How Many Union Members Does It Take To Operate a Train?

Labor unions have been lobbying federal regulators to mandate that all freight trains operate with two-person crews in the cab. But automation renders this largely pointless.


President Joe Biden's proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending bill is more than just a huge barrel of federal cash for road, bridge, and rail projects. It is also a vehicle for reauthorizing America's surface transportation laws, providing an opportunity for special interests to write new rules and mandates into federal policy.

While most of those niche fights are unremarkable, the one shaping up between the railroad industry and its labor unions presents an interesting conundrum for the Biden administration, and it could have significant ramifications for the economy and even for efforts to reduce carbon emissions. At issue: How many people does it take to drive a train?

Labor unions such as the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers have been lobbying federal regulators to mandate that all freight trains operate with two-person crews in the cab. That's long been the standard industry practice for safety reasons. The engineer drives the train, while the rail conductor handles equipment inspections and monitors track signals. Unions worry that advanced automation will allow railroads to run safely without a second person in the engine—and they want the government to step in to protect those jobs.

This dreaded automation is indeed occurring. All major rail systems in the U.S. now use positive train control (PTC), essentially a computer-based override system that monitors speed and track signals to avert collisions. The adoption of PTC—mandated by Congress since 2008—has helped dramatically reduce rail accidents. Data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), an industry group, show accidents are down 30 percent since 2000, while employee injuries have fallen by more than 40 percent. Railroading is safer now than it has ever been, in large part due to those technological advances.

With PTC systems handling many of the in-cab duties that were formerly the rail conductor's responsibility, railroads are seeking to reassign some of those workers. Because rail conductors typically do equipment inspections and perform other duties before trains depart from rail yards and after they return, some will continue to work in that capacity. But any changes to the employment structure have to be approved as part of collective bargaining.

The unions' lobbying efforts can best be understood as a way to gain the upper hand in those negotiations. If the federal government mandates two-person rail crews, railroads won't be able to negotiate other arrangements.

During the waning days of the Obama administration, the unions nearly got what they wanted. In 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed a rule mandating two-person crews. But after investigating the issue for several years, the FRA concluded in 2019 that the mandate was not "necessary or appropriate for railroad operations to be conducted safely."

Case closed—unless Congress gets involved, which is exactly what could happen this year as part of Biden's infrastructure plan.

The president, as you may have heard, is a big fan of trains. And the White House has set ambitious goals for reducing America's carbon emissions during the next few decades. Trains could be a major part of that, because moving one ton of cargo one mile by truck emits several times as much carbon dioxide as moving it by rail.

But mandating that the railroad industry employ twice as many people to drive each train means higher costs. A 2015 study by Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm, and the AAR found that switching from two-person to one-person crews could save railroad companies as much as $2.5 billion over a decade. Those savings could reduce the cost of rail freight, making train transportation more economical. That in turn could mean fewer exhaust-spewing trucks on America's highways.

Despite the potential environmental benefits, siding with the railroads could alienate Biden's labor union allies. Still, without clear and convincing evidence that two-person crews are necessary for trains to operate safety—and with PTC doing a better job of preventing accidents than humans used to—there's no compelling reason for the government to get involved in this dispute. Private railroads and unions can make their own arrangements.

If Biden needs more convincing, he should check in with his beloved Amtrak. The government-run passenger rail system dropped its own two-people-in-the-cab mandate back in the 1980s.

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  1. Railroad unions spawned the word “featherbedding”.

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  2. Those savings could reduce the cost of rail freight, making train transportation more economical. That in turn could mean fewer exhaust-spewing trucks on America's highways.

    There is zero connection here. Trains and trucks do not generally compete for freight traffic. If there is a rail track/service between two points, rail gets the traffic even with two/cab. If there is no rail track/service, truck gets the traffic even with zero/cab.

    Railroad route miles have been declining since 1916. Some you would expect from passenger decline (250k miles to 200k miles up to Amtrak in 1971). More so since then (200k miles to 130k miles) because of the relative way we deal with - drumroll - LAND (ie track mileage costs). Trucks get the benefit of public subsidy of roads. Rail essentially requires somewhere between a market-return and a monopoly-return on track or it closes. Which has NOTHING to do with how many people are in the cab of a train.

    Trains and tracks are not the same thing. But it is tracks - not featherbedding - that drive the ability to use a train in any particular route.

    1. You're an idiot if you think they don't compete. Maybe you're lumping short haul and delivery trucks in with long haul. That makes you a different kind of idiot.

      1. Our of curiosity, why couldn’t you make that same comment without calling JFree an idiot?

        1. Same reason you couldn't discuss immigration without calling soldiermedic76 a xenophobic bigot, I suppose.

          Out of curiosity, why do you need to white knight for JFree the psychotic conspiracy theorist nutter 9/11 Truther? Has he not got a daddy he could run to?

          1. Him, jeff, and sarc realized their team needed an old crank.

            1. "team"?

              Your club is the only one that is perpetually cliquish and tribalist.

              1. Says Lying Jeffy as he jumps to Dee’s defense.

                1. The funny/sad part is, both you and Jesse have lied continually and persistently way more than I have and you all have the gall to call me a liar day after day.

                  1. have lied continually and persistently way more than I have …
                    Sounds like an admission to me.
                    So now that we know you lie sometimes, we have to wonder if you are doing it now.

                    1. Pretty funny Lying Jeffy admitted he lies.

                  2. Because you are a liar. In fact you're doing it now about R Mac and Jesse.

                  3. Ignore them. There are plenty of trolls who never have anything to say so why pay attention to their trolling.

                    1. Man. What is it with the leftists here that think they are pure and altruistic?

                  4. Citation jeff? I mean. You demand it of others.

                2. And isn't it something that every time either you or Jesse get involved in a conversation where I am participating, it immediately turns into a festival of personal attacks and trolling on your part. Gee I wonder why that is.

                  1. Oh let me correct that because I am sure you are going to use that as a basis for some future bitchy personal attack. Maybe not EVERY SINGLE TIME do your comments devolve into personal attacks. But it's pretty damn consistent.

                    Why can't you just discuss things without resorting to such stupidity?

                    1. chemjeff radical individualist
                      August.28.2021 at 1:31 pm
                      Flag Comment Mute User

                      Your club is the only one that is perpetually cliquish and tribalist.

                    2. And you always deserve them. You're dishonest, aggressive and a paid troll.

                      It's amazing how you can ask to "discuss things" when all you ever do is try to gaslight everyone.

                    3. Youre literally calling others stupid as you cry about being attacked. Lol. You called people trumpists for years. You lie constantly about what you've said. You've attacked Ken for weeks. Are you this delusional?

                  2. And now the victim hood. Another trait of the leftists here.

                3. Jumps? Maybe waddles. Or truffle shuffles. But not jump.

                  1. Collectivistjeff is not only fat, he's also full psychotic

                  2. Yeah, rolls would have been more appropriate.

              2. Oh look, here comes Captain Jeff, leader of Team Bluetroll, to back up one of his mates.

                Good work Captain Jeff, it's not your little team who's cliquish and tribalist, it's everyone else.

                1. Well, you in particular are certainly a white knight for your pals Jesse, RMac, Ken, etc.

                  1. He is attacking you, not defending me dumbass.

                  2. Yeah, look at me ride to their defense. You don't know what white knighting actually is, do you.

                  3. Captain Jeff, leader of Team Bluetroll

                    I like that. It'll be my new nick.

                  4. To be fair ML, if it isnt under 1000 calories, he probably doesn't know much about it.

                2. Radical Gaslightist

              3. It is amazing how ignorant you are as well as a liar lol. Just such dishonesty.

        2. Mike is pretending he doesn't attack people again? Mike is an idiot too.

        3. You'll always be a retarded faggot Mike, whether I call you that or not.

        4. Ignore them by muting them.

          1. It's hard to fifty-cent when the conversations you're supposed to be shitposting to oblivion are happening behind the gray. That's why Laursen sockpuppets so much.

