Sunday, October 7, 2018

Week-end Wrap - October 6, 2018

Week-end Wrap - October 6, 2018
by Tony Wikrent
Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

The Era of Near-Zero Interest Rates Is Over
[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]
The era of zero interest rates in the world’s major economies ended with the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise borrowing costs last week. The average interest rate in developed economies weighted for output passed 1 percent for the first time since 2009, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. 
Europe Finally Has an Excuse to Challenge the Dollar
Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 9-30-18] 
A new plan by Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia to create special financial infrastructure to work with Iran could be a credible challenge to the U.S. dollar’s long global dominance.

A new wave of agitators in the realm of monetary systems has emerged.
By Brett Scott, September 15, 2018 [Huffington Post]

1. Government Money Warriors - Modern monetary theory
2. Bank Money Reformers - Bank money reform groups include the American Monetary Institute, Positive Money, and the International Movement for Monetary Reform.
Commercial banks create new money when they issue loans. The moderate wing of the bank reform movement argues that, because the government grants them this privilege, banks should be subject to greater democratic scrutiny over their lending. The hard-line wing believes bank creation of money should be banned altogether.
3. Cryptocurrency Crusaders

4. The Localists

5. The Crypto-Credit Alliance: Mutual credit meets blockchain technology

Modern Monetary Theory Grapples With People Actually Paying Attention to It 
[The Intercept, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18] 
But this month, despite the sky decidedly not falling from the Trump tax cuts, Nancy Pelosi confirmed her intent to bringing back the “pay-go” rule, which requires all new spending to be offset with budget cuts or tax hikes. Pelosi first instituted the rule in 2007, effectively barring Congress from taking up progressive legislation that would increase the national debt. 
This stark contrast between Republicans and Democrats was front-and-center at the second annual Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) conference, held last weekend at the New School in New York City.

....MMT proponents believe that the government can safely spend far more money than it currently does, and increasing the federal deficit is not a bad thing in and of itself — a public deficit is also a private-sector surplus, after all. 
While typically we hear rhetoric that our political leaders must first “find” money through new taxes or budget cuts in order to pay for new programs, MMT proponents say that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how money works.

John Claydon provides this link to the subreddit on MMT.

The finance curse: how the outsized power of the City of London makes Britain poorer 
Nicholas Shaxson [Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18]

[Quartz, via Naked Capitalism 9-30-18]

Trump’s ‘Historic’ Trade Deal: How Different Is It From Nafta?
[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-18] 
Lambert Strether notes: "Very handy. Well worth a read."

Charge of the Lighthizer brigade
[Politico], via Naked Capitalism 10-5-18]  
“U.S. President Donald Trump may be waging a trade war, but Robert Lighthizer is fighting the new Cold War. The U.S. trade representative and his crack troop of loyalists have been waiting years for an opportunity to go back to the glory days of Ronald Reagan, when America could swat off the Russians and the Japanese. Cruising beneath the chaos of the rest of the administration, the Lighthizer brigade are the well-oiled team that has a clear but ultra high-risk battle plan to smash China. Their goal is to restore the U.S. to its position of economic and political dominance, even if that means tearing up the liberal rule book of global trade to get there and dynamiting the World Trade Organization in the process, according to trade experts, negotiating counterparts and associates who have known Lighthizer and his team for decades.” • Turns out moving our manufacturing base to China wasn’t the greatest idea. Thanks, neoliberals! This article, too, is well worth a read.

The loyalty oath nestled inside the new NAFTA
[Politico, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18] 
“Buried within the USMCA deal is a provision that requires any member of the pact to give three months’ notice to its partners if it launches negotiations with a non-market economy, which the United States considers China to be. The stipulation — which bears President Donald Trump’s fingerprints — means that if any of the North American countries enters into talks with China or another similar economy, the new three-way U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal can become a bilateral one. It also means that when it comes to the growing trade war with China, the U.S. is seeking to keep Canada and Mexico on its side.”

NAFTA 2.0 Enshrines Deregulation for all of North America

[The Real News Network, October 5, 2018]
Trump’s re-negotiated NAFTA, now called the USMCA, pushes food safety and other forms of deregulation to new extremes, making it more difficult to undo the damage even after Trump leaves office, says Patrick Woodall of Food and Water Watch

GE’s dealmaking and outlay to Mergers and Acquisitions advisers called into question
[FT (subscription required0, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]

I include this despite being viewable only to subscribers because 1) the amount spend on mergers and acquisitions exceeded the amount spent on new plant and equipment in the 1990s, and I suspect it has every year since; and 2) fees paid to Wall Street is one of the most obvious ways the financial system loots the rest of the economy. GE paid $6 billion in fees to M&A advisers since 2000, or $353 million a year.

