Category Archives: Important

A really tough QUIZ………How Did You Do???

We published a really tough RAILING QUIZ from 1950

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-new-york-central-railroad-in-1950/

But many readers have trouble reading the answers, AS THEY ARE PRINTED UPSIDE-DOWN.

So will reprint them for you here.

QUESTION #1: What NYC Is Concerned With Grouting?
The Answer is B (MoW)

QUESTION #2: Where Are Flagers Used?
The Answer is A (On Tracks)

QUESTION #3: How Much Does The Central Pay Other Railroads Per Day?
The Answer Is C ($1.75)

QUESTION #4: When Was The First NYCentral Diesel-Electric Put I Service?
The Answer Is C (1924)

QUESTION #5: Under The Railroad Retirement Act, How Much Does The Railroad Pay?
The Answer IS D (6%)

QUESTION #6: What Does The Central Use A REFLECTORSCOPE For?
The ANSWER IS C (FINDING FLAWS IN AXLES)

QUESTION #7: What Ranks Highest IN AAR Opinion Poll?
The Answer Is A (Personal Attention)

QUESTION #8: How Many Credit Unions Are There In The NY Central System?
The Answer Is B (32)

QUESTION #9: How Much Of The World’s Work Is Done By Machines?
The Answer Is D (94%)

QUESTION #10: How Many RAILROAD YMCAs Are Located On The NY Central System?
The Answer Is A (22)

How Home Ownership Became The Engine Of America Inequality

New York Times Magazine via California Rail News

Almost a decade removed from the foreclosure crisis that began in 2008, the nation is facing one of the worst affordable-housing shortages in generations. The standard of “affordable” housing is that which costs roughly 30 percent or less of a family’s income. Because of rising housing costs and stagnant wages, slightly more than half of all poor renting families in the country spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs, and at least one in four spends more than 70 percent. Yet America’s national housing policy gives affluent homeowners large benefits; middle-class homeowners, smaller benefits; and most renters, who are disproportionately poor, nothing. It is difficult to think of another social policy that more successfully multiplies America’s inequality in such a sweeping fashion.

5 Ways To Get Around Orange, CA Without A Car

The Panther via California Rail News

The MetroLink station is behind the Marion Knotts Studios at 194 N Atchison St. The schedule and route maps are available on the MetroLink website.

The MetroLink train costs $6.75 to the Los Angeles Union Station and $13.50 for a round trip. From the Los Angeles Union Station, you can continue using public transit by hopping on subways and buses to the location desired. If you’re looking for something cheap and accessible for a longer trip outside of Orange, the MetroLink is one of your best options.

Transportation is high up on the list of what a college student needs. Orange is a central spot for all things Southern California. There’s the beach, San Diego, Los Angeles and everything in between. The only downside to it all is getting there, especially for Chapman students without a car.

“Coming into Chapman, I was so excited about all the places I could go with all the new freedom I have, but then I realized I didn’t have a car to get there,” said Charlotte McDougald, a freshman creative writing major.

Here are a few tricks some students use to get around without a car.

UBER’s Rise From SCAB To Superstar

So in case the term is new to you, what is a SCAB?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as: ” A worker, often temporary, who crosses a strikers’ picket line, going to work in place of the strikers.” An example of usage:
“The scabs had their cars egged when they arrived at the factory.”

SCABS used to be looked down on in America.

Well, this is how UBER arrived on the business scene in 2008.

uber03

What happened? First of all, UBER started using a computer “APP” to order a taxi (or whatever you call it in UBERese).

Uber had some financial problems like trying to break into China. But some smart financial persons solved their money problems by modifying their business plan. Now they are in the “self driving car” business.

uber02

Now they are in the “tech elite” of America!

No word about “scab labor” anymore.

They even got invited to Donald Trump’s “tech conference”. This is the same Donald Trump who counts on support of organized labor embracing a “scab company”.

