Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Soros Buying Gold as Record Prices Seen on Stimulus
By Nicholas Larkin and Debarati Roy - BusinessWeek.com
Gold's 12-year rally, the longest in at least nine decades, is poised to continue in 2013 as central bank stimulus spurs investors from John Paulson to George Soros to accumulate the highest combined bullion holdings ever.
The metal will rise every quarter next year and average $1,925 an ounce in the final three months, or 11 percent more than now, according to the median of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Paulson & Co. has a $3.66 billion bet through the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed exchange- traded product, and Soros Fund Management LLC increased its holdings by 49 percent in the third quarter, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show.
Gartman sees more central bank buying
of Gold, favors Gold/Yen
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Investor and newsletter writer Dennis Gartman said that he looks for central-bank buying of gold to continue and currently favors holding gold in Japanese yen terms.
Central banks collectively sold between 400 and 750 metric tons of gold between 2002 and 2007, but the tide shifted and they have been "material net buyers" since 2010. This is not a trend likely to be reversed in the next several months, or we think in the next several years, Gartman added.
Keiser Report: Twinkies, Finance, Scandal (E369)
In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert present a success story for the three year anniversary of the Keiser Report and that is that the banksters are going the way of Twinkies, Ho Ho's and Ding Dongs - OUT OF BUSINESS! And just as the junk food and fake bread of the Hostess products caused obesity and diabetes in Americans, so too did the junk bonds and toxic derivatives of the bankers and central bankers cause a flabby, obese and diabetic finance sector in London and New York. In the second half, Max Keiser talks to Ross Ashcroft, writer and director of FOUR HORSEMEN, about why many people didn't see the financial crisis and what can be done to regain control of the financial system.
Bernanke: Fix fiscal woes
or risk 'sudden and severe' contraction of economy
By Peter Schroeder - TheHill.com
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke implored Washington policymakers Tuesday to get the nation's fiscal house in order for the good of the economy.
The head of the nation's central bank used a high-profile speech to outline a "must-do" list for Congress and the White House in the comings months: avoid the "fiscal cliff," raise the debt ceiling and come up with a long-term plan to bring down the deficit. Finally, Bernanke said it's important do so with as little drama as possible.
"Coming together to find fiscal solutions will not be easy, but the stakes are high," he told the New York Economic Club.
This Economy Is Going Down
By Irwin Kellner - MarketWatch.com
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (MarketWatch) — For one reason or another, this economy is going down.
As everyone must know by now, a fiscal cliff looms ahead. Unless current law is changed, the U.S. economy will take a $600-billion hit starting next year. Taxes will go up by $500 billion, while spending will have to be slashed by $100 billion.
These are big numbers for a healthy economy to absorb, much less one that's in the shape this economy is in. It amounts to at least 4% of our gross domestic product — enough to push the fledgling recovery back into recession.
Bernanke: Fiscal Cliff Fix May Bring 'Very Good' Year
By Joshua Zumbrun and Caroline Salas Gage - BusinessWeek.com
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said an agreement on ways to reduce long-term federal budget deficits could remove an impediment to growth, while failure to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff would pose a "substantial threat" to the recovery.
"There's important potential for the economy to strengthen significantly if there's a greater level of security and confidence about where we're going," he said today to the Economic Club of New York. "A plan for resolving the nation's longer-term budgetary issues without harming the recovery could help make the new year a very good one for the American economy."
The Other Economic Cliff:
Why Business Investment Is Really Nosediving The Home Economy is strong.
It's the Away Economy that's got issues.
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
The American consumer is the most optimistic s/he's been since before the Obama presidency. Meanwhile, large U.S. companies are cutting spending at the fastest pace since the Great Recession.
Who's right about where we're heading, the pessimists or the optimists? Both.
