Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Goodbye Wikipedia, and thanks for all the laughs

Peter Hitchens

I still think Wikipedia is, on balance, a good thing. This is even though its mysterious ruling council of Wikicrats have now banned me from taking any part in editing it. It is despite the fact that the said Wikicrats then gagged and muzzled me, when I said that this action should not be taken until after a fair trial, rather than before any kind of trial.

It is a bit like the aftermath of an unpleasant dream. In the world of Wikipedia I have been arrested, penalised and silenced without trial, denied any freedom to defend myself before any independent or unprejudiced tribunal, and told I can only have my freedom back if I publicly abase myself before the arbitrary authorities. Actually, ahem, I’m not guilty until I have been ruled to be so by a unanimous independent jury of my peers, and if they treat me as guilty without due process, they can take a flying leap.  So they can whistle for the grovel they want, till the end of time.  There is only ever one answer to such Kangaroo Tribunals. So Goodbye Wikipedia, at least from the editing point of view   But it is a mild taste of what it must be like, in reality, to face obdurate authority of this kind, nasty and dispiriting. It dims the sunshine, and nags at the mind.

Of course, not being able to contribute to areas of knowledge where you have expertise is annoying.   But fall foul of the strange, nameless elite which actually runs Wikipedia, and it is like Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ without the jokes. My Kangaroo Trial grinds on, and I confidently expect shortly to be banned from Wikipedia until I kowtow to them, which means ( see above) for the rest of my life.

Is this a great loss? It is a loss, for certain. Most of you will probably never have bothered, but some years ago I thought it would be interesting and rewarding to sign up as what Wikipedia rather grandly calls an ‘editor’. You can easily create an identity and a sign-on – mine is ‘Clockback’, as in ‘Putting the Clock Back’ and is meant to be a mild self-depreciating joke, though few people get it. When, like me, you have no sense of humour, it is hard to work out what might amuse other people.

The first thing I learned from this is that any Wikipedia entry about any live issue which is even mildly controversial cannot be trusted. It is at best a useful starting point  from which to find research sources, but often not even that. I made the mistake of challenging the consensus view on one or two such subjects, and introducing into their entries mentions of controversies which they did not refer to. Within minutes, my changes had been wiped out by militant guardians, who plainly had more numbers and more time on their side than I could ever hope to do. Had I had a hundred allies, all with limitless time, it might have been possible to change things. Otherwise not. This sort of intimidation works, and is diligently done by propagandists, because Wikipedia is still taken more seriously than it should be by innocent readers.

Oddly, you can face the same problem in what appear to be wholly uncontentious areas. I once attempted to add a short reference to what I thought of as an important book, which had not been given much space, on the Wikipedia page about a favourite author. Again, my change was wiped out within minutes by a furious guardian, who seemed to think that she, and nobody else, should control the entry. Life’s too short to qyarrel with people like this.

My one significant success has been to alter the Wikipedia entry for the ‘Education Policy Institute’ so that the alert reader will realise that this body is not a wholly disinterested research organisation, but has deep connections with the Liberal Democrat party, and with the ‘Academy’ movement.

Because I can see that some people might be worried by this fact, and are entitled to know what I am up to,  I have also made clear from the start that I am Peter Hitchens, yes, that one, and even went through a strange procedure to confirm this. Had I not done so,  and had I instead hidden my identity, perhaps I would have been spared the events of the past week. So much for honesty being the best policy.

I thought this was especially important, as I have sometimes made changes in the entry about me and the one about my late brother and in a few others where I have an openly-declared interest. In the family ones, I have kept myself pretty strictly to correcting factual errors, which in some cases nobody else could possibly do. Who else knows when I joined and left the International Socialists? Who else would be troubled by, and put right, a foolish mistake about my late father’s naval career? Who else recalls the day I broke into a government fall-out shelter in Cambridge, more than 50 years ago? But then again, why let a silly mistake survive, where it might be believed, cited and repeated? One day it could just be important.

Yet by doing so I have probably been breaking some of Wikipedia’s myriad little rules about neutrality and conflicts of interest. Well, so what? These rules are blunt instruments, more or less assuming universal bad faith. They remind me of the extraordinary cobweb of rules about sexual contact devised by Antioch College, Ohio , see

These rules it seems to me, were decided on the assumption that the male sex is predatory and untrustworthy.

