Petraeus Investigation Widens – Gen. John R. Allen, the top American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, is now under investigation “inappropriate communication” with Jill Kelley, the woman in Tampa, Fla., who was allegedly threatened by Paula Broadwell, who had an extramarital affair with General David Petraeus. In a statement released to reporters early Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said that the F.B.I. on Sunday had referred “a matter involving” General Allen to the Pentagon. Mr. Panetta turned the matter over to the Pentagon’s inspector general to conduct an investigation into 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, many of them e-mails between General Allen and Ms. Kelley. General Allen told Pentagon officials he had done nothing wrong. General Allen served in Iraq and now commands 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan.
Obama Reassessing Sensitive Foreign Policy Issues – (via LA Times) “The Obama administration has begun to reassess its foreign policy on a range of challenges, including Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and missile defense, that were viewed as too politically sensitive for any substantial shifts during the presidential campaign. For months, these issues had what some U.S. officials called "AE" status, meaning any policy changes would be put off until after the election. But with Obama winning a second term last week, top administration officials say they are weighing whether to deepen U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war, accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, and offer Iran a compromise deal to curb enrichment of uranium. They also are considering ways to work out new cooperation with China, an undertaking that Obama campaign operatives had feared might alienate swing state voters anxious about Chinese trade policies and competition.”
Top Candidates to Replace Clinton May Face Hurdles – The two leading contenders to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State are Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. But, the NY Times reports that both candidates are “dogged by issues that could complicate their path to Mrs. Clinton’s State Department office.”
RICE: “Ms. Rice, an outspoken, ambitious diplomat with close ties to Mr. Obama, has emerged as the clear favorite. But she would face stiff resistance on Capitol Hill, where she has come under withering criticism from Republicans for asserting that the deadly attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, might have been a spontaneous protest rather than a terrorist attack.”
KERRY: “Mr. Kerry, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and prepped Mr. Obama for his debates with Mitt Romney, holds a Senate seat that the White House worries could fall into Republican hands if he gave it up for a cabinet post.”
U.S. to Become World’s Largest Oil Producer By 2020 – (via LA Times) The U.S. will become the world's top producer of oil by 2020, a net exporter of oil around 2030 and nearly self-sufficient in energy by 2035, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. It's a bold set of predictions for a nation that currently imports some 20% of its energy needs. Recently, however, an "energy renaissance" has begun in the U.S., marked by a boost in oil, shale gas and bioenergy production made possible by new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling, said the report by the Paris agency, which acts as an energy watchdog for industrialized nations. "North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said.
Paul Ryan Speaks Out for First Time Since Election 2012 – (via Journal Sentinal) “We were with the Romneys when we knew it was over,” Ryan said in a telephone interview … Ryan said Obama ‘won fair and square’ … Asked if the voters rejected the Republican vision, Ryan said of the president: ‘Well, he got turnout. The president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him. … We're not going to be able to fix this country's fiscal problems along the way I thought we should have. Whether people intended it or not, we've got divided government.”
“We're going to have to find a way to make it work in the next two years, because these fiscal issues are getting worse, not better, because of time. … I do want to be part of the solution’ … Ryan said he and others ‘want to make sure that we fix this in a way that doesn't hurt the economy. … In order to get things done, in order to reach common ground, both sides need to put out, not just rhetoric, but specific ideas on the table. Then you negotiate. We're hopeful that the president will begin to show some leadership on this and some other issues so that we can begin to get common ground.”
Asked about a possible run in 2016, Ryan responded, “Oh, 2016, let's not talk about that stuff … That's four years away. I think we're all tired of presidential politics at this time.”
Election 2012 Results Still Up in the Air – The Arizona Senate race drags on as provisional ballots are still being counted, and Alan West refuses to concede to certified winner Patrick Murphy in Florida.
Congrats! to Pundit Danielle Gram, who’s PolicyMic article on California’s Prop 34 was reprinted in the San Diego Union Tribune on Saturday. http://bit.ly/W5rEqH
Top PolicyMic Stories – The Revolutionary President: We'll All Be Studying Obama Politics For Generations to Come (Jonathan Tjarks) – After a decisive victory in the 2012 elections, Obama now has the chance to re-align American politics as dramatically as FDR and Reagan did.
Petraeus Must Testify Before the Benghazi Hearings, Unless National Security is at Risk(Ethan Case) – The "grandstanding," particularly from GOP, about Petraeus being withdrawn from the Benghazi hearings isn't frivolous at all. He must testify unless there are national security reasons not to.
Ron Paul Was Right: The Real Fiscal Cliff is a Dollar and Debt Bubble (Robert Taylor) – The "fiscal cliff" is a much deeper and more dangerous problem than what is being portrayed. It is the result of unsustainable debt and a highly flawed monetary system.
Obama's Deadly Presidency: We Must Demand Accountability in the Encore Term (Julie Strupp) – Obama's civil and human rights record has been dubious at best, but his supporters have done little to challenge him. Here's why we must force our leaders to become more principled.
Black Ops 2 Review: Why Call of Duty Will Never be Art (Abdul Siddiqui) – Despite massive sales, "Call of Duty" and most video games will never be art. They are simply too mutable in their vision.
Obama Secession: Citizens From 18 States Ask President to Secede From the Union(Christopher McDaniel) – That's right, thousands of Americans have already signed petitions at whitehouse.gov asking President Obama to allow them to peacefully secede from the union.
What We’re Reading – CBO: Coming fiscal cliff will devastate the economy (Talking Points Memo); Which polls fared best and worst in the 2012 presidential race? (NY Times, Nate Silver); The most uplifting video of a Republican and a Democrat screaming at each other (Upworthy); College Humor: Gay men will marry your girlfriends (Huff Po); Fact-checking “Lincoln” (The Atlantic); Oxford Dictionaries word of the year: Gif (Oxford University Press);Tesla wins MotorTrend Car of the Year (Wired).
Dessert – A rare event in the sky, called a solar eclipse, is expected to take place over northern Australia on Wednesday. It happens when the Moon sits between the Earth and the Sun, plunging parts of the world into complete darkness. People there will be able to see the Sun completely covered by the Moon for just over two minutes. The best place to see it will be Queensland, which will see a total eclipse. Where to watch online.