Democrats Worry for Mandela Barnes as GOP Attack Ads Take a Toll – The New York Times

“MADISON, Wis. — Politicians who visit diners know the deal: In exchange for photos establishing their working-class bona fides, they must cheerfully accept heaping portions of unsolicited advice.

But on Tuesday at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner here in Madison, one of the first people to approach Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, took the tradition to a new level, presenting him with a typed-up list of concerns about his campaign.

The supporter, Jane Kashnig, a retired businesswoman who has spent recent weeks going door to door to speak with voters, told Mr. Barnes his backers were jittery about his inability to repel an unending volley of attack ads from Senator Ron Johnson and his Republican allies.

Show more fire, Ms. Kashnig urged the Democrat and his campaign. “The people on the doors want him to fight,” she said.”

China’s Fishing Operations Raise Alarms Worldwide – The New York Times

“Over the last two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet, by far, with nearly 3,000 ships. Having severely depleted stocks in its own coastal waters, China now fishes in any ocean in the world, and on a scale that dwarfs some countries’ entire fleets near their own waters.

The impact is increasingly being felt from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, from the coasts of Africa to those off South America — a manifestation on the high seas of China’s global economic might.

A Chinese ship fishing for squid off the west coast of South America in July 2021. Isaac Haslam/Sea Shepherd via Associated Press

The Chinese effort has prompted diplomatic and legal protests. The fleet has also been linked to illegal activity, including encroaching on other countries’ territorial waters, tolerating labor abuses and catching endangered species. In 2017, Ecuador seized a refrigerated cargo ship, the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, carrying an illicit cargo of 6,620 sharks, whose fins are a delicacy in China.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Can the UN stop this behavior? Will the Chinese listen to reason? Will they only respect force? Do we have diplomatic chips to play? Maybe the US Navy and NATO and our Asian Allies should use these mother Chinese refrigerator ships, called carrier vessels, for target practice. First, we tell the Chinese Government to stop using them, then we disable or sink a few carrier vessels. This trouble shows the madness of Trump cancelling the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement set up by Obama. We need it now.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Maureen Dowd | Putin and Trump, the Solo Soulless Saboteurs – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“WASHINGTON — In the internet age, it’s almost impossible to get away with anything. (See: Adam Levine.)

And yet, some people still manage to pull off solo flights of destruction worthy of a megalomaniacal supervillain.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, long entwined, continue on vile parallel paths: They would rather destroy their countries than admit they have lost.\

They have each created a scrim of lies to justify lunatic personal ambition. And while it should be easy to see through these lies, both cult-of-personality leaders are able to con and bully enough people to remain puissant.”

Peter Smith | Moderate Republicans No Longer Have a Home, and It Started With My Defeat – The New York Times

Mr. Smith, a Republican, represented Vermont in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1991.

“Over the last 30 years, the Republican Party has effectively eliminated its moderate and liberal voices — as well as the conservative voices that put country over party. The consequences of this takeover by an increasingly right-wing faction include the threats to democracy that have become increasingly prominent since the Jan. 6 riots.

When I lost my seat in Congress in 1990, I knew it was because I had co-sponsored a bill to ban assault weapons. The National Rifle Association and conservative Republicans in Vermont and elsewhere united to defeat me, calling the independent challenger, Bernie Sanders, the “lesser of two evils.” First, a right-wing candidate challenged me in the Republican primary, then many of his supporters aided the Sanders campaign in the general election.

Their plan: Elect Bernie Sanders for one term, then defeat him the next time around. The only problem: They couldn’t weaken him in a primary the same way and consistently failed to beat him in a general election. And the rest is history.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my defeat was an early step in the elimination of the moderate and liberal wing of the Republican Party. That process, aimed at members of Congress and state-level officials, began with the ascent of Newt Gingrich’s style of full-throated partisanship and has continued to this day. When moderates like Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine retired, the party typically nominated more right-wing candidates to succeed them. Over the years, the party’s capture by hard-line activists — and now, as seen in New Hampshire’s primaries last week, election deniers — has resulted in ever more extreme nominees.”

