This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos Is Not A Progressive

Francis Holland has a very interesting blog titled The Truth About Kos. He gets a few things wrong here and there, but his overall presentation is very impressive and correct for the most part. Moulitsas gave an interview in 2006 to the Commonwealth Club. He spoke of the CIA as being a liberal institution he'd have no problem working for. Now I have to be upfront right away. I became a lefty, progressive peacenik at age 18. One of the first things I learned about was the disgusting, historical record of the CIA. No lefty in their right mind would ever support their existence. In the interview, Kos said he applied for a position in 2001, and that it was a six-month process. He also said he went all the way to the end and decided against accepting a clandestine spy job to instead work for Howard Dean. The problem is the Dean job started in 2003. While Holland is a bit too adamant about saying Markos admitted to working for the CIA, it's really not his problem. For how does a six-month interview process take up to two years?

Francis has an advantage over others who have looked into this. He can read Spanish and has been able to read through documents that English only speaking folks aren't able to. One of them pertained to statements made by Kos that he was a poor immigrant. Now I am not too upset with Kos for calling himself an immigrant even though he was born in Illinois. He left America at an early age for El Salvador and then returned to America. My two biggest problems with Kos' story is his astroturfing concerning El Salvadoran history, and that he comes from a poor to middle class background. The two lies converge to show that he is a right winger dressing himself in progressive clothes.

I haven't seen one word out of him concerning right wing death squads that have operated out of El Salvador. I came of age during a period when the two biggest stories coming out of Central America were about conflicts in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and how there was heavy right-left debate in America over our foreign policy. As a lefty, I didn't appreciate the Reagan Administration's support of the Contras in Nicaragua. Subsequently, I did not appreciate the US support of a murderous regime in El Salvador. Basically, I was on the right side of history by being on the left.

I dare anyone to find anything ever written by Kos that has been intellectually honest about the conflict in El Salvador. What you will find is that he has placed the onus for heavy bloodshed on the rebels. He makes it seem his family was forced to flee El Salvador because of the guerrillas. He never mentions the death squads. I'm not going to do anyone's homework. I don't make one cent off of blogging. This is all pure history.

Myself, Francis, and a few others are people referred to as amateur, internet cybersleuths. It is a hobby for me. I feel it has been time better spent than playing video games. I do believe that the personal is political. I, like many, became a blogger because I wanted to partake in democracy. Yet, at each stop of mine in the progressive blogosphere, I found myself deeply disappointed in this vehicle being purported as one which can help the world along the way to peace and social justice. Huffington Post was too big. They have a bit of censorship. They have too much of a rotating news cycle, so no good insights can be developed. Things get pushed to the archives the next day. I was there for Cindy Sheehan's posts. I was amazed at the amount of trolling she had to absorb. That was the start of my disillusionment with the left-o-sphere. Throw in the amount of puff pieces Huffington offers and the number of vacuous bloggers Ariana employs, and I was out the door. Never banned, but gone.

I tried a few other places. Democratic Underground. Randi Rhodes. Progressive Independent. BradBlog. None of them worked out. The moderating was too heavy-handed and reeked of being controlled by grifters and disinfo peddlers. One of my last attempts at being a blogger was at the Daily Kos. After being censored by DU concerning my exposing of election integrity fakes, I figured DKos would be different. However, I soon learned that DKos is no different than the others. I was taken out by MajorFlaw and Alexandrovna. That's when I learned of Dave Weintraub. I ended up meeting him at his blog. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack a few days later. I researched his story. I soon learned more about astroturfing than I'd ever could have imagined. It all led back to right wingers, grifters, and disnformation peddlers acting as if they come from the left.

One interesting find Francis made was of a Moulitsas vanity website covering his wedding. The domain is no longer available. Hmmm. But thankfully due to the wayback machine, one can still see it.

Also because of the wayback machine, we are able to read disingenuous statements made by Markos. I will supply some Spanish text excerpts written by Jesús Henríquez for and do my best to translate. I know a bit of Espanol to go with babelfish.

El blog Daily Kos es considerado en la actualidad un referente de la cultura política estadounidense. Esta página fue creada en mayo de 2002 por Markos Moulitsas Zúniga.

(The Daily Kos is considered a microcosm of American political culture. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga created it in May, 2002.)

That's pretty strange stuff. The Daily Kos was created during the time period that Kos was in close contact with the CIA.

Nacido en 1971 en Chicago, vino a El Salvador en 1976 y regresó con su familia a Estados Unidos en 1980, cuando comenzaba el conflicto en nuestro país.

“De los primeros años me recuerdo poco”, dice. “De nuestra casa, de mi familia, de ir a la iglesia con mi abuelita, de dos gatos que tenía.”

Pero también alberga algunas imágenes de la violencia que ya comenzaba a vivir el país.