California could not handle testing of self-driving cars, so they relocated to Arizona

uber04

BEWARE OF MEDIA AND THEIR POLLS: They are not perfect!

The election of 1948 had a lot in common with 2016. It was CLOSE. All kinds of results from polls. Day after election the Chicago Tribune (probably the second biggest newspaper in the United States) ran with a Dewey victory! The single most famous newspaper error…..ever.

Harry Truman was not popular. He had taken over the Presidency when popular President FDR died. Truman ended up making the most important decision in the history of the United States: to drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan.

Thomas E Dewey was the Governor of New York and was relatively unknown throughout the country. Dewey had “made his mark” as New York City District Attorney in successfully prosecuting “The Mob”.

I trust Presidential polls as far as I can throw them. They are only as good as the people who participate in them. I have never been asked to participate in a Presidential poll AND I AM NOT ALONE.

Finally a story about Dewey. In 1948, Presidential Candidates did not rate Secret Service protection. (Not until 1968 when candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated).

I was on a train from Utica, New York to New York City in 1948 near the election. Our train stopped at Albany Union Station. We looked out the window and saw Governor Thomas E Dewey on the platform headed for OUR TRAIN. He was accompanied by just a single New York State Trooper (in uniform and armed with his service revolver).

Now I thought in 1948 that the New York State Troopers were great and could do anything. My grandfather (at that time Paymaster of the NY Central System) joked that Dewey should have ridden in a “Pay Car”. A Pay Car had a railroad detective and two armed paymasters). Of course, by 1948 all the pay cars had gone to scrap and the whole system was paid by check from Utica (the reason I was born in Utica).

Written by Ken Kinlock

How Hyperloop One Went Off the Rails (Muhammad Ali Hyperlink))

The transportation startup is trying to make a pod levitate in a tunnel, but can it rise above founder clashes and employee lawsuits?

In December 2014, an engineer with the unlikely name Brogan BamBrogan was in the driveway of his clapboard Los Angeles house, loading up his car for a holiday road trip to Northern California, when venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar messaged him for a favor. The two were founders of Hyperloop One, a startup building futuristic tubes to zip people from city to city. Shervin Pishevar, a partner at Sherpa Capital, was the money guy; BamBrogan the chief technical officer. Pishevar’s brother, Afshin Pishevar, was driving west from Washington to join the company as general counsel, and needed a place to stay. BamBrogan and his wife stopped packing, cleaned the bathroom, and tucked a spare key under the front mat of his Los Feliz home. When they returned a few days later, Afshin Pishevar was still there. Their houseplants were littered with cigarette butts.
Twenty months later, neither BamBrogan nor Afshin Pishevar work at Hyperloop One, and in June, BamBrogan and three other former employees filed a lawsuit against the Pishevar brothers and the company, also naming Chief Executive Officer Robert Lloyd and investor Joseph Lonsdale in the suit. It alleges the men didn’t have the company’s interests at heart, and also makes claims of assault and defamation. In its countersuit against BamBrogan and the other ex-employees, Hyperloop One said the insurgent employees were trying to start a competing firm. One dispute surrounds a long, looped rope BamBrogan discovered on his office chair one morning, in the shape of a noose or a lasso, depending on your perspective. There is no mystery over who left it there: his former houseguest, Afshin Pishevar.

