Friday, July 27, 2007

How is this Man Related to Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA?

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The Interview

Like Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (MAMZ), the second last name of the man above is ZÙÑIGA. But, like MAMZ, he prefers not to use this name in public, and his second last name appears mostly in public documents related to his business interests.

He is listed in Salvadoran government documents as the "manager" of the Markos Moultisas "family business," the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel. He acknowledges in the article linked above that the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel is his business and this information, combined with MAMZ's assertion that the same business is a "family business" makes the man above a "family member" of Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZúÑIGA (MAMZ).

In addition to acknowledging in the article linked above that the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel is his business, he further acknowledges that the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel is part of the Joya del Pacífico Group, which includes an array of hotel, condominium, club, pool and spa facilities along the banks of the Jaltepeque Estuary in La Paz, El Salvador.

Since the man in the photograph above is family member of Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (MAMZ), why has MAMZ told the press, "I don't have money. I don't come from a famous or powerful family"?

Why Has Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (M.A.M.Z.) Lied About His Wealthy Salvadoran Oligarchy Family Background?

Doesn't this make MAMZ a liar? What is the PURPOSE and MOTIVE for these lies about his family background? What, exactly, is he hiding from us?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Has Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (M.A.M.Z.) Lied About His Wealthy Salvadoran Oligarchy Family Background?

I refer hereinafter to Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA as "MAMZ" simply because (1) these are the initials of his last name, and (2) it takes only five keystrokes to type "MAMZ" while Markos A lberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA requires thirty-four keystrokes, including punctuation and the shift key for capitals.

As with John F. Kennedy (JFK), Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) and Martin Luther King (MLK), it is perfectly appropriate and respectful in our society to refer to political figures by their initials.

Today, in response to my diary entitled, "Wealthy Moulitsas-ZÚÑIGA (Kos) Family Pollutes Fragile Salvadoran Estuary, Threatens Wildlife,
"Karmafish," one of MAMZ’s chief defenders at MyLeftWing, said:

Francis, I have to say, while I find these diaries vile (mainly because they are filled with dishonest innuendo and obvious malice) I also find them interesting. (Which, needless to say, is why I comment in them.) So, I want to leave you this evening with one question:

You make much of the fact that Moulitsas seems to have contradicted himself by claiming that his family left El Salvador without much money and yet his family owns the Hotel Suites Jaltepeque.

How do you know that when Markos returned to the United States in 1980 that his immediate family had access to this "vast fortune" you claim they had? Are you privy to his mother and father’s financial situation in 1980? Can you even confirm that Carlos, the hotel manager, was financially flush in 1980?

If you cannot, you see, you have a big hole in your argument.

For you to prove, as you have claimed, that Moulitsas lied, you must demonstrate the finances of his immediate family in 1980. That of his mother and father.

So you need to answer that question. (…)Karmafish in Comments.

I'm very pleased that, as a prime defender of MAMZ, Karmafish has offered the defense of MAMZ’s repeatedly false statements about the nature of his family background. Karmafish says,
"For you to prove, as you have claimed, that Moulitsas lied, you must demonstrate the finances of his immediate family in 1980. That of his mother and father."
I appreciate Karmafish pointing out this matter because it offers an opportunity for us to explore the full extent to which MAMZ has, until now, intentionally misled and deceived his followers, the media and the public about his Salvadoran family background.

Let’s examine a statement that MAMZ made to an El Salvadoran newspaper, La Prensa Gráfica, on the ninth day of April of this year, in the year two thousand and seven, and based on an interview that can only have occurred THIS YEAR. In this interview, based on the verb forms MAMZ uses, and the events to which he refers, he is clearly making claims about his family's wealth AT THE TIME HE STARTED DAILY KOS, which would have been not earlier than the year 2000.

Speaking specifically of the time period in which he started DailyKos and of the political and financial resources he had available for that purpose, MAMZ said:
"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".

Translated: "In the world before the Internet, someone like me never would have been able to reach this level of success."

"I don't have money." [Stated in the present tense of the verb "to be."]

"I do not come from a famous or powerful family." [Again, stated again in the present tense of the verb "to be."]

"I was an immigrant to the United States." [Utterly false, but stated in the past tense, which makes it crystal clear that his other statements, stated in the present tense, were with respect to the time when he started DailyKos, NOT with respect to 1980.]

"Technology gave me the ability to start a publication with more than a million readers daily, without having to have much money. The costs of starting were around one hundred dollars." [This last paragraph makes it perfectly clear the temporal frame, the time frame, to which his is referring. He is saying that when he started DailyKos in 2000 or 2001, his family was not famous or powerful, AND he is clearly asserting that his family was so poor that he could not count on them for any financial help in starting DailyKos.]"
This interview with La Prensa Gráfica proves conclusively that Kos was not referring to 1980 when he said "I don’t have any money." He was NOT referring to 1980 when he said, "I do not come from a famous or powerful family." Clearly, he was referring to the year 2000 or 2001, when he started DailyKos, and he was arguing that, AT THE TIME WHEN HE STARTED DAILYKOS, he did so with access no more financial or political resources than a poor and humble immigrant would have.