Free Marketeers Defense of CEO Pay and a Rigged System is a Disservice to Free Markets
[Evonomics, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]
Includes lots of links on economic injustice, CEO pay and performance, etc.

Why the distribution of wealth has more to do with power than productivity
[CNBC, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18] 
“Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the breakup of any financial company that has a total exposure of greater than 3 percent of gross domestic product. Based on that threshold, which is $584 billion, six banks and the four nonbanks would have to split up. The banks are J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The nonbanks are Berkshire Hathaway as well as Prudential Financial, MetLife and American International Group.”
This is an issue -- and proposed legislation -- that lends itself to resolutions by Democratic Party activists at all levels. It is simple, it strikes directly at the heart of the financial oligarchy, and it shows people what we stand for. We should adopt of goal of getting this into the Party platform.

Money launderers are taking EU to the cleaners, experts say
[France24, via Naked Capitalism 10-1-18]

Shady Real Estate Deals Plunge Under New Regulations
[Governing, via Naked Capitalism 10-1-18] 
“But in 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department, convinced there was something fishy going on in the Miami and Manhattan real estate markets, issued geographic targeting orders, or GTOs. This bureaucratic-sounding change meant that for high-end real estate purchases, cash buyers had to reveal their true identities. The effect was immediate, with cash purchases dwindling to a small fraction of overall sales…. The Treasury Department soon expanded GTOs into more markets, covering many of the nation’s largest cities. A new study from Sean Hundtofte and Ville Rantala, respectively business professors at Yale and the University of Miami, finds that the disclosure requirements have had profound effects. All-cash purchases by limited liability corporations and other corporate entities shrank from 10 percent of the total dollar volume in the targeted real estate markets to just 2.5 percent. House prices at the high end of the market have dropped by at least 4 percent. The changes have been most dramatic in Miami, where the corporate share of residential transactions has plummeted from 29 percent to 2 percent.” [Emphasis added]

Further evidence that the tax cuts have not led to widespread bonuses, wage or compensation growth [Economic Policy Institute, via The Big Picture 9-30-18]

The Super-Rich Are Stockpiling Wealth in Black-Box Charities 
[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18]  
“Donor-advised funds [DAFs]— money that grows tax-free in individual accounts — are reshaping the landscape of U.S. philanthropy. After creating their account, donors choose how it’s invested, and the money compounds until they decide where to dole it out…. A common DAF marketing theme is the ability to leave a legacy of giving for heirs.”

[Courthouse News, via Naked Capitalism 10-1-18] 
“Creating a circuit split, the Seventh Circuit ruled Friday that the National Labor Relations Act does not allow local municipalities to pass right-to-work laws…. This split makes it likely that the case will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

At U.S. Marine base, families plead for housing help after Florence 
[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 9-30-18]
Other families shared similar stories this week with Reuters, as the Marine Corps and the base’s private housing companies perform triage from the fallout from Florence....Most of Camp Lejeune’s housing is run by Atlantic Marine Corps Communities, or AMCC, a partnership between Australia-based LendLease Group LLC.AX, Boston-based WinnCompanies and the U.S. Navy.   

[CNCB, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18]

I’ve Been a Doctor for Over 30 Years. My Profession Must Speak Out on Abortion.
by Dr. Jonathan Zenilman [Medium, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-18]
On a cold February morning in 1980, a decade after the historic decision to legalize abortion in New York, I started my medical school clerkship in obstetrics and gynecology at the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. It was 7 a.m., and Dr. Morton Schiffer, the director of the department, arrived to lead us through the rounds. As we started touring the hospital, room by room, he explained to us that just 10 years prior, the ward was full of women suffering from septic abortions. A septic abortion is the most catastrophic consequence of an illegal abortion. Often, an emergency hysterectomy is needed in such situations. Death was common. Physicians like myself may not have practiced medicine when abortion was illegal, but our teachers did. It was made clear to me then that the aftershocks of the trauma were still felt among the medical team. Going back meant women would die.

November Offers Major Test of Medicaid Expansion’s Support in Red States
[Governing, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]
“Four states are voting on Medicaid expansion in November — Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Utah. It started with Maine. After years of failed attempts to get Gov. Paul LePage to sign off on Medicaid expansion, residents took to the ballot box and made it the first state where voters passed the health care policy.”