Likewise, Wikipedia’s rules seem designed to deal with people who, offered the opportunity to wield secret influence in their favour, will do so. They also assume that those editors involved entirely lack the normal human emotions, such as grouchiness, and are never impatient, let alone sarcastic or satirical. Actually, let me qualify this. You can do these things if you’re more or less on the side of conventional wisdom and don’t work for the Mail on Sunday. My opponent on the Bishop George Bell’ entry (the source of all my troubles) is extraordinarily rude without provocation, calling me a ‘loudmouth’, describing my articles as ‘rants’, dismissing the highly distinguished, disinterested and multi-party group of people who seek basic due process for the late Bishop Bell as a ‘fan club’ and claiming wrongly that they are ‘right-wing’ in the clear belief that this would be a bad thing if so, (so simultaneously disclosing his own partiality and his ignorance of the subject). Nothing whatever happens to him for this behaviour. Indeed, he has a ‘Platinum medal’ for his services to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia’s rules  were made to prevent secret distortion and lying, and manipulation, not to prevent someone like me openly and transparently correcting errors, even if I do sometimes shout and stamp a bit, to get attention.  

In this openness, I am highly unusual. Pseudonyms are actively encouraged on Wikipedia, for reasons I can guess at but don’t really understand. Most Wikipedia ‘editors’ have names like ‘Woof’ or ‘3ZjY8Splat!’ . And the people who have adopted these interplanetary names also understand Wikipedia’s cobwebbed maze of rules (like an arcane board game invented by someone who enjoys algebra) about how exactly to appeal and who to appeal to in case of difficulty. I confess I never have done. Sometimes I have been able to hunt help down, using parts of the keyboard I had never even noticed before. What *is* a ‘tylde’? (It’s all right, I know now). Sometimes, a week later, trying to repeat the feat, I have lost my way doing so, and ended up going round in electronic circles. You try, if you think it is either easy, or easy to learn.

As so often, in computer world, those who *are* skilled in it completely fail to understand how baffling it is for those who are not.  In my experience the best way to get help is to make a small but definite noise, at which point a helpful person often descends from the sky and fixes the problem.

I agree this is not ideal, but nobody ever gets hurt and no lies get told in this process, whereas problems often do get fixed.

But it has now got me into dreadful trouble, as you can see here'_noticeboard#Block_review_for_Clockback

(scroll down to ‘Block review for Clockback)

And here

(Scroll down to ‘Comment on the block’)

The really funny bit is that, on this occasion, I finally did discover which button to press, and appealed for help from an ‘administrator’, who immediately descended from on high, studied the issue in depth for what must have been all of 90 seconds, and thereupon blocked me indefinitely from the whole Wikipedia site (except from my own small talk page, from which I have also now been banned as well, for refusing to kowtow).

I appealed about this: ‘I am in dispute with another editor who repeatedly reverts legitimate changes in the entry and will not engage in discussion’

This administrator ruled ‘I have blocked Clockback  based on a review of contributions, which skew heavily towards highly biased 

Very quickly, the fact that I am a newspaper columnist (and not for ‘The Guardian’) entered into the discussion. ‘Note also that Clockback is Peter Hitchens [152]   , who writes for The Mail on Sunday and is involved in the topic itself.’ To which my blocker responded : ‘Should have guessed. If only his brother were here instead.’

 I have a record of the whole exchange, in which the significance of my connection with the MoS is explored at length, but it is pretty dull, and I have edited it severely to remove identifiers.

After that, my entire Wikipedia record, stretching back more than ten years, was combed for offences against the rules. The Wikigulag looms.

Today I sneaked a final defence on to the trial page, where it remained for all of ten seconds before being wiped. It ran as follows: ‘Hullo everybody, this is Peter Hitchens (in real life!), not logged in as Clockback as I would then be censored and muzzled. Administrators have my e-mail address, thanks to the appeals they have rejected on it, and are invited to contact me if they wish to check the authenticity and provenance of this contribution. I would just like to ask all those involved in this decision to take a long, slow breath and look at what they have done. Most fundamentally, they have responded to a plea for help with a kick in the teeth. When I posted a request for assistance in a dispute with another editor, which had lasted two years and involved the other editor being unpleasantly rude, openly biased on the issue under discussion, and unresponsive on the talk page, on several occasions, the person who intervened (who could not possibly, in the time, have made a just or thorough examination of the matter) immediately blocked me, and to rub the matter in, blocked me indefinitely.

