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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
December 25, 2020

Russian hackers compromised Microsoft cloud customers through third party

Source: Washington Post

Russian hackers compromised Microsoft cloud customers through third party, putting emails and other data at risk(Complete article title)

Russian government hackers have compromised Microsoft cloud customers and stolen emails from at least one private-sector company, according to people familiar with the matter, a worrying development in Moscow’s ongoing cyberespionage campaign targeting numerous U.S. agencies and corporate computer networks.

The intrusions appear to have occurred via a Microsoft corporate partner that handles cloud-access services, those familiar with the matter said. They did not identify the partner or the company known to have had emails stolen. Like others, these people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss what remains a highly sensitive subject.

Microsoft hasn’t publicly commented on the intrusions. On Thursday, an executive with the tech giant sought to downplay the issue’s significance.

“Our investigation of recent attacks has found incidents involving abuse of credentials to gain access, which can come in several forms,” Jeff Jones, Microsoft’s senior director for communications, said. “We have still not identified any vulnerabilities or compromise of Microsoft product or cloud services.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/russia-hack-microsoft-cloud/2020/12/24/dbfaa9c6-4590-11eb-975c-d17b8815a66d_story.html

I believe Microsoft's cloud computing solution is what Trump demanded the Pentagon accept after pressuring the DoD to reverse their Jedi contract award to Amazon. Curious.
December 25, 2020

It's never too late to become a Democrat

By Kurt Bardella

Kurt Bardella is a senior advisor to the Lincoln Project. He is a former aide to California Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray and was an aide in the California State Senate and Assembly.

There was a time when being a Democrat or a Republican was defined by your views about healthcare, abortion, gun control, taxes, education, foreign policy, etc.

Those days are over.

It was something to hear Sen. Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and the party’s standard-bearer in 2012, tell CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, “I represent a very small slice of the Republican Party today.” An obvious, but candid, acknowledgement.

As he explained, the party he knew as a young man — and even just eight years ago — is gone. “We were a party concerned about balancing the budget. We believed in trade with other nations. We were happy to play a leadership role on the world stage, because we felt that made us safer and more prosperous. And we believed that character was essential in the leaders that we chose. We have strayed from that. I don’t see us returning to that for a long time.”

Yet, when asked whether he thinks about leaving the GOP, Romney — like other Republicans who say they are repulsed by Trump’s takeover — declined. He said he would be more effective battling inside the party. But I venture that’s only part of the rationale.


December 25, 2020

Trump's pre-Christmas pardons trample on core American principles

By Harry Litman

President Trump’s latest spate of pardons hits a new low in treachery and dereliction of duty.

In no aspect of his presidency has Trump acted more immorally and done more damage to the rule of law and constitutional norms than in his exercise of the pardon power. But Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s spree opens up a whole new perverse chapter of disgrace for the most disgraceful of all our presidents.

From the start, Trump’s pardons have been legally repugnant and, in some cases, patently corrupt. They have two general themes: erase or discredit the consequences of the Robert S. Mueller III probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign’s Russia connections, and reward certain reprehensible cronies — remember Arizona’s former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Dinesh D’Souza?

Some argue that Trump’s pardons are beyond denunciation because clemency and commutation, like so much of executive power, partake of a mix of personal and public-spirited motives and the two can be hard to tease apart. But Trump is always an extreme case; his acts of “mercy” are driven almost exclusively by self-interest, with little to no identifiable alloy of public purpose.


December 25, 2020

California isn't 'hemorrhaging' people, but there are reasons for concern

That sound Californians are hearing from beyond the Sierra and as far away as the Gulf of Mexico is bragging.

The announced headquarters relocations of Silicon Valley stalwarts Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have Texas and other states boasting about their success at drawing entrepreneurs and businesses out of the Golden State.

Farewell, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, decamped to Texas. Goodbye, Larry Ellison, now a resident of Hawaii.

