Media Matters on Project 2025

I thought Americans didn’t want a king

A LOT of folks I know IRL have said, online and occasionally in person, that we all need to know more about Project 2025. I agree. My first mention was in a link in August 2023, but it bears repeating.

Check out the Media Matters website.

“The initiative is backed by a coalition of over 100 organizations and individuals, at least two-thirds of which receive funding from the Koch network or conservative philanthropist Leonard Leo. The project is also heavily promoted by MAGA-connected media figures such as Steve Bannon, who has called it the ‘blueprint’ for Trump’s second term on his War Room podcast.”

The presumptive Republican nominee claims, “I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying, and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

Or, less politely, he lies.

This is – let me think of a kind way to put this – disingenuous.  Just before he went to prison for a few months, Bannon told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl that he had regularly been in touch with djt. “John McEntee, former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office and one of Trump’s most trusted aides, is a senior adviser for the project. McEntee said in April that the Trump campaign and Project 2025 plan to ‘integrate a lot of our work’ this summer, according to the liberal watchdog Media Matters.”

Peter Navarro, Ken Cuccinelli,  Stephen Moore, Christopher Miller, Roger Severino, and others who worked in his administration are all involved in Project 2025. In other words, he has implausible deniability.

A fundraising email from the Heritage Foundation also lays it on thick. “The Biden campaign has declared an all-out war on The Heritage Foundation and our Project 2025 initiative.

“The social media feeds for the campaign, and all their surrogates are filled with lies about our work. Their website even has a page dedicated to attacking Project 2025.

“They are terrified of Project 2025 because they know it will save our country from the radical Left’s destructive agenda.”

Here’s a video dispassionately explaining Project 2025, noting five criticisms of the program. It’s the type of resource that tries to be nonpartisan.


Project 2025 is made more threatening by SCOTUS’ decision regarding immunity.

Once again, the Heritage Foundation says that Biden lied. “‘For all… practical purposes, today’s decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do,’ Biden claimed.” He also suggested “that ‘the power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court of the United States. The only limits will be self-imposed by the president alone.’ This accusation is objectively false.”

The prevarication belongs to the Heritage Foundation. The generally apolitical The Legal Eagle notes WE’RE F*CKED. In the description: “This is one of the worst SCOTUS decisions ever.” Trump Is Immune. He argues that djt’s “limited immunity,” in practical terms, is anything but limited.

New Civil Rights Movement: “Two hundred and three days after Special Counsel Jack Smith’s first request, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision along partisan lines… ruled an American President has ‘absolute‘ immunity from criminal prosecution if his actions are ‘official acts’ of Office.

Frank S. Robinson wrote in  The Supreme Court, Presidential Immunity, and the Implacable Tide: “The court unnecessarily pronounced [an overly broad] doctrine of presidential immunity. Practically deeming the president above the law, saying one can’t be prosecuted for any ‘official acts’ — only for stuff done in their ‘private capacity.’ Quite a limited carve-out. Worse yet, the Court’s majority, having promulgated a standard, failed to take the next step and apply it to the facts at hand.”

The Weekly Sift guy: “Roberts and the conservative majority have embedded a time bomb in the Constitution. That bomb could sit peacefully for decades until it is disarmed by some future Court, or it could go off as soon as next January.”

Am I scared? Yes, I am. Will I vote for whoever has the best chance of beating djt in November, even if he’s 81 and arthritic? I absolutely will. 

Dean Phillips was right

the debate

I’m sure he’s not gloating, but Dean Phillips was right. You don’t remember him, do you? He’s the guy who engaged in a quixotic campaign to be the Democratic nomination for President in 2023/24.

In October 2023, he wrote: “I didn’t set out to enter this race. But it looks like on our current course, the Democrats will lose and Trump will be our President again. President Biden is a good man and someone I tremendously respect. I understand why other Democrats don’t want to run against him, and why we are here. This is a last-minute campaign, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and courage is an important value to me. If President Biden is the Democratic nominee, we face an unacceptable risk of Trump being back in the White House. I know this campaign is a long shot, but that is why I think it is important and worth doing.”

Of course, his campaign went nowhere and was widely criticized among Democrats for running. I voted for him in the 2024 New York presidential primary, even though Biden had all but locked up the nomination. Heck, I voted for Elizabeth Warren in 2020 under similar circumstances. Warren, who is now 75, and Bernie Sanders, who will be 83 in September, and who I voted for in the 2016 primary, are too old in this political climate. I’ve never voted for Joe Biden in a primary, only in the 2020 general election.

