Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Liberal’s Love

31.07.2007 (2:31 pm) – Filed under: Liberalism,Media,Stupidity ::

The Texas Rainmaker says that liberals all over America are showing their typical grace and genuine love for mankind by publicly proclaiming that they hope Supreme Court Justice John Roberts dies as a result of the seizure he suffered yesterday.

A couple of the choice ones TTR rounded up:

  • “Lets hope he is injured seriously. Chief Justice Roberts is a corupt right wing Bush lick ass criminal. Long after Bush is gone, Roberts will be helping destroy everything that is, or was once good about America.”
  • “I hope he is unable to return and further destroy our nation. He must have been in the shower trying to get the dirt off of himself. He must know that it is in too deep and will take more than a shower for him to come clean.”
  • There are 300 million screwed Americans… and I can no longer ellicit concerns for those whom have helped to abbrogate the constitution. I refuse to “wish him well” or pretend I hope for an early recovery. In my heart of hearts, I pray he dies slowly by an STD that he could have avoided by the condom use he felt it was wrong to advocate for American youth.I hope that tonight, John Roberts confronts his mortality, and then, weighing himself, finds himself as wanting as I do…

What class. What staggering intellect. What use of large words without understanding. I am impressed.

Recently Joe Gandleman wondered if certain bloggers are merely bullies with computers. Looking at Jason’s list of shame it seems that Joe’s question was a good one.

Certainly it is clear from the above comments that the interactive nature of blogs has provided a home and a voice to people whose opinions were better left in the gutter from whence they came.

It seems there is no respect for discussion and/or disagreement these days. Not so here. Though I despise John Paul Stevens’ ideologically motivated twisting of the Constitution, this web site will always give him – at a minimum – the courtesy of respecting his life and his right to it.

I understand Roberts has been released from the hospital. Let’s pray he makes a complete recovery. Judging from the drivel quoted above he’s needed far more than most Americans imagine.

Two types of Liberal Derangement

29.07.2007 (4:14 pm) – Filed under: Africa,Environment,Liberalism,Media,Politics,Stupidity ::

First off, I am not a fan of Michael Savage, but one of his books is titled Liberalism is a Mental Disorder and I think he hit that on the head.  To whit I will point out two items for your reading pleasure.

First, while driving to work this week I was listening to NPR and I heard an interesting story about two tribes of Kenyans who have been battling each other for centuries.  It was a sad tale that was designed to tug at the heartstrings of the listener and make them care for the plight of these two tribes, the Turkana and the Pokot.  You see they live a hard scrabble existence in the uplands of Kenya.  As far back as can be remembered these two tribes have lived in close proximity to each other and have raided each others livestock, fought long bloody feuds, and in general killed each other when the opportunity arises.  Now, you might think that a group that has been fighting and killing each other for so long doesn’t really require that much sympathy from us fat, dumb, and lazy westerners…but on that you would be wrong.  You see, these subsistence farmers (when they aren’t reaving) live right on the ragged edge and thus when…CLIMATE CHANGE comes along, they are hurt much worse.  Yes, CLIMATE CHANGE is causing the Turkana and the Pokot to kill each other, and YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE.  And that is the lesson that we are supposed to take from this heart rending story complete with interpreters over the indigenous tribal language that lament the loss of cattle, goats, camels, and fellow tribesmen and women…we are responsible for their plight.  Forget that they have killed themselves since time immemorial and likely will kill themselves even if they lived in a land of milk and honey, the Church of Climate Change requires us to realize that unless we properly atone for the sin of our Carbon Footprint these poor African tribespeople will KILL EACH OTHER.  The only solution, according to the Church of Climate Change, is the we must pay for the sin of Carbon Footprint by purchasing indulgences in the form of Carbon Offsets.  Thus we much submit ourselves and our lifestyle to the mandates of the Church of Climate Change.

In the NPR article, it was assumed that it was Climate Change that was responsible for the droughts that have plagued the uplands of Kenya.  For evidence they simply state

The climate is changing — and not for the better. Turkana is mostly semi-arid to arid territory, and increasingly, there’s more dust than grass. The Pokots are better placed, but even they suffer. Drought and the unpredictability of rain over the years have made paupers of them all.

Well, that is definite proof that Climate Change is responsible.  I mean, if I lived in an arid to semi-arid land I would definitely think that westerners driving SUVs were responsible if the rains didn’t come.

Rainfall well above normal over the past several months has resulted in unprecedented flooding. Villagers say that rain comes when they don’t expect it. This year, they expected it to come in April, but instead, the rain fell heavily in June.

Darn that unpredictable weather.  I hate it when I was expecting it to rain and it didn’t.  And then when it does rain in an arid to semi-arid land…you get flooding.  Of course there is no mention if this is an annual occurrence.

The other type of Liberal Disorder is usually called Bush Derangement Syndrome, and can be found throughout the Internet, the Blogosphere, the Mainstream Media, and in many offices.  It runs the gamut from the Loose Change idiots, to the Kossaks.  One example of the nuttery of this group is the recent article by Kossack 3CCD.  It was entitled, Was Pat Tillman killed on Cheney’s or Rumsfeld’s orders?  I will give 3CCD some credit, they do manage avoid one of the primary pitfalls of BDS and that is the thought that President Bush is simultaneously completely and totally incompetent and brilliantly scheming to overthrow the American way of life.  This was brought to my attention by the blog of the writer that like John Scalzi (of whom I think his politics are thankfully not overtly apparent in his writing).  He wrote on his blog Whatever about the nutrootery claims that the coup is coming and that President Bush will suspend the Constitution and impose Martial Law and stay in office come 2008.