The Color of Economic Anxiety
[Current Affairs, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-18] 
A visit to Milwaukee: “A few days before interviewing Mr. Royal, I spoke with Martha Love, an officer of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County. She was confounded as to how Hillary lost the state and huge numbers of its black voters. Mr. Royal, on the other hand, was very clear in his assessment of the 2016 election. I asked him whether he considered Hillary Clinton’s campaign to be among the worst merely because of her ground-game missteps or if anything else factored in. ‘African Americans, especially African Americans in this city with [high rates of ] poverty, 50% black male unemployment for . . . years. That shows you the systemic racism that isn’t being addressed. And if you’re not going to speak to that, why would I be engaged?'” • A long read, well worth it.

Democratic Corporate Fascism vs the Trump Kind
[Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-18] 
“In the real world, the world of actual human history, fascism arises as a reaction to grave threats to the capitalist order. During and after the First World War, the crises of capitalism and of intra-capitalist war gave birth to the Russian Revolution, and to desperate attempts at socialist revolution in Germany and Austria. The socialist threat spawned ultranationalist fascist movements across Europe, that seized power in Italy and Germany. I maintain that an earlier version of fascism arose in the Jim Crow regions of the United States, in reaction to the threat posed tdo the race-based ruling order by democratically empowered Black peasants and workers, during the brief Reconstruction period. The American South became the world’s first thoroughly racially regimented society, and a model for German and South African fascism…. The bulk of the corporate ruling class still do not trust Donald Trump, despite having neutered his foreign policy heresies. They are fascists — in that they seek to perfect the dictatorship of the most ruthless elements of finance capital — but their version of fascism is different from Trump’s old school, crudely race-based brand. Modern American corporate fascism is rooted in multinational corporate structures, and wedded to a concept of racial and cultural “diversity” that (they hope) is compatible with corporate dictatorship.”

America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone
[David Sirota, Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-18]  
“Let’s remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers. That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era’s catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.”
See also Matt Stoller on Kavanaugh as example of aristocracy  And, Benjamin Franklin: "A republic -- if you can keep it."

The Suffocation of Democracy
by Christopher R. Browning October 25, 2018 [New York Review of Books]
As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe. I would note several troubling similarities and one important but equally troubling difference.... 
Hindenburg and the old right ultimately made their deal with Hitler and installed him as chancellor. Thinking that they could ultimately control Hitler while enjoying the benefits of his popular support, the conservatives were initially gratified by the fulfillment of their agenda: intensified rearmament, the outlawing of the Communist Party, the suspension first of freedom of speech, the press, and assembly and then of parliamentary government itself, a purge of the civil service, and the abolition of independent labor unions. Needless to say, the Nazis then proceeded far beyond the goals they shared with their conservative allies, who were powerless to hinder them in any significant way.
If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.... 
Whatever secret reservations McConnell and other traditional Republican leaders have about Trump’s character, governing style, and possible criminality, they openly rejoice in the payoff they have received from their alliance with him and his base: huge tax cuts for the wealthy, financial and environmental deregulation, the nominations of two conservative Supreme Court justices (so far) and a host of other conservative judicial appointments, and a significant reduction in government-sponsored health care (though not yet the total abolition of Obamacare they hope for). Like Hitler’s conservative allies, McConnell and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.... 
In France the prospect of a Popular Front victory and a new government headed by—horror of horrors—a Socialist and Jew, Léon Blum, led many on the right to proclaim, “Better Hitler than Blum.” Better the victory of Frenchmen emulating the Nazi dictator and traditional national enemy across the Rhine than preserving French democracy at home and French independence abroad under a Jewish Socialist. The victory of the Popular Front in 1936 temporarily saved French democracy but led to the defeat of a demoralized and divided France in 1940, followed by the Vichy regime’s collaboration with Nazi Germany while enthusiastically pursuing its own authoritarian counterrevolution.

