Project 2025 June 10th Update

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Project 2025 is a 920-page plan spearheaded by the powerful and extreme far-right Heritage Foundation. More than 100 organizations support this blueprint for autocracy. Their stated goal is to create an “ideal” America that would see women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, people of color, and others deprived of their hard-won constitutional rights and the erosion of environmental and education protections. It also advocates for a frightening centralization of power in the executive branch. Rooted in hate and Christian Nationalism, the plan promises to “rescue the country.” Read GPAHE’s full analysis of Project 2025 and the groups behind it.

GPAHE tracks the activities of those behind Project 2025, and their plans for an authoritarian and Christian Nationalist America, no matter who is president, and the groups in this extremist movement are relentlessly implementing initiatives at local, state, and federal levels.

This week we look at the dismal future American agriculture faces under Project 2025’s mandate, Charlie Kirk and TPUSA’s loud and proud Christian Nationalist rhetoric, and America First Legal’s latest DEI target, N.Y. District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

U.S. Agriculture’s Dismal Future Under Project 2025

Project 2025’s extensive proposals to reshape the United States into an authoritarian theocracy are starting to face scrutiny, particularly for the initiative’s stances against LGBTQ+ rights, women’s reproductive freedom, and other positions contrary to fulsome civil and human rights. However, the Mandate for Leadership‘s suggested changes for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) could also have serious ramifications for American farmers if it was to be implemented. 

In a June 6, 2024, article in Counterpunch entitled “The GOP’s Stalinesque Plan 2025 to Shape the Future of U.S. Food and Agriculture,” author Elizabeth Henderson examines what Project 2025 would mean for American agriculture.

The article specifically looks at Chapter 10 of Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership, written by Daren Bakst which focuses on agriculture and offers a glimpse into the conservative vision for the future of food and farming in the United States. 

“As [Bakst] sees it, the USDA has been using its power to change the nature of the food and agriculture economy into one that is ‘equitable and climate-smart,’”  Henderson writes. “Translation: Eliminate regulations on toxic or synthetic farm inputs, allow the commercial use of new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without safety testing, and end any attempts at redressing racial inequities or rekindling antitrust so that the megacorporations that control retail, distribution, processing, and export can continue exploiting society and the environment for profit.”

Bakst, now director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Center for Energy and Environment, was formerly a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a policy advisor at the Heartland Institute. All three organizations are staunch Project 2025 supporters.

Author and co-host of the Conspirituality podcast Derek Beres also has exposed Project 2025’s grim plans for the USDA. And, as he pointed out in a series of articles in April 2024, Bakst was the logical choice to draft Project 2025’s agricultural policy. 

“Bakst’s recent articles state that regulating tailpipes is dangerous to consumer freedom, carbon tariffs are terrible for society, and Biden wants to destroy freedom (of course). From his anti-tailpipe regulation screed: ‘This is one of the most extreme rules ever finalized by a federal agency. The EPA’s rule would restrict the ability of Americans to buy gas-powered vehicles, a chilling abuse of power and a wanton disregard for individual freedom. Unhinged from reality, the EPA is ignoring the fact that consumers don’t want to buy electric vehicles at the level the Biden administration envisions.’ In the conservative mind,” Beres writes, “Bakst is the perfect guy to deregulate American agriculture.”

CEI’s long-standing goal of recapturing “the moral legitimacy of capitalism” is deeply intertwined with Christian Nationalism, a sentiment that permeates the entire Project 2025 document. Bakst’s emphasis on individual sovereignty and his disdain for perceived “socialist” policies align with this worldview.

Project 2025’s proposed “model USDA mission statement” is a prime example of conservative-speak, broad enough to allow a Republican administration to define “unjustified” regulations however it sees fit. 

“To develop and disseminate agricultural information and research, identify and address concrete public health and safety threats directly connected to food and agriculture, and remove both unjustified foreign trade barriers for U.S. goods and domestic government barriers that undermine access to safe and affordable food absent a compelling need—all based on the importance of sound science, personal freedom, private property, the rule of law, and service to all Americans.”

One of Bakst’s chapter’s primary targets is the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change and promote equity in agriculture. He dismisses these initiatives as a “woke agenda” and instead advocates for stripping the USDA of its discretionary funding for climate change programs. 

This stance aligns with CEI’s long history of climate change denial and founder Fred Smith’s 1992 statement that global warming would actually be beneficial. “Most of the indications right now are it looks pretty good. Warmer winters, warmer nights, no effects during the day because of clouding, sounds to me like we’re moving to a more benign planet, more rain, richer, easier productivity to agriculture,” he stated.

