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Petraeus Scandal Takes a Serious Left Turn

CIA reality show gets weird
US News • Views: 28,660

The Petraeus scandal is getting very weird tonight.

The rapidly unfolding saga of David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley and an unnamed FBI agent is getting trashier by the minute. The Wall Street Journal dropped a scoop on Monday evening with fresh details about the case, including a report of a man who sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley, the accidental whistleblower. Believe it or not, the man sending sexy pics is not David Petraeus — you know, the guy that just got caught having an illicit affair with his too-fit biographer. It’s the FBI agent. 

But wait there’s more. Evidently, the FBI agent who opened an investigation into some harassing emails that Kelley, a friend of his from Florida, got a little too involved in the case. According to The Journal, the agent’s “supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation.” 

Meanwhile, the investigators who worked their way through a maze of anonymous email exchanges between Petraeus, Broadwell and Kelley ascertained that the former CIA director and his friend from Florida may have gotten romantically involved as well. One email described a night at dinner when the anonymous writer claimed to witness Kelley touching Petraeus “provocatively” under the table. “Provocatively” is WSJ’s word. We’re guessing the email was a little bit more specific with what was going on with the under-the-table touching.

Onion: Shrieking White-Hot Sphere of Pure Rage Early GOP Front-Runner for 2016

So grows the orb
Humor • Views: 29,365

In California, Say Goodnight, GOP

Ahead of the curve
Politics • Views: 24,442

I don’t know what’s keeping it awake in the rest of the country, but here in California the Republican Party is just about ready for a long, long nap: GOP Might Never Again Hold Power in California.

Let’s count the election day wounds:

Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by a landslide 21 percentage points in a state that used to consistently side with the Republican nominee.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein drew only token Republican opposition and won by 23 points.

Democrats, at last count, were gaining four congressional seats in California.

The stunner was the state Assembly, where Democrats apparently achieved a historic supermajority to match the party’s similar feat in the Senate. This means there’s virtually nothing that Democrats can’t pass on their own in Sacramento, relegating Republicans to mathematical irrelevancy.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The Republican slice of registered voters in California slipped below 30%. Only eight years ago it was nearly 35%. Democrats are 44%.

And about that loud anti-tax mantra, the Republicans’ favorite rallying cry: Most voters aren’t listening.

Wikipedia Edit in January Suggests Broadwell Affair With Petraeus Was No Secret

An intriguing find
US News • Views: 39,499

Milo Wendt noticed an interesting thing about the Wikipedia page for Paula Broadwell, the journalist whose affair with David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director.

According to the editing history for her Wikipedia page, on January 26, 2012, about one hour after the page was first created, an anonymous editor added the sentence:

Petraeus is reportedly one of her many conquests.

This addition was removed by another editor shortly afterward (for “libel/vandalism”), and a month later the entire article was deleted. The editing history reappeared when a new article on Paula Broadwell was created recently.

What does it mean? Hard to say; the IP address of the anonymous editor traces to a common ISP, and this appears to be the only edit this person ever made with that IP address. But it strongly suggests that Broadwell’s affair with Petraeus wasn’t exactly a big secret even back in January of this year.

Here’s a screenshot of the comparison between the edited version and the original:

Click to enlarge

Calls for the GOP to Break Out of Its “Media Cocoon”

Not gonna happen
Politics • Views: 27,821

Politico has a piece today on some conservatives’ calls for the GOP to break out of its self-reinforcing echo chamber: The GOP’s Media Cocoon.

A long-simmering generational battle in the conservative movement is boiling over after last week’s shellacking, with younger operatives and ideologues going public with calls that Republicans break free from a political-media cocoon that has become intellectually suffocating and self-defeating.

GOP officials have chalked up their electoral thumping to everything from the country’s changing demographics to an ill-timed hurricane and failed voter turn-out system, but a cadre of Republicans under 50 believes the party’s problem is even more fundamental.

The party is suffering from Pauline Kaelism.

Kael was The New Yorker movie critic who famously said in the wake of Richard M. Nixon’s 49-state landslide in 1972 that she knew only one person who voted for Nixon.

Now, many young Republicans worry, they are the ones in the hermetically sealed bubble — except it’s not confined to geography but rather a self-selected media universe in which only their own views are reinforced and an alternate reality is reflected.

Hence the initial denial and subsequent shock on the right that the country would not only reelect President Barack Obama — but do so with 332 electoral votes.

“What Republicans did so successfully, starting with critiquing the media and then creating our own outlets, became a bubble onto itself,” said Ross Douthat, the 32-year-old New York Times columnist.

Nice sounding words, right? But I don’t believe for a second that the Republican Party is going to be able to reverse this downward spiral; the appeals to racism and xenophobia are far too ingrained in the very identity of the GOP. I predict that the trends will go in the exact opposite direction — even more extremist — and the party will continue purging moderates and pandering to the far right and the religious right, only more so.

I believe the only changes we’ll see will be changes for the worse. It would be wonderful if I’m proven wrong, but I won’t be.

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