By Lara Putnam and Theda Skocpol, February 20, 2018 [Democracy, via Naked Capitalism 9-30-18] 
“College-educated suburban white women.”
Though not nationally directed, the new activism cannot be understood as just local, either. As similar small groups have emerged in parallel across America, they have taken inspiration from one another, looked for ways to link up in regions and states, and continued to take pointers from national sources. Still, we know of no local group whose vision, plans, capabilities, or ties are limited to those offered by just one national-level advocacy organization or coordinating framework. Instead, local leaders seek out many ideas, tools, and connections, actively picking and choosing what they and their fellow participants find most helpful in their particular circumstances. We suspect that leaders and funders of national “resistance” organizations may fail to grasp the degree to which local citizen activists are eclectically leveraging varied menus of assistance, taking what they need from various offerings rather than lining up under any particular national flagship.... 
Regular citizens bitterly disappointed with the 2016 results emerged from what many call a “period of mourning” to start planning activities, coordinated by pairs or trios or handfuls of self-appointed leaders. Some of these sparkplugs already knew one another, while others connected on buses to the 2017 Women’s Marches or “met” online, sometimes facilitated by the PantSuit Nation Facebook group that connected hundreds of thousands of women in anticipation of the first female President. Although men are certainly involved in the local groups that have taken shape since the election, women are indeed very much in the vanguard making up about 70 percent of the participants and most members of the leadership teams. 
....Self-avowed Democrats are key participants in this new form of engagement, but many local groups have deliberately reached out to Independents and disaffected Republicans, and they often self-consciously adopt names and ways of operating that allow them to remain welcoming and inclusive across partisan lines.... More than a national movement, then, what is underway is a national pattern of mutually energizing local engagement. Sociologically, what we are witnessing is an inflection point—a shift in long-standing trends—concentrated in one large demographic group, as college-educated women have ramped up their political participation en masse

Seymour Hersh on the Future of American Journalism
[JSTOR Daily, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-18]
The problem today is you can’t go to an editor today and say “I’ve got a story,” which I would do for years. I joke about it, but it was real. I was the equivalent of walking to an editor’s desk and throwing a dead rat full of lice on his table and saying, “I want to do this, and it’s going to cost you a lot of money, and I may not get it, and if I do get it, you’re going to have law firms yelling at you, and you’re going to lose subscribers, and you’re going to publish something that a lot of people won’t like.” 
You know, that does wear out, no matter how effective the stuff is––but I could do that then. I left the AP. They got tired of my Vietnam reporting. I left The New York Times. They got tired of my bitching and complaining about their processes there, which is sometimes sort of tedious and redundant, and at The New Yorker it was the same thing. They got tired of me always finding the dark side. It was much easier to do when Bush and Cheney were there, but when Obama was around, it was much harder. 
It’s just the way it is. I feel sorry for kid reporters starting now, because the idea of telling an editor, “I want to spend two or three months on a story” just doesn’t work anymore. have to remember, [Trump] is the guy, reviled for his ignorance, seemingly, and his lack of respect for most norms. This is the guy that took down fifteen Republicans, with an accumulated political experience of about 300 years. He put down two dynasties. The Bush dynasty. And the Clinton dynasty. And so to sell him short is a big mistake. He’s not a moron, and I just think it’s big mistake for the Democratic party to keep on attacking him for his lies and misstatements and his obvious inability to plan. And [the Democrats] better offer middle America something. They lost that election because the white working class walked away from them.... So I think the Democrats have to come back, to stop yipping about it. They’re playing into his hand with the tweets. They’re playing in his ballpark. Why do that? Just go write about what he wasn’t doing. And write about what’s going on in the communities because of the changes in regulations his people did. There’s a lot of stuff to do.... they’re not offering any programs except “we hate Trump.” And “he’s a moron.”

After money surge, GOP frets Democrats can ‘buy rage in bulk'” 
[McClatchy, via  Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 10-4-18 
“House Democratic candidates are raising money like never before in the run-up to Election Day — and their record-setting hauls are alarming already anxious Republicans who now worry that a difficult political environment is becoming even worse…. The sums — driven by small-dollar online fundraising — are unprecedented, sometimes exceeding even what many House candidates typically raise during an entire campaign. And strategists in both parties say they see this cash surge as a major inflection point in the campaign…. The Democratic donations have been driven by online contributions: ActBlue, which supplies the digital fundraising platform for nearly every candidate Democratic candidate, said this week it has processed $385 million in contributions during the third quarter to candidates and liberal causes. That was more than the group processed during the entire 2014 election cycle, it said.” 
Austin restaurants can no longer throw away food
[, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]
The city hopes businesses donate the extra food to those in need, but they could also give it to local farms or compost it. It's part of the Universal Recycling Ordinance, which the city hopes will help reach its Zero Waste by 2040 goal. A 2015 study analyzing what's in Austin's trash and where it comes from showed 37 percent of material sent to landfills from businesses was organic and could have been donated or composted.

