Friday, June 23, 2006

Bad Moon(bat) Rising

Jerome Armstrong's star chart says:
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Dan Riehl
discovered Jerome "Carnac the Magnificent" Armstrong's astrology career. The Kossacks, already reeling from the Ko$ola/Jeromegate revelations, must be staggering at the revelation that the "icon of progressive politics" is, in fact, a devotee of a miserable and benighted superstition.

What could be more easily disproved than the claim that the position of the stars at the time of one's birth determines anything about one's character and destiny? I have fraternal twin sons, now 13, who are quite different in temperament and aptitude. Q.E.D.

But dear Moonbats, it will get worse. Trust me on this, OK? While no other blogger has so far matched Riehl Worldview in terms of researching the Ko$ola/Jeromegate controversy -- see here, here and here -- there's now blood in the water, and even the MSM sharks are circling.

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NOW BLOGGING: Wizbang, Moe Lane (Red State), Hot Air, Protein Wisdom, Politburo Diktat, Right-Wing News, Leather Penguin, Unalienable Right ...

Wizbang caught MyDD trying to cover Jerome's astrology tracks, prompting Dan Riehl to declare: "Anyone who gives that blogpac, or whatever it is, a dime must be crazy." Yeah. But we already knew that.

Hot Air reminds us that YearlyKos had a panel about defending the integrity of science against right-wingers. We now know that, to the Moonbats, "science" includes such subjects as astrology, alchemy, necromancy, Keynesianism ...

Theodorick of York, Medieval Barber!

Marty Peretz, not a big fan of the blogosphere, finally pays a visit to DailyKos and declares Moulitsas "just plain illiterate." and says, "It feels a bit demeaning to defend oneself against Kos."

Most political writers dream of being booked on "Meet the Press," or maybe "Washington Journal" (I'm an old C-SPAN junkie). I think Jerome Armstrong would rather be on "Coast to Coast A.M. with George Noory."

I actually started to call this post "Moon(bat) in the 7th House," and it seems Protein Wisdom had the same idea:
[W]hen the Kossacks tell you to play the race angle, you play the race angle! You know—for the unified message and the people-powered movement and all that.
Besides, when the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, that means blacks are being unfairly targeted by the Man. Or that the Fifth Dimension is doing a reunion tour, I’m not sure which.
For younger folks, I will explain: The reference is to the lyrics and most famous performers of "Aquarius." That was the most successful song from the soundtrack of "Hair," a hippie musical that debuted off-Broadway in 1967. The lyrics declared the "dawning" of an age of "harmony and understanding," when "peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars." Some idiots actually bought into that crap.

The 10 years following the debut of "Hair" turned out instead to be the age of Sirhan Sirhan, the Manson Family, OPEC, Pol Pot, the Symbionese Liberation Army, "Son of Sam," herpes, disco, qaaludes, PCP ....

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OK, perhaps the best take yet on the Ko$ola/JeromeGate affair comes from Lee Siegel of TNR:

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.
Understand that the "fascistic forces" he speaks of are strictly left-wing bloggers. As I mentioned Thursday, "when you start blaming your woes on a malevolent conspiracy of 'Lieberman-worshipping neocons,' you might as well add, 'Sieg Heil.' "

I know just how Siegel feels. There are some Republicans whose politics I hate, who are being opposed by the Kossacks. But as much as I might like to see certain Republicans get beat, I'd hate for the Kossacks to be able to claim a scalp. It's like the Democratic primary between Henry Cuellar and Ciro Rodriquez. I didn't have a dog in that fight, but the fact that the Kossacks were backing Rodriquez meant that I was cheering for Cuellar.

The vibe that Siegel calls "fascistic" reflects, I believe, a continuing development of what the late Allan Bloom described as the Nietzscheanization of the Left. There is no truth and no morality, therefore there are no rules -- the Left seeks victory "by any means necesssary." It is a very power-oriented attitude, and frightening.

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Given that the worst accusations in this scandal seem to center around Armstrong, I think it's possible that the furious response by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga may be grounded in a certain truth. Given what is being revealed about Armstrong's activities, Markos may eventually conclude that he and the DailyKos readership have been deceived and exploited by Armstrong.