That was a lie. Even at that time, his "family business" had immense land holdings on the Miami Beach of El Salvador and was developing an enormous condomium/club/hotel complex. The corporate history section of website of Club Jewel of the Pacific, which shares telephone numbers, an e-mail address, and contiguous land with Hotel Suites Jaltepeque, makes it clear that this "urbanization" business has been in operation since 1980 and underwent a tremendous expansion in the year 2001, at precisely the time when MAMZ says he had to start DailyKos with virtually no money because he was from a humble immigrant family with no financial resources.

As Stu Piddy has said,

Kos said it's "Our Family Owned Hotel" ...."Our" means parthy mine, partly theirs....since his mother works there...she is part of the family ...she is therefore an OWNER of the Hotel...most likely with Carlos Alberto Delgado Zuniga....Kos is in effect saying He is a part owner since the hotel belongs to the people called "OUR" one of which is KOS. That's what the words mean...those are his words on his wedding's not an interpretation....
In fact, Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA provided information for a graduate thesis published in 2000, that the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel had received six million dollars in foreign investment between 1997 and 2000.

Charging one hundred and forty dollars per day for a room, the MAMZ family’s Hotel Suites Jaltepeque is more exclusive than the "Group A" Salvadoran hotels such as the San Salvador Mariott, the Raddissson Plaza Hotel El, and the Intercontiental Hotel, all of which charged LESS PER DAY for rooms than did the MAMZ family hotel in 2000. And this information comes from a graduate thesisthat cites Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA, president of the Association of Salvadoran Hotels, as one of its sources.

Even if we give MAMZ every benefit of the doubt and define the limits of MAMZ’s family as he does, we still have to include the Salvadoran hotel and Baja Salt interests as part of his "family interests." MAMZ got married on November 24, 2000.At that very time, in his own wedding album posted after his honeymoon of 2000, he called the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel a "family business."

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This means that, even subjectively, in MAMZ’s own mind, in 2000, his definition "family" did include the owners of the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel. MAMZ himself explained his access to this phenomenally expensive resort by referring to it as a "family business."

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This raises profound questions about MAMZ’s judgment and his truthfulness. Either (1) in MAMZ’s own mind, it is possible to own the Miami Beach of El Salvador and still claim to be neither rich nor powerful, or (2) MAMZ was simply intentionally misstating the truth for the purpose of invoking a "rags to riches" story that America admires when it is told truthfully.

But, this much is clear: At the very same time that MAMZ claims his family was neither rich nor powerful – when he was starting DailyKos – one of his family’s businesses – the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel – had just received five million dollars in foreign investments.

Kos invokes the immigrant experience to express and confirm his humble beginnings, which make him a credible leader of the progressives in the United States and reduce resistance to his rise as a leader. It would have been impossible for him to present himself in this way while acknowledging the corporate activities of his Salvadoran "family business;" Every immigrant knows that there are no poor people in El Salvador who have own vast stretches of beach in the capital and who have five million dollars to spend building condominiums, pools, clubs and hotels on the most valuable beachfront property in El Salvador.

So, either Kos has a very distorted idea of what it means to not "have money," which is possible given his fabulously wealthy Salvadoran oligarchy family background, or he is simply a liar who intentionally tells falsehoods in order to manipulate the impressions that others, increase his credibility among the credulous, and thereby increase his political fortunes.

Not everyone in the blogosphere has accepted at face value MAMZ statements about his family background. The Unapologetic Mexican blog said about MAMZ after reading recent reports at the Francis L. Holland blog:

"WHOA. This article sort of throws a new light on Mister "poor immigrant" DailyKos Moulitsas and his Humble Salvadoran Family story. Maybe others who are familiar with DailyKos know about this, but it sure is news to me. And important news, given the size of his blog and the purported agendas."
The question of what "family" means is central to understanding MAMZ’s responsibility for the political and commercial behavior that we have recently discovered in his family, including the pollution of grey whale spawning grounds by Baja Salt in Baja Mexico, the destruction of mangrove forests and pollution of the Jaltepeque Estuary in El Salvador, the lobbying and manipulation of Salvadoran government laws and regulations in order to permit the devastation of the Jaltepeque Estuary, and Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga’s association with a group (ANEP) that the CIA and other organizations have called "right-wing" political pressure groups that have been associated with Salvadoran death squads.

