Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Why is Patty Wetterling Pushing Avidor's Propaganda?

Patty Wetterling has an interesting quote on her campaign website:

"According to a column in the St. Croix Valley Press, PRT 'was little more than a stalking horse for the highway construction industry and individuals belonging to anti-rail transit groups.'"

Anyone who is familiar with Ken Avidor's smear campaign recognizes this quote: it's the foundation of his entire anti-PRT crusade. It's also a complete fabrication. Avidor has been repeating this accusation for years, without a shred of proof to back it up. He's been repeating it so long, many people think there is a factual basis, but there really is none.

In fact, I can prove that the "stalking horse" theory has no factual basis:

Early this year, Ken tried to infiltrate Wikipedia with his propaganda message. For six months, he waged war on the PRT article, insisting that his "stalking horse" theory be prominently represented. I, along with several other Wikipedia editors, fought to keep him from corrupting the Wikipedia article with unproven (and often ridiculously false) propaganda. But he did find an apparent ally in his fight: a Wikipedia administrator who favored light rail and also happened to be a huge fan of Road Kill Bill (Ken Avidor's anti-car cartoon). In the end, though, even with a sympathetic administrator in his corner, not one piece of Ken Avidor's message was kept in the article.

Why did Ken fail to spread his message on Wikipedia? Simple: Wikipedia demands evidence. Anyone can get an op-ed piece or a letter to the editor published, but when it comes to an encyclopedia, a higher standard must be met.

So, you might ask, what is the standard for inclusion at Wikipedia? Again, the answer is simple: you must provide a reference to a reliable source. That's it! A single source will do, but it has to be reliable: for instance, a published research paper in a peer-reviewed journal, or a news article from a respected news organization.

Now, consider: Ken fought hard to get his "stalking horse" theory included, and failed. Why? Because he could not provide one shred of reliable evidence to support it! That's all he had to do was provide one credible source, and he never did.

So, let's review what we know:

  1. Avidor really wanted his "stalking horse" theory represented in Wikipedia article.

  2. In order for it to be included, he needed to produce one piece of reliable evidence to support it.

  3. To date, he has not produced that evidence, and the words "stalking horse" do not appear in the article

Conclusion: there is no evidence to support his theory; because if there were, he certainly would have produced it as evidence for Wikipedia, wouldn't he?

(Interesting side note: the minute that Avidor discovered he couldn't manipulate Wikipedia for his own purposes, he attacked the encyclopedia and its founder.)

So where did the "stalking horse" theory come from? Easy: Avidor made the whole thing up, then promoted it incessantly for years on every blog and open forum on the planet, to the point where even reasonable people take it as fact. During this relentless campaign, he used every trick in the book to "prove" his conspiracy theory: half truths, guilt-by-association, distortion, speculation. (For a good example, see David Gow meticulously dissect of one of Avidor's stalking horse "proofs".)

And it's not just the "stalking horse" that failed at Wikipedia. Search for "hoax" or "fraud" at the Wikipedia article - not there, because Avidor made it up. Not one bit of Avidor's campaign is represented there - because it's all one big fiction; only his obsessive persistence in promoting it makes it appear factual.

So, if the stalking horse theory is not real, why is Patty Wetterling referring to it as proven fact on her campaign site? I can only assume she found a convenient sound bite to use in her campaign against Michele Bachmann, and didn't bother to check the veracity of the claim.

Interestingly, she says she got the quote from the "Saint Paul Pioneer Press", 2/11/2004, and "Saint Croix Valley Press", 5/25/2006. I searched both of those press sites, and found nothing about PRT on those dates. Could it be that she is quoting an op-ed piece, or even a letter to the editor as fact? Gee, I wonder who would author such an op-ed piece?

So, Patty, are you going to remove the "stalking horse" reference from your campaign site? If you value truth and honesty in politics, I'm sure you will.

