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Obama and Al Qaeda

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Tuesday approved Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot missile batteries and hundreds of US and other foreign troops on the country’s border with Syria. The deployment will mark a qualitative escalation of the US-backed war for regime-change in Syria, paving the way, much as in Libya last year, for a direct US-NATO intervention.

Turkey, which has played a leading role in funneling arms, money, foreign fighters and logistical assistance to the so-called “rebels” seeking to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, justified its request by claiming it was threatened with the use by the Syrian regime of surface-to-surface missiles armed with chemical weapons.

Washington floats chemical weapons charge as pretext for Syria buildup

The Obama administration and the corporate media have cited unspecified “intelligence” about the movement of chemical weapons to issue new threats of direct intervention in Syria, where Washington and its allies have been backing so-called “rebels” in a bid to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both made public statements Monday alleging a danger of Syria using chemical weapons and threatening US retaliation.

Appearing before a military audience at the National Defense University in Fort McNair, Obama declared, “I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and anyone who is under his command… If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”

“This is a red line for the United States,” Clinton said earlier in the day after a meeting in Prague with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

In “fiscal cliff” talks, Democrats offer cuts now, cuts later

The Obama administration revealed Sunday that it is willing to discuss longer-term cuts in Social Security as well as immediate cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in ongoing negotiations over the federal budget with congressional Republicans.

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, named by Obama last week as his chief negotiator on budget issues, appeared on multiple network television interview programs Sunday to state the administration position.

The selection of Geithner to lead the talks was aimed at reassuring big business that there was nothing to fear in Obama’s demagogic campaign about raising taxes on the wealthy. The treasury secretary has been identified since his prominent role in the Wall Street bailout as the chief advocate of the big financial interests within the administration’s innermost circles.

The White House has focused on blocking any extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy—due to expire December 31—in order to provide a fig leaf of “shared sacrifice” while Obama and Congress work out an agreement to slash spending on social programs on which tens of millions of working, retired and disabled people depend.

One month since Hurricane Sandy

A month has passed since Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal and low-lying sections of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, taking the lives of more than 100 people and destroying the homes and livelihoods of tens of thousands more.

The TV cameras and reporters have long since departed. The pledges from politicians, beginning with President Obama, to do “everything in our power” to aid the storm’s victims have already been forgotten.

The brutal reality of families left to their own devices by a political and economic system that is utterly indifferent to the plight of working people emerges more clearly with each passing day.

Tens of thousands of families remain homeless, many with little prospect of ever returning to the homes that were destroyed or heavily damaged by the hurricane. Eight-and-a-half million homes and businesses lost power, and some have not had it restored to this day.


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