Some defenders of MAMZ have argued that we must assume that his family is limited to his mother and father, but this does not comport with the facts or with what we know about Latin American culture. Latin Americans tend to have a much broader definition of the word "family" than North Americans do. For example, the word "parents" means "mother and father" in English, but the word "parientes" means "all of one’s relatives" in Spanish.

"Definition of "Parientes"

One website says of Latin American families,

" The family is an important element in Spanish life, not the nuclear family as in North America, but the extended family. The extended family in the totality involves the nuclear family, blood and affinal relatives, ritual relatives (the neighbors were part of the family through this extension of the family), and maids, house boys, and pets (1976:19).
Mayers believes that one cannot truly understand Latin American society apart from the extended family (1976:61). According to Mayers it is the identification with one’s extended family that brings prestige and status to the Latin American (1976:27). It is for this reason that Dealy says, "Family is the Latin American’s primary means to success" (1992:178). " JoelComiskyGroup
In light of the damning contrast between how MAMZ has characterized his family (poor and lacking power) and the facts we have learned about his family (wealthy and powerful polluters and lobbyists), some of MAMZ supporters insist that his characterizations can be interpreted as truthful if we interpret them has having been limited to his nuclear family, i.e. mother and father.

There are two problems with this approach. First, we do not have any evidence that MAMZ’s own mother (and father when he was alive) are not the owners, stockholders or partners or otherwise financial beneficiaries of the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel and Baja Salt. So, even if we limit his "family" to his mother and father, that does not resolve in his favor the question of the wealth and power of his nuclear family.

The second reason that interpreting "family" in a narrow way is an unsuccessful defense is that the cultural norms both of the United States and of Latin American contradicts this "nuclear family" interpretation, both objectively and in terms of MAMZ’s subjective understanding of who his "family" and who would be members of a "family business."

For North Americans, it would be very strange and counter-factual to insist that we do not come from a wealthy or important family when, at the same time, we have access to one of the most exclusive hotels in the nation for the purpose of conducting our honeymoon. Moreover, when our access to that sumptuous and exclusive hotel resort is based on the fact that the hotel was a "family business," operated by family members, no one would believe us if we said we were not wealthy and powerful. Rather, we North Americans would normally tend to brag about our connection to such a wealthy family rather than endeavor to hide it.

It would likewise be strange for us North Americans to insist that members of our family were not powerful even as they were participating in the leadership of three national business organizations associated with the "family business," while making international trips to promote the globalization of the tourism industry and being cited regularly in national newspapers concerning the "family business" activities. Certainly, in United States culture, where our status and power are based on "who you know," it is very strange to disclaim such powerful family members.

Según Sandra Muralles, nueva presidenta de Fedecatur, el reto principal será posicionar a la región como un único destino y continuar coordinando con los gobiernos de los países centroamericanos estrategias para asegurar la seguridad de ciudadanos y turistas.
Agregó que parte del reto será impulsar la marca de Centroamérica como un destino más competitivo dentro del mercado europeo.
El cargo fue entregado por Carlos Alberto Delgado, presidente de la Cámara Salvadoreña de Turismo (CASATUR) a Muralles, presidenta de la CAMTUR), durante la reunión que los funcionarios sostuvieron en Guatemala con motivo de su asamblea general ordinaria.
Federatur está integrada por las cámaras de turismo de Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá y Belice, y agrupa a más de 800 empresas del ramo, entre hoteles, tour operadores, agencias de viajes y prestadores de servicios afines. PrensaLibre.Com
If it is strange to disclaim powerful family members in the United States, it is unthinkable to do so in Latin American without a very good and well-though-out reason. And yet MAMZ has taken pains to insist, on his own website, that he ought never be referred to by his maternal last name. "My last name is "Moulitsas"!, he insists.

In an article entitled "Scoping Identity Fraud," the author say:
Minor variations in the recording of a person’s real name can be the source of multiple identities for that individual. These can arise through errors made by agencies when recording identity details at the registration stage, by an individual having a preference for using their second name in place of their first name or by transposition of forenames and surnames. The later can be a particular problem with ‘double’ or composite surnames. Scoping Identity Fraud.
Effectively, MAMZ has, for one reason or another, created a fictitious identity for himself that is different from the actual and verifiable facts of his life. "Kos" has multiple names. " ‘Kos’ is the US-Army/screen nickname of the founder of Daily Kos." At his website, "Kos" (MAMZ) insists that his second last name ("ZÚÑIGA) MUST NOT be used when making reference to him. MAMZ says that Latin culture requires this approach, but a everyone know that people like Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, regularly use their entire names, including maternal and paternal surnames, when referring to themselves in public.