This is plainly unjust and no free person would accept it or be willing to abase himself to get it lifted. If you wish to discuss this matter with me, treat me fairly. If (as seems to be the case in some comments) you take a special pleasure in blocking a Mail on Sunday columnist, feel free. If that is your idea of a good time, then I can only say that we're all different. But do not pretend you are doing this in pursuit of the truth. The fact remains that my much-frowned-on edits, though satirical and not intended to stand (I made their purpose plain on the talk page), were entirely factual, an undeniable truth which I have yet to get any administrator or editor to notice, acknowledge or address.

Fact One: The police, in England, have precisely no statutory role in the investigation of crimes allegedly committed by the dead; Fact Two: it is a legal absurdity for any English tribunal to say it has found no reason to doubt an allegation. Reason to doubt is actively embodied in the principle of presumption of innocence, is the basis of jury trial and is embedded in both civil and criminal procedure. If you are ready to listen, then I'm ready to defend myself. If I am treated with fairness, an open mind and civility, you will find I respond in the same way. If I am muzzled and silenced, then I just remember how my English ancestors would have responded to such treatment. Please do not delete this. I have of course kept a copy.’

And now we come to the issue itself, which I must now leave it to others to sort out. I should at this stage point out that some editors and administrators on Wikipedia have nobly come to my defence. I am very grateful to them but they have been met with quite a lot of derision and hostility for simply abiding by the laws of fairness. Some - but not all of them - believe I should have ‘helped myself’ by grovelling, but I cannot pretend to believe that I have done anything wrong.

The dispute is about the description of controversy about the late Bishop George Bell. My view is this. whatever anyone may have believed about this in the past (and the  C of E made great efforts to persuade people that they had serious evidence against Bishop Bell when they did not), the charges were dealt a devastating blow (the lovely old  English word ‘Whirret’ seems right in the circumstances) by the report of Lord Carlile QC, which you may read in full here.

Amazingly, until I put it there last week, the Wikipedia entry on the George Bell case did not even contain a direct link to this report.

Now, Lord Carlile was specifically debarred from giving any opinion on the charges against George Bell in his conclusions. Archbishop Welby put that in the terms of reference. But that did not stop him giving an opinion elsewhere in the document. And lo:

 Paragraph 171: 'Had the evidence my review has obtained without any particular difficulty (see section[H] below) been available to the Church and the CPS, I doubt that the test for a prosecution would have been passed. Had a prosecution been brought on the basis of that evidence, founded upon my experience and observations I judge the prospect of a successful prosecution as low. I would have expected experienced criminal counsel to have advised accordingly.’

Lord Carlile must be one of the most experienced lawyers of his generation. Coming from him, this judgement is quite devastating, and only people who don't understand English legal understatement could miss its import. I have known this since Christmas and waited for other Wikipedia editors, unburdened by being me, to discover it and include it, because I am aware of preposterous prejudices against anyone with knowledge of the matter, daring to tinker with the sacred Wikipedia.  

Yet the Wikipedia version, while giving a wholly inadequate account of the Carlile Report,  *still* contains tendentious rubbish, dating from the C of E’s original slippery attempt to smear Bishop Bell in the eyes of public and media, driven by the fact that it wasn’t anything like as sure of his guilt as it was claiming to be. 

 Most especially is the redundant, outdated, and discredited section about how the police had said they had enough evidence to arrest George Bell, had he not been dead for some decades. To my own direct and painful personal knowledge, this inaccurate claim poisoned the minds of many people, often highly educated ones, especially in the media, against George Bell. It created a great solidified wall of slime, which had to be cleared out of the way before the case could be properly debated.  It should never have been said. Now that it is discredited, it has no place in a tightly-edited and concise account of the case *unless* it is qualified by a strong rebuttal. The questionable, indeed legally needless and ultra vires, involvement of the police should certainly not be the opening stage of the story.  

