Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian on Gaza Another election cycle, another show of brute force from Israel. At least that's what Jonathan Freedland is seeing with the brewing conflict in Gaza. "In the days following a US presidential contest, an Israeli government, about to face an election of its own, decides it can tolerate Hamas rocket-fire no longer," he writes. "It hits back hard, determined to show the Israeli public that it is not sitting idle as a million of its citizens huddle in bomb shelters, their children unable to go to school, but that it is tough, ready to do whatever it takes to 'restore deterrence.'" This won't address any of the region's underlying animosities, though. "This keeps happening, decade after decade, for one simple reason: there can be no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides will say the action they have taken is necessary. But it will solve nothing."
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Jacey Eckhart in The New York Times on military marriages Jacey Eckhart normally loves having a husband in uniform, but lately she says the spouses of military men have been given pause. Eckhart, the editor of Military.com says that the Petraeus affair has dug up some conflicted feelings. "Most of the time, my long-married military friends and I don’t think about infidelity," she writes. "We don’t worry about divorce ... Until now. Because Gen. David H. Petraeus is no drunken ship captain carousing in Russia with his junior officers. General Petraeus is no wolf preying on females in his chain of command. He seems too much like our own husbands."
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Daniel Gross in The Daily Beast on the payroll tax Income, dividends, and capital gains taxes may or may not be on the bargaining table leading up to the fiscal cliff, but Daniel Gross argues that no one is sticking their neck out to save the temporary payroll tax cut. In an effort to boost hiring and encourage spending, President Obama and Congress teamed up in 2010 to cut payroll taxes by two percent. Anyone expecting that cut to survive past the new year shouldn't hold their breath, Gross warns. "For the past several months, both sides have pretty much assumed that the payroll tax cut would fade away at the end of the year—regardless of who won the election," he writes. "Earlier this year, both the House and the Senate passed (apparently irreconciliable) bills that would have avoided the fiscal cliff by temporarily extending some or all of the Bush tax cuts. Neither included a reprieve for the payroll tax cut."
Christina Larson in The New Republic on Hu Jintao's exit China's turnover in leadership ushers Xi Jinping into the presidency and sweeps out Hu Jintao, under whose watch the country achieved staggering economic growth, hosted the 2008 Olympics, managed SARS, stamped out the Urumqi riots, and wired into the (heavily censored) Internet age. "This rapid GDP growth, however, was nurtured largely at the expense of pushing legal reforms, banking reforms, stitching a meaningful social security net, or tending to other simmering problems," Christina Larson writes of Jintao's legacy. "Xi, at least, seems to know his task—however he and his ruling colleagues choose to define it—won't be simple. 'Our responsibility is weightier than Mount Tai,' he said on Thursday, 'and our journey ahead is long and arduous.'"
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Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post on Republicans' need to listen With Romney reportedly thinking he'd win the election right up until the very end, insularity may have been the GOP's downfall in the presidential race. Eugene Robinson argues that they need to listen to more moderate voices within their ranks if they hope to win future elections. "The voices the party should ignore include those claiming that House Republicans, by retaining their majority, won some sort of mandate to continue pushing a radical conservative agenda," he writes. "Step out of the echo chamber, Republicans. There’s a big country out there, and it’s trying to tell you something. For the sake of party and nation, try listening."