Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some women...!

Time for a brief update on the Petraeus thing.

First: What is it about certain women? For years, people have asked why Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian deserved so much rapt attention. Granted, Kardashian's fame is a bit more comprehensible to me: I'm human. And male and hetero and I like curves.

But these women...

Paula Broadwell has an obvious appeal: She's Wonder Woman. She can kick your ass while quoting Cicero in the original. Although this is not necessarily the kind of female who drives me insane, I can see why someone like General Petraeus might consider her a fellow superhuman and thus a worthy paramour.

But when it comes to twin sisters Jill Kelley and Natalie Khawam, my only reaction is: What the hell?

They aren't spectacularly prepossessing. A much more striking beauty stands behind the counter at the McDonald's where I'm sitting right now. (If you find any typos in this post, blame her.)

Kelley ran a fake cancer charity that did nothing with the money except blow it on parties. She has been sued a lot. At one time, she owed millions. 

Natalie lost custody of her kid because she testified falsely in court. By all accounts, she seems to be one of those "difficult" women for whom menopause starts at puberty and lasts until death. 

(On the other hand, one report holds that Natalie is a lawyer who represents "whistleblowers."  Intriguing...!)

We're talking about a couple of arrogant and wealthy sisters who, like all other arrogant and wealthy people, should be forced to learn humility by working as sales associates at Wal-Mart. 

Nevertheless, very important men keep treating these ladies as though they were very important. Shirtless FBI Guy launched an investigation into Paula's emails to Kelley, even though Paula had sent no messages justifying the effort. The fact that Kelley possesses both money and influential friends doesn't mean that she has a right to go through life without receiving annoying emails. Neither you nor I have that right; why should she?

So now we have a serving General who reportedly exchanged 20,000 (!!!) emails with Kelley, a CIA director who lost his gig because Kelley received a few irritating messages from a perceived romantic rival, and an FBI guy who went way beyond the boundaries of his job because jolie Jill made him feel all dazed and dizzy.

How can one socialite have that kind of allure?

Similar things could be said of her sister. Something like half of the males in the American power structure felt compelled to compose letters testifying to Natalie's good character in order to help her regain custody of her kid. Sorry to be blunt, but if she really did offer false testimony in court, she never deserved custody. I mean, she's a freakin' lawyer. She should have known better.

By the way: I think Glenn Greenwald has it right. When all is said and done, the real scandal here involves our right to privacy. 

Pundits have chided Petraeus and Broadwell for the insecurity of their communications system, because they would both log onto the same Gmail account and trade messages in "draft" mode. From a purely technical point of view, this is sloppy tradecraft. Yet Petraeus felt protected -- and what's more, he had a right to feel protected. He had a right to expect that the FBI would not snoop on his private fucking email

That's the part of this story that everyone is missing. By what legal justification did the Bureau gain access to that material?  

Yeah, he was the CIA Director. So what? 

The explanations I've heard amount to little more than pathetic attempts to excuse the inexcusable. The truth is simple: There are a lot of nosy people in this country, and many of those noses are blue. The Sex Police spent your tax dollars on yet another crusade to tell you things you have no business knowing.


dakinikat said...

Maybe a better question is why are so many men stupid about women and exactly why do they rule the world considering the amount of time that get distracted by all things related to orgasms? If--as Robin Williams says--men can only deal with blood rushing to one head at a time, why on earth aren't there more women running things? It seems like an offer for bj seems to get them to drop any activity rather quickly. I'd think this level of vulnerability to hormones would lead to some questions. And, yes, I wrote this comment with a combination of snark and seriousness.

Joseph Cannon said...

Kat, what can I say? Most of the big mistakes I've made in life occurred because I let Downstairs Cannon overrule Upstairs Cannon. That doesn't happen so often nowadays, probably due to age.

And some cynics have suggested that women really DO run things, through the precise mechanism you describe.

Bob Harrison said...

You're both right.

cracker said...

The Glenn Greenwald article is excellent, Joseph, as you said. His title for those who want to track it down is "FBI's abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation." Juicy tidbits there, and now I'm wondering about "topless FBI guy," although I'm more bent toward the twin grifters of Tampa personally.
Also, 20,000 e-mails to another man's wife? That would be impressive for a 16 year-old. But I'm sure general Allen was keeping the welfare of the troops foremost in his consciousness.

Anonymous said...

I liked the system PetsRaUs used for communicating with his lover. They shared an anonymous gmail account and saved messages as drafts. Clever. I guess that means that you never actually send a mesage so it isnt picked up by the automated systems which monitor all our email traffic.

You actually need to open up the email account. Which of course they did. Without a warrant and without a crime. Nice...


Maz said...

I came up for air after a week-plus of head-down, hard-core geeking (my first paid gig so far this year) to learn the country was going crazy over history's least interesting scandal. Still, I have to think I can't be the only one to think, on seeing photos of the Tampa socialite, how on Earth had General Petraeus managed to hook up with Kay Parker....

(My second thought? "*That's* not Jill Kelly; that's Kay Parker."

Propertius said...


When you get the sort of clearance that requires a lifestyle poly (and Petraeus had one of those ever since he was a Major), you explicitly give the government consent to monitor pretty much every aspect of your personal life. They didn't need a warrant to search his email - he'd already consented.

Michael said...

I still have a very strong suspicion. CIA careerists did not like Petraeus. He was not into intelligence-gathering. He wanted CIA to be doing paramilitary stuff. Some of this stuff even the President didn't know about. Some of this stuff could have been in Benghazi. In fact, maybe the Benghazi consulate's main pupose was to be a cover for the CIA black site down the street.

So I figure the CIA insiders knew all about Petraeus' affair, and were trying to get him exposed (and gone). They "arranged" for these threatening emails to Jill, and for friends in the FBI (Shirtless?) to follow up.

Benghazi attack only made things worse, risking the exposure of a CIA black site and ultimately scandal that would give CIA a black eye. Just what the CIA careerests had feared all along. And they expected Petraeus to lie about it to Congress.

Somebody told Petraeus that it would be better for him and the CIA to just exit. He agreed.

Michael said...

Addendum to my comment above: I also believe that the FBI isn't supposed to be investigating CIA officials without CIA's knowledge and approval. I think CIA has to INVITE them in. So how is it that FBI was nosing around Petraeus's affair for weeks, maybe months, without the CIA's being aware? I hardly think so.