Food firms aren’t doing enough to end forced labor, report finds
[Supply Chain Dive, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-18] 
“[KnowTheChain’s] second report since 2016 analyzed 38 global food and beverage companies against seven benchmark themes: commitment and governance; traceability and risk assessment; purchasing practices; recruitment; worker voice; monitoring; and remedy. Unilever again scored the highest (69 of a possible 100), followed by Kellogg, which took the second place position with a 66 score. Then came Coca-Cola, Tesco, Nestlé, Walmart and PepsiCo. Near the bottom were Monster Beverage, with a 4 ranking, Hormel Foods with 10, Tyson Foods with 12 and Conagra Brands with 18.”
[Industry Week, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-18] 
“In 1999, the average total premium for a family health-insurance policy — taking in what workers and their employers paid — was about 14% of median household income. By last year, that was up to 31%. Workers’ contributions on average reached about 9% of household income.”

“Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman dies at 96” 
[Associated Press, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-18]
“His Nobel Prize sold for $765,000 in an auction in 2015 to help pay for medical bills and care.”

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 10-5-18]

Wind Energy Foundation rebrands to reflect solar advocacy
[North American Windpower online (10/2) , via North American Wind Energy Association 10-4-18]
The Wind Energy Foundation has rebranded as the Wind Solar Alliance. "Accelerating the deployment of wind and solar technologies is one of the fastest ways to mitigate climate change while strengthening the US economy," says Executive Director John Kostyack, noting the sectors should work together to advance their mutual goals.

[North American Windpower online (10/3), via North American Wind Energy Association 10-4-18]
Fort Collins, Colo., City Council members passed a resolution to source 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030. The Sierra Club says it's the ninth city in the state and the 86th in the US to set such a goal.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is Losing Oxygen Faster Than Almost Any Other Marine Environment
[Yale Environment 360, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]
The Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Canada is rapidly losing oxygen, declining by as much as 55 percent in some spots since the 1930s — compared to a 2 percent drop globally. Now, new research has found that the region’s dramatic oxygen decline is due largely to climate change and shifts in the major ocean currents that feed the gulf.
The study, published this month in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the Labrador Current, which carries water from the Arctic south along the North American East Coast, has weakened in recent decades. Meanwhile, the Gulf Stream has shifted northward, transporting more warm, salty, and oxygen-poor water from the Caribbean into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“As rates for container and handy-size bulk carriers have escalated, these operators have been discouraged from competing for breakbulk cargo. This is good news for breakbulk shippers and the network of domestic ports reliant on their business… [B]reakbulk does well when the global economy remains strong… While many of the nation’s largest container ports can accommodate breakbulk, a handful of smaller ocean cargo gateways are becoming competitive specialists in this niche. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, the Port of Portland is marketing its Terminal 6 as a premier breakbulk option, although it can also handle containerized cargo. Portland’s Terminal 2 is a pure-play breakbulk terminal capable of handling steel rail imports from Asia. The Port of Everett in Washington is also making a play to capture more “over-dimensional” freight with recent investments in its infrastructure. The Boeing Company, which ships aerospace parts for the new 777X is one particular beneficiary. ”
JR East previews 400km/h test train
[Railway Age, 10-318]
East Japan Railways (JR East) has released further details of its Alfa-X (E956) Shinkansen test train, which will be used to evaluate new technological and aerodynamic features for the railway’s next-generation of high-speed trains. 

Metro says it doesn’t know what to do about falling ridership. An internal report lays out exactly what to do. 
[Washinton Post, via Naked Capitalism 10-4-18] 
“However, according to the analysis in this report, on a daily basis, the [Uber and Lyft] transport about half as many passengers as Metro, providing about 300,000 passenger trips in the region.” Lambert Strether observes: "For a median driver wage of $9.73/hour. Looks to me like the squillionaires subsidizing Uber and Lyft are destroying public transporation. Perhaps that’s their goal, and spending the big bucks to do that is worth it to them."

NASA Has Just Released 2,540 Stunning New Photos of Mars.
[Beauty of Planet Earth, via Naked Capitalism 10-2-18]

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information 
[Gizmodo, via Naked Capitalism 9-30-18]
“They found that when a user gives Facebook a phone number for two-factor authentication or in order to receive alerts about new log-ins to a user’s account, that phone number became targetable by an advertiser within a couple of weeks.” 

CPJ Safety Advisory: Pegasus spyware used to target journalists, civil society
Committee to Protect Journalists. [Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 10-3-18] 
One more reason not to have a smart phone.

Clive [from NC]: “The lack of a big hoo-haa over this is, I suspect, because the industry is so powerless in the face of it. All data loss prevention is implemented in either the O/S or during boot. What happens below the UEFI layer is in the Here There Be Dragons territory. While pretty much limited to state actors or equivalent, that alone is bad enough.”

Does Your Motherboard Have a Secret Chinese Spy Chip?
[PC Magazine, via Naked Capitalism 10-6-18]

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