NDN Blog

Invite: Feb 16, 1pm ET - NDN Talks High Crimes with Glenn Kirschner

We are very excited for this episode of NDN Talks - an extended conversation with television commentator and former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.  Reserve your spot for Tuesday, February 16th at 1pm today. 

While we admired Glenn's commenator on television, what originally drew us to develop a working relationship with Glenn was this terrific legal analysis back in 2018.  In this NBC NewsThink essay, Glenn made a big argument, one which we think is particularly relevant today - that the Department of Justice needs to treat electoral crimes committed by the President as grave crimes, ones which cannot be subject to it's current "no prosecution" policy.  In this essay he wrote:

"If a president can act unlawfully to influence an election, he does not deserve the protections of his ill-gotten office. This incongruity encourages lawlessness in the quest for the presidency and then rewards that lawlessness by inoculating the criminal president against prosecution. Such a construct is dangerous....

We now find ourselves with a president whose crimes may outpace those of Nixon and Clinton. Failing to hold criminal presidents accountable in a court of law arguably emboldens, or at the very least does not dissuade, corrupt individuals from seeking the presidency. At some point, we must learn from our institutional mistakes. Department of Justice officials would be wise to reflect on American history lest we once again succumb to a governmental crisis."

What he is saying here, very clearly, is that if a President cannot be prosecuted for election crimes, then he has ever incentive in the world to cheat with impunity, which is exactly what we saw in both the Ukraine fiasco in 2019 and the months long effort to disrupt and cheat in the 2020 election.  Simon wrote an extended essay about Glenn's argument back in August, in the midst of what we called Trump's original electoral crime spree. 

With the 2nd Trump Impeachment trial starting in a new days we hope help to put Glenn's big argument back into the national debate, as a step we can take to ensure that these dark days don't return to America soon, or perhaps ever.

Glenn's Bio:

Glenn is a former federal prosecutor with 30 years of trial experience. He served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for 24 years, rising to the position of Chief of the Homicide Section. In that capacity, Glenn supervised 30 homicide prosecutors and oversaw all homicide grand jury investigations and prosecutions in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the DC U.S. Attorney’s Office, Glenn served more than six years on active duty as an Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) prosecutor, trying court-martial cases and handling criminal appeals, including espionage and death penalty cases. Glenn currently works as an NBC News/MSNBC on-air legal analyst and teaches criminal justice at George Washington University. He has a YouTube channel and Podcast, “Justice Matters with Glenn Kirschner.”

Glenn tried hundreds of cases in his 30 years as a prosecutor, including more than 50 murder trials, multiple lengthy RICO trials and precedent-setting cases.  His cases have been made into major motion pictures (murder conviction of a sophisticated con man who ran in elite DC circles, subject of upcoming film “Georgetown”, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Christoph Waltz and Annette Bening) and TV documentaries (defendant Andre Burno convicted of the ambush shooting of an on-duty police officer, subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, “Thug Life in DC”). Glenn has lectured at Federal Bar Association seminars, judicial conferences and professional association events.  He has presented at the National Advocacy Center on the topic of homicide prosecutions and taught advanced criminal law at George Washington University School of Law as an adjunct faculty member. He traveled as a Department of Justice representative to address Ukrainian prosecutors and detectives regarding the U.S. Criminal justice system.   

As an Army JAG, Glenn served as prosecutor at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, where he handled dozens of court-martial cases and served as legal advisor to Army commanders on criminal justice matters. He then served as an Army appellate attorney at the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency in Falls Church, Virginia, where he handled death penalty and espionage cases, among others.

Glenn attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and was First-Team All American football player in 1983.  In 1987, he graduated with honors from New England School of Law in Boston, where he was named a Trustee’s Scholar. Glenn has received numerous awards, including: the Harold J. Sullivan Award for Fairness, Ethics and Trial Excellence; the John F. Evans Award for Outstanding Advocacy; the Metropolitan Police Department’s Chief of Police Medal of Honor; the United States Attorney’s Office STAR Award; U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal; Washington & Lee University Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee; and induction in September 2018 into the American College of Trial Lawyers.   

