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.   

Video: DNC's Tim Durigan on Countering Disinformation (7/20/21)

On Tuesday, July 20th we were excited to host a discussion about countering disinformation with one of the best in the business, Tim Durigan, who runs the DNC's countering disinformation program.  Tim's bio and some recent stories about him and his work are below.  Yiou can watch the discussion here.  For anyone wanting to learn more about this important subject, do watch - Tim did a terrific job. 

Background/Clips

Washington Post: The Technology 202: Online disinformation has changed. Now the DNC is updating its response unit.

Social Media's Misinformation Mismatch | by Timothy Durigan | DNC Tech Team

CNN: Frustration and bewilderment: Emails show tension between Facebook and Biden campaign

Vox: How fake news aimed at Latinos thrives on social media

Tim Durigan Bio

Timothy Durigan leads the DNC's Counter Disinformation Program, where he oversees the DNC's efforts to track and combat online mis- and dis-information, build resilience within Democratic campaigns & state parties, and advocate for reform at social media companies. Prior to his work at the DNC, Tim supported Democrats' efforts to win a House majority in 2018 as a Deputy Director of Data and Reporting at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and lives in Washington, DC.

Video: Briefing On Biden Climate Agenda w/WH's Kieve, Flegal (7/13/21)

NDN is excited to share with you an in-depth briefing on President Biden’s climate agenda with two people working on it every day in the White House, David Kieve and Jane Flegal.  Our discussion took place over Zoom onTuesday, July 13th at 1pm ET.  You can watch it here.

We’ve asked David and Jane to come talk to our community about the important climate and energy related items in the Senate bi-partisan infrastructure framework, and the other parts of the President’s agenda we hope to see enacted in the years ahead including in the fall’s reconciliation process.  David is the Director of Public Engagement at the White House’s Council of Environmental Quality, and Jane is the Senior Director for Industrial Emissions there.

NDN is very excited with the far-sighted leadership President Biden and his team are providing on climate, infrastructure and in modernizing our energy systems.  It has been many years since NDN has advocated for making infrastructure investment central to our politics again, including a big commitment to climate friendly clean infrastructure.  NDN was also an early supporter of a carbon tax and of reforms that would make it easier for American utilities to make the transition to a low/post carbon future.   

It was a really terrific event, and hope you will take the time to watch. 

Video: NDN Talks w/Norm Ornstein About Defending Democracy, GOP Radicalization (6/22/21)

Few have been writing and talking more about the decline of the GOP and the increasing threat it has become to our democracy than Norm Ornstein.  Among the most influential scholars of the Congress and America's democracy more broadly, Norm joinied us for an important conversation about the threats our democracy faces today as the Senate debate HR 1/S 1, the legislation designed by Democrats to defend our democracy this year.

You can watch our conversation with Norrm here and catch some of his commentary on these matters here, here and here.  Here is a link to the Brookings essay Morley Winograd discussed during during the Question and Answer session; and you learn more and register for the NDN presentation we discussed, With Democrats Things Get Better, here

For more from us about defending our democracy feel free to watch our recent interviews with Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Ari Berman and Glenn Kirschner; and read Simon's recent essay on what Democrats need to be focusing on this summer. 

Norm Ornstein's Bio

Norman Ornstein is an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a contributing editor and writer for The Atlantic and has been an election eve analyst for CBS News and BBC News. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Campaign Legal Center. His family foundation, the Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation, www.mornstein.org, sponsors a summer debate institute for public school kids in the Washington area through the Washington Urban Debate League, and created and funded the documentary The Definition of Insanity, that was broadcast on PBS in April 2020 and tells the story of how a remarkable judge in Miami-Dade County, Florida, transformed the way its criminal justice system deals with those with serious mental illness, saving lives and saving money at the same time.

