Four at Four

  1. News from around Iraq. The LA Times reports Iraqis are in festive mood on eve of U.S. troop exit. “People sing and dance and set off fireworks to celebrate their ‘day of national sovereignty’ as U.S. troops prepare to leave cities and hand over security to the Iraqi government.”

    “Fireworks exploded over the city and several thousand people crowded into central Baghdad’s Zawra Park, ignoring a mild dust storm to say goodbye to more than six years of American forces patrolling their major cities.”

    The Washington Post declares This is no longer America’s war. “Six years and three months after the March 2003 invasion, the United States has withdrawn its remaining combat troops from Iraq’s cities,” but “more than 130,000 U.S. troops remain in the country”.

    “Iraqis danced in the streets and set off fireworks overnight in impromptu celebrations of a pivotal moment in their nation’s troubled history. The government staged a military parade to mark the new national holiday of ‘National Sovereignty Day,’ and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made a triumphant, nationally televised address.”

    But, don’t let the happiness of the Iraqis stop a little Iran-bashing by the U.S. military. The commander of the U.S. troops in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said, “there are still people who do not want the government of Iraq to succeed.” He “accused Iran of continuing to train, fund and support groups who carry out attacks in Iraq”.

    Meanwhile, the AP reports Four U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on the eve of the American withdrawal. “The U.S. military said the four were died on Monday as a ‘result of combat related injuries.'”

    According to, 4,321 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq, plus 179 British troops and 139 coalition troops were killed since George W. Bush ordered the invasion in March 2003. places the documented number of civilian deaths in Iraq between 92,435 and 100,911, but the likelihood is the Iraqi death toll is significantly higher.

    So, was the war worth it? The Washington Post reports Foreign oil companies balk at Iraq oil auction terms. “During a day-long live auction for eight 20-year service contracts, the Iraqi oil ministry was able to nail down just one — for the Rumaila field in southern Iraq. The ministry accepted a joint bid submitted by British Petroleum and the China National Petroleum Corp. to boost output there.”

    And, the CS Monitor speculates Could violence bring U.S. forces back to Iraqi cities? It would take a lot, but it could happen. “Attacks on US interests in Iraq, and consequent US casualties, are likely to remain a challenge until Sunni Arabs, upset at what they see as the dominance of Maliki’s Shiite coalition over the state and the distribution of its resources, cease their low-level insurgency. But some analysts warn that the biggest threat to Iraq’s stability will be a failure to integrate some of the Sunni fighters that once fought the Americans and the Iraqi government.”

Four at Four continues another benefit for shipping manufacturing to China, the impact of climate change in the Florida Keys and Louisiana, and Obama puts global trade before global warming.

  1. Here’s another benefit for shipping U.S. manufacturing to China. McClatchy reports Chinese makers of shoddy goods rarely face U.S. sanctions.

    Chinese manufacturers made more than half of the goods that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled last year, but few of them paid any price for producing defective wares…

    For starters, suing a Chinese company in a Chinese court isn’t a good idea for most American plaintiffs, said Michael Lyle, a seasoned international lawyer. “It’s like suing Michael Jordan in Chicago.”

    Yet many Chinese manufacturers also evade trial in the U.S. simply by persuading judges that their companies had no substantial business presence in the states in which they’ve been sued. That’s not hard for Chinese manufacturers, which typically rely on independent importers to sell to the American market…

    Without the threat of high-dollar damage claims, Chinese and other foreign manufacturers can continue to produce shoddy and dangerous goods undeterred.

    Capitalism going for the kill!

  2. No surprise here, but the Miami Herald reports Florida Keys ill-prepared for rising sea. “By 2100, under the best-case predictions of a seven-inch sea-level rise by an international climate panel, the Keys would lose about 59,000 acres of real estate worth $11 billion… Under the panel’s worst-case projection of ocean waters rising 23.2 inches, about 75 percent of the Keys 154,000 acres and nearly 50 percent of its $43 billion property value could become submerged.”

    “In the last century, waters in the Keys gradually rose nine inches, an amount that caught the attention of scientists but few others… Already, though, scientists say the Keys have seen the results of climate change, from coral reef bleaching to loss of land.”

    While across the Gulf, The Guardian reports Rising sea level to submerge Louisiana coastline by 2100. According to a new study published in Nature Geoscience, “A vast swath of the coastal lands around New Orleans will be underwater by the dawn of the next century because the rate of sediment deposit in the Mississippi delta can not keep up with rising sea levels”.