Simon In The NYT on Dem Management of Their Senate Majority

Simon in the NY Times– Simon got some significant air time in a major new NY Times analysis about the emerging dynamic inside the Democratic Senate majority: “The strategist Simon Rosenberg……said that he saw a minimum-wage increase as a winning issue with voters including those toward the center. Rosenberg called Republican lawmakers’ seemingly unanimous opposition to it a political “mistake.” 

Rosenberg said that if Democrats were able to burnish their brand by passing other major legislation aimed at workers and families, it could bode well for a minimum-wage increase — even in West Virginia. “I think Joe Manchin wants to be with the Democrats as much as he possibly can, and in order to do that, in his mind, he has to oppose them on certain things,” he said. “If in six months the Covid package is popular and the economy is coming back, Manchin’s going to have much more running room.””

US Could Hit 70m Fully Vaccinated Per Month in April

Good COVID News– With FDA approval of the easy to use J & J one shot vaccine and both Moderna and Pfizer increasing their production runs, the US is now on track to be able to start fully vaccinating close to 70m PER MONTH starting in April. One reason the new COVID package Democrats are pushing is so important is that achieving that level of sustained vaccination levels – 4m a day, every day, for months - is going to require significant investment, which this bill provides.  If we can get to 4m by the end of this month we have an outside chance of hitting 200m people fully vaccinated by early June; and at that point the idea of having something like a normal summer becomes more than a dream.  

Also- do check out this thread which suggests that the vaccines may work to improve symptoms of people suffering from Long COVID (COVID symptoms that last for months beyond the original infection). NDN still believes we should announce a national campaign to get every senior vaccinated as soon as possible, in part to force the system to start addressing and working through the challenge of vaccine hesitancy now. This new Atlantic essay by Zeynep Tufekci about things we still need to get right about COVID is also very much worth a read.  

Biden's Strong Job Approval

Biden Strong Job Approval– Want to dwell on Biden’s strong job approval numbers for a minute.  In today’s 538 tracker Biden starts at 55.6 approve, 38.2 disapprove.  This means in practical terms that 62% of the country does not disapprove of what Biden is doing right now.  9% of the US voted for Trump and is not disapproving of Biden now – this is almost one in five of Trump’s own supporters.  

A strong majority of the country, even a big chunk of Trump supporters, are giving Biden a chance to move on his agenda.  It is why he should seize the moment, and go for it.  It is what 60% plus – an extraordinary numbers – want him to do right now.  

And it has to be noted that as Biden is +18 in his job approval today, Trump was only +2-+3 for a few days of his Presidency; was net negative the rest of his Presidency; and never broke 50% job approval one time, the only President in the history of polling to not get to 50% during their Presidency.  So we are really looking a dramatically different Presidency, one where opposition to Biden is nothing like the opposition to Trump.  A majority of the US is giving Biden a chance.  Trump never had the country behind him, was never popular, or seen as effective.  And this matters as the Republicans try to figure out what to do next.  For Trump was both a disastrous President and historically unpopular – why would they ever want to return to that politics? 

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better (2/19/21)

Check out this 2/19/21 edition of our singnature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better.  It tells a story about post-Cold War America - that one party, the Democrats have been modern and successful.  The other party, Republicans, have been reactionary and repeatedly failed to deliver when in power.  

The presentation itself runs about 25 minutes and is new and updated each week.  In this Feb 19th edition we added some new national polling and COVID data from the early Biden days. 

Visit here to learn more about the big arguments behind With Dems, and feel free to sign up for our newsletter, NDN News, which will give you advance notice of upcoming With Dems and other timely and interesting events from NDN.  

Video: NDN Talks The Hispanic Vote w/Fernand Amandi (3/2/21)

On March 2nd at 1pm ET we hosted our good friend, noted pollster and MSNBC analyst Fernand Amandi for a deep dive on the Hispanic vote in America, with a special look at what's happened in Florida in the past few elections.  Among his many accomplishments Fernand was part of the team that oversaw Barack Obama’s very strong performance with Hispanic voters in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections. 

