Friday, July 12, 2024

Project 2025

5 ChatGPT Prompts To Create 30 Pieces Of Content In 30 Minutes
China views America’s presidential nightmare with mirth—and disquiet Some Chinese are rooting for Gavin Newsom to become the Democratic candidate ........ Chinese officials scorn President Joe Biden’s view that the world is engaged in a “battle between democracy and autocracy”. In their view this is dangerous cold-war talk. But they are tough fighters themselves, ever keen to sow misgivings at home and abroad about Western democracy’s failings. The weaknesses revealed by America’s presidential contest and, in particular, the debate between Mr Biden and Donald Trump on June 27th may help their case. The Communist Party’s Schadenfreude, though, is mixed with apprehension. ............ Clips showing Mr Biden’s confused and fumbling remarks circulated widely on China’s social media. “One is a ‘mentally deranged felon’ and the other is an ‘elderly narcoleptic’,” said one commenter on Weibo, an X-like platform. “Two people who are about to enter their coffins are fighting back and forth,” said another. “Western politics is truly ruptured. There’s no one left.” Posts on Weibo with tags relating to the debate gained well over 100m views and attracted thousands of comments. ............. Xinhua, an official news agency, said the debate had “merely exposed the chaos and division of ‘American democracy’ to the world once again”. ........ In 1988, during the race between George Bush senior of the Republicans and the Democrats’ Michael Dukakis, the Democratic Party invited a 12-person Chinese delegation to observe its convention in Atlanta. “China can learn from some methods and forms in the us presidential election,” said the group’s leader, Gu Ming, who was a senior official in China’s rubber-stamp parliament. “For example, there should be a higher degree of openness in the election of leaders at various levels.” .......... ...... In 2021, days before the first such summit (held online because of the pandemic), it published a white paper hailing China’s political system as “democracy that works”. It also issued another document, “The State of Democracy in the United States”, excoriating the American version of it. ........... “Xi is China’s most dangerous leader since the murderous Mao Zedong,” wrote Mr O’Brien last month in Foreign Affairs. “As China seeks to undermine American economic and military strength, Washington should return the favour—just as it did during the cold war, when it worked to weaken the Soviet economy.” .......... Some daring netizens might venture to point out that such a situation would be hard to imagine in what China calls its “true democracy”. Like him or not, they may be stuck with the 71-year-old Mr Xi for as long as he lives.

A Guide to Project 2025, the Right’s Terrifying Plan to Remake America The Heritage Foundation’s 887-page policy proposal was crafted with the help of several figures with close ties to the former president .......... Donald Trump has plenty of plans for his second term, even if he’s publicly pretending he doesn’t know anything about them. ........ The plan offers a terrifying vision for America, one that the Heritage Foundation is dead set on implementing. “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be,” the group’s president, Kevin Roberts, said in early July after the Supreme Court ruled that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution. ............ “It is not enough for conservatives to win elections,” the group writes on its website. “If we are going to rescue the country from the grip of the radical Left, we need both a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on day one of the next conservative administration. The project will build on four pillars that will, collectively, pave the way for an effective conservative administration: a policy agenda, personnel, training, and a 180-day playbook.” .............. The nearly 900 pages that comprise Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership tackle everything from abortion and immigration to the future of federal agencies and civil rights laws. ............. Critical to Project 2025’s implementation is the notion that “personnel is policy.” The creators of the project have touted work on a database of hyper-conservative Trump loyalists that would “collect résumés and vet thousands of potential applicants in advance of Jan. 20, 2025, when the next president takes office.” This of course would require the forced ouster of thousands of current government employees. .............. proposals that would overhaul America’s approach to several key issues ............. Project 2025 calls for using every governmental lever possible to torch access to abortion and restrict reproductive health care. ............ and that abortion pills are “the single greatest threat to unborn children.” The plan would also utilize federal government agencies for the purpose of “abortion surveillance.” .............. Project 2025 calls for rolling back emissions regulations and reversing all of the Biden administration’s progress in fighting the climate crisis. The plan would dismantle the Inflation Reduction Act, increase fossil-fuel extraction on public lands, eliminate clean-energy programs, gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and enact other measures that would supercharge America’s drive toward climate disaster. The plan says explicitly that the United States has an “obligation to develop vast oil and gas and coal resources,” and calls for ending “the focus on the climate crisis and green subsidies.” ................ calls for eliminating visas that grant legal status to immigrant victims of crime and human trafficking; the mass arrest and deportation of undocumented migrants; restricting eligibility for asylum claims and implementing fees for the application process; and finishing the border wall. The plan also suggests “a creative and aggressive approach” to taking on drug cartels. Rolling Stone reported earlier this year that Trump has proposed sending kill teams into Mexico to take out cartel leaders — regardless of whether the Mexican government is on board with the plan. ................ Project 2025 would also codify policies advancing legal, social, and medical discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans; slash corporate tax rates and significantly reduce the budget of the Internal Revenue Service; and fulfill plenty of other right-wing fantasies. ............ The Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security would be abolished, and the Justice Department would become a vehicle for retribution. The restructuring would advance a conservative ideology known as “unitary executive theory,” a legal theory holding that the American president has direct control over all policy made by agencies under the umbrella of the executive branch, and that significantly weakens other government branches’ abilities to check the powers of the presidency. .............. Project 2025 senior adviser John McEntee — Trump’s former head of the White House personnel office, now a viral right-wing TikTok bro — is also a top candidate to join the administration, likely in an enforcer role............. Biden said in a statement released following Trump’s denial that he knew about the project. “The only problem? It was written for him, by those closest to him. Project 2025 should scare every single American.”

