Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Now, we know Ken shares our distaste for fundamentalist Christians, since it is a fixture of his work with Dump Bachmann (motto: "Dumping Bachmann since 2005 or possibly 2004").

But "Faith-Based Pie-in-the-Sky Boondoggle Cybertran Partner's Right-Wing, Anti-Abortion Tweets" takes him into smeary territory that is darker and intolerant. Because the Richmond Confidential article isn't about the right-wing partner (Allen Payton), the focus is on Eugene Nishinaga:
CyberTran: Small start-up has big dreams
By: Alexis Kenyon | October 31, 2011 – 4:05 pm

For Eugene Nishinaga, the chief technical officer at CyberTran International, ultralight rail is nothing short of a spiritual awakening.

"I was actually driving on the highway, right outside the [Richmond] field station," he said, "totally coincidence — and I felt the call of God."

The call was the impetus for a major shift in Nishinaga's life. At the time, he was a
respected research and development manager for BART with nearly 40 years experience in transit. But in 2008, Nishinaga, 58, quit his job to take a position at CyberTran International -- an ultralight rail start-up based out of UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station.
Avidor needs to discredit Nishinaga because the man is an expert in conventional transit who is now trying to make innovative technology a reality. Therefore Avidor uses the old bait-and-switch -- in the headline promising Payton, but leading with Nishinaga. Equating them.

I don't know what Nishinaga's political views are, but the way his religious views are characterized in the story (he felt a 'calling', he wanted to become a pastor and join the ministry) is so neutral as to reveal nothing that is inherently fundamentalist OR liberal.

The point is that Avidor doesn't know what Nishinaga's ideology is either. But because of Cybertran, Avidor goes ahead and smears Nishinaga anyway, because he needs Nishinaga to be just like Payton.

Today we also see Ken attempt to practice the journalism basic known as 'establishing a pattern':
It is not surprising to find faith-based jargon among supporters of Personal Rapid Transit. PRT is essentially a faith-based concept - check out Higherway PRT brought to you by the inventor of the Savior Cycle.
But the pattern here is that the person is religious, not how they are religious. Avidor is just indiscriminately (or discriminately) putting all religious people in the same basket.

He doesn't know anything about Higherway inventor Tad Winiecki, he just sees another Christian like Nishinaga who, in his mind, must be just like Allen Payton. And, presumably by extension, just like Michele Bachmann.

Except I happen to know that Tad Winiecki is definitely not like Bachmann:
On March 21st, 2007, Tad Winiecki said:

I have noticed what I consider far too much name calling, attributed motives by association, and denigration of opponents in most public forums and especially blogs related to partisan politics. I was trained to be a scientist so this is against my usual way of thinking. It bothers me when Republicans refer to the "democrat party" rather than the "Democratic Party". It makes me want to call them the "publican party"...

On June 19th, 2007, Tad Winiecki said:

"He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich – both come to poverty." Proverbs 22:16 (NIV)

Corporate welfare – gifts to the rich – bothers me. A bad example in Washington State (and many similar cases elsewhere) was tearing down the Kingdome in Seattle and building a new stadium. It cost us poor taxpayers and benefitted rich team owners and players. Uneconomic deals with extraction industries such as oil companies are also giving to the rich. The Republican Medicare prescription drug plan was a gift to rich drug companies. We could go on and on, couldn’t we?
Ken could have known this too. But he is not duly diligent.

Religious intolerance. Somewhat ironic for someone who is waging a holy war against new transit technology.

The Luddite Veto (September)


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