as the "InterState Crosscheck" is concerned - that is why you need to use your unique identifier - SSSN! - on a public database so that nobody thinks it is a "secret password"
Kill two birds with one stone!

Alfred Differ said...

What has Pence done that is worthy of an impeachment?

The Black Cat said...

Sadly, all you defenders of the worst case scenarios won't save us when this idiot gets another SC appointment (which seems as though it's imminent).

Say hello to permanent gerrymandering and goodbye to the separation of church and state.

duncan cairncross said...

What has Pence done that is worthy of an impeachment?

We don't know! - but that is why he needs to be benghazied - I mean investigated

He MAY have been able to keep clear of the Trump mud - but I would NOT put money on it!

LarryHart said...

@Alfred Differ,

Pence was in charge of the transition, including the vetting of Michael Flynn.

No, he doesn't seem as impeach-worthy as Trump, but one can hope. Actually, the entire Republican administration is the fruit of the poisonous election, but unfortunately there is no mechanism for relief.

@The Black Cat,

I'll see your Supreme Court nomination and raise you the imminent Constitutional Convention brought to you by 34 Republican states. No need to argue about whether we're a White Christian nation--it will be in the preamble to the next Constitution.

Tony Fisk said...

As far as I know, Pence has done nothing worthy of an impeachment.

On the other hand, if careful (ie non-Benghazi) investigation were to reveal complicity with Russian connections... I don't think it would just be Trump & Pence, either.

Of course, they may not find anything. In which case, nothing happens.

I only hope someone has substituted the Football. If not, then I am severely disappointed in the Deep State.

Hamish said...

Surely the existence of a program like Interstate Crosscheck is a powerful argument for national voter ID - subject to the accessibility provisions that others here have mentioned

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the West is about junk science, wars in the middle east, etc...

The Chinese are going to beat us to the punch on genetic engineering/CRISPR. We refuse to embrace nuclear power.

The Alt-right and nationalists are trying to keep afloat the people that gave birth to "enlightenment values".

David Brin doesn't understand any of this. The status quo is suicide, and here you are defending it...

The Chinese are going to laugh at us, and honestly they should.

Jumper said...

"The Chinese are going to laugh at us." Is this what the alt.right considers policy analysis? Gawd. "Trying to keep afloat" and "staus quo is suicide".

David Brin said...

Jumper, our anonymous coward is a member of the cult that claims that snark-incantations are equivalent to facts. They cannot name a single fact-using profession that they haven't declared war upon. And the insanity of liberals is their failure to make THAT the core issue.

Duncan, I am fine with pointing out that the US was a pack of IP thieves for its 1st half. Except for one thing. Our inventiveness is the one thing that enabled America to achieve its greatest miracle — uplifting most of the world out of grinding poverty by buying twenty trillion $ worth of crap we never needed.

How do YOU explain the fact that we’ve had “unsupportable” trade deficits with the world for all your lifespan? By inventing transcontinental air travel, rockets, satellites, telecom, the Internet and so on. Moreover, our 19th century IP stealing wasn’t a systematic predation carried out as state policy with ruthless intent to destroy.

LH & Tony, great. Then we get Ryan….

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
"systematic predation carried out as state policy with ruthless intent to destroy"
I have seen no evidence that the Chinese one is either! - the explanation that the Chinese government is simply putting a very low priority on enforcing IP laws seems to meet the facts

As far as the
“unsupportable” trade deficits with the world for all your lifespan"

Both the US and UK patterns look similar - and in both cases they were about zero until the 90's - when I was in my late 30's

You have said that this helped lift the rest of the world - I'm not so sure the dates don't seem to line up
Another explanation could be that the neoliberal "break the unions" drive was responsible for both sets of trade deficits

reason said...

Duncan - you have lost me with "break the unions".

But I might help you out - consider instead credit creation (where are Wall Street and the city of London) and the demand for hard currencies caused by the end of the iron curtain.

David Brin said...

Duncan sorry. You obviously havn't even glanced at my many links on this. It is their paramount policy to do this at warlike levels. They are buying top convention city hotels so they can bug every room. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Jumper said...