He serves as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission and co-directed the AEI-Brookings Project on alternatives to the Independent Counsel Act. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, which reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy; The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Tom Mann; and The New York Times bestseller, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, also with Tom Mann (2012, named Book of the Year by Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, one of the ten best books on politics in 2012 by The New Yorker, and one of the best books of 2012 by The Washington Post. An expanded edition, retitled It’s Even Worse Than It Was, was published in 2016. His latest book, with EJ Dionne and Tom Mann, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not-Yet-Deported (2017) was immediately on the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists. Ornstein has a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from his alma mater in 2007. Ornstein was spotlighted as one of 2012’s 100 Top Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine.

Video: NDN Talks The Youth Vote with CIRCLE of Tisch College/Tufts (6/15/21)

Young people (ages 18-29) played a pivotal role in the 2020 election. They drastically increased their turnout from 2016, and their strong preference for Democrats was decisive in the presidential, Senate, and House races. But young voters’ continued participation is not a given, and will require concerted efforts to sustain—and improve—in 2022 and beyond.

On June 15th NDN hosted Kelly Beadle and Alberto Medina from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), part of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life, for a conversation about the youth vote in 2020 and in the future. They shared exclusive data on youth voter turnout nationally and state by state, as well as research-based insights on what works to engage the youth electorate. Thy also dispelled some myths about young voters; discussed the role of social media; and talked about the laws, policies, and practices that support more equitable civic development and electoral participation for all youth.

The discussion was moderated by Tufts alum Simon Rosenberg.  You can find video recording of the event here, and a copy of the deck they produced at the attachment below.  You can find links to CIRCLE's compelling research here

The importance of young voters is also at the very core of our big presentation about American politics, With Things Get Better, which you can catch live most Fridays this summer.  Thank you!

The Presentors

Kelly Beadle - Kelly Beadle joined CIRCLE in 2019 and manages CIRCLE’s voter registration research project. Her role is to lead qualitative and quantitative analysis on voter registration and participation, in addition to program evaluation for the project. Before joining CIRCLE, Kelly worked on program development, running field experiments and fundraising in numerous national and state-based organizations. She began her career and worked for over a decade in Minnesota, which she considers her home.

Alberto Medina - Alberto Medina has worked at CIRCLE/Tisch College since 2013. He collaborates with CIRCLE leadership on strategic communications, provides key editorial support to disseminate research, and maintains CIRCLE’s digital presence. He also oversees a wide range of communications tasks for Tisch College, including preparing remarks and presentations for the Dean. A graduate of Yale University, Alberto previously worked as a freelance writer and editor and at national newspapers in his native Puerto Rico. He is a commentator and advocate on the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status.

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better, Updated w/New Biden Data (7/16/21)

We are pleased to offer a recording of NDN's signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, from July 16th, 2021. It is the latest in our Spring series of With Dems presentations celebrating the release of the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan and the big economic debate these important proposals have kicked off.

You can sign up for a future showing and learn more about the arguments in the presentation here

We will be presenting With Dems most Fridays this spring and we intend to take many of the arguments in our presentation to the public with op-eds, media appearances etc.

Thank you for your interest. 

Video: NDN Talks Dem Polling Challenges w/Jim Gerstein of GBAO (4/27/21)

On Tuesday April 27th NDN hosted a discussion about the struggles of Democratic Party polling in recent election cycles with Jim Gerstein of the polling and data firm GBAO.  Jim's bio is below, and can you watch a recording of our discussion here.

Jim and his firm were one of five Democratic polling firms to have produced an analysis questioning why some Democratic polling has been so wrong in recent years.  It was a brave thing for professional political consultants to do, and we are excited Jim will be joining us to discuss what he thinks went wrong, and what needs to be done to make it less likely mistakes occur again.  This NYT essay by Giovanni Russonello does a good job summarizing the challenge Democratic polling faces today.  

Called Revisiting Polling for 2021 and Beyond the memo states:

"Together, we represent five survey research firms for Democratic political campaigns. During the 2020 election, we worked on the presidential campaign, every major Senate and gubernatorial race, and congressional races across the country. Our main job as pollsters is to provide campaigns with a strategic roadmap for winning, guide their messaging, and help identify the right targets for those messages.

Every one of us thought Democrats would have a better Election Day than they did. So, what went wrong?