Startups, including success stories Facebook and Twitter, often suffer founder clashes, executive churn, and squabbles over equity. But at Hyperloop One, a high-profile company spawned from an idea by Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, things got very toxic, very fast. The dueling lawsuits and lurid accusations threaten to sully the company’s idealistic mission to create a new form of transportation.
A lawyer representing Hyperloop One, Orin Snyder, a partner at Gibson Dunn, said: “We are confident that at the end of the day it will be obvious that their entire lawsuit was a crass publicity stunt based on lies and smears intended to cover up a failed coup and illegal plot to steal intellectual property and create a competing hyperloop company.” BamBrogan and his co-plaintiffs deny they were attempting a coup. Through his lawyer David Willingham, Afshin Pishevar denied leaving the cigarette butts in BamBrogan’s home.
The company, now run by Lloyd, former Cisco president, is moving forward with plans to make a viable transportation mode out of large pods zooming through tubes. Early next year, Lloyd said, they’ll have their “Kitty Hawk moment,” aiming to levitate a pod inside a tunnel. The test is crucial for persuading investors to sink more money into Hyperloop, whose projects will likely each cost billions of dollars.
“These are big steps for a company that’s only 20 months old,” he said. Although the events of the past few weeks are “not something I would have hoped for,” Lloyd believes they will ultimately make the company stronger. “We all come together more closely when somebody surprises us, or we feel attacked,” he said.

Shervin Pishevar, a well-connected entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, made his name through an early investment in Uber, after having moved to the U.S. from Iran as a child in the late 1970s. He likes to name drop his famous friends, and once flew to Cuba with Musk and actor Sean Penn to try, unsuccessfully, to negotiate for a U.S. political prisoner’s release.

Inspired by Musk’s vision, Shervin Pishevar searched for a technology prodigy to execute it, settling on BamBrogan, a wiry, handlebar-mustachioed former SpaceX engineer. Until 2014, his name had been Kevin Brogan, but he legally changed it to merge names with his wife, Bambi. At Musk’s SpaceX, BamBrogan was employee #23, and a polarizing figure. Known back then as K-Bro, he was the cool kid among the brainy engineers. BamBrogan would organize parties and other diversions for the over-worked 20-somethings. He had plenty of enemies there, though, particularly those who did not feel like part of the BamBrogan clique.
Shervin Pishevar offered him six percent of the company and started raising funds, bringing in Lonsdale, co-founder of the data-analysis behemoth Palantir Technologies. BamBrogan began drawing up designs.
BamBrogan instilled a hard-charging, fast-moving culture at Hyperloop One. He angered quickly, but commanded considerable loyalty. Many employees kept fake million-dollar bills with his image on them taped to their desks. A few months after the company had moved into a former factory in Los Angeles, BamBrogan announced another expansion by bursting through a wall wearing a Kool-Aid suit.
Shervin Pishevar’s brother Afshin worked as a lawyer near Washington for years, with one of his cases landing on Washingtonian Magazine’s 2014 list of top personal-injury verdicts. That year, tragedy struck when his son died in a flying accident, according to the countersuit. Hyperloop offered a fresh start.
Afshin Pishevar eventually found his own apartment, but he and BamBrogan started butting heads. BamBrogan chafed when he thought Afshin Pishevar was slow with paperwork, according to a person familiar with the situation. Through his lawyer Willingham, Afshin Pishevar said startups sometimes act hastily, entering into agreements against their best interests, and it is the chief legal officer’s role to make sure actions are within the letter of the law.
Hyperloop One could sometimes feel like college. Workers stayed late, batting around ideas, playing board games, and eating leftovers from the day’s catered lunch—tacos, curries, burgers. But tight deadlines and regular changes of plan also created stress and led to tiffs, according to former employees. Hyperloop employees often had to tidy up for VIPs arriving for tours. Hosting celebrities like Katy Perry has its perks, but the visits and parties started to wear thin on some. A spokesman for the company, Farrell Sklerov, denied that the events were frequent.

