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Category Archives: Congress

How the Holocaust-Swiss banks deal was brokered

Swissinfo: “It has been 20 years since Swiss banks agreed to compensate Holocaust victims for assets lost during the Second World War. A documentary takes a look at the dormant Swiss bank account scandal.  The conflict over Jewish assets in Swiss bank accounts culminated in the 1990s in what would become Switzerland’s largest foreign policy crisis since the Second World War.

The following report and embedded videos are from a Swiss documentary, The Meili Story external link.

Everything started with Greta Beer. She is 97 today and lives in Boston. Her father was a wealthy textile manufacturer in Germany before the Second World War with bank accounts in Switzerland. After the war, Beer and her mother’s search for their father’s money in Swiss banks was in vain.  Her case became public in the 1990s and eventually led Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of the Banking Commission, to invite her to a hearing in Washington. The Swiss government underestimated the brewing storm on the other side of the Atlantic. It was up to the then Interior Minister Ruth Dreifuss, who is Jewish, to inform her cabinet colleagues of Switzerland’s actions during the Second World War..

…The report states that the Swiss National Bank was the recipient of large amounts of Nazi plunder from countries Germany had occupied, including gold from the teeth of concentration camp prisoners. The thesis was put forward that through such purchases Switzerland helped prolong the war. Switzerland had to come to terms with its past. The debate about the country’s wartime role was a central feature defining its identity: neutrality…” [h/t to the indefatigable Jacqueline Royce. Through Dr. Royce I met and learned about Greta Beer’s remarkable history, and am now grateful to see this inexorably and long overdue report and video. Greta Beer is a remarkable woman of courage, perspective and persistence. Her pursuit of justice has given voice to those who have long ago passed away – may their memory be a blessing.]

Report shines light on political ads that appear on Google and affiliates

Google Transparency Report – “This searchable database features political ads that have appeared on Google and partner properties. It is updated once a week. Find ads about federal candidates or current elected federal officeholders, and see who paid for them… Introducing a new transparency report for political ads. We first launched our Transparency Report in… Continue Reading

So you want to comment on a regulation? Here’s how

How to effectively comment on regulations. August 2018. Adam Looney, Director, Center on Regulation and Markets, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution. “The Trump administration has made its deregulatory agenda clear since inauguration day. The administration’s actions have ranged from sweeping rollbacks of major rules that have garnered media attention, to smaller orders and guidance withdrawals… Continue Reading

Researcher study – U.S. House candidates vulnerable to hacks

Reuters: “Three of every 10 candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives have significant security problems with their websites, according to a new study by independent researchers that underscores the threat hackers pose to the November elections…A team of four independent researchers led by former National Institutes for Standards and Technology security expert Joshua… Continue Reading

Agencies Could Better Leverage Review Processes and Public Outreach to Improve Burden Estimates

Paperwork Reduction Act: Agencies Could Better Leverage Review Processes and Public Outreach to Improve Burden Estimates, GAO-18-381: Published: Jul 11, 2018. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 2018. Each year, nearly every adult and business provides some form of information to a federal agency, whether via tax forms or benefits applications. Agencies estimate the time and resources… Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Cmte releases first round of Kavanaugh’s White House documents

The Hill: “The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday publicly released its first tranche of documents from Brett Kavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush White House. The batch being released, totaling more than 5,700 pages, is part of more than 125,000 pages given to the committee last week by the George W. Bush Presidential Library.… Continue Reading

United States Legislative Markup XML

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is collaborating with the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, and the Office of the Federal Register on parallel projects to convert a subset of enrolled bills, public laws, the Statutes at Large, the Federal Register, and the… Continue Reading

For most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades

Pew Research Center: “On the face of it, these should be heady times for American workers. U.S. unemployment is as low as it’s been in nearly two decades (3.9% as of July) and the nation’s private-sector employers have been adding jobs for 101 straight months – 19.5 million since the Great Recession-related cuts finally abated… Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Education

CRS report via FAS: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Education, August 1, 2018: “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Education Educational tools enabled by AI have recently attracted attention for their potential to improve education quality and enhance traditional teaching and learning methods. Although there is no single consensus definition, AI generally allows computers to perform tasks that… Continue Reading

What The District?! Explore How Your Voting District Has Evolved

ACLU – “For better or worse, the way Congressional districts are drawn can determine who wins elections, which communities are represented, and what laws are passed. Explore how your own district has changed (sometimes dramatically) over time.” Most state legislatures have the power to draw new congressional district boundaries. Enter your zip code and you… Continue Reading

The Essential Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh Reader: What Cases Should You Read?

The Essential Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh Reader: What Cases Should You Read?, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 25, 2018 “Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, whom President Trump has nominated to fill the impending Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement from the Court, has amasseda voluminous record of judicial writings during his legal career.… Continue Reading

Judicial Opinions of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and his very bigly paper trail

CRS report via FAS – Judicial Opinions of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, Michael John Garcia, Coordinator, Acting Section Research Manager, July 23, 2018. “On July 9, 2018, President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) to succeed Supreme Court… Continue Reading