Why would MAMZ intentionally create a partially fictitious version of his family background? None of us knows at this point, but the combination of the power of his position and the discrepancies we have found compel us to brainstorm, to engage in some speculation and to consider various conceivable alternatives based on the facts that are on the table.

As Curmudgette commented yesterday,
No one is claiming they know Markos's actual income. That's the point. We only know what Markos, himself, claimed to be making at the time of his home purchase. He publicly stated a rough figure. It's been quoted and sourced a few places in this thread. That figure raises some questions about how he is meeting the costs of his lifestyle, if his statement was accurate.

MAMZ has falsely called himself an "immigrant" and acknowledges that he was trained for six months by the CIA in the year 2001.

Yesterday, there was considerable discussion in the thread about an issue of which I know nothing at all: MAMZ’s personal and corporate finances. As Curmudgette commented yesterday,
No one is claiming they know Markos's actual income. That's the point. We only know what Markos, himself, claimed to be making at the time of his home purchase. He publicly stated a rough figure. It's been quoted and sourced a few places in this thread. That figure raises some questions about how he is meeting the costs of his lifestyle, if his statement was accurate.
There are two possible reasons that come immediately to mind as to why MAMZ would create a partially fictitious background: The first is that he was trained to do so by the Central Intelligence Agency, when he interviewed with them for six months in 2001. In this alternative, he independently recognized that being known as wealthy oligarch from El Salvador would not help him to build a progressive blog and build a political following in the United States. So, relying in part on his training at the CIA, he opted to create an alternative public identity that did not include the inconvenient facts of his family history. This required that he never publicly mention the names of his family members and, in fact, he has never done so.

A second conceivable reason for the creation of an inaccurate identity would be that one was directed to do so by the Central Intelligence Agency, because (a) secret agents need a convincing but fictitious background, and (b) it would be impossible for anyone to infiltrate the American progressive movement while openly acknowledging that he comes from an extremely wealthy [and greedy] Salvadoran oligarchy family that is rich and powerful and is very active in the present in El Salvador’s right-wing corporate circles.

I am not asserting that I know MAMZ current relationship to the US Government, but I am stating as a matter of fact that I DO NOT know what his current relationship, if any, is to the intelligence agencies of the US Government.

The US Congress’s Church Commission said,
Counterintelligence is both an activity and its product. (…) a vast amount of information is required. (…) This information must be gathered within the United States and in all the foreign areas to which U.S. interests extend.
Douglass Valentine, a writer who has studied the CIA activities in Vietnam extensively, says, "Anytime the Company [the CIA] spent money for training a foreigner, the object was that he would ultimately serve our purposes."

"The president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors has vigorously protested government intelligence agents posing as journalists and the government recruiting reporters to serve as informers. In a letter to John M. Deutch, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, ASNE President William B. Ketter called the practice "dangerous" and "contrary to the principle of an independent American press." American Society of Newspaper Editors
Whatever the reasons for MAMZ unwillingness to acknowledge his true background, it is urgent that the truth be discovered because MAMZ’s organization, YearlyKos, will be hosting most or all of the Democratic presidential candidates in a candidates’ forum on August 4, 2007. Certainly, the integrity of the forum itself depends upon the integrity of the forum organizer, the man after whom the YearlyKos forum is named, Mr. Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (MAMZ).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA's "Family Business" Pollutes Unique Salvadoran Lagoon and Threatens Wildlife Species.

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In April of this year, Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA told La Prensa Gráfica, "I don’t have money. I don’t come from a famous or powerful family." Recently we have learned that none of this is true.  In fact, contrary to what Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA has said, his family in El Salvador is wealthy and important enough to be one of the biggest environmental polluters of the Jaltepeque Estuary, where the family owns and operates a multi-million dollar hotel and subdividision conglomerate that is polluting a precious ecosystem.

The World Bank says, with specific reference to the tourism industry in the area where these hotels, clubs and subdivisions are being constructed,

Tourism in Jaltepeque generates income but has been developed with no coordination, regulation, or management, and has contributed significantly to degrading coastal resources in the area. In the Jiquilisco area tourism has been developed mostly through isolated, local initiatives with no clear promotion or management, leading to environmental problems such as waste and sewage accumulation, disruption of sea turtle laying and hatching by building too close to the beach, disruption of sea bird nesting, and landscape deterioration.

The rapid conversion of mangroves through illegal deforestation and fill operations constitutes a globally important threat.  World Bank, p. 130.

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Wetlands Cananda.Org

According to the Salvadoran Ministry of Tourism website, the "Costa del Sol" (Sun Coast) is 65 kilometers to the southeast of San Salvador, en the La Paz area.

Translated:  "Located thirty minutes from the International Airport, the Sun Coast is the beach with the greatest tourist development in the country.  Beautiful private homes, clubs, hotels and restaurants build on the oceanfront offer entertainment and value.