BamBrogan was for a time the interim CEO of Hyperloop One, but a reluctant corporate leader. Last summer, the board hired Lloyd, who started in September. The staff had just received raises, and spirits ran high. To celebrate, everyone whacked at a piñata that spilled out fake bank notes emblazoned with images of Lloyd and other executives.
Meanwhile, Afshin Pishevar was the subject of several complaints alleging “unprofessional outbursts,” according to the July lawsuit filed by BamBrogan and other former Hyperloop employees. In one instance, learning of an internal meeting that didn’t include him, Afshin Pishevar joined the gathering and in a raised voice demanded to know why he wasn’t invited, where one of the participants went to college, and when he had graduated, according to a person present at the meeting. BamBrogan and others hoped Lloyd would rein in Afshin Pishevar. Lloyd declined to discuss Afshin Pishevar’s tenure. Through Willingham, Afshin Pishevar denied behaving unprofessionally.
At first, Lloyd promised overhauls, and some hoped that meant the departure of Afshin Pishevar, people familiar with the situation said. Sklerov denied Lloyd ever said he would fire Afshin Pishevar.
In an interview, Lloyd was reluctant to rehash the past, but made plain he preferred spending time on areas where his big-company background makes a difference, such as negotiating partnerships and hiring top-notch staff. “You focus on the things you can control,” Lloyd said, speaking generally.
Lloyd oversaw a major funding push, raising an additional $80 million this year, bringing total capital raised to over $100 million. But to some, the fundraising exacerbated another grievance: employee equity. BamBrogan had received additional shares as the company arranged the $80 million fundraising round, according to Hyperloop One’s counterlawsuit, but most employees had not. Some wanted more.
Meanwhile, Lloyd had his own frustrations with BamBrogan, meeting with him on at least five occasions to discuss “negative and disruptive behavior,” according to the countersuit. BamBrogan said the meetings were to discuss Lloyd’s performance, not his.
In one instance, BamBrogan smashed a beer bottle when angered, according to the countersuit; BamBrogan acknowledged smashing the bottle outside.
By late spring, BamBrogan believed the time had come to hold a frank discussion with Shervin Pishevar to press him again on the employee equity and other issues. He was able to corner Shervin Pishevar at the test site in the Nevada desert where the company was gearing up to show off its propulsion system. The two exchanged “tough words” about equity, the tours, and other concerns, BamBrogan said, but they agreed to work things out.
The propulsion system test in mid-May was successful: They managed to accelerate a sled on a track to 116 miles per hour in just over a second. Reporters gathered around BamBrogan, Lloyd and Shervin Pishevar embracing. But things were still tense. And back in Los Angeles, little seemed to change.
By late May, a group of top employees decided to take action. They convened in Ripley, a conference room named after the monster-battling character in the movie “Alien.” They drew up demands, including engineering representation on the board in the form of BamBrogan and engineering president Josh Giegel, more equity for staff, and an end to Shervin Pishevar’s tenure as executive chairman, according to the litigation. The group hoped that Lloyd, just back from a China business trip, would sign the letter, too. They called him, but he declined.
The company has its own take. In its countersuit, Hyperloop One said BamBrogan, former vice president of business development Knut Sauer, former assistant general counsel David Pendergast, and former finance vice president William Mulholland were seeking to take over the company or start a rival company, even purchasing the domain name “Hyperlooptoo.com.” The plaintiffs issued a statement labeling the countersuit “complete fiction,” but added that once their “attempted intervention” antagonized board members, it wasn’t surprising they considered “looking for other work.”
Lloyd wasn’t caught off guard by the letter’s demands, but something else gnawed at him. “I was surprised by the tone, and the aggression,” he said. “And suggested there were better ways to work things out.”

