Trump cares about the opioids issue on an emotional, just-get-it-done level. https://t.co/8TjltLu4av— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 10, 2017
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Friday, July 03, 2020
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Friday, June 26, 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Thursday, June 18, 2020
That's the New York Times print edition for 17 June. Someone maybe realized that with the original decree powers having been proclaimed by elites as the end of democracy in Hungary, a headline saying that the end of the decree period was the end of democracy might be a stretch. So the current web headline is Hungary Moves to End Rule by Decree, but Orban’s Powers May Stay.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
Sunday, June 07, 2020
Saturday, June 06, 2020
This is simple textbook regression to the mean fallacy. With randomness in the data, high observations are more likely -- purely for probabilistic reasons -- to be followed by lower ones, and low observations to be followed by high ones.
That's part of why the national numbers have looked pretty good even though there are a lot of states to be worried about. The numbers tend to be either high but falling, or low but rising—but not many places where they're high and rising.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 5, 2020
Friday, June 05, 2020
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
What person who lived in New York City any time between 1980 and 2015 believes that Donald Trump is a man of devout faith deeply concerned with people's attending religious service?— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) May 22, 2020
Saturday, May 30, 2020
I believe that the perpetrators of this inhumane act shall receive the punishment they deserve. We will be monitoring the issue. I remember with respect George Floyd and extend my condolences to his family and loved ones.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) May 28, 2020
|Photo illustration from Bild of what's possible under Germany Coronavirus restrictions.|
Monday, May 25, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Feel like there's a bit too much talk in the media about how much spread of COVID is growing or shrinking (R) and not enough about *levels*. Both are important. Sustaining a plateau (R=~1) can be a disaster if the level of cases is high. Or a pretty decent outcome if it's low.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 23, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Monday, May 18, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
Saturday, May 09, 2020
Friday, May 08, 2020
Thursday, May 07, 2020
This tweet and the associated thread is such a perfect variation of the famous statistical fallacy. Silver looks at a change in cases and relates them to the initial level, inserts some semi-causal views about why the levels vary, and then declares that there is a group in the middle that's "stuck." Once average, always average.
One observation related to this:— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 6, 2020
States that have seen clear declines in new cases tend *either* to have had either a LOT of cases early on (e.g. NY, LA) or very FEW cases (e.g. MT, HI). The states in the middle (e.g. MD/VA) aren't seeing much, if any, decline, conversely. https://t.co/NhLUwFu0sF
Monday, May 04, 2020
They were an issue in Ireland up to the early 1980s. In some houses, they probably still are an issue.
Anyway, Ireland (thankfully) has several cohorts that have never had to think about chilblains. Until now.
They are a mysterious Coronavirus symptom in some cases (New York Times).
Sunday, May 03, 2020
What does this photograph show?
If your lens on the world is social media in western Europe or North America -- also known as the Valley of the Squinting Tweeters -- it shows too many people and too large groups in a park on a sunny Coronavirus-era day.
What it actually shows in people in Jamwon Hangang Park in the megacity of Seoul. And as the associated Yonhap story comments, they are complying with social distancing. Koreans -- with major success in mitigating Coronavirus and a tradition of messaging about responsible behavior (Robocar Poli!) see an orderly scene in the photograph. But change the caption to a western city, and someone will be along soon enough to declare evidence that no one is complying with social distancing. The reality of social media.
Saturday, May 02, 2020
Al Qaeda in the Upper Peninsula.Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Syria today and met with Bashar al-Assad while seated next to the commander of Russian forces in Syria, Lieutenant General Alexander Chayko. Shoigu received a Su-35S fighter escort during his flight. 241/https://t.co/4xUsaEpc9P pic.twitter.com/XazclI3LKm— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 23, 2020
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Why did Donald Trump have the Nobel Prize on his mind when his tweet-storm today seems like a reference to the Pulitzer Prize, not the "Noble" Prize?Just spoke to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia. His Country needs Ventilators, and the U.S. is in good position to help him. We will!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2020
One possibility -- and at the risk of looking for too empirical an explanation: because yesterday, he phoned the current holder of the Nobel Peace Price, Abiy Ahmed, the PM of Ethiopia. Trump is obsessed with this prize, at least back to Barack Obama getting it. And the wires got crossed between his briefing for his Addis Ababa phone call yesterday and his rage today.
Out with Bourgeois Bohemian, In with Preppy Proletarian: The Kim Yo-jong Style Guide
Running the Workers Party by Day, Magic in the Kitchen in the evening: Kim Yo-jong's scallion pancake recipe
Dennis Rodman: that time I was at a reception with Kim Yo-jong
From Swiss Chic to Hanoi Hipster: Our travel reporter follows the footsteps of Kim Yo-jong
Game of Thrones Gangnam Style: How Kim Yo-jong outmaneuvered the generals to secure the legacy of her beloved brother
Outrage as Kim Yo-jong accused of "cultural appropriation" over K-pop themed promotional video
Marie Kondo: what we can learn about home organization from Kim Yo-jong
(continues until next 50,000 notch in Covid-19 fatalities)
The White House statement on the "meeting on the Elbe" (the handshake of American and Soviet troops at the river in 1945) is fascinating. Given the current state of USA - Russia relations, it will be read for every clue of influence. Particularly interesting is the pivot from the front lines to the workers --
We also recognize the contributions from millions of men and women on the home front, who forged vast quantities of war materials for use around the world. Workers and manufacturers played a crucial role in supplying the allied forces with the tools necessary for victory.
It's the hammer and sickle -- without the sickle. Where are the Great Patriot Farmers?
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Friday, April 24, 2020
THE PRESIDENT: Right. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Defined as rule by a class associated with the Spectator (UK) Magazine.
Usage spotted in Robert Shrimsley's excellent discussion (Financial Times) of how the Covid-19 choices are getting embedded in the UK's version of the culture war:
... a claque of the government’s media outriders clustered around the Spectator magazine, an outfit whose diaspora also includes Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, and his chief strategist, Dominic Cummings. One lockdown sceptic, Toby Young, a Gove ally and associate editor at the magazine, has set up a website to argue that the lives saved are being overvalued and the costs understated. Both Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings are less hawkish and worry premature easing may lead to a second peak and more economic damage. But the instincts of the Spectocracy are often aligned and find favour with this government.
Monday, April 20, 2020
Iran's Coronavirus crisis is so urgent and requires so much focus and relief from other countries that ... emoji condolence guy, foreign minister Javad Zarif, has time to visit Bashar al-Assad today.
At least there's more social distancing in this photo than during the late-March visit to Bashar of the Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu.
How did the Coronavirus get to Moscow anyway?
Photo via Fars. Note: it's not clear why Fars published some photos featuring no masks and some with masks.
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Friday, April 17, 2020
Such ties created a risk that the Russian intelligence services deliberately planted misinformation in Mr. Steele’s network. Complicating matters, however, is that Mr. Steele was trying to understand what Russian intelligence services were doing with regard to the Trump campaign. He would seemingly need his sources to be in contact with people with connections to those services or the Kremlin who were in a position to know what was going on.
In other words, the Steele dossier was raw intelligence. He was talking to people, shady people who knew other shady people, writing down what they said, presenting an assessment of it -- but it was up to others to draw conclusions from the layers of shadiness.
The problem is that his approach presumed patience, and instead it got short-circuited, with upstream intelligence work finding its way directly into the public domain.
This is not a new problem.
In 2002, upstream intelligence on Saddam Hussein's possible WMD program found its way to Dick Cheney.
In 2013-14, upstream intelligence on Libyan Islamist groups found its way to House Republicans looking for dirt on Hillary Clinton.
And now, in 2020, upstream intelligence on Chinese research labs and its late 2019 public health situation is finding its way to the media, and in turn feeding an (understandable!) hope among liberals that it can be used against Trump.
The problem with the last approach should be evident with the previous three instances. Upstream and raw intelligence and surveillance is all about indirect information, informed speculation, and tentative assessments. It's not designed for instant conclusions. If there were instant conclusions, you wouldn't need the analysts in the first place.
Any attempt on a China Knew Therefore Trump Knew "scandal" is not going to end well. It will be a circus of operatives, memos, "leaked" reports, opportunists, grifters, insta-experts, and cranks.
Saturday, April 11, 2020
“Obviously a lot more people are home all day,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin told ARLnow. “They’re cleaning out more than usual, listening to their inner Marie Kondo as they stare at the walls and what’s piled up in front of them. They should indulge themselves with the couch and ARLnow and a few books and put off the big clean-ups for a few months.”
[Previously in this series]
Wednesday, April 08, 2020
Monday, April 06, 2020
Sunday, April 05, 2020
The Munich Security Conference took place during 14-16 February 2020. This is one of the biggest ground-truthing, thought-leading, direction-of-travel setting, VIP blabbing events of the year. Even emoji condolence guy, Javad Zarif, was there!
Although everyone's talking points had Cover-der-Arsch references to Coronavirus, the virus was discussed as a mainly China issue that would pose risks if it escalated elsewhere.
