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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 2, 2022
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Debating the Merits of Garland's New Special Counsel: 'BradCast' 11/21/22
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Author and 'REDMAP' gerrymandering expert David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Dems to boycott Barrett vote?; Federal court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots without contacting voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2020 6:56pm PT  

There's a lot to digest on today's BradCast, so I'll try to keep this teaser brief so you can just listen. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, it turns out lawyers really don't like Donald Trump, even the ones he actually pays millions to work for him. In Congress, Dems vow "no more business as usual" on Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, but how much are they actually able to do about it? We may be about to find out.

And, as if it wasn't difficult enough to vote safely --- or at all --- in Texas amid the pandemic (or even before the pandemic!), still more vote suppression has just been ordered there by the radical rightwing judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

A ruling like the one they've just issued to allow mail-in ballots to be rejected based on perceived signature mismatches (as adjudicated by non-handwriting experts) without contacting voters first to allow them to cure any perceived problems, is the type of voter suppression that might have been blocked in advance by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before it was gutted by the GOP-majority U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, in the infamous Shelby County case.

That ruling of a piece of with Karl Rove and the GOP's "Plot for Permanent Minority Rule", as expertly detailed by our guest today, author and FairVote.org Senior Fellow DAVID DALEY in his new must-read cover story for The New Republic this month. Daley unspools the full story of how the unlikely Republican voting rights hero, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), partnered with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and voting rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in 2006 to ensure the re-authorization of the VRA in full for 25 more years. Sensenbrenner held a dozen hearings with nearly 50 witnesses as Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, in order to compile some 12,000 pages of recent, compelling evidence of racially-based voter suppression that supported the need to extend the then 40-year old landmark civil rights law.

But that was before Karl Rove's successful scheme to gain GOP control of state legislatures in 2010 after that year's Census, in order to gerrymander "democracy" within an inch of its life for the entire next decade. And it was before the Republican SCOTUS majority ignored Sensenbrenner's work on the VRA entirely --- and a bipartisan 98-0 vote in the U.S. Senate to extend the Act --- in order to gut it.

The nation has been paying a very steep price ever since. Republicans in gerrymandered districts in Congress and state legislatures no longer worry about working and compromising with Democrats. Their only concern became primary challenges from the Right. So the party moved ever farther in that direction until arriving where we are today, when the idea of fixing the now-gutted VRA has become unthinkable --- just a few short years after it was re-authorized by a Republican House, Senate and President. The scheme also allowed opportunists like Donald Trump to take advantage of the lost protections for voting rights in gerrymandered state after gerrymandered state, which continues to haunt America's hobbled democracy today.

Daley discusses how all of this came about, how --- and if --- it can be corrected, and how he was able to get so many Republicans who now regret building the "Frankenstein monster that has devoured our politics" to speak on the record about those regrets --- as regular Americans pay an unspeakable price for it all.

"This was not caused by Donald Trump. It did not start with him," Daley tells me. "The fight over the vote has been deeply entwined in this nation ever since the founding of this nation. But these battles did not start in 2016. They will not end on Election Day 2020. And there is a real, deeply embedded, [GOP] minority rule that has been built atop a system that already advantaged Republicans geographically in the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College."

"This has been baked in to our politics for a long time. It's going to take a lot of time for us to get it out. This is a Census year. This is a redistricting year. So state legislatures and the next decade of maps are on the line again," he cautions. So, please VOTE and remember to vote ALL THE WAY DOWN THE BALLOT THIS YEAR! "There are more of us than there are of them," Daley notes, "but there are more of them on the Supreme Court than us, and that's a big, big problem."

And if that sounds like a heavy show, don't worry! Mel Brooks is here at the end to help calm your anxiety --- and mine --- just a little bit...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2015 4:45pm PT  

Six-term Republican Congressman Bob Inglis (SC) was my guest on today's BradCast, fresh off of being honored with the John F. Kennedy Foundation's Profile in Courage award earlier this week.

After 12 years in the U.S. House, the very conservative Rep. Inglis was primaried out in 2010 by the Tea Party after he dared change his position from being a climate change denier to wanting to take action after consultation with scientists and even his own children.

Inglis has since founded the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University, "guided by the conservative principles of free enterprise and economic growth, limited government, liberty, accountability and reasonable risk avoidance to solve our nation's energy and climate challenges."

We discussed whether he has any regrets about how things worked out in Congress; about his appearance in the new documentary Merchants of Doubt, which exposes how the denial industry works (and how the same sleaze merchants who denied the harm of cigarette smoke in previous decades on behalf of Big Tobacco are now using the very same tactics today. Watch the trailer.); why Republicans have become science deniers and whether he is optimistic that will change any time soon; and his plan for a revenue-neutral carbon tax to fight global warming by both reducing emissions and correcting what he (accurately) describes as the "market distortion" that allows polluters to socialize the cost of pollution and, essentially, pollute for free.

"One of the key philosophical underpinnings of conservative thought is that humans are responsible moral actors," Inglis told me. Yet, he says, the fossil fuel industry is being allowed to get away without taking responsibility for the damage they are causing to both people and the planet. "That's where we are on climate. We're allowing people to socialize their soot and they will get away with it as long as we let them get away without accountability." He says that was is currently lacking is "accountable transparent marketplaces."

"If we could get through the denial and get to the debate," it would be a good thing, explains Inglis, who describes global warming as a "crucial issue, vital to the future of our children and grandchildren" as he offers a surprisingly optimistic outlook for the future. How optimistic? He even believes some non-denier Republicans may enter the 2016 Presidential primary race! I'm dubious --- but we'll see. It was a fascinating conversation.

Also on today's show: even Fox "News" is now turning against the obnoxious organizers of the deadly anti-Muslim event in Garland, TX over the weekend; CO2 reaches a new and horrible milestone; another oil bomb train explodes in ND; and some very very good news for progressives folks in Alberta, Canada (and maybe for environmentalists down here!) after last night's election there...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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