JRB, Jr. v. djt

I hear there was a debate last week. The Democratic candidate didn’t fare so well. Frankly, I’m not convinced of the efficacy of debates in determining the worthiness of candidates for most political contests.

Still, it happened under rules approved by the Biden camp. Beyond the occasional lack of focus and volume, Truthout noted: Biden Offered No Alternative to Trump’s Pro-Policing Authoritarianism in Debate. “Biden did not put forth a progressive or convincing counterweight to Trump’s xenophobic and authoritarian tirades.”

djt didn’t win the debate. As is often the case, the Republican lied regularly, denying things he did and taking credit for things other presidents accomplished.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: “Lost in the hand-wringing was Donald Trump’s usual bombastic litany of lies, hyperbole, bigotry, ignorance, and fear-mongering. His performance demonstrated once again that he is a danger to democracy and unfit for office. In fact, the debate about the debate is misplaced. The only person who should withdraw from the race is Trump.”

The Weekly Sift guy said, They Both Lost. Now What?

But Joe did “lose” the debate. Did cold medications affect Biden’s debate performance, as MedPage theorized? Maybe, but after a barrage of Sleepy Joe memes, it doesn’t much matter.

For some time, there have been calls for Biden to step aside for some other candidate. I don’t need to get into that discussion since so many entities including the New York Times, Joe Scarborough, Boston Globe opinion, Albany Times Union, Frank S. Robinson, and many others have stepped in.

Nearly half of registered voters who support Biden supporters wish someone else were the Democratic nominee. Gavin Newsom, governor of California said, “We gotta have the back of this president. You don’t turn your back because of one performance. What kind of party does that?”

Ezra Klein of the NYT replies: “Perhaps a party that wants to win? Or a party that wants to nominate a candidate that the American people believe is up to the job?” 


The donor class of the Democratic Party is particularly concerned. Newsmax writes:

“A sense of concern is growing inside the top ranks of the Democratic Party that leaders of Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee are not taking seriously enough the impact of the president’s troubling debate performance…

“Multiple committee members on the call… described feeling like they were being gaslighted — that they were being asked to ignore the dire nature of the party’s predicament. The call, they said, may have worsened a widespread sense of panic among elected officials, donors, and other stakeholders.”

But what I’m more interested in is how the Democrats could move from Biden/Harris. Unless Biden decides to drop out of the contest, he will be the Democratic nominee, and the wondering is moot.

If he does leave the race, Kamala Harris is the most logical person to succeed Joe. But she has nearly as many political negatives as Biden does despite the fact that I believe that they’ve done a reasonably good job in office.

She IS the White House’s lead voice as a defender of abortion rights, which may prove pivotal in November. And dumping the nation’s first Black, asian, and woman vice president from the ticket is problematic.


My favorite candidate, should there be an open Democratic convention,  would be Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan. The New York Times, in listing her as one of the likely choices:

She “has risen quickly as a national star of the Democratic Party, helped in part by Mr. Trump’s antagonizing her as “that woman from Michigan.” A two-term governor, Ms. Whitmer led a 2022 campaign that gave Democrats in the battleground state a trifecta — exercising full control of the legislature and state government — for the first time in 40 years.

“She has used that mandate to enact a laundry list of progressive policies. Her national profile also soared during the pandemic, when she was vilified by right-wing media and Republican officials for her lockdown measures. And Ms. Whitmer is a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, a top leadership position in the national party.”

Moreover, she has dealt with the nut cases from the COVID era of crazies, particularly when they try to kidnap her, and she’s come back stronger than ever, getting reelected with more than 54% of the vote in 2022.


In contrast, I’m not feeling a campaign from Newsom. From the same article, “But — California. For one thing, Mr. Newsom would be saddled with explaining the problems California has had over the past decade: homelessness, high taxes, escalating housing costs.”

Ted Cruz repeatedly suggests that Michelle Obama will be the candidate. I believe her when she said that eight years in the White House is enough.

My preference for vice-president for either Harris or Whitmer would be a white guy from the current administration, Pete Buttigieg, the current transportation secretary. I think he has done a very credible job being front-facing in dealing with Boeing, the FAA, etc. He has held the airlines accountable for the bad holiday scheduling of a couple of years ago.

I can’t imagine that Democrats are going to put a gay man on the national ticket in 2024 but I think it would be a lovely idea.

