Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 11, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 11, 2020 






Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

One of 2019’s biggest stories will be bigger in 2020: 
Cyber scams are on the rise.

“As people increasingly conduct business and live their 
lives online, more and more criminals are leveraging 
the internet to steal,” reports Forbes’ Stu Sjouwerman.

The dirty rotten scammers continue to evolve, too, targeting 
businesses, government organizations and individuals 
alike with increasingly sophis-ticated schemes.

One is ransomware – malicious software that blocks 
access to computers until money is paid.

Scammers also send phony “phishing” emails – often spoofing emails from 
big retailers – with fraudulent links or attachments that, when clicked, give 
scammers unfettered access to computer users’ data.

Google “ransomware attack” and you’ll see a sizable list of big companies and 
entire cities that have been completely shut down by scammers.

They also spoof text messages. Apparently from reputable companies, such 
as banks, these messages trick individuals into revealing passwords or credit 
card numbers.

Scammers continue to succeed with the good old telephone, too. I re-ceived 
a call this year from a man claiming he was from the Social Securi-ty Administration, 
who told me my account was blocked and he would help me 
reactivate it.

Aware that Social Security never makes phone calls (unless you’re having a 
legitimate conversation with it), I knew what the scammer was after: my full 
name, birthdate, address and Social Security number.

I asked him how he could sleep at night, knowing he was hurting innocent 
people. He cussed at me and hung up.

The greatest worry about scammers is that elderly people are especially at 
risk. They’re more trusting of callers from government agencies and more 
likely to fall for one especially mendacious tax scam.

Using phishing techniques, scammers access data on a taxpayer’s com-puter, 
then use that stolen information to file a fraudulent tax return in the taxpayer’s 
name and have the refund – often larger than is actually owed – deposited 
into the taxpayer’s actual bank account.

According to Intuit, the scammers then “contact their victims, telling them 
the money was mistakenly deposited into their accounts and asking them to 
return it.”

Many victims, fearful of the IRS, readily comply.

According to Pew Research, Americans view cybercrime as their greatest security 
concern. But what are government agencies doing to combat it?

Not enough.

Americans are often victimized by scammers operating from elsewhere in the 
world. How can the bad guys be tracked down and forced to make amends?

Nation-states are often behind sophisticated attacks on organizations. Russian-
financed scammers are actively targeting our utilities, election systems 
and other systems.

Creating new laws and agencies to combat cybercrime is a daunting chal-
lenge. Cybersecurity bills passed by the U.S. House move slowly through the 
Senate. Even if the Senate passes them and the president signs them, regulators 
could take months to draft and implement actual policies. Scammers 
aren’t bogged down by such bureaucratic processes.

What it comes down to is that every individual must learn to detect and 
avoid cyber scams. The Department of Homeland Security has helpful info 

Always verify that an email, text or link is legitimate before you click. Al-
ways be suspicious – because that’s the only way that cyber scams won’t be an 
even bigger story in the new year.

Tom Purcell, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally 
syndicated columnists. Comments to Tom at

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This week I have vowed not to write about Donald 
Trump. It is a challenge in that Mr. Trump seems to 
be engaged in an attempt to end the social experiment 
that has been our democracy. I want to assure you that 
notwithstanding his continual efforts to ignore the United 
States Constitution and the separation of the branches 
of government and the probability that he will not be 
removed by the Senate at the conclusion of whatever 
facsimile of a trial whenever it begins and ends it is 
impossible that he will be re-elected in November 2020.

 Really I don’t want to write or think about Donald Trump anymore. 
Let us all together just think NO Donald Trump and that WILL be enough. 

 Perhaps you are not convinced that further action is not required. 
All that is required is that we all register and vote. Pendulums swing back 
and forth and occasionally history seems to be going in the wrong direction 
but if we can ignore Mr. Trump it is easy to see that beneath the haze caused 
by social media civilization is moving in the right direction. Each year there 
are fewer homicides and further recognition of formerly marginalized classes 
such as women, LGBTQ individuals, religious minorities who are now 
enjoying consideration that were previously denied throughout history.

 I am old enough to remember the abuse heaped upon the young 
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. when he informed the public that he was changing 
his name to Muhammad Ali after his conversion to Islam. If you recall after 
he was drafted in 1967 he refused to serve on the grounds that he was a 
Muslim minister. He was arrested for committing a felony and stripped of his 
heavyweight world championship title and boxing license. Eventually he was 
sentenced to five years while appealing his conviction. This conviction was 
overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971. As I hope you recall Muhammad 
Ali was known for his continued public stance against the Viet Nam war 
and his long time courageous battle against Parkinson’s disease. Many of us 
remember Muhammad Ali with his hands trembling and almost completely 
unable to talk still present enough to light the Olympic torch during the 
1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia at a time when many believed that 
outside of the Pope, he was the most beloved figure in the world.

 How’s that for a turn around. It is wonderful to see the world right 
itself from its past error and once more head in the correct more civilized 
direction. In order to try and understand the colossal error that occurred 
in the 2016 election I spent the last two days viewing the 7 part Ken Burns 
documentary describing the life of the Roosevelts. There are multitudes of 
missteps and regrettable decisions described within the documentary. For 
me the American public’s initial refusal to even provide assistance to the 
European countries threatened by Hitler later compounded by a refusal 
to enter the war. However, once America subsequent to the bombings at 
Pearl Harbor and the declarations of war against the United States by Japan, 
Germany, and Italy, America realized its error and entered the war with a 
productive energy that eventually shamed its enemies.

 Sure there were missteps. The Presidential decision to inter Japanese 
American citizens living on the West Coast, the segregation of African 
Americans from other populations, the refusal to accept European Jews 
into the country who after being refused entry were taken to Concentration 
Camps. There were many other missteps and betrayals and secrets and lies 
and yet the Roosevelts emerge as probably the most heroic family of the 
Twentieth Century.

 My final point is that yes mistakes are made and a terrible error such 
as the election of an incompetent, untruthful, uncompassionate fraud like 
NO DONALD may take place, but it is my very strong belief that his actions 
as President will shock the country in the same way that the bombing of Pearl 
Harbor shocked the nation and cause a mobilization in the right direction 
resulting in the greatest of benefits to the nation.

 I actually believe that the rejection of NO DONALD will result in 
a stronger, freer, better educated America which will move in the direction 
of transparency and equality. It is highly possible that in the near future as 
America moves to save the planet and prevents the further development of 
nuclear weapons there will be a recognition that it was all for the best.


It didn’t take long for “World War III” to become a trending 
topic on Twitter in the hours after news broke that a drone 
strike by U.S. forces resulted in the death of a top Iranian military 

Almost simultaneously, those who’d never heard of the now-late 
Qasem Soleimani until cable news and social media blared his 
name began debating whether the latest escalation in tensions 
between the United States and Islamic Republic of Iran would 
inevitably result in a hot war between the two countries.

There is bipartisan agreement that the airstrike personally 
ordered by President Donald Trump meant that there was one fewer terrorist in the 
world. And there is some wisdom to that, considering Soleimani was believed responsible 
for the deaths of hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War. 

But – and this is a significant but – Congressional leaders had not been briefed on the 
attack, and expressed fears that the White House was moving toward yet another undeclared 
war in the region.

While the administration has made positive noises about wanting to draw down the 
American presence in the Middle East, as was the case during last year’s disastrous 
withdrawal from northern Syria, its actions have not matched the rhetoric.

The Washington Post reported late last week that the U.S. was deploying an additional 
3,500 service people to the region in the wake of that Iranian vow to extract “severe 
revenge.” That’s on top of the battalion of 750 soldiers sent to Kuwait.

The additional security is undoubtedly necessary, as American installations across the 
Middle East brace for retaliation. But it’s also a reminder of how easy it would be for the 
United States to slide into another conflict in a part of the world that’s claimed thousands 
of American lives and trillions of dollars in American resources.

As president, Trump has broad latitude to prosecute foreign policy. But the War Powers 
Act requires the executive branch to brief Congress within 48 hours of unauthorized 
military action.

New York Mag’s Ed Kilgore writes that the administration is likely to claim it had 
grounds to act under the congressionally enacted Authorizations of Military Force in 
2001 and 2002 that, respectively, gave the nation the Forever War on Terror, and an Iraq 
War that doesn’t seem to want to ever end.

Not surprisingly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, raised serious questions about 
the legality of the attack, saying it had been carried out without legislative authorization. 
In reality, Republicans and Democratic administrations have been abusing their 
war-making authority for decades. That includes the Obama administration’s pernicious 
preference for drone strikes.

Think about this: The United States last issued a formal declaration of war after the 
bombs fell on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Every military action since has come without a formal 
declaration of war. Though some, such as the Korean War and the 1990 Gulf War, 
have come with congressional authorizations or through United Nations resolutions, as 
was the case with the Bosnian War under President Bill Clinton in 1992-93.

It might be too late to get the genie back into the bottle. But this slow creep of executive 
power is one that badly needs to be reversed. Which means it’s a mistake to dismiss 
Democratic complaints about White House overreach.

The president wields no power more terrifying – nor more broad reaching – than the 
ability to wage war. But he (and someday she) wields that power in all our names, not 
just his own.

That’s what declarations of war – and congressional authorizations – are for: To ensure 
we speak, as a nation, with one voice.

It’s a quaint notion, perhaps, but it’s one worth remembering before we blunder into 
another endless war.


An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania 
Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. Email him at and 
follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.

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