Category Archive 'Markos Moulitsas Zúniga'

21 Oct 2010

Lots of Egg on Liberal Elite Faces This Week

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First the liberal elites represented by the Kos himself and PBS anchor Glenn Ifill gleefully pounced on that bone-headed Sarah Palin for a tweet warning conservatives to continue working to win the upcoming election rather than partying “like its 1773.”

Obviously, thought the great big leftwing brains, she must mean 1776. After all, nothing of any significance happened in 1773. (Except the original Boston Tea Party, of course.)

Then, as William Jacobsen describes, liberal America was laughing itself sick over Christine O’Donnell ‘s ignorance of the First Amendment’s wall of separation between church and state.

[At] Widener Law School …as soon as O’Donnell questioned whether “separation of church and state” was in the First Amendment, the crowd erupted with gasps of disbelief and mocking laughter.

And if O’Donnell’s imperfect — or perhaps nuanced? — understanding of the First Amendment w[as] so outrageous, how about the inability of Chris Coons, a Yale Law School graduate, to identify the other freedoms protected by the First Amendment, and his misquoting the text of the First Amendment in his challenge to O’Donnell:

“Government shall make no establishment of religion,” Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Coons was off slightly: The first amendment actually reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”)

Ann Althouse has more on how Coons simply was wrong in his quotation of the First Amendment which led to O’Donnell’s supposed major gaffe about the Establishment Clause, and how the press has taken O’Donnell’s comments out of context:

    O’Donnell reacts: “That’s in the First Amendment?” And, in fact, it’s not. The First Amendment doesn’t say “government.” It says “Congress.” And since the discussion is about what local school boards can do, the difference is highly significant.

    Also, it isn’t “shall make no establishment of religion.” It’s “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” There’s a lot one could say about the difference between those 2 phrases, and I won’t belabor it here. Suffice it to say that it was not stupid for O’Donnell to say “That’s in the First Amendment?” — because it’s not. Coons was presenting a version of what’s in the cases interpreting the text, not the text itself.

A literal reading of O’Donnell’s comments reflects that she was correct, but of course, the press and the blogosphere don’t want a literal reading, they want a living, breathing reading which comports with their preconceived notions.

In an age of an increasingly sophisticated public in which alternative information channels, like Fox News, AM talk radio, and the blogosphere exist, it is becoming more and more difficult to succeed in winning debates on the basis of crude sloganeering and oversimplification of complex issues and the leftwing mob winds up looking stupider and stupider when it tries relying on its traditional tactics.

09 Apr 2009

Left Blogosphere Leaders: Show Us the Money!

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Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher and the Kos himself fired (in private) the first shots in a struggle over advertising dollars and other forms of support between the left-side of the blogosphere and the financially-troubled dinosaur news media.

Greg Sargent broke the story:

Some of the leading liberal bloggers are privately furious with the major progressive groups — and in some cases, the Democratic Party committees — for failing to spend money advertising on their sites, even as these groups constantly ask the bloggers for free assistance in driving their message.

It’s a development that’s creating tensions on the left and raises questions about the future role of the blogosphere at a time when a Dem is in the White House and liberalism could be headed for a period of sustained ascendancy.

A number of these top bloggers agreed to come on record with me after privately arguing to these groups that they deserved a share in the ad wealth and couldn’t be taken for granted any longer.

“They come to us, expecting us to give them free publicity, and we do, but it’s not a two way street,” Jane Hamsher, the founder of FiredogLake, said in an interview. “They won’t do anything in return. They’re not advertising with us. They’re not offering fellowships. They’re not doing anything to help financially, and people are growing increasingly resentful.”

Hamsher singled out Americans United for Change, which raises and spends big money on TV ad campaigns driving Obama’s agenda, as well as the constellation of groups associated with it, and the American Association of Retired Persons, also a big TV advertiser.

“Most want the easy way — having a big blogger promote their agenda,” adds Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos. “Then they turn around and spend $50K for a one-page ad in the New York Times or whatever.” Moulitsas adds that officials at such groups often do nothing to engage the sites’s audiences by, say, writing posts, instead wanting the bloggers to do everything for them.

