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Tony Blair is no longer Prime Minister of Great Britain. I feel melancholy and a bit less safe. He was a person of great strength and character. I felt confident with Blair steady at the helm of the British ship of state, our oldest ally and our next of kin in the international community.

Now he is gone. Perhaps, in time, Gordon Brown will earn our trust and admiration as his predecessor did. We can only hope. But not tonight. Tonight we face the fear of the unknown--an untested new partner in a treacherous moment.

I am also sad for Blair, who drew a raw deal from his home folks. Politics is a funny business. Although Blair resurrected his party's viability and proved a wise and judicious leader, he lost the confidence of his constituents. No one was more articulate or more sincere in defending unpopular policies than Blair, but it was to no avail. For all the pundits and disgruntled conservatives who sigh in exasperation with the President's inability to make his case on Iraq before the American electorate--I say look at Blair. Would it have made any difference?

Finding the right words to say goodbye. Language is an inadequate form of communication, especially so when one wants to speak from the heart and praise a person of heroic proportions. I am at a loss to explain my sense of dread at his passing from the public stage. I am unequal to the challenge of expressing of my depth of feeling for "our PM."

Now the next chapter. Good luck Tony Blair in the new task before you. It is an impossible charge that no mere mortal could accomplish. Having said that, I wish you well and I hold out a modicum of hope that you can make a positive difference.

Godspeed to our right honorable friend.

Painfully aware that my words are insufficient to convey the greatness and genuineness of the man, let me leave you with his parting words.

Blair on politics:

"Some may belittle politics, but we who are engaged in it know that it is where people stand tall. Although I know that it has many harsh contentions, it is still the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster. If it is, on occasions, the place of low skullduggery, it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes. I wish everyone, friend or foe, well. That is that. The end."

Hear, hear.
We have pointed out the dangerous drugs exported by China. Now the NYT has this article on dangerous toys made in China that are being recalled. (Thanks to Photognome.) This excerpt.

The latest recall, announced last week, involves 1.5 million Thomas & Friends trains and rail components about 4 percent of all those sold in the United States over the last two years by RC2 Corporation of Oak Brook, Ill. The toys were coated at a factory in China with lead paint, which can damage brain cells, especially in children.

Just in the last month, a ghoulish fake eyeball toy made in China was recalled after it was found to be filled with kerosene. Sets of toy drums and a toy bear were also recalled because of lead paint, and an infant wrist rattle was recalled because of a choking hazard.

Chinese companies make the American "Robber Barons" of the 19th century look like upstanding "Captains of Industry."
While I reject the usual attempts to compare the Iraq War with the Vietnam War, there are some disturbing parallels.

In Vietnam the Soviet Union and China supplied arms and amunition to the NVA and thence to the Viet Cong without real penalty. In Iraq today the Iranians provide arms and ammunition without real penalty. And, it now is becoming apparant that China is willingly and knowlingly supplying the war material that will be used against U.S. and coalition troops. See this article.

Both of these nations must be made to pay a steep, steep penalty for their actions. Iran perhaps militarily. China economically. Unless we take quick and serious action, the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq will continue to develop.
From the Washington Post:

This article. Thanks to the Rott.

An excerpt:

The insurgents who kill our young soldiers are ruthless, but we have sometimes been cautious in our response. Take the question of targeting bomb makers: There may be an unlimited supply of explosives in Iraq, but there is not an unlimited supply of people who know how to wire the detonators. In 2004, CIA operatives in Iraq believed that they had identified the signatures of 11 bomb makers. They proposed a diabolical -- but potentially effective -- sabotage program that would have flooded Iraq with booby-trapped detonators designed to explode in the bomb makers' hands. But the CIA general counsel's office said no. The lawyers claimed that the agency lacked authority for such an operation, one source recalled.

I am not sure I can respond to this information without a torrent of obscenities. But, I'll try. "War is hell." Just make sure that it's hell for the other side. If that means using our lawyers as walking IED bait, then so be it.
Gateway Pundit is doing great coverage of the Prague Democracy Conference. We need to keep fighting the good fight.
LGF has the roundup from Pakistan where the strengthening and assertive radical Islam is sending women back to the Dark Ages. Girls' Schools are a preferred target.

Cultural Relativists have been telling us that all cultures are equal. My response: don't construct a philosophical house you refuse to live in. I don't know of a single politically correct American who would move to Pakistan to live in an area controlled by Islamists.
From the NYT. Poison Chinese toothpaste found here in the states. Link from Drudge. Previous post.

Over 100 years ago in this country we set out to ensure consumer safety through food and drug inspections and standards. Now we are losing that guarantee with cheap imports. Viva free trade.

UPDATE: China seems to be handling things in its usual way: belligerently going on the offensive and blaming the U.S. for blowing things out of proportion. Story here.
This story should be huge. A reporter for TIME magazine in Vietnam, a man also used by several other western news agencies and reporters, was a communist agent who fed information to North Vietnam and fed propaganda to news agencies. Lind from Instapundit.

Unfortunately, it will be a cold, cold day in hell before the Sunday morning talk shows fixate on this topic, or CNN devotes extensive time to it.

Think about it: the American media was largely responsible for public opinion turning against the war in Vietnam (e.g., the Tet Offensive which was a stunning defeat for the Viet Cong and NVA was portrayed in the Western press as a stunning defeat for us). And in the midst of the reporting from Vietnam was a Vietnamese communist agent.

How many of the stringers and reporters used in the Middle East today take their orders from Islamic radicals?
I have not been happy that we have had talks with Iran, especially that we started on Memorial Day. But this post on Wizbang makes me feel somewhat better.