For the moment, imagine two American economies. The Home Economy and the Away Economy. In the Home Economy, there is mostly good news to report, so long as Washington doesn't screw it up. GDP growth and job growth have been steady, if slow, for more than three years. Consumer spending is healthy. Housing indicators are turning up all over the place, like home prices, home starts, home sales, and construction employment. It adds up to the possibility of accelerating job growth and a recovery worthy of its name in 2013. Small businesses sentiment, which relies less on world markets and more on the animal spirits of the neighborhood, is still higher than it was for most of 2011.
SEC alleges largest-ever insider-trading scheme CR Intrinsic Investors is owned by Steven A. Cohen's firm
By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A hedge-fund manager and a doctor are at the heart of what securities regulators said Tuesday may be the largest insider-trading scheme ever pursued, a case that now has implicated one of the highest-profile investors on Wall Street.
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that $276 million in illegal profits or avoided losses were made by investment advisers and their hedge funds, by trading ahead of negative news in July 2008 on a clinical trial involving an Alzheimer's drug developed by Elan Corp. and Wyeth, now a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc.
Obama and the Coming Carbon Tax
BY MARIN KATUSA - FinancialSense.com
We know Obamarama is going to tax the rich, but I bet many didn't think he would weasel in the carbon tax as quickly as he is going to now. A Romney win would have been bullish for coal producers in the US - but Romney lost, and now so has coal, at least in the near term. The biggest winner from Obamarama? Natural gas.
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM), which is the largest of the former Seven Sisters (if you don't know what companies comprised the Seven Sisters, you really need to sign up for a risk-freeCasey Energy Dividend trial), is now supporting Obama in bringing a carbon tax to the US.
Why would Exxon (and other big energy companies) join forces to bring on the carbon tax?
The answer is simple: profits.
France is Downgraded, Europe Goes 'From Bad to Worse'
By Carol Matlack - BusinessWeek.com
It was bad news for France, but probably worse news for France's neighbors: Late on Nov. 19, Moody's Investors Service (MCO)stripped Paris of its AAA bond rating. The move, though widely anticipated, raises the likelihood that other core European economies could be hit with downgrades.
The Moody's downgrade followed a similar action byStandard & Poor's (MHP) last January, and market response on Nov. 20 was relatively muted: Yields on French 10-year debt widened to 2.134 percent, which was the biggest increase in a month but still close to a record low 2.002 percent reached on Aug. 3. The euro fell in early trading against other currencies after the announcement, to $1.28.
Europe Is Now Sinking Fast The Good are Being Dragged Down by the Bad
BY ALASDAIR MACLEOD - FinancialSense.com
With the Eurozone having being displaced from the financial headlines by the American presidential election, you might have briefly thought that its problems had gone away. They haven't.
It's just that the public is expected to absorb one major story at a time. And now that the presidential election is done and dusted, Europe is rapidly returning to the headlines. This is not desired by the powers-that-be, who desperately need us to believe things will get better with a little patience.
EU shadow banking assets worth €17 trillion
BY NIKOLAJ NIELSEN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - The eurozone has the world's second largest shadow banking system after the United States, with assets worth some €17.2 trillion in 2011.
"The US' share of the global shadow banking system has declined from 44 percent in 2005 to 35 percent in 2011. This decline has been mirrored mostly by an increase in the shares of the UK and the euro area," said the Basel, Swizterland-based Financial Stability Board (FSB) in a report released on Sunday (18 November).
Five EU countries call for new military 'structure'
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Five leading EU countries, but not the UK, have said the Union needs a new military "structure" to manage overseas operations.
The foreign and defence ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain issued the call in a joint communique after a meeting in Paris on Thursday (15 November).
The paper says: "We are convinced that the EU must set up, within a framework yet to-be-defined, true civilian-military structures to plan and conduct missions and operations."
How to Turn a Garage Into a Woodshed
BY BILL FLECKENSTEIN - FinancialSense.com
Last night Hewlett-Packard reported a massive write-off, which I bring up as a way to talk about what has happened to a great many of the tech leaders that flew so high in the stock mania, which ended in March of 2000. A lot of the pretend stocks of the dot-com variety have of course evaporated, but plenty of "real" companies have also declined in the 12-plus years since the peak of that insanity, HP being just one example (which is now back to where it was price-wise in 1995).