          2. Please do, cowardly piece of lefty shit.

        5. "Our of curiosity, why couldn’t you make that same comment without calling JFree an idiot?"

          Out of curiosity, do you ever post without being an idiot?

      2. Yes they compete for long haul but the idea that rail will displace trucking any time soon is a climate change hysterics wet dream fantasy. With the advent of container shipping putting a next week load from NY to CA on a train makes sense. Putting a next day load from Chicago to St Louis on a truck also makes sense. Long haul truck loads have been declining for decades. But the demand for trucks has never been higher. Trucks will never compete with trains on fuel efficiency. And trains will never compete with trucks on available infrastructure. You can't lay tracks to every Walmart and Home Depot in the world.

        1. the idea that rail will displace trucking

          Who is saying this is even possible?

          What is it with the persistent black/white thinking? That since trains cannot replace trucks 100%, that nothing can be done at all to move some truck freight to rail freight?

          1. Well as noted truck freight has been moving to rail for a long time but it hasn't reduced truck miles. If your goal is to reduce truck miles you're gonna have to build a whole lot of tracks into a lot of places that will cause major congestion. Or come up with drones that can scale forty tons.

            1. Or, simply have different incentives for truck vs train transport.

              1. Let’s incentivize the least efficient thing so we use more of it!

                1. Sure, that's exactly what I said. Idiot.

                  1. Businesses don’t need outside incentives to use the lower cost, most efficient methods.

                    1. Jeff is onto something. If a business can use something more cheaply they may do it. I think Jeff has officially created capitalism.

            2. Driverless long haul trucks are next.

    2. Trucking and railroad DO compete with eachother.

      The competition for freight between rail intermodal and commercial trucks in 2019 was a fascinating story that had as much to do with a glut of trucking capacity as the operations philosophy of a visionary railroad CEO.

      Trucks and trains are, by their nature, suited for different kinds of freight. Trucks deliver freight point-to-point, often in palletized form that can be quickly unloaded by a forklift at a customer location, while trains run on a fixed network, hauling bulky, heavy commodities that are typically less valuable on a per-pound basis.

      But since the 1980s, railroads have taken on more and more containerized freight—cargo moved in intermodal containers that are easily transferred from ship to truck to train. Now, intermodal accounts for nearly half of all Class I railroad traffic in North America, and about a quarter of revenues.

      Intermodal freight is made up of the kind of commodities that trucks might haul, especially consumer goods. Intermodal rates per mile are typically cheaper, but trucks must be hired at either end of the container’s journey by rail to get the container to the train and off the train to its final destination. If those drayage costs can be spread out over a long-haul trip, typically more than 800 miles, then shippers can realize a significant cost savings by using the rail.

      Cost and fuel efficiency are two of intermodal’s major advantages over trucking, but the disadvantages include the relative inflexibility of the railroads, relatively slow speeds, and imperfect visibility into shipment status.

      No, the competition is not a 1:1 modality. If there's no rail, then you're going to use a truck. But for long haul freight, trucking and railroads have been in competition for decades. And as you see above, Railroads have been figuring out how to deal with... "truck-like freight".

      1. They can move the freight to a railyard but not to the customer. A lot of this is apples versus oranges.

        1. Of course. But a lot of it still comes down to long haul vs short haul.

      2. since the 1980s, railroads have taken on more and more containerized freight

        Which is a useful time frame (diff from the passenger one) to see why trucking got a leg up. Most of that reduction in rail route miles occurred in the 70's and early 80's. Some of which was track just shut down - some of which was track sold by class 1 roads to class 2/3 roads. Both of those changes open up opportunities for long-haul trucking. The former directly because no track at all on one end of the route. The latter indirectly because now two rail companies are competing - not to carry end-to-end traffic for the customer but to capture the track-rent for that route. Whereas trucks do not need to negotiate with different owners of road-miles - they can simply drive end-to-end - the govt owns that and it does not try to maximize its road-rent.

        And then containers took off in 1984. Plenty of business for both rail and truck - but they are not really competing in the sense of Rail Company v Truck company. RailCo can only haul end-to-end on its owned trackland. TruckCo can haul end-to-end regardless of roadland ownership.

        1. "...but they are not really competing in the sense of Rail Company v Truck company..."

          Goal posts on wheels!

    3. And of there is rail and pipeline service netween two points, we need to cancel the pipeline

  3. "because moving one ton of cargo one mile by truck emits several times as much carbon dioxide as moving it by rail"

    Of course, there is that pesky detail that we have yet to mandate everyone live by the railroad tracks. Are the railroad unions trying to put the truck unions out of business? Surely there is graft enough for all.

    1. Unions haven't had any significant involvement in trucking since Jimmy Hoffa.

      1. Hoffa is still alive and well and running things from his concrete underwater office.

  4. Should Congress be involved? No.

    Is having two people running the train a good idea? Yes.

    1. First one is abolutely No always and forever.

      Second one is up to the railroads to decide. None of your business, my business, or the government's business.

      1. Second one is up to the railroads to decide. None of your business, my business, or the government’s business.

        Until they turn your neighborhood into a Don DeLillo novel, that is.

        1. So what are you advocating for?

          Nationalize the railroads?

          1. That was some epic mind reading there, fatty.

            1. That is why it was a question. I don't know what "Nicholle" is advocating for. Seems as though he/she is just perpetually bitching.

              1. Why did you put her name in quotes?

                1. This is cowardly piece of lefty shit.

            2. What are you advocating for, with regards to trains and trucks and freight transport?

              1. And the perfect solution fallacy appears when you offer none for yourself.

                1. I'm not asking for a perfect solution. Just for what you advocate. But then again that is another lie.

            3. Jeff claims he doesn't lie or mistepresent people above. Lol.

        2. "Until they turn your neighborhood into a Don DeLillo novel, that is."

          Just left the strawman warehouse with that one?

    2. One of the contributing factors cited in the Lac Megantic railcar explosion disaster was there was only one operator.égantic_rail_disaster

      1. The Lac-Megantic train did not have PTC. With PTC a runaway train like this would have been automatically stopped before it ever entered the town.

  5. Incremental cost to consumer of 2 people on the train?
    cost when the system malfunctions and slams a train full of coal into a train full of chemicals?

    But please, let us not interfere with the profit margins of large corporations seeking to lower the cost of moving their product from .0000001 dollars per ton to .00000009 dollar per ton
    and lets not lose a chance to crap on unions cause that is always fun


    nah that isnt fun

    1. You're so smart. I wonder why you're not running a company.

      1. I’m sure he has several successful operations.

        1. Like gender shit?

      2. My favorite thing about libertarians is how they are fiercely independent anti-credentialists right up until they need to shit on somebody who pops their bubble for their lack of credentials.

        Pray tell, Fagammamon, why aren't you running a company with your clearly superior intellect?

        1. I'm not shitting on someone for their lack of credentials.

          I'm shitting on someone for doing a cost analysis for someone else without knowing anything about them.

      3. Probably a union boss. Unions are for profit entities. So they're companies. Sorta.

    2. Your HO gauge and lemonade stand experience is for nought. You probably didn't even have a business license for your illegal lemonade stand.

      1. Or a union card.

        1. One does need to show id to attend a union election. But they don’t want that for a political election.

    3. If you're going by costs based on malfunctions, every transport device has that possibility dummy. Oil pipelines spill far less than trucks or trains. Want to go there next?

      1. But pipelines allow for few union hack jobs.

        1. And their union is the worst when it comes to looking out for their workers interests.

      2. "Oil pipelines spill far less than trucks or trains."

        That is way off the mark.

        Oil pipelines spill far more barrels than a few train cars from a derailment. It just goes under reported because there isn't a fireball in a cornfield for CNN.

    4. ost when the system malfunctions and slams a train full of coal into a train full of chemicals?

      But please, let us not interfere with the profit margins of large corporations

      You don't think it costs money to have two trains full of coal and chemicals explode?

    5. Accidents are down since the second person became unnecessary, because computers are less prone to human error

      But why not mandate 3 people? Or 4? If a backup is good, why not a backup to the backup's backup?

      1. Shh! It took us a long time to get rid of firemen from train crews. Please don't suggest they bring them back.

        1. Some of us miss steam...

  6. there's no compelling reason for the government to get involved in this dispute. Private railroads and unions can make their own arrangements.

    But the US government has already been involved in labor negotiations for a century. "Their own arrangements" hasn't really been the case ever since. There's only the appearance of making their own arrangements, but government-mandated rules have distorted the market wherever labor is organized, or potentially organized, in ways we have nothing to compare against, so it's hard to tell how it would be otherwise.

    1. But the US government has already been involved in labor negotiations for a century for as long as there has been such a thing.


      government-mandated rules have distorted the market wherever labor is organized, or potentially organized, in ways we have nothing to compare against, so it’s hard to tell how it would be otherwise

      Very true.

  7. Unions.

    It wasn't until 1985 that railroads were able to either stop putting firemen (in a fleet that was all diesel for at least 26 years) in the cab or paying a 'loneliness premium' to engineers.

    1. Hey, Silicon Valley should pay that loneliness premium to engineers too.

      1. What about the incels shouldn't they get a check too?

  8. I choo-choo-choose not to participate.

    1. Chumby wins the thread!

  9. there's no compelling reason for the government to get involved in this dispute. Private railroads and unions can make their own arrangements.

    Thing is, and the author would know if they researched railroad unions, railroads unions aren't really private. They have an *enormous* amount of power (more than any other union in the country) due to the government giving them special privileges coming out of nationalization during previous wars.

    They're basically quangos.

    1. Thing is, and the author would know if they researched railroad unions, railroads unions aren’t really private.

      Neither are the railroad operators.

      At least the DNC 50 centers around here are getting something for their obsequious bootlicking. You pathetic fucking simps for centi-billionaires like Warren Buffett in the choo choo industry are happy to gargle those wrinkly old man balls for nothing.

  10. Those savings could reduce the cost of rail freight, making train transportation more economical. That in turn could mean fewer exhaust-spewing trucks on America’s highways.

    Jesus. Did you even research anything for this article.

    You know what gets moved by train? Massive bulk stuff. You know what gets moved by truck? smaller break-bulk stuff. Trains are the container ships of the land. You know why?

    Because its more efficient overall.

    1. Train vs. truck is not a 1:1 substitution in every case but they can be substitutes for each other in certain cases given the right economic incentives.

      Personal anecdote: I often see entire manufactured houses, or very large wind turbine parts, being transported by truck. I wonder if those couldn't be transported more safely and cheaper by train instead. Those types of items don't seem like good fits for a truck.

      1. There might be the consideration of how hard it is to load and unload awkward pieces of freight, as opposed to, say, simply hitching a container box on a trailer up to the semi, after it has been unloaded from a ship or train car.

        1. The moral of the story, of course, is the people doing the shipping have their reasons for doing it the way they are doing it — and the government should stay out of it.

        2. See my comment above. Railroads have been figuring out the non-bulk freight game.

          1. Saw it. Nice to hear there is still innovation in the railroad industry.

            1. Guess you could say they are on the right track.

      2. Excellent point! After all, the vast majority of wind power generating farms and mobile home communities are in direct proximity to a fucking railroad. You retarded fucking shank.

      3. Were you smart enough to realize last mile transport can't occur on a train?

        1. You're right! It can't. Are you claiming that manufactured homes and windmill parts are only transported on trucks for last-mile transport only?

          1. Cmon, work it out in your head.

          2. Here's a hint... were you near a major rail port when you saw those trucks? Congrats, you can mouth words as you work this out. Think slowly.

          3. And lastly... what do you think an oversized load on a train would do if two trains passed each other or went through a tunnel?

            I believe on you buddy. Work it out slowly.

          4. No, but you need to load it onto a truck, then offload it. Then load it on a train. Then offload it. Then load it back on a truck. The offload it. At each offload you have to have room for it to sit for a bit while waiting for the next stage of transport to arrive. And, of course, you'll need to arrange to have the lift equipment ready.

            All this costs money (and risk to the home) - so its very likely considered cheaper and safer to just load it on the truck. Take it to its destination, then offload it there.

        2. I propose rickshaw for that. Imagine the number of union jobs that would be created!

      4. Wind turbine blades are transported by rail. Google the Vestas video if you want.

        1. I've seen them pulled by trucks as well, so you're only partially right

      5. While mobile homes are often near railroad lines, most of them aren’t near depots.

      6. Railroads don't have the leeway of taking alternate routes for the occasional over-sized loads.

        So yeah, these things could go by railroad. Except they can't so they don't.

        1. Hey, if David Hogg can revolutionize the pillow industry, jeff can transform the entire transportation industry.

    2. Trains could've been even more like container ships. ~40 years ago the Reason Foundation published a symposium chapter that outlined a plan to reorganize the rail system of North America into a few routes that would have worked very much like container ships, and practically did away with rail shipping otherwise.

  11. How many government employee unions does it take to ruin a state?

    I don't know, check how many California has.

    "Systemic racism" is a nice cover for "public employee unions don't let us fire bad cops when we first realize they have no business interacting with the public".

    1. Just 1, but the probability increases exponentially with number of government employees.

  12. Seems like having 2 engineers in the cab of the train is like having both a pilot and a co-pilot flying an airplane. Sure it only takes one to operate the vehicle overall, but the second person is there as backup "just in case". It seems like a prudent measure to have two people present. Whether it ought to be mandated by the government is a different question.

    1. Yes, government should stay out of it.

      I’m guessing the trains have lots of automation to the point they don’t really need _anyone_ in the cab. Personally, I’m still in favor of having a human there even when things are automated, to deal with the unexpected; humans are still the best when it comes to the unexpected.

      1. Serves me right for commenting before reading the blog post. It was all about the effects of automation.

        (And before the ankle biters razz me for not reading the blog post first, I almost always do so.)

        1. Lol. You fail way more often with posting than you do reading the article. And stop qualifying your ignorant talking points with government shouldn't force people but people should follow the government bullshit.

        2. Ouch. Something bit me on the ankle.

          1. Lol. You responded with idiocy as usual.

          2. Keep trying to be Ken.

      2. If fully automated trucks make sense (and people keep telling me that we'll have them in a decade or two), then fully automated trains (i.e., zero-person crews) make even more sense, because there are a lot fewer decisions that the AI has to make on a train, which operates in only one dimension rather than two.

        1. I don’t think fully-automated is a good idea. Assistive AI is a much better idea.

    2. Its not like that at all.

      The second person is *not* a qualified engineer. They've been there to do things like walk the train to ensure brake lines are connected and cars are hooked up. Which the engineer can do.

      At best, they're *trainee* engineers. And most are not.

    3. Well no, generally the conductor is an entry-level job and doesn't have the training to be promoted to engineer.

  13. O/T: Good news, here is a very effective antibody therapy against COVID.

    No word yet on whether sheep dewormer works as well.

    1. That’s great news! I was curious how much it costs, and it looks like it may be $2000/dose.

    2. No word yet on whether sheep dewormer works as well.

      Turns out there is though.

      A five-day course of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 may reduce the duration of illness

          1. Turns out that using really old off-patent drugs to actually treat symptomatic COVID doesn't enrich any revolving door fedgov bureaucrats or pharmaceutical executives though, nor do hospital administrators get any per-patient fedbux for actually curing COVID patients, so instead we've spent almost 2 years killing tens of thousands of people for lack of treatment by telling them to hide under their bed and take tylenol until they require mechanical ventilation in an ICU and inevitably die from pneumonia or secondary infection as everyone on a ventilator for more than a week or two has since the invention of mechanical ventilation.

