Tuesday, May 23, 2023

DeSantis Fanboy Elon Musk Will Host FL Gov's 2024 Announcement on Twitter Wednesday

 Ron DeSantis will announce his 2024 presidential run on Wednesday, and he's going to do it, on Twitter, with Elon Musk by his side, apparently...

via NBC News:

Musk and DeSantis will host an event on Twitter Spaces, the site’s platform for audio chats, on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is a Musk confidant and DeSantis supporter. 

That same evening, the campaign will release a launch video, and DeSantis will begin visiting several early states after Memorial Day. 

There's no word yet, really, on whether this will be an official "endorsement" from Musk, but the billionaire has said in the past he would back DeSantis if he announced a run for president.

Given Musk's childish behavior on the platform and his hypocritical actions in managing it, it's probably a good bet to guess that the platform will be used many times by the Twitter owner to further DeSantis's presidential aspirations in the future, too.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Trump Calls Jack Smith "Treasonous" for Continuing Mar-a-Lago/Jan. 6 Inquiries

It was ridiculous (and blatantly wrong) for Trump to suggest, while he was president, that it was "treasonous" for anyone to investigate or criticize him.

It's even more ridiculous, now that he's a private citizen, for him to be making the same claims.

Treason, of course, is a federal crime, for which the penalty can be death. So Trump is essentially saying Smith (and any other investigator looking into his illicit actions) should be charged with a crime for doing so and possibly be killed over it, too. 

Via Raw Story:

In a late-night posting on his Truth Social platform, Donald Trump lashed out at special counsel Jack Smith for investigating him on multiple fronts and bizarrely claimed that he and his family and friends are on a "treasonous quest."

Said Trump on his fledgling social media experiment gone wrong Truth Social:

TRUMP Hating Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, whose family and friends are Big Time Haters also, will be working overtime on this treasonous quest. They are scoundrels and cheats. THIS IS ALL ABOUT ELECTION INTERFERENCE.

To be sure, most Americans are quite alright with these investigations carrying on. Most even believe Trump did something wrong.

Hopefully, he'll be held accountable for his wrongdoings, too.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Report: Trump Is Planning Politics of Paranoia/Anger If He Wins 2024 Election (Big Surprise, Right?)

Donald Trump's plans for his next presidency (if he's elected) is to go after political opponents like a paranoid madman, and pursue conspiracy theories with reckless abandon, harming millions of Americans in the process.

You know, like how he behaved in his first term in office.

From Axios:

[Trump] wants to give the president the authority to hire and fire federal workers at will — not a new idea, but now part of a broad effort to "clean out" investigators and officials he sees as disloyal or who have questioned his conduct.


Trump wants to fire "radical left" officials who accredit universities, reward schools that abolish tenure for teachers, eliminate many college administrators and remove diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.


He's vowing to get rid of "Marxist prosecutors " and create an auditing system to monitor U.S. intelligence agencies “to ensure they are not spying on our citizens."

And no Trump policy statement would be complete without an attack on LGBTQ people, particularly trans individuals seeking life-saving health care treatments.

He wants DOJ to investigate Big Pharma and the big hospital networks to determine whether they have "deliberately covered up the long-term side-effects of 'sex transitions.'" He also wants to boot hospitals or providers from Medicaid and Medicare if they offer gender-affirming care.

Read more at Axios.

And read (via The Guardian) why one Republican U.S. Senator doesn't think Trump can win in 2024 (hint: he's going to lose swing states because of his brazenness and politics of anger). 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Fani Willis Is Giving Us Huge Hints That She's Going to Charge Trump in August

Fulton County AG Fani Willis -- who is overseeing the investigation into former President Donald Trump's attempts to improperly overturn the Georgia election results in the 2020 presidential race -- may have indicated when she will issue charges against him and his allies who sought to do the same.

From The New York Times:

The Georgia prosecutor leading an investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his allies has taken the unusual step of announcing remote work days for most of her staff during the first three weeks of August, asking judges in a downtown Atlanta courthouse not to schedule trials for part of that time as she prepares to bring charges in the inquiry.

The moves suggest that [Willis] is expecting a grand jury to unseal indictments during that time period.

And from The Guardian:

Willis made no explicit mention of Trump during the meeting, but the specific timing is understood to reflect the expected window for indictments after previous indications suggested charging decisions would come during the court term that runs July to September.

This investigation represents the most likely one (among the many Trump is currently facing) to result in Trump being held accountable for his illegal attempts to remain president, after he so clearly lost in the 2020 race. It is illegal for any person to try and coerce, convince, or threaten an elections official, in the state of Georgia, to engage in election fraud.