Particularly famous for its sunsets, this beach offers access to the Jaltepeque Estuary, where fishing, water-skiing, boat tours and bird watching in the natural mangrove habitat are daily activities."  Salvadoran Ministry of Tourism

In an obscure reference in his wedding album, Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (M.A.M.Z) recounts the details of his honeymoon, acknowledging that his family is in the tourism business in El Salvador, specifically as owner of the Hotel Suites Jaltepeque, on the banks of the Jaltepeque Estuary.  According to MAMZ online wedding album, "The Suites Jaltepeque is our family-owned hotel on El Salvador's Costa del Sol -- the largest uninterrupted beach in Central America. (. . .)  The Costa del Sol is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Estero (estuary) de Jaltepeque. We also took a boat ride through some of the estuary's channels, and motored through a flock of hundreds of pelicans -- quite the sight!"

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Tourism is big business in El Salvador.  According to the Promoting Investment in El Salvador (PROESA) website, "During the year 2004, over 966,000 visitors arrived in El Salvador, generating $425 million and a growth of 13.4% with regards to the previous year."  With associates placed at the very highest levels of the governance of El Salvador’s tourism industry, MAMZ’s family business is primed to do extremely well in the coming years, particularly by continuing the expand their hotel business on the banks of the endangered Jaltepeque Estuary.

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Online Wedding Album shows MAMZ's family owns
the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel, on the
banks of the Jaltepeque Estuary in El Salvador.

The Jaltepeque Suites Hotel shares a telephone number, e-mail address and contiguous property with the Club Joya del Pacífico (Jewel of the Pacific).  Together, they are subdividing, developing, and destroying a crucial piece of environment that is internationally recognized as being endangered.

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According to the environmental group Wetlands Canada,

In 1980, a study by the El Salvador National Parks and Wildlife Service estimated that more than 70% of the beaches have been divided into lots for recreational purposes. Development of these areas will be detrimental to adjacent wetlands that are perceived as wastelands and often cleared.


The few remaining wetlands in El Salvador do not compare in size and variety to the vast wetlands of the Miskitia of Honduras and Nicaragua. However, they do provide an important function as refuges for commercially-important aquatic species. This and several other important functions and values of El Salvadoran wetlands are listed below.

The coastal wetlands, coral reefs, lagoons and riverine estuaries of El Salvador are critical habitats and nursery grounds for many commercial species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Mangrove forests provide timber and fuelwood for rural communities along the coast.  Wetlands Cananda.Org

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So, the wetlands and estuary surrounding MAMZ's family's Jaltepeque/Jewel of the Pacific hotel/club/subdivision conglomerate are internationally important and they are endangered. WorldWildlife.Org says:

The mangrove ecosystems of this Northern dry Pacific Coast ecoregion are a truly unique ecosystem and serve as the basis for most life in the surrounding environment. When the areas outside of this ecoregion begin to dry up and resources are scarce; the animals move into the mangrove ecosystem for refuge. This ecoregion supplies food from the most primary source up the food chain to complex carnivores.

Shelter is also a very important resource and is provided by the mangrove trees. Birds many different species living the mangroves year round and during the winter. Many bird species also nest in this ecoregion making it easier to raise their brood with so many available resource like invertebrate larvae, mussels, snails, fish fry, and other living things which help give the mangrove areas the representation of being nurseries to marine organisms. (…)

200 species of wildlife occur in near-shore marine and coastal areas of which 70 are threatened or endangered; are particularly concentrated around the estuaries. Mangroves provide protection, roosting and nesting sites to many waterbirds, while inlets and tidal flats are used as feeding grounds. Mangroves also provide critical habitat for the highly endangered white-fronted (Amazona albifrons) and yellow-naped parrots (A. auropalliata).

This unique ecoregion also holds the single most important bird nesting area, "Colegio de las Aves", a complex of mangroves, tidal creeks and flats, and small coastal streams associated with the Barra de Santiago estuary (Cotsapas et al. 2000). Some other representative birds for this ecoregion include reddish egret (Egretta rufescens), little blue heron (Egretta caerulea), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), sanderling (Calidris alba), sandpiper (C. mauri) and Wilson’s plover (Charadrius wilsonia).