Naturally enough, the spectacle of the self-appointed tribunes of the poor leaping and snapping at a major pile of cash was bound to provoke a certain amount of derision.

Rick Moran offered only false sympathy.

Hey! I’m with you guys 100%. If you’re going to shill, the least you can ask for is some pocket change. All those years of brown nosing and you’d think these big shots would have the common courtesy to toss a few coins in the hat and give you a hanky to wipe the stain off your face. I mean, what’s the use of prostituting yourself if the party pooh-bahs won’t leave any money on the dresser when they leave?

Meanwhile, Don Surber chuckled that it was too late for Jane to try to put a meter on it. “Why should they pay Hamsher to do what she was going to do anyway for free?”

Mickey Kaus suggests that Hamsher and Kos should pay attention to the approach described in Amy Wallace‘s profile of Variety’s former editor-in-chief Peter Bart

I have to tell you a story,” the studio boss said, launching into a tale about a lunch with Bart the previous December. It wasn’t the first lunch the two had shared, but this one was memorable.

According to this studio chief, before they’d even looked at their menus, Bart announced: “Your studio has not been advertising enough in Variety. That has affected my Christmas bonus.” Bart said there would be repercussions, the studio chief told me: “For the next six months, you won’t catch a break in Variety.”

I asked if Bart made good on his threat. “Oh yes,” the studio chief said, noting that even on the weekends the studio came in No. 1 at the box-office, the story in Variety would start off with a dig—something like, “Despite a string of flops…” So what did you do, I asked. The studio chief didn’t hesitate: “We upped our ad buy.”

This isn’t Kos’s first grab for the bucks either. Remember the great Kosola Scandal of 2006?

02 Jun 2008

Godzilla Meets Mothra

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New Republic’s Dana Goldstein describes the war between Clinton and Obama supporters in the blogosphere.

These people are not pretty when they’re angry.

As anybody with high-speed Internet knows, MyDD and Daily Kos sit at the top of the liberal Netroots movement, which over the last five years has made astonishing strides in its campaign to transform the Democratic Party into a hard-fighting, proudly liberal, and, most importantly, victorious entity. Though their websites offer distinct communities and commentaries, and though they have very different personalities, MyDD founder Jerome Armstrong (a former astrologer) and Kos’s Markos Moulitsas (a former Army man) have always gotten along–the two co-authored a 2006 book, Crashing the Gate, about the rise of their movement. Their bond has been rooted mostly in common foes: Republicans, namby-pamby Democrats, the Iraq War, divisive “identity politics,” and the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. But the harmony that existed between MyDD and Kos since the birth of the Netroots no longer exists today, and a bitter internecine struggle within the progressive blogosphere is to blame. Just as bilious in tone as previous fights with Republicans or Joe Lieberman, it has revealed fault lines in the movement that will be tough to cover back up. There have been charges of misogyny and of bullying, and some longtime members have walked away from their cause altogether. And what’s at the heart of it all is that most loaded of questions: Barack or Hillary?

The Netroots have been arguing about the 2008 campaign since the day after John Kerry lost, but the debate turned ugly when Armstrong revealed his vote in the February 12 Virginia primary. “In the end, what compelled me to vote for Clinton was looking at someone that seemed practical about the battle we have on our hands and looking ready to engage in the fight,” Armstrong blogged that day. “I’d rather be part of the fight than be told to stay on the sidelines because I’m too partisan.”

Armstrong had long voiced concerns that Obama’s campaign was too personality-driven and too reliant on the votes of Independents and Republicans. But his official endorsement made readers go ballistic. “Voting for the DLC candidate makes you part of the fight? Come on,” wrote one commenter. Another suggested, “If you aren’t a part of her campaign, you really oughta try to sign up and get some of those $$$ while you can”–a dig at Armstrong’s past campaign work for politicians like Howard Dean, Jon Corzine, and Mark Warner. A group of far nastier comments were deleted.

At Daily Kos, commenters were ripping Armstrong to shreds. One user wrote, “MyDD isn’t even a pro-Clinton site these days. It’s just a toxic waste dump dedicated to throwing slime at Obama and hoping it sticks. … I know that Kos and Jerome are friends and partners, but it’s perhaps time for Kos to reconsider linking to MyDD from the DK blogroll.”