This claim that Bell would have been arrested was clearly stated by Carlile to be wrong in law in his paragraph 167, which everyone interested in the case should read to the end, especially the bit about the C of E taking ‘ an exaggerated view’ of the use of the word ‘arrest’

The police have also admitted to me, in their formal response to a complaint I made to them on behalf of GB’s niece, that the C of E diocese persuaded them to get involved. Detective Superintendent J.D. Graves wrote : 

‘… the Diocese of Chichester notified Sussex Police that they planned to release a statement to the media. It was never our intention to be proactive (my emphasis); in other words, there was no intention to release a police statement about the alleged criminality of Bishop Bell (my emphasis). However, we were asked by the Diocese to make a statement as they had decided to make this information public and so we provided them with a statement for inclusion in their press release on the basis that once the Diocese published their statement a natural consequence would be a media request to the police for comment’.

It later repeats ‘the press release was driven by the Diocese’.

This was an extraordinary admission, though of course one that could have been foreseen by any informed person, since the Police in England have absolutely no statutory role in the investigation of criminal allegations against the dead, who cannot, in English law, be prosecuted. Anyway, since ‘Carol’ first made her claim in 1995 (as Carlile records) her concern has always been to make a civil claim against the C of E, not a criminal charge against Bishop Bell.

As for the stuff about some secret tribunal ‘finding no reason’ to doubt the claims against George bell, that was just a confession of legal incompetence. The presumption of innocence is always a reason to doubt any charge. And there was a good deal more, as any reader of the long paragraph 178 shows.

That’s what it was all about. But at the end of it, the Wikipedia account is still hopelessly biased against the truth. Perhaps someone else unburdened by being me, is prepared to become as knowledgeable as I am about the case, and set the matter right. If they do, I warn them not to make any jokes.


In its haste to avoid pubicity about a sex offence committed by one of its bishops, the C of E forgot to check whether the bishop was guilty.  They just assumned it and paid out.  They have been trying to cover up that negligence ever snce.  It is time they confessed and apologized -- JR

No, women aren’t at risk from men

What feminists really mean when they talk about ‘violence’

Being a feminist must be hard work. Perhaps you’ve got a newspaper column to fill with your hot take on the latest sexist outrage. Or perhaps you have a university sexual-harassment policy to write. Or a government minister to consult about a proposed new law. Or a hefty budget to administer. You’ve got the salary, a platform for your views, and the capacity to influence what happens in almost every institution in the country. And yet the entire basis for you being in this fortunate position, for walking the corridors of power, is your powerlessness. The bind for today’s professional feminist is the more power and influence she gains, the harder she needs to work to show that women are still oppressed.

Some career feminists get around this conundrum by claiming they are not representing their own interests but selflessly fighting for other women. Apparently, countless hordes of downtrodden women, unable to speak up for themselves, are just waiting for feminists to give voice to their concerns. But as only a small minority of women identify as feminists (estimates vary between a third and seven per cent), the response to all this speaking on behalf of others seems to be a resounding ‘no thanks’.

The last resort of the professional, well-paid, powerful feminist, desperate to prove her credentials as a member of an oppressed group, is to allude to violence. The experience of violence – whether actual, imagined or potential – appears to unite all women, allowing the most privileged to claim common cause with women who are struggling just to get by. Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Suffragette Emmeline, expresses this succinctly: ‘Violence against women is the one factor that infects every aspect of women’s lives.’

As feminists increasingly take positions of power, tackling violence against women drives their agenda. The World Health Organisation tells us that violence against women ‘is a major public-health problem’. The United Nations tells us it is ‘a grave violation of human rights’. The British government describes violence ‘against women and girls’ as a serious crime that has ‘a huge impact on our economy, health services, and the criminal-justice system’.

Of course, violence against women and girls deserves to be taken seriously and perpetrators should be severely punished. But the lives of women in poverty-stricken and wartorn countries are very different to those of women in England. Likewise, adult women have far more agency and control over their lives than girls. Conflating the experiences of women all around the world, and of adult women with children, allows professional feminists to claim suffering by proxy.

At the same time, the definition of violence seems to broaden by the day. The internationally agreed definition of violence against women and girls is: ‘Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women [or girls], including threats of such acts.’ In the UK and the US, violence encompasses sexual harassment – which includes winking, whistling and looking at someone for too long. Amnesty International describes women’s experiences of ‘violence and abuse on Twitter’. In 2017, the organisers of a women’s strike against President Trump described ‘the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women’.