Remember that Markos began as a commenter/guest-blogger at MyDD. So if Armstrong asks a favor from Markos -- e.g., "Could you start pimping Sherrod Brown?" -- a sense of personal loyalty might prevent Markos from refusing the request. In such a scenario, Markos is not the Blogfather; he's the Internet equivalent of Johnny Fontane, or perhaps Bonasera.

I alluded to this Wednesday, after Markos denied being a consultant:

Armstrong's been raking in big-time consultant bucks, but Moulitsas has taken a vow of poverty. In which case, Moulitsas is not the scammer, he's the scammee.
Not a pimp, but an abused ho.
Not just a sock puppet, but a stupid sock puppet.
When Dan reported Wednesday night that Armstrong collected over $160,000 as a consultant to SEIU, I reiterated this theme:

[I]t's not illegal or unethical for a political consultant to be selling his services to clients, even clients as sleazy as SEIU. The relevant question is why it seems these money trails to Armstrong tend to be reflected in favorable treatment at DailyKos. The most glaring example of this is the Hackett-Brown flipflop in October '05 that ex-Kossack "BuckeyeState" has chronicled.The pattern seems clear: Jerome gets paid, the client gets laid, and it's Markos wearing the fishnet stockings and 4-inch heels.
I think the nature of the relationship between Armstrong and Markos is obvious if you look at their work going back to the MyDD days and their partnership as Armstrong-Zuniga LLC.

Armstrong was an entrepreneur, a guy who tried at least two different schemes -- touting dot-com stocks and astrology -- to make money on the Internet before, in 2001, turning toward politics.

In January 2003, Armstrong-Zuniga LLC was formed. Markos later said that he "hated" political consulting, which would suggest that this business was Armstrong's idea.

Teamwork is based on a complementarity of skills. If you look at Armstrong-Zuniga, along with their third partner, Rusty Foster, you see this complementarity:

  • Armstrong -- aggressive salesman/entrepreneur;
  • Moulitsas -- "creative" content provider; and
  • Foster -- tech genius, software developer.
Foster created the "Scoop" software that powers DailyKos, so bringing him into the firm produced a well-balanced troika of (a) marketing, (b) editorial content, and (c) technical prowess. But Armstrong's ambition lay in a different direction than Moulitsas's -- and the Wall Street Journal's expose kind of made things look bad -- so in January 2005, they split, with Armstrong forming a consulting firm, Political Technologies LLC, and Moulitsas creating Kos Media LLC.

But DailyKos continued to be an active forum for the promotion of various Democratic candidates -- including candidates in contested primaries. And surely one of the reasons Democrats would hire Armstrong as an Internet consultant is because of his known close association with the proprietor of the #1 political site on the 'Net. Even if Armstrong didn't sell his services explicitly to the Sherrod Brown campaign (or Corzine, or SEIU, or Warner campaign) on the basis of favorable treatment DailyKos as part of a "buy one, get one free" deal, surely these clients thought that Armstrong might exercise influence over his old friend Markos.

So Markos is angry that he has been accused of "pay-for-play," and insists that his income has nothing to do with his relationship with Armstrong, or with Armstrong's clients. Fine. Given that they are both private citizens and proprietors of LLCs, it is hard to imagine anyone finding a "smoking gun" that would prove a quid pro quo.

But consider the accusations that Armstrong was abusive and dishonest in promoting dot-com stocks. Consider also that Armstrong seems to have been the driving business brain behind the Armstrong-Zuniga partnership. And then consider Armstrong's dabbling in online astrology.

This pattern of behavior might lead one to contemplate Armstrong's oft-cited biography -- Peace Corps volunteer, devout Buddhist, holder of two master's degrees -- and to remark upon the conflicting images. How does one go from selfless service to the peoples of Costa Rica and Sierra Leone, to 18 months of meditation in a monastery, to the attainment of high academic honors, and then proceed to (alleged) unscrupulous stock scamming, blathering about Ixion, Quaoar and the Kuiper Belt, and trying to sell a DLC candidate to the "people-powered movement"?

As someone who has himself taken an unorthodox path -- I played in rock bands and worked as a disco DJ before landing my first newspaper job -- I am in one sense capable of understanding that people don't always get ahead by climbing a predictable career ladder. But the picture that is emerging of Armstrong is of a hustler, a b.s. artist, a Professor Harold Hill.

