Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 9

This may be the final Storming Area 51 post, though I suspect there will be more aftermath stories released soon. We will keep watching.

One of the two festivals happening in the desert canceled itself on Saturday after having failed to garner a sizable crowd with the Grammy-ward winning international deejay Paul Oakenfold on Friday night. The “Area 51 Base Camp” event in Hiko fizzled quick like a fading sparkler with the event organizers admitting that they gambled and lost.

In related news, a tweet of the threat of a stealth bomber on Area 51 stormers caused alarm bells and then apologies. Also, as was feared by several people familiar with the desert surrounding Area 51, wild cows were struck and killed by motorists. Thankfully, the motorists are safe.

There is very little news about the events occurring today, Sunday September 22, if they actually occurred. It seems the passing of September 20th and the lack of massive crowds and problems in the Nevada desert has resulted in a lack of news interest. Perhaps it’s because no one found aliens or other life forms they were hoping for. Then again, Area 51 stayed unmolested.

In The Raffle Novel, there are no aliens at Area 51. It is the birthplace of the advanced drones and the NHCs (the humanoid robots in the Series), and so Area 51 plays a central role and is the subject of its own storming event. But The Raffle is fiction. And we are glad that in real life, no storming occurred. Whatever is being built at Area 51 today is being built for a reason. A reason we may never know, which we may be better off for.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 8

Whew! September 20 is now behind us and thankfully nothing crazy happened. Well, not totally crazy. As CNN has reported, People did show up to the Nevada desert, there were a few arrests and there was at least one Naruto runner, but that’s about it.

All of the warnings and preparation seems to have been heeded. Authorities taking the Storm Area 51 event seriously prepared the approximately 3,000 attendees to be in a cooperating and jovial mood, rather than subversive. So how did the day breakdown?

Rather than millions showing up outside of the actual gates of Area 51, only approximately 150 appeared within sight. Of the 150, approximately 75 approached the gates. And they appeared very early in the morning on September 20, as early as 3:00 a.m.

But what about the festivals? Well, they did occur and apparently Paul Oakenfold played at the event in Hiko, though there were few people actually there. That’s really disappointing because nothing feels more out of this world then listening to trance in the middle of the Nevada desert. And in Rachel, Alienstock did happen, though it was calmer event than expected. And in Las Vegas, the festival there is still happening, so there will be more to report after the weekend.

Here’s hoping things continue to remain and calm and subdued in and around Southern Nevada this weekend.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 7

In a few minutes it will be September 20. The day of the home raid on Area 51. Festivities have supposed to have kicked off already today and tonight in Las Vegas and in Rachel. And tomorrow the other event kicks off in Hiko. Two events are in the middle of nowhere Nevada with very little infrastructure. But officials are reporting they are prepared.

We shall learn tomorrow and this weekend provides to those in the desert. However, one of the main worries attendees of any of the desert events is the wildlife, which consists of wild cows, insects and snakes. The other worry is traffic. Just how may people will show up in the desert tomorrow and this weekend is anyone’s guess. The big winners of this silliness are the marketing geniuses taking advantage of the phenomena in the desert.

Besides the pain the residents will feel of the strain on the sparsely populated towns will feel this weekend, the other loser in this fiasco maybe Facebook as the Lincoln County District Attorney is considering filing charges against the company. So, even when this weekend is over, the ramifications of the “raid” will still be felt well into next week and beyond.

We will continue to watch and comment. Be safe everyone. Please.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 6

Tomorrow is the big day, and yes I know tomorrow is September 19th and not the 20th, which was the day the Storm Area 51 Raid was supposed to happen per the original Facebook “joke” event. BUT, tomorrow is the day several events are “supposed to” happen. I quoted supposed to because there is a hell of a lot of confusion out there.

During a podcast/post on KUNR, a public radio station in Nevada, it was quoted that “Alienstock” had been canceled. However, if you click the site for the Little A’Le’Inn, in rural Rachel, “Alienstock is still happening between September 19-21. Perhaps because there are two competing events, a Budlight cosponsored event held tomorrow that the two cohosts of the original Storm event are now hosting in Las Vegas, and an event in Hiko, Nevada at the Alien Research Center, there is too much competition and false rumors are being spread? Because according to Time.com, Alienstock is happening and it has profiled the music acts playing.