This is not violence as a physical act, but violence as metaphor. No wonder it is experienced everywhere. The World Health Organisation describes violence against women as an ‘epidemic’. We are told that over a third of girls have been sexually harassed at school and that more than a third of women have experienced sexual harassment at work. But then we also learn that two women are killed each week by a current or former partner. And here, immediately, is the problem with violence as metaphor. Real violence becomes relativised. When winking and nasty tweets are described as acts of violence, the word is no longer enough to describe acts of physical brutality and murder. Violence has become nothing more than a badge permitting membership of an inclusive feminist club, and this does little to support women who really are in need of help.

Statistics on violence against women are rarely subject to criticism, and claims of personal suffering are placed beyond question. As a result, not only are real experiences of violence trivialised, but a one-sided story emerges. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that violent crime is, over the long term, in decline, but that men are still almost twice as likely to be victims than women. Even rates of domestic violence are falling significantly. The ONS figures on domestic abuse cover everything from physical violence, sexual assault and stalking to emotional and financial abuse. In the last year, 7.5 per cent of women and 4.3 per cent of men reported experiencing some form of domestic abuse. The difference between the estimated number of male and female victims is at its lowest recorded level.

When violence becomes disconnected from acts of physical aggression, statistics are easily brushed aside. The real problem, feminists tell us, is that so much violence against women goes unreported. But accounting for unreported crime leaves us dealing with guesses; and when violence can mean anything, and there’s a perception that it is at epidemic levels, then these guesses, unsurprisingly, tend to be very high indeed.

At a time when elite feminists are more powerful than ever before, violence has taken on a real significance in presenting all women, even the most privileged, as united in a common experience of suffering violence. For the vast majority of women, this, thankfully, bears no relation to reality. But the assumption that all women are victims – or potential victims – of violence is worse than just an exaggeration. In presenting women as vulnerable and men as violent, feminists rehabilitate some aged stereotypes that demean both men and women. In the process, they trivialise real incidents of violence and let perpetrators hide behind biology or socialisation as an excuse for their actions.

Inflated claims of violence are used by feminists to justify new laws and increasingly authoritarian interventions into our everyday lives. The Fawcett Society backs calls to see misogyny recognised and recorded as a hate crime, on the basis that ‘tackling misogyny will address one of the underlying causes of violence against women and girls’. There is nothing to suggest that rounding up street catcallers will do anything to make life better for women who are suffering from domestic violence, or girls being targeted by grooming gangs, but it will no doubt further justify the salaries, platforms and power given to today’s professional feminists.


UK: Discrimination against Christian Refugees

The British government appears recently to have decided that it would like to give the impression that it cares about persecuted Christians. Prime Minister Theresa May said in Parliament on July 18:

"As a Government we stand with persecuted Christians all over the world and will continue to support them. It is hard to comprehend that today we still see people being attacked and murdered because of their Christianity, but we must reaffirm our determination to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions and beliefs and for them to be able to practise their beliefs in peace and security."

The British Government even recently appointed its first Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief with Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, a former minister, filling the post. According to the government, the role "will promote the UK's firm stance on religious tolerance abroad, helping to tackle religious discrimination in countries where minority faith groups face persecution".

Prime Minister May said she looked "forward to supporting [Lord Ahmad] in this new role as he works with faith groups and governments across the world to raise understanding of religious persecution and what we can do to eliminate it."

Perhaps the UK should not be so quick to preach to others, when it does not appear to be doing much at home to help Syrian Christians, who have been among the most persecuted for their faith since the civil war in Syria began seven years ago:

According to information obtained from the UK Home Office by the Barnabas Fund, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), during the first quarter of 2018, recommended 1,358 Syrian refugees for resettlement in the UK, of which only four refugees were Christians (no Yazidis were recommended). The Home Office agreed to resettle 1,112 of these refugees, all of whom were Muslims, and refused to accept the Christians.

This decision was made despite the fact that approximately 10% of the pre-2011 population of Syria was Christian – a number that has reportedly fallen to 5%. There were also an estimated 70,000 Yazidis in Syria. Yazidis, with Christians, were among the groups most viciously targeted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In 2017, moreover, according to the Barnabas Fund, the UNHCR recommended 7,060 Syrian refugees for resettlement in the UK, of whom only 25 were Christians and seven were Yazidis. The Home Office ended up accepting 4,850 Syrian refugees – of whom only 11 were Christians.