Trump clearly did so -- audio recording of him, in a conversation with State Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in late 2020, showed that Trump demanded he "find" him enough votes to "win" -- and threatened Raffensperger and his lawyer with legal repercussions if he did not do so.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Marjorie Taylor Greene's Impeachment Claims Against Biden are Bogus

 Let's talk about Marjorie Taylor Greene's planned articles of impeachment for Joe Biden.

Greene announced her intention to file articles of impeachment against Biden on Thursday, saying her reason for doing so -- which, will go nowhere, given that the slim GOP majority in the House, let alone the Dem majority in the Senate, won't advance it -- is that he's been bad at securing the border, and hence, has failed to live up to the oath of his office.

A few things here...

A) The oath the president takes, stipulated by the Constitution, is as follows:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

To prove that Biden violated that pledge requires Greene to provide evidence that he didn't protect the U.S. on purpose. Even if he failed to protect the border, that's not really grounds for impeachment, especially on the basis that his actions violated his presidential oath. Failure to do something doesn't mean you didn't try to faithfully live up to the duties you're entrusted with.

For what it's worth, Biden's border policies are equal to, if not, WORSE than, Trump's, in terms of how they treat migrants with dignity. Greene frequently states that she believes Trump did a better job than Biden on border and immigration matters, but Title 42 (under Trump) and Biden's new immigration policies are very similar. So how, exactly, does she want Biden to lead on the issue?

Regardless of that, being upset with someone over a policy they enact, believing that they're doing it wrong, is not an acceptable reason to impeach someone. Which brings us to the next point...

B) Presidents can be impeached for a limited (but also kinda vague?) number of reasons. 

The Constitution states that they can be removed from office for issues relating to "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Republicans defended Trump against his two impeachments by saying he didn't commit any "high crimes and misdemeanors." That term, however, when it was adopted by the founders more than two centuries ago, wasn't meant to be literal -- it meant, in a general sense, an abuse of power by someone in the executive branch. 

Now, suddenly, Greene and others of the same mind as her are perfectly fine with the broad-based interpretation of that standard.

What constitutes an abuse of power is left pretty vague. But again, Greene isn't alleging an abuse of power -- she's saying that Biden is acting in a way, as president, that she disagrees with. 


Greene's impeachment plans shouldn't be taken seriously. Hell, she's already laid out four articles of impeachment against executive branch officials this week alone, not even counting the one she's planning to do for Biden. She is, in short, seeking to use Congress's impeachment powers for her own political gains. 

The White House has called Greene's planned impeachment filings a "stunt." They're exactly right.

Jim Jordan Furious at Judiciary Dems for Pointing Out He Doesn't Know Cmte Rules

Jim Jordan doesn't want to abide by the committee rules of the very committee he oversees. I'd say this is shocking behavior, but because it's Jim Jordan, it's not really shocking at all.

From The Daily Beast:

Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) repeatedly denied Democrats’ requests to receive the testimony of one of the GOP’s self-described “whistleblowers” during Thursday’s House hearing on the “weaponization” of the FBI...


Jordan told Democrats that “you’re not getting the testimony” of FBI staff operations specialist Marcus Allen, claiming the minority party isn’t entitled to all evidence collected from whistleblowers.

Democrats familiar with the rules of the committee -- as well as the legal definition of "whistleblower" -- put Jordan in his place.Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY)

“These are not whistleblowers,” Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) exclaimed. “The law has not determined they are whistleblowers. His attorney is just asserting that.”

Democrats called a "point of order" to showcase just how wrong Jordan was in refusing to, you know, follow the rules of the committee.

Later in the hearing, after initially being shut down by Jordan, Goldman requested a point of order to state the rules, which he noted required transcripts to be made available to all members of committees.

“Where is the whistleblower exception to the rules?” Goldman wondered.

An animated Jordan said it was the “prerogative of the committee to decide” before adding: “We have the whistleblower testimony. The whistleblower does not wish it to be made available to the Democrats at this time!”

Goldman quickly shot back that “the whistleblower doesn’t make committee rules” before Jordan attempted to move on to another committee member...

More at The Daily Beast

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

WI Lawmaker Wants to Bring DeSantis-Style Politics (and Book Bans) to the State

State Rep. Scott Allen (R) wants to give parents the ability to sue school districts for books they believe are "obscene." The move to do so would mirror what Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans have done in Florida, inevitably leading to book bans and more problems here that are regularly seen in the Sunshine State.

Allen proposes two bills in a recent press release he published.

From Business Insider:

The first bill recommends that the state strip school employees and teachers of their protections against prosecution for "displaying obscene material," the release says. The other bill would prohibit the use of public funds to purchase "obscene material."

Allen pretends his proposal is innocuous. "When you look at the definition of obscene material in state statute, there is no reason for that type of material to be in our schools," he said.

Obscenity is indeed defined by state law as material that "the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find appeals to the prurient interest if taken as a whole; under contemporary community standards, describes or shows sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value, if taken as a whole."

Allen says in his presser that he wants "to ensure that students are not encountering sexually explicit material in school." That same excuse, however, has been used to justify expansive book bans, as bigoted individuals in Florida, for example, have threatened schools with lawsuits over books that simply depict gay characters who aren't engaged in sexual acts at all. 

Don't be fooled: Allen and other Republicans are hoping to bring that kind of DeSantis-style politics to Wisconsin, too, to allow transphobic and homophobic community members the opportunity to ban books and make this state less welcoming for LGBTQ students. It's par for the course for the GOP, after all...

Missouri HS Student Gets Suspended for Filming Teacher Using N-Word in Class

 A 15-year-old student in Springfield, Missouri, was suspended for filming her teacher using the n-word, repeatedly, in class.

I kid you not. From The Washington Post:

Mary Walton thought her teacher repeatedly saying a racist slur in class last week was wrong, so the 15-year-old sophomore at Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo., pulled out her phone and started filming, the student’s lawyer said.


“Put your phone away,” he told her, according to video reviewed by The Washington Post.

“No,” Mary said.

“Then go to the office,” he responded.

Days later, she was suspended for making the 55-second video, according to her lawyer.

Walton's lawyer makes a compelling case for why the action taken by the school was wrong  that it essentially tells kids to sit back and do nothing when something so egregiously wrong happens.

Via Essence:

[Walton's lawyer Natalie] Hull stated, “This kid did what we want people to do — see something, say something,” continuing, “Now we’re telling students, ‘If you see something, don’t show it, because then you’ll get suspended.’”

But the school district disagrees. On Monday, the school's principal said he was "confident that the district appropriately and promptly handled all matters" relating to the suspension in the right way.

"When students have concerns they should follow the appropriate steps for reporting," Principal Josh Groves said, implying that documenting the actual thing they're concerned with isn't one of those "appropriate steps."


Importantly, the teacher in question is "no longer employed" by the district. That's great. But what's not so great is punishing the person who brought forward, with evidence, the bad behavior of that teacher in the first place.

That student should be commended, not suspended.

Even a Majority of Trump-Voters Say Abortion Bans Have Gone Too Far

Nobody is liking any of these state bans/severe restrictions on abortion, except for far-right zealots and ideologues who view the issue in black-and-white terms, where only their opinions matter (and the rights of others don't).

From NARAL Pro Choice America, which conducted a poll on abortion views in conjuction with Change Research:

Seventy-three percent of voters nationwide, including a majority of 2020 Trump voters, 3 in 4 independents, and 55% of white rural men believe things have gone too far [when it comes to post-Roe abortion restrictions]. These findings come as 19 states have eliminated or restricted access because of abortion bans, and anti-choice extremists continue to push for a national ban.

Fifty-one percent of people who voted for Donald Trump even say that abortion bans happening now are too much.

Overall, 58 percent of respondents from all political backgrounds agree that these bans are dangerous. (And they're right, too.)

Elon Musk Falsely Claims White Supremacist Mass Shooter Wasn't a White Supremacist

In true Elon Musk fashion, the Tesla CEO and Twitter owner downplayed the white supremacy beliefs that the Allen, Texas, mass shooter had. Said Musk (per reporting from Rolling Stone):

“I think it was incorrectly ascribed to be a white supremacist action,” Musk said, claiming that Bellingcat’s discovery of a social media profile outlining his beliefs was not credible. “Have you heard what Bellingcat does? Psyops.” Musk added. 

Of course, the shooter's far-right and extremist beliefs have been well documented. The guy even has "SS" lightning bolt and swastika tattoos, for crying out loud.

More from Rolling Stone:

Documents from the FBI and other officials have unveiled the shooter posted neo-Nazi content. Police have confirmed that photos of the shooters swastika and “SS” tattoos circulating on social media were genuine, and said the investigation has established that he harbored “neo-Nazi ideation.”

And from The Verge, which points out that this isn't the first time Musk has put out false information defending far-right individuals or espousing their talking points:

Musk’s comments about the shooting were part of an escalating series of messages that echo right-wing talking points. In the interview he similarly defended comments claiming billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of antisemitic conspiracy theories, “hates humanity.” Last year he also shared a widely dismissed conspiracy theory about the motives for an attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. 

Key Attorney for Trump in Mar-a-Lago Docs Case Bolts

Timothy Parlatore, an attorney for Donald Trump who represented him in the ongoing Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, has left the former president's legal team.

From CNN:

Parlatore’s departure became official Tuesday, though it had been rumored for several weeks among the former president’s inner circle. The high-profile departure comes as special counsel Jack Smith appears to be in the final stretch of investigations into the possible mishandling of classified documents and efforts to obstruct the 2020 election.


Parlatore’s exit is notable given he was the attorney who organized searches for additional classified documents last year at Trump Tower, Trump’s properties in Bedminster, Mar-a-Lago, an office in Palm Beach and a Florida storage unit.

And from CBS:

Parlatore was also among the lawyers who sent a letter to Congress asking it to tell the Justice department to "stand down" on the documents probe. In the letter, Trump's legal team suggested the former president's departure from the White House after the election was hastily conducted and staff "simply swept all documents from the President's desk and other areas into boxes" that were then moved to Florida. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Did CNN-Trump Town Hall Help Biden in New Poll? (He Leads Trump by 6 Points)

We're still a year and a half away from the next presidential election, but we already know the two most likely people to become the Democratic and Republican parties' nominees — current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, respectively.

Polling on the race is already showing it will likely be a close one. As of May 7, the RealClearPolitics average of polls had Trump actually slightly ahead of Biden, though his lead was within the margin of error for the polls taken.

Today, however, is different — a new Reuters/Ipsos poll has Biden leading Trump, by around the same margin he won the 2020 presidential election.

From Reuters:

Among registered voters, Biden led Trump, his predecessor as president, by six percentage points in a hypothetical match-up, 44% to 38%

What's changed? Aside from some interviews he's done with far-right networks, Trump really hasn't been making appearances in mainstream media over the past year. He's been silent on Twitter, and while his thoughts are accessible on Truth Social, the media aren't really reporting on them (they should be, tbh).

But CNN's disastrous town hall with Trump last week made headlines on every news site, and made Trump the talk of the water cooler the day after it aired. It was unavoidable to know what Trump had said — and he said a lot of unhinged things, ranging from calling host Kaitlan Collins "nasty," to possibly defaming E. Jean Carroll once again while blasting her and the lawsuit she won against him alleging he sexually assaulted her.

It's possible that the town hall, as bad as it was, helped make Trump the less popular option between him and Biden — the poll was conducted from May 9-15, and the town hall aired on May 9. 

We can't really know for sure, but as Trump becomes more accessible (along with his big mouth), we should expect more polls to show distaste for him, barring Biden doing something completely out of line.

Lawsuit Against Giuliani Alleges He and Trump Wanted to Sell Pardons for $2 Mil a Pop

A lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, filed by a former staffer of his named Noelle Dunphy, alleges he engaged in "unlawful abuses of power, wide-ranging sexual assault and harassment, wage theft, and other misconduct." Among the claims in her suit, Dunphy alleges that Giuliani demanded she dress in certain clothes (or no clothes at all) while she worked.

She apparently has evidence for some of the items she claims, as she saved graphic texts Giuliani sent to her while she was working for him.

The lawsuit makes other claims, too, that involve Donald Trump.

Per The Independent:

[Dunphy claims] that Mr Giuliani asked her “if she knew anyone in need of a pardon” because he was “selling pardons for $2 million, which he and President Trump would split”.


If true, that's a huge abuse of power, especially by Trump, who was president at the time. Pardon power is generally unregulated, but if the president of the United States (no matter who they are) tries to use pardons in an improper way, that could be an impeachable offense.

Of course, Trump isn't president anymore, so he cannot be impeached. Or can he?

Trying Something New at Political Heat...

Howdy, everyone. Yep, I'm still around. 

I've been toying with some ideas in my head about what to do with this site. I quit blogging here to write full-time at Truthout.org as a news writer for that organization.

I plan to continue doing that. (I love Truthout, and I think you would, too. Go to the site, read some articles, and please consider giving them a donation.) 

I also want to do something different here.

So at Political Heat, I'm going to write shorter posts, just a few lines in length, to simply provide links to stories that I think are worth reading. I may interject my opinion here or there in these posts, too, and once in a while I'll do longer opinion pieces as well.

This will keep Political Heat active, which I think is a good thing. I hope you do as well.

Thanks for reading!