HP's costly blunders mount with allegations
of accounting fraud in Autonomy acquisition
AP - WashingtonPost.com
SAN FRANCISCO — Hewlett-Packard's $9.7 billion acquisition of Autonomy seemed like a bad idea long before Tuesday's allegations of an accounting scandal made clear it was a deal that should never have happened.
It's the latest in a cavalcade of costly blunders at HP. The Silicon Valley pioneer has squandered billions of dollars on ill-advised acquisitions, compounding the challenges it already faces as it scrambles to adjust to a world that is shifting away from PCs to smartphones and tablets.
Many Americans unaware of health-care law changes
By Sarah Kliff - WashingtonPost.com
After surviving a Supreme Court decision and a presidential election, the Obama administration's health-care law faces another challenge: a public largely unaware of major changes that will roll out in the coming months.
States are rushing to decide whether to build their own health exchanges and the administration is readying final regulations, but a growing body of research suggests that most low-income Americans who will become eligible for subsidized insurance have no idea what's coming.
Obama Admin Fills in Health Law Details The Obama administration filled in key details on how the health reform law will regulate insurance plans by issuing two long-awaited regulations on Tuesday.
By Margot Sanger-Katz - NationalJournal.com
The new rules issued by the Health and Human Services Administration spell out how a centerpiece of the law—its requirement that insurers cover even sick or old applicants—will work. They also sketch out what minimum package of benefits must be included in health plans sold on state exchanges. Both rules will have a big impact on the insurance industry and will influence the cost of insurance. The rules are in draft form, which means there will be time for public comment and revisions before they are finalized.
[This is not the annual 'turkey pardon'] Thanksgiving 2012:
Presidential Proclamation by Barack Obama
WASHINGTON — PresidentBarack Obama on Wednesday signed a proclamation for Thanksgiving Day 2012.
In the proclamation, he states that on Thanksgiving "individuals from all walks of life come together to celebrate this most American tradition, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country."
Obama says, "Many Thanksgivings have offered opportunities to celebrate community during times of hardship," citing the first feast of thanks in America that took place in Massachusetts – "When the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony gave thanks for a bountiful harvest nearly four centuries ago, they enjoyed the fruits of their labor with the Wampanoag tribe -- a people who had shared vital knowledge of the land in the difficult months before."
Here is the full proclamation:
The Branding of Black Friday
By John Tozzi - BusinessWeek.com
A century ago "Black Friday" referred to the market crash of Sept. 24, 1869, which was caused by two financiers' failed attempt to corner the gold market. Today we know Black Friday as the country's busiest shopping day, falling right after Thanksgiving. How did that happen?
One popular but false explanation is that the name marks the day retailers end an 11-month stretch of red ink and harvest profits for the first time all year. Others say it refers to the dark day thousands of retail workers will spend greeting shoppers, stocking shelves, folding garments, and ringing registers.
Where's the 'Thanks' in Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving has become a doormat for Black Friday discounts.
What happened to giving Thanks to God on Thanksgiving? That was what the first Thanksgiving was all about; giving heartfelt thanks to God Almighty, who provided the needs and wherewithal for life to those who trusted in Him.
Many Thanksgivings to follow were also celebrated primarily by giving thanks to God for our earthly liberties and abundance, while America was still a nation of GRATEFUL people. Our gratitude was directed properly, to God, not our government. It now appears we are loosing our greatness and stature in the world as a nation state and it may very well be due to the fact that the majority of Americans are no longer grateful to God for much of anything. We have become a nation of complainers and takers and we are getting angrier by the day.
Hungry retailers crash Thanksgiving dinner with 'Gray Thursday'
By Andrea Billups-The Washington Times
Jeanne Maddox-Columna says she is not about to let some greedy retailers step on her "Waltons moment" this Thanksgiving.