            Incidentally, if you got your news from anywhere other than Salon and Mother Jones you'd have found about monoclonal antibody treatment several weeks ago when Florida governor Ron DeSantis, whom you've accused of being a cold-blooded killer for failing to mandate your face diaper talismans, began pushing mobile units to deliver that therapy to high-risk communities.

            1. But DeSantis promoted it, so jeff has to ignore it.

          2. Spike in poisonings from ivermectin reported in florida

            Unknown is whether people or their worms were the ones calling the poison hotlines.

            On the bright side - the competition for Darwin Awards will be fierce this year

      1. You know what? I am honestly glad that ivermectin actually has some therapeutic benefit.

        The problem of course is with the paranoid insistence that this sort of thing is being covered up or suppressed based on some conspiracy.

        1. It's not paranoia because people have been booted off social media for suggesting it.

          You just ignore those instances because it doesn't fit your left wing world view of TDS.

          1. I don't follow the ins and outs of social media so I have no idea what they are up to nowadays. What is an example of alleged social media censorship surrounding ivermectin that you think is noteworthy?

            1. You don't follow media - so you don't know what's happening vis-a-vis censorship?

              But you're perfectly willing to accept that anyone who says there's censorship on this subject is just paranoid?

              1. Lying Jeffy isn’t an honest person. He admitted he lies.

              2. I don't closely follow the ins and outs of social media, no.

                But I am in general skeptical of right-wing claims of social media censorship, since these claims in the past have tended to be misleading or highly distorted. That is why I asked for an example so I could judge for myself.

            2. How do you push every Twitter narrative then?

            3. Derp a derp

        2. It’s also really odd when someone is willing to undergo an experimental therapy for COVID-19, but feel the vaccines are too risky and unproven.

          I just cannot personally fathom someone’s making health decisions for political reasons. Especially, the crowd who are refusing to get vaccinated because libruls want them to get vaccinated.

          1. Sounds like you are advocating for neither. And that is your choice.

            I just cannot personally fathom someone’s making health decisions. FTFY

            Trump wants people vaccinated. He now a librul?


            1. Go ahead and think for yourself. Who here is opposed to that?

              BUT, don't expect your decision to be instantly validated by everyone around you.

              1. Certainly not looking for any validation from the likes of you.

  14. Media lefties like Paulie Krugscum actually seem to be genuinely starting to freak out about the California recall, but does anyone here seriously believe that California's vote counters and back room mail ballot stuffers are going to take any chance of at all of possibly allowing that to happen?

    Personally, I just don't believe it, so I'm not getting my hopes up. I think they're going to stuff as many ballots as they have to, however long it takes for them to do it. California is far more of a true one party totalitarian state now than it was even 18 years ago during the Gray Davis era.

    1. Voting, like speech, is a sacred right that must be carefully regulated and occasionally corrected.

      1. Yes, no ID required, but bring your vaccination card.

    2. Why the fuck are you talking about the california recall on an article about trains? Are you fucking retarded?

  15. If Casey Jones’ union dues had been higher, he would not have been able to afford that cocaine.

  16. "Covid-19 hospitalizations nationwide crossed above 100,000 this week for the second time in the pandemic, overwhelming caregiver capacity in several states."

    The explosion in delta variant cases has been spreading outward from the southeast, and it hasn't hit California and New York really hard yet. So, they still aren't experiencing the ICU crowding that some of the states in the southeast are already experiencing. That will probably change in the coming weeks.

    Crowded ICUs drove the lockdown orders last time, even in places like Texas, and we shouldn't be surprised if California and New York lock their economies down in the coming weeks. Newsom will be extremely reluctant to lock the state down before the recall election on September 14, and ICUC bed availability may not hit crisis levels in California before then.

    Beyond that, we should expect Democrats to become increasingly unpopular in coming months. The deadline on the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation deal is due come September 27. Biden's popularity was hurting before we were abandoning how ever many Americans in Kabul. I'm not sure the Democrats can collapse to Carter levels before September 27, but that's where they're headed.

    1. "We'll get 'em next time", said Ken the retard as the senate prepared to vote on the bill passed by the house making the illegal election changes conjured into law by the Pennsylvania supreme court the immutable rule in all 50 states.

      1. Does anyone else know what this is supposed to be about?

        1. Sometimes, those people that harass you at the gas station for change also reply to your posts. Finish filling the tank, get back in the vehicle, lock the doors and be on your way.

          1. I thought it might be about ballot stuffing and some kind of H.R. 1 law, but the Republicans picked up House seats in the 2020, and earlier this week, nine House Democrats just forced Pelosi to agree on bringing the infrastructure bill up for a vote on September 27--regardless of whether the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill has been voted on. Those nine Democrats did that because they're afraid of what will happen to them in 2022 if they vote for the reconciliation bill.

            Perhaps strangest of all, my comment was about how Biden and the Democrats are likely to become increasingly unpopular between now and September 27--and there's no House or presidential election being held between now and September 27. Why would someone post a comment about ballot stuffing and an H.R. 1`law un response to that? In this case, the comment doesn't seem to make sense--unless we make certain assumptions about the commenter.

            1. One cannot use logic to address illogical statements. Forget it Ken. It’s Chinatown.

    2. Why are you talking about covid-19 in an article about policies on train personnel? Are you fucking retarded?

  17. He was fired for this.
    The cunt who threatened to shoot citizens for leaving their home was not.

    Remarkable video from Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller calling out senior leaders on Afghanistan. "People are upset because senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying 'we messed this up.'" [Video]

    1. You are right. The rules only apply to everyone else. The rules obviously shouldn't apply to officers expressing disapproval of Democrat leaders.

      1. He knew he was going to get in trouble, and even said he would do the same to a subordinate.

        But you apparently don't care that he takes a bullet to speak out against terrible leadership and policies.

        That's because you're a left wing shill, who voted for Biden, and now you have to double down on that decision.

        1. So now you believe in "truth to power". Huh.

          1. And now you dont. After having supported the likes of Col Vindman during impeachment.


        One was protected for speaking out against his chain of command — the other, fired within a day. [Pic]

      3. How many officers have felt the need to express disapproval of Republican leaders?

        Serious question to think about.

        1. And what happened to those who spoke out against Republican leaders.

          For example, what is the difference in outcome between LtCol Vindman and Col Scheller?

          Especially when you take into account that Vindman basically said the President and his administration were fascists trying to take over the country while Scheller pointed out the hypocrisy of senior leaders screwing up so badly but never actually suffering consequences for doing so.

    1. Marines Killed in Kabul Airport Explosions Were Killed by U.S.-Made C4 and SEMTEX Left Behind by US Forces During Withdrawal planted, armed, and detonated by CIA operatives


    2. And this is why Biden should be charged with treason.

      1. I'll bet Biden put the explosives there himself.

        1. Annnd fat jeff does his mind reading trick again, because he's in the tank for the far left and like all good paid trolls he's gotta defend the indefensible.

          1. Have had the obese imbecile muted for a spell now. It is nice not being exposed to his relentless stupidity.

          2. It's Saturday so he's getting OT pay.

          3. he’s in the tank for the far left

            How am I "in the tank for the far left"? Be specific.

              1. No no, please attempt to prove to everyone here what "far left" ideas I have advocated for. Provide quotes where applicable.

                1. No.
                  Go fuck yourself.
                  You can keep whining, complaining, and lying all you want.
                  Your posts are there for everyone to read.
                  Claim whatever the hell you want to claim, and be judged.
                  It's your fault, and your fault alone, collectivistjeff, that you have no credibility.
                  You're a fucking disgrace.

                2. Whenever they get excited about something and you don't denounce it, that shows your unspoken support. You don't have to say it. The fact that you don't say what they want you to say means you really meant what they say you didn't say. See?

                  1. Still waiting.

                    August.23.2021 at 1:21 pm
                    Flag Comment Mute User
                    Except that I’m not supporting or ignoring the other. People like you just glaze over posts where I’m critical of Dems because it doesn’t fit your cognitive biases.

                  1. So you can't prove it. Got it.

  18. Too bad farmer unions did not have enough power a couple hundred years ago. We could all still be agrarian people working (or pretending to work) on the family farm. And the woke green deal would have arrived that much sooner. But without the internet or penicillin.

    1. But everyone would be poor, so equity!


    1/ The UK has stunningly detailed and up-to-date mortality statistics. With a lag of under two weeks, it reports deaths by age and cause - and compares them to the expected number.

    The figures paint a troubling picture. In the last few weeks, excess deaths have turned positive… [link]

    2/ After months in which they were negative. We thought excess mortality would be negative for a year-plus after Covid ended - many people who die from Covid are near the end of life, so those deaths were being pulled forward. That was the spring pattern. Now it’s changed…

    3/ And not (only) because Covid is back. No, something specific is happening. Cancer and some lung disease deaths remain low, for example. But cardiac and stroke deaths are significantly higher than normal, and rising… [link]

    4/ And rates for younger people are strikingly higher than normal and rising (though they are still only a tiny fraction of overall deaths).

    Maybe delayed care explains this pattern. But then why is it so centered around heart and not cancer deaths?

    Something bad is happening. [Link]

    1. I'm sure the vaccines which are linked to heart inflammation and strokes has no connection whatsoever.

      1. Statistically? Heart disease linked to the vaccine is not statistically significant compared to heart disease linked to all other sources.

        Why are you spreading unjustified fear?

        1. Cite? lol


            Myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. As of August 18, 2021, VAERS has received 1,339 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis among people ages 30 and younger who received COVID-19 vaccine. Most cases have been reported after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), particularly in male adolescents and young adults. Through follow-up, including medical record reviews, CDC and FDA have confirmed 778 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. CDC and its partners are investigating these reports to assess whether there is a relationship to COVID-19 vaccination.

            Considering how many other causes there are for heart disease, I don't need a t-test to tell me that 778 reports coming from the vaccine is statistically insignificant.

              1. From your link:

                A higher-than-usual number of cases of a type of heart inflammation has been reported following Covid-19 vaccination, especially among young men following their second dose of an mRNA vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

                Overall, 226 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination in people younger than age 30 have been confirmed, Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, said during a presentation to a Food and Drug Administration advisory group. Further investigation is needed, however, to confirm whether the vaccination was the cause of the heart problem.

                Once again Jesse this is where you are dishonest. No one in any position of authority denies that there is a link between the mRNA vaccines and myocarditis. But *statistically*, compared to the other sources of heart trouble, it is exceptionally small. So playing up and overdramatizing the risk of myocarditis that comes from the vaccine is just fearmongering. Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to scare people away from taking the vaccine?

          2. So Jesse et al. are spreading unjustified fear if they are implying that an uptick in heart patients going to the hospital are linked to the vaccine. Why are they doing this?

            1. Because COVID-19 vaccines are librul medicine.

              1. Or maybe dangerous.

                1. They are dangerous, to an extent. COVID is dangerous. Many things are dangerous. The real question is, what is the relative danger of one compared to another?

                  For most people, the danger posed by the vaccine itself is incredibly low, and far lower than the danger posed by COVID. So it is a no-brainer.

                  Yet people like Jesse will spread unfounded fear about the vaccine, making it seem more dangerous than it really is. That is unfortunate.

                  1. Someone who took the vaccine got sick. That means the vaccine doesn't help anyone at all. Don't you know anything about science and logic?

                    1. There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who know binary, and those who do not get this joke.

                    2. Then there are those who think in binary, but still don't get the joke. That'd be you JesseAz.

                  2. I was told the vaccines are safe. Now you say there is danger.

                  3. Lol. I linked 3 different articles retarded fuck. Keep fearing covid since you're fat. We get it.

                    1. You linked to three articles which did not contradict anything that I said.

                      No one in any position of authority denies that there is a link between the mRNA vaccine and myocarditis.

                      But the chance is very very small, and statistically, it is not a significant source of heart trouble especially considering all of the other ways there are to get a heart disease.

                      The issue is not about denying whether there is a link, the issue is exaggerating the link or making it seem like a bigger deal than it really is. THAT is the issue. That is what you are doing, trying to scare people away from taking the vaccine with unjustified fear. Why?

                  4. So are you going to apologize for lying now jeff? Gave you plenty to counter your own misinformation.

                    1. Nothing you cited contradicted anything I wrote.

                      When are you going to apologize for spreading unfounded fear about the vaccine?

                  5. "Yet people like Jesse will spread unfounded fear about the vaccine, making it seem more dangerous than it really is. That is unfortunate."

                    Unless he has the ear of innocent youth, I doubt he has any influence. Especially since he claims to have gotten the jab.

                    So whatever he says about it is just written off as political spouting by the crazy uncle.

              2. Hey retard, I'm vaccinated. But I also don't deny actual research because democrat leadership tells me to get a shot.

                1. We're not puppets, asshole.

                  Failure to join in your parade doesn't equal support for whatever you're marching against.

                  You're as bad as that feminist with hairy armpits in the park. "If you don't denounce what I want you to denounce then you support the patriarchy! Prove you don't or you do! You all do! Aaauughh!!"

            2. Just gave you 3 links fat ass.

              You want another? 78% of deaths from covid are linked to obesity.


              This is why you're so fucking scared.

              1. People have been saying jeff's obese for a while, so now it's "known" that he's a fatso. I mean, people have been saying it so it must be true! So let's all make fun of him! Let's point fingers and make piggy sounds! Ewwwww fatty jeffy ewwww! Oink oink! Better not eat bacon, it's cannibalism!!! Oh look at us we're so cool!!

                1. Poor sarc.

                2. I asked him if he was fat and he said yes.

                  1. That is a lie.

        2. Hey dummy, ot increased a condition of inflammation for males under 25 from one in 100k to 1 in 2k. You do know what statistics mean right?


    NEW - People given both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were almost six-fold more likely to contract a delta infection and seven-fold more likely to have symptomatic disease than those who recovered, Israeli research finds.

    1. I read that study. It's true the vaccine did not do as good a job of protecting people as natural immunity did, in this case. But if you look at the raw numbers, both the vaccine and the natural immunity performed exceptionally well. In the vaccinated group, 238/16215 got sick (1.4%), but in the natural immunity group, 19/16215 got sick (0.1%). EITHER WAY, very few people got sick.

      1. Just like the original vax trials showed very few people actually got sick enough to count as a test.

        In fact everywhere you look it's very rare to actually get sick enough to go to the hospital.

        1. Yet we have states where available hospital beds are running low.

          1. That statement was true this time last year, summer 2019, summer 2018 etc.

          2. Clearly the solution is to fire nurses who don't get the jab, like Jay Inslee!


            States worst off:
            Georgia 14% beds free 27% taken by covid
            Flordia 15% beds free 27% taken by covid

            These are the only two states I see that can't DOUBLE their covid patients and still have room left over. Even Texas can do that. And these are the SAME states that had the problems late summer last year. And they are already peaking as we move into the fall lull before the autumn spike.

            1. 15-20% is fairly normal for non occupancy rates. But white Mike loves his narratives.

