Author Archives: Devin Smith

Democrats Should Not Rely on Glenn Simpson and His Hit Piece about Trump and Putin

By William K. Black
August 27, 2017     Kansas City, MO

Like you, I learned recently that Glenn Simpson had given ten hours of testimony before a closed session of the Senate Judiciary Committee and produced tens of thousands of pages of documents to the committee.  Simpson founded a company (Fusion GPS) that hired a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele to conduct an investigation of Donald Trump’s ties with Russia.  Newsweek reports:

Following Simpson’s testimony behind closed doors, his attorney, Josh Levy, told reporters that his firm is “proud of the work” that Steele produced and Simpson oversaw, and that he “stands by it.”

Fusion GPS bills itself as a place to buy “opposition research.”  In plain English, that means if you pay it lots of money it will produce a hit piece demonizing anyone you hate or fear.  We do not know who hired Simpson to arrange the hit piece on Donald Trump.  The credibility of Simpson’s hit pieces is one of the most important issues for Americans.  The best way to judge that credibility is to evaluate Simpson’s prior hit pieces against national leaders.

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Why Plutocrats Like Carl Icahn Are Almost Never Held Accountable

NEP’s Bill Black appears on the Real News Network and says Trump promised to “drain the swamp” but instead filled his administration with Washington insiders and elite billionaires like Carl Icahn. You can view with a transcript here.

German Documentary About a Trump Real Estate Project

NEP’s Bill Black is interviewed by German news firm ZDF for a documentary regarding a Trump real estate project. Bill appears around the 40 minute mark discussing potential violations of law including conspiracy. You can view here (site is in German).

A Memo From MMT’s Legal Department

By Rohan Grey and Raúl Carrillo

Orthodox economists are often inclined to think of law as an external force that ‘intervenes’ to regulate otherwise naturally occurring economic phenomena. In contrast, Modern Monetary Theory and its antecedent intellectual traditions have long recognized that law in fact constitutes and shapes modern economies and the monetary regimes that underpin them. For example, Knapp argued explicitly that money was a “creature of law.” Similarly, Keynes, in A Treatise on Money, stated:

“The State…comes in first of all as the authority of law which enforces the payment of the thing which corresponds to the name or description in the contracts. But it comes in doubly when, in addition, it claims the right to determine and declare what thing corresponds to the name, and to vary its declaration from time to time-when, that is to say, it claims the right to re-edit the dictionary. This right is claimed by all modern states and has been so claimed for some four thousand years at least.”

Today, many of the core propositions of MMT can be understood as essentially legal arguments. Here are a few examples:

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Monetary Sovereigns, Monetary Subjects: Modern Money & The Criminal Legal System

By Raúl Carrillo

I delivered the talk published below as part of a panel at Yale’s annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference, on February 17th, 2017. The panel, entitled “Financing Criminal Justice”, co-hosted by The Modern Money Network, focused on the connections between fiscal austerity and the horrors of the U.S. criminal legal system. I was joined on the panel by Thomas Harvey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ArchCityDefenders, Judge Jaribu Hill, Director of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights, and Mitali Nagrecha, Director of Harvard Law School’s National Criminal Justice Debt Initiative.

Together, we discussed how financially-strapped local government entities, charged with public safety, perpetuate social violence, especially upon low-income communities of color. My presentation focused on macroeconomic context. More specifically, I attempted to build a bridge between the insights of MMT and arguments asserted by opponents of mass incarceration, police brutality, and criminal justice debt.

Good afternoon, everyone. Buenas tardes. In my short legal career, I have had some hands-on experience with these issues. After law school, I joined the Enforcement Division at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We did (some) work at the intersections of private consumer debt and criminal justice debt. I’m currently at New Economy Project, an anti-poverty organization, in New York City. Some of our clients do wind up behind bars because of failures to appear and failures to pay. Some do leave incarceration only to return home to frozen accounts and judgment liens in addition to the fees they were charged for their time in the system. I’m not here to speak about all that, though. I’ll leave it to the experts.

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London Grenfell Inferno: Who’s to Blame?

The Grenfell Tower Block fire in London is a predictable consequence of policies that can be traced to Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as those of David Cameron and Theresa May, says NEP’s Bill Black on The Real News Network. You can view here with transcript.

Roll-Back of Financial Regulations Has Nothing to do with Complexity or Boosting the Economy

NEP’s Bill Black appears on the Real News Network and explains that the Republicans’ effort to eliminate Dodd-Frank Act financial regulations serves the interests of the big financial institutions and has nothing to do with rules’ complexity or impact on the economy. You can view here with a transcript.

 

FBI Investigations Are Conducted at the Discretion of its Director

NEP’s Bill Black talks to The Real News Network and explains the history and dynamics of FBI investigations, which show that they are not as unstoppable or unimpeachable as they are being made out to be. You can view with transcript here.

Lawyer with Responsibility for Mortgage Crisis Appointed to Take Care of Mortgage Banks

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network discussing Trump’s appointment of Craig S. Phillips, who contributed to the 2008 financial crisis at Morgan Stanley, to take care of FannieMae and FreddieMac. You can view with a transcript here.

The Living New Deal

Announcing the New Map of New Deal New York
Two years in the making, The Living New Deal’s newest publication, a “Map and Guide to New Deal New York,” highlights nearly 1,000 public works throughout the five boroughs and describes 50 of the city’s notable New Deal buildings, parks, murals, and other sites and artworks. The 18 x 27 inch, multi-color map folds to pocket size, while three inset maps offer walking tours of the New Deal in Central Park, and Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. Beginning this week, The Living New Deal will host events in Manhattan to celebrate the map—and New Deal New York at large. You can purchase the map, and a poster of it, here.

Culture and Space: A Case Study of the New Deal at UNC
More than any other era in US history, the New Deal supported the development of new work in the arts. Two scholars at the University of North Carolina have compiled, “The Forest Theatre, Expressive Landscape, and the New Deal at UNC Chapel Hill,” a bibliographic essay exploring the relationship between New Deal structures and cultural projects at that campus, with special focus on the relationship between space and performance undertaken at the Forest Theatre. The essay suggests potential avenues for further research into the New Deal, emphasizing the politics of place and the arts, during the New Deal era. Read the entire essay.

Provided by: The Living New Deal