Of course, it would be gravy for the GOP if the hottest rising star of Democratic political strategy were, in fact, a clever hustler -- so long as the Democrats were too dumb to figure it out. If Armstrong is selling his clients the "Think System" of politics,

This is where the infamous "0-for-eternity" record of the Moonbat-o-sphere comes into the picture. Jerome doesn't merely provide technical services to Democrats, and Markos does not merely report the latest news. With the publication of their book "Crashing the Gates," Armstrong & Moulitsas now present themselves as possessors of the Big Secret to Democratic Party victory. Armstrong's Big Ideas appear in prestigious venues, and Moulitsas gets his strategic political advice printed on the front page of the Other Paper's Sunday Outlook section -- some of the most coveted editorial space in the world!

It is amazing to see Armstrong and Moulitsas, neither of whom is known to have had any significant involvement in politics prior to 2001, now hailed as the Better Mousetrap of politics, with politicians and publishers beating a path to their door. Yet these two clowns have never won anything worth winning.

When the MyDD/DailyKos machine first went into operation, Bush had barely scraped into office and the GOP majority in the Senate was so thin that the defection of "Jumping Jim" Jeffords delivered control of the chamber to Tom Daschle's Democrats.

Now, five years later, Democrats have suffered crushing defeats in two consecutive elections, including the 2004 election, when Armstrong-Zuniga relentlessly promoted the anti-war "Dean Machine" that (a) sucked up $53 million in campaign cash, (b) was handily trounced everywhere except Vermont, (c) helped push the party even farther left, (d) was a major reason Bush became the first president since 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote, and (e) subsequently captured control of the Democratic National Committee.

The "progressive political icon" and the leader of the "people-powered movement" are now proclaiming that Election Day 2006 will be the new dawn of the Democrat-dominated future. Looking at the Senate races in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Montana, one certainly doesn't feel like it's going to be a good year for Republicans. (The only thing surprising about Mike DeWine's low poll numbers is that anybody still supports him, given his atrocious record.) And the disproporationate number of Republican-held governorships up for grabs also bodes ill for the GOP this fall. Combine all this with the continued unpopularity of President Bush -- unprecedented in any time of economic prosperity since 1968 -- and you have the makings of a real electoral nightmare for Democrats.

With all these ill omens for Republicans, then, it would be adevastating defeat for Democrats if the GOP should somehow escape Nov. 7 with control of both houses of Congress in hand. But if, with the aid of their "people-powered" gurus, Democrats somehow manage to seize defeat from the jaws of victory in 2006, there will be no excuse. Democrats will know who to blame.

Every logical evidence points toward Democratic victory in November, but if there's one way sure way to blow it, it is to accept the advice of wizards, soothsayers and necromancers, those who peep at the stars and claim to have secret knowledge.

Tell me this, Jerome Armstrong: Why didn't you, with the aid of the stars, predict the capture of Saddam or the death of Zarqawi? If astrology could tell the future, why didn't you warn anyone ahead of time about the scandals now surrounding William Jefferson and Al Mollohan? Why wasn't there a cryptic warning to Patrick J. Kennedy (a Cancer!) on May 3 about "Uranus in retrograde" or some such? Why no cautions to Cynthia McKinney (a Pisces!) prior to March 29?

Better yet: If you're such a wizard when it comes to seeing the future, why didn't you realize in advance that touting worthless dot-com stocks would get you in trouble with the SEC? Why didn't you predict that your astrology career would come back to bite you in Uranus?

We'll let others analyze the political advice of this stargazing Elmer Gantry, but the claim that astrologers can predict the future is a lie. So if Jerome Armstrong was hustling astrology, then we know he's a liar. And anyone who trusts a liar is a fool.


6/22: Chait '08
6/22: Mullah Moulitsas: JIHAD!
6/22: Lying about lies
6/21: Ko$ola/JeromeGate: Pandemic
6/21: Kosola or JeromeGate?
6/20: Kosola: The story so far
6/20: Kosola scandal goes viral
6/19: Will blog for $$$
6/19: Kos pay-for-play scam
6/12: Tin foil: The new fur
6/11: How not to win (Kos video)
6/9: The ultimate losers hit Vegas