It’s more than interesting that a joke event that was supposed to uncover the alien conspiracy at Area 51 has plenty of its own conspiracies. And in another odd twist of events, one of the most well-known keepers of Area 51 mythology and a resident of Rachel, Joerg Arnu, is begging people not to storm Area 51. Check out DreamlandResort.com for more about Arnu and his passion for Area 51.

I’m sure there will be more posts tomorrow and through the weekend on the events and craziness. We’re hoping everything will be okay in the State of Nevada this weekend and there only be fun had by all.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 5

September 20 is less than a week away and there are some interesting updates to report.

First, Bud Light has released limited edition Alien-themed cans in honor of an event it is sponsoring on September 19 in Las Vegas, the day before the “raid.” The September 19th event is also interesting because it is now being supported by the two “hosts” of the “raid” event on Facebook. They originally teamed up with the owner of the Little A’Le’Inn, in rural Rachel, Nevada to host “Alienstock on September 19-21. But, fears that the insufficient infrastructure to support thousands of people in Rachel could quickly become a Fyre Festival 2.0 lead Matty Roberts and Brock Daily to join forces with Bud Light and Collective Zoo to host an event at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center the day before the raid and to avoid the raid completely. Here they are explaining how the raid became a music festival. Thankfully, no one on this world can drink enough Bud Light to get drunk enough to do something stupid like the raid itself on September 20.

Lack of infrastructure notwithstanding, supposedly Alienstock is still happening. Another event will be occurring in Hiko, Nevada at the Alien Research Center. That event is scheduled for two days and will have music and speakers, including director Jeremy Corbell, whose movie on Netflix about Bob Lazar was the impetus for the original raid. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it, even if you don’t believe in aliens, which I don’t, Bob Lazar is a fascinating character.

And some morons are already getting arrested trying to storm Area 51. A pair of Dutch You Tubers are now in Nye County custody for trespassing.  And if you are wondering about the legal implications of Storming Area 51, thankfully a lawyer has analyzedit. And yes, deadly force is allowed, though very unlikely. 

9/11 and The Raffle

On the Eighteenth Anniversary of the deadliest and most notorious terrorist attack on United States soil, a post is the least I can do. September 11, 2001 will forever be etched in history as one of the most tragic days in United States history in general, and for Arab Americans in particular.

We all know what happened on the awful day nineteen Arab terrorists attacked our country. I was living in Washington D.C. at the time and had family and friends in New York City, so the attack hit home, at least psychologically. In fact, I started to stay completely silent about my Arab roots after the attack and, in a few instances, lied and said I was Italian. It just made things easier.

I haven’t confirmed this with other Arab Americans, but I think they’d agree they always felt some personal shame about having Arab roots on every September 11th after 9/11/01. Of course, none of us was involved in the attacks, and all of us were attacked as Americans first no matter our roots. But, there’s still that twinge of pain I feel every September 11th where 99% of me feels connected to the pain and 1% just keeps saying sorry for something I had nothing to do with.

As crazy as the attack I’ve created in The Raffle Novel is, had the events of 9/11 not occurred, most people would simply laugh off the terrorist strike on Los Angeles I conjured up. But the sheer craziness of 9/11 makes anything possible, which is another reason why we must take potential strikes on our country seriously, though we must still balance those threats against our fundamental constitutional rights and identity.

When I published Part 1 of The Raffle in early 2016, my theory was it would take another shocking and more devastating attack on our country for limits on immigration/birthrights, freedoms and other indications of a fascist-like regime. But I was wrong.

Events like 9/11 and “foreign” terrorist strikes (while rarer than the 40,000 Americans that periah annually from car accidents) provide fuel to the xenophobic and racist fires perpetually burning in the United States today. And in the age of free access to any information we choose to consume and support our beliefs (including going old school by using the Bible), the danger to our democracy compounds. As recently discussed by the well known political scientist Shawn Rosenberg, “When people are left to make political decisions on their own they drift toward the simple solutions right-wing populists worldwide offer: a deadly mix of xenophobia, racism and authoritarianism.”