One can even detect hand-wringing from this side of the state line. As my colleagues Hayley Smith and Hailey Branson-Potts reported, California’s population growth in the year ended July 1 fell to 0.05%, a level not seen since 1900. The trend was attributed in part to a “continued exodus” of residents exasperated by the cost of living.


December 24, 2020

Disgraced New York politician found limping by Ohio roadside 23 years after fleeing justice

A New York politician who fled the state in 1997 to avoid a jail sentence was found limping along an Ohio road and using a false identity.

William Jones, formerly a Cayuga County town supervisor, was found by a police officer in Waverly, Ohio, and gave him a ride to a hospital to treat his leg. When Mr Jones did not provide identification, the officer became suspicious and discovered his true identity.

Mr Jones, 71, was convicted 23 years ago for illegally selling eight handguns after his permit to do so was suspended by a judge. While he was out of prison on $20,000 bail and awaiting sentencing, he fled New York.

It was not his first time fleeing a prison sentence; in 1996, he was convicted on charges of misconduct while in office and fled while awaiting his sentencing trial. He eventually gave himself up to authorities a month later.


December 24, 2020

The Forgotten Radicalism of Jesus Christ

First-century Christians weren’t prepared for what a truly inclusive figure he was, and what was true then is still true today.

By Peter Wehner

“Get used to different.”

That line comes from a marvelous new TV series on Jesus’ life, “The Chosen,” in which Jesus, played by Jonathan Roumie, invites Matthew to become one of his disciples. Simon Peter, already a disciple, registers his fierce objection. Matthew is a tax collector, who were viewed as tools of Roman authorities, often dishonest and abusive. They were therefore treated as traitors and outcasts by other Jews.

“I don’t get it,” Simon Peter says to Jesus about his decision to invite Matthew, to which Jesus responds, “You didn’t get it when I chose you, either.”

“But this is different,” Simon Peter answers. “I’m not a tax collector.” At which point Jesus let’s Simon Peter know things aren’t going to be quite what his followers expected.

First-century Christians weren’t prepared for what a truly radical and radically inclusive figure Jesus was, and neither are today’s Christians. We want to tame and domesticate who he was, but Jesus’ life and ministry don’t really allow for it. He shattered barrier after barrier.

One example is Jesus’ encounter, in the fourth chapter of the gospel of John, with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus and the woman talked about Jesus being the Messiah, why he was even deigning to talk with her, and the unnamed woman’s past and present, which she initially sought to hide from Jesus. (It included her five previous husbands, according to the account in John, and the fact that “the one whom you now have is not your husband.”) Yet not a word of condemnation passed the lips of Jesus; the woman felt heard, understood, cared for. Jesus treated her, in the words of one commentator, “with a magnetic dignity and respect.”

December 24, 2020

Driving the Mustang Mach-E, Ford's First Real Electric Car


That was my wife’s first impression of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E as we swept down a New Jersey rural road through surprisingly thick curtains of fog last Saturday. It was night, visibility was almost nil, and all I could think about was that this was not the ideal driving test for Ford’s first electric vehicle of consequence. I wanted to drive fast along some mountain road with hairpin turns — it’s an electric Mustang! — but the fog and the slick road conditions ensured that I proceeded with caution.

But I had to agree with her; it was smooth. From the whisper-quiet handling to the sinewy body style to the leather interior, the Mach-E radiated effortlessness. This is one of the most surprising — and satisfying — electric cars I’ve driven all year. After all, the Mach-E is the first new addition to the Mustang lineup ever. There’s no noisy V8 engine, no grumbling supercharger, no belching muffler, no non-existent backseat. Rather, it’s a zero-emissions electric crossover SUV that can easily fit two carseats in the backseats and a load of groceries in the trunk.

Mustang fans are likely to be perplexed, but I think I can safely say that Ford has an unqualified hit on its hands. And Ford definitely needed to knock this one out of the park. Its next EV, the electric Ford F-150, is also sure to be popular. But Ford needed to show everyone that it could make a powerful electric vehicle that was a blast to drive — and it did.