Destruction and alteration of mangrove areas are the biggest threat to this ecoregion. The trees and other portions of the habitat are being destroyed and altered for tourism development, expansion of population centers, clearing for agriculture, over-grazing and construction of salt production ponds. WorldWildlife.Org

"In fact, the Central Costal Plane of El Salvador is the most extense by longitude and area, extending more than 100 kilometers, from Puerto de La Liberdad (Liberty Port) on the west, to the Bahia de Jiquilisco (Bay of Jiquilisco) on the east.  The Central Coastal Plane includes the Estero de Jaltepeque (Jaltepeque Estuary) and the Bahia de Jiquilisco (Bay of Jiquilisco), considered the most extensive in the country, both with abundant mangroves and long sand beaches forward.  These estuaries and their beaches are fed by three principal rivers:  the Jiboa, Lempa and Grande de San Miguel, from the west to the east."  Redmeso.Net

See Satellite Photographs of the Jaltepeque Estuary.

The Jaltepeque Estuary is universally recognized by environmentalists as a unique and precious internationally important ecosystem because of the rare birds and sea life in the estuary.  Environmentalists from El Salvador and internationally, including the World Wildlife Fund, are working to defend and protect this precious and unique natural area.

But the estuary is extremely stressed biologically, because of increasing population in its watershed and polluted run-off and sewage from farms and new subdivisions along the banks of the Jaltepeque Estuary.  The World Bank and many other organizations have recognized the environmental emergency. World Bank


The Northern dry Pacific Coast ecoregion extends in patches along the coastline of Guatemala and El Salvador. The mangrove ecosystems are concentrated on lagoons and estuaries, with brackish waters. For example there are patches of this ecoregion in the Bahia de Jiquilisco, Estero de Jaltepeque, Punta San Juan, Rio Paz, Rio Acome, and Rio Lempa estuaries and behind Barra de Santiago and Monterrico Lagoons.

This ecoregion is a good example of how the combination of lagoon, bay, and river delta make the appropriate areas for mangrove growth. Many call this area Punta San Juan although the most notable river is said to be the Rio Lempa.

Destruction and alteration of mangrove areas are the biggest threat to this ecoregion. The trees and other portions of the habitat are being destroyed and altered for tourism development, expansion of population centers, clearing for agriculture, over-grazing, and construction of salt production ponds.  EOEARTH.ORG

Population Environmental Research group says,

The rational and sustainable management of the mangrove ecosystem in El Salvador cannot be secured without a redefinition of entitlement rights and an examination of the mutual and overlapping concerns of those whose livelihoods are intimately connected to the health of the ecosystem.

The failure to ensure that production and consumption activities are undertaken without internalizing the costs of degradation or redressing them has compromised the health of the mangrove ecosystem and undermined its productivity.

In the absence of measures to harmonize resource use and modify entitlements the activities of competing users are likely to result in irreversible damage to the ecosystem contributing to the further loss of biodiversity and undermining habitats and livelihoods.  PopulationEnvironmentalResearch.Org

Another environmental study said,

Direct effects occur where anthropogenic [human] activities reduce the coverage and density of the mangrove ecosystem.  Indirect effects have taken place where anthropogenic activities generate byproducts or externalities that impact upon the health of the mangrove ecosystem. This may occur at source or at some distance from the activity itself. The extensification of farming, logging and salt-production which has consumed land adjacent to the mangroves, interrupted existing drainage patterns and cleared the mangroves for alternative uses. Population, Consumption and Environmental Degradation in a Mangrove Ecosystem in El Salvador, (p.4)

USGS Map of Central America

Even as environmentalists call for increased protection of this estuary to preserve its life for future generation, aerial images and commercial websites show that MAMZ’s family is building a new subdivision and condominiums right on the banks of the estuary, inevitably contributing to the congestion and pollution that are killing the estuary itself.

Making matters worse, Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga, "manager" of the Hotel Suites Jaltepeque owned by MAMZ family, is also head of El Salvador’s national tourism board, and a board member of the National Association of Private Corporations (ANEP).  He is using his exalted position in El Salvador’s business community to create a new legal framework in El Salvador that devolves responsibility for environmental protection to the owners of the land, which in this case includes MAMZ family, so that development (and pollution) will take precedence over environmental protection.  Club Pacific Jewel 

The Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum says:

There is a real need to strengthen those institutions that define the rules and regulations governing the extraction and use of the mangroves at the national and local level. This requires the effective and full participation of communities and local actors as well as public and private sector institutions. The research findings drew attention to significant deficiencies in existing legislation and in the design and operation of policy. The recommendations highlight the need for concrete directives that establish parameters for the management of coastal resources and the use and conservation of the mangroves Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

But, Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA is extremely influential and important in Salvadoran business circles nationally, because he is a board member of the Asociaión Nacional de Empresa Privadas (National Association of Private Corporations) (ANEP).  Prisma2.Org.,  says of ANEP:

La Asociación Nacional de la Empresa Privada (ANEP), es la gremial con mayor protagonismo en las esferas de la vida política, económica y social de El Salvador desde su fundación en los años sesenta.

