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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Homegrown Terrorist


A short, thin young man, in a dirty khaki colored raincoat and badly scuffed faded brown shoes pushed his way through the crowd propelling a baby carriage in front of him like a weapon. He was sweating profusely.

“Get out of my way,” he shouted. “I have to get through. Get away, move out of my way, damn people. It’s your fault,” he cursed in a hoarse voice. The smell of liqueur reeked from his breath as he continued up an entrance ramp spewing saliva and curses.

The two security guards, lounging against the railing on the far wall of the entryway, started to move toward him to see what the commotion was about. Then the bomb went off.

The bomb blast killed thirty-two children and their parents on the way to an in store miniature Merry Go Round. Another one hundred and twenty four, many of whom were children, were injured as the blast slammed its way full of shrapnel and nails to the fourth floor. Eventually, the sheer force of the bomb, blew a five foot wide hole in the roof as acrid black smoke forced its way out into a cold rainy night at the Times Square branch of the Bangles and Bows Toy Store in New York City.

It was the first suicide bomb detonated in New York City by homegrown terrorists, and things would never be the same.

You could see it in the rapid blinking eyes of the people. Fear griped the inhabitants of the City of New York and the Nation as a wave of copycat bombings took place in retail department stores, malls, sports arenas, railroad and bus terminals, and anywhere else these terrorists could strike terror into the hearts of the people.

The first attacks were designed to scare the population, and convince them that no one was safe and nobody was sacred -- not even the children. Sometimes the bombers blew themselves up with the bomb, and sometimes a remote triggering devise was used, but in all the cases where a suicide bomber caused the explosion, the police and the FBI had determined that the terrorists were homegrown natives and citizens of the USA. It was almost too much to fathom.

Who were these horrible ingrates that hated this Country so that they would sacrifice their own lives to kill innocent strangers and children? What had we done to create such hatred for our Country by people who grew up and lived here? How could we fight terrorists who didn’t even value their own lives? Who would be next on the terrorists list? Where and when would they strike again? Did they all belong to one terrorist network or were they working in individual cells or alone? How did they communicate with each other? Who or what organization was teaching them how to make bombs? Who was in charge?

Hi, this is Arthur Levine. To read more about the new novel, Homegrown Terrorist please visit

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Debt Riots Of 2020

Hordes of young people in their twenties were storming the barricades erected outside of Congress. They were protesting a special personal income tax equal to seventy percent of their incomes that both houses of the legislature had just approved on poor and rich alike in an attempt to solve the economic crisis that was sweeping the Country, and forcing America ever closer to the brink of declaring bankruptcy.

Signs and placards bearing the slogans – It’s Not Our Debt. We Didn’t Create The Problem, Stop The Big Spenders, No More Taxes, and Bring Capitalism Back, were being stabbed in the air by grungy looking bearded young men and tattooed young women with a preponderance of nose, eye, and mouth piercing. These people looked unwashed and unfed, and were absolutely hysterical. They had no jobs, and no hope for a better future.

The police, backed by a large contingent of National guard troops flanked by tanks were using water cannon, tear gas, and dummy bullets to try and turn back the rabid crowd numbering over one hundred thousand.

Eight years of one party control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency had created spending levels that were unsustainable. The Country was being crippled economically by the cost of a national health care system exceeding forty percent of our shrinking gross domestic product, and socially by wave after wave of inhibiting regulation that stifled incentive.

Cap and Trade Carbon Taxes were making us unable to compete in the international arena as our cost of goods sky rocketed. Our government bonds had lost their triple A rating due to the fact that our annual deficit and borrowings were now more than equal to our GDP. The ranks of the unemployed swelled to more than twenty-five percent as business retrenched and downsized, unable to prosper in an era of fifty percent corporate taxes and thirty percent capital gains taxes.

Inflation was running at over ten percent a year and interest rates showed no sign of peaking at nine percent as the government scrambled to sell more and more bonds to pay for an ever widening federal deficit. Interest payments on Government debt alone were now more than seventeen percent of GDP.

The building of new roads and infrastructure had come to a standstill. There was simply no money to pay for it with entitlements growing at an annual rate of eighteen percent.

Everyone was effected by the cycle of tax and spend that had taken on a multiplier effect of its own. The consumer was on a constant spending strike in fear of their economic ruin by a nation hell bent on trying to spend their way out of their problems, and in love with the creeping socialism that had overtaken the will of the people to live free.

Everyone was hoarding the few dollars they had stashed away in the form of gold, mostly under the mattress. The banks couldn’t be trusted. They were stuffed full of toxic assets, both old mortgage bonds and new ones from Cap and Trade Carbon Certificates that were mostly worthless. The value of the dollar was now worth less than twenty percent of a Euro, and Countries like China were desperately trying to unload their US government bonds even at a fifty percent discount to face value. We no longer traded with China or Japan or India. We couldn’t afford to and they wouldn’t finance our out of control spending any more. And the price of gas had surged to seven dollars a gallon as Saudi Arabia and other oil producers adjusted their pricing to the decreased value of the dollar.