The mother of six from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and her four daughters have a family tradition of hitting the stores and searching out the "door-buster deals" in the dawn hours of Black Friday, a rush of retail therapy after the quiet of a Thanksgiving celebrated at home. But across the nation, big-box retailers such as Sears, Target and Kmart are seeking to get a jump on the Christmasseason by opening their doors in the early evening to Thanksgiving Day shoppers in an effort dubbed by some as Gray Thursday.
Why Wal-Mart workers are striking on Black Friday
By Emily Jane Fox - CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The stage has been set for a battle between a group of Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) workers and the retailer on Black Friday.
The union-backed group OUR Walmart expects thousands of workers to participate in the protest planned this week. The employees will ask the country's largest employer to end what they call retaliation against speaking out for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care.
Wal-Mart Braces for Black Friday Strikes
by Laird Harrison - KQED.org
Strikes? At Wal-Mart?
For years the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company has successfully resisted efforts to organize its workers. But in recent weeks, protests have broken out at some of its stores, including San Leandro and Richmond. Now protesters say they are making their biggest push ever on the biggest shopping day of the year.
On Black Friday -- when consumers traditionally take advantage of a holiday after Thanksgiving -- some Wal-Mart workers plan to walk off the job. Black Friday is a big deal for Wal-Mart, which plans to start sales pegged to it on 8 p.m. Thursday. As a measure of how seriously the company is taking the threat of protests, it filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board calling the pickets illegal.
From the New York Times:
The National Labor Relations Board, which often takes weeks or months to investigate complaints, said on Monday that it would decide within days whether there is merit to Wal-Mart's complaint, filed last Thursday, to seek an injunction to stop anti-Wal-Mart protests scheduled for this week...
Retailers Are Watching You With New Tracking Program
By Jenna Sauers - Jezebel.com
Good news? Some stores are now making it easier to return unwanted items. Bad news? They're doing it by employing proprietary tracking software that displays each shopper's entire return history. Meet the Return Activity Report. You probably already have one!
The Wall Street Journal, naturally, takes a sunny view of these developments, headlining its story on the results of an annual survey of changes in retailers' return policies, "Retailers Loosen Up on Returns." But if one were to read down to paragraph fifteen of said story, one would learn that, actually, 84% of retailers are not changing so much as a comma of their return policies this year. And if one were to Google for the full text of the study the Journal is quoting, the National Retail Federation's Annual Return Fraud Survey, one would learn that:
5.5 percent of retailers said they will loosen their holiday return policies while 10.9 percent will tighten.
55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products
That Are Made In America This Holiday Season
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
This is the time of the year when Americans run out to their favorite retail stores and fill up their shopping carts with lots of cheap plastic crap made by workers in foreign countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. By doing this, the American people are actively participating in the destruction of the U.S. economy. You see, buying products that are made in America is not just a matter of national pride. It is a matter of national survival. If we do not support American workers, they are going to continue to see their jobs shipped out of the country. If we do not support American businesses, they are going to continue to die off at a staggering rate. Last year, the United States had a trade deficit with the rest of the world of 558 billion dollars. More than half a trillion dollars that could have gone into the pockets of U.S. workers and U.S. businesses went overseas instead. If that money had stayed in the country, taxes would have been paid on that mountain of cash and our local, state and federal government debt problems would not be as severe. As a result of our massive trade imbalance, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of national wealth. Both major political parties have sold us out on these issues, and we are getting poorer as a nation with each passing day. We desperately need a resurgence of economic patriotism in the United States before it is too late.
How TV Economics Are Transforming
the Landscape of College Football In the new math of college sports -- where new schools plus new TV-paying households equals more money -- the Big Ten knows it's gotta be bigger than ten
By Derek Thompson - TheAtlantic.com
The Big Ten is about to expand to 14.