While the UK appears to favor Muslim refugees over Christian ones, the fault does not lie with the UK alone. Lord David Alton of Liverpool, a life peer in the House of Lords, wrote in a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid:

"There is widespread belief, justified or not, among the religious minorities of Syria that the UNHCR is biased against them. The UK has a legal obligation to ensure it does not turn a blind eye to either direct or indirect perceived discrimination by the UN.

"It is widely accepted that Christians, who constituted around 10 per cent of Syria's pre-war population, were specifically targeted by jihadi rebels and continue to be at risk.

"...As last year's statistics more than amply demonstrate, this is not a statistical blip. It shows a pattern of discrimination that the Government has a legal duty to take concrete steps to address."

There certainly does appear to be "a pattern of discrimination" that has been ongoing since at least 2015. According to the Barnabas Fund, the UNHCR, in 2016, recommended 7,499 refugees to the UK, of whom only 27 were Christians and five were Yazidis. In 2015, out of 2,637 recommended refugees, 43 were Christians and 13 were Yazidis.

In December 2016, Nina Shea, Director of the Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute, asked the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees at the time, António Guterres, to explain the disproportionately low number of Syrian Christians resettled abroad by the UN. "Mr. Guterres said that generally Syria's Christians should not be resettled, because they are part of the 'DNA of the Middle East,'" writes Shea.

Guterres' statement was a blunt admission of the UN's apparent disregard for Christian lives, not least because only 9 months earlier, in March 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry had said, "(ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims". The UN itself stated in September 2005:

"[A]t the United Nations World Summit, all Member States formally accepted the responsibility of each State to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. that all member states had accepted "the responsibility of each State to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity... world leaders also agreed that when any State fails to meet that responsibility, all States (the "international community") are responsible for helping to protect people threatened with such crimes.".

The apparent discrimination against Christians by the United Kingdom and the UNHCR is all the more disturbing in light of studies that find Christians to be the most persecuted faith in the world. Christians are "the most widely targeted religious community, suffering terrible persecution globally", according to a 2017 study by the University of Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute and Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Research Project. In June, the ninth annual Pew Research Center report on global religious restrictions also found that Christianity was still the world's most persecuted faith, with Christians being harassed in more countries (144) than any other group.

In light of these facts, it would certainly appear, as Lord Alton states in his letter, that the UK has indeed been "turning a blind eye" to the plight of Christian (and Yazidi) refugees for several years. Now that May has announced that her government stands with persecuted Christians all over the world, the question remains: What specific initiatives, other than empty words, does the UK government aim to take to rectify the damage that has already been done and to prevent further damage?



North Korea with a tech industry

Here are a few things that are effectively legal in San Francisco: drugs, public defecation and shoplifting. And here are some of the things that are banned or will be banned in the City by the Bay.

Straws. Fur coats. Bottled water. Eating at work. Vaping liquids. Upholstered furniture. Plastic bags. Pet stores. Electric scooters. Coffee cups and packing peanuts. Tropical fish. The McDonald’s Happy Meal.

If you can think of something, San Francisco has already banned it. Or will be banning it soon.

North Korea with a tech industry and some leftover Victorian architecture (which it’s banning tour buses from visiting) has reacted to the collapse of living conditions and fleeing tourists by banning everything.

Everything except the behavior that’s making San Francisco unlivable.

During the Gold Rush, legend had it that the streets of San Francisco were paved with gold. These days they’re layered with human waste after the socialist city legalized public urination and defecation. A bag of 20 pounds of human waste was deposited on the street. Urine corroded a pole so badly that it fell on a car almost killing the driver. But don’t think that you can get away with anything in San Francisco.

San Francisco decriminalized public defecation, but criminalized plastic straws. While bench warrants for public urination are discarded, the straw fines are real and expensive. A California statewide bill goes further with a threat of six months in the county jail for giving a man a straw. When drugs are legal and straws aren’t, the Mexican cartels will soon switch to smuggling drinking straws into California.

Why ban straws? Because straws, according to the San Francisco ordinance, “may threaten public health” and are bad for the environment? Piles of human waste in the street are great for public health and the environment. But a Chicago medical association disagreed and cancelled its planned conference.