Carlos Lozada | The Inside Joke That Became Trump’s Big Lie – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Donald Trump’s so-called big lie is not big because of its brazen dishonesty or its widespread influence or its unyielding grip over the Republican Party. It is not even big because of its ambition — to delegitimize a presidency, disenfranchise millions of voters, clap back against reality. No, the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election has grown so powerful because it is yoked to an older deception, without which it could not survive: the idea that American politics is, in essence, a joke, and that it can be treated as such without consequence.

The big lie depends on the big joke. It was enabled by it. It was enhanced by it. It is sustained by it.

When politicians publicly defend positions they privately reject, they are telling the joke. When they give up on the challenge of governing the country for the rush of triggering the enemy, they are telling the joke. When they intone that they must address the very fears they have encouraged or manufactured among their constituents, they are telling the joke. When their off-the-record smirks signal that they don’t really mean what they just said or did, they are telling the joke. As the big lie spirals ever deeper into unreality, with the former president mixing election falsehoods with call-outs to violent, conspiratorial fantasies, the big joke has much to answer for.”

” . . . . The big lie is that the election was stolen; the big joke is that you can prolong that lie without consequence. The former is a quest for undeserved power; the latter is an evasion of well-deserved responsibility.”  . . . .

Johnny Harris and Michelle Cottle | Inside the Completely Legal G.O.P. Plot to Destroy American Democracy – The New York Times

Johnny Harris and 

Mr. Harris is a video journalist. Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

“For the past two years, Americans have been overwhelmed by a deluge of headlines suggesting democracy in the United States is under threat: Voter suppression. A shortage of drop boxes. Election deniers seeking key state offices. It can be difficult to gauge what stories suggest a truly terrifying threat to democracy, and which are simply disheartening or even petty. The Opinion Video film above aims to unpack one of the most dire threats to democracy, which includes a sophisticated plot to control not only who can vote, but which votes get counted.”

How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women’s March Out of Lock Step – The New York Times

“Linda Sarsour awoke on Jan. 23, 2017, logged onto the internet, and felt sick.

The weekend before, she had stood in Washington at the head of the Women’s March, a mobilization against President Donald J. Trump that surpassed all expectations. Crowds had begun forming before dawn, and by the time she climbed up onto the stage, they extended farther than the eye could see.

More than four million people around the United States had taken part, experts later estimated, placing it among the largest single-day protests in the nation’s history.

But then something shifted, seemingly overnight. What she saw on Twitter that Monday was a torrent of focused grievance that targeted her. In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude. A question began to form in her mind: Do they really hate me that much?

That morning, there were things going on that Ms. Sarsour could not imagine.

More than 4,000 miles away, organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, using models derived from advertising and public relations, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.

They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners. But one message performed better with audiences than any other.

It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Ms. Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim.”

How Abbott Kept Sick Babies From Becoming a Scandal – The New York Times

David Enrich, the business investigations editor for The New York Times, is the author of the forthcoming book, “Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice,” from which this article is adapted.

“Early on a Saturday morning in 2013, Mark Bennett, a federal judge, walked into his chambers in the courthouse in Sioux City, Iowa. He’d been out of town for a speaking engagement and was hoping to catch up on work. A surprise awaited him as he entered his office: Cardboard boxes were stacked everywhere. His immediate thought was that another judge might be moving in.

Another judge was not moving in. Judge Bennett was presiding over a case in which Abbott Laboratories, the sprawling health care company that dominated the market for infant formula, was being sued on behalf of a girl, Jeanine Kunkel, who five years earlier had suffered severe brain damage after consuming the company’s powdered formula. Jeanine couldn’t speak, sit up or even swallow, and the tragedy had nearly destroyed her family.

The boxes cluttering Judge Bennett’s chambers were filled in large part with evidence that Abbott’s lawyers wanted to be able to introduce at the upcoming trial.