The University of Maryland and Rutgers are set to join twelve other schools in the Big Ten conference in 2014, in a move that is making football traditionalists apoplectic. College sports isn't typically in the purview of the Atlantic's Business page, but this particular story isn't really about Rutgers football, or Terrapin basketball. It's about economics. Television economics, pure and simple.
The Six Threat Levels of a Forthcoming 2016 Presidential Run
by Juli Weiner - VanityFair.com
VF.com's breaking coverage of everyone else's breaking coverage of the 2016 presidential primary continues today, with the shocking news that a poll suggests Chris Christie, who has not declared his candidacy, and Hillary Clinton, who has not declared her candidacy, are the current frontrunners in the forthcoming New Hampshire primary, which is like 38 months away. It's still anyone's game, though!
We've devised a foolproof, satisfaction-guaranteed system with which to measure your favorite candidate's likelihood of jumping into the 2016 race. The New Hampshire primary is just around—not the corner, but a corner, somewhere a few miles ahead. Just remember: everyone is a candidate until proven innocent.
Clinton Prosperity Requires Clinton-Sized Government
By Steve Forbes - Forbes.com
There is a way for Congressional Republicans to reach an accord with Democrats that would enable the nation to avoid falling off "the fiscal cliff" into a searing recession.
Obama Democrats argue that the President only wants to restore the top rates that reigned during the Clinton presidency, which was a prosperous time. We should say: Absolutely, let's do it. But in order to achieve a Clinton economy, you also must enact the other Clinton policies critical to the prosperity of those years: They include:
Step One Toward a Fairer America: Raise the Minimum Wage
By James Fallows - TheAtlantic.com
This item begins with two policy announcements, then switches back to "what the bartender saw."
Policy announcement #1: Thanks to the scores of people who continue to send in views every day about the Atlas Shrugged Guy, and his different-but-related California counterpart. There is so much of this that I will let it sit for a little while before doing another harvest.
To those who complain that there has been way too much on this theme: I am taking a time-out -- and the subject must be interesting to someone, because people keep writing. To those who complain that my selection of comments has given critics disproportionate airtime, the truth is that the incoming ratio is about 20-to-1 critical.
Federal Workers to Congress: Leave Us Out of Deficit Deal
By Eric Katz, Government Executive - NationalJournal.com
The Federal-Postal Coalition -- a group representing more than two dozen federal employee unions -- pleaded with Congress on Monday to spare their members in any deal related to the "fiscal cliff."
Federal workers, the coalition wrote in a letter, have contributed more than their fair share toward reducing the debt and are the only group that has been targeted so heavily.
"Federal and postal employees and their families are hardworking, middle-class Americans who are struggling during these tough times just like other Americans," the group wrote. "No other group has been asked to financially contribute the way they have, and it is time our nation's leaders found other ways to reduce the deficit than continually taking from those who have dedicated their lives to public service."
Illinois works on driver's licenses for illegals
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
Illinois' top leaders said Tuesday that they will push to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants — testing federal strictures and becoming the latest sign that the pendulum has swung away from Arizona-style crackdowns and toward those pursuing a softer line on immigration.
Surrounded by Republicans and Democrats at a news conference, state Senate President John Cullerton said he will try to pass legislation in the coming weeks, and Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign it if it reaches his desk.
More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India
By Damian Carrington - The Guardian
More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed.
The huge planned expansion comes despite warnings from politicians, scientists and campaigners that the planet's fast-rising carbon emissionsmust peak within a few years if runaway climate change is to be avoided and that fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless if international action on global warming moves forward.
The American Puppet State
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS - CounterPunch.org
The United States government and a majority of the subjects, especially those members of evangelical churches, grovel at the feet of the Israeli Prime Minister? How is a country a superpower when it lacks the power to determine its own foreign policy in the Middle East? Such a country is not a superpower. It is a puppet state.