Clintonites and Obamabots were ferrying between the two sites, “recommending” posts sympathetic to their favored candidate (thus ensuring more prominent placement on the page), and brutally attacking one another in the comment sections. In late March, Armstrong, upset by name-calling between Clinton and Obama supporters on MyDD, barred new user accounts on the site for a week. The sense of betrayal among fellow Netrooters after his Clinton endorsement was palpable. Armstrong was backing a candidate who, as Chris Bowers, another leading lefty blogger, wrote on Open Left, hadn’t fully rejected the DLC, hadn’t opposed the Iraq war from the start, hadn’t offered overwhelming support for Net Neutrality, and hadn’t campaigned in small caucus states.

15 Mar 2008

Writer Strike At Daily Kos

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Pro-Clinton Kos Kid Alegre declared herself on strike from Daily Kos, frustrated at management’s refusal to enforce standards of civility or factuality with respect to postings attacking Hillary.

Gateway Pundit offers a screen capture of a portion of the flung feces representing the typical negative response the Kos community.

Kos himself was unsympathetic. He told ABC’s Jake Tapper:

First, these people should read up on the definition of ‘strike.’ What they’re doing is a ‘boycott.’ But whatever they call it, I think it’s great. It’s a big Internet, so I hope they find what they’re looking for.”

The conflict between Obama and Clinton supporters has already become bitter and ugly, and there is every reason to expect that things will only grow worse through the convention.

18 Nov 2007

Karl Rove Debuts in Newsweek

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Newsweek recently signed up Karl Rove to editorialize from the Right, and none other than Kos (Markos Moulitsas Zúniga) himself to be Rove’s foil acting as spokesman for the Infernal Regions.

Karl Rove’s first column, How To Beat Hillary, is up and running. And, so far, all’s quiet on Kos front.

I’ve seen up close the two Clintons America knows. He’s a big smile, hand locked on your arm and lots of charms. “Hey, come down and speak at my library. I’d like to talk some politics with you.”

And her? She tends to be, well, hard and brittle. I inherited her West Wing office. Shortly after the 2001 Inauguration, I made a little talk saying I appreciated having the office because it had the only full-length vanity mirror in the West Wing, which gave me a chance to improve my rumpled appearance. The senator from New York confronted me shortly after and pointedly said she hadn’t put the mirror there. I hadn’t said she did, just that the mirror was there. So a few weeks later, in another talk, I repeated the story about the mirror. And shortly thereafter, the junior senator saw me and, again, without a hint of humor or light in her voice, icily said she’d heard I’d repeated the story of the mirror and she … did … not … put … that mirror in the office.

It is a small but telling story: she is tough, persistent and forgets nothing. Those are some of the reasons she is so formidable as a contender, and why Republicans who think she would be easy to beat are wrong.

03 Sep 2007

Comedy at Daily Kos

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One of Kos’s recommended diarists, a moonbat who signs himself as “Maccabee,” yesterday leaked a report on current US war preparations supposedly originating from the horse’s mouth.
It read:

I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this.

Her answer was really amazing.

“I have become cynical only recently. I also don’t believe anyone will be able to stop this. Bush has become something of an Emperor. He will give the command, and cruise missiles will fly and aircraft will fly and people will die, and yet few of us here are really able to cobble together a great explanation of why this is a good idea. Of course many of us can give you the 4H Club lecture on democracy in the Mid East. But if you asked any of the flight officers whether they have a clear idea of what the goal of this strike is, your answer would sound like something out of a think tank policy paper. But it’s not like Kosovo or when we relieved the tsunami victims. There everyone could tell you in a sentence what we were here doing.”

“That’s what’s missing. A real sense of purpose. What’s missing is the answer to what the hell are we doing out here threatening this country with all this power? Last night in the galley, an ensign asked what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can’t build a nuke. I mean the table got EF Hutton quiet. Not so much because the man was asking a question that was off culture. But that he was asking a good question. In fact, the discussion actually followed afterwards topside where someone in our group had to smoke a cigarette. The discussion was intelligent but also in lowered voices. It’s like we aren’t allowed to ask the questions that we always ask before combat. It’s almost as if the average seaman or soldier is doing all the policy work.”