This isn’t just the opinion of a suburban dad who used the Mach-E to run errands and cart his kids around for three days. Everywhere I went, I was swarmed by curious on-lookers. It felt like hanging out with an automotive celebrity, based on the number of questions and requests for photos I got. People were drawn to this car. They had to know more. “An electric Mustang? An electric Mustang?”


Glad to see there's some serious Tesla competition in the electric car market.

December 24, 2020

This Steaming Pile of Filthy Pardons Stinks Just Like Trump

Donald Trump’s wave of pardons of his cronies, accomplices, and, soon, relatives, reeks of putrefaction. It is the stench not merely of a lame-duck administration—after all, presidents have abused the pardon power before—but of a long-dead duck, swarming with maggots, viscera staining the Oval Office carpet, parasites devouring the corpse.

In other words, Trump has found his perfect match.

From his first pardon, of the vicious, racist, fascistic criminal Joe Arpaio, through those he doled out Wednesday to the likes of Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, to his last, which will presumably be a preemptive one of Donald J. Trump himself, he’s shown an utter disregard of the original constitutional purpose of the pardon power (so much for “originalism”), and a perverse delight in exercising one of the presidency’s rare unlimited powers, all while owning the libs.

Originally, the power of the pardon resided with the kings and queens of Europe, who were seen as the sovereign and the ultimate source of the nation’s laws. Much as Trump has depicted himself over these long four years, the monarch isn’t accountable to the rule of law, because the monarch is the basis of the law itself.

Finally, Trump has found a presidential power that suits his authoritarian predilections: unfettered, unaccountable, descended from kings.


December 24, 2020

Biden insists he's ready for a 'punch in the mouth' from Republicans

Opinion by Jonathan Capehart

Joe Biden, from the start of his 2020 run for the Democratic nomination right through to now as president-elect, has been insistent about one thing: He believes he will be able to get Republicans to work with him to solve America’s myriad problems after four years of incompetence from President Trump.

“We’ll be in dire trouble if we don’t get cooperation, and I believe we will,” Biden said earlier this month about the need for a bigger covid relief package once he assumes office next month. In a call with columnists on Wednesday, the former vice president (who previously had served 36 years in the Senate) talked about the encouraging calls he has had with Republicans who want to get things done. “Reality has a way of intruding” on the plans of political opponents, he said. “I think we’re going to get a lot more cooperation” than folks expect.

Look, I have faith in Biden’s abilities. But every time I hear the president-elect wax kumbaya about the Washington he’s about to inherit, which has only gotten worse since the eight years of obstruction that he witnessed as vice president to President Barack Obama, I think about the wisdom of Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

So, I asked Biden on that call what he would say to Democrats and others who are afraid he doesn’t see the punch in the mouth coming or that he won’t have the will to use all the power available to him to get his agenda through Congress. Biden pushed back — forcefully, as if I was the one who punched him in the mouth.

"Well, let me tell you something. You guys have been saying that about me since the day I ever got into office. You said that when I announced, that I was a nice enough guy but didn’t get it, didn’t know what was going on,” Biden said. “I respectfully suggest that I beat the hell out of everybody else. I won the nomination, got everybody to come around and won by over seven million votes. So I think I know what I’m doing and I’ve been pretty damn good at being able to deal with the punchers. I know how to block a straight left and do a right hook. I understand it.”


December 24, 2020

Republicans raging at Trump are getting exactly what they deserve

Opinion by Greg Sargent

House Republicans are in a fury with President Trump, now that he is threatening to blow up the carefully negotiated settlement that led to passage of the $900 billion economic rescue package. They are raging that he abandoned them after the White House asked them to support the deal.

Oh, dear. Given what a cartoonish farce this has all become, let’s let Mr. Krabs of SpongeBob SquarePants do the honors:

“Boo, hoo. Let me play a sad song for you on the world’s smallest violin.”

Specifically, let it not be forgotten that more than 125 of the very same House Republicans now raging at Trump for betrayal just got through betraying our country on his behalf, by joining a lawsuit designed to further his aim of subverting millions of votes in four states to keep him in power illegitimately.


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