In the past few days we have witnessed, yet again, the "American superpower" groveling at Netanyahu's feet. When Netanyahu decided to again murder the Palestinian women and children of Gaza, to further destroy what remains of the social infrastructure of the Gaza Ghetto, and to declare Israeli war crimes and Israeli crimes against humanity to be merely the exercise of "self-defense," the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the White House, and the US media all promptly declared their support for Netanyahu's crimes.
They Are Going To Make It Nearly Impossible
To Pass On A Farm Or A Business To Your Children
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
If you have a farm or a small business, would you like to pass it on to your children when you die? Well, unless Congress does something, it is going to become much, much harder to do that starting next year. Right now, there is a 5 million dollar estate tax exemption and anything above that is taxed at 35 percent. But on January 1st, the exemption will go down to 1 million dollars and the tax rate will go up to 55 percent. A lot of liberals are very excited about this, because they believe that the government will be soaking wealthy people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. But the truth is that a lot of farms, ranches and small businesses will be absolutely devastated by this change in the tax law. There are many farmers and ranchers out there today that do not make much money but are sitting on tracts of land that are worth millions of dollars. According to the American Farm Bureau, approximately 97 percent of all farms and ranches in the United States would be subject to the estate tax if the exemption was reduced to just a million dollars. That means that the children of these farmers and ranchers would be faced with a very cruel choice when it is time to inherit these farms and ranches. Either they come up with enough money to pay the government about half of what the farm or ranch is worth, or they sell the farm or ranch that may have been in their family for generations.
Mars Rover Makes Discovery For "the History Books,"
but NASA Is Keeping It a Secret For Now
By Josh Voorhees - Slate.com
Curiosity is living up to its name. The NASA rover currently wheeling itself around Mars has apparently sent back some very interesting data from the Red Planet in the form of a soil sample that shows ... well, something. From the sounds of it, something big. But for now at least, that's all anyone is willing to say.
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena are keeping their lips sealed for the time being while they run additional tests to make sure the discovery holds up. That, however, hasn't stopped one of the mission's leaders from speculating loudly that it'll be one that rewrites at least some of what we know about the universe.
The Real Reasons You Waited Hours in Line to Vote An Obama campaign legal adviser explains the humiliating meltdown in voting we saw around the country during this year's presidential election.
By Richard H. Pildes - TheAtlantic.com
In the coming months, proposals will abound for election reforms to address the embarrassment to American democracy -- and the indignity to citizens -- of 8-hour lines to vote. But what, precisely, accounts for these lines in places like Prince William County and the Norfolk and Hampton areas of Virginia, or Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties in Florida? As a Senior Legal Advisor to the Obama campaign with responsibility for these and other voting issues, I want to share the knowledge the campaign's thousands of observers on the ground generated about the underlying causes.
These causes can be grouped into three categories. I will focus specifically on Virginia, but the causes are largely similar, if not identical, elsewhere.
US election count goes on – and on A fortnight after Barack Obama's re-relection,
the margin of his victory is still not known
Two weeks ago, Barack Obama was triumphantly re-elected as US president. The strange thing is that the votes are still being counted 14 days later.
We know Obama won. We just don't know by how much – thanks to the glacial vote counting.
If you haven't been paying attention – and why should you? – what appeared to be a razor-thin victory for Obama on the night of 6 November has slowly stretched into a clear margin of more than four million votes and a three percentage-point lead over Mitt Romney. And talk of turnout being way down was also off the mark: with some results still being tallied, it appears 2012 was just a few points below that of 2008. About a third of states recorded more votes this year than in 2008.
The Rise of Petraeus David Petraeus's Winning Streak The story of David Petraeus's rise from Little League to the head of U.S. Central Command can be told as an inexorable series of victories—or as one long marathon. Alongside his article about Petraeus's stewardship of America's two wars, "The Professor of War," the author reveals that the general formerly known "Peaches" may be the most competitive man in the military.