Board member Justin Fishner-Wolfson was deputized to patch things up. On May 31, he met for seven hours with the disgruntled employees, having worked over Memorial Day weekend with other board members on a response that incorporated many of the employees’ demands, including changing equity provisions, according to the countersuit.
The group kept coming to work. On the morning of June 15th, employees who signed the letter were gathering once again in Ripley, preparing to meet with Fishner-Wolfson and Lloyd. BamBrogan entered, wheeling his desk chair. On it rested a rope, looped at the end. To BamBrogan, it was a noose and a threat. The company insists it was a lasso, saying in its countersuit that Afshin Pishevar intended it “for someone acting like a cowboy.” Through Willingham, Afshin Pishevar said designating the rope a noose amounts to “an ill-fated attempt to bolster a meritless lawsuit.”
Gathered around the reception desk reviewing security video footage, several staff members watched a grainy image of Afshin Pishevar walking toward BamBrogan’s desk late the night before, rope in hand. He was angry that BamBrogan had notified Russian investors of the group’s grievances shortly before Shervin Pishevar was due to meet with them, according the countersuit.
The countersuit cited a text Shervin Pishevar had sent his brother on the night of the incident: “One comment and guidance. Act completely calm and don’t show any emotion. Don’t say anything negative or provide any ammunition for them to use against us, our family, or our company. Thanks.” Willingham declined to comment on the text.
Afshin Pishevar admitted leaving the rope, according to the countersuit. Another person familiar with the situation characterized the rope as a “prank.” Prank or threat, within the hour, he was fired and escorted out of the building. The police arrived. Lawyers convened.
By day’s end, Pendergast was also fired. The next day, BamBrogan, Sauer and Mulholland resigned, and weeks later, they and Pendergast filed their lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and other claims. Within days, the company responded with its countersuit, also alleging claims including breach of fiduciary duty.

Sarah McBride
@mcbridesg

9 Things the Most Influential and Persuasive People Do, Backed By Science

Some people are naturally convincing. The rest of us have to learn to be more persuasive. Here’s how.

Think about all the extremely successful people you know. I guarantee they’re incredibly good at selling themselves, selling their ideas–in short, they’re incredibly good at persuading other people.

Maybe that’s because selling is the one skill everyone needs to be successful?

But being persuasive doesn’t mean you have to manipulate or pressure other people.

At its best, persuasion is the ability to effectively describe the benefits and logic of an idea to gain agreement–and that means we all need to be more convincing: to persuade others a proposal makes sense, to show stakeholders how a project or business will generate a return, to help employees understand the benefits of a new process, etc.

And that’s why the art of persuasion is critical in any business or career–and why successful people are extremely good at persuading others.

How can you be more persuasive?

1. Start by gaining small “wins.”

Research shows–yep, more research–that gaining agreement has an enduring effect, even if only over the short term.

2. Take strong stands.

You would assume data and reasoning always win the day, right? Nope. Research shows humans prefer cockiness to expertise. We naturally assume confidence equates with skill.

3. Adjust your rate of speech.

There’s reason behind the “fast-talking salesman” stereotype: In certain situations, talking fast works. Other times, not so much.

Here’s what one study indicates:

  • If your audience is likely to disagree, speak faster.
  • If your audience is likely to agree, speak slower.

Here’s why. When your audience is inclined to disagree with you, speaking faster gives them less time to form their own counterarguments, giving you a better chance of persuading them.

4. Don’t be afraid to be (appropriately) “unprofessional.”

Take swearing. Cursing for no reason is just cursing.

But say your team needs to pull together right freaking now. Tossing in an occasional–and heartfelt–curse word can actually help instill a sense of urgency because it shows you care. (And of course it never hurts when a leader lets a little frustration or anger show, too.)

5. Know how your audience prefers to process information.

A fellow supervisor used to frustrate the crap out of me. (See? That swearing thing works.)

I was young and enthusiastic and would burst into his office with an awesome idea, lay out all my facts and figures, wait breathlessly for him to agree with me…and he would disagree.

Every. Freaking. Time.

After a number of failed attempts, I finally realized he wasn’t the problem. My approach was the problem. He needed time to think. He needed time to process. By demanding an immediate answer, I put him on the defensive. In the absence of time to reflect, he would fall back on the safe choice: staying with the status quo.

6. Share the good and the bad.

According to University of Illinois professor Daniel O’Keefe, sharing an opposing viewpoint or two is more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument.

Why? Very few ideas or proposals are perfect. Your audience knows that. They know there are other perspectives and potential outcomes.

7. Focus on drawing positive conclusions.

Which of the following statements is more persuasive?