            2. Overall hospital beds is irrelevant now because covid patients are being told to go home unless they are in line for ICU. Likewise, in most of these states, empty/staffed ICU beds are being left empty for non-covid emergency and covid patients only get in upon death/recovery of a previous covid patient. From that link - ICU beds - first number is staffed ICU beds, second number is ICU beds in use, third number is covid ICU:

              Alabama - 1588 - 1639 (yes more in use than staffed) - 867
              Arkansas - 991 - 904 - 473
              Florida - 6894 - 6520 - 3598
              Georgia - 2818 - 2639 - 1447
              Louisiana - 1826 - 1651 - 852
              Mississippi - 895 - 823 - 516
              Texas - 7795 - 7272 - 3786

              Only Florida and Arkansas have really seen the spike up in excess deaths so far. But over the next month or two those will show in the data.

      2. That's not what is being debated.

        What is being debated is - if you already have been exposed, if you already have natural immunity, and the natural immunity is (according to the numbers you just posted) 10 times more effective, why mandate vaccination for these people?

        They already have better immunity so there's no reason to expose them to even a minor risk of minor side effects.

        Yes, if you haven't got natural immunity through exposure, its best to just go get vaccinated. But if you've already had Covid, there's *no point* to getting the shot - and some real risks to getting it - except as security theater.

        1. But if you’ve already had Covid, there’s *no point* to getting the shot

          That is not true. That's like saying there is "no point" to wearing a seatbelt if you are already a safe driver.

          The vaccines provide an extra layer of protection. Other studies have shown that the vaccines are more broadly effective against all the strains, while natural antibodies are more specifically effective against the specific strain that the patient was infected with. Note that this study from Israel was specifically about the delta variant so it is no surprise that natural immunity against specifically the delta variant was better than the vaccine. But we don't know what variants are coming in the future, and there is no guarantee that the natural antibodes that you have (if any) are specific to the delta variant or are for some other variant.

          1. The vaccines provide an extra layer of protection.

            But they don't.

            That's the point that's been made. They don't provide an extra layer of protection if you've already had Covid.

            Other studies have shown that the vaccines are more broadly effective against all the strains,

            Right. That's why you only need to get the flu shot once. Because the flue vaccine provides some protection against the other strains. Oh wait, that's not how it works. Hence why the Covid vaccination is something like 40% or less effective against the Delta variant. And natural immunity achieved is in the same realm.

            But we don’t know what variants are coming in the future, and there is no guarantee that the natural antibodes that you have (if any) are specific to the delta variant or are for some other variant.

            You are literally quoting a study that shows the vaccine isn't any better against Delta and then turning around and ignoring that to wave your hands and say 'well, it *should* - we don't know - be better against all those unknown strains whose properties we don't know anything about'.

            Nice to see you 'following the science' there buddy.

            Making assertions with no evidence and ignoring the evidence you have in order to reach the pre-determined conclusion that the people who ran the Afghanistan occupation and withdrawal know what the fuck they're talking about when it comes to a communicable disease.


    Kamala Harris visited Vietnam this week and in an apparent faux pas she laid flowers at a site that celebrated the shooting down of pilot, and late Sen. John McCain.

    Apparently, Harris mistook the site that celebrated the Vietnamese civilians who captured McCain and handed him over to the communist government as their prisoner, for a memorial to the late senator.

    Why she would believe that a nation that was fighting against the United States would erect a memorial for a man who fought against them is unknown.

    1. The Vietnamese don’t care that she is black, gave blowjobs for political advancement or is a woman. But they do know that she is stupid.

      1. But they do we all know that she is stupid.


    JUST IN - Taliban condemns U.S. drone strike against Islamic State militants. "It was a clear attack on Afghan territory," a group's spokesman says.

  23. I'm sure these were totally not just random people/places hit to say something was done...

    The Pentagon's adamant refusal to name the targets of the drone strike is perplexing in light of the Biden admin's eagerness to give out "kill lists" which reveal the names of American citizens and Afghan allies to the Taliban.

    The U.S. Central Command initially said one person, described as an ISIS-K planner, was killed in a counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan’s Nangahar Province, east of Kabul. That person was suspected of being involved in plotting future attacks, but had no direct link to Thursday’s assault in Kabul, according to a U.S. official. That number has now been increased to two


      The judge just randomly asked if mom was vaccinated, she said no, and he took her child away.

      They were in court for a separate matter.

      The dad didn’t even request it.

      Now they stole her child away forever unless she gets the vax and presumably all boosters.

      1. And sterilization because she is an unfit parent.


    Teacher says the US flag makes her uncomfortable so she “misplaced” it and has students in the classroom pledge their allegiance to the trans pride flag. [Video]

  25. Why has automation only lowered the accident rate by 30%?

    Why is it hard to believe that unions would round up and companies would round down?

    Why don’t we require two operators for trucks?

    This all just seems beyond the scope of some random internet argument.

    1. Trains are inherently pretty dangerous. Massive boxes (literally having tons of mass) rolling around on wheels.

      A railroad car coupling will take your fingers right off if you have a lapse of attention.

      1. Trucks are absolute havens of comfort and safety.

      2. Mike posts to proven how stupid lefties are.
        Hint: So are ships, airplanes, trucks and even cars!


    BREAKING: US Special Forces veterans coordinating their own privately-funded operations to go into Afghanistan and evacuate their allies

    1. Saw that in foreign news yesterday. Amazing.


    There are now 21 state monoclonal antibody treatment sites across Florida. If you're at risk of COVID-19, this treatment can be accessed free of charge.

    For more information about any of the monoclonal sites, including state-run sites, visit: [link]

  28. Automation is having an interesting effect on humans, in that it makes people much less observant and lazy as they expect the automation to take care of most routine tasks. On the other hand it can also prevent a human from making costly mistakes. I suspect at some point there will be one human in the cab, one in the cockpit, etc anyway. Unions may have outsized influence with left wing democrats, but they don't with the rest of us and the democrats are going to lose badly in the next two elections. Fat Jeff will be sad that his left wing buddies are losing, and he'll come back here to mind read and interpret for us.

    1. Believe me, I would be happy if both Democrats and Republicans could lose.

      1. But if Democrats lose, who's going to carry on the important work of making public schoolchildren take mandatory critical race theory classes?


        1. I guess that means decisions on curriculum will be made by local schoolboards.

          1. Lol. Youbdo love being ruled by your government boards over giving parents choice and information. So libertarian of you.

  29. This is nothing new. The author is probably too young to remember the 'featherbedding' issue in the 1950's and 60's.
    Same issue- the union wanted more employees per train. They even kept the requirement for a train to have a caboose long after modern communications did away with the need.

  30. Having an extra union member on a train may cause more problems than it solves.

  31. If Biden needs more convincing, he should check in with his beloved Amtrak.

    Maybe he can get a discount on a 1-way ticket back to Wilmington.

  32. LA Unified School District has one employee for every 7.5 students. They could probably teach the rail unions something about featherbedding.

  33. Talking about Biden's popularity upthread, I went and looked at Carter's approval ratings--because the Biden administration is shaping up to look a lot like Carter's--from inflation to social spending and from the Iranian hostage crisis to the botched rescue attempt, I'm seeing parallels to the Carter administration in Biden. Even Carter's oil crisis has parallels to Biden shutting down pipelines and the Green New Deal.

    Eight months into Carter's presidency, August 1977, he was still at a 66% approval rating, but Biden was barely holding onto a 50% approval before the recent drama in Afghanistan. It wasn't until June of 1977 that Carter's approval rating went south of 30%. The way things are going, I don't expect Biden to turn this game around and suddenly become more popular. If Biden's approval is above 45% next week, I'll be surprised.

  34. Senile Joe Biden appears to fall asleep at meeting with Israeli PM.


    I would bet the Israelis are wondering how long Sleepy Joe will support them. If you're an enemy of the US and/or Israel this has got to be one of those moments in history where you could get away with quite a lot. The obvious, Russia into Ukraine, China into Taiwan, Turkey finishing off the Kurds, heck even Pakistan and India going to war. This is Biden's fault, and those who voted for a sick senile old man.

    1. This exchange specifically is extremely bizarre:

      A reporter mentions that no American has been attacked by the Taliban since February of 2020, which is when Trump signed the peace deal with the Taliban, and then the reporter asks Biden whether he bears any responsibility for how things have gone in Afghanistan over the past couple of weeks--including dead Americans.

      Biden first responds by saying that Trump's deal would have had the U.S. out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021--as if that somehow exonerates Biden for breaking Trump's deal with the Taliban or what's happened and is happening in Kabul. And then Biden hides his head in his hands.

      Either he hides his head in his hands because he realizes that he's admitting it's all his fault by his own statement or he hides his head in his hands because he's so confused he doesn't know what to say. I can't think of a better explanation for why a president would hide his head in his hands during a televised press conference.

      If this were your dad or an uncle, the family would get together and say, hey, it's time for us to step in and for the old guy to retire. Biden is clearly not in any condition to be the President of the United States. I'm not sure I understand why the people behind the scenes keep pushing him out there to do press conferences either.

      Biden also recently said that he was "instructed" to call on certain reporters, which may be a clue as to why Biden's handlers keep pushing him out there to do press conferences. He's given a list of reporters who have been supplied by the White House with questions to ask, and Biden probably rehearses the answers. Then he forgets or decides to go off script and call on the wrong reporter who asks him a bad question.

      Biden should be asleep in front of a television in Rehoboth Beach. He has no business being President of the United States, and I doubt he will be after the midterms. He might have resigned already in favor of the Vice President if his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill were passed and he thought Harris could win an election for dog catcher anywhere outside of California.

      1. Biden is the second term of the Carter administration if Carter either had a stroke or quick onset Alzheimers.

      2. It was really strange to hear him give credit to Trump for there not being any deaths in the last x months.

      3. “Biden should be asleep in front of a television in Rehoboth Beach.”

        Agreed. Trump, Pelosi, McConnell, and several other Congresscritters are also fossils, who should not be leading our nation.

        1. Trump is not in office.

          1. Mike has a very short memory span; if you count it in hours, it matches his IQ!

      4. The Chron had an image of droolin' Joe with his head in his hands, with the caption: "President Biden pauses during the press conference"
        Well, yes he does, but that would be true if they had to change his diapers, too.

      5. Biden is clearly not in any condition to be the President of the United States. I’m not sure I understand why the people behind the scenes keep pushing him out there to do press conferences either.

        Because Dr. Jill hasn't gotten tired of channeling Edith Bolling Wilson and hates Kamala Harris.

  35. Russia doesn't want Ukraine. My God, the Atlantic Council brainwashing is really effective.
    I doubt China goes into Taiwan, since that's going to be a bitch even without American involvement, and they can simply wait it out while the older generations eventually die off.
    Turkey could definitely get frisky with the Kurds, but that dynamic isn't especially dependent on the US.
    India might have some issues with a newly empowered Pakistan and its ongoing issues with China.
    The biggest problem for us is the accelerating totalitarianism of the psychotic left, and their determination to destroy our lives and this nation.

    1. Russia wants eastern Ukraine. And Putin would like to reconstitute the Soviet Union, though he is also a realist. He fought hard to keep Chechnya in the RIS.

      China will take Taiwan. It is a matter of when. The military folks say CCP doesn’t have the amphibian forces and won’t until around the end of the decade. Though the commercial boats could be used and they have them now. They estimate it would be a ten year conflict.

      1. Quislings within Taiwan - reunification political parties and "don't hurt me sheep" - will eventually turn Taiwan over to CCP without any amphibious invasion being necessary.


    Update (315pm ET): On Saturday afternoon, just hours after the US reportedly droned some unnamed "ISIS-K planners and facilitators" who were said to be behind the Kabul airport bombing, Joe Biden warned that "the situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high," and said that his military commanders informed him that "an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.

    In a statement released by the White House, Biden said that he met with national security officials, and vowed the U.S. would carry out further strikes against the terrorists responsible for the bombing.

    "I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection, and ensured that they have all the authorities, resources and plans to protect our men and women on the ground," Biden added. "They assured me that they did, and that they could take these measures while completing the mission and safely retrograding our personnel."

    And just to make sure there is even more escalation - as more drone strikes will lead to more suicide bombings and even more deaths as the quintessential CIA narrative has made all too clear - Biden warned that the strike against ISIS-K will not be the last.

    "This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay," Biden said in a statement. "Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond. That will never be in doubt."

    Yet what is confusing is that according to Reuters reporting, victims of the US drone strike were women and children despite the Pentagon's assurances that no civilians were hit:

    In Jalalabad, community elder Malik Adib said three people were killed and four were wounded in the air strike, adding that he had been summoned by the Taliban investigating the incident.

    "Women and children are among the victims,” said Adib, though he did not have information about their identity. The U.S. military statement said: "We know of no civilian casualties."

    Finally, considering the "drone strike" was supposed to be "punishment" and retaliation against the previous bombing and meant to prevent future suicide bombings, one would be forgiven to ask just why did the US drone someone if all it would provoke is even more bloodshed? Unless, of course, that's precisely what the CIA's intention was from the very beginning.

    1. That is my question. Not respond at all but if an immediate response will result in a quick retaliation by IS-K, let’s wait until we have all the civilians out.

    2. Of COURSE it won't be the last attack because you just hit em with a drone strike!

      I was afraid this was so badly done so that we would have an excuse to stay, and it's looking bad. There's a reason Biden was 'instructed' to call on the lady asking about escalating force to get what we needed.

      1. And now, droolin' Joe has committed more troops!
        All of 1,000, which I'm sure polled well with his equally idiotic team, but is not likely to add enough heft to accomplish anything other than take additional casualties.

        1. But THOSE casualties will be a good reason to send in troops!


    NEW: Pentagon says 117,000, mostly Afghans, evacuated. 5,400 are Americans.

  38. Get rid of the fucking Jones Act. Let Americans ship freight via water like the rest of the world.

    1. US highway and rail is highly developed and well understood by domestic shippers and transport planners. Also there isn't the port capacity as you might expect. Sure having more ships with foreign flags might alleviate some of this. But I assure you American manufacturers don't want to use ships to move goods across the country and have to use the Panama Canal. Way easier and cheaper to use rail.

      1. Also longshoreman's unions are just as ball busting as rail and transport unions.

    2. One of the best visual representations of data that I've seen - freight tonnage by transport mode - US

  39. Looks like both Dipshit Dave Weigel and Lord of Strazele Sullum are taking the day off today. Maybe they're both out on a kiddie-diddling trip to one of Jeffrey Epstein's private islands or something.

  40. So it looks like the military used an R9X Hellfire missile to go after the guy Biden is holding responsible for initiating the suicide bomber attack on American soldiers and people trying to get out of Kabul.

    They say the missile launches six blades at the last moment instead of exploding. The blades hit the target at high velocity, and destroy it--but because it doesn't explode, it minimizes civilian casualties.

    It's a fuckin' ninja. It's a Ginsu.

    1. Nobody knows how to kill people like we know how to kill people.

    2. You should see the HellFireExtinguisher. Just the report of one can overthrow a nation.

      1. See what I’m saying?

      2. And cause cop suicides for months afterwards!

  41. No need to read any more details past the first line, "President Joe Biden's proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending bill is more than just a huge barrel of federal cash for road, bridge, and rail projects." ............................. Tyrannically **pretending** the federal government has been granted this authority by the people.

    I see no 'infrastructure' power in the U.S. Constitution.
    A Lawless bunch of tyrannical criminals is what we have in D.C.

    If the Supreme Court won't uphold the people's law then maybe it's time the people started upholding the supreme law over these lawless criminals.

  42. "How Many Union Members Does It Take To Operate a Train?"

    Fire them and hire someone willing to work

    1. "How many Reason trolls does it take to pull a train?"

      1. Depends on how many have a loco motive.

  43. I am deeply skeptical that the cost of having 2 people on a train is what is keeping railroads from taking over as the primary transportation of freight.

    1. Railroads are the primary transportation for freight. Don't let anyone fool you. We run a RIDICULOUS amount of freight. We crush semi trucks in terms of volume and the class 1 railroads have never made more money than they are making now.

  44. All major rail systems in the U.S. now use positive train control (PTC), essentially a computer-based override system that monitors speed and track signals to avert collisions. The adoption of PTC—mandated by Congress since 2008—has helped dramatically reduce rail accidents. Data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), an industry group, show accidents are down 30 percent since 2000, while employee injuries have fallen by more than 40 percent.

    A law passed in 2008 (and finally implemented between 2018 and 2020, though the article doesn't tell you that) caused a decline in accidents and injuries going back to 2000? That's one powerful safety measure!

    1. Most of the accidents are now prevented from older railroaders with a MUCH different mentality retiring.

      Places where there were slips, trips and falls are taken very seriously.

      Spike malls and tamping bars have been mostly replaced by heavy machinery.

      Getting on and off moving equipment is no longer a thing.

      There are now cameras everywhere, vehicles, locomotives, crew rooms... so cowboy idiots had to calm down.

      Alcoholism is still prevalent but it's not anywhere near as prevalent as it used to be. Railroaders had drug use and alcoholism as standard operating procedure until the 1990's, most of those people have retired or died of live failure.

  45. Class 1 railroader here. 20+ years. Engineering and operations.

    Stop equivocating Biden likes trains with Biden likes private train companies. Biden likes AMTK and federal unions.

    Railroad unions are not federal. They don't receive anywhere near the benefits or protections as most federal unions. All the while falling under very stringent federal laws.

    When a train has an issue, it's always blamed on a union member. never the company. Companies cut crew bases, limit vans, cut management positions, heavily lean on contracts in some cases well over 100 years old to force 60+ hr weeks in some cases and then when something happens because of strained resources and personnel, it's always not their fault.

    Going to 1 man crews is a terrible idea. For scale, in the 1970's there were 5 men on a train, 3 on the head end and 2 on the caboose. Trains were typically 1500 - 5000' long and the cars weighted less than half of what a car does now. A modern train is typically 8,000-16,000' long. In some cases weighing in at over 32,000 tons. There are usually only 2 people on the train. 1 to run the train and the other to copy new restriction, oversee manifests and keep the other guy awake and on point.

    But here's the biggy... When a train blocks a crossing, for whatever reason, held for other train traffic, crew out of hours of service, a service interruption or BECAUSE THE COMPANY FORCED AN ABSOLUTELY HORRIFICALLY BAD automated system to dispatch and organize train traffic that doesn't account for train length in regards to blocking public access points and crossings; YOU NEED THE 2nd crew member to go back and cut crossings or get to the rear of the train to allow it to back up.

    If you've been blocked by a train stopped for more than 10 minutes, don't call the number on the side of the bungalow, you're just reporting the company to itself. The company doesn't give a shit about you being blocked. Otherwise, they would have infrastructure that could actually support ridiculous train lengths AND they wouldn't be trying to get rid of the only means anyone has of remedying the situation AND they wouldn't be instituting a HORRIFICALLY flawed algorithm that doesn't account for things like Hiwdes and crossings.

    If libertarians want to get into the train deregulation business, they should start with allowing the currently held monopolies that have a solid lock on NIMBYING there existence as the only railroads. The DME got crushed when they tried to actually build new railroad.

    Going down to 1 crew member is nothing more than a power grab by some idiot who is 4th generation railroad management that came up with the idea on a golf course in between drinks. Same thing with running trains that don't fit in sidings and just forcing everyone else to bare the brunt of sitting at crossings for, in some cases, hours. He get's his big bonus and he gets to keep playing golf because he knows he doesn't have any competition and he never will and his kids never will, because guess who is going to take his spot? Little Johnny is a "shooting star" to Terminal manager!

    1. LOL
      What a horrible life of envy .

      1. Ha! No envy there. I know little Johnny and his dad, hell I drink with them. They're not bad people. They'll do what they can get away with.

        The reality of 1 man driving a train, that can override all automated systems, while transporting a train full of nuclear or toxic gas or explosive materials is a recipe for disaster. Especially when he only got a 2 hour nap before going into a 14 hour shift. Hell, maybe he's in the middle of a divorce and he's getting shafted and has no one there to talk him down.

        Duffy Street Disaster 2.0? Much like Kabul, is it going to be Trumps fault then too?

        1. So not be professional enough to be prepared to do the days work is normal.

          1. I'm going to assume you don't know how call in/ call out for trains work. The vast majority of freight trains are run by on arrival calls at crew change points and terminals. Most trainmen have a rough idea of what time they'll be called in to start their 12 hour day, but they don't know until they get the call. This is true about some extra boards for other operation and support crafts.

            In other words, it's not that they're being 'unprofessional' they just literally do not know when their day will start. Then they are obligated to work up to 12 hours, go to an away from home terminal, rest out and fall back on the call out list to go back home, again in limbo of when they will get the call to start their 12 hour shift. The trainmen can be called any time of day and usually are.

            1. And all this is so bad that the RRs can't find help, correct?

              1. Yes. Hiring in metropolitan areas and high cost of living areas is extremely difficult for Railroads.

              2. Practically slave labor conditions
                The average Railroad Engineer salary in the United States is $91,462 as of July 28, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $82,159 and $102,133.

    2. Thanks for posting. As you can see, the rest of us are a bunch of armchair quarterbacks, opining on a topic we don’t really know about.

      1. Mike, you certainly know how to define yourself. Regarding the rest of us, you are, as always full of shit.

    3. "Class 1 railroader here. 20+ years. Engineering and operations..."

      Thanks for letting us know we're due for a heapin' helping of union propaganda.

  46. Tough question: Um, "all of them?"

  47. As for Railroad Unions being strong, that's laughable. Railroad Unions aren't allowed to strike. Full stop.

    The carriers have heavily eroded the contracts through "mediation" where mediators typically side with carriers over time and whole portions of contracts are just voided because of single decisions by a single person.

    The last round of "bargaining" was a joke. The unions took a big hit on medical benefits and didn't even get half of inflation on their raises.

    1. The crying couch is over there to the LEFT.

      1. Interesting to see you're not only happy about your ignorance you're even malicious about.

        Malicious ignorance, must be a miserable life.

        1. That’s kind of Sevo’s m.o.

  48. There's a joke I've seen that pretty much sums up the anti-union stance of writers at Reason, the WSJ editorial pages, and so on. It has some variations, but here's my take:

    An executive, a white-collar employee, and a union rep are in a lunch room at the company before a meeting. There are 12 cookies on the table. The executive takes 11 of them. He then turns to the white-collar employee and says, "You should watch that union guy. He wants your cookie."

  49. Eh, people have heart attacks, machines fail. Two people makes sense. Come on reason even you can see a purpose for 2. For fuck's sake. 3 sure would be overkill, but 2? tempest in a teapot.

  50. This is my first time on the comments for Reason and I have to say it is truly disappointing how so much of the commentary is simply personal attacks. Even if someone has made a comment that is factually inaccurate, can't we just say that? Finally, I wonder whether when worrying about the competitiveness of the train business, the same analysis applies to the compensation of the CEO and others in the C suite? It seems it never does.

    1. Use the mute button, gets better when you do that.

      1. Although sometimes you'll see entire comment sections greyed out lmao

  51. Unions haven’t had any significant involvement in trucking since Jimmy Hoffa. Latest Update

  52. Consider Wells Fargo one of Warren Buffett’s favorites. Five years ago, you could have bought the stock for less than $25 per share, but at the moment the price is over $55. Not only would you have more than doubled your money, but you would have collected dividends along the way — tthe stock currently pays about 2.6%.

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  53. quaint. if there was EVER a technology that was ripe for PURE automation.

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