By Mark Bowden - VanityFair.com
In high school at Cornwall-on-Hudson, in the late 1960s, they gave David Petraeus the name "Peaches," because his cheeks were fair and rosy and incapable of sprouting more than a faint aura of soft fuzz, and because he was so resolutely wholesome. Nicknames stick when they capture something essential about a person. "Peaches" would stay with Petraeus through his cadet years at West Point, partly because he never lost that freshness in his appearance, but partly also, one suspects, because the word as slang implies something too fresh and wholesome to be true. It was an early recognition that something about this boy was … well, Petraean.
Petraeus's affair was no 'scandal'
By Dana Milbank - WashingtonPost.com
Five years ago, when I covered David Petraeus's triumphant visit to Capitol Hill after he salvaged the war effort in Iraq, I likened the reception he received to that of conquering generals of Rome, who were feted with laurels, purple robes, trumpets and animal sacrifice.
If anything, Petraeus's reception may have been superior to the ancients', I wrote, because he "didn't even have to endure, as Roman generals did, the slave holding the crown over his head and whispering in his ear: Sic transit gloria mundi. All glory is fleeting."
Poll: After scandal, resignation,
public still has positive view of Petraeus
By Jeremy Herb - TheHill.com
The public still views former CIA Director David Petraeus more positively than negatively after he resigned and admitted an extramarital affair, according to a new poll from Gallup.
The Gallup poll found Petraeus was viewed favorably by 40 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 30, in the first survey conducted of Petraeus since he resigned.
That was still a drop of 15 points from the last time Gallup asked for respondents' views of the retired four-star general, as he had 55-11 favorability in March 2011, when he was still commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Bring Back Petraeus He's already been humiliated and rehabilitated.
Obama should rehire him as CIA director.
By Emily Yoffe - Slate.com
I have a great idea whom Barack Obama should nominate as his next CIA director: Gen. David Petraeus. With that simple announcement, Obama could strike a blow for civil liberties and against the silly and destructive sexual Puritanism that has taken down so many public figures. Since Petraeus' departure both Democrats and Republicans have been mourning the loss of a public servant of extraordinary ability.
So let's mourn no more. The president can say that when news of Petraeus' affair first broke he reluctantly accepted the general's resignation. But as it has become clear that the events were wholly of a private nature and national security was not breached, he is reinstating his CIA director. (OK, we probably have to wait until the CIA finishes its new investigation into whether Petraeus used agency resources to conduct the affair, but investigators have leaked that they don't expect any criminal charges.)
EU countries urge Israel not to invade Gaza
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Two leading EU countries have urged Israel not to launch ground operations in Gaza.
Speaking ahead of a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (19 November), the UK's Wiliam Hague told Sky news on Sunday that "a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation."
France's Laurent Fabius while on a visit to Tel Aviv also on Sunday told press: "War is not an option. It's never the solution."
Middle East melting down into 'Obamawar' Israel-Gaza strip conflict deserves president's moniker
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.-The Washington Times
While debating Mitt Romney this fall, President Obama declared that he had decided to embrace the term "Obamacare" — a name originally coined and used by its detractors to tie the president firmly to the health care fiasco he had spawned. Perhaps he will, therefore, not object if we dub the escalating conflict in the Middle East by a similarly apt name: "Obamawar."
After all, frantic efforts under way at the moment by assorted diplomats aimed at containing hostilities between Israel and the terrorist enclave known as the Gaza Strip (primarily by blocking Israel's decisive retaliation) cannot obscure a dismal reality: The crescendo of rockets and missiles unleashed by the Palestinians on Israeli civilians are a predictable repercussion of President Obama's reckless defense and foreign policies.
Israel-Hamas fighting continues Efforts toward cease-fire stall
By Abraham Rabinovich - Special to The Washington Times
JERUSALEM — Frantic efforts to reach a cease-fire in the 7-day-old Israel-Gaza conflict appeared stalled late Tuesday, after negotiators throughout the day confidently predicted an imminent truce and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rushed to Israel to appeal for peace.
The fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip continued, as both sides stepped up attacks in a fierce finale before the presumed cease-fire would take hold.
Clinton arrives in Middle East
as prospects of Gaza cease-fire look uncertain
By Ernesto Londoño and Michael Birnbaum - WashingtonPost.com
TEL AVIV — Fighting between militants in Gaza and the Israeli military intensified Tuesday, clouding the prospects of a durable cease-fire as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rushed to the region to try to prevent a major escalation of the conflict.
Israeli officials and negotiators from the militant group Hamas, communicating through Egyptian interlocutors, remained at odds late Tuesday over details of the truce that the international community was furiously trying to broker. Among the main sticking points was whether Egypt and the United States could act as guarantors of a peace deal in a region where waves of aggression have come in vicious cycles.
Clinton vows to move Middle East toward 'comprehensive peace'
By Julian Pecquet - TheHill.com
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to rekindle efforts to attain a "comprehensive peace" in the Middle East ahead of a meeting Tuesday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Clinton arrived in Jerusalem late Tuesday to help broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and avoid a ground invasion of the densely packed coastal strip. She is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday.
'Hamas using civilians as human shields' -
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman
Israel continues to shower Gaza with rockets from both air and sea, with the number killed in the strikes almost doubling within the past day. The Palestinian death toll reportedly exceeds 100 - around half of them civilians, including women and children.
As the civilian death toll mounts, so does criticism of Israel - for what many see as a disproportionate response. RT spoke to Paul Hirschon, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, who says Israel does its best to prevent the killing of innocents.
When Will the Economic Blockade of Gaza End?
By Robert Wright - TheAtlantic.com
President Obama and Bibi Netanyahu are on the same page when it comes to the justification for Israel's bombardment of Gaza. Netanyahu : "No country in the world would agree to a situation in which its population lives under a constant missile threat." Obama: "There's no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."
It's true that if, say, Canada were lobbing missiles into the US, the US wouldn't tolerate it. But here's another thing the US wouldn't tolerate: If Canada imposed a crippling economic blockade, denying America the import of essential goods and hugely restricting American exports. That would be taken as an act of war, and America would if necessary respond with force--by, perhaps, lobbing missiles into Canada.
Gaza ceasefire hangs in the balance amid Israel-Hamas talks UN urges restraint on both sides amid rising death toll as hundreds of Palestinians flee after leaflet warnings
By Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem, Peter Beaumont in Cairo
and Ian Black Middle East editor - Guardian.co.uk
Hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinians hung in the balance on Tuesday night after six days of violence that have claimed about 120 lives and stoked fears of a wider regional war.
Fierce fighting continued amid intense diplomacy, with wrangling and uncertainty over whether any agreement was about to take effect. Egyptand the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas initially claimed a truce had been agreed from 7pm GMT, only for this to be denied by Israeli officials.
Push for Gaza cease-fire gains momentum
By Ibrahim Barzak, AP - WashingtonPost.com
JERUSALEM — A diplomatic push to end Israel's nearly weeklong offensive in the Gaza Strip gained momentum Tuesday, with Egypt's president predicting that airstrikes would soon end, the U.S. Secretary of State racing to the region and Israel's prime minister saying his country would be a "willing partner" to a cease-fire with the Islamic militant group Hamas.
As international diplomats worked to cement a deal, a senior Hamas official said an agreement was close even as relentless airstrikes and rocket attacks between the two sides continued. The Israeli death toll rose to five with the deaths Tuesday of an Israeli soldier and a civilian contractor. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed.
With Hillary Clinton's dash to Middle East,
Obama signals a shift in his approach
By Anne Gearan - WashingtonPost.com
President Obama's decision to send his top diplomat on an emergency Mideast peacemaking mission Tuesday marked a shift to a more activist role in the region's affairs and clues to how he may use the political elbow room afforded by a second term.
The move could pay dividends quickly if Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton helps arrange an end to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. She was scheduled to head to Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi following consultations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.