(Born in Chicago in 1971, he went to El Salvador in 1976 and then returned to the U.S. with his family in 1980, when the conflicts in the country began. He said, "Of those early years I remember- our house, going to church with my grandma, the two cats we had." Yet this also dislodged memories of violence that had begun to engulf [El Salvador].)

Markos then insinuated the violence as being the fault of the guerrillas. He had nothing to say about right wing death squads nor of the oligarchy which has controlled a nation with rich, poor, and few in between.

“Con el inicio de la guerra, me acuerdo mucho de balazos y explosiones. De ver guerilleros con sus máscaras en varios lugares o en televisión”, explica.

A pesar de haber desarrollado su vida en Estados Unidos, aún mantiene vínculos con El Salvador que lo hacen viajar y reconoce: “Lo que más me gusta es el espíritu salvadoreño. Trabajamos duro”.

("At the war's beginning, I heard many gunshots and explosions. I saw mask wearing guerrillas on television," he explains. Even though he has developed a life in the U.S., he still maintains bonds with and travels to El Salvador and recognises: "What I like most is the Salvadoran spirit. We work hard.")

Let's jump ahead.

“En el mundo antes de internet, alguien como yo nunca hubiera tenido ese nivel de éxito. No tengo dinero. No vengo de familia famosa o poderosa. Era inmigrante en Estados Unidos (...) La tecnología me dio la oportunidad de crear una publicación con más de un millón de lectores diarios sin tener que tener mucho dinero. Los costes de lanzamiento eran cerca de $100”.

("Before the internet age, someone like me would never have had this level of success. I had no money. I didn't come from a famous or powerful family. I was an immigrant in the U.S.. (...) This technology game me the opportunity to create an outlet with over a million daily readers without having much cash. The launching costs were about $100.")

Now let's move to the wedding pictures that are now only available through I think Moulitsas deleted this domain, because in it was the revelation that got Holland's attention a few years ago and led him to prove that indeed Markos Moulitsas Zuniga comes from a famous and powerful El Salvadoran family. The Zunigas are part of the haves. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga comes from the rich side of the divide in El Salvador. This is why he says he has no idea about the CIA's shady history. It can be shown that the CIA was involved with the death squads.

Now, there is compelling evidence to show that for over 30 years, members of the U.S. military and the CIA have helped organize, train, and fund death squad activity in El Salvador.

Yet, Markos says it is a liberal institution he'd have no trouble working for. This is as clear as spring water. This is why Markos doesn't write much more than scanty descriptions of his family background. They own a fancy hotel. Francis linked his family to not only the tourism board but also a wealthy salt company. Markos Moulitsas comes from a very wealthy background.

The Suites Jaltepeque is our family-owned hotel on El Salvador's Costa del Sol -- the largest uninterrupted beach in Central America.

I hadn't been downtown San Salvador since my family fled the country in 1980. The city offers a stark contrast between rich and poor -- you are basically one or the other. But the underlying changes gave me cause for hope. There were a great number of dark-skinned people in business suits, something that was much rarer in the past. The capital had erased most of its scars from the civil war that drove my family to the US...

...we drove up to the very impressive Puerta del Diablo (Devil's Gate), so called because it's a favorite place to commit suicide or drop off your murder victims.

While Markos does have a parent from Greece, I think he is dark-skinned enough to be implying that he was on the poor side of the Civil War. I'm also curious why he mentioned "Devil's Gate" as a "favorite place... to drop off your murder victims." That is a rocky area. Perhaps it was a guerrilla controlled area. I'm not sure. But it wouldn't surprise me. People are encouraged to check out Francis' blog and put on their thinking caps. I also encourage you to read up on the death squads, and how the Reagan Administration supported the oligarchy. Before Markos became a "progressive," he used to be a big supporter of Ronald Reagan and other prominent Republicans.


Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Thanks for introducing your readers and everyone who uses Google to Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (MAMZ).

You said that I get a few things wrong here and there. If you notice that something is wrong, please comment about it on the post or e-mail me at, so that I can fix it. I take great pains not to post any fact that I can't prove with citations to original government documents, statements against interests (confessions), and commercial websites of the people and corporations about which I write (see above).

Don't let me inadvertently print anything that would leave anyone (including me) with inaccurate or incomplete information.

socrates said...

Francis, we all make mistakes. I only meant that perhaps you have gone too far in turning the Commonwealth Club interview into being proof that Markos worked for the CIA.

I think overall you get things correct and are a true American hero. I have poured through archives from both MyRightWing and DailyKos, and the attacks on you have been nothing more than content free ad hominems.

I totally agree that we need to watch others' backs. Perhaps the ultimate sin of the internet pertains to how we the people are quite often denied our freedoms of speech and association on some of these so-called progressive blogs. Like you pointed out the other day, not only are folks like ourselves taunted and censored, anyone who wants to speak up in agreement with the content is subject to the same treatment. Your work has been wicked awesome. I mean that sincerely. Wicked awesome is a Boston lexicon meaning good things. {<:)

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

In legal parlance, a statement against interest is considered to be so reliable that there is an exception in the rule against hearsay evidence for those circumstances when a person made a statement, a confession so damning, that no one would confess to it unless it was true.