The right side of the blogosphere got right to work on this one.

Confederate Yankee I Love the Smell of Daily Kos in the Morning.

Neptunus Lex Hoisting the (BS) Flag.

Joshua Trevino:

It’s no surprise that there are serial liars and embellishers on the interwebs. What should be noted is that their lies and embellishments can be utterly transparent and repetitive, and yet be accepted as fact time and again by the audience for whom they confirm basic prejudices. Take, for example, one pseudonymous fellow at DailyKos who goes by “Maccabee.” He claimed to meet a Romanian cabbie who told him to leave Bush’s tyrannical America; he claimed to meet a Holocaust survivor who told him that Bush’s America resembles Nazi Germany; he claimed to meet another cabbie, Ugandan this time, who told him that Bush’s America is worse than Idi Amin’s Uganda; he claimed to have received a phone call from Balad, Iraq, revealing that the majority of the American Army’s mechanized strength is “out of commission”; and today, he claimed to have received a telephone call from an American aircraft carrier on deployment, revealing that the United States Navy is about to attack Iran (This item has been deleted from Daily Kos -JDZ). Oh, and he also learned that the naval rank and file detest George W. Bush, too. That “Maccabee” is a habitual liar is obvious enough: what’s more ridiculous than his fables is that they are nearly always Recommended Diaries at DailyKos. The reality-based community loves its myths — and its mythmakers.

And so poor Kos discovered that real treason had not been posted after all, and he was forced to purge the offending post, to eat humble pie (see below), and to admonish all his little moonbats (in purest Kos-ese): Don’t believe everything you read on the internets.

Seriously, just because something online confirms your own viewpoint or prejudices or whatnot, it does not mean it’s true.

Skepticism is a virtue.

Now the right-wingers are laughing at the gullibility of those who recommend Maccabee’s diaries.

And they are quite justified in doing so.

02 Oct 2006

Kos at Cato

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Kos, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga himself, the blogosphere’s favorite bolshie, is celebrating Halloween a little early this year, donning his “libertarian” costume, and penning the October lead essay on Cato Unbound.

It’s easy to understand why the powers-that-be at Cato let Kos in the door. The absolute incongruity of the idea, its cognitive dissonance, makes perfect journalistic sense. “Kos the libertarian” is arrant nonsense, but will inevitably arouse curiousity and attract readers in the same way National Inquirer headlines about flying saucers returning Elvis to proclaim the Second Coming of Princess Di will sell.

Hell, I even read it.

Of course, I was disappointed. Kos never writes brilliantly, and all he’s doing here is a not very impressive intellectual version of three card monte.

“It’s not the government that’s the real threat any longer. It’s the big corporations.” “The free market is the answer. But we need the government to build the marketplace, the roads, the courts… and the Tennessee Valley Authority, and to license hypertrichologists to make all that free market capitalism possible, and not ruinous.”

Kos is just selling the same old statist wine in bottles he has labelled “The New Libertarian Democrat.”

All this great new idea represents is one more galvanic twitch from the dying leftwing statism of the last century desperately trying to cling to existence a little longer by impersonating a more highly evolved political idea.

I do not believe this manuever will succeed. Nature has equipped the political competition with more than adequately keen perceptions to detect Kos’s fraud.

13 Jul 2006

Dissension In the Left’s Ranks Over Kosola Scandal

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Kos made yesterday, with Noel Shepherd wondering: Is the Daily Kos About to Implode?

It appears that the post-Yearly Kos month from hell is continuing for Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the proprietor of the Internet’s premier liberal blog Daily Kos. After receiving some extremely negative press from major publications such as The New York Times, The New Republic and Newsweek immediately following his seemingly successful bloggers’ convention in Las Vegas, Kos is now faced with an even greater challenge: dissension within his ranks.

Such internal squabbling comes at the same time that many prominent Democrats seem to be privately expressing concern about the direction the “netroots” — the self-described Internet grassroots movement of liberal bloggers and their loyal followers — are taking the Party. This seemingly inconvenient planetary alignment is not only threatening the long-term viability of this crusade, but also is putting Kos in an uncomfortable position just as his notoriety is skyrocketing.