You can view this latest episode of the NDN Talk series here.  Do watch - it was a really interesting discussion.

As a companion to this episode be sure to check out our new detailed look at the progress Democrats have made in recent years in the heavily Mexican-American parts of the US. This analysis includes a link to a new interview with Rep. Ruben Gallego, who reflects upon the many years of work that he and others undertook to transform Arizona from a red to purple/lean blue state.  It was great conversation, and Rep. Gallego and his colleagues have much to be proud of. 

NDN's analysis of Florida's Hispanic vote will also make good background reading for this discussion.  

Fernand's Bio

Fernand R. Amandi, President of the renowned strategic political consulting and opinion research firm, Bendixen & Amandi International, heads the operation and brings over twenty years worth of experience in research, communications and strategic management with an emphasis in corporate, political and public affairs consulting for clients including the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, Univision Communications, New America Media, NDN, the White House, the John & James L. Knight Foundation, the National Immigration Forum, the California Endowment, AT&T, Airbnb and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Mr. Amandi is a veteran of five presidential contests in the United States, including lead consultant roles in both of Barack Obama’s successful Presidential campaigns in addition to seven national elections in Latin America where he was developed research, messaging and strategy. Fernand has conceived, produced, and edited scores of successful television, digital and radio spots for B&A International’s media practice including the highly regarded “Nuestra Amiga” television ad for the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign, which Rolling Stone magazine lauded as “one of the more charming moments in the history of the political ad wars.”

Mr. Amandi is a political contributor to the MSNBC television network and has also been a frequent guest providing political analysis on the BBC, CBS’s Sunday Morning, CNN, Telemundo, National Public Radio, PBS, Univision and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher and the HBO Features documentary film, 537 Votes. Mr. Amandi’s communications projects and political analysis, in both English and Spanish, continue to be regularly featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, Univision, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, The Economist, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, NBC Latino, the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Diario de las Américas and Vox.

For the past eight years Mr. Amandi has also leveraged his experiences in politics, public policy and media as a professor in the political science department at the University of Miami, where his popular ‘Elections Course’ is typically the largest attended class on campus.

From 2015-2017, hosted the daily political talk show, The Fernand Amandi Show for iheartMedia’s 610 WIOD-AM radio station and since October 2017, Fernand has hosted the acclaimed weekly political podcast, Strange Days with Fernand Amandi.

Fernand is a graduate of Florida State University and resides in Coconut Grove, Florida with his wife and two children..

You can follow Fernand on Twitter: @AmandiOnAir

Tue, Mar 9th - NDN Talks w/Karen Kornbluh About America’s Debilitating Information Disorder

One of the great governing challenges facing the new Biden-Harris Administration is to begin repairing our badly broken information ecosystem here in the United States.  This is an area NDN has spent a great deal of time on in recent years, and we are really pleased to bring you one of the leading experts on this topic - Ambassador Karen Kornbluh (bio below). 

We will be hosting the Ambassador on the next episode of our new in-depth discussion series, NDN Talks, on Tuesday, March 9th at 1pm ET.  You can register here for what will be a timely and thoughtful discussion - and feel free to invite others.  All are welcome. 

As prep for the discussion, please check out Karen's Washington Post Op-Ed, "Three steps to help treat America’s debilitating information disorder;" her new report on deceptive content as covered in Axios; and her recent appearance on CBS News talking about disinformation and the January 6th attack on the Congress. 

If you haven't please do sign up to receive notices about our upcoming events, and be sure to check out our growing video library of in-depth discussions in the NDN Talks series. Recent guests have included Congressmen Scott Peters and Ruben Gallego, pollster Fernand Amandi, author and advocate Ari Berman, professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat and former prosecutor and MSNBC commentator Glenn Kirschner.  Most Fridays you can also find our live, always updated signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better too.

Karen's Bio

Ambassador Kornbluh has shaped public policy since the early days of the commercial Internet as a public servant and diplomat in the U.S. and internationally. The New York Times called her a passionate and effective advocate for economic equality. 