Practical reasons first. Assuming Bush did decide to declare martial law over the entire nation, how on Earth is he going to enforce it? The federal government, even at this late stage in the Bush administration, is not entirely composed of Regent University graduates; there aren’t enough people in the government itself who would be willing to follow Bush down that road. And even if there were, does anyone believe the sort of people the Bush administration appoints — folks who we know are picked for ideological purity over actual competence in their job — are going to be able to administer a coup of this magnitude? For God’s sake, it took them a week to find the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. It’s on maps. Does anyone really believe that this bunch could manage martial law — an infinitely more complex undertaking — any better?

At least in this case Mr. Scalzi manages to take the side that President Bush is completely incompetent (along with being an idiot) and thus even if he wanted to perform an coup (which he is silent on) he feels it would be impossible.  While I agree that it is basically impossible to have a military coup of the types that the nutroots claim is in the pipeline, its not because of the President’s incompetence.  Mr. Scalzi points out that to effect such a coup would require the military to be behind it 100%, and that is doubtful in the extreme.  It would also require the media to be behind it at least in large part because if every television station went off the air and new people came on the TV telling them something it would cause confusion at best.  While it is true that the majority of the people in the US are more concerned with the plight of Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Brangelia then any issue of real importance…the media would have to be there in almost its current form to effect any kind of coup.  Thus it would be much easier for a coup to take place that the media was in favor of (thus the Church of Climate Change) then the opposite.

I am honestly looking forward to the day when President Bush is no longer in office.  Not because I disagree with him (though on some issues I do), but rather because I wonder what the nutroots of the looney left will latch onto next if someone like Rudy Guilliani, Mitt Romney, or Fred Thompson wins the White House.  Heck, they will likely be just as looney if a moderate Democrat were to win…but that isn’t likely to happen as there doesn’t appear to be one of those anyway.

Immigration Tragedies

28.07.2007 (8:47 pm) – Filed under: Crime,Immigration ::

U.S. District Judge James Munley recently ruled that a landmark municipal law cracking down on illegal immigrants is unconstitutional and I’m both angered and afraid that this will set a precedent banning similar ordinances proposed around the country.

Advocates for illegal immigrants hailed the ruling against a law in Hazleton, Pa., as a victory and powerful reminder that immigration is a federal issue Congress must ultimately deal with by passing comprehensive reform. But supporters of stricter immigration enforcement said the local ordinances have not been defeated and will eventually make their way to the Supreme Court.

In a strongly worded ruling, U.S. District Judge James Munley said the ordinance was pre-empted by federal law and violated due process protections in the Constitution.

Munley wrote in his opinion that “in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable,” Hazleton violated the rights of those people and others.

“Whatever frustrations … the city of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme.

Carefully drawn federal statuatory scheme? Hah! The scheme, it seems, is to do absolutely nothing to control illegal immigration.

Judges like Munley are an embarrassment to their office. One might think that enforcing existing laws would be a priority for federal judges. Obviously not. It’s far more important to men like Munly to pander to the criminals than to do the will of the citizens they are sworn to represent.

Not surprisingly:

“I think this ruling is a win for common sense,” said Jose Luis Jimenez Jr., Houston district director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. “Hopefully, other elected officials and other city councils and boards heed the warning not to try to do something that is not their responsibility.”

Actually, the Hazelton law is an appropriate supplement to existing federal law and would have provided a much-needed and well-deserved remedy to a local jurisdiction that the federales have neglected. It’s a tragedy that a federal judge would deny a city the right to police itself.

An Even Worse Tragedy

Illegal immigrants are occasionally in the news because of the crimes they commit and another heartbreaking event took place in Tacoma earlier this month when a 12 year old girl was kidnapped and killed, probably by an illegal alien who was a known pedophile.

Probably? Nathan Tabor writes:

Any suspect is innocent until proven guilty, and Adhahn is entitled to a fair hearing, if he is ultimately charged with Zina’s death. He has, in fact, denied having anything to do with the girl’s abduction.

Yet, Fox News is reporting that his conviction for incest should have prompted deportation. Let’s be clear—court records indicate he is a diagnosed pedophile. In addition, a search warrant indicates that girl’s undergarments–—a particularly damning piece of evidence–were taken from Adhahn’s apartment.

Probably. It’s yet to be proven in a court of law, so it would not be right to convict this particular individual in print at this time. But Tabor continues:

This is a tragedy which will cause unspeakable grief for all those who knew and loved her. The fact that an illegal immigrant may have been responsible makes the tragic death all the more difficult to bear.

Unfortunately, there are some foreigners who are violent criminals who have no business being on our shores. We may not even realize they’re here—until tragedy strikes. Why is it that some public officials are willing to ignore our immigration problem until some horrific event occurs

Every crime of this sort is sickening, but Tabor is exactly right when he says that fact that it was apparently committed by an illegal who is a sex criminal – a man who would have been deported by any competent law enforcement agency – makes it that much harder to bear.

