The need for energy independence is illustrated once again.

Lockerbie bomber released as part of deal for oil, according to news reports. Story.

Any country which must import energy, or food, can be subjected to tremendous pressure.
Muslim fanatics continue to kill Buddhists in southern Thailand, as well as moderate Muslims, in an effort to create a sharia state.

Buddhists are even more vulnerable in Islamic theology because they lack the protection of second-class citizenship given to Christians and Jews in a state run by Islamic law.

Once more, Islam's bloody borders.


Islam has been at war with everyone else since its founding, with occasional cool spells and hot spells. We are in the midst of another hot spell. When might it burn itself out?
Muslims riot, killing Christians in Pakistan because of rumors of the burning of a Q'uran. Story.

Paramilitary troops patrolled the streets of a town in eastern Pakistan yesterday after Muslim radicals burned to death eight members of a Christian family, raising fears of violence spreading to other areas.

Hundreds of armed supporters of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an outlawed Islamic militant group, burned dozens of Christian homes in Gojra over the weekend after allegations that a copy of the Koran had been defiled.

The mob opened fire indiscriminately, threw petrol bombs and looted houses as thousands of frightened Christians ran for safety. “They were shouting anti-Christian slogans and attacked our houses,” Rafiq Masih, a resident of the predominantly Christian colony, said. Residents said that police stood aside while the mob went on the rampage. “We kept begging for protection, but police did not take action,” Mr Masih said.

Islam is inherently a supremacist religion. Officially, it tolerates two other faiths--Judaism and Christianity--but only as second-class citizens who must be made to "feel themselves subdued." Islam divides the world into two parts--the realm of submission (that which is Islamic) and the realm of war (that which is not Islamic but must be made so). Islam understands itself as the supreme, culminating revelation which is to displace all other faiths by any means necessary, including violence. No tolerance is given to those who mock the "true faith."
Jihadwatch links to an article from The Telegraph (UK) on efforts by the Obama administration to establish links with dictatorships in central Asia who might be helpful against the Taliban. He here exceeds GWB in "realism."

From The Telegraph:

President Barack Obama is resurrecting relations with some of the world's worst human rights abusers in Central Asia as he attempts to secure new allies in the fight against the Taliban.

Mr Obama has brought a new pragmatism to foreign policy In a repeat of the 19th Century "Great Game", when the Russians and British competed for relations with Muslim leaders on the outposts of their empires, Mr Obama's envoys are scuttling between the palaces of Central Asia's post-Soviet dictators.

In the last three months, Mr Obama has cut deals with Presidents Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan and Kurmanbek Bakiyev of Kyrgyzstan. Mr Karimov has been accused by a former British ambassador of ordering two opponents boiled alive. One of Mr Bakiyev's critics was recently stabbed 26 times in the buttocks by unknown assailants.
Story here. From The Telegraph (UK)

Must be Nigeria's support of Israel. Or the history of Nigerian colonial expansion in the Middle East. Or the Nigerian backing for the Crusades.

The group is made up of former students who want hardline Islamic sharia to be the dominant legal system across all of Nigeria. Africa's most populous nation is made up of roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims.

A member of the gang who was wounded during the initial attack on the police station told Reuters the group wanted to "clean the (Nigerian) system which is polluted by Western education and uphold sharia all over the country."

Militant Islam is not simply reactive to Western actions: Militant Islam has its own agenda derived from its core beliefs.
I have wondered what might take priority over F-22s in the latest military budget. The article linked by Instapundit makes a good case for more and newer communications-jamming aircraft.

But there’s ample evidence that electronic-warfare planes really are more useful in today’s wars. In the early days of the Afghanistan conflict, the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines cobbled together a makeshift armada of jamming planes — Air Force EC-130H Compass Calls and Navy and Marine EA-6B Prowlers — capable of zeroing out the Taliban’s communications. That armada subsequently shifted to Iraq, then back to Afghanistan as the Iraq war winds down. Last week, the small Compass Call detachment at Bagram airbase, in Afghanistan, marked its 2,000th Afghanistan mission. “There are only 14 of these aircraft in the Air Force,” Maj. James Bands said. “So it’s taken four years of constant flying at about 2,000-3,000 hours on one aircraft a year, in order to accomplish this.”
This afternoon my wife and I bought a small shelving unit at a business supply big box store. Is is solid wood.

On the way home I meditated on the fact it was "Made in Thailand."

What are the odds the shelving unit is a product of sustainable logging?

Earlier this year my wife and I shopped for a bedroom set, our first, as a 30th wedding anniversary present to ourselves.

Most of what we saw were made in China. Given China's environmental record, I strongly suspect that buying Made in China furniture is environmentally irresponsible. Perhaps that is why manufacturers are pushing dark-colored pieces--the finish hides tropical mystery wood.

We bought a Made in the USA set that is mostly constructed wood, though if our budget had been larger, we would have gone for Made in America solid hardwood.

Free trade is trade without a conscience. Free trade gives advantage to foreign goods produced without the environmental and safety regulations that protect American workers, and our environment. Fair trade would be better.
Powerline links to The Washington Times for the story.

Vietnam's "hidden" war on Christianity just rumbles along, and on March 13, the communist authorities demolished one of the first Christian churches built in Vietnam's Central Highlands. While religious persecution is nothing new to Vietnam, the significance of this demolition is particularly symbolic because the church was more than a historical landmark. The large stone Church at Buon Ma Thuot for the last 34 years had been deliberately closed by Vietnam's security police, and yet, all those years, the church remained a powerful symbol to the local indigenous Christians. Unfortunately, the church was also an unwelcome reminder for the communists who had murdered a number of Christian missionaries near the grounds in 1968, and a reminder of the very movement the government is trying to eliminate. This movement, so hated by Hanoi, is nothing other than "independent" Christian house churches.

The story also reminds us that our abandonmnt of South Vietnam meant abandonment of our Montagnard allies to the tender mercies of the victorious North Vietnamese.
Quoting the President of the United States, Barack Obama. from his press briefing today:

"The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days."

"I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost."

"In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests of justice. Despite the Iranian government's efforts to expel journalists and isolate itself, powerful images and poignant words have made their way to us through cell phones and computers. And so we've watched what the Iranian people are doing."

"We've seen the timeless dignity of tens of thousands of Iranians marching in silence. We've seen people of all ages risk everything to insist that their votes are counted and that their voices are heard.

"Above all, we've seen courageous women stand up to the brutality and threats, and we've experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets. While this loss is raw and extraordinarily painful, we also know this: those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history."

"If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect those rights and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through consent and not coercion. That's what Iran's own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government."


While I have not had time to go through the entirety of the press conference, in my mind, there is no question that this is a strong condemnation of the Iranian government from the President of the United States. It is much more in line with what I was craving over the past few days. In fact, it is a wonderfully penetrating critique. I would be a hypocritical ingrate not to acknowledge and appreciate this gesture.

Having said that, I have a few admittedly impertinent questions:

1. Does the President still entertain delusions that we can negotiate with these people?

2. I first READ online those first few graphs concerning Iran--and I punched my fist in the air a couple of times. YEAH BABY! SOLIDARITY! Then I caught the video and watched him deliver those lines. LACKLUSTER. Will the President ever register a similar contempt in his voice for the brutal and oppressive Iranian regime that he regularly musters for the Republican opposition and the previous administration? The words were adequate--but where was the emotion? The outrage? Was his heart really in this?

Blasting an anti-U.S. power just seems to go against his basic wiring. The closest he gets to real pique is when he chastises the Iranians for employing the "tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries." My hunch is that this staple of Obama speak proved close enough to his regular stump speech against the GOP that it activated some muscle memory impulse of manifested ire. Otherwise, he never really gets up a full head of steam until he starts talking about the impending showdown over health care and mendacious insurance companies who have erroneously charged that government has a history of inefficiency. Now there's some real dastardly behavior that the President can sink his teeth into.
The invitation to Iranian diplomats to celebrate the 4th of July with us is still on. From the State Department transcript of today's press conference. Full transcript.

QUESTION: This isn’t a frivolous question, really. Do you think it’s still appropriate to have Iranians come to these July 4th parties under the circumstances? I mean, is there any thought being given to like, rescinding invitations?

MR. KELLY: No, there’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats.

QUESTION: It’s appropriate to have a social dialogue with them if they come?

MR. KELLY: Well, we have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran, and we tried many years of isolation and we’re pursuing a different path now.

The Obama Adminstration is absolutely flat on its feet in responding to the ongoing crisis in Iran. The regime is openly crushing its own people, and we are inviting tyrants to watch fireworks on the 4th.

Reaction has started around the conservative blogosphere.