In the end, from the bottom of my soul, I pray we never become The New United States in The Raffle Novel. The problem is, no matter how hard I pray, the seeds of transformation have been planted and they’re sprouting. And so, I will continue to document them with hopes that my observations may hamper our devolution.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 4

It’s been a few days since my last Storm Watch post. And it appears Southern Nevada and the rest of the State is taking things seriously.

An article in The Atlantic warns that several local, state and federal agencies are planning responses to the potential raid. Also according to the article, the FBI’s getting involved. So, shit’s getting real over the coming Storm. And they should take this seriously. We all know Area 51 is a military base trespassers are warned that they deadly force is possible. We don’t want bloodshed when it can be avoided.

But what about a party? Where do those festivals stand? As of now, the projected number of people showing up somewhere near Area 51 is 30,000. And there are two events planned so far, both in Lincoln County. One will be held at the Alien Research Center in Hiko with more lectures and discussions and the other will be in Rachel and will be more like a typical EDM/rave.

The worry is this could turn into another Fyre Festival because there are few services, no nearby hospitals and little running water near Area 51. Hopefully, September 20 will be a day of exchanging interesting ideas and friendly hallucinations, rather than bloodshed and peril. We certainly don’t want anything like the Rogues living in Yucca Mountain in The Raffle Novel to be replicated in the desert with the world watching.

We’ll keep watching and commenting Rafflers. Stay tuned.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 3

I was scrolling through my Evernote file on interesting Raffle-related links and stories to tweet and post about when I came across a note from April 2019. It was a link to a Las Vegas Review Journal article from 2015 about Area 6. Yes, “Area” as in one of the 50 or so other Areas other than Area 51.

As I have been writing about since the Storm Area 51 event was announced in late June, Area 51 has been the climax site of The Raffle Novel for a long time now. And in the climax, the advanced, unmanned drones are central figures. Lo and behold, it appears such advanced technology is being tested near Area 51 at Area 6. And, as predicted and written in The Raffle Novel, there is a connection between the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository and Area 6 (and likely Area 51).

As the article notes:

“Flightglobal, an aviation industry website, noted a five-sentence description of the Area 6 ‘aerial operations facility’ found in a 7,500-page safety report on the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project.

‘The purpose of this facility is to construct, operate, and test a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles. Tests include, but are not limited to, airframe modifications, sensor operation, and onboard computer development. A small, manned chase plane is used to track the unmanned aerial vehicles,’ reads the report Energy Department contractor Bechtel SAIC prepared in 2008 for the Yucca Mountain repository license application.”

And why is Area 6 even more secretive than Area 51? Is there another connection/prediction by The Raffle Novel? Perhaps the terrorist groups involved in the fictitious events of July 4, 20-6 really could have happened. As, the article notes, “‘There is a well-founded fear that evildoers are stalking around out there — ISIS and al-Qaida…You have to imagine that trying to develop targeting signatures in this type of mountainous desert terrain. That’s got to be a really high priority … not constrained by funding.‘”

Seriously, are you freaked out yet by the connections The Raffle Novel proffered that are proving to be true? Stay tuned for more truth and predictions Rafflers. We promise, you will continue to be blown away.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 2

I wasn’t planning on posting anything on this topic today. I thought my post from yesterday still needs to penetrate the blogosphere. But then I came across a very interesting post from Down Under.

Leah Williams penned and posted an interesting article today about the 10 other “secrets” that may be hiding in Area 51 besides aliens. These include, among other oddities, JFK’s brain, a Japanese sword, Rasputin, lizard people, Bigfoot and psychic children. But my favorite “secret” is exactly what I think could be at Area 51 and plays a huge role in The Raffle Novel: human clones.

As Ms. Williams notes:

Human cloning technology is real, it’s here and it might just be happening. Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned animal, was born in 1997 — but cloning has ceased to make advancements since then. That’s because human cloning is banned in 70 countries across the globe, including the United States, U.K., Russia and China (although China does allow gene editing).

Surely, none of these countries would violate national and ethical bans on cloning. Surely. And surely governments around the world wouldn’t be trying to get — or already have — an advantage in the race for scientific cloning supremacy. There is definitely not human clones in Area 51.”

I love the sarcasm here. Yes, there is no way human clones are at Area 51. And no artificial intelligence or robots are being built there. Move along people and just look for your little green aliens.