Tabor then concludes by broadly painting illegal aliens as foreign thugs and child haters, two characterizations that I do not believe are generally applicable.

Sadly I am without statistics about this but I strongly suspect that illegal immigrants are actually better “citizens” than their legal American counterparts in similar socio-economic strata, in part because of the very fact of their immigration status and in part because the vast majority of illegals simply want to work hard and make money.

Zina Linnik should not have been abducted and killed. Our system failed her as it has failed so many others. Yet it is still not justifiable to blame 10 million illegals for one pervert’s actions.

No, the common thread between Judge Munley’s misguided, legalistic ruling and Zina’s murder is our government’s pathetic inability to enforce its own laws.

As gut wrenching as little Zina’s case is, her death should still not be a driver for immigration reform.  How can it be when America produces so many sex criminals all by herself?

The issue really is very simple.  It’s a matter of principle and of economics.  We must deny future potential illegal aliens the ability to enter our country without permission. Forget about the ones we invited here – that”s over and done with. But focus, people, on stopping the next wave from flooding us.

Reasonable Accommodation

27.07.2007 (7:10 pm) – Filed under: Discrimination,Society,Texas ::

Does it help America to be accommodating to the physically and mentally impaired?  Political correctness demands that this question and others like it not be asked.  Why?  Because the answer is so clearly “Yes” that no further examination is needed?   That anyone who would dare question the rights of the disabled is of such low intelligence that their queries are inherently invalid.  Neither is true.

The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to force employers to do something they did not want to do, namely to ignore their desire to hire the best possible applicants based solely on their own criteria. 

As Marta Russell puts it:

Since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, for example, business has fought, tooth and nail, integrating disability in the workplace by providing a reasonable accommodation as required by the ADA. In the first decade of the law, the disabled employment rate has not budged from its pre-civil rights figure of 70 percent unemployed. Capitalist business accounting practices can be held accountable.

Prejudice-based disability discrimination, resting on employer assumptions that the disabled person cannot do the job or on employer-resistance to hiring a blind, deaf, mobility or otherwise impaired person just as they might not want to hire blacks or women, undoubtedly contributes significantly to the high unemployment rate of disabled people. Disabled workers also face inherent economic discrimination within the capitalist system, stemming from employers’ expectations of encountering additional nonstandard production costs when hiring a disabled worker as opposed to hiring a worker with no need for special accommodation, environmental modifications, liability insurance, maximum health care coverage or even health care coverage at all.

Using this analysis, the prevailing rate of exploitation determines who is “disabled” and who is not.

The prevailing rate of exploitation.  How droll!  On one hand Marxist/Leninist tripe went out of style with the utter collapse of communism.  On the other, it’s a pleasant change to see an enemy one can recognize, secure in the knowledge that their brand of “I hate America” can be dismissed by the simple means of telling the truth.

Therefore, my reply to Russell is a hearty, “So what?”

Imagine there is a bit of land with nothing whatever on it, just some grasses and the odd tree here and there.  Imagine you buy the land, work it into shape, and begin to grow corn there.  Is it not your corn to do with as you please?  Obviously it is.  You sell the corn, are pleased to learn you have more than what you started with, and buy more seed in preparation for the next year.

In planting in the spring you realize that you could use some help as your intent is farm more acres.  Out of a crowd walking by you pick a trustworthy-looking man and ask him if he will help you in exchange for X dollars.  He agrees, the work is done, and you pay him.  Where is the exploitation?  Was he forced to accept your bargain?  Of course not.  Both of you benefitted.

Socialist drivel.  If a woman in a wheelchair had rolled by and said that she would work at the same rate as the man, are you obligated to give her a job even though you know that she cannot perform the work?  Clearly not.

Yet some disagree.  In its wisdom, Congress decided that employers could not consider handicaps as an integral criteria during the hiring process and that they must make “reasonable accommodation” to physically and mentally handicapped workers unless doing so would be an “undue hardship”.

(At this point, let’s take a moment to recall what Mark Twain said about Congress for a brief moment, shall we?)

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines the terms “reasonable accommodation” and “undue hardship” as follows:

What is reasonable accommodation?

The term “reasonable accommodation” is a term of art that Congress defined only through examples of changes or modifications to be made, or items to be provided, to a qualified individual with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is adapting the job site or job functions for a qualified person with a disability to enable an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. This does not mean that the employer must lower the standards of work for the position or change the job requirements. There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:

  • Modifications or adjustments to a job application process to permit an individual with a disability to be considered for a job (such as providing application forms in alternative formats like large print or Braille);
  • Modifications or adjustments necessary to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job (such as providing sign language interpreters); and
  • Modifications or adjustments that enable employees with disabilities to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (such as removing physical barriers in an office cafeteria).

What is an undue hardship?

An agency is not required to make an accommodation if it can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its everyday operations. An undue hardship is an action that requires “significant difficulty or expense” in relation to:

  • overall size of the agency’s program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities and size of budget;
  • type of operation, including the composition and structure of the agency’s workforce; and
  • nature and cost of the accommodation

In other words, if an organization has made enough money to be able to afford the extra costs of hiring a disabled worker then it must, all else being equal.

“But the law doesn’t say that businesses must hire the disabled person!”

Perhaps not.  But the potential cost of legal action – being far higher than the salaries paid to most workers – dictates that businesses take precautions against incurring those costs by hiring disabled workers in cases where they otherwise would not.