    “For New Orleans, and other low-lying areas of Louisiana whose vulnerability was exposed by hurricane Katrina, the findings could bring some hard choices about how to defend the coast against the future sea level rises that will be produced by climate change. They also revive the debate about the long-term sustainability of New Orleans and other low-lying areas.”

    Simply put, New Orleans is doomed.

  3. Meanwhile, the LA Times reports President Obama champions energy bill but not its tariffs.

    President Obama on Sunday called a House-passed energy bill “an extraordinary first step” toward halting global warming and reducing the use of fossil fuels, but he expressed reservations about a controversial provision that would slap tariffs on imports from countries that did not similarly crack down on greenhouse gas emissions

    Asked if he supported a provision, inserted late in the House debate, that seeks to penalize imports from nations that fail to cut their emissions in step with the United States, Obama said:

    “At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we’ve seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals.”

    He noted that the bill contained other provisions to defend U.S. manufacturers and their employees from lower-cost foreign competition — including free emissions permits for energy-intensive industries vulnerable to foreign trade, such as steel and aluminum.

    “I am very mindful of wanting to make sure there is a level playing field internationally,” he said. “I think there may be other ways to do it than with a tariff approach.”

    Of course, there aren’t other ways. Obama is protecting capitalism — for the kill.


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  1. in Iraq celebrating, too?  I sincerely hope, and suspect, most of them are.  Too bad we can’t send them fireworks and dancing shoes.

  2. Martha Raddatz: A Soldier Fights for Life

    After giving power to Iraqis, Lt. Col. Tim Karcher loses legs in explosion.

    Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz reports on Lieutenant Colonel Tim Karcher, who lost both his legs this week when his vehicle was bombed near Baghdad’s notorious Sadr City neighborhood. A vivid reminder on this day when US forces hand control of Iraqi cities and towns over to Iraqi command, that the war is far from over…….

    US military says 4 soldiers killed in Baghdad

    The U.S. military says that four soldiers were killed in Baghdad on the eve of the American withdrawal from Iraq’s cities…….

  3. From left to right, Abdel Mounem Ahmad on the qanun, Fadi Fares Aziz on the ney and Salim Salem on the oud.

    Iraqi refugees release captivating album online

    A trio of refugee musicians from Iraq have released their first album on some of the world’s leading music-sharing sites and have agreed to use the profits to help financially strapped compatriots in exile.

    “Transitions,” comprising 15 tracks put together by Salim Salem, Abdel Mounem Ahmad and Fadi Fares Aziz with the support of the UN refugee agency, made its online debut Thursday on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Amie Street, IMVU, lala, ShockHound, Rhapsody and emusic……..>>>>>Rest Here

    Listen to samples from “Transitions” at emusic. Profits from the purchase of the album will support Iraqi refugees through programs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Syria.

    “On this World Refugee Day, let us remember that refugees too are real people with real needs. Helping them to rebuild their lives and their communities benefits us all.”

    – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres

  4. and Pharma’s Phony “Gift” to Health Care Reform

    Big Pharma pulled off a first-class PR coup last week with its widely celebrated pledge to support health care reform by offering up a package of discounts they claim will run to $80 billion over the next ten years. The highlight of the package, said to be worth about $30 billion, is a 50 percent discount offered to old and disabled people who fall into the “donut hole,” the notorious coverage gap in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, which leaves some of us paying as much as $3,000 out of pocket for our meds…………..

  5. …what side he’s really on:

    Obama is protecting capitalism – for the kill.

    And more alarming news on the Southern Ocean:

    The Southern Ocean has lost its appetite for carbon dioxide, and now it appears that the ozone hole could be to blame.

    In theory, oceans should absorb more CO2 as levels of the gas in the atmosphere rise. Measurements show that this is happening in most ocean regions, but strangely not in the Southern Ocean, where carbon absorption has flattened off. Climate models fail to reproduce this puzzling pattern.

    The Southern Ocean is a major carbon sink, guzzling around 15 per cent of CO2 emissions. However, between 1987 and 2004, carbon uptake in the region was reduced by nearly 2.5 billion tonnes – equivalent to the amount of carbon that all the world’s oceans absorb in one year.


    the ocean carbon sink .

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