Two weeks after the election, our firms decided to put competition aside to discuss what might have gone awry and to collaborate on finding a solution. There were several factors that may have contributed to polling error in 2020, and there is not a single, definitive answer—which makes solving the problem especially frustrating. In the sections that follow, we seek to explain what we’ve learned thus far in our ongoing efforts to “fix” polling, and what we still need to learn."

While here do review our current schedule of upcoming NDN Talks events, and check out recordings of past events with. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Ari Berman, Fernand Amandi and many more thought leaders. 

Jim's Bio

Jim Gerstein is a founding partner of GBAO, and provides research-based strategic counsel for candidates running for office, non-profit organizations, arts and cultural institutions, and Fortune 500 companies.  Over the past 20 years, Jim has conducted hundreds of focus groups and surveys across the United States, Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Australia to help individuals, organizations, and companies devise strategies that will enable them to meet their goals and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. 

Jim has served as the pollster to numerous candidate and independent expenditure campaigns for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and municipal elections.  He has also conducted extensive research in the areas of political beliefs and values, charitable behavior, national security and foreign policy, public safety, the courts, digital users’ experiences, health care, medical devices, museums, Millennials, and American Jews. 

Prior to establishing GBAO, Jim led two different non-profit organizations through periods of substantial growth and influence.  For 10 years, Jim served as the Executive Director of Democracy Corps, a non-profit organization that conducts public opinion research and provides strategic advice to the progressive community. Under Jim’s leadership, the organization increased its annual budget seven-fold and dramatically increased its impact on our national debate.  Prior to his work with Democracy Corps, Jim was the Executive Director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, where he led public education campaigns, congressional visits to the Middle East, and convened Middle East diplomats in the U.S. for meetings with business and political leaders.  During the 1999 Israeli Prime Ministerial campaign, Jim joined Ehud Barak’s U.S.-based consulting team led by James Carville. He served as the team’s representative on the ground in Israel, overseeing polling, paid media, and message development for the campaign.

Jim began his career working on several U.S. political campaigns and holding different positions within the Democratic Party. In 1992, he worked on the field campaign for Carol Moseley Braun’s successful run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. In 1996, Jim worked in the press office for the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and then directed the Clinton/Gore campaign for the north side of Chicago and northern Illinois.

Jim received an M.A. in Middle East History at Tel Aviv University and a B.A. in philosophy at Colgate University.  He grew up in the Chicago area and today resides in Washington, DC, with his wife and two sons.

Video: Rep. Suzan DelBene Talks Privacy, American Rescue Plan (3/30/21)

On Tue, March 30th at 1pm ET NDN hosted Rep. Suzan DelBene (bio) for a discussion of her important new bill, the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act.  The bill would create a national data privacy standard to protect our most personal information and bring our laws into the 21st Century. 

Rep. DelBene hails from Washington State, is Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and is the current Chair of the House New Democrat Coalition. 

You can watch the conversation here, and if you stay for the Question and Answer period, you can hear about how the American Rescue Plan is playing back in Rep. DelBene's district. 

NDN believes that adopting a national privacy consumer privacy standard is one of several steps Congress must take to restore the promise of the Internet and our digital life, and strongly supports this bill.  Simon offered this following tatement on the introduction of the bill: "Together, we have a lot of work to do in the coming years to restore the promise of the Internet. One of the areas of greatest need is in creating a single working privacy standard for the United States. In her bill, the approach Representative DelBene takes to protecting Americans’ privacy is smart, measured, and will undoubtedly be highly influential in shaping the approach Congress takes in the days ahead. It is a very welcome addition to the vital debate underway about our digital future."

Here's a bit more on the bill itself, and there is more below too.

DelBene On Privacy - Currently there is no federal data privacy law, resulting in states pursuing their own consumer privacy policies. However, in our digital world, a patchwork of different state laws will lead to confusion for people and businesses. A national standard is necessary to establish a uniform set of rights for consumers and create one set of rules for businesses to operate in.