Is that wrong?  It’s proper to help people less fortunate than oneself, isn’t it?  Isn’t that what being a Christian is all about?

The answer to all three questions is “Yes”.  We should help the disabled to live decent lives just as we should help our grandparents and care for children without parents.  But it is wrong for a government to force moral obligations on its citizens. 

Indeed, actions such as providing for widows and the inform should be done out of charity by those who value them, not by the bureaucrats in Washington who use the IRS to confiscate our tax dollars.

The sense of entitlement is everywhere now.  One need not look far to see the corruption.  Earlier this year, for example, the National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit against Oracle Corp. and the state of Texas seeking to ensure that all applications used by the state government are accessible to blind state employees.

Tommy Craig, president of the Texas chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, said that Texas law requires that “all software and computer systems purchased by the state be accessible for blind employees. That law has been in effect for 10 years.” He noted blind supervisors cannot now access the records of workers who report to them, while blind employees can’t access their own records without assistance, which raises privacy and confidentiality issues.

Craig suggested that various remedies are available to the state to make applications accessible to blind employees. For instance, a Braille enabled device could be attached to a computer serial port, or applications could be voice-enabled, he said. “It doesn’t take a lot to do it. Just put a little a planning into it,” Craig said.

Edwin Kunz, who directs a rehabilitation center for the blind within the Health and Human Services Commission’s Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and a plaintiff in the case, said he has been hurt by the lack of access to the HR applications. “Because I must have sighted assistance for all of these personnel functions, both my privacy and the privacy of my employees are routinely violated,” he said in a statement. “I’ve complained about the problems with the software, but nothing has been done to fix them. I hope this lawsuit will spur Oracle to move quickly to correct this problem; otherwise the state will have to purchase human resources software from someone else.”

Kunz epitomizes entitlement syndrome; he evidently believes that he is entitled to dictate terms to his employer, the state of Texas. 

Craig may very well be right – a Braille keyboard could possibly solve Kunz’s problem.  However, consider the complications of using computer software without being able to see a monitor.  The blind navigate such systems by means of feats of memorization that most of us would find impossible to duplicate.  Does this then mean that upgrades to the Oracle software must remain constant in terms of its user interface so as not to inconvenience the blind?  Must the software read all error messages aloud to users unable to see a break in the normal pattern of interacting with the machine?  What other costs would this lawsuit, if successful, force onto Oracle?

As economist Richard Epstein said, “successful enforcement under the guise of ‘reasonable accommodation’ necessarily impedes the operation and efficiency of firms.”

That said, it’s important to note that these most costs will not stay on Larry Ellison’s balance sheet for long.  They will be passed on to his customers and on to the end of the capitalist food chain, the consumer.  That’s you and me, meaning that Kunz’s accommodation is acts as a form of second-hand taxation.

Craig went on to say: 

“The state Legislature of Texas recognized the need for equal access for the blind by passing a law requiring it, and it is unconscionable that a state agency is violating that law.”

Untrue.  While it would be mean and uncharitable for a wealthly person to refuse the request for alms made by a crippled person, it does not automatically follow that it is acceptable for the government to tax them in order to provide for those unable to care for themselves. 

No, what is truly unconscionable is the notion that one’s disadvantages automatically act as a key to unlock the cash boxes of every person able to afford the transfer of wealth to those with friends in the government. 

We should help others because we want to, not because we have to.  Charity is an act of compassion, of love, freely given.  Wealth redistribution is theft by those with the votes, performed legally, because the rules say they are entitled to do it.

Entitlement fever does not stop at forced charity (consider what happens to those who don’t pay).  No, it carries over into every aspect of life, including high school marching bands.

The Texas Education Agency has launched an investigation into a complaint filed against Bryan High School’s Special Education Department.

Trevor Goehl, who uses a wheelchair, played the trumpet in the Bryan High marching band during the 2005-06 school year. But the 16-year-old wasn’t allowed to play on the field and participate in the halftime show to the same extent as other students.

Instead, he played from the sidelines in the front ensemble, which is made up of percussionists whose bulky instruments don’t allow them to march with the rest of the band, BHS Band Director Robert Towell said.

Jeff Goehl, Trevor’s father, said he filed the complaint against the district because his son was not allowed to participate as a normal student.

“To separate disabled students from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their disability generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in school and community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone,” Jeff Goehl wrote in his TEA complaint.

Towell said that a student in a wheelchair could not maneuver on the field without endangering himself or other students due to the fast-paced, intricate nature of the band’s halftime performances.

“We have accommodated in the best possible way, I think, for this student, as we do with any student,” the band director said.

I would admire Jeff Groehl’s efforts to fight for his son, if that was what he was doing.  But his son no longer attends the school in question.  Instead, Groehl is pursuing a social agenda:

“What we really wanted was for Bryan ISD to develop some sort of plan that would allow a wheelchair student to be in the band and receive meaningful benefit from the program,” he said. “We need to have something on the shelf so when the next kid comes along, we’re not back in this same position.”

Does Groehl envision a student volunteer wheeling a disabled trumpet player around the football field in cadence with the other band members?  Has he even heard the term “reasonable accommodation”, flawed as it is?  Has he considered the “undue hardship” that would be placed on other band members when their programs would – inevitably – be simplified to make a place for such a participant and make them unable to compete with other bands at the highest level possible?