Yes, I agree Ms. Williams. The home of the Bots must be elsewhere in the world, rather than the most secretive, isolated, and advanced military base in the world.

Area 51: September 20 Storm Watch, Post 1

So much of The Raffle Novel takes place in Southern Nevada. As I previously have written, Nevada is critical to the story because it is so mysterious. Where else could the United States and then The New United States (NUS) have secretly created the NHCs (the humanoid robots in The Raffle Series) other than Area 51? With everyone in the world thinking little green alien things are there, it’s the perfect place and cover story for building robots that look exactly like humans that are then imbedded into NUS society.

But did I focus on Area 51 because I’m obsessed with it and think aliens are actually there? No. I’m not obsessed with it nor do I think aliens are there. I don’t believe in aliens. And I don’t think aliens or anything other-worldly is at Area 51. I believe Area 51 is exactly what the government has allowed us to know about it: it’s a secret military base where advanced weapons are being created. And we should respect that secrecy.

I had already finished writing Part 4 of The Raffle Novel, The Covenant, when Matty Roberts created the “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” event on Facebook on June 27. Apparently Matty was inspired by the Bob Lazar movie on Netflix (which is very good by the way). Since then, “millions” of people from around the world have said they will be storming Area 51 with a Naruto run on September 20, 2019. The Air Force has since responded and warned against the raid, and two Nearby Nevada Counties (Lincoln and Nye) have made emergency declarations in response to the event. Both allegedly are allowing festivals to occur between September 20-22.

I debated using Area 51 in The Raffle Novel as the secret “birthplace” of the NHCs because I thought it was no longer relevant. No one in the world cared or talked about Area 51 for several years, right? Well, the storming announcement, the news and the many memes on Instagram and elsewhere cannot be ignored. So, for the next 20 days I will be focusing on and blogging/tweeting about the event and how it plays out.

What do I think is actually going to happen on September 20? I don’t think anyone will get within miles of Area 51/Groom Lake. I think there will be festivals in Nye and Lincoln Counties. But I’m not sure what will really happen there. And I think the only “little green things” that will be really near Area 51 will be a lotta weed, cuz it’s legal now in Nevada.

Stay tuned for more Area 51 observations Rafflers. There will be more details on how and why it plays a role in The Raffle Novel too.

The Raffle Novel: It’s Complete, But Where Did it Come From and Why?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about the release of the full The Raffle Novel on Amazon this week. After years of hard work, discipline and dedication, all 4 Parts of The Raffle are finally in one book. An ebook for now, but soon there will be a paperback and an audiobook…and more.

Rather than continuing to congratulate myself, I will repost part of something that is new to the Novel that wasn’t included in Parts 1-4, an Author’s Note explaining the genesis of the story. Italicized below is a segment explaining the story behind the story.

[Between 2008-2012] I commuted between Los Angeles and New York every two weeks because my wife, who I had met on a blind date in NYC, lived there. I was always very thankful of our incredible transportation in this country that allowed our marriage to survive while we were thousands of miles apart. But, then I thought…what if? What if something “separated us?” And so, the seeds of The Raffle were sown.

When I finally committed to writing my “what if” story, I really didn’t know what I was going to write other than a story about a man separated from his wife and daughter who would stop at nothing from getting back to them. Of course, as I started writing and researching, many more “what ifs” popped in my head. And then I had fun with it.

I explored the possibilities of numerous fictional catastrophes. Ultimately, I decided on multiple catastrophes converging at once: an overall powerful religious cult/terrorist group with access to biological weapons, a crazed rogue nation and drones. And the “real world” started to become too real. Some people even think The Raffle “predicted” many events.

The most obvious “prediction” was the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. I self-published the original story “The Raffle” on January 16, 2016, a full 9 months before the election. In January 2016, I thought the only way he could win was if a massive terrorist attack occurred and the entire United States became security obsessed, blood-thirsty and distrustful of the “old system.” I was wrong. We were already poised for the tectonic shift in our democracy that occurred in November 2016.

Sidenote: When I began writing Part 2, The Prize, in mid to late 2016, I had originally named the “Miller” character “Stephen Miller”. I only changed his name to Jeffrey Miller in this revised version of Part 2 included in this Novel.