Key elements of the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act include:

  • Plain English: Requires companies to provide their privacy policies in "plain English." 
  • Opt-in: Allows users to “opt-in” before companies can use their most sensitive private information in ways they might not expect. 
  • Disclosure: Increases transparency by requiring companies to disclose if and with whom their personal information will be shared and the purpose of sharing the information. 
  • Preemption: Creates a unified national standard and avoids a patchwork of different privacy standards by preempting conflicting state laws.
  • Enforcement: Gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) strong rulemaking authority to keep up with evolving digital trends and the ability to fine bad actors on the first offense. Empowers state attorneys general to also pursue violations if the FTC chooses not to act.
  • Audits: Establishes strong “privacy hygiene” by requiring companies to submit privacy audits every 2 years from a neutral third party. 

Simon offered this following tatement on the introduction of the bill: "Together, we have a lot of work to do in the coming years to restore the promise of the Internet. One of the areas of greatest need is in creating a single working privacy standard for the United States. In her bill, the approach Representative DelBene takes to protecting Americans’ privacy is smart, measured, and will undoubtedly be highly influential in shaping the approach Congress takes in the days ahead. It is a very welcome addition to the vital debate underway about our digital future."

Video: NDN Talks The American Rescue Plan w/Dr. Rob Shapiro (3/16/21)

On Tuesday, March 16th our NDN Talks series hosted our good friend Dr. Rob Shapiro for a discussion of thhe economic and societal impacts of the newly signed into law American Rescue Plan.  You can watch a recording of the conversation here.

This episode of NDN Talks will be beneficial to anyone wanting to learn more about what this landmark legislation intends to do, and the impact it will have on the US economy over the next several years. For a bit more of Rob's thinking on the current economic moment, check out his recent essay in the Washington Monthly, The Facts About Biden’s Economic Agenda and the GOP’s Cynical Response

Rob Shapiro's Bio

Robert J. Shapiro, the founder and chairman of Sonecon, brings broad and deep knowledge and experience in economics and politics based on many years of providing analysis and advice to U.S. presidents, senators, representatives and governors, members of the Clinton, Bush and Obama cabinets and other senior officials of those administrations, executives at Fortune 100 companies, and many prominent nonprofit organizations.  His analyses and views are respected around the world, and he has developed policies that affect the terms of healthcare, education, investment, taxation, regulation, trade, and government spending in the United States and elsewhere.

Beyond Dr. Shapiro’s leadership at Sonecon and role as advisor to presidents and public and private sector executives, he is also currently a Senior Fellow of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, a director of Overstock, and a member of the advisory boards of Gilead Sciences, Cote Capital, and Civil Rights Defenders, an international human rights NGO.

Before founding Sonecon, Dr. Shapiro was the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs (1997–2001), where he directed economic policy for the Commerce Department and oversaw the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. Before that, he was co-founder and Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Legislative Director and Economic Counsel for Senator Daniel P. Moynihan.

Dr. Shapiro holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a A.B. from the University of Chicago.  He has been a Fellow of Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Fujitsu Research Institute, as well as the McDonough School of Business.  For many years he was the Director of NDN's Globalization Initative. He is widely published in scholarly and popular journals, and the author or co-author of three books.

In addition to providing counsel to senior cabinet and White House officials under three U.S. presidents, Dr. Shapiro also advised British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.  He conducted studies and provided economic counsel to senior executives at companies such as Amgen, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Gilead Sciences, Google, Nasdaq, and Verizon, among others.  On a pro bono basis, he has advised the International Monetary Fund and conducted studies for the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, the McDonough School of Business, and the Progressive Policy Institute.

In the political realm, Dr. Shapiro was the principal economic advisor to Bill Clinton in his 1991-1992 presidential campaign and senior economic adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016.  He also advised the campaigns of Joseph Biden Jr., Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Albert Gore, Jr.

Video: NDN Talks w/Karen Kornbluh About Repairing Our Broken Information Ecosystem (3/9/21)

March 9th - 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 were pleased to bring you one of the leading experts on this topic earlier today, Ambassador Karen Kornbluh (bio below). 

You can watch our discussion here, and be sure to stay for the Q and A - it was a really informative part of the conversation. 

As prep for the recording, 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.

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