After more than two decades on the federal bench, Judge Bennett had a pretty good guess as to what was going on. The accusations in the lawsuit posed a threat to Abbott, which had staked its reputation on being family-friendly and devoted to health and safety. Judge Bennett figured that to protect an important client, the company’s outside lawyers, from the international law firm Jones Day, were trying to snow their opponents with tens of thousands of pages of paperwork. Even if the materials were only tangentially related to this particular case, the plaintiffs’ lawyers would need to spend countless hours poring over the documents to see what they contained.”

Death in Navy SEAL Training Exposes a Culture of Brutality, Cheating and Drugs – The New York Times

For this article, Dave Philipps interviewed, among others, 17 active-duty Navy personnel, including senior leaders, active-duty SEALs and current and former trainees and instructors.

“CORONADO, Calif. — Kyle Mullen always had the natural drive and talent that made success look easy. Until he tried out for the Navy SEALs.

The 24-year-old arrived on the California coast in January for the SEALs’ punishing selection course in the best shape of his life — even better than when he was a state champion defensive end in high school or the captain of the football team at Yale.

But by the middle of the course’s third week — a continual gut punch of physical and mental hardship, sleep deprivation and hypothermia that the SEALs call Hell Week — the 6-foot-4-inch athlete from Manalapan, N.J., was dead-eyed with exhaustion, riddled with infection and coughing up blood from lungs that were so full of fluid that others who were there said later that he sounded like he was gargling.”

“. . . .Six hours of sleep a night are now required in all weeks but Hell Week, outside auditors have been brought in to watch instructors, and a higher percentage of sailors are now making the cut.

But on the beach, sailors say, the problems continue. A month after Seaman Mullen died, there was another close call. After late-night training in the frigid surf, one sailor — cold, wet, hungry and exhausted — started shivering violently, then became unresponsive while huddled in the arms of another sailor who was trying to keep him warm, according to two sailors who were there.

The sailors immediately called the BUD/S medical office, but once again, they said, there was no answer. They put their classmate in a hot shower, called 911 and were able to get him civilian medical help.

The next morning, the two sailors said, instructors let the class know they were not happy. To punish them for calling 911, the sailors said, the instructors made the class do long bouts of push-ups. Whenever anyone dropped from exhaustion, instructors made the man who had been treated at the hospital for hypothermia plunge again into the cold surf.” -30-

David Lindsay: This isn’t training, it is torture.

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
This is so sick it is stomach turning. “No one can do everything the instructors ask, so you have to learn how to cheat to get through,” he said. “Everyone knows it happens. The point is to learn how to not get caught.” “Basically, you are selecting for guys who are willing to cheat,” he added. “So, no surprise, guys are going to turn to drugs.” So they are weeding out the ones with morals, and being left only with gamers and thugs. It this the kind of county we want. It smells to me of Nazi Germany. It is time to make Medical ombudsmen in charge of limiting the training at least, and drug testing through out. It is absurd. There should be no shame in refusing to die of heat exhaustion, etc. There should be an inquiry of merit. Is this how we came to have a Seal commander in Afghanistan who shot civilians for fun. David Lindsay Jr. is a military historian, and the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment at InconvenientNews.Net, and at TheTaySonRebellion.com.

Secret Data, Tiny Islands and a Quest for Treasure on the Ocean Floor – The New York Times

By Eric Lipton   Aug. 29, 2022

“ETKINGSTON, Jamaica — As demand grows globally for metals needed to make batteries for electric vehicles, one of the richest untapped sources of the raw materials lies two and a half miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

This remote section of the seabed, about 1,500 miles southwest of San Diego, could soon become the world’s first industrial-scale mining site in international waters.

The Metals Company, based in Vancouver, has secured exclusive access to tons of seabed rocks packed with cobalt, copper and nickel — enough, it says, to power 280 million electric vehicles, equivalent to the entire fleet of cars in the United States.”