As reported here on June 30, revelations about Kos’s friend and former business partner Jerome Armstrong — from stock fraud allegations to accepting consulting fees from not so liberal candidates — have cast a cloud over the blog and its leader. This pall has also undermined the stellar relationship Kos has had with the traditional media up to this point.

Yet, maybe more important, these revelations — along with the way Markos and his Kossacks reacted to them — have caused some prominent DKos bloggers to question the behavior of Zuniga and his devotees. Such a civil war within the liberal blogosphere certainly has the potential to further discredit it, while likely making the mainstream media as well as the candidates they revere less apt to associate with this developing train wreck.

Some prominent bloggers on the left have even begun to criticize Kos. Last Saturday, KosKid Maryscott O’Connor, in a posting titled Something is Rotten in Blogmark, condemned the customary Partyline mentality which flourishes on Daily Kos:

Sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself a member of DKos.

This is one of those times.

There is a sort of groupthink, Lord of the Flies kind of behaviour at DKos over certain issues that absolutely makes me nauseated…

Increasingly, I have begun to feel intimidated or wary about writing my thoughts and doubts about these issues, lest I be set upon by a pack of Defenders of the Kos. It is this sense of intimidation that spurs me to write this, among other reasons: when I start censoring myself because I’m afraid I’ll be punished with disapproval, anyone’s disapproval, I know I’m allowing others’ opinions to matter too much to me. I shouldn’t be deciding what to say and not to say online based on any anticipated reaction.

And predicted that not even the left blogosphere’s chorus of howler-monkeys can ultimately succeed in shouting down questions about the exchange of the Kos’ influence for cash. The Kosola scandal “WILL NOT GO AWAY simply because some people don’t think Markos should be held to the standards that he WILL, ultimately, BE held to.”

But many on the left, like Steve Gilliard, think lefties should

“Say nothing bad about Commander Kos.”

They’re scurrying to the barricades over on DailyKos today, posting defensively about the media’s “obsession with trying to bring down the progressive netroots.”

28 Jun 2006

Some Interesting Comparisons

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Fellow old-time Movement Conservatives will be amused to read Josh Trevino‘s comparison of the impotent and unhappy state of today’s Left with that of post-New Deal American Conservativism, viewing Kos (Markos Moulitsas Zúniga) as those poor lefties’ Robert Welch.

There was once a movement, born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. This movement saw itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it sought to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. But because the movement did feel embattled, and because it did view itself as the victim of powerful forces, it chose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It saw the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they could just crack the code — if it could grasp the very methodology of victory — then they would turn the tables, and victory would be theirs.

The American left today is not quite in the position of the American right circa 1960. But it is suffering nonetheless, having been in slow decline for the past quarter-century. Even when it wins the Presidency, it loses the Congress: and even when the President is the inept, uncommunicative George W. Bush, it still cannot make a dent in the ascendancy of its enemies. The end result of this is a group of Americans, identifying as members of the left, that is strikingly similar to the conservative movement of a generation past: inchoate, angry, and prone to “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.”..

Consider the average member of this group. He (or she) remembers the era of leftist dominance of American politics — and he remembers the beginning of its end, on election day 1980. He is around 50 years old. He is professional living in a coastal enclave, mostly on the Pacific coast or the northeast. His political consciousness was formed by the McGovern and Carter campaigns — and of course the American retreat from Vietnam. He may have grown up in Iowa, or Texas, or Missouri, or Utah — but he went to college elsewhere, and fell in love with the people in California, or New York, or Boston, who were so much more progressive and intellectual than the hayseeds back home. His initial concept of conservatives, which he’s never really abandoned, was formed by Nixonian malfeasance: they’re all crooks and corrupt, in his mind. The ascent of Reagan in 1980, and later the 1994 revolution, came as a profound shock — how could America forget so soon? He is well-off: and the bulk of his working career — and hence the font of his personal prosperity — was spent in the boom markets of the 1980s and 1990s, under Republican national governance in one form or another. He doesn’t think about the implications of that much.