June rambling: Schedule F

Donald Sutherland


Washington Park on Willett Street between Lancaster and Streets, Albany, NY, Friday, June 21, 2024, after the storm the day before (ROG)

djt’s Second Term: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and his Schedule F plan, explained

The Limits of Originalism (SCOTUS)

Deep-Sea Mining and UK Elections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Europe is Healthier than the USBut it’s not about the physical (although it makes the stage more dramatic), it’s about the work/life balance. About third spaces that encourage being around people, in a way that’s deeper than a brutal transactionalism.

The US is about the individual, to a hyper degree. Everyone is so focused on being emancipated from everything, freed from any “outdated” obligations, that they end up in an empty loneliness.

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Why Physical Media is Having a Comeback

Bill Cobbs, Actor in ‘Night at the Museum’ and many others Dies at 90. He was one of those character actors I learned to recognize in film and episodic television. 

Martin Mull, Funnyman and ‘Fernwood 2 Night’ Star, Dies at 80

The Real (Weird) Way We See Numbers

Now I Know: How Bad Film Captured an Explosion and The Nobel Prize Winner Who Bet Against Himself and The Dead Parrot Society and The Case of the Mousey Soup

Kelly’s Sunday Stealing. He is the greatest cheerleader for Pie I’ve ever known.

Alex Trebek Forever stamps

Donald Sutherland 1935 – 2024 

The obituary and Hollywood tributes

I saw him in LOTS of movies: The Dirty Dozen (1967) – as a “crazed/dazed Pvt.” at the drive-in with my parents and sisters.

MAS*H (1970) – the original anti-establishment Army medic Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce;  I saw it again on TV when WXXA, Channel 23, first broadcast in Albany in 1982. The station showed it on the first Sunday morning it broadcast at 8 a.m.; I thought it was a strange choice

 Klute (1971) -” a private eye who falls for a prostitute (his then real-life romantic partner Jane Fonda)”

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) – the pot-smoking professor

Ordinary People (1980) – a friend of mine describes this movie as like his growing up with a controlling mother (the Mary Tyler Moore character) and ineffectual father (Sutherland)

Backdraft (1991) – pyromaniac; JFK (1991) – conspiracy theorist 

Undoubtedly many others.

What struck me in a 2017 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper was this exchange:

If there’s a slight sadness about Sutherland it may be because his childhood in Canada wasn’t easy. He survived polio as a toddler and spent all of fourth grade at home with rheumatic fever. He was an awkward kid. Tall with big ears, at school they called him Dumbo. When he was 16, he had a question for his mother.

Donald Sutherland: And I went to her and I said: “Mother, am I good looking?” And my mother looked at me and went. “Your face has character, Donald.” And I went and hid in my room for at least a day.

Anderson Cooper: Did what she say stay with you?

Donald Sutherland: Not really. Just– just for– 65, 66 years.

Donald Sutherland: It’s not easy, Anderson. It’s not easy to know that you’re an ugly man, in the business like I’m in.

Anderson Cooper: Do you think of yourself as an ugly man?

Donald Sutherland: Unattractive is a gentler way of putting it.

Ouch! I never thought that.

Kelly posted some music.


I’m constantly reminded that technology is fine until it’s not. When the Massachusetts 911 system went down on Tuesday, June 18, I received an alert to that effect. I do not know why. A program intended to secure the state’s system caused the firewall to stop calls from reaching dispatch centers. Or something like that.

About 15 minutes later, while I was at a book review at the library, almost everyone’s phone started buzzing. It was rather startling and worrisome. It was the New York State 911 system letting us know that OUR state’s system was NOT down.


I Have Nothing – Peter Sprague featuring Rebecca Jade

Licks Off Of Records – Martin Mull

Mandela’s Blues – Kinky Friedman

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Grateful Dead, which reminded me of the time I saw the Jerry Garcia Band in New Paltz on November 29, 1977

 Coverville 1492: The John Wetton Cover Story and 1493: Purple Rain 40th Anniversary

Had To Cry Today – Peter Sprague featuring Leonard Patton

March Of The Belgian Paratroopers by Pierre Leemans.

Star 69 – R.E.M.

Let’s Go Fly A Kite – Dick Van Dyke and Jason Alexander

Sunday Stealing: most important

West Side Story

Another Sunday Stealing.

1.  What is most important to you?

Holding the door open for someone. I mean that literally, sure, but I also mean it metaphorically. In the law of the conservation of energy, it “can neither be created nor destroyed – only converted from one form of energy to another.” So if the door is already open, it doesn’t require additional energy to keep it open and let others in.

2.  Your best trait.

I observe. Then I do stuff to make a situation better, or more often, less bad. 

