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From Rome with Love

The country's struggling to keep its collective head above the sanctions-driven waves, but the regime doesn't care if the people are miserable and nothing this side of fierce action is going to end the nuclear program. So the regime will continue to repress, the West will pretend it will eventually do something serious, and the Iranian opposition will continue to act. Eventually, either the regime will catch the key leaders, or the opposition will catch top regime figures. We'll see. But the most important thing for the survival of the regime is the outcome of the battle in Syria. Even the Economist said this week that there are many good reasons to aid the Syrian opposition, but the defeat and possible downfall of the Iranian regime is the most important.

Don't hold your breath, OK?

The Super Snoop

Reading about the NSA/FBI snooping has been great fun, remembering that I testified against the Patriot Act at the very beginning. I was concerned about the myriad opportunities for abuse of snooping, and here we are.

To be sure, I'm amazed so many people seem not to understand how thorough and irresistible is the end of privacy in the U.S. And it isn't only the increasingly intrusive and manipulative State. Hackers abound, and they can find out most anything they desire about you and your activities. Did you know that a skilled snooper can use your computer or your "smart" phone to listen to you and -- through the camera in one of those boxes -- even watch you any time? It doesn't matter if your machine is on or off, by the way, or even if you remove the battery.

I've been doing research on hackers of late, and it's an amazing world. There's a group of (apparently) Russian cybercriminals that will design a special cyberbomb just for you to use against a target of your choice, like a company or a government agency. They will rent the bomb to you for a fee, for a limited period of time, and when time's up it self-destructs, kinda like the old fashioned audio tapes in the Mission Impossible television series. Scary, very scary...but that's our world. So we must all assume that we don't have any secrets from "them" and "they" are not easily defined, politically, ideologically, nationally, or religiously.

Get used to it.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage by Shutterstock.com.)