Once the pandora’s box of “predictions” was cracked open, I weaved other predictions and played them out in the Series, including the expanded use of artificial intelligence/robots, the current anti-immigration sentiment in our country, distrust of certain people on the planet, distrust of the Constitution, religious fundamentalism, and many other relevant themes.

Other “predictions” keep coming true everyday. Just yesterday there was a story about a Harvard student from Lebanon getting turned away at the border…because of his friend’s, not his, social media activity. Connecting this to the dystopian New United States of The Raffle Novel is easy: Middle Easterners are already under heightened scrutiny. From the “Muslim Ban” to the “your buddy’s social media activity” ban, you can’t feel as comfortable as others do if have ties to the Middle East. And that fact is also one of the reasons why I wrote The Raffle Novel. An American of Arab descent protagonist, i.e., not a villain, is a rare thing in literature and story-telling in general. Arabs and Middle Easterners need real heroes too, just like everyone else.

So, I hope you enjoy the story. And I hope you stick with us, because this is only the beginning.

Twisting The Bible to Support Beliefs, Part 1

In a small town in Michigan, a city council candidate has recently doubled down on her controversial stance that her town should remain white only. She is also opposed to race-mixing and biracial marriages. In support of her views, she “…contends the bible backs her beliefs.”
When I read this story and was able to recover from the initial shock, I immediately thought about The Raffle Novel. Throughout Part 4, The Covenant, Stefan, the skinhead and Christian Identity Church member, spews vile racist statements and bases them in religious beliefs. Noah, the black NHC (i.e., humanoid robot) cites a well-known passage from Jesus that most believe support the view that the Bible, Jesus and God are against racism: 
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians Chapter 3, verse 28,” Noah says to Stefan.
Not to be outdone by a NHC, Stefan immediately responds with his own citation from the Bible that I think can be twisted to support the separation of nations, i.e., races, though I don’t know for sure if this is what racists like the Marysville, Michigan (Marysville, how appropriate) city council candidate use to support their beliefs:
 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and…” Stefan paused at first and then screamed, “the boundaries of their dwelling place. Acts, Chapter 17 verse 26.” 
From my studies of the Christian Identity Church in drafting The Raffle, I understand they hold that Genesis 1:24, describing the creation of animals and how it occurs before the creation of Adam, includes a description of all nonwhite races. In their strongly-held view, only the white race descended from Adam, and all other races are viewed as a prior creation. These are the “Mud People” that Stefan and other Christian Identity Church members refer to.
There are many other instances in the “real world” of how the Bible is used to support racist beliefs. There is an excellent analysis on Salon.com written by Karl W. Giberson, which also includes an explanation of how some racist church beliefs use the story of Noah’s Ark to support slavery. 
In The Raffle Novel, it is Noah that becomes fed up with the way humans treat each other and the NHCs. Without giving too much away, I note that Noah uses his own twisted interpretation of the Bible for how he should deal with humans. So, it’s not just racists twist the Bible for their own purpose.
This will not be the last post on Biblical Racism or the Christian Identity Church. I just felt so “inspired” by the racist idiot in Michigan to write something about it. I know The Raffle is fiction, but the truth is, it is really based on our sad reality. 

Las Vegas, Nevada and The Raffle Series

Vegas Baby. Vegas. Ramsey whispers those words to remind himself of his past, give homage to the 1990s film Swingers and to acknowledge his excitement because he thinks he will be entering Las Vegas in 2027. So, why is Las Vegas such an important city in The Raffle Series?

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that this is one example of where the author “bleeds” through to the protagonist. Some of the reminiscing and memories Ramsey has in The Raffle Series about Las Vegas are really mine. My parents did take me to Vegas many times as a child and teenager. My father did almost get hit by a car on Interstate 15. And I do really enjoy going to Las Vegas with my wife now. 

But other than author bias, why would Las Vegas of the future play a critical almost Oz-like role in a Science Fiction/Dystopian/Noir Novel? Did I intend to “idolize” Las Vegas when I originally started the Series? Or am I just obsessed with how I think Las Vegas will look like in the future? 