Today, she continues that work in two key roles: At the German Marshall Fund of the United States, leading its Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative to ensure technology supports democracies around the globe; and as chair of the Open Technology Fund, a government-funded nonprofit advancing global Internet freedom.

She was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris during the Obama Administration. There she spearheaded the first global Internet Policymaking Principles, gained OECD agreement to provide open access to its data, and launched the OECD Gender Initiative.

She served in the Clinton administration as both deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department and director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission, negotiating early Internet policies. She was policy director for then-Senator Barack Obama, and the author of his 2008 platform.

Kornbluh began her career as an economic forecaster at Townsend-Greenspan and worked in the private sector at various points in her career, including as a senior advisor to McKinsey and executive vice president at the global data firm Nielsen where she launched the Nielsen Foundation.

Kornbluh has held a number of fellowships, including at the Council on Foreign Relations where she was the senior fellow for Digital Policy, Mozilla, the Center for American Progress, and New America. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Video: NDN Talks w/Ari Berman About the War On Voting (2/23/21)

So we just finished up this next week's episode of NDN Talks - an indepth discussion about the savage attacks the GOP is making on voting with noted author Ari Berman, arguably the leading expert on these issues in the country today.  It was a great discussion, and Ari certainly left a lot for us to think about, and do.  You can watch the full recording here.  It lasts about 40 minutes. 

If you are to read one thing as a follow up to our talk with Ari, read his new essay in Mother Jones, "The Insurrection Was Put Down. The GOP Plan for Minority Rule Marches On."  And you can follow him on Twitter at @ariberman

If you liked today's discussion with Ari be sure to check out our upcoming schedule of events and our growing library of interviews in the NDN Talks series. 

Ari's Bio

Ari Berman is a senior reporter at Mother Jones, covering voting rights. His stories have also appeared in The New York TimesRolling Stone, The Atlantic, Politico and The Guardian. He is a frequent guest and political commentator on MSNBC, NPR, PBS and C-Span. Ari’s work has earned him an Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media and a place on the FD200 – 200 awardees whose work embodies Frederick Douglass’s enduring legacy of social change.

Ari is the author of GIVE US THE BALLOT: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction), HERDING DONKEYS: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, and the forthcoming MINORITY RULE – about efforts by white conservatives to entrench power in the face of a massive demographic and political shift.

GIVE US THE BALLOT was named a best book of 2015 by the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, the Boston Globe and Kirkus Reviews, and was nominated for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

Speaking topics include national voting rights issues; the history of voting rights in America; modern racialized voter suppression; partisan gerrymandering; American politics; the state and future of democracy; the intersection of money and politics; the 2020 census.

Ari Berman

 

Analysis: Should we focus the vaccine on those over 65? Seems like a good idea

In a new Medium essay Simon advocates for a national campaign to get all seniors vaccinated by Mid-April.  Good health policy, yes but also an early "win" in our fight against COVID. 

An excerpt:

"Getting “seniors vaccinated” also allows us to have a big collective win against COVID, something that may be psychologically important for a country eager for a clear victory against the pandemic. As it would come in the spring, it would contribute to a nationwide sense of renewal, of a return to possibility. It will help create a sense of “yes we can” momentum which will help us as the vaccine program scales up later in the spring."

Video: NDN Talks w/Rep. Scott Peters about New Dem 100 Day Agenda (2/8/21)

On Monday, February 8th NDN held a conversation with Rep. Scott Peters, Vice Chair of the House New Democrat Coalition for Policy.  Rep. Peters reviewed the newly released NDC 100 Day Agenda and the Coalition’s priorities for the upcoming COVID package. 

A video recording of the episode can be found here

Our discussion with the very thoughful Rep. Peters was a terrific window in the opportunities and the challenges facing Congress at the beginning of the Biden Presidency and in the early days after Jan 6th. This episode of our new NDN Talks series is well worth your time.

As. Rep. Peters outlined, the New Democrat Coalition's agenda offers pragmatic but urgent steps to end the pandemic, create jobs, and solve the challenges of the 21st century.  For more on the agenda, visit the following links:

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