Financial markets were breaking down, hedge funds and private equity firms were a thing of the past as speculation became a no, no, and capital formation shrank. The Dow Jones Averages had retraced to less then 6000. Credit in the form of credit card debt or home mortgages had been legislated nearly out of existence as Congress fell over themselves trying to protect an unwitting public from themselves. They had just about succeeded in regulating them and protecting them out of their very way of life. America had become a third rate Country in just ten years – an international laughing stock.

The public was out of hope, desperate for an end of changes that were protecting them out of everything they owned, and wanted a return to the old days of Capitalism, individual initiative, and prosperity based on hard work and innovation. Government sponsored salary caps had driven most of our financial services industries overseas, and many wealthy people were taking out duel citizenship in England, Canada, and France for protection. Many were taking up residence in Mexico where rules and regulation were often a matter of what you paid for and how close you were to the Ruling party. The influx of illegal immigrants had reversed as the US unemployment rate rose.

The crowds, disregarding the potential of harm to their own lives, stormed the barricades, overwhelming the police and national guard and rampaged into the buildings destroying furniture, overturning statues, cutting up rare paintings, and physically attacking Senators and Congressman alike. More than a dozen were seriously injured. Those that survived unhurt were forced to sign a pledge of no more taxes and no new spending before they were released stripped naked into the streets and the ever-watchful eyes of the TV cameras.

Older citizens, hunkered down in their homes, awaiting needed medical care that never seemed to come in time, commiserated with each other over the good old days, and what they had lost, and watched the TV in horror as the scenes of the Debt Riots unfolded.

All but a power hungry few fanatics had stopped voting at national elections, convinced that it was hopeless and that democracy was dead. A small group of party faithful determined the fate of the Nation.

How could this have happened in so short a time? Why had good intentions gone so astray? Were the intentions really good to begin with, or were we just sold a bill of goods? One thing was for sure – the change we got was not what we counted on.

Riots and Anarchy and Debt Riots had come to America.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Whole New Country

It’s a whole new Country we are living in here in America, and I don’t like the changes.

The freedoms our forefathers fought for are giving way to supervised doled out living by the Federal Government.

A new Federal monster called National Healthcare is on the way, which will become the largest government agency; swiftly outgrowing social security, and reducing benefits to the elderly under Medicare.

Capitalism is almost dead, creeping socialism is on the way, and life as we know it may never be the same.

Freedom of choice is quickly becoming obsolete. The age of big brother is upon us. Soon we will probably all be embedded with a federal ID chip, and our movements will no longer be private.

For those of us who need supervision and cannot make it in our lives on their own, these changes may be welcome.

For those of us who prefer to rely on our own abilities, these changes spell the death knell to our dreams and hopes.

Quality doctors will opt out of the system, preferring to treat only private patients rather than be told what they can and cannot charge.

Waiting up to six months for a heart operation as in England will become the norm, but Congress won’t give up their excellent health care coverage to join the masses in this boondoggle of bureaucracy.

Clerks that can hardly speak or write English or Spanish properly will be in charge of the forms you have to submit to get medical care. Mistakes can be appealed in an endless futile procedure.

Our banks will be downsized, eliminating moral hazard, and our ability to compete effectively internationally.

Credit card debt will be constricted. Home ownership will be restricted, and savings will rise as inflation and interest rates become seven percent and seven percent within three years as a result of the federal reserves massive injections of money into the system and the Federal Government’s deficit creation, and huge spending splurges that go on and on, as wealth is redistributed from rich to poor to pay for the expenditures. There will never be enough.

Employment will be permanently downsized, as small business sees no incentive, or reason to expand. Staying under $250,000 in earnings to limit tax liability will become more important.

By the time the younger generation wakes up to the fact that change they counted on has turned us into a third rate economic power with no ability to produce anything worthwhile, it will be too late. The damage will have been done, and the economic horrors that will be wrought on their children who will inherit an unsustainable debt, will lead to the possibility of anarchy.

It’s a whole new Country we are becoming, and I don’t like the direction it is taking one bit. I cherish freedom of choice. I love the ability to make my own decisions. I like it the way we had it, but for now I’m in the minority.

As more and more Americans become aware of the freedoms we are losing, the picture may change. I wonder if we will come into reality in time to stop a catastrophe from happening. I prey that we do.

Don’t take away our incentive to live free. The Country will be the loser if you do. Don’t take away our freedom of choice.

If this is the new reality we are living in, I’d rather be in a virtual reality world.

Friday, May 1, 2009

God The Game Master -- Verses Virtual Reality

I am going stir crazy pacing up and down in my home, with nothing to do, waiting for the scars on my face to heal from my attempted suicide at Harvard as a result of my breakup with the former love of my life, Alice. Tossing around in my bed late one night, unable to sleep, the thought struck me, maybe none of the stuff that happened to me with Alice or trying to commit suicide at Harvard was real.