"Surely the existence of a program like Interstate Crosscheck is a powerful argument for national voter ID"

This offering by Hamish does zip to convince. One can read the valid criticisms of that effort on the Wikipedia article or Googling it. I call it wheel re-invention posed by the crafty to delude the unwary. If any study employed random sampling to determine its error rate, I'd welcome that.

duncan cairncross said...

Dr Brin
I'm an engineer (retired) I can assure you that bugging top convention hotels will NOT buy you any IP knowledge

IP is either - patents - which have to be published - and which is the ONLY IP that is protected

Or non patent knowledge about how to make things - which is usually shared at the manufacturing establishments and really is meaningless unless you are making the same thing

This is a problem with the Chinese where dozy western companies get things made in China and show them how to do it - and then get bent out of shape when the Chinese use that information

Bugging conventions will get you all sorts of commercial information - costings, profit ratios, company plans - but none of that is IP

If the Chinese wanted US IP then they go on the patent website and read it
Buying products and stripping them down is common as well (everybody does it)

If they want to know how something is made then they fly to the USA and go to the factory that makes it - that is where you can learn about how it is made - not at some conference center
So don't worry about conferences - but do be careful of the suspiciously well informed guy who wants a job at your plant

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Reason

"Break the Unions" was the aim - the method for breaking the unions was to move the strongly unionised manufacturing operations out of the USA/UK

This was justified on the basis of lower labor costs - but most of the time that was just a red herring

The effect was to shift some of the major "value added" operations out of the USA/UK with it's inevitable effect on the balance of payments

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

LH & Tony, great. Then we get Ryan….

That's why, while I'd like to see Trump impeached just because he deserves the humiliation, I don't see it helping with domestic policy. The hacked election gave us pretty much Republicans all the way down (one of them even resembles a turtle). We don't get a do-over on Garland/Gorsuch, and the damage done to the environment and to our alliances will linger for decades if not longer.

LarryHart said...

@Tim Wolter aka Tacitus2:

Because you asked, the Illinois House overrode Rauner's veto yesterday, which means a number of Republicans went along and passed a budget. I don't know enough details to say which problems it will and won't solve, but at least having a budget is a step forward.

The fact that it's a "loss" for Rauner--that he wasn't able to hold the budget hostage to his anti-union, anti-Democrat agenda is good news from my perspective (though perhaps not from yours), and I look forward to removing him from office in next year's election.

Unknown said...

Yes, Interstate Crosscheck is alive and working, knocking hundreds of thousands of eligible voters off the rolls in 27 Republican controlled states in the last national election-- enough to possible turn over the election to Trump. Similar efforts are ongoing in Georgia as we sit here looking at our computer screens. It's a real problem that the national media and even the Democratic party seems to be ignoring. Here is a good discussion about the issue from Thom Hartmann's radio program:

tim H. said...

Duncan, for my un-exalted perspective, anti-union activism is a decision made from the gut, what logic can there be in wanting to reduce the spending capacity of your customers? Possibly almost a fig leaf in wishing to control inflation, though that's always been more the worry of rentiers than the productive. I suspect a businessperson who objected to anti-union would no longer be invited to the good parties, at the least, for failing to uphold their holy writ.

sgs said...

Duncan Cairncross : Re bugging hotel rooms: The name of the game isn't IP. The name of the game is blackmail.

Zepp Jamieson said...

On the issue of just how much mischief Trump can cause (which is considerable) I note that the House is moving to rescind the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which the US has used to justify a dozen or so military misadventures since it passed in 2001. Obviously they feel a need to trim his claws a bit.

He met with Putin today, of course, and the greatest hope Americans have is that he was too incompetent to agree to anything that might seriously damage the country. That's the most optimistic scenario.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: " Yes, Trump is doing everything in his power to help dictators, especially most — not all — of those who count on us continuing our fossil fuel dependence. This maps onto those U.S. states that Trump favors, as well. But the model needs expansion."