Translated:  The National Association of Private Corporations (ANEP) is the lobby with the greatest force in political, economic and social life of El Salvador since its founding in the 1960’s.  Prisma2.Org

Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga's self-interested behavior is a text-book case of corporate lobbying to put venal financial interests above the needs of the environment.

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Even having read this far, some supporters of Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will insist that the pollution of unique natural resources in El Salvador is irrelevant to politics in the United States, even when this pollution is paid for with millions of dollars of financing from the US Treasury.  People who hold this perspective are free to ignore or inveigh against this report, as they certainly will.

Others among us (myself included) believe that the commercial and environmental behavior of our political leaders should be consistent with their publicly announced positions, and so we take environmental pollution by political leaders and/or their families very seriously, particularly if we believe that our leaders stand to gain economically from this pollution.  In 2004, MAMZ correctly pointed out the "crimes against the environment" by the Administration in Washington.

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In light of the environmental behavior of MAMZ’s own family business in El Salvador, the question is:  If MAMZ’s own family is an example of crimes against the environment, and if MAMZ himself stands to benefit financially, then is MAMZ the right individual to "crash the gates of the Democratic Party," and put our Party on track for creating a better environment here in the United States?

Can supporting leaders whose public statements are directly at odds with their own family commercial behavior really lead to better government in Washington?  Is following the leadership of hypocrites really going to make Washington a better place?

In cases of environmental pollution, matters of cause and effect, proof and the appropriate balance between development and preservation are always complex and contentious issues.  There is also a question of fact here, whether MAMZ benefits financially in the present from this destruction of the environment, and whether he will benefit in the future from the construction of this vast estate?  Those are questions that need to be answered, not ignored.

Whatever the case, the entire international community has issued its judgment:  These already-wealthy hotel interests are putting profit before ecology and destroying a precious ecosystem.

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Even as they pollute the environment in search of higher profits, the upper strata of Salvadoran society and governance are integrally related to the US Government and industry, a result of "anti-communist" efforts to blunt popular revolutionary movements on the 1970’s and 1980’s.  USAID says in a report entitled, "EL SALVADOR: BIODIVERSITY, TROPICAL FORESTRY AND WATER RESOURCES ASSESSMENT" that:

Background on the USAID Program in El Salvador

The U.S. Government has a long history of assistance to El Salvador. Some would argue that "there are few examples in the world where the aid of one country has been so intimately linked with the policies, economy and institutions of the other, as in the case of the cooperation of the United States to El Salvador" (authors’ translation from Barry 1993).

During the long years of civil war, U.S. support for El Salvador amounted to the very significant sum of US$4.5 billion, including both economic and military assistance. Among the achievements of that period was setting up the network of private sector NGOs, led by the Salvadoran Foundation for Socio-Economic Development (FUSADES), which served to transform, reform and modernize the more economically powerful elements of society in ways that were essential steps toward resolving the basic social conflicts behind the war (ibid). USAID assistance has remained critical

in many ways as a guarantor of the ambitious economic and social sector reforms that were the result of negotiated peace process. (p 10.) 

The report further states that, (consistent with US Republican Party and corporate policy,) the US Government’s approach to protecting the environment is that, rather than support the Salvadoran government in land-use restrictions, the US supports economic payments (pay-offs) to private business to influence them in favor of environmental protection.  (If it does’t help the environment get cleaner, at least it helps the businesses get richer.)  USAID says,  "A survey of the baseline for two conservation areas – Los Volcanes and Jiquilisco-Jaltepeque – is being carried out. The management interventions for which payment for environmental services are being considered include sustainable agriculture, reforestation, agroforestry and soil and water conservation, all emphasizing the importance of water resources."  USAID, (p.27)

USAID says, "The principal pressures on the natural areas under consideration are the advance of the agricultural frontier, poverty and the conflicts with local communities, settlements and illegal colonization, erosion and soil degradation, burning and forest fires, unregulated extraction of resources, and the destruction of marine and coastal ecosystems. These pressures lead to the following impacts: loss of wildlife and biodiversity resources and the loss of environmental goods and services that limit their eventual possibilities for socio-economic development." (Emphasis added.)  USAID, (p.30)

However, USAID’s strategy to pay off wealthy Salvadorans in favor of the ecology doesn’t seem to be working, since Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA’s Joya de Pacífico resort, which is right on the banks of the Jaltepeque Lagoon, is still advertising on international websites for its new residential subdivisions on the banks of the Jaltepeque Lagoon, even as the lagoon itself is dying from pollution.

But the forces promoting tourism and other development at the expense of conservation have very powerful friends.  Precisely because of the tension between nature preservation and tourism, Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA has had to exert himself in many of El Salvador’ forums to gain and concentrate as much political power as he could in his own hands, in order to win the battle against the national and international ecological groups who sought to limit the growth of tourism in order to preserve fragile ecosystems.