But for all his generally good circumstances, he’s been on the political and cultural losing side all his adult life. He’s tired of it. And he’s found a website which, at last, makes him feel empowered. He is, in short, the typical member of the so-called netroots: the left-wing movement, organized around blogs, that seeks to “take back” this country from its usurpers. The netroots is a movement born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. It sees itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it seeks to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. Critically, it choose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It sees the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they can just crack the code — if it can grasp the very methodology of victory — then they will turn the tables, and victory will be theirs.

Sound familiar? It is — to us. To the left, it’s all very exciting, and all very new. And so we see the self-proclaimed netroots go through a trajectory very much like what the Birchers went through, albeit in highly compressed time. The elements are all there: the resentment, the conspiracy-mindedness, and especially the leaders with stupefyingly poor judgment married to Napoleon complexes. I’ve noted before that they are “frank proponents of outright mimicry of the mechanisms of GOP ascendacy.” Add to this the horrifying, alienating statements ranging from the mockery of dead Americans at war to the derision of political opponents’ personal sorrows. Add to this the demonization of the very people who should, in a sane world, be their friends — The New Republic chief among them — and the formula is complete. Messianism and paranoia marry to make this.

There’s already some evidence of pushback. The journalistic establishment won’t take the abuse forever. The purported agents of the Communist — sorry, the vast right-wing conspiracy won’t endure the smears indefinitely. And the left’s political establishment won’t kowtow endlessly — and certainly not so long as the netroots keep losing. For the sake of American civic life, one hopes this is true.

But for the sake of the enemy — we conservatives of all stripes — we need merely note that whereas they have a pint-sized Welch, they have no Buckley.

And, more importantly, no Rand.

24 Jun 2006

Kosola 2: “The Origins of Blogofascism”

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Mr. Siegel’s criticism was, needless to say, not well received, and the moonbats (in their customary fashion) howled abuse and hurled dung.

In today’s continuation of the exchange of fire between New Republic and DailyKos, Lee Siegel attributes the creation of the objectionable aspects of the culture of the left-side blogosphere (the constant usage of obscenity, the readiness to resort to intimidation) to the personality and philosophy of Kos himself:

“Moron”; “Wanker” (a favorite blogofascist insult, maybe because of the similarity between the most strident blogging and masturbating); and “Asshole” have been the three most common polemical gambits. A reactor even had the gall to refer to me as a “conservative.” Another resourceful adversarialist invited me to lick his scrotum. Please send a picture and a short essay describing your favorite hobbies. One madly ambitious blogger, who has been alternately trying to provoke and fawning over TNR writers in an attempt to break down the door–I’m too polite to mention any names–even asked who it was at TNR who gave me “the keys to a blog.”

All these abusive attempts to autocratically or dictatorially control criticism came about because I said that the blogosphere had the quality of fascism, which my dictionary defines as “any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control.” The proof, you might say, is in the puddingheads.

I am overwhelmed by the intolerance and rage in the blogosphere. Conscientiously criticize, in the form of a real argument, blogospheric favorites like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and the response isn’t similar criticism, done conscientiously and in the form of an argument, but insults, personal attacks, and even threats. This truly is the stuff of thuggery and fascism.

Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the processes of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents. Communism was hatched by elites. Fascism was born along the drifting paths of rootless men, often ex-soldiers who had fought in the First World War and been demobilized. They turned European politics into a madhouse of deracinated ambition.

In a 2004 article in The San Francisco Chronicle, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga told a reporter that he moved to El Salvador in the late 1970s with his family–one of his parents is Salvadoran–who apparently had financial interests there. The article relates:

“I believe in government. I was in El Salvador in the late ’70s during the civil war and I saw government as a life-and-death situation,” he said. “There was no one to root for. The government was a corrupt plutocracy and the rebels were Maoists. The concept of government is important.”

He remembers bullets flying in the marketplace and watching on television as government soldiers executed guerrillas. He also remembers watching footage of the Solidarity movement in Poland.

He was 9, and he asked his father what that was all about. His father, a furniture salesman, said, “It’s just politics.”

The future blogger said, “Tell me all about it.”
So he loves government, but hates politics. There’s something chilling about that. I wonder, does Zuniga consider the Solidarity movement disgusting, compromising, venal politics, too? And was there really no one to root for during the Salvadoran civil war? It’s hard to believe the usually inflexibly partisan Zuniga actually said that. The rebels may have been “Maoist”–whatever that meant to them in Central America at the time–but their goal of overthrowing a brutal, rapacious regime might well be something that a passionate political idealist and reformer like Zuniga, looking back at it in 2004, would sympathize with. Or so you would think.