Project 2025’s stance on school meals is particularly troubling, framing the expansion of free meal programs as an example of an “ever-expanding federal footprint” arguing that such initiatives cause “dependency” and should be “soundly rejected.” This position stands in stark contrast to the conservative movement’s pro-life rhetoric, exposing a glaring inconsistency in their purported concern for children’s well-being post-womb.

The chapter’s treatment of climate change and environmental conservation is equally alarming. Project 2025 dismisses the scientific consensus on climate change as “speculative” and advocates for opening up wetlands and erodible land for farming. This move would have devastating consequences for biodiversity and soil health. More logging, meaning fewer forests, would help with wildfire prevention, the chapter posits.

Perhaps most revealing are the chapter’s concluding remarks, in which Bakst and Project 2025 envision a USDA stripped of its welfare responsibilities and a Food and Nutrition Service that has been virtually eliminated. This vision is not of a freer and more prosperous nation, but rather one in which the most vulnerable members of society are left to fend for themselves, while the free market reigns supreme.

The movement for a more equitable, just, and localized food system is likely to face significant challenges if conservatives succeed in implementing their vision for Project 2025.

Charlie Kirk and TPUSA: Rallying the Right with Controversial Rhetor

On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a Project 2025 advisor, bounded up to the podium as the Village People’s hit “YMCA” hyped up the crowd at a Phoenix rally for Donald Trump hosted by his organization. 

Known for courting controversy, Kirk boldly compared today’s conservatives fighting against wokeness to the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II. 

“They were fighting against totalitarianism, fighting against a dictatorship. But 80 years later, if we are honest with ourselves, that very same totalitarianism is now here in this country,” Kirk told the crowd. “The very same dictatorship that our leaders were fighting, our Greatest Generation was fighting against, are now here in this country.”

This dubious comparison drew criticism from columnist Laurie Roberts of The Arizona Republic, who wrote, “Right, because Joe Biden is just like Adolph Hitler. Because people who dress up in Trump regalia and wield a mean keyboard on social media are just like the soldiers and sailors and airmen who fought and scraped and bled and died as they came to the rescue of freedom and the world.”

Last year, Kirk marked the anniversary of D-Day with an anti-LGBTQ+ essay posted on Human Events entitled “From D-Day to Be-Gay.” In it, he wrote, “Today’s America gives public honors to drag queens who publicly humiliate the religion that more than 90 percent of World War II servicemen believed in. Today’s America would consider WW2 servicemen to be unfathomable bigots for the views they held, the laws they supported, or the heroes they admired. It’s like that meme on the Internet goes: Hard Times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times. Well, maybe now we tweak it: Hard Times create D-Day veterans, D-Day veterans create good times, good times create drag queens, drag queens create hard times.”

Kirk, an unabashed Christian Nationalist and outspoken activist, has seen his wealth and influence grow significantly since founding TPUSA 12 years ago. 

“Charlie Kirk’s $4.75 million Spanish-style estate is tucked away in a gated Arizona country club that charges nearly a half-million dollars for a golf membership. It boasts a guest casita, a ‘resort-style’ pool and striking views of the Sonoran Desert,” the Associated Press reported in 2023. The mansion was listed for sale in March 2024 at $6.5 million.

The organization took in more than $80 million in 2022 and reported nearly $24 million in assets, while Kirk’s annual salary has skyrocketed from $27,000 in 2016 to nearly $400,000 in 2022. 

The TPUSA Young Women’s Leadership Summit, held from June 7-9 in San Antonio, Texas, marked another platform for Kirk to promote his views. In his opening remarks, Kirk joked, “This event, uh, is one of the most successful things we have done in now our 12 years of turning Point USA. We just had a 12th birthday which means that Turning Point USA is almost old enough to get hormone blockers in California.” 

He then dove into his belief that wokeness and the LGBTQ+ agenda have led to a war on men and the “abolition of women,” stating, “The next time that some of you have men who think they are women try to come up to you, say, yeah, you’re actually not a woman. You’re a man who has deep-seated mental problems. I hope you get help. And if you’re uncomfortable saying that, you’ll lose womanhood. And this is why the trans thing is so dangerous, is they are preying on your decency is they are preying on how God made you, which is to be agreeable. Women are more agreeable than men.”