It’s great that his son wanted to play – did in fact play – in the school band.  But the boy’s desire does not automatically entitle him to a place in the marching band’s on-field activities any more than my desire to play basketball entitled me to a place on my high school team’s roster.  To think desire equates to entitlement is to be a fool.

I’ll repeat the question:  Is it helping America to bend over backwards for the disabled?  I think it is a fair question to ask.  The answer is not as clear as some would have us believe.

What Kind of Republican Are You?

24.07.2007 (11:39 am) – Filed under: Philosophy,Politics ::
How to Win a Fight With a Liberal is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Conservative Identity:

You are a Free Marketeer, also known as a fiscal conservative. You believe in free-market capitalism, tax cuts, and protecting your hard-earned cash from pick-pocketing liberal socialists.

What kind are you?

(Hat tip to Michael P.F. van der Galien)

Real Hate Crime

23.07.2007 (8:49 pm) – Filed under: Crime,Islam ::

Is there any crime more heinous than radical Muslims’ hatred of women? 

I doubt that Banaz Mahmod would think so – if she were still alive

20 years old, beautiful, the victim of a deplorable arranged marriage, and a woman in love with the wrong man, Banaz was raped repeatedly by two Muslim men, one her former “partner” and the other the instigator of a grotesquely brutal, insane crime because she refused to do as she was told.  Worse still, the rapes and murder took place with her own father’s sanction and under the supervision of her uncle.

Reuters says:

A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an “honor killing” carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was subjected to the 2-1/2 hour ordeal before she was garroted with a bootlace. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase and taken about 100 miles to Birmingham where it was buried in the back garden of a house.

Last month a jury found her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari Mahmod, 51, guilty of murder after a three-month trial. Their associate Mohamad Hama, 30, had earlier admitted killing her.

They believed Banaz had brought shame on the family by leaving her husband, an Iraqi Kurd she had been forced to marry at 17, and falling in love with Rahmat Suleimani, an Iranian Kurd.

Her former unnamed partner had raped her as well as repeatedly beating her, the court heard.

Hama, who prosecutors said had been a ringleader in the murder, was caught by listening devices talking to a friend in prison about the murder.

In the recordings, transcripts of which were relayed to the court, Hama and his friend are hearing laughing as he described how she was killed with Banaz’s uncle “supervising”.

“I was kicking and stamping on her neck to get the soul out. I saw her stark naked, only wearing pants or underwear,” Hama is recorded as saying.

The decision to kill her came after a meeting on January 23 — the day before she was murdered — when the family decided to take action before the police could foil their attempts, said prosecutor Victor Temple.

Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation says:

Ms Banaz, 20, had already displeased her family by walking out of an arranged marriage. After she was caught kissing Rahmat Sulemani, an Iranian Kurd, it was decided at a family meeting that they both had to die.

And:

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was brutally raped and stamped on during a two-hour ordeal before being garotted.

And:

Bekhal Mahmod, older sister of the “honour killing” victim Banaz Mahmod, stands very silently in the middle of the room and takes off the black veil that covers her face to reveal jet-black hair and hazel-col-oured almond-shaped eyes which are lively yet so sad they are startling. You know they belong to a young woman in fear of her life.

Across Europe and increasingly, it seems, in Britain, as Muslims become more conservative and religious funda-mentalism strengthens its grip, growing numbers of women are being killed or mutilated in the name of family honour.
In Banaz’s case it happened because in an extraordinary act of defiance against her Kurdish family – welcomed into Britain in the 1990s as victims of Saddam Hussein’s persecution of the Kurds after the first Gulf war – she had walked out of a miserable arranged marriage with an older cousin and fallen in love with another man, thereby bringing “shame” on the family.

Her fate was sealed when she kissed her boyfriend in a Brixton street. The men who had been tasked by her father and her uncle, who was the senior head of the family, with following her photographed this small sign of affection with a mobile telephone.

“It was a kiss on the lips. No, not a snog,” said Bekhal. “But they took a picture of her and gave it to my uncle and that was it. It was all over for Banaz just because she really loved that man.”

Banaz’s tragic case would be terrible if it were unique.  But that is hardly the case. 

In 2003, British authorities admitted to only 12 such “honor” killings in the UK but are now re-opening over 100 files of victims of crimes like the one that took Banaz’s life.

Meanwhile, in Berlin 6 Muslim women were murdered for their families’ honor in just a 4 month span in 2005.

By no means is Banaz Mahmod’s case an isolated one.  In fact, it’s quite obvious that there are a great many Muslims who believe that the murder of women who refuse to comply with the orders of the men in their lives is justified or even demanded.

After the murder of Hatin Surucu in Berlin, this little fact came out:

Asked by teachers what they thought of the murder, several 13-year-old pupils are said to have implied that they thought Mrs Sürücü had “earned” her death. “Well, she lived like a German, didn’t she?” remarked one.

She broke with her family, refused to wear the Muslim headscarf and lived with her child in a hostel.

She had recently completed training as an electrical engineer and friends said that she simply “wanted to live her own life”.

The murder has shocked politicians, police and community leaders, and prompted criticism that successive German governments have ignored ritual injustices within immigrant communities for decades. “How many more women have to die before this society wakes up?” asked Necla Kelek, the author of a controversial book on arranged marriages.