But, then, Zuniga–let’s cut the puerile nicknames of “DailyKos, “Atrios,” “Instapundit” et al., which are one part fantasy of nom de guerres, one part babytalk, and a third thuggish anonymity–believes so deafeningly and inflexibly that it’s hard to tell what he believes at all, expecially if you try to make out his conviction over the noisy bleating of his followers.

He told Deborah Solomon in The New York Times that he joined the army out of high school to build up his self-confidence. Elsewhere, he has spoken of his love of 25-mile marches with a heavy knapsack. After the Army, college and then law school. But he never practiced law, it seems. He drifted to San Francisco and into the high-tech industry, where he designed Websites. Finally, he ended up in politics, again drifting into the Democratic party, supporting first John Edwards, and then Wesley Clark, and then, as a paid consultant, Howard Dean.

It wasn’t long after that when Zuniga began channeling other people’s rage.

24 Jun 2006

Kosola 1: “Fascism With a Microsoft Face”

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Lee Siegel yesterday harshly criticized many left blogs’ more-than-shrill reaction to the New Republic‘s suggestion that left-blog influence may be being traded for cash, and its revelation at the same time of the existence of systematic backroom coordination of news coverage, via “Townhouse,” a secret email list connecting the elite of leftwing blogging.

Siegel was deservedly scathing in his comments about the character and quality of the dialogue found on many of the most influential left-side blogs.

In response to Jason Zengerle’s most recent post on The Plank–“Hope you’re not tired of this Kos stuff”–no, I for one am definitely not tired of Zengerle’s artful and honest exposure of someone who, more and more, seems to represent the purest, most classical strain of hypocrisy. All the MSM has to do is reach out and touch the angriest, most vitriolic blogger, and he or she melts like butter on the beach….

..when bloggers do get the MSM to turn its head their way, the training wheels come off and they usually fall flat on their faces.

It’s a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy’s dream of full participation but practices democracy’s nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It’s hard fascism with a Microsoft face. It puts some people, like me, in the equally bizarre position of wanting desperately for Joe Lieberman to lose the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont so that true liberal values might, maybe, possibly prevail, yet at the same time wanting Lamont, the hero of the blogosphere, to lose so that the fascistic forces ranged against Lieberman might be defeated. (Every critical event in democracy is symbolic of the problem with democracy.)

Even beyond the thuggishness, what I despise about so many blogurus, is the frivolity of their “readers.” DailyKos might have hundreds of responses to his posts, but after five or six of them the interminable thread meanders into trivial subjects that have nothing to do with the subject that briefly provoked it. The blogosphere’s lack of concentration is even more dangerous than all its rage. In the Middle East, they struggle with belief. In the United States, we struggle with attention. The blogosphere’s fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus.

23 Jun 2006

Go Ahead, Do it, Take Them Down

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This week has been a very interesting week for me. And I know I have sort of arrived in a scary way, because now I’m not being attacked for what I’ve said and done. People are making stuff up about me now. They’re inventing things. And so I know now I’m on a different plane.

But this is the world we live in. There are people who have a vested interest in the status quo. There are people who don’t want to see things change because they’re not used to things changing. They know the world. It’s comfortable. It’s cozy. If they read the media, the media’s not going to tell them what we’re all about. Howard Dean thought we were all young. I’m not sure where he got that, because he should have known better. Hillary Clinton came up and she quoted the netroots based on something a conservative said. They need to live it for themselves. They need to become part of it, because this is an integral part of American politics now, and that’s not going to change.

And the beauty of it is at the end of the day, they can take me down. They can take Jerome Armstrong down. They can take down Atrios. They can take down any of the so-called leaders in the movement and it doesn’t matter, because this is not a leaderless movement. I used to say this was a leaderless movement, and I was wrong. It’s not a leaderless movement; it’s a everybody-who’s-part-of-it-is-a-leader. And so you can take any single individual down, and it will continue to live on.


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