Kirk urged the assembled women to lead the fight against “transgenderism” to “save womanhood,” advocating for intolerance and refusing to use preferred pronouns. “This has to be a female-led fight to save womanhood, to save what a woman is. And it might require you to break some glass. It might require you to not put up with the BS or the nonsense,” he said. “The most loving thing one can do is refuse to lie. You lie to those people you don’t love. You tell the truth to those that you love so much that you do not want to have them living in error.” 

He framed the issue as a spiritual battle between good and evil, stating, “The enemy is launching a supernatural and spiritual attack to destroy womanhood, to do it through pronoun usage or flag wearing or allowing men in female locker rooms. Because without distinctions, then you are entering into a very dark new chapter that is against the natural law and against God’s design.”

Among the other speakers at the conference was Candace Owens, founder of BLEXIT, a project promoting conservative values in black communities that is now “powered by” TPUSA.

Owens, known for questioning the existence of dinosaurs and insisting that French First Lady Brigitte Macron is a man, recently faced controversy after making antisemitic statements that led to her firing from The Daily Wire and a public clash with its founder, Ben Shapiro. The TPUSA women’s summit marked Owens’ first major appearance since the incident after a self-imposed hiatus.

As Kirk and TPUSA continue to grow in influence, their controversial rhetoric, embrace of antisemitic influencers and hardline stance against LGBTQ+ rights have solidified their position as key players in rallying the right to adopt Project 2025’s hardline agenda. 

Project 2025 Supporter America First Legal Accuses N.Y. Attorney General of Discrimination in Hiring Practices

America First Legal (AFL), a conservative group founded by Stephen Miller, a noted Christian Nationalist and the architect of Donald Trump’s  harsh immigration policies, has filed state and federal complaints against New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, alleging that his office’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) hiring policies discriminate against white men and Asian people, Black Enterprise reported

In a press release on June 6, AFL claimed that Bragg’s emphasis on diversity is a guise for hiring quotas, which they argue violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York State’s Human Rights Law.

The group’s senior vice president, Reed D. Rubenstein, asserted that Bragg’s hiring practices are “obnoxious, immoral, and illegal,” and called for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York Human Rights Division to take action.

The tactic of citing laws originally designed to protect Black people has become a common strategy for Project 2025 supporters. AFL founder and president Miller, who has a long track record of interacting with white nationalists, describes the extremely litigious AFL as the “long-awaited answer to the ACLU.” 

In recent months, AFL has filed a series of civil rights complaints against major corporations, alleging discriminatory hiring practices and the promotion of progressive values. On March 27, 2024, AFL targeted Disney, with a letter accusing the company of harming shareholders by embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies and infusing “woke” beliefs into its products and programming.

AFL has also filed complaints against CBS Studios, Paramount Global, Nike, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines for their DEI initiatives, claiming they discriminate against white, male, and heterosexual individuals. The organization seeks damages and policy changes within these companies.

Bragg, the first Black district attorney to serve Manhattan, has also faced attempts by AFL to discredit his prosecution of Donald Trump. In another press release on June 3, Rubenstein labeled Trump’s hush money trial a “Stalinesque show trial” and vowed to expose the truth by investigating the “improper collusion between District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, the Biden White House and Department of Justice (DOJ), and allied leftist dark money groups.”

According to Accountable.us, AFL saw a significant increase in revenue from $6.3 million in 2021 to $44.4 million in 2022. The organization made payments to various conservative groups and individuals, including Blake Masters, Consovoy McCarthy PLLC, Mitchell Law PLLC, the American Accountability Foundation, and the Rule of Law Defense Fund, which has been linked to the January 6 insurrection.

Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership unabashedly advocates for “deleting the terms sexual orientation and gender identity, diversity, equity, and inclusion, gender, gender equality, gender equity, gender awareness, gender-sensitive, abortion, reproductive health, reproductive rights, and any other term used to deprive Americans of their First Amendment rights” from American culture.

AFL filed the case against Bragg at the same time it is investigating the Department of Labor for a blog post about making the workplace menstruation-friendly.

“Once again, the Biden Administration is attempting to erase women in the name of ‘gender ideology’ by refusing to mention the word ‘woman’ in a blog post about menstruation. While Americans are suffering under the realities of sky-high inflation, historic levels of illegal immigration, and lawlessness in the streets – the Biden Administration is focused on ‘making workplaces more menstruation-friendly’ for ‘menstruators.’ This is an insult to women across the country and AFL is determined to uncover exactly how this blog post came to be and anyone involved in its drafting or approval behind closed doors,” the May 30, 2024 press release read.

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