Human Rights in a Shifting Landscape: Recommendations for Congress. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Amy K. Lehr et al. September 9, 2019
Human Rights are part of the American DNA. Congress has long
advocated for human rights to play an integral role in U.S. foreign policy,
with significant success. However, rising authoritarianism and the gross human
rights violations taking place around the world call for immediate and stronger
U.S. leadership and Congressional action. To that end, the Human Rights
Initiative of CSIS worked with CSIS scholars, who developed recommendations
relevant to their expertise that identify how Congress can build on its past
human rights leadership to meet today’s challenges. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 59 pages].
Federal Election Commission: Membership and Policymaking Quorum, In Brief. Congressional Research Service. R. Sam Garrett. Updated September 5, 2019
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the nation’s civil
campaign finance regulator. The agency ensures that campaign fundraising and
spending is publicly reported; that those regulated by the Federal Election
Campaign Act (FECA) and by commission regulations comply and have access to
guidance; and that publicly financed presidential campaigns receive
funding. As of August 31, 2019, the
Federal Election Commission is operating without a policymaking quorum. FECA
requires that at least four of six commissioners agree to undertake many of the
agency’s key policymaking duties. As of August 31, 2019, three of six
commissioners remain in office, after the fourth remaining commissioner
resigned. Also as of this writing, one commission nomination is pending in the
Senate. This CRS report briefly explains
the kinds of actions that FECA precludes when a quorum is not possible because
fewer than four FEC members are in office. This episode marks the second quorum
loss in the agency’s history—the first occurred for six months in 2008—leaving
the commission unable to hold hearings, issue rules, and enforce campaign
finance law and regulation. The agency remains open for business with remaining
commissioners and regular staff, but new policy decisions and enforcement
actions cannot be advanced or finalized.
[PDF format, 11 pages].
Impact of Climate Risk on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technology Dimensions. Council on Foreign Relations. Amy Myers Jaffe et al. September 10, 2019.
Climate change poses risks to energy security, financial
markets, and national security. Energy companies and local, state, and federal
governments need to better prepare to face these challenges. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 87 pages].
Hostile Social Manipulation: Present Realities and Emerging Trends. RAND Corporation. Michael J. Mazarr et al. September 4, 2019.
The role of information warfare in global strategic
competition has become much more apparent in recent years. Today’s
practitioners of what this report’s authors term hostile social manipulation
employ targeted social media campaigns, sophisticated forgeries, cyberbullying
and harassment of individuals, distribution of rumors and conspiracy theories,
and other tools and approaches to cause damage to the target state. These
emerging tools and techniques represent a potentially significant threat to
U.S. and allied national interests. This report represents an effort to better
define and understand the challenge by focusing on the activities of the two
leading authors of such techniques — Russia and China. The authors conduct a
detailed assessment of available evidence of Russian and Chinese social
manipulation efforts, the doctrines and strategies behind such efforts, and
evidence of their potential effectiveness. RAND analysts reviewed English-,
Russian-, and Chinese-language sources; examined national security strategies
and policies and military doctrines; surveyed existing public-source evidence
of Russian and Chinese activities; and assessed multiple categories of evidence
of effectiveness of Russian activities in Europe, including public opinion
data, evidence on the trends in support of political parties and movements
sympathetic to Russia, and data from national defense policies. The authors
find a growing commitment to tools of social manipulation by leading U.S.
competitors. The findings in this report are sufficient to suggest that the
U.S. government should take several immediate steps, including developing a
more formal and concrete framework for understanding the issue and funding
additional research to understand the scope of the challenge. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 302 pages].
Employment, Education, and the Time Use of American Youth. Brookings Institution. Lauren Bauer et al. September 5, 2019
The labor force participation rate is a key measure of
economic health. While the decline in prime-age workers’ labor force
participation receives much attention from policymakers, it is far outpaced by
the decline in participation among younger workers. In this analysis we show
how changing employment and school enrollment patterns have contributed to
declining labor force participation among youth, aged 16 to 24. Youth today are
not disengaged; rather, declines in youth labor force participation primarily
reflect a long-term but accelerating shift toward schooling and spending more
time on education-related activities. [Note: contains copyrighted
[PDF format, 26 pages].
Consumer Credit Reporting, Credit Bureaus, Credit Scoring, and Related Policy Issues. Congressional Research Service. Cheryl R. Cooper, Darryl E. Getter. Updated July 26, 2019
The consumer data industry—generally referred to as credit
reporting agencies or credit bureaus—collects and subsequently provides
information to firms about the behavior of consumers when they participate in
various financial transactions. Firms use consumer information to screen for
consumer risks. For example, lenders rely upon credit reports and scores to
determine the likelihood that prospective borrowers will repay their loans.
Insured depository institutions (i.e., banks and credit unions) rely on
consumer data service providers to determine whether to make available checking
accounts or loans to individuals. Some insurance companies use consumer data to
determine what insurance products to make available and to set policy premiums.
Some payday lenders use data regarding the management of checking accounts and
payment of telecommunications and utility bills to determine the likelihood of
failure to repay small-dollar cash advances. Merchants rely on the consumer
data industry to determine whether to approve payment by check or electronic
payment card. Employers may use consumer data information to screen prospective
employees to determine the likelihood of fraudulent behavior. In short,
numerous firms rely upon consumer data to identify and evaluate potential risks
a consumer may pose before entering into a financial relationship with that
[PDF format, 22 pages].
Inequality as a Multidimensional Process. Daedalus: Journal. Summer 2019.
Rising inequality is one of our most pressing social
concerns. And it is not simply that some are advantaged while others are not,
but that structures of inequality are self-reinforcing and cumulative; they
become durable. The societal arrangements that in the past have produced more
equal economic outcomes and social opportunities – such as expanded mass
education, access to social citizenship and its benefits, and wealth
redistribution – have often been attenuated and supplanted by processes that
are instead inequality-inducing. This issue of Dædalus draws on a wide
range of expertise to better understand and examine how economic conditions are
linked, across time and levels of analysis, to other social, psychological,
political, and cultural processes that can either counteract or reinforce
durable inequalities. [Note: contains copyrighted
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