3.  A movie that makes you happy.

I haven’t watched it in a very long time, but Young Frankenstein (1974). “Pardon me, boy, is this the Transylvania station?” 

4.  Something that excites you.

Music excites me because, shockingly often, I play something that I had listened to dozens of times yet I hear something new. Then there are the bits that almost always excite me.

5.  Something that worries you.

As a librarian, it’s the proliferation of false information that is becoming less discernable, from AI-generated photos to other deep fakes.

6.  Actions you admire.

There are a lot. I’ll pick this fact: The Tony Awards & Carnegie Mellon University Present The 2024 Excellence In Theatre Education Award To CJay Philip Of Baltimore, daughter of my buddy Nell Stokes of Albany.

Annus mirabilis

7.  What year has been your best so far?

Maybe in 2023, when I went to France and Las Vegas. Perhaps in 2019, when I quit my job; I mean, retired. 

8.  Who do you trust?

A few people I met in 1958, 1968, and 1971. There are others. 

9.  A Song from Your Childhood.

Here are the end credits for the movie West Side Story (1961). When I was a kid and heard that bit at about 4:30, it made me weep. And it still does.   

10.  What you wore today?

I wear essentially the same thing every day, a shirt, and pants, usually black or navy blue. A hat or cap, depending on the season. Even this past Sunday, when the choir wore T-shirts, I wore a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath to cover my arms, which has splotchiness from vitiligo. 

11.  A book you are currently reading

The Undertow: Scenes From A Slow Civil War by Jeff Sharlet. After I heard him and others speak in Albany one evening in November 2023, he and I had breakfast the next morning.

12.  What do you want less of?

Stupid social media stuff posing as “news.” On CBS Mornings this month, one of their Talk Of The Table segments was of a woman on a social media platform ranting that she would NOT be returning her shopping cart to a collection area because she thought someone would go to her car and snatch her children. My thought: so she doesn’t bring it back. So what? Why should I care and why is CBS spending three minutes on a non-story?

Orange you wondering?

13.  A question that needs to be asked.

Is the presumptive Republican candidate for President unhinged?  At a rally this month in Las Vegas, he talked about being aboard a hypothetical electric-powered boat. “He posits that the battery would be so heavy that it would cause the craft to sink, and he relates his purported conversation with a knowledgeable mariner about this scenario.”

“I say, ‘What would happen if the boat sank from its weight, and you’re in the boat, and you have this tremendously powerful battery, and the battery’s now underwater, and there’s a shark that’s approximately 10 yards over there?’
“By the way, a lot of shark attacks lately, do you notice that? Lot of sharks. I watched some guys justifying it today: ‘Well they weren’t really that angry, they bit off the young lady’s leg because of the fact that they were not hungry but they misunderstood who she was.’ These people are crazy. He said, ‘There’s no problem with sharks, they just didn’t really understand a young woman swimming.’ No, really got decimated, and other people, too, a lot of shark attacks.
“So I said, ‘There’s a shark 10 yards away from the boat, 10 yards, or here. Do I get electrocuted if the boat is sinking, water goes over the battery, the boat is sinking? Do I stay on top of the boat and get electrocuted, or do I jump over by the shark and not get electrocuted?’ Because I will tell you, he didn’t know the answer.
“He said, ‘You know, nobody’s ever asked me that question.’ I said, ‘I think it’s a good question. I think there’s a lot of electric current coming through that water.’ But you know what I’d do if there was a shark or you get electrocuted? I’ll take electrocution every single time. I’m not getting near the shark. So we’re going to end that, we’re going to end it for boats, we’re going to end it for trucks.”
WHAT? And he’s told a variation on this story before.

14.  The best idea you’ve had this week.

I decided NOT to go on a trip next weekend. I’ll be able to see a barbershop quartet this Friday at my church, then to visit with a friend I’ve only known since 1958 on Sunday or Monday. 

15.  How are you creative?

I was at a choir party this week, and I apparently know the bass vocal to Good Night, Sweetheart by The Spaniels.

Orange is the new orange

people aren’t feeling it

He’s guilty, guilty, guilty! Lock him up! Orange is the new orange!

Having gotten that out of my system, why do I still believe that djt, who turns 78 today, will be President on January 20th, 2025, his conviction on 34 counts in a Manhattan courthouse notwithstanding?

It’s not just his Svengali-like pull he has over his MAGA supporters. Or his uncanny ability to try to delegitimize any transaction that doesn’t go his way. Before the 2016 election, he claimed that the system was rigged. (The League of Women Voters believes the system that year WAS rigged in favor of voter suppression.)

Of course, he made the same claim before and after the 2020 vote. Already, his followers feel Biden can’t win in 2024 unless the fix is in. 

But this is de rigeur for djt. Why should the Manhattan trial be any different? He and several conservative news media members and lawmakers “on the right have spread false and misleading claims about the Manhattan case.” It bothers me greatly, as it undermines democracy, but it’s his script.

I’m more appalled by the vast majority of the Republican party that has become his sycophants, On January 7, 2021, most of them derided the attack on the Capitol as an assault on American democracy. Now, too many are, “Well, maybe it wasn’t SO bad.”

Cf. 1974/2024

I compare this with 1974, a mere half-century ago. Richard Nixon had been re-elected with a huge majority only two years earlier. Yet when it became clear that Nixon was deeply involved in Watergate, the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater and many others told RMN that it was time for him to go. The party believed more in the rule of law than they did in holding the presidency.

The Republicans of 2024, with far too few exceptions, have become apologists for a corrupt, vulgar, and potentially fascist presidency to maintain power. It’s disappointing and astonishing, but not surprising how morally bankrupt people like Nikki Haley and William Barr, both of whom served in djt’s Cabinet and have since pointed out the flaws of their former boss are nevertheless going to support him in the general election. 

A Boston Globe opinion piece notes: “The fact that Trump’s running mate decision has morphed into a perverse version of his former reality show — call it ‘The Authoritarian’s Apprentice’ — is cause for alarm. If Trump wins and then becomes unable to serve for some reason (death, incapacitation, incarceration, whatever it may be), the winner of that race will ascend to the highest office in the land. It was bad enough when the criteria to hold such a consequential position was whether or not the candidate hailed from a swing state. Now, the test seems to be who can swing a sledgehammer at democracy as hard as Trump can.”


I was intrigued by Sen. Mitt Romney’s declaration that President Joe Biden should have pardoned djt. “Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, [said] that if he had been President, he would’ve pardoned Trump after a federal grand jury indicted him in connection with attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

“‘You may disagree with this, but had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought on indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him,’ Romney said. ‘Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned a little guy.'”

Likewise, per Newsmax, “former Democrat presidential primary candidate Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., is calling on New York Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul to pardon presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ‘for the good of the country.’

“‘Donald Trump is a serial liar, cheater, and philanderer, a six-time declarer of corporate bankruptcy, an instigator of insurrection, and a convicted felon who thrives on portraying himself as a victim,’ Phillips wrote on X. ‘@GovKathyHochul should pardon him for the good of the country.'”

In a normal universe, I might be inclined to embrace this. In 1974 President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon after he left the White House. If the Senate had convicted djt after his second impeachment, the pardon might be on the table. But they chose not to because he was no longer in office. Like a corroded penny, djt is back. A pardon would only “prove” to djt and his sycophants that the prosecutions were “political.”

My fear

Seven months ago, I thought Biden was vulnerable to defeat. Many people believe the United States is in a recession. It doesn’t matter that we’re not, and most people cannot define one.  

A New York Times article, A ‘Laundry List’ or a ‘Feel’: Biden and Trump’s Clashing Appeals to Black Voters epitomizes the tension, and not just among that demographic. Biden “methodically ticked through more than a dozen accomplishments, executive orders, appointments, investments, and economic statistics.” djt says “African Americans are getting slaughtered.”

“Ashley Etienne, who worked on the 2020 Biden campaign… worried that the Biden campaign had yet to translate how the president’s agenda has actually improved the lives of most Black voters. ‘What is the message beyond a laundry list of accomplishments?’ If people aren’t feeling it in your lives, you can say it all day — it doesn’t penetrate.'”

“‘It’s a feel,’ said Ja’Ron Smith, one of the highest-ranking Black officials in the Trump White House, in explaining the former president’s appeal to Black voters. ‘They know what it’s like to live under a Trump economy rather than a Biden economy.'”

And there are plenty of similar articles. “Because of recency bias — a tendency to focus on recent events instead of past ones — people typically feel their current problems most sharply. And they tend to have a warmer recall of past experiences, which can lead to a sense of nostalgia. Like past presidents, Mr. Trump has enjoyed a higher approval rating of his time in office in retrospect.”

A clip from 1994 of Robert Reich is shown here as part of a larger conversation. djt is not the cause of the upheaval in the country; he is merely exploring it.

The only way Biden wins is if enough people are terrified by despotism. “To stop fascism, unite around the old guy.”

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