Trump Could Make This Viral TikToker One of the Most Powerful People in Government John McEntee has gained notoriety as the poster boy for the right-wing dating app The Right Stuff. The former president loves him .............. John McEntee flashes a thin-lipped smile at the camera, waving around a stack of bills he pulled from the center console of his car. “I always keep this fake Hollywood money in my car, so when a homeless person asks for money then I give them a fake $5 bill,” he tells TikTok. “So I feel good about myself, they feel good — and then when they go to use it they get arrested. So I’m actually helping clean up the community, you know, getting them off the streets.” The video, posted to the TikTok account of the dating app The Right Stuff, drew widespread outrage, not only because it could be a crime if he was really handing out counterfeit money, but also because it’s the kind of thing you expect to hear in an interview with Tucker Carlson, the depths of 4chan, or in the replies to Elon Musk’s recent posts — not from a dating app. “Just a joke. Everyone calm down,” McEntee — who co-founded the app in 2022 after serving as an aide in the Trump administration — wrote in the caption. The Right Stuff is not a typical dating app. It’s a gimmicky right-wing alternative to popular dating apps like Tinder and Bumble that promises conservatives a way to “connect in meaningful and authentic ways.” The app itself has had issues since its Peter Thiel-funded launch in 2022 — including a preponderance of trolls, a lack of female users, and the FBI allegedly using it to track Jan. 6 rioters who bragged about their participation on their profile. What hasn’t flopped is The Right Stuff’s TikTok account, which — in contrast to other dating apps’ marketing strategy — does not feature a variety of couples or jokes about the horrors of modern courtship, but a single 34-year-old man smugly spouting all manner of reactionary right-wing platitudes. McEntee has the vibe of a guy who hasn’t quite gotten over his frat-boy days, typically sporting an orange tan, pullover hoodie, and a shit-eating grin, as he eats a plate of food. The content is sometimes simple cringey culture-war commentary, but the videos often veer into outright racism and stereotyping. “Why do we only judge white people for owning slaves when every culture had them?” he muses while inhaling a burger in one video. “I was watching TV the other day — which I usually don’t do — and I noticed something with the commercials. When did everyone in America become Black and gay?” he says in another. The account has over 2.3 million followers. The videos regularly garner millions of views, and some have brought in over 20 million. The video joking about cruelty to the homeless has been seen 7 million times. McEntee has other prospects if his foray into the digital dating market doesn’t pan out. Just as The Right Stuff is not a typical dating app, McEntee was not a typical Trump administration aide. In fact, if the next several months go a certain way, he could be in serious contention to become one of the most influential players in the U.S. government over the next four years. Seriously. Multiple people close to Donald Trump or who worked in his administration say that it is highly likely that McEntee — who remains in the former president’s good graces — would have a standing job offer from Trump for a very senior role, if there is indeed a second Trump administration in 2025. The sources cite Trump’s continued affection for McEntee in recent years, Trump privately voicing support for bringing McEntee and other uber-loyalists back into government, and the former president’s enthusiasm for purging various sectors of American power in a possible second term in office — which is seen as McEntee’s speciality. A former senior Trump administration official tells Rolling Stone that within the past two years, Trump has said of McEntee: “There’s nobody better at that,” referring to the commitment of his closest loyalists to going after what he calls anti-Trump subversives in the federal apparatus. According to another source who has discussed the matter directly with Trump during his post-presidency, the former president has repeatedly expressed interest in casting in a role similar to what McEntee had during the final year of the administration as head of the White House personnel office. The source describes this potential role for McEntee as being the chief enforcer for “MAGA purity” in the different departments and agencies of the executive branch. For McEntee, it would be the ultimate comeback. He was ousted from his position at the White House in 2018 after a security clearance check revealed significant problems related to his online gambling habits. According to The Atlantic, before his sudden departure, McEntee’s office had resembled a melding of “the Rockettes and the Dungeons & Dragons group,” with McEntee having developed a habit of hiring young, attractive women, and decidedly less attractive men. After a two-year absence, he was rehired by Trump in 2020 to serve as a senior adviser to the reelection campaign. That year, McEntee gained a widespread reputation in the administration for his mission to purge the federal government of officials deemed insufficiently faithful to Trump. McEntee — or “Johnny,” as he’s affectionately called by some members of the Trump family and other former aides — is well-known among the MAGA elite as being the truest kind of Trump true-believer. In late 2020, even after it was clear that Trump had lost the presidential race to Joe Biden, McEntee and his office were still actively vetting candidates for Trump administration job openings for 2021. Ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, McEntee issued a memo to the chief of staff for then-Vice President Mike Pence outlining his dubious reasoning for how Pence could overturn the election on behalf of Trump. In the memo, McEntee argued that Thomas Jefferson had used his vice presidential powers to secure the presidency, and that the VP had “at a minimum, a substantial discretion to address issues with the electoral process.” In the aftermath of Trump’s departure from the White House, McEntee continued playing both formal and informal roles in shaping what a second Trump administration’s personnel makeup could very well look like, including in his senior adviser position with the Heritage Foundation-run Project 2025. Project 2025 is a sweeping policy plan described by the right-wing group as “the conservative movement’s unified effort to be ready for the next conservative administration to govern at 12:00 noon, January 20, 2025.” The plan includes such proposals as more hardline, national restrictions on access to abortion; attacks against contraception; the elimination of diversity and equity programs; the militarization of immigration enforcement; the effective privatization of Medicare; and a purge of federal agencies. Last year, upon announcing that McEntee would be joining the project, the Heritage Foundation touted that his appointment would embrace “the motto that ‘personnel is policy,’” and the project would launch a “database to collect résumés and vet thousands of potential applicants in advance of Jan. 20, 2025, when the next president takes office.” McEntee expressed his excitement to “bring thousands of vetted, trained conservatives from across the country to Washington,” in a statement announcing his new position. He seems to be well-positioned to join a prospective second term. In responding to questions from Rolling Stone, he hedged regarding whether he was engaged in discussions with the former president’s team, or if he plans to accept a prospective appointment. “Totally focused on The Right Stuff,” he wrote.

TRUMP IS PLANNING FOR A LANDSLIDE WIN And his campaign is all but praying Joe Biden doesn’t drop out. ........... One of the two principals tasked with returning Trump to the White House, LaCivita had long conceived of the 2024 race as a contest that would be “extraordinarily visual”—namely, a contrast of strength versus weakness. Trump, whatever his countless liabilities as a candidate, would be cast as the dauntless and forceful alpha, while Biden would be painted as the pitiable old heel, less a bad guy than the butt of a very bad joke, America’s lovable but lethargic uncle who needed, at long last, to be put to bed.

Trump Isn’t Even Pretending Anymore He used to talk about taking on corporate power. Now he’s openly pandering to plutocrats—and polling more strongly than ever.

Devastation as world’s biggest wetland burns: ‘those that cannot run don’t stand a chance’ The Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland and one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, is on fire. Huge stretches of land resemble the aftermath of a battle, with thick green shrubbery now a carpet of white ash, and chunks of debris falling from the sky. ........... More than 760,000 hectares (1.8m acres) have already burned across the Brazilian Pantanal in 2024, as fires surge to the highest levels since 2020, the worst year on record. From January to July, blazes increased by 1,500% compared with the same period last year ........... Stretching across Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal covers 16.9m hectares (42m acres) and harbours rich biodiversity. It is one of the world’s main refuges for jaguars and houses a host of vulnerable and endangered species, including giant river otters, giant armadillos and hyacinth macaws. Its ecosystem is also unique. Every year its “flood pulse” sees it swell with water during the rainy season and empty throughout the dry months. But the climate crisis, droughts and weak rains have disrupted this seasonal pattern, turning the land into a tinderbox. ......... In the 2020 fires, known as “the year of flames”, which saw almost 30% of the biome burned, 17 million vertebrates were killed. ........... Reptiles, snakes, frogs – all the animals that cannot run – they do not stand a chance.” ........ While naturally occurring blazes take place in the Pantanal, including those sparked by lightning, humans start the vast majority of wildfires. Ranchers use fires to clear land for their cattle – as they have for centuries – but those that were once contained by the wetland’s abundant water now rage out of control. .......... More than 90% of the Pantanal is privately owned, of which 80% is used for cattle ranching. Almost 95% of outbreaks in the first half of 2024 started in private areas .......... “The Pantanal is getting drier and drier. It used to flood for six months, but now it floods only two or three months” ............ wetlands are also of global importance for the climate, storing 20-30% of terrestrial carbon despite covering only 5-8% of the land surface. During the 2020 fires, 115m tonnes of CO2 were released. ........ “Every year is worse, and I am afraid,” she says. “The animals and plants and the land are dying, from the bees to the jaguars. We need even the smallest animals to be able to survive. The fires are destroying the beauty of the Pantanal.”