  • “Stop making so many mistakes,” or
  • “Be much more accurate.”

Or these two?

  • “Stop feeling so lethargic,” or
  • “Feel a lot more energetic.”

While it’s tempting to use scare tactics, positive outcome statements tend to be more persuasive. (The researchers hypothesized that most people respond negatively to feeling bullied or guilted into changing a behavior.)

So if you’re trying to produce change, focus on the positives of that change. Take your audience to a better place instead of telling your audience what to avoid.

8. Choose the right medium.

Say you’re a man hoping to convince a man you don’t know well, or even at all. What should you do? If you have a choice, don’t speak in person. Write an email first.

As a general rule, men tend to feel competitive in person and turn what should be a conversation into a contest we think we need to win. (Be honest; you know you do it sometimes.)

The opposite is true if you’re a woman hoping to persuade other women. According to the researchers, women are “more focused on relationships,” so in-person communication tends to be more effective.

But if you’re a guy trying to convince another guy you know well, definitely communicate in person. The closer your relationship, the more effective face-to-face communication tends to be.

9. Most of all, make sure you’re right.

Persuasive people understand how to frame and deliver their messages, but most importantly, they embrace the fact that the message is what matters most.

So be clear, be concise, be to the point, and win the day because your data, reasoning, and conclusions are beyond reproach.

 Jeff Haden

Contributing editor, Inc.

Flagler Global Logistics From Latin America to your table

Flagler Global Logistics processes perishables from Latin America for the Southeast

Company says patented fumigation and “cold-chain” processes add shelf life to fruits and vegetables

Company’s success opens up Miami as an alternate distribution hub for Latin American exporters

Tired of seeing moldy blueberries, decaying grapes or wilting asparagus in your refrigerator?

Dave Bouchard, president of Coral Gables-based Flagler Global Logistics said that the patented fumigation process his company uses on imported fruits and vegetables, plus careful temperature and humidity control, can add up to 10 days of shelf life to products at retailers — and in your fridge.

“Our system is designed to receive, process, fumigate, pack and ship perishables as quickly as possible with strict temperature and humidity control,” said Bouchard during a tour of the company’s 114,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art South Florida Logistics Center near Miami International Airport. He took over the company earlier this year, after previous stints as CEO for DB Schenker Logistics for the Americas and as an executive with Ryder System.

“Consumers benefit from longer shelf life and lower costs,” he said.

The fumigation process is a key part of 3-year-old Flagler Global’s success, Bouchard said. So too are the company’s strategic location — near MIA, rail lines and highways — and newly installed equipment that speeds processing time, he said.

Flagler Global was set up by its parent, Florida East Coast Industries (FECI). Building on its expertise in intermodal transport (Florida East Coast Railway — FEC — is an affiliate) and its extensive real estate holdings (like the land where Flagler Global’s logistics center is built), FECI decided to invest millions in the venture.

 

A World War Has Begun: Break the Silence

Donald Trump is a maverick, unlike Hillary Clinton, argues John Pilger.

have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask,”Where is that?” If I offer a clue by referring to “Bikini,” they say, “You mean the swimsuit. Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini Island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 – the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years.

Bikini is silent today, mutated and contaminated. Palm trees grow in a strange grid formation. Nothing moves. There are no birds. The headstones in the old cemetery are alive with radiation. My shoes registered “unsafe” on a Geiger counter.

Standing on the beach, I watched the emerald green of the Pacific fall away into a vast black hole. This was the crater left by the hydrogen bomb they called “Bravo.” The explosion poisoned people and their environment for hundreds of miles, perhaps forever.

On my return journey, I stopped at Honolulu airport and noticed an American magazine called Women’s Health. On the cover was a smiling woman in a bikini swimsuit, and the headline: “You, too, can have a bikini body.” A few days earlier, in the Marshall Islands, I had interviewed women who had very different “bikini bodies” – each had suffered thyroid cancer and other life-threatening cancers.

Unlike the smiling woman in the magazine, all of them were impoverished: the victims and guinea pigs of a rapacious superpower that is today more dangerous than ever.

I relate this experience as a warning and to interrupt a distraction that has consumed so many of us. The founder of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, described this phenomenon as “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the habits and opinions” of democratic societies. He called it an “invisible government.”

How many people are aware that a world war has begun? At present, it is a war of propaganda, of lies and distraction, but this can change instantaneously with the first mistaken order, the first missile.

In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the center of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons.” People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was all fake. He was lying.

The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over 30 years is more than $1 trillion.

A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it. General James Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “Going smaller (makes using this nuclear) weapon more thinkable.”

In the last 18 months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War II – led by the United States – is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.

Ukraine – once part of the Soviet Union – has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian-speaking minority.

This is seldom news in the West, or it is inverted to suppress the truth.

In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – next door to Russia – the U.S. military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.

What makes the prospect of nuclear war even more dangerous is a parallel campaign against China.

Seldom a day passes when China is not elevated to the status of a “threat.” According to Admiral Harry Harris, the U.S. Pacific commander, China is “building a great wall of sand in the South China Sea.”

What he is referring to is China building airstrips in the Spratly Islands, which are the subject of a dispute with the Philippines – a dispute without priority until Washington pressured and bribed the government in Manila and the Pentagon launched a propaganda campaign called “freedom of navigation.”

What does this really mean? It means freedom for American warships to patrol and dominate the coastal waters of China. Try to imagine the American reaction if Chinese warships did the same off the coast of California.

I made a film called, “The War You Don’t See,” in which I interviewed distinguished journalists in America and Britain: reporters such as Dan Rather of CBS, Rageh Omar of the BBC, David Rose of the Observer.

All of them said that had journalists and broadcasters done their job and questioned the propaganda that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction; had the lies of George W. Bush and Tony Blair not been amplified and echoed by journalists, the 2003 invasion of Iraq might not have happened, and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children would be alive today.

The propaganda laying the ground for a war against Russia and/or China is no different in principle. To my knowledge, no journalist in the Western “mainstream” – a Dan Rather equivalent, say – asks why China is building airstrips in the South China Sea.

The answer ought to be glaringly obvious. The United States is encircling China with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear-armed bombers.

This lethal arc extends from Australia to the islands of the Pacific, the Marianas and the Marshalls and Guam, to the Philippines, Thailand, Okinawa, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India. America has hung a noose around the neck of China. This is not news. Silence by media; war by media.

In 2015, in high secrecy, the U.S. and Australia staged the biggest single air-sea military exercise in recent history, known as Talisman Sabre. Its aim was to rehearse an Air-Sea Battle Plan, blocking sea lanes, such as the Straits of Malacca and the Lombok Straits, that cut off China’s access to oil, gas and other vital raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

In the circus known as the American presidential campaign, Donald Trump is being presented as a lunatic, a fascist. He is certainly odious; but he is also a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our skepticism.

Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than those of David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.

According to one prodigious liberal commentator, Trump is “unleashing the dark forces of violence” in the United States. Unleashing them?

This is the country where toddlers shoot their mothers and the police wage a murderous war against black Americans. This is the country that has attacked and sought to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed from Asia to the Middle East, causing the deaths and dispossession of millions of people.

No country can equal this systemic record of violence. Most of America’s wars (almost all of them against defenseless countries) have been launched not by Republican presidents but by liberal Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

In 1947, a series of National Security Council directives described the paramount aim of American foreign policy as a world substantially made over in America’s own image. The ideology was messianic Americanism. We were all Americans. Or else. Heretics would be converted, subverted, bribed, smeared or crushed.

Donald Trump is a symptom of this, but he is also a maverick. He says the invasion of Iraq was a crime; he doesn’t want to go to war with Russia and China. The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted exceptionalism is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.

As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope.” And the drool goes on.

Described by The Guardian columnist Owen Jones as “funny, charming, with a coolness that eludes practically every other politician,” Obama the other day sent drones to slaughter 150 people in Somalia. He kills people usually on Tuesdays, according to the New York Times, when he is handed a list of candidates for death by drone. So cool.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran with nuclear weapons. As secretary of state under Obama, she participated in the overthrow of the democratic government of Honduras. Her contribution to the destruction of Libya in 2011 was almost gleeful. When the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was publicly sodomized with a knife – a murder made possible by American logistics – Clinton gloated over his death: “We came, we saw, he died.”

One of Clinton’s closest allies is Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, who has attacked young women for not supporting Hillary. This is the same Madeleine Albright who infamously celebrated on TV the death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it.”

Among Clinton’s biggest backers are the Israel lobby and the arms companies that fuel the violence in the Middle East. She and her husband have received a fortune from Wall Street. And yet, she is about to be ordained the women’s candidate, to see off the evil Trump, the official demon. Her supporters include distinguished feminists: the likes of Gloria Steinem in the U.S. and Anne Summers in Australia.

A generation ago, a post-modern cult now known as “identity politics” stopped many intelligent, liberal-minded people examining the causes and individuals they supported – such as the fakery of Obama and Clinton; such as bogus progressive movements like Syriza in Greece, which betrayed the people of that country and allied with their enemies.

Self-absorption, a kind of “me-ism,” became the new zeitgeist in privileged western societies and signaled the demise of great collective movements against war, social injustice, inequality, racism and sexism.

Today, the long sleep may be over. The young are stirring again. Gradually. The thousands in Britain who supported Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader are part of this awakening – as are those who rallied to support Senator Bernie Sanders.

In Britain last week, Jeremy Corbyn’s closest ally, his shadow treasurer John McDonnell, committed a Labour government to pay off the debts of piratical banks and, in effect, to continue so-called austerity.

In the U.S., Bernie Sanders has promised to support Clinton if or when she’s nominated. He, too, has voted for America’s use of violence against countries when he thinks it’s “right.” He says Obama has done “a great job.”

In Australia, there is a kind of mortuary politics, in which tedious parliamentary games are played out in the media while refugees and Indigenous people are persecuted and inequality grows, along with the danger of war. The government of Malcolm Turnbull has just announced a so-called defense budget of $195 billion that is a drive to war. There was no debate. Silence.

What has happened to the great tradition of popular direct action, unfettered to parties? Where is the courage, imagination and commitment required to begin the long journey to a better, just and peaceful world? Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theatre, literature?

Where are those who will shatter the silence? Or do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?

This is an edited version of an address by John Pilger at the University of Sydney, entitled “A World War Has Begun.”

 

John Pilger, teleSUR

WMATA uncovers 26 defective areas during emergency inspections

During yesterday’s emergency inspections, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) crews identified 26 locations where damaged jumper cables and connector boots needed to be repaired or replaced.

In a YouTube video released yesterday, WMATA provided a closer look at some damaged cables in a Metrorail tunnel.
Photo: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

All but four of the defective locations have been remedied as of last night, WMATA officials said in a press release. Repairs at the remaining locations are underway.

To perform the inspections, the agency took the unprecedented step of shutting down the entire Metrorail system for 29 hours. The closure began Wednesday at midnight and continued until 5 a.m. today.

Investigators are reviewing the history of the damaged boots and cables and will share their findings with the Federal Transit Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. Investigators also will review inspection records, age of materials and maintenance records to identify any procedures that were not followed or standards that weren’t met, WMATA officials said.

The suspension of Metrorail service followed an electrical fire involving a cable in the the tunnel near McPherson Square Station on Monday. No injuries were reported, but conditions of the fire were “disturbingly similar” to the January 2015 smoke incident in a tunnel near the L’Enfant Plaza Station, WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld said.