So, as president of the national hotel association, and also president of the "Cámara Salvadoreña de Turismo" (CASATUR) (the Salvadoran Tourism Board), and sitting, effectively, on the Board of the Asociaçión Nacional de Empresas Privadas (ANEP) (The National Association of Private Corporations), Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA has endeavored successfully to pass a "law of tourism" in El Salvador that would clarify the primacy of tourism (his business) over the interests of ecology.  See Note 27.

With Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA at the helm of the relevant tourism industry boards, other areas recognized as crucial to the environment have been designated by the Salvadoran Government as protection areas, but the Jaltepeque Estuary, where ZÚÑIGA has his business, has not.  World Bank Environmental Study

The United States Government advocates a highly ironic and convoluted approach to these tensions between the corporate polluters of natural water resources and those who depend upon those resources.  With wealthy business interests polluting the nations water resources, the World Bank and the National Association of Private Enterprises propose that the ownership of drinking water resources should be privatized, and user fees from the drinking water should be aggregated and used to pay wealthy landowners to stop polluting the water. World Bank, Table 2.2.1

The Environmental Services Project provides payments to landowners whose land use practices contribute to the conservation and restoration of lands supporting globally significant biodiversity.  World Bank, p. 112

Because the Jaltepeque Estuary includes some of the most important environmental diversity in El Salvador, Jaltepeque polluters would be among the main beneficiaries of the World Bank payments program.  First these hotel interests get rich polluting the water, and then they will get paid again to stop polluting the water.  And the money to pay them will come from the poor, who will have to pay user fees for their drinking water.  World Bank, p.116, Table 2

These arrangement for these payments to be maide to wealthy members of the Salvadoran oligarchy is very useful to the United States, because it helps to keep El Salvador open and prone to US investments.  According to the Salvadoran newspaper LaPrensaGrafica.Com, the US Government has provided 470 million dollars for the development of key industries in El Salvador, including tourism, energy, financial services and others, with the purpose being "to identify new opportunities for investment by US corporations in Central America."  LaPrensaGrafica.Com

And then wealthy and influential members of the oligarchy, who control the Salvadoran Government, advocate not only for their own interests but also for the interests of US corporations wanting to do business in El Salvador.  In 2002, ANEP presented no less than FIFTY legislative proposals for El Salvador whose purpose was to "accelerate free trade and Central American integration in search of greater competitiveness," and  "consolidate and institutionalize the free market in the context of globalization. "

Among these proposals, (returning now directly to the matter of polluting the Jaltepeque Estuary), the "Law of Tourism" which directly affected the business interests of Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA, even as he was advocating as president of multiple business associations to put this law into place. 

The "Law of Tourism" makes it clear that the very corporations that own land containing precious and unique ecosystems – NOT the Salvadoran Government – will decide how to preserve the land for tourism, and NOT necessarily for ecological purposes:

Art. 8.- Los recursos naturales, arqueológicos y culturales que integren el inventario turístico del país, serán preservados y resguardados por las instituciones a quienes legalmente correspondan tales atribuciones. Las entidades y organismos del Estado o de las municipalidades que tengan la atribución legal de autorizar construcciones, edificaciones o cualquier otro tipo de infraestructura, estarán obligadas a respetar y mantener la vocación turística de tales recursos y las de su ámbito de influencia, para lo cual las construcciones, edificaciones e infraestructuras que se autoricen deberán ser compatibles con los elementos necesarios para el desarrollo turístico de las mismas.

Translated:  Article 8.  The natural, archeological and cultural resources that are part of the country’s tourism inventory will be preserved and protected by the institutions which own these resources.  The entities and organisms of the State or fo the municipalities empowered to authorized construction, buildings and whatever other sort of infrastructure that they authorize shall be compatible with the elements necessary for the TOURISM development of these resources.  Salvadoran Government: Law of Tourism (Emphasis added.)

The business groups led by Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA are radically changing the Salvadoran legislative framework that governs their activities in order to promote globalization, privatization, and increased corporate freedom from government regulation, through the new "Law of Tourism":

The legal incentives included in the recently approved Law of Tourism, the projected Law of Services, Law of Investments, Law of Free Trade Zones and Commercialization, as well as the Law of Customs Simplification. OFFICIAL PROESA WEBSITE

But the legislative goals of the business groups led by Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga run directly counter to the preservation necessary for the survival of the Jaltepeque Estuary and the mangrove habitat.

The rational and sustainable management of the mangrove ecosystem in El Salvador cannot be secured without a redefinition of entitlement rights and an examination of the mutual and overlapping concerns of those whose livelihoods are intimately connected to the health of the ecosystem. The failure to ensure that production and consumption activities are undertