The Ransomware that Took Out My Desktop

The Ransomware that invaded my desktop was called Zeus.

Trend Micro says, “Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid.” To learn how Ransomware arrives on a computer, click the link in this paragraph and read Trend Micro’s post.

The Ransomware that invaded my desktop on February 12, 2017 popped up on the right screen through Firefox and my g-mail account.

The invasion took place in stages.

I use three browsers: Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox and two are often running at the same time since I use two screens with my desktop. The left screen is used for Google Chrome and the right screen for Firefox.

My first attempt was to restore my system to an earlier date but there was no early date. I think Zeus got rid of that option because that has never happened before. Restore has always worked to deal with similar problems, but not this time.

Zeus took over my right screen on Sunday and flashed a loud message that I had to obey or else. It was noisy and irritating. To get rid of it, I deleted the Firefox browser from my computer.

I thought I’d defeated the threat, but I was wrong.

Google Chrome kept working and Zeus didn’t appear again.  It wasn’t until late Monday morning on February 13 that I couldn’t access any of the files stored on the desktop’s hard drive. Then the desktop stopped working.

I now know that Symantec.com offers a free removal tool for Zeus. “Our free tool will check if your computer is infected by Gameover Zeus and remove the Trojan if it’s found.” In fact, most if not all computer security programs like Norton offer some protection from Ransomware.

Zeus isn’t the only Ransomware out there, so beware.

The security program I was using at the time of the Zeus attack was Bitdefender and it had been offering me Ransomware protection for several weeks at no additional cost, but every time I attempted to accept it, I found the process too time-consuming and confusing, so I didn’t follow through. If it had been a simple and easy process, that ransomware protection would have been active.

Anyway, don’t do what I did. After I deleted Firefox from my desktop, I used Google Chrome and continued to use both of my screens through that one browser. I never saw the Zeus pop-up Ransomware screen again, but Zeus was still there hidden away in my operating system eating it.

On Tuesday, a friend recommended that I take my desktop to R Computer that another combat vet he knew, who has trust issues, swore by.

The R Computer tech said that there is no 100-percent protection from a computer virus like the Zeus Ransomware. Some security programs are just better than others.

The R Computer tech struggled valiantly through the rest of the week to get rid of Zeus and recover the desktop’s operating system, programs, and files, but there was no easy fix because the hard drive was also dead.

The stress from the Zeus virus must have shortened the harddrive’s lifespan.

Nothing lasts forever and hard drives have lifespans too. To find out if there is an average lifespan for hard drives, I turned to LifeHacker.com . Life Hacker says, “Any hard drive in active use is essentially a ticking bomb. Let’s be honest: It’s not a matter of if a hard drive fails, it’s a matter of when, and how lucky you’ll get postponing that as long as possible. If you’re really lucky, it’ll be after you’ve upgraded to a new one. If you’re unlucky, it’ll be in a matter of months or years, and when it does die, we can only hope you’ve made sure to back up your computer before it happens.”

As the week slipped by without a computer and internet access, I felt lost, but adjusted and started to read more from real books and go out more often. I even went on a 3-mile solo walk, something I seldom do since I prefer walking with a friend or a group. It didn’t take long before I realized that the internet and social media is an addiction that destroys life in the real world outside of cyberspace.

Planning to spend more time away from the computer, I wondered if there was a 12-step program to help. If you are interested, I Googled “cyber addiction” and found ITAA, Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous that offers a 12-step program.

If it was only the internet and social media at stake, I might not be here writing this post, but I’m an author with an addiction for writing that I don’t want to get rid of, and my next book is going through final revisions before I send it off to an editor.  That’s why I bought the laptop last Friday that I’m now using.

I’m glad I’ve been backing up my files on a regular daily basis for more than a decade. 

My desktop is still in the shop. When it comes home, it will have a new solid-state hard drive (with a longer lifespan). and my programs and files will be on it ready for me to get started again.

I have two large 27-inch screens that have been sitting dark for a week, and the 15-inch screen on the new laptop is small in comparison. I admit it. The larger screens spoiled me.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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My Take on the Presidential Debates now that they’re over

The end of the republic and its participatory democracy depends on what kind of president Hillary Clinton (HC) turns out to be if elected, and if the Democrats can take back at least one of the Houses of Congress and hold it.  That will be difficult since the GOP has gerrymandered the states they control to rig local and state elections that keeps them in power (watch the video with this post about how they did it).

If Hillary turns out to be a great president, who isn’t owned by Wall Street as her critics repeatedly allege, then she’ll be in a position to extend America’s lifespan as a republic. After all, as NPR reported, the Clintons have weathered: Whitewater, 1992; Travelgate, 1993; Vince Foster’s Death, 1993; Paula Jones/Monica Lewinsky, 1994; Filegate, 1996; Behngahzi, 2012; the Clinton Foundation, 2015, and the Private Email Server, 2015. For details, click the NPR link above to read their report dated June 21, 2016.

If Donald Trump (DT) wins the White House, the American experiment as a republic with a participatory democracy is over, but that is a very long shot unless DT, Wikileaks, and/or Putin have some serious dirt on HC that will blow her out of the saddle. That dirt, true or not, will have to be powerful enough to overcome all the scandals that Trump keeps adding to his pile of dung, as women continue to reveal more alleged sexual abuse in An Exhaustive List of the Allegations Women Have Made Against Donald Trump.

As for DT coming out of the third debate looking better, the answer is no.  He played to his audience, the deplorables, repeating lies, repeating myths that have never been proven, repeating he can fix everything and only he can do it; she’s a lair, a crook, but he did not appeal to most if not all of the undecideds.

DT did manage to stay behind his podium and control the sniffles that he has claimed, after the other debates, didn’t happen (what a sad-sack of a disgraceful clown this freak of the underworld is). I think, only twice did he actually sniffle in the 3rd debate, and then managed to cut the sniffles short.

His daughter, the one he wants to date and probably grope if he hasn’t already done it, or his entire family, must have sat on him before the debate so he wouldn’t sniff cocaine to boost a bully’s courage. They probably wouldn’t even let him go to the bathroom alone.

But DT double blew it when he refused to say he’d accept the outcome of the election.  He blew it again by disagreeing with the moderator more than once, a conservative FOX network moderator who tossed facts at DT proving Trump wrong more than once, that The Donald refused to accept, or ignored, as he plowed on with his long list of conspiracy theories.

With several screens open, I also fact checked DT on a few  of his always wrong claims, and after the debate, I read what Nate Silver’s site FiveThirtyEight had to say about the debate as the misinformation and/or lies poured out of Trump’s mouth like dirty, greasy, brackish toilet water.

For instance, Trump claimed the women’s allegations, not counting the latest allegation of sexual misconduct that appeared the day after the 3rd debate, had been debunked, but none of the fact checkers found anything to support that latest lie.  The only thing the fact checkers found was a witness on that flight where DT allegedly groped the women sitting next to him. That man said he didn’t see anything happen. Where was this guy seated?  Was he watching DT and the woman every single second? To discover how invalid a more than 30 year old memory is when nothing significant happens, I suggest reading what Oliver Sacks has to say on the subject of the accuracy of memory in Speak, Memory published by The New York Review of Books in February 2013.


How Republicans set up a decade-long advantage over Democrats

I know enough about how faulty our memoires are to know that this alleged witness probably didn’t even remember flying that day. I mean, do you remember what you were doing more than 30 years ago in detail unless some alleged billionaire, celebrity pervert gave you a reason to remember by sticking his hand up your skirt while reaching for and/or fondling your vagina.

Even Donald Trump probably doesn’t remember the women he has fondled and groped because there have been so many.

Nate Silver has repeatedly pointed out after every debate that it takes about a week for the results to come in through polls to find out if a debate made a difference in public opinion, so we have to wait a few days to see if the odds change dramatically in DT’s favor, or not.

Silver said he was following the overseas betting sites before, during, and after the debate. “Betting markets are completely unmoved so far,” Silver said, “showing almost same odds they did half an hour before the debate (Trump’s at 17.1 percent to win the election now, as compared with 17.4 percent before). Does that mean it’s a draw so far? I don’t know. Trump’s been better on the substance than he was in the first two debates. But he’s also been on the verge of losing his temper on a couple of occasions. And Clinton’s probably had her most consistent performance so far.”

What an underworld freak Donald Trump is, because he can’t be human, a creature of nature.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart didn’t want the world to discover. Based on a true story.

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Where Does Donald Trump Find the Most Support?

According to 24/7 Wall St.com the 10 states with the Most Hate Groups are:

  1. Louisiana
  2. Virginia
  3. Kentucky
  4. Alabama
  5. South Carolina
  6. Tennessee
  7. New Jersey
  8. Idaho
  9. Arkansas
  10. Mississippi

Then there are the top 10 states with the most gun violence:

  1. Tennessee
  2. New Mexico
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Wyoming
  5. Arkansas
  6. Montana
  7. Alabama
  8. Mississippi
  9. Louisiana
  10. Alaska

How many of those states, according to Nate Silver’s Forecast on FiveThirtyEight.com (on 10-8 @ 9:46 a.m.) support Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and what are the odds.

Only New Jersey (95.9 percent to 4.1 percent for Donald Trump), New Mexico (93 percent to 6.2 percent for Trump), and Virgina (90.1 percent to 9.1 percent for Trump) are forecast to support Hillary Clinton.

The rest of the top 10 most racist and gun violent states are all solidly behind Donald Trump helping explain why they support this racist, bully, misogynistic, serial liar, and fraud.

  1. Alaska (71.8 percent) and Mississippi (94.1 percent)
  2. Louisiana (96 percent) and Arkansas (98 percent)
  3. Mississippi (see 1st place) and Idaho (98.8 percent)
  4. Alabama (99.6 percent)
  5. Montana (98 percent) and Tennessee (96.3 percent)
  6. Arkansas (see 2nd place) and South Carolina (86.1 percent)
  7. Wyoming (98 percent) and Alabama (see 4th place)
  8. Oklahoma (99.3 percent) and Kentucky (96.6 percent)
  9. Both New Mexico and Virginia are forecast to support Hillary Clinton
  10. Tennessee (see 5th place) and Louisiana (see 2nd place)

What about the ten most uneducated states? For that answer I take you back to 24/7 WallSt.com.

Starting with last place:

  1. West Virginia (the forecast is 99.1 percent for Trump)
    49. Mississippi (the forecast is 95.1 percent for Trump)
    48. Arkansas (the forecast is 98 percent for Trump)
    47. Kentucky (the forecast is 96.6 percent for Trump)
    46. Louisiana (the forecast is 96 percent for Trump)
    45. Nevada (the forecast is 31.2 percent for Trump)
    44. Alabama (the forecast is 99.6 percent for Trump)
    43. Oklahoma (the forecast is 99.3 percent for Trump)
    42. Indiana (the forecast is 89.1 percent for Trump)
    41. Idaho (the forecast is 98.9 percent for Trump)

Now that you have these facts, what do you think the reason is that Trump has so much support in most of these top ten most violent, most racist and least educated states?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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Tis the season for donating and contributing your money to scam artists and frauds

The Internet has created a golden opportunity for charities, nonprofits and crooks alike. In the last week alone, if I had contributed even $5 to each of the e-mails that flooded my in-box asking for money, I’d eventually end up broke, homeless and starving.

For instance, just today, the last day of the Year, December 31, 2015, another deluge of e-mails asking for donations flooded in, and I’m not counting the petitions that ask for my signature or advertisements that make life altering promises to bless your life with whatever they want you to buy.

For instance, in one e-mail, Nancy Pelosi was asking for a $5 or $10 dollar donation to help beat the Republicans at the voting booth in 2016. I’m not a Democrat. I’m an independent voter. Pelosi sends several e-mails like this every week. Sometimes I reply and tell her what I really think about both of the corrupt major political parties. She never replies, but she does keep sending endless requests for contributions.

In another e-mail, Tammy Baldwin begged me to donate, so the (power hungry, greedy, never have enough) Koch brothers could be defeated in their attempt to buy America. She asked for $5, $10, $25 or another amount.

In a 3rd e-mail, someone called John Seller via the Other98% wrote that the “Other98 is just a few thousand bucks short of our fundraising goal for the year!”  John said, “Can you chip in $3 or more before the year is over?”

No, John, I will not chip in. When I scrolled through John’s e-mail, I discovered that my $3 or more would have helped keep dirty oil, gas, and coal in the ground, and fight for fair wages and clean jobs for all, etc.

  1. Diana Aviv, who claims to be the CEO of Feeding America, asked for a tax-deductible contribution and said the “need is urgent and the clock is ticking down.”

I thought: Wait, my federal income taxes already held fund SNAP (federally funded food stamps) so I’m already helping to feed Americans who don’t earn enough to feed their families.

Five ended in my Spam folder, and five asked me to rush $20 or more – or whatever you can afford – to Soldiers’ Angels? They said, Dear Friends, “Any last minute donation you can give will go far to ensure that our military service members, veterans, wounded warriors, and military families also have a strong start in 2016.”

But I’m a veteran, and the troops are paid monthly for their service to their country and the job comes with free room and board, and most wounded warriors disabled in combat earn disability payments for life through the Veterans Administration.

  1. Oprah, who is a billionaire, sent a newsletter, that I never open or read, except for this post, and she said “Let’s do this together – join me,” but Weight Watchers is not free. The plans start at $4.61 and go up from there depending on the plan you sign up for. I wonder how much Weight Watchers pays Oprah to advertise for them so underpaid and overweight workers will hand over their money to lose weight.
  2. National People’s Action asked me to donate so they could meet their goal of raising $5,000, and if I gave them $25, they’d send me an NPA T-shirt as a special thank you. They claimed they would use the money to fight for social change.

I asked myself, what kind of social change—would my money be used to support the right to life movement that wants to make abortions illegal or the right for a woman to make the legal choice for herself if she wants an abortion?

  1. In another e-mail, End Citizens United.org suggested that I support them with $5.00, and that I should rush my donation by midnight to become an “Early 2015 Member and we’ll send you a limited-edition membership card in the mail.”

Wow, I thought, what an offer—a limited edition membership card!

  1. Lindsay Wildlife wrote in their e-mail, “Until the clock strikes midnight, you may still support Lindsay in 2015 by making a gift. Your dollars benefit education and respect for wildlife, both now and in the future.”
  2. Brig. Gen. John I. Pray, Jr (ret) asked for $60 to $250, claiming it was “a much-needed donation to help support our military, veterans and their families. … Every dollar helps us support the brave military and their families who work so hard to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily.”

But I already think that our taxes supports the largest bloated defense budget in the world that is supposed to also pay our troops enough to help support their families. If U.S. military families are so destitute and poor, where is that $800 billion going every year that funds America’s huge military machine?

  1. General (Ret.) Wesley Clark asked me to contribute $3 to VoteVets before midnight. Retired General Clark mentioned the Koch brothers and Donald Trump to stir fear that might motivate me to give them what little money I have left.
  2. Writer’s Digest generously offered 30% OFF Digital Products and made sure that I knew the offer ends December 31, but these Writers Digest offers arrive almost every day in my in-box, so in a few days or weeks, the same offer will probably arrive again. I delete most of them without opening.
  3. Sherrod Brown, another politician like Pelosi and Baldwin, threw out the names of the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove to strike fear in my heart, and then asked me to donate from $5, $10, $25 or more. Brown said, “The Koch brothers and Karl Rove are here to stay. Luckily, so are we. We beat these groups back in 2012 by coming together, one small donation at a time, and organizing for the things that matter to us. We can’t stop that now.”
  4. Elizabeth Warren for Senate asked for a donation in another e-mail, but no suggested amount was mentioned. Curious, I clicked the link to donate and discovered that the starting donation was $5 and it goes up from there to $500 or more. Warren, if it was really Warren, said, “If we’re going to step up our fight for America’s middle class, Democrats must take the majority in the Senate in 2016. It’s that simple.”
  5. In the next e-mail that I opened, Steve Anderson said this would be his last email. And then he asked me to donate to OpenMedia to help protect Net Neutrality. In the PS, Anderson, whoever he is, asked me to give monthly. Anderson said, “Don’t let this opportunity slip away—please chip in now so we can continue defending your rights in 2016.”

I had to stop listing all the desperate pleas for money, and I still had twenty-one more that I hadn’t opened that I could have added to the list—with eight more hours left until the birth of 2016.

ALERT: Be careful who you donate your hard earned money to, because Consumer Affairs.com reports that there are many charity scams and it has been revealed that these telemarketers or e-mail marketers pocket most of the funds they solicit for charities and nonprofits. In fact, for-profit fundraisers keep 52 cents of every dollar they raised.

For instance, remember those retired generals who asked me for money to help needy military families and veterans. Well, it helps to be informed when donating to veterans charities. Consumer Affairs reports, “There are a number of legitimate charitable organizations working to help veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals capitalize on consumer patriotism to perpetuate fraud and make a quick profit. The AG’s office says it has received reports of potentially fraudulent activities.”

In addition, James Limback, a Washington D. C. reporter for more than thirty years, writes, “’Tis the season for many consumers to open their hearts and wallets to a variety of charities. But National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization, has issued an alert to consumers that con artists may take advantage of their generosity this time of year with bogus charities posing as legitimate ones.

“It’s that time of year again when we begin to hear from consumers about crooks’ attempts to take advantage of the holiday giving season for their personal gain,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “If you’re thinking of giving to a charity this season, good for you! But be careful — some scammers out there may be looking to take advantage of your generosity.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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A preview of what will happen if the GOP controls all three branches of the federal government

To find out, start by looking at North Carolina. Diane Ravitch reports, “In 2010, Republicans swept control of the Legislature in North Carolina for the first time in a century. Two years later, a Republican governor was elected. Since then, the Republicans have sought to shred any safety net for anyone who needed it.” Click the link in this paragraph to read the rest. It’s much worse than you might think.

What is happening in North Carolina is the perfect far-right conservative storm to destroy the United State if the GOP continues to add states to its list and seats in both Houses of the U.S. Congress. If the GOP wins the presidential election in 2016 and keeps both Houses of Congress along with its current five seat conservative majority in the Supreme Court, what is happening in North Carolina will repeat across the country in every state. America will become the House of Punishment and prison populations will soar along with more laws designed to send people to those prisons for longer sentences. If you think America is a free country, then why are so many Americans in prison—the U.S. is ranked number one? Guess who is #2 and #3. Click the link in this paragraph to find out.

For instance, who started the war on drugs? A GOP president. His name was Richard Nixon, the only president of the United States to resign from office to avoid facing impeachment. In the late 1970s, under President Carter, a Democrat, drug arrests fell. But the overall trend starting in the 1980s was upward with increased arrests. Who was the GOP president during the 1980s—one guess?

Under GOP President George H. W. Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, drug arrests climbed again, and then under Clinton they fluctuated, but under President G. W. Bush, arrests started to climb again. Drug arrests in 2006, were 3.25 times what they were in 1980.

Imagine, ending up in prison because of an addiction that is a disease.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs. – Drug Abuse.gov

This is a preview of our world if the GOP rules the United States without the possibility of compromise—a world where women can go to prison for taking pain killers when they are pregnant, and that is already happening in some states dominated by the GOP.

Take a Valium, Lose Your Kids, Go to Jailpropublica.org

In Alabama—a state dominated by the GOP—anti-drug fervor and abortion politics have turned a meth-lab law into the country’s harsher weapons against pregnant women.

Other States that Take a Hard Line:

  • South Carolina – 100% GOP dominated
  • Tennessee – 100% GOP dominated
  • Wisconsin – 100% GOP dominated

The GOP will win if too many registered Democrats and independent voters do NOT vote, because that is the reason the GOP has been winning elections in recent years—not because the majority of Americans are voting for far-right conservatives. Voters also have to be aware of fake Democrats running for election. Some of them are neo-liberals, and it is arguable that only fools and ignorant people vote for neo-liberals.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Where to Buy

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Dark Side of America is Ruled by Fear and Hate

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted 289 to 136 to block Syrian refugees from entering the United States, because of the ISIS terrorist attack in Paris that killed 129 people and wounded many more. – The Telegraph

What about innocent until proven guilty?  The concept that we are innocent until proven guilty is not codified in the text of the Constitution. Instead, it has been part of the history of English jurisprudence for so long that it is considered common law. The concept is embodied in several provisions of the Constitution, however, such as the right to remain silent and the right to a jury. If you are interested to learn more about things that are not in the U.S. Constitution, visit usconstitution.net.

Anyway, this post is not about the Constitution. It’s about the recent tragedy in Paris and how too many Americans are reacting to it by wanting to reject Syrian and/or Iraqi refugees who are fleeing the brutal tyranny of ISIS and/or fundamentalist Islam.

For instance, Robert Reich reported that “Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would not rule out implementing a database system tracking all Muslims in the United States—including Americans of Muslim faith. … While Donald Trump is mimicking Nazi Germany, his fellow Republicans are trying to outdo him. Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz want to apply a religious test to refugees. Marco Rubio wants to ‘close down any place where radicals are being inspired,’ including mosques. This is spinning out of control, and it’s time to draw the line.”

Let’s not forget that the United States has its own breed of fundamentalists who call themselves Christians. Then there are the disturbed Americans who go on killing sprees in schools, theaters and shopping malls.  If you want to discover how many, click List of school shootings in the United States or read The Guardian’s Oregon college shooting is 994th mass gun attack in US in three years

When these mass shootings take place in the United States, depending on the body count, there will be the usual cry for more gun control, but did you know that Paris was a gun free zone with one of the toughest gun control laws in the world?

In addition, the number of hate groups operating in the United States continued to rise in 2008 and has grown by 54 percent since 2000 — an increase fueled by immigration fears, a failing economy, and the successful campaign of Barack Obama, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC identified 926 hate groups active in 2008, up more than four percent from the 888 groups in 2007 and far above the 602 groups documented in 2000.

“Many white supremacist groups are going more mainstream,” said Jack Levin, a Northeastern University criminologist who studies hate crime. “They are eliminating the sheets and armbands. … The groups realize if they want to be attractive to middle-class types, they need to look middle-class.” Levin estimated fewer than 50,000 people are members of white supremacist groups, but he says their influence is growing with a more sophisticated approach.” – civilrights.org

And then there’s this from the New York Times: Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11 (published June 25, 2015)

“Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists,” said Dr. Kurzman, whose study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum. …

“The contentious question of biased perceptions of terrorist threats dates back at least two decades, to the truck bombing that tore apart the federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995. Some early news media speculation about the attack assumed that it had been carried out by Muslim militants. The arrest of Timothy J. McVeigh, an antigovernment extremist, quickly put an end to such theories.

“The bombing, which killed 168 people, including 19 children, remains the second-deadliest terrorist attack in American history, though its toll was dwarfed by the roughly 3,000 killed on Sept 11.”

I do not want to see the United States repeat the horrible mistakes made to the Chinese during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882 – 1943), or the relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps after Pearl Harbor and during World War II, or the witch hunts of alleged Communists during the McCarthy era in the 1950s. – ushistory.org

When we start down the road of fear and/or hate, then we are not all that different from what the Nazi’s did with their concentration camps during World War II, or the ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian war, and so many other examples throughout history.

“Let’s not forget that Malala Yousafzai is a Muslim. We can NOT paint all Muslims with the same brush that defines ISIS.

“Yousafzai’s story reveals the everyday details of a battle that millions of Muslim girls around the world are fighting every day. It is a in which the threats of violent extremists must be borne with courage, even when they do not yield fame or notoriety; in which there are fathers, brothers and husbands who support women’s struggle; in which faith strengthens resistance and culture undergirds identity. Their battles for emancipation have authentic vocabularies all their own that communicate paths for empowerment that at some times intersect and at others veer from the paths of their traditions. Their victories lie not in renunciation but in resistance and reclamation of faith, culture and public space.” – aljazeera.com

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Where to Buy

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

More than a novel—an education about what will happen to the U.S. without labor unions and justice

Grisham’s “Gray Mountain” offers an education of what the United States will become without labor unions and justice.

I’ve read most if not all of John Grisham’s work, and I was not disappointed by Gray Mountain. What I really appreciated was the door he opened into a world I had no idea still existed in the United States.

If you think that working people are safe from corporate greed, you should read this book and pay attention.

While the characters and the plot carry the story along, the actual history of Appalachia and Big Coal threads its way through the novel like blood flowing through the Carotid Artery from the heart to our brain but in this case, the blood is coal and it is clogging the artery contributing to brutal poverty and causing much suffering and early deaths. I think Grisham is evolving into a muckraking author-journalist in the best tradition of the golden age of journalism.

The coal industry is plundering Appalachia. It is a tragedy what the greedy, cold blooded corporate industry is doing to both the environment and the people who live there.  The results are hundreds of mountains decapitated, forests obliterated, water polluted, wildlife displaced and people made sick with cancer, lung and heart disease, and Grisham doesn’t  spare us from any of these inhuman corporate crimes.

What has the coal industry done and what is it still doing? Let me summarize—Appalachia, a region of extraordinary beauty and natural diversity, is under attack. Mountaintop removal is strip mining on steroids—a radically destructive form of surface mining whereby coal companies bulldoze the forest, decapitate the peaks with explosives, push the shattered rubble into adjacent valleys, and destroy the ecologically crucial headwater streams that had been there before.

If you read this book—or listen to it like I did—Grisham will take you on a dangerous and dramatic ride with Samantha Kofer, a 29-year-old graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Law who was earning $180,000 a year before the story takes her from the world of big law to a non-profit, legal aid clinic in the heart of coal country.

The story Grisham paints makes clear that the labor unions that once offered some protection for the workers in this industry were broken years earlier by the crooked, brutal, greedy coal companies, and what makes this story even more tragic is that in the real world where we live, corporations and billionaire oligarchs are waging endless war against labor unions all across America to do the same thing that the coal industry did several decades ago. If you want to discover what the U.S. will look like for workers without labor unions, learn with Samantha Kofer.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Runner Up
2015 Florida Book Festival

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Honorable Mentions
2014 Southern California Book Festival
2014 New England Book Festival
2014 London Book Festival

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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