Markos Moulitsas Zuniga trashes Berkeley progressives, supports developers' shill

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 03, 2017 - 04:20:00 PM

In case you ever wondered about the definition of “hypocrisy”, you might just want to compare and contrast a couple of documents which can be found online today.

Exhibit A is the outrageous hit piece just published in the op-ed section of Berkeleyside.com by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the owner of the DailyKos website under his corporate umbrella, the very prosperous Kos Media LLC.

It’s billed as an endorsement of Kate Harrison’s opponent in Berkeley’s District 4 council race, but provides him with an opportunity for a gratuitous attack on Mayor Jesse Arreguin,

Exhibit B is the “Daily Kos Rules of the Road” , his proprietary site’s somewhat smarmy guide to making nice online. Let’s see how Mr. Moulitsas Zuniga follows his own rules. 

Here’s one Kos Rule—don’t: 

“· Insult the character, intelligence, or background of people with whom you are arguing. You want to win an argument? Then don’t engage in ad-hominem attacks.” 

So then, check the lede of Markos Moulitsas’ op-ed: 

“Donald Trump wasn’t the only political earthquake last November. When the dust settled and the votes were counted, local Berkeley politics had been dramatically reshaped. A strong, pro-housing candidate for Berkeley Mayor was defeated by a notorious NIMBY, Jesse Arreguín, whose claim to fame was voting against or abstaining from nearly 1,500 units of housing. Under his reign, a regressive, anti-housing faction has taken control of the City Council, intent on stopping development of any future housing.” 

As you might have guessed, Jesse happens to have endorsed Kate for the seat he just vacated. Guess that makes him a “notorious nimby”? 

And then there’s a little problem with facts, a topic which the Rules address admirably: 

“Value the norms of a ‘reality-based community.’ Support your arguments with links to supporting documents and original source materials. Such original sources should be credible news and information sites.” 

Just exactly where can we find that data which would prove that the guy whom Jesse beat in the recent election was a “strong, pro-housing candidate”? Kos’s endorsee was, after all, funded by a cool $100,000 from the PAC of the National Association of Realtors, not exactly a progressive bunch devoted to the provision of affordable housing. 

And by the way, he lost. Not such a strong candidate, right? 

More missing facts: How many units of housing did Mayor Arreguin vote for since he’s been on the Berkeley city council? A whole lot more than he turned down. Look it up, Kos. 

The Kos site is billed as a way for Democrats to discuss important issues in a positive way: 

‘We are here to connect, unite, work together toward a common purpose, whether it’s to elect more and better Democrats, to advocate for specific issues, or even to socialize among like-minded friends. But ultimately, we are fighting to make ours a stronger, more effective, more progressive Democratic Party. Given our clear goals, these are our only ideological prohibitions: 

  • Advocacy for third parties or third-party candidates
  • Advocacy for voting against Democrats or not voting at all
  • Attacks on Democratic candidates based on right-wing rhetoric and frames.”
So why do you label Mayor Arreguin “the leader of a regressive faction”, Mr. Kos? 

Haven’t you heard that Jesse, a Democratic party activist since the age of 8, was endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party in the recent election? 

And by the way, some of his supporters in that “regressive faction” were progressive Democrats before you were born, as were many of us way back when you were still a Republican. 

Those same rules say Do: 

Fight hard but fight fair. Write an argument, not an attack. Remember, other people are just as passionate, committed, and ornery as you are. That’s supposed to be an advantage for us, right? Democrats boast about having a big tent. Learn from those who oppose you; let their challenges help you formulate your positions more clearly and draw upon better evidence. 

Accept that reasonable people may in the end still disagree." 

Who could argue with that? But what does Markos say about his target? 

“The bottom line is that Mayor Arreguín is no progressive; he’s the leader of a regressive faction that’s currently working to preserve Berkeley in amber, fighting change, and making it unaffordable to all but the wealthiest. In fact, that’s exactly what conservatism is all about!” 

No, Kos, your economic education seems to have stopped at Econ 101. Saying that building a huge number of expensive market-rate condos will eventually trickle-down to house low-income renters is the neoliberal equivalent of the bogus theories currently being pushed by the Republicans for health care. It’s a lot like the voucher-based education model espoused by Betsy DeVos. 

Let the market decide? Not my idea of progressive. 

My correspondent Tree Fitzpatrick deftly depicts Kos economics: 

"He is so NOT a progressive. He's analogous to Whole Foods, selling overpriced food to the hip and hip wannabees but run by an avid libertarian. We progressives must be a coveted market, especially we progressive who are actually progressive. Whole Foods very calculatingly markets to a liberal/progressive market because that market spends a lot. Kos appears to use the Whole Foods phoniness the way WF does." 

But let’s give the last word in this discussion to someone who commented on Berkeleyside.com about a year ago on an op-ed from an opponent of the luxury development at 2211 Harold Way: 

“Real democracy is at the polls, not the people who show up at arcane meetings. And the voters have spoken clearly and convincingly... I know that's an inconvenient reality, but it is the reality nonetheless.” 

Who could have said that? 

A guy named Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, That’s who. 

Click on his name above for more of his wit and wisdom as recorded for posterity on Disqus. 

Someone should really out him to his bloggies, many of whom would be appalled if they knew who this sanctimonious twerp was when he’s at home. 

Mayor Jesse Arreguin won the election. Get over it, Kos. 

And dear reader, if you’re a voter in District 4 and you still haven’t turned in your vote for Kate Harrison, just do it now. We need another genuine progressive on the Council.