I sat bolt upright in bed. I felt alive again. I had a new purpose in life. I started thinking how some super genius might have constructed my whole world. Maybe this was a virtual reality world I lived in – not the real thing. Maybe everything that was happening wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t stop thinking. Finally, I had something to occupy myself with, and take my mind off my problems. I decided to put my genius brain to work proving my new theory was correct.

I had to know who had constructed the virtual reality world I fancied I lived in to prove to myself that this was the fact. I had to decide why someone or something had gone to all this trouble and why. I decided to call this alien force the Game Master, calling on my broad knowledge of video computer games.

Figuring out how to create a virtual world was another matter. Then the thought crossed my mind: The Game Master must have used some version of what we know as quantum computing. That’s the only way he could have done this, but why? Was he really what we have come to believe in as God or just some time and space traveler creating a game for his or her own enjoyment? And what about my concept of Dialectic Materialism? How does this virtual world concept fit in with my religious theories? The more I thought, the more confused I got.

Thinking about the concept of a virtual reality world caused more ideas to pop into my head. Hundreds of questions started streaming into my mind – some conscious, some not. I couldn’t stop thinking about this. Now I was glad I had plenty of time. I spent most of the summer in my room attempting to replicate what this genius Game Master must have done. My parents had grounded me anyway, so what better use could I make of my time. Wonder if they are real? The task before me was almost inconceivable, but I wouldn’t stop. I was a genius too. I should be able to replicate this program, but trying to implement the concept was an unbelievably daunting task. How am I ever going to figure this out?

How to recreate the senses of sight, smell, touch, sound, taste, and combine these with cognitive capabilities, emotional context, and real time responses was mind boggling. How had the Game Master done all this with the use of artificial intelligence, and still made everything so real? What was his motive? Where did he obtain the historical knowledge base necessary to do a project of this nature, and most important – how did he know how to populate this virtual reality world?

Where did the people come from? Who chose the races and the animals? Who created the scenarios we all play out? Was any of this possible? Was I just letting my over active imagination compensate for my human shortcomings? Was I giving my wild imagination too much credit for the ability to discern fact from fiction? Why approach the problem using Quantum computing? How else could I hope to recreate a virtual reality world? Quantum computing is the only application I can think of advanced enough to do the job of creating all the variables and all the randomness necessary to pass for reality.

I poured over information gleaned from the Internet through Google to try and form an understanding of Quantum computing and how the application could be used to create what was now my virtual reality world. Even with my genius mind, the concept was almost impossible to grasp. There were so many sub concepts like super positioning and windowing. I don’t even understand what they mean. The thought crept intro my mind that maybe a superior form of intelligence was needed to create worlds and universes real or virtual, but I kept on trying. Geniuses don’t give up that easily. Sometimes I feel as if I’m on the verge of great discovery. Other times I get stuck in theory, and can go no further. The harder I try to understand the more confused I became.

Quantum computing is nothing like what I had jokingly described to my childhood friend Billy, and yet in some respects there is great similarity. As best I can figure the theory out, Quantum computing is our best hope of producing a program powerful enough to challenge our understanding of reality. That’s what I’m trying to do.

The theory, I understand, allows us to reduce computer chips to the size of atoms, which have their own quirky characteristics including using 1 and 0 at the same time to mean different things, or to mean the same thing. Boy is this confusing. The worst part is that much of this is still theoretical, and hasn’t been proven to work. How am I going to use this stuff to create a virtual reality world when it’s not actually working yet except in the laboratory? All I know is that this whole process dynamically increases the speed with which we can process information. That makes sense. How else can I possibly hope to program all the different bits and pieces of information necessary to make up a virtual world?

Everything I have learned so far shows me that the theory of Quantum computing allows us to exist in different realities at the same time. That’s perfect for me. If I don’t like one reality, I can just switch to another. The truth is I think I do this already, I just don’t know how I’m performing this trick of nature or mathematics – take your pick, but then I’m a genius, and much of what we know is instinctive on a sub-conscious level.

All of this thinking is getting me more, rather than less confused about what’s reality, and what part God and Quantum computing play in this whole process. I don’t real know any more than when I started this whole experiment. All I know is that a higher power than I is necessary to have formed the universe and shaped our thoughts.

I took a quantum leap of faith and made a determination that would stay with me the rest of my life. I’ve decided that in my final version of reality, God is the Game Master. I prey that is so. This has been a humbling experience. Strange how us humans feel called upon to examine the nature of the world we live in. Why can’t we just accept what is happening to us like other animals? Why must we always question our own existence? I guess that’s what sets the human race apart.

God, if You’re listening, I believe in You. I have my doubts at times, but in my opinion You’re the Game Master. You’re the Man. I just want to be Your messenger.

Time has worked wonders. I’ve decided that whatever world I’m living in is the right one for me. My scars are healed. I feel like a new man. No more pensive thinking for me and speculating about the nature of what’s real. I’m ready to come back to the world of the living. That’s the reality I like best. That’s where I do my best work.

I feel good again. The Game Master must be watching over me.

To find out more about virtual reality and the novel Johnny Oops, please go to