See also: "PRT is a Joke" is a joke.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GearheadGrrrl sez:

PRT is a failed experiment. Let it go and learn from this technological wrong turn. PRT's failure is so obvious that the only people promoting it are pushing it to block real transit or they're deluded.

10/05/2006 2:00 PM  
Blogger Mr_Grant said...

"Wrong turn"? Is that the new Talking Point? Like "dead end"?

Try some facts next time.

10/05/2006 4:19 PM  
Blogger A Transportation Enthusiast said...

The first experiments in flight took place in the mid to late 1800s. The Wright Brothers flew in 1903. The first commercial flights were in 1919, and air travel didn't really become a major mode of travel until the 1950s, when commercial jets became common.

Many decades passed between the invention of human flight and the widespread commercial use of it for travel.

If a luddite like Ken Avidor had lived in the early 20th century, relentlessly spreading lies about air flight, we might still be relying on trains and ocean-liners to get around. People who call PRT a failed experiment have no clue about the history of technological advancement. Or perhaps they are luddites with an ulterior motive - to turn the world into Illichville by suppressing progress.

Either way, the "failed experiment" argument is as wrong as the "stalking horse" theory.

10/05/2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger Mr_Grant said...

This is one of my favorite threads involving Lumpidor (search for "What do we do about this passage").

It's quintessential Lumpi! First, he can't make his point without misquoting PRT literature. Then he turns to abuse ("hatchet job", "this bizarre article").

Finally, he falls back on his old stand-by, change the subject:

"You may want to add this item to the news section"
"How's this PRT project coming along?"
"'Let a thousand errors bloom, and maybe somebody will find it and get around to correcting it eventually.'"
"what happened to the Washington State PRT bill (SB 6707 -)?"
"Don't you think this Wikipedia article should have an entire chapter on Dean Zimmermann?"
"Henryk Bakuta invented Personal Rapid Transit."
"mmmm...PRT PIE!!!"

10/05/2006 7:31 PM  
Blogger Mr_Grant said...

Kenmore, does Dyna Sluyter know you're using her screen name?

10/05/2006 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is a transportation enthusiast attacking a Democratic candidate running against a Republican who would limit our civil liberties, undermine the social safety net, and institute a repressive theocracy?

10/07/2006 8:36 AM  
Blogger A Transportation Enthusiast said...

Anonymous: what do those issues have to do with transportation?

Regardless of Patty Wetterling's positions on other issues, I disagree with her transit position and the fact that she is using a deceptive sound bite to attack her opponent on that point. Using a misleading quote from a propagandist is unethical, and I've called her on it. She could have just as easily stated her position on transit without resorting to inflammatory anti-PRT rhetoric.

If the situation were reversed and the quote appeared on Bachmann's site, I would be criticising Bachmann for the same thing.

Patty should remove the quote from her site. It is nothing but a political ploy and it cheapens her campaign. When she removes it, I will update this entry to reflect that.

My focus is transportation, not politics. Don't muddle the issue by accusing me of promoting her opponent.

10/07/2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger Ned Luddington said...

A.T.E. is very likely a kid who spends way too much time causing trouble on the internet. I wish his parents would encourage him to find a new hobby.

10/08/2006 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patty Wetterling is a very stupid candidate for any office. She trusts the dems with children even though they have applauded any discretion by members of their sleeze-bag party. She would trust children to Studds, Kennedy, Clinton? Shame on her and anyone who votes democrat in this mid-term election. If you were smart, Patty, you would ask yourself why Pelosi only wants the republicans investigated and not the dems. What do the dems have to hide? Ask yourself another question: why is the liberal media and the liberals beating a dead horse? Could it be because they have no agenda except to get into power and get a lot of Americans killed here in the USA? WISE UP before it's too late and look into this party you think is so great.

10/08/2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger A Transportation Enthusiast said...

Ken Avidor's sock puppet writes:

"A.T.E. is very likely a kid..."

For the record, I am a 30-something electrical engineer with 3 kids. But would it really matter if I were a teenage kid? Again, Avidor cannot attack my words, so he tries to attack me. It's a cheap tactic, but it will not dissuade me; unlike Minneapolis politicians, I have nothing to lose when you attack me. So fire away, Ken, it will not deter me in the least!

10/08/2006 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is a transportation enthusiast attacking a Democratic candidate running against a Republican who would limit our civil liberties, undermine the social safety net, and institute a repressive theocracy?

Because he would sacrifice everything--including his own children's future apparently--to promote his pipedream of transportation, to attempt to antagonize a perceived enemy, and to engage in an childish game of one- upmanship.

10/08/2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger A Transportation Enthusiast said...

Oh spare me the dramatics. This is typical Avidorian apocalyptic exaggeration - I have an issue with one sentence on her web site, and all of a sudden I'm responsible for the fate of the world. Blatant, ridiculous scare tactics.

On the other hand, it's apparently not an issue when Avidor ruthlessly attacks various Greens and the entire Independent Party, just for committing the mortal sin of mentioning PRT. That's OK in your book, "Anonymous"? Last time I checked, these were non-Republicans, but I don't see any accusations that Avidor is sacrificing the future of the world by attacking them.

You want to say I'm anti-Wetterling, fine, I don't care. When Wetterling corrects the misinformation on her site, I'll update this blog entry to reflect that. In the meantime, go ahead and to accuse me of promoting Republicans; I really don't give a crap what you think. I'm not going to play political games, because frankly, politics bores me.

10/08/2006 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does "politics" bore a transportation enthusiast?

Because he separates his cause celebre from the the physical world. Because he is so much better than us. Because he is at heart an anti-government liberarian. Because his answer to all people's problems is a machine. Because he doesn't see the use without a profit motive. Because he prefers clean antimated white approximations of humanity to the real thing. Because he has the heart of a grinch.

Because government keeps getting in the way of his scheme.

10/09/2006 8:06 AM  
Blogger A Transportation Enthusiast said...

I'm going to translate the last comment by "Anonymous", line by line:

Anonymous: "Because he separates his cause celebre from the the physical world."

Translation: "Everything good has already invented! Why pursue new ideas? Let's all live in Illichville where time stands still!"

Anonymous: "Because he is so much better than us."

Translation: "If you don't agree with me, I'm going to resort to the old tried and true 'elitism' charge."

Anonymous: "Because he is at heart an anti-government liberarian."

Translation: "Libertarians: BAD! Republicans: BAD! Greens: BAD! Independents: BAD! Government is the DLF party. The DFL party is government. You shall not deviate from the DFL platform, or you will be branded anti-government, indeed, anti-humanity!"

Anonymous: "Because his answer to all people's problems is a machine."

Translation: "I am a luddite, and anything invented after 1850 is to be eliminated. I will not rest until we all live in a 19th century agrarian society with no machines or technology, where people farm their own land and make pottery in their 'spare time'."

Anonymous: "Because he doesn't see the use without a profit motive."

Translation: "Economic sustainability is BAD! Nothing is worthwhile unless it has a heavy government subsidy."

Anonymous: "Because he prefers clean antimated white approximations of humanity to the real thing."

Translation: "Technology is BAD! We luddites will not rest until the machines are all gone."

Anonymous: "Because he has the heart of a grinch."

Translation: "Progress is BAD! Innovation is heartless! The past 150 years of technological advancement has done no good for mankind."

Anonymous: "Because government keeps getting in the way of his scheme."

Translation: "'Government' is all about what I believe, and about what my party believes. You cannot have your scheme because I must have MY scheme. There is no middle ground in my government!"

Is it any wonder why I don't like politics?

10/09/2006 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does ATE not like sports?

Chicago 40 Buffalo 7

Onion Wing

10/09/2006 9:06 PM  

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