In fact, the virus had by then taken root in northern Italy -- with a respectable theory out there that Patient Zero for the Italian outbreak actually occurred in ... Munich in January. Bonus idiocy: Zarif was there yukking it up with the media when the virus was rampant in Iran!
But maybe it's not fair just to focus on the pretty vacant thought leaders at one Munich conference.
Eventually we will get some accountability on the pandemic, at least in terms of who knew what and when. And in that accountability, the decision of European countries to allow the Alpine ski season to continue all through February is going to look like total madness.
It takes a huge level of cognitive dissonance to know that the virus was in northern Italy, and yet not wonder whether it might already be all over the Alpine regions, with hundreds of thousands of ski vacationers, including school children, passing through the regions -- regions that also happen to be Europe's economic heartland. Far more than attendees at one or two sporting events, which get all the media attention because they are easier to focus on, this was a critical phase of the transmission.
With this level of haven't-a-clue leadership in Western Europe, is it any wonder that no one is getting too agitated about Viktor Orban?
Photo: MSC Müller.
Saturday, April 04, 2020
Friday, April 03, 2020
The new economic situation, in which the game is to anticipate events at every turn and at every level, using the interval between the present and the coming events as if this interval were a tangible thing, this new situation in comparison with the older nuts-and-bolts economy presents a contrast somewhat similar to the "old journalism" and the "new journalism." The old journalism had aimed at the objectivity by "giving both sides at once." The new journalism seeks, rather, to immerse the reader in the total situation, using the resources of imaginative fiction to provide a multileveled experience.The new journalism is quite prepared to urge that "news" is necessarily a form of fiction or making. In the same way, the new economy is based on information and gaps and promises, and precisely to the degree that the new economy is based on the simultaneous, it fosters, invites,demands the rule of the anticipatory, the role of the hunter that the blow must strike where the quarry will be.
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
One of the cultural changes that has been slow to happen under the Coronavirus is the revitalization of car culture. Sure, you're not supposed to be leaving your house for any reason, but you're not violating the spirit of the restrictions by getting into your own car with your own family members and driving around indefinitely.
In that sense, western countries are headed to where Saudi Arabia has always been -- the car an extension of the zone of freedom that otherwise only existed inside your house. And with the trend in oil prices, it might even be that fuel prices are headed to about the same level as Saudi Arabia.
Above, a video from nearly a decade ago that celebrated / gently mocked this feature of the country.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Today’s mass media fascination with the next pandemic is partly due to the fact that it operates as corroboration of the mass media’s own discursive problematic: the necessity of creating and maintaining a constant sense of newness. The function of mass media communication, according to Niklas Luhmann, is to simultaneously ‘generate and process irritation’. Invested in the production, circulation, and consumption of irritation, mass media communication stimulates ‘the constantly renewed willingness to be prepared for surprises’. The trope of the next pandemic, in this sense, is a fertile ground for the mass media and its discursive problematic.
No surprise that a reference to the great Niklas Luhmann kicks off the analysis.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Andrew Atkeson. No. 26867 This note is intended to introduce economists to a simple SIR model of the progression of COVID-19 in the United States over the next 12-18 months. An SIR model is a Markov model of the spread of an epidemic in a population in which the total population is divided into categories of being susceptible to the disease (S), actively infected with the disease (I), and recovered (or dead) and no longer contagious (R).
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
A bankrupt firm has an incentive to take the riskiest gamble possible.
It's why countries generally try not have bankrupt firms hang around too long. The payoffs, as Nassim Taleb might say, are yuuugely convex, and that's often not a good thing.
Especially when we the people are the roulette wheel.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night.
Let's see for means: O mischief, thou art swift
To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!
I do remember an apothecary,--
And hereabouts he dwells,--which late I noted
In tatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples; meagre were his looks,
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones:
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff'd, and other skins
Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds,
Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter'd, to make up a show.
Noting this penury, to myself I said
'An if a man did need a poison now,
Whose sale is present death in Mantua,
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.'
O, this same thought did but forerun my need;
And this same needy man must sell it me.
As I remember, this should be the house.
Being holiday, the beggar's shop is shut.
What, ho! apothecary!
Come hither, man. I see that thou art poor:Apothecary
Hold, there is forty ducats: let me have
A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear
As will disperse itself through all the veins
That the life-weary taker may fall dead
And that the trunk may be discharged of breath
As violently as hasty powder fired
Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb.
Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness,Apothecary
And fear'st to die? famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,
Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back;
The world is not thy friend nor the world's law;
The world affords no law to make thee rich;
Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.
Put this in any liquid thing you will,Image: Emmet Walsh in the 1996 Romeo and Juliet. And here's Trump's remarkable medicinal tweet.
And drink it off; and, if you had the strength
Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight.
[previously in this series]
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020
In Hogarth's classic contrast of the effects of beer and gin, neither of the depicted people are practicing social distancing. Irish twitter has managed to convince itself to its own satisfaction that people in pubs are Gin Lane, while there's some other form of social activity (perhaps a collective walk past Gin Lane to tut tut?) which is acceptable.
To be fair to Irish twitter, it's not that much different from the stern gaze cast upon crowded restaurants in New York City and Washington DC by people who somehow just happened to be walking past, and then reported their outrage on Twitter.
If you're against people in cities trying to socialize, you might just want to leave.
PS Hogarth really is one of the timeless greats, as his adaptability to Brexit parody illustrates.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
And now the Iranian militias in Iraq are it again. From that perspective it might be an advantage if Trump uses the stock market as opposed to an Iran feud as an indicator of his success.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Q Mr. President, can you confirm if Ireland will be excluded from your travel ban — your European travel ban you announced last night?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they know, and I think it was made very clear last night who is and who isn’t. And we’ll be discussing that. We’ll be discussing some other moves that we’re going to be making. And I think it’s going to work out very well for everybody. But it’s a world problem, and you do need separation in some cases. You have some areas that are very heavily infected, and you have some areas that aren’t, frankly. But we do need separation for a little period of time, in some cases.
PRIME MINISTER VARADKAR: Just saying that the President has excluded Ireland from the travel ban. And one of the things that we have in Ireland is CBP, American border security, in Ireland. I went through it myself yesterday, and they were asking the right questions — whether people had been to China, things like that. So that puts us slightly in a different position.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And one of the reasons the UK, basically, has been: It’s got the border; it’s got very strong borders. And they’re doing a very good job. They don’t have very much infection at this point, and hopefully they’ll keep it that way.
Two things to note. First, Leo answered the question (correctly!) about what the American President's policy was. Second, he noted that in one key respect, Ireland actually has a better claim to the exemption to the UK, because the US border control is IN IRELAND. So if the USA decided to further restrict travel, they'll know that in Ireland, they don't have to deal with potentially infected people arriving in the USA. The UK does not have that.
UPDATE 14 March: Ireland the UK will now be included in the US travel ban. Understandable given the common travel area, but less understandable given the different approaches of the two countries. Could Ireland still sneak in an exemption from Trump not understanding it's a different country?
Nous irons beaucoup plus loin. L'Etat prendra en charge l'indemnisation des salariés contraints à rester chez eux. Je veux, en la matière, que nous nous inspirions de ce que les Allemands ont su par exemple mettre en œuvre avec un système plus généreux, plus simple que le nôtre.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Since Ireland has a common travel area with the UK, does that mean that Ireland is exempt?
UPDATE: Yes, Ireland is exempt. The ban covers Schengen area.
Which means that one way for Schengen zone countries to escape the ban is to ... suspend Schengen.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Wall Street Journal -- After years of squeezing ever more workers into tighter office spaces, companies are realizing how efficiently the modern workspace can spread diseases like the coronavirus. Cubicles and private offices have made way for open floors, where a sneeze or cough can circulate uninterrupted. Companies have removed physical barriers between employees, encouraging them to socialize as much as possible.
Also in WSJ -- A strategy meeting for senior managers at Boston-area biotech Biogen Inc. late last month has emerged as a hotbed for novel coronavirus infections, resulting in more than two dozen around the country so far, according to public-health and company officials. The spread of coronavirus infections from the meeting highlights the potential dangers in going ahead with the gatherings and conferences that are a staple of conducting business but which also threaten to amplify epidemics. “There’s a lot of handshaking, there’s a lot of being in close quarters, and that puts you at risk,” said Manish Trivedi, the director of the division of infectious diseases at AtlantiCare in New Jersey. “You eat something. You rub your eyes. You touch your face.” Senior Biogen managers who attended the strategy meeting at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf hotel have since traveled to gatherings of investors and doctors, as well as returned to their homes in communities that are also now confronting infection risks.
To be continued ...
UPDATE 17 APRIL: The New York Times has more details on the Biogen superspreader fiasco -- which describes what is almost a parody of upper middle class existence.
Jerusalem’s holy sites should remain open and available for peaceful worshippers and tourists of all faiths. People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.
Monday, March 09, 2020
Saturday, March 07, 2020
This is the apparently just-ousted Trump Administration Office of Management and Budget Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney: March 16, 2017, wearing his St Patrick's Day shamrock, defending proposed cuts in public feeding programs for elderly people and school children in poverty. This was the low point of Irish-Americanism as a progressive force in American politics.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will do a slightly ahead of schedule St Patrick's Day visit to the White House on 12 March. He can cite Coronavirus as a reason to have no interaction with this character in his new role as the Northern Ireland Special Envoy.
Mick Mulvaney is likely paying the price for having blurted out the truth about Trump's Ukraine quid pro quo, and for having botching the implementation of it.....I want to thank Acting Chief Mick Mulvaney for having served the Administration so well. He will become the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2020
Friday, March 06, 2020
February 2017. Mike Pompeo, then CIA Director, presenting Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN), then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, with the George Tenet medal for anti-terrorism achievements.
MBN really did have some anti-terrorism achievements, including surviving proximity to what turned out to be a trial run of the underwear bombing technique.
MBN was apparently arrested earlier today (Friday) and charged with treason.
Photo via Saudi Press Agency.
Thursday, March 05, 2020
Friday, February 21, 2020
The Omanis also arranged a meeting for Pompeo's wife -- travelling on the junket, apparent with a job title of "Special Assistant" -- with the Sultan's wife.
Photo via Oman News Agency.
Sunday, February 16, 2020
the Munich conference yesterday and yesterday, so listen to Pompeo how he talks to the Europeans, listen to the US defense minister (Mark Esper), how he talks to China, China is not a small country, China is a superpower, the superiority of whoever addresses China, puts its conditions on it and sets a roadmap for it, which has not passed in the history of the globe, no more superior and arrogant administration, tired, terror and savage than this administration, how it addresses its allies, how it addresses the people who give it billions, but hundreds of billions of dollars, how it insults them.
Your enemies notice when you insult your friends.
[previously in this series]
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Name me a moment in history when the weak and the meek have prevailed.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Sunday, February 09, 2020
Friday, February 07, 2020
But is SF committed to the EU?
It knows that Brexit has made a formal exit position toxic. But in fact, its manifesto has numerous references to an EU that would be very different from the current one, raising the question of how deep that commitment actually is. A few sentences:
For too long, a cosy consensus has existed in Irish politics. The consensus extends from economic and social policy to Ireland’s relationship with the European Union ... We will seek to return powers to EU member states and increase the influence of member state parliaments in the EU legislative process. We support reforms of the EU which are aimed at reducing the power of the European Commission, making it more transparent and accountable to the European and member state parliaments, and increasing the influence of smaller member states. Sinn Féin will build a fairer and more democratic European Union that works for the people of Europe, not for the EU insiders, middle-men and corporate interests. Greater transparency must be introduced, the militarisation agenda halted, social protections legally bolstered and powers returned to member states.
This is all summarised in the bullet point "Returning powers to Member States and their parliaments." How is that any different from (1) a David Cameron-like fudge that, as with Cameron, could actually precipitate an exit, and (2) the standard Eurosceptic dodge that, I'm not against the EU, I'm just against it doing anything as a Union?
[Previously in this series]
the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qasim al-Rimi, a founder and the leader of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Once again, an American president is claiming that a strike against a senior Yemeni terrorist will take down AQAP and al-Qaeda more generally.
We've been here before. Anwar al-Awlaki. Maybe the single biggest mistake of the Obama Presidency. Trump's competitive streak is still at work.
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Sunday, February 02, 2020
The Arabs who were displaced have, in very significant numbers, been isolated and kept from living as citizens in the many Arab countries in the region. For example, after the Kuwaiti government returned, following liberation by the United States and its coalition, it began a systematic clearing of Palestinians from the country through violence and economic pressure. The population of Palestinians in Kuwait dropped from 400,000 before the invasion to about 25,000.
Missing in this account of the de facto expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait are such details as a year or even a decade (it's the early 1990s), the invading country (Saddam's Iraq), or a context (the disastrous assessment of Yasser Arafat that Saddam would gain from the invasion, and King Hussein's initial hedging of bets on the outcome). Also missing is any sense that the USA had some leverage at the time to resist what was happening.
Anyway the point is that something weird happened to this paragraph. It has the advantage of a decent point -- the highly politicised treatment of Palestinians in the Gulf. But somewhere along the way, the document drafters decided that it was too awkward to give the full story, so the point stayed in, entirely devoid of explanation.
And that's what happened to a section of the document where they actually had a good point to make. As for the rest of it ...