Does it really need expansion? Autocrats are steady trading partners for autocrats, sharing means and ends of ensuring continuation of power. They ultimately defang any 'deep state,' or usurp it to their own purposes given time (e.g., Erdogan's 'success' in Turkey).

Saudi and Russia face severe budget crises - unless a real shooting war can be sparked with Iran.

Trump's gambit hearkens back to the old days of colonialism: appear to favor a war, send in the ships, then pivot at the last minute once your own crowd of insiders set their trades (trades which Russia and Saudi cannot make). The actuality of war is less important than the appearance.

Trump's gambit has remarkable precedent within the Enlightenment tradition: British bonds traders played alongside British battle fleets to empower their own inner circle to profit from foreign holdings, but the operation through loans to local lords in India, China, Egypt, Argentina, and all the rest was always their preferred approach to colonial expansion (far less direct conquest in the Cortes/Pizarro mold - actual military missions were 'defensive' of preexisting holdings and interests, a la the 'great game').

What distinguishes the 'West' from what came before is what we do about those abuses once they are clearly presented. We clean up messes when we can, try to stop hurting those we hurt. We err as much as anyone else. But we try to fix those errors. That is the resilience our politics USED to make possible.

The threat Trump poses to Western culture is that in rewarding a recalcitrant unrepentant malefactor with power, we revert towards our own more barbarous traditions. Even if one cornerstone of that tradition was to dominate through the banker, rather than through the bayonet or the jackboot, it is still ultimately ugly bullying.

donzelion said...

sgs: "Re bugging hotel rooms: The name of the game isn't IP. The name of the game is blackmail."

Actually, for higher end IP theft, both go hand in hand. It's not like you need to steal the secret plans to the Death Star through a hotel room tap - it's that you need to know that the designers have an affinity for a certain type of woman...indeed, that was allegedly a core aspect of how Russia stole most of the secrets of Silicon Valley back in the '80s (not that mere knowledge of what was being done was sufficient to actually do anything about it).

In today's world, simply knowing a few hidden features of a trading platform are enough to trade billions of dollars in microseconds - but only after the groundwork is laid, and that can take years.

donzelion said...

Duncan Cairncross: "the method for breaking the unions was to move the strongly unionised manufacturing operations out of the USA/UK...This was justified on the basis of lower labor costs - but most of the time that was just a red herring"

Not really, save in a few instances. The proof is to look at non-American multinationals that also globalized, even though their unions are in some cases as strong as ever (esp. German firms).

Larger manufacturers looked at foreign manufacturing as both a lower fixed cost and a higher probability of increasing market share overseas - the balance of those two possibilities drove offshoring manufacturing far more than the probability unions might be weakened.

American executives did anticipate a possibility workers in Mexico might unite with workers in America and act collectively against a single manufacturer - so they (1) opted largely for China, where unions are government run, (2) distributed production through 'independent subsidiaries,' and (3) explored automation wherever possible to create options for replacing employees whenever practicable. Of course, the latter also proved amazingly tax efficient...

The failure of American unions to globalize effectively reflects their own inability to evolve - unions are often more about securing a fortress in a world where fortresses are obsolete as soon as they are erected.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi donzelion
The aim was to break the unions - I didn't say that it was a sensible aim!

A "sensible" business man would see (as you do) that impoverishing your customers is a bad idea
But the upper level of management is selected for selfishness NOT good sense - people who work hard don't get promoted - people who work on getting promoted DO get promoted

Going overseas always costs a LOT more than predicted - normally more than staying at home would have
There are always other costs - starting with the training and caliber of your workers - the main cost is not in wages but in quality costs - wastage, repair, dislocation

Alfred Differ said...

There is a lot more to bugging hotel rooms than blackmail and sexual preferences. There is an awful lot of contextual information that can be acquired on the cheap that helps give meaning to other more vital pieces. Even more important is how context gives meaning to the missing pieces. With that, more expensive resources can be focused on useful missing information or maybe even avoided if the context is good enough to allow interpolation.

Industrial espionage is a big data effort nowadays, so everything counts.

Tacitus said...


I wish Illinois well.
From what I can puzzle out it helps on the revenue side but not on the expenditure side. It will - perhaps - avoid the credit rating downgrade that was imminent.
Best of luck.


David Brin said...

Duncan it’s stunning you’d make such assertions. People who attend industry conferences often come back from their day of public meetings and panels and speeches and then hold private business negotiations, meetings, sessions of all kinds in supposedly private rooms. Just knowing that X & Y are negotiating a deal can give Z a huge advantage. Seriously, I could give a hundred scenarios. You usually aren’t this naive.

And yes, a lot of it is “IP.”

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
Yes that sort of stuff can give an advantage - even a major advantage
Although not nearly as much as people think

BUT it is NOT IP - commercial secrets YES

The discussion was about IP - trademark and patent violations
Even the other part of the the "Trade Secrets" are not available at those type of events and if you actually wanted to learn this type of stuff you are better just making another identity and getting a job with the organisation

I suspect that the most lucrative information to come from the sort of bugging that you mention would be blackmail!! -

Cynically as an engineer I tend to think that you won't get actual useful information from 90% of these conferences because the people who attend don't actually know anything useful - think about the pointy haired boss in the Dilbert cartoons

We did hold very useful engineering conferences - swapping best practices at the various factories worldwide - but anybody spying would have been hard pushed to use the actual information

I should also mention that the big companies actually put a fair amount of effort into educating all other companies - the Big Three Car makers published a huge amount of helpful information on things like statistical quality control and Toyota is not at all shy about spreading the gospel of the Toyota Production System

The reason is that companies often supply each other - and it is important to have your supplier achieving the quality requirements you need - and also simply talking the same "language" (jargon) helps

When I was a quality manager i spent a lot of time educating and training my suppliers - and they could then use that information in supplying other companies

donzelion said...

Duncan is more right than wrong (secrets are much more important than trademark, copyright, or patent theft). Honey pots are but one of dozens of tricks, but it's as good a start as any and still very much in use.

The interesting thing here is the most valuable 'secrets' often involve who really owns what (not who will move what money where and when, but who owns the money and its origins). That sort of "IP" is very much at risk in bugged discussions (not because someone managing that money will disclose it, but because who they talk to and when can reveal context). But the most valuable secrets of all tend to be process secrets, as they yield an approach to obtaining more intel later on.

I'll quibble with Duncan on labor unions/management though. The driving forces for going offshore were independent of labor relations, usually (with some exceptions). Yes, the costs of going offshore to a company are often higher than anticipated and often prove higher than expanding at home might have been (but those home expansions also often exceed expectations...) - but big foreign ventures take years of prep work, and those who make them happen (and earn bonuses from it happening) are seldom the same as the ones who tally total cost/benefit years later. To shareholders, share value reflects expectations, not actuality, at any single point in time, and many shareholders see any foreign manufacturing expansion as an eventual sales expansion. Workers see it quite differently.

Seen through a feudal lens: sometimes its cheaper to take lands from a local lord than to take them from foreigners - but often it's easier to tax local serfs than to fight even with minor lords or foreigners. Similar analyses play among ambitious junior execs looking to carve their fiefdoms.

duncan cairncross said...

You hit the bulls eye with this

"and those who make them happen (and earn bonuses from it happening) are seldom the same as the ones who tally total cost/benefit years later"

In practice these exercises are almost never analysed after the fact because doing such an analysis is the quickest way to get fired!

I got fed up with the Americans moaning about my UK plant being the most expensive because we paid the shop floor guys over twice as much as the US plants
So I did a full analysis - yes my wage bills were higher BUT I saved more than twice as much on BIS and warranty
Talk about a fart in a spacesuit - my boss was able to disappear that report but I came very very close to losing my job over it

Checking up on how well the bright ideas of the top bosses work is seldom a good career move!

David Brin said...



Anonymous said...

Re: the experts on this is Greg Palast. I've been following him since he covered the voter purge in Florida that gave W the election. His used his Economics and MBA from University of Chicago to root out corporate evils for The Guardian and the BBC and other publications, has had best sellers on the NYTimes list.

I've read several of his books and think he's great.

More :

--Jack the Cold Warrior