Good question, Ms. Kelek, but the query is too limited.  Muslims’ hatred of women is not a British or a German problem, it’s world-wide and endemic to the religion itself.

Hatred, I’ve found, is usually motivated by one sort of fear or another.  I have to believe that Muslim men are afraid – and for good reason – that women who experience freedom of choice in marriage, clothing, employment, etc., will reject the tyranny of their fathers and husbands, leave Islam behind, and take their children with them.

After reading about these and other cases, who in their right mind could blame them?  Are Muslim men so cowardly that they fear the independence of their own women?  Seems so.

(Big hat tip to Sheik Yer Mami!)

Illegal Immigrants’ Families

22.07.2007 (10:35 pm) – Filed under: Immigration ::

As a husband it’s difficult to imagine the suffering of a spouse or child who sees his/her family torn apart when a parent is arrested and deported for immigration violations.

Human Rights Watch says that’s happened to over 1.6 million illegals in the last 10 years.

The widespread impact on American families has been truly devastating, said Alison Parker, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.

“How do you explain to a child that her father has been sent thousands of miles away and can never come home simply because he forged a check?” Parker said.

Steve Camorata, Center for Immigration Studies research director, said family members can leave with the deported immigrants. “Children constantly bear the consequences of their parents’ poor decisions,” he added.

1.6 million wives and children hurt. This sad number truly staggers the imagination. But what is even more shocking to me is that the head of a family would deliberately put his loved ones in jeopardy by illegally bringing them to the U.S. in the first place or, having come here alone, would proceed to incur family obligations without the legal basis to follow through on them.

Does the thought that the penalties proscribed in American law might actually be applied to them never enter the illegals’ minds?

Probably not – under Clinton and Bush we’ve been so lax at enforcing border security that there has been little reason for them to worry. And yet, 1.6 million family members have been split apart from each other by their failure to live within the law.

Whose fault is that?

Not Americans’, surely, despite our ridiculous internal dysfunctionality on the subject. This failure of logic has most recently manifested itself in Manassas, Virginia, where Prince William county recently passed a measure which would permit county workers to ensure people are in the country legally before providing services.

That’s an excellent idea! Or it would be if people where truly interested in solving the illegal immigration problem. Illegals come to America for jobs and free services. Remove the latter and the former is not nearly so attractive.

And yet:

The county’s police chief also spoke out strongly against the measure, saying it would diminish cooperation with law enforcement and further strain thinly stretched resources. Chief Charlie T. Deane said restricting access to recreation services would lead to increased crime among young people.

This despite the fact that the preamble of the resolution states the problem quite clearly:

Illegal immigration may be encouraged by public agencies within the county by failing to verify immigration status as a condition of providing services

Really? I wouldn’t have suspected that.

It’s actually worse than it appears. Illegals, despite having no legal right to be in the U.S. at all, seem to feel that they are entitled to American public services. Speaking at a recent protest rally:

“I am here because it’s against justice,” said Maria Hernandez, a U.S. citizen and former illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who stood outside the administration building with her year-old son and 3-year-old daughter hanging on her. “How is it possible that our children won’t have an education because they are illegal?”

How it is possible? Exactly. The utter lack of any guilt whatever is absolutely amazing.

What I want to know is how it is possible for such an utterly illogical, lawless, self-centered point of view to exist in this country? How is it possible that illegal aliens dare to claim as their right what Americans have paid for with the tax levies placed on their own labor?

How is it possible that Americans can defend this unearned claim on our infrastructure?

Yet some do:

immigrant rights advocates said they feared the intent [of the Manassas policy] was to deny a wide range of services, including medical care, library access and even the federally protected right to schooling. They say such restrictions will inevitably lead to discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

“Discrimination based on immigration status” is what these groups mean and are afraid to say. The fact that their “clients” are criminals in the eyes of the law means absolutely nothing to these so-called rights advocates.

What about the right of Americans to keep the social services that their tax dollars bought for their own use? Who will defend that right?

As sympathetic as we might be to individual illegals’ cases, the fundamental fact that the American government should rely on is that illegals have a choice to stay in their country of origin, whereas Americans have no choice when our hard-earned social services are misappropriated by illegals.

That fact is what we should stand on, proudly and without the least shame.

Thus forewarned, illegals should realize what they may be doing to themselves and their families when they choose to flout our laws.

Allen West on Liberalism and Islam

20.07.2007 (7:52 am) – Filed under: Islam,Liberalism,Politics ::

Atlas Shrugs posted a brilliant column written by Allen West, a Lt. Colonel running for Congress in Florida. An excerpt:

If Liberals admit there is a problem, they could be called upon to act. Liberals are blinded by the fear of action. They rest their hope upon the “reason” and “benevolence” of an enemy, an enemy who would slit their collective throats. Truly if they could understand, this adversary finds their existence useful but abhorrent—useful in that this enemy will support liberals’ quest for power through their propagandist efforts; abhorrent in that liberals only seem weak and cowardly, which is detestable in these parts.

Liberals seek to destroy any institution of intrinsic value: God, country, family, honor, valor, courage, VIRTUE……Why? Because if such things exist, then they must be defended, which brings them back to their fear of action.

It is far easier for Liberals to denounce our Judeo-Christian faith than to confront the truth that faces us all: that Islam is a religion of subjugation, submission and intimidation, whose teachings defend terrorism.

It is far simpler and easier for Liberals to say that Christians are terrorists, President Bush is a Nazi, Jesus Christ does not exist, and the defenders of their rights are “murderers”. That way, they can hide behind free speech, a right provided by those who embody the very character traits and virtues which Liberals seek to destroy.

In the long term, who really has the most to lose in this War on Terror? Liberals do, because we who defend them will never hate them. We will only pity them, while the Islamic fascist, theocrat/autocrat, and terrorist will slaughter them and take away any of the “rights” they have enjoyed.

Here in the 21st century, we risk forgetting that we are Americans. If we have a society we want to keep, we are required to protect and defend it. We are required to act.

Read the whole thing.

Regarding West’s thesis – that liberals are afraid to act in defense of America – I believe that’s true. Not because they completely fail to understand the danger of a rising Islamic scourge – many of them do see the problem for what it is – but because the necessity of opposing conservatives at all times forces them into a contradiction between the reality of the world around them and their need to be perceived as being strong and “for something”, even if that plank in their platform could destroy America.

This dilemna is clearly in evidence with regard to troop withdrawals from Iraq.  Democrats cannot responsibly pull our troops out of Iraq, yet their very majority in the legislature is predicated upon that action.  They cannot act because of the paradox inherent between their values and what many Dems know must be done.

As I said earlier:

In a way, being elected to the majority was a bad things for Dems because that forces them to accept responsibility for their rhetoric, something they did not have to do when Republicans were in charge.  This is a problem because their words, particularly about Iraq, were and are utterly empty.

Ultra-liberal positions on abortion – “we have the right to kill up to the moment of birth” – and fiscal policy – “we have the right to take wealthy people’s money and use it as we see fit” – are equally irresponsible.  Progressive policies cannot be implemented, even by Democrats, because they are bad ideas.

Even the Democratic leadership knows that the progressive element is not fit for leadership.  That’s why their policies do not get implemented.  For this we should all be thankful.

This is why liberals, and Democrats, by extension, are unable to act, even to defend America:  enough of them know, viscerally, that their ideas are not good ones, even as they espouse them.

First Post, but something important none the less

19.07.2007 (1:26 am) – Filed under: Immigration,Justice ::

First off, I want to thank Marc for inviting me to post as an author here at Black Shards. Marc and I have been moving buddies now for four years and thanks to the Internet we have stayed in touch even though we live relatively far apart.

In thinking about what to write I pondered many topics that I think deserve a real treatment. Iraq, the booming economy, Illegal Immigration, the exercise of the President’s authority to pardon Scooter Libby are all worthy topics. But, there is one topic that I think is getting less attention then it deserves. So, if you don’t know about this then settle down and pull up a chair. I am going to introduce you to Border Agent’s Nacho Ramos and Jose Compeon.

It was just two years ago that these two men were part of a group of agents that tracked and captured a Mexican national illegally in the United States smuggling about 800 pounds of dope. In the process of capturing the smuggler, one Oswaldo Aldrete-Davilla, Agent Compeon got into a scuffle with him and Mr. Davilla managed to escape and began to run. Agent Compeon fired his pistol at Mr. Davilla 14 times missing every time. Then Agent Ramos, arriving on the scene as Mr. Davilla was running through the scrub brush and hearing the multiple gun shots took one shot at Mr. Davilla (apparently also missing). Mr. Davilla swam across the Rio Grande, got into a waiting car and drove off. You can read all of this from the trial transcripts if you desire.

And now it gets complex. The Agents (along with at least two others) decided not to officially file a report of the shooting. That their superiors knew of the shooting was apparent from the trial transcripts, but they chose not to report the shooting. Why? Perhaps it was to avoid paperwork since they didn’t apparently hit the smuggler. But there was no report filed.

The real complexity comes from this point forward… at the trial the government says that Mr Davilla told his mother that he was injured by the Border Patrol and she then called her friend who’s son was a Border Patrol Agent in Arizona. He checked the logs and saw that while there was a record of the van full of drugs being captured, there was no shooting. He then raised this as a red flag and the wheels of justice turned quickly. After an investigation by the Border Patrol and the US Attorney’s office, immunity was granted to two of the other agents present that day to testify against Ramos and Compeon. The initial charges were that they had failed to report the shooting of an individual on duty.

But, even with those two agents the government had a problem. They were unlikely to be able to get a conviction if they couldn’t prove that Mr Davilla was actually shot by these two (well one actually). So, the US government sent a delegation to Mexico to meet with Mr. Davilla and offered him a grant of immunity if he would also testify. They also offered him free medical treatment and…wait for it…a free transit visa to cross into the US.

So, now armed with his neato spiffy keen visa, Mr Davilla drives another van across the border carrying…you guessed it, another 800 pounds of dope. Is he charged for that crime? Nope, he isn’t. When the US Attorney is asked about it, they dissemble and say there is no record of any arrest. Which is correct…he wasn’t arrested (debatably because the US Attorney’s office requested that he not be). When that tidbit was finally released the response now is…well, we can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

The trial is an interesting read if you have the time. The gist of the gov’t’s case boils down to this. These guys (Ramos and Compeon) went out and shot this guy for no reason. In fact, they didn’t even have the authority to chase this guy at all. After all this poor guy didn’t even know that he was moving dope. He didn’t know what was in the van, he was just driving it. Heck, he was only doing it for the money for his poor sick mother, and these mean agents just shot him when he tried to run away.

They were convicted at the end of trial of shooting Mr Davilla, but the real fun doesn’t end here. The real fun comes when one of the charges that was added after the initial arraignment USC 924 (c) (1) (a), which states that the penalty for committing a crime tried in a Federal Court in which a firearm is discharged is required to carry an additional 10 years of sentence. Obviously this was because the Congress wanted to crack down on crimes of gun violence by criminals. The problem is that by these standards, any law enforcement officer who ends up found guilty of a violent crime while on duty would get tacked with a mandatory 5 years tack on. This was not what the Congress intended by the law according to Senators as far apart politically as John Cornyn (R-TX), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as both have urged the President to commute the sentences.

“We believe that this is a case of prosecutorial overreaching, and to allow Agents Ramos and Compean to serve more than a decade in prison would represent a serious miscarriage of justice,” they wrote.

“We urge you to commute their prison sentences immediately.”

Senator Feinstein was particular in her questioning of US Attorney Johnny Sutton in this exchange

Feinstein asked Sutton when agents should be able to fire weapons while pursuing a fleeing suspect. Sutton replied, “If a person does not pose a threat to them, they have to use other than deadly force.”

“How do they do that?”

“They chase them off.”

“And, if they try to chase them and chase fails, while they are still yelling ‘Stop?’”

“That does not authorize them to shoot.”

“So, in other words,” Feinstein clarified, “any drug dealer on the border who doesn’t obey a stop command and runs, cannot be shot?”

“Yes ma’am,” Sutton replied. “Unless there are other circumstances, but just the fact they are running and they were a drug dealer is not enough.”

“No wonder so much drugs are coming across the border,” Feinstein said.

Sutton later said that if the laws were relaxed it would mean that “some [innocent] people are going to get gunned down execution-style by a cop.”

Its been a long journey for these two men, and their families. One was put in the general population of a prison with a large MS-13 presence and he was beaten severely. It took over a year to even get a hearing on this issue. One of the reasons was the duplicity of the Department of Homeland Security and the US Attorney General. When Congress first started to ask about this issue last year, the response from both groups was to either lie to the Congress (which the DHS admitted to doing and said that it was OK because it wasn’t sworn testimony), or to “leak” information not germane to the trial that made one of the defendants appear to be a wild, out of control madman. What is the old saw about the ad hominem attack?

When you continue to find item after item that makes you go “hmmm, that’s odd” about this case you start to have to apply Friar Occam’s Razor and realize that the simplest solution is that they either never should have been convicted, or at the very least never should have been sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison.

Censoring the Web

18.07.2007 (10:25 pm) – Filed under: Technology ::

Remember 10 years ago, way back in 1997, when you got your first email account and swore off snail mail forever?  Email was the bomb and surfing the web was the coolest thing ever. 

Then the first thought hit you – I could put my own content up, rave against the machine, all that jazz.  Say what you want and there’s no one to stop you, no media gatekeepers to filter their little letters to the editor list, no big brother watching over your shoulder.

How the dream has faded.  Atlas Shrugged is banned in Europe, Jihad Watch from multiple business and government offices, and Gates of Vienna was downed all day by Google’s sad attempt at spam blog blocking.

The virtual land of opportunity, the free range of the world wide web, has been fenced in, sub-divided, and sold off and out from under us.  The web was supposed to free us all from the tyranny of censorship and to a large extent it has.  But not everyone is happy when the people are free and the links above show the result of that snide churlishness.

In many ways Google is the web now – it’s the home page of many, many users.  “Google it” is a term everyone knows because that’s what we do.  Does Google – once the good guy to Microsoft’s black-hatted monopolists – have too much power?  As Pamela found out, cross them and you’ll find yourself in a page rank backwater nearly as far out of the mainstream as this web site.

Yes, MSN and Yahoo still exist.  But Google dominates web search and web businesses and authors are at their mercy as to traffic flow.

Hopefully GoV will learn from today’s lesson and take on their own hosting.  It’s easy enough and keeps one at least a small step out from under Google’s thumb.

As for Jihad Watch, it’s simply ludicrous to classify that web site as containing hate speech, a term that has no meaning when spouted by the haters of Robert Spencer.  In truth there is no more site on the web that’s classier than his when it comes to exposing the nature and news of Islam and its roots, aims, and actions.

Net Neutrality – the idea that everyone’s content has the same relative value and deserves the same chance at the Net’s resources – is a dream of the past as well.  While we were busy making the content that makes the Net worth having the carriers were plotting to steal it all away from us in order to shove videos and commercial clips at us down their asymmetrical pipes.  Everything TCP-IP travels through gateways that can be monitored, controlled, bought, and sold.  That’s exactly what’s happened. 

In fact, the freedom we thought we were getting from the Net was an illusion, as these and other events demonstrate.

As our on-line rights diminish, perhaps momentum for an underground Net-substitute will gather.  Imagine a loosely coupled mesh of local wireless networks linked together without the Teleco’s chokepoints.  Sort of a FidoNET over Wi-Fi.  Slow, perhaps, and definitely unreliable.  But it would be all ours, with no Google, AT&T, or Uncle Sam to jerk our chains.

Something to think about.