When Chicago thinks your city is dirty and dangerous hellhole, you really have a problem.

But America’s greatest experiment with socialism is coping with its collapse by banning everything. The straw ban isn't the last straw. It’s one of a series of San Fran bans that would make Kim Jong-un wince.

The straw ban was the brainchild of Supervisor Katy Tang. Katy was excused from the straw vote because she had to take her bar exam. She had previously won a proposal to ban sales of fur coats. In her press release, Katy noted that, "fur farming contributes to water and air pollution" because each mink produces "44 pounds of feces in the mink’s lifetime." 

The press release doesn’t state how many pounds the Board of Supervisors produces a year. Or how much the homeless population that San Francisco’s insane government has cultivated does.

Statistically speaking, Katy Tang would be personally responsible for around 342 pounds of waste a year. Or 7 times more than a mink could manage over its entire existence. The entire Board of Supervisors, which in true Stalinist style votes 11-0 on its insane bans (except when Katy has to take an exam), would directly account for around 3,700 pounds of waste. Or worse than an entire mink farm.

But that’s not accounting for the true legacy of the Board of Supervisors.

The homeless population of San Francisco increased by around 1,000 in six years. Complaints about human waste rose from 5,685 in 2011 to 18,211 in 2016. A 1,000 increase would mean an extra 342,000 pounds of human waste. San Francisco pols clamored that all the mink farms in this country produce a million pounds of waste a year. The homeless population that they cultivated does that in only a few months with an estimated annual output of well over 2 million pounds.

Mink are rabid, deranged animals that bite everything in sight. But millions of them running loose around Frisco would still do less damage than the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco’s budget topped $11 billion for the first time. An increase of almost a billion. Annual spending on the homeless is expected to rise to over $300 million.

None of this would be possible without the tech industry that the city is trying to alienate. And if North Korea with a tech industry loses the dot com firms that feed its tax base, it’ll just be North Korea.

And it’s working hard to make that happen.

Another brilliant ban from the board brains would outlaw new workplace cafeterias.

“You can’t have an industrial kitchen in your office building,” declared Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who along with Supervisor Ahsha Safai, was one of the geniuses behind the idea.

When workers eat in cafeterias, it deprives the restaurateurs of customers. The same lefties who banned straws because of their environmental impact, want to mandate the existence of a thousand restaurants, which were formerly serving those straws, without regard to their environmental impact.

What’s the environmental impact of a straw or an employee taking an Uber for lunch? It’s as disproportionate as the environment impacts of Katy Tang, Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai compared to a thousand minks whose senseless aggression is at least the product of instinct, not leftist ideology.

 But the great hand of socialism gives and takes away. It just doesn’t make any sense while it’s doing so.

Once the decree passes, the only people entitled to a free lunch in San Francisco will be the same ones defecating on the street. But the workers who actually subsidize the mess aren’t allowed a free lunch.

Socialism will offer you a free lunch. But not if you pay taxes and use the bathroom.

"I urge the Board to focus on making our streets safe. Perhaps then, workers would feel better about leaving their workplace for lunch without having to actively dodge tent camps, human feces, and needles," one San Francisco letter writer suggested.

But that runs contrary to the entire philosophy that turned San Fran into an overtaxed and overregulated public sewer where every problem is solved with a new ban.

“It’s more heavily regulated than the water you’re getting in bottles," a senior advisor to the mayor's office insisted of San Francisco's water in defense of a water bottle ban.

But not everybody wants more regulated water. Some people just want the water that they want.

And the vaping liquids, the goldfish, the upholstered furniture, the plastic bags, fur coats and coffee cups of their choice. Some people just want to drink their bottled water through a straw. They want to wear a fur coat while shopping for tropical fish and upholstered furniture. And then light up a cigarette.

There’s no room for that attitude in San Francisco where each social problem is met with a new ban.

Are restaurants unhappy about the bans on coffee cups, foam containers and straws? Just ban workplace cafeterias to drive customers to them. Are workers and companies fleeing San Fran? Put up a wall made of recycled waste and trash topped with armed homeless encampments to keep them from escaping. Then direct the survivors to eat out at the strawless, coffee-cup less, salt-less and sugar-free vegan restaurant of their mandated choice offering tasteless meals with no more than 40 calories.

It worked for North Korea. It’s bound to work for San Francisco.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


No comments: