US – Iran Like Worst Exes

Iran and the United States managed to swap prisoners and make some positive steps in the nuclear deal while taking a step back with sanctions on a nuclear test. Listening to the news this morning, they were talking about the “relationship” the these two have at the moment. My thoughts were, “This is no relationship. This is a later stage of a really bad breakup.” (Yes, I know this is a gross oversimplification, but that is pretty much the point.)

Secretary Kerry, Joined By Baroness Ashton of the European Union, Speaks With Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Before Resuming Three-Way Nuclear Talks in Vienna

See, back in the time of the Shah, the United States had an extremely cozy relationship with Iran. Like boyfriend and girlfriend, they were lovey-dovey. Sickening to watch, really. Think how the USA is with Saudi Arabia now. (Too soon? Naw.) Iran was out favorite girl in the region. The Shah could do no wrong in the USA’s eyes. Which, might be part of why he was overthrown.

When that happened, Iran broke up with the USA. Like messy break ups, tears were shed, photos burned, and screaming about whatever was said made other countries uncomfortable at parties with them to the point people kept the two apart. Over the years, the two sides have become… Not reasonable but less than eye roll crazy. They can be in the same room without it becoming a scene. Time will tell if they can really be allowed to attend the same parties. But the signs are ever so slightly promising.

The “relationship” is that of exes who have seen the light that no one else sees the other as the crazy one. Both of them are know they better act like adults if they wish to be respected. Neither particularly likes this situation but grudgingly behave as though they do. Both are looking for any sign to point out the other is still the worst evil that ever existed. Both know the other seeks that, so they will behave better so as to not give the other the opportunity to make them look like the bad one.

 

DDoS of Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and other sites all admitted to suffering from a DDoS attack. It seem to me the purpose of a Denial-of-Service attack (DoS) against a web site is to flood it with so much traffic the site becomes unusable. The DDoS is where multiple other computers are coordinated into launching the attack.

All three of the above mentioned sites have had recent issues keeping up with growing usage. The USA inauguration and Iran demonstrations peaked traffic so much the sites seemed like they suffered from a DoS. Already at the edge, an attack tipped the barely making it social media sites over it. Some users abandon them for less popular (so more stable sites). Those who stick around suffer from learned helplessness.

Causing all this hullabaloo over a single user seems odd to me. I don’t speak Russian, so I don’t know if this guy from Georgia (the country) deserved it. Also, it is almost the one year anniversary since Russia invaded Georgia. During the invasion, DDoS attacks disabled Georgian web sites. So, maybe this is to show Georgia the Russians are still capable of causing problems? This is why security evangelists want us to be able to deal with threats.

Various computer viruses over the years have turned millions of computers into zombies for botnets. So… If you are upset about your favorite social media site getting taken down, then maybe you should act on ensuring your computer and others in your social network were not enlisted into a botnet?

The Bahá’í Seven

In only hours the government of Iran plans to put on trial seven Bahá’í leaders for “spying for Israel, spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic and religious offenses”. Yesterday the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom called for the release of these Bahá’ís. Similarly the German parlimentary groups have produced similar condemnations.

For over 160 years Persia/Iran has not had a good relationship either Badis or Bahá’ís. Thousands have been executed for following the wrong religion.

I was hopeful for more government pressure on Iran from many countries. Instead, we’ll rely on prayers for the well being of these poor souls.

Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects people from malicious actions by state and local governments to prevent people from voting. Yes, we have a president of African-American descent. Yes, the United States Supreme Court took no action. However, the majority opinion statement that, “We are a very different nation,” suggests it could be repealed. The argument against maintaining the law seems to be since governments are behaving now no law is needed.

Are they? The DOJ disallowed a Georgia program to cull voters from the databases who might not be citizens. This strikes me as just like the Florida Central Voter File program in 1998-2006 to cull ex-felons from voter lists. Since they just used names, it was highly inaccurate and wrongly disenfranchised thousands in 2000… in Florida… the state which made international headlines as the place unable to count ballots. When Congress renewed it in 2006, “It held extensive hearings and produced voluminous evidence that minority voters continue to face significant obstacles.” [NYT] I may have to go looking for this in the Congressional Record.

With the protests happening in Iran right now about voter irregularities, is this the time to repeal one of the few deterrents against future abuses to erode the significant improvements over the past 40 years?

TED Talk: Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history

The tumult in Iran is huge news of late. As a Baha’i, news of the persecution of Baha’s in Iran has stepped up because of the Internet. Stories crossed the ocean through email. News agencies almost never picked up these stories. As fast as the Iran government could shut down CNN and NYT and BBC reporters, the same government cannot seem to quell dozens who don’t have press credentials or passports to revoke from sharing the message. So the idea of several thousand sharing a similar message evading the same government doesn’t seem all the surprising to me.

[The Iran unrest] is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media. This is it. The big one.

Calling this unrest a revolution seems premature. Still, all this information making it overseas is interesting to watch.

Abandoning Pidgin for (Back to) Trillian

Back in mid August I switched to Pidgin as my IM client. I even found plugins like Guifications and Encryption to add back functionality. Starting now, I am going back to Trillian.

The painful behavior I cannot stand is Pidgin removing my accounts without any visual notice. What is the use of an IM client that doesnt’ connect to the IM service? In every instance, accounts were disabled. Normally I see a visual indicator like I normally do when an account is having issues connecting. For some reason I didn’t get anything.

In the meantime I am back to Trillian. I’ll give Gaim/Pidgin/NextName another try the next time I start having major problems with Trillian. Web-based Meebo requires remembering to login to a web site consistently. Maybe I should try Miranda again?

tag: , , Trillian, Miranda IM, ,

Prayers

My heartfelt prayers go out to the Baha’is in Iran who are undergoing the latest wave of persecutions.

Iran’s Bahai Religious Minority Says It Faces Raids and Arrests – New York Times

Members of the Bahai religious minority in Iran said this week that the government had recently intensified a campaign of arrests, raids and propaganda that was aimed at eradicating their religion in Iran, the country of its birth.