Besides my nostalgic and current feelings towards Las Vegas, one of the primary reasons Vegas plays such a key role is its location. It is in Nevada, a state shrouded with mystery. If you have never driven through Nevada, I highly recommend doing so. Approximately 85% of the state is owned by the federal government. It is where nuclear bombs have been tested, advanced aircraft created at Area 51 and where you will literally see futuristic military vehicles traversing the desert highways. So, the whole state is the perfect setting for a Science Fiction/Dystopian/Noir tale like The Raffle. The state “bleeds” Noir. And that doesn’t even take Las Vegas into account! Let alone Reno and its sordid past as the divorce capital of the world. 

So, location is a key explanation and is why most of the core story in The Raffle Series occurs in Nevada. Laughlin, Spirit Mountain, Yucca Mountain and Area 51 are all relatively near Las Vegas, and Las Vegas will be one of the primary settings for the future of the Series. And Las Vegas today is already becoming the Las Vegas of the future: the sports and entertainment capital of the world. 

You can see it with the repurposing of some buildings and the massive, new projects being built there today. The pyramid at the Luxor is now an esports arena. The NFL will have the Raiders there next year when the stadium is complete, and the stadium currently contemplated flying cars in its future. The NHL has the Golden Knights. There are plans for more arenas. There was also a multi-billion dollar Smart City Project recently announced for the Las Vegas Valley.

Having just visited Las Vegas this past week, this the right time to explain some of the why behind its importance. There will be many more posts on Las Vegas and Nevada, including discussions of Yucca Mountain and Area 51. Area 51 in particular will be interesting as we get closer to the Storming Area 51 event/hoax on September 20. So stay tuned Rafflers. 

The Gun Debate and The Raffle

I didn’t write The Raffle Series to be political. Yes, I studied geopolitics and history in college, but The Raffle is not a manifesto. It’s science fiction heavily influenced by what’s happening in our world.
BUT, it’s impossible to ignore the rampant shootings frequently occurring in the United States today. The very recent terrible events in Gilroy, El Paso and then in Dayton have caused reflection this past week about the American Gun Debate and how it plays out in The Raffle Series.
According to one study cited in a recent Guardian story, “…white supremacy is the key to understanding America’s gun debate.” When I read that line, I thought, yes, and white supremacy is a key to understanding several complex themes in The Raffle Series too. 
Without spoiling too much of The Series, if you read all four Parts, you know a religious, subversive white supremacist group isn’t satisfied with the autonomy it has received in the New United States. It wants to dominate rather than just exist more openly. It’s just never enough. Much like the ability to carry guns in this country: Gun right purists don’t want any regulation and want the ability to carry assault weapons and advanced ammunition. And they want to be able to do so in public. 
Tying this demand to the tenets of white supremacy, the study provides that, “The intensity and polarization of the US gun debate makes much more sense when understood in the context of whiteness and white privilege.” The story cites Dr. Johnathan Metzl, who notes that, “Carrying a gun in public (emphasis added) has been coded as a white privilege.” 
Metzl further notes that the shooter’s identity dictates the after-shooting narrative: It will either be focused on the individual or a cultural group/religion depending on the skin color of the shooter. “When the shooter is white, the context is the individual narrative – this individual (emphasis added) disordered white mind. When the shooter is black or brown, all of a sudden the disorder is culture. The narrative we tell then is about terrorism or gangs.” 
In other words, one “bad” brown or black person makes all brown and black people guilty. Because nonwhites are unofficially under “heightened scrutiny” in the United States. As Metzl notes, “…there are… stories about African American gun owners who would go to Walmart and get tackled and shot.”
So, what does this have to do with The Raffle Series? Unfortunately, it has a tremendous impact on The Raffle Series. 
One of the many correct predictions in the novel (which will be the subject of future posts) was the election of Donald Trump in 2016. When Part 1 of The Raffle was published in January 2016, the racial tensions, threats of global terrorism/rogue actors like North Korea, and our country’s hangover of the same political participants caused me to think that an outsider like Trump had a chance. 
Other people thought I was crazy, and then I started to believe them. I thought, the only way someone like Trump could win would be if a massive terror attack occurred. And I was wrong. While I feared the racist elements in this country could have an influence on the election, they mixed perfectly with the religious fundamentalist elements and produced a win. A win that caused the dawn of The New United States in the “real world” starting in November 2016. 
Attacks on immigrants in the “real world” like what occurred in El Paso would not occur in The Raffle Series because of their removal during The Great Expulsion. The Great Expulsion was the event in the Series where all non citizens were removed from the United States. It is also when certain Americans with ties to questionable regions of the world (namely the Middle East) were placed on “heightened scrutiny.” Does that really sound that crazy or like science fiction? Or is it just one step further than our current world today? Just today the Administration announced new penalties on legal non citizens. I’m telling you soon The Great Expulsion will be a reality.
With the gun debate inextricably connected with the last bastion of white supremacy in the United States, the immigrant question and fear of the other will always be included as side stories to the gun debate. And with all of those themes playing out in The Raffle Series, you cannot divorce the Series from the gun debate. Because we will always ask, are we already living in The New United States?

Robot Racism and Its Role In The Raffle Series

A recent story in The Atlantic about Ronald Reagan’s racist conversation with Richard Nixon in 1972 prompted this post. Racism and the fear of the other are one of the primary themes in The Raffle Series. In Part 1, the “virus” fractures Southern California into four battling and brutal “ethnic” enclaves. The multi-pronged attacks on SoCal lead to the United States becoming The New United States: a jingoistic, closed-border paranoid decentralized collection of “subsidiaries” hell-bent on security. Released to protect the NUS from any internal threats are the humanoid NHCs: robots created from synthetic stem cells that look, act and think like humans. But what kind of robots do humans actually prefer? It depends on if you are racist.

According to another recent story in CNN summarizing a New Zealand study, humans can be racist against robots and have a preference for white robots because there are just more “white” robots out there in films, television and otherwise. So, do we think this will be an issue in the future? As the lead researcher points out: “Imagine a world in which all Barbie dolls are white. Imagine a world in which all the robots working in Africa or India are white. Further imagine that these robots take over roles that involve authority. Clearly, this would raise concerns about imperialism and white supremacy.”

White supremacy? Robots? It’s like they read The Raffle Novel from my very mind before I published it. The study also gives hope in recommending “robot diversity,” making robots with darker tones more common than the standard “white” ones.

Though one question explored in Part 4, The Covenant, is can robots themselves be or became racists or supremacists? I personally believe if we are the ones creating and programming the robots, then the answer is yes. Because if good ‘ole Ronald Reagan was a racist and he remains revered in the United States, then our future will be more like The New United States.

UPDATE: Since the original publication of this Raffle Blog Post on August 2, 2019, there is a “real world update.” President Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, has asked the world to forgive her father’s racism. While we are real believers in forgiveness here at The Raffle, it seems to us that easily forgiving racism is hard to do when it is so pervasive and has had lasting negative impacts in our country. Especially in light of the horrific massacres this past weekend in El Paso and Dayton. BUT, we hope and believe President Reagan DID turn over a new leaf later in his life. This video where President Reagan spoke about the virtues of immigration and immigrants’ pride in being Americans has convinced us that he should indeed be forgiven. In the end, no human is perfect and it helps to recognize that fact.

The End and the Beginning Are Here

The big day is here. Part 4 of The Raffle Novel is now out in the “real world” putting flesh, muscle and insanity on the bones of the world of The New United States of The Raffle Series. But I’m not blogging about specifics of the exciting progression and “conclusion” of Ramsey’s journey just yet. 

This post is to recognize this day and everyone reading this first blog post and The Raffle Series. Without the encouragement of the fans of The Raffle Series, the “Rafflers” as I like to call you, I wouldn’t have made it across the finish line of this almost 5 year process. So thank you all. 

And if you are wondering about how the story came about it or who Randy Smith is, please read the Media Kit available in the “Press” link. Within it are 16 Questions answering several of your questions. 

Since The Raffle was first published in January 2016, I have been posting stories on the Raffle Facebook page from the “real world” that have parallels to the world of The Raffle Series. I will continue to do so there as well as on Twitter @theraffle2027 and Instagram @theraffle2027. But I will also be posting some of those stories with longer editorials on this blog. 

I hope you follow this blog and get deeper into the world of The Raffle. There is more insanity and fun to come so stay tuned, Rafflers.