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: With Democrats Things Get Better, Updated w/New Biden Data (4/16/21)

We are pleased to offer a recording a With Dems presentation from Friday, April 16th, 2021.  This is the latest in our April series of With Dems presentations celebrating the American Jobs Plan, and the big economic conversation it has kicked off.

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

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

April 27 - NDN Talks Dem Polling Challenges w/Jim Gerstein of GBAO

On Tuesday April 27th at 1pm NDN will host 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 you register for the event 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."

So join us at 1pm ET on Tuesday, April 27th for the next in our "NDN Talks" discussion series.  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.

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

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.  

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

 

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