The logic is compelling that no one would confess to a murder unless he actually committed it, and so such an admission, recounted by a third party, is admissible in court, even though it is hearsay. Who would confide that he had committed a murder unless he actually had.

Now, the evidence in the MAMZ case is not hearsay at all, because it is not a third party quoting MAMZ. It is MAMZ confessing in his own words on an audio tape. If we cannot rely on what he says, to a group, during a public interview, about himself and the CIA, when he knows that he is being recorded, then we cannot rely on ANYTHING he says EVER!

The Commonwealth Club statements were either a confession or a lie. Take your pick. If it was a confession then he needs to accept the political consequences that come with starting a "leftist" blog while secretly and simultaneously "training" for two years at the CIA.

If he was at the CIA when DailyKos was started, then I think he hid critical information from the peace movement for four years. He needs to be held accountable for that.

If it was not a confession to an embarrassing truth, but was instead an utter fabrication, then this is a man who should not be anywhere near the levers of power.

Hillary Clinton was ridiculed for saying she faced gunfire while flying into Bosnia. She said something that turned out to be untrue about ONE day in her life, and it was national news for weeks, directly affecting her credibility in general.

Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga has either told the truth (and I have taken him at his word) or he has lied about an entire two-year period of his life and invented a resume detail that is of no small significance.

It's quite obvious that we MAMZ seeks to be an influential public figure. As such, his background needs to be carefully examined. If he did NOT train at the Central Intelligence Agency, but said that he did, then he needs to come clean publicly and tell the truth, whatever it is.

Until he comes forward and says that he lied at the Commonwealth Club, I continue to take him at his word.

Since the CIA is not talking in terms of whether MAMZ worked there or not, HE is the only one who can remove the impression that was left when he told an audience that he was at the CIA for two years.

Interestingly, he responded directly at his blog when he was questioned about the letter I dug up (See side bar link at Truth About Kos) in which letter MAMZ vehemently opposed ALL gay service in the military, whether overt or covert. He came forward and said he was an "asshole" when he was younger. (Again see side bar at Truth About Kos.)

So, why hasn't he come forward to dispel the one million, eight hundred thousand hits at Google that say he confessed to training at the CIA? If it's true, he should say so. If it's false he should say so.

Now, socrates, I think it's very important for you to say explicitly what you mean when you tell your readers that something I said might have been unclear or incomplete.

If you tell your readers that MAMZ said on an audiotape that he was at the CIA for two years, and that as a result I reported as fact that MAMZ had been at the CIA for two years, but in your opinion I should have considered the possibility that MAMZ is an inveterate liar, then you have told the whole story and you can let your readers decide what they believe is the truth and what additional information they need, and who is in the best position to offer that information to dispel the otherwise inevitable conclusion that MAMZ told the truth when he said he was at the CIA for two years.

socrates said...

At question is what did MAMZ admit to. I agree that Kos was either lying or speaking in good faith. With the latter, there is also the possibility that he made an error.

if he didn't make an honest mistake, the timeline given is a total head scratcher. How does a six month interview process fit into a period from 2001 to 2003?

But this is precisely where I think you may have taken this too far. I need better proof that he trained with them. What if he applied in 2001, and they got back to him about six months before he joined the Dean campaign? Markos Moulitsas never said he was at the CIA for two years. That's where I think you are wrong. He never confessed to training with them.

I do kind of remember the idea being thrown out that one is not offered a clandestine spy position unless already employed by the CIA. If I can be shown proof of that, then I can say with confidence that I am wrong, and you are completely correct.

Ultimately it is not your job to explain what Kos said. It's obvious he's ignoring the ramifications of his words. He's acting just like he does in regards to the El Salvadoran right wing death squads. He's acting as if none of these things have ever existed.

It's on him to clarify the timeline provided by the interview. I agree with you that this is something that needs to be explained in full. I am definitely leaning towards agreeing with you that he was employed with the CIA. I just need a bit more proof. Is there concrete evidence that one must be first employed with the CIA, before they can be offered a spy position? If so, then I agree he confessed or was lying.

Otherwise, we need to find out when exactly the interview process began. He did say it was six months, and he did say it ended with an offer to be a clandestine spy. We know he rejected that in 2003. An interview doesn't mean training. If he meant to say the process started in late 2002 instead of 2001, then it appears to me he could be off the hook. However, why doesn't he explain this then? He has to be aware that disturbing questions have been circulating based on his own words. By the chance he never did train or work for the CIA, at a minimum he recently said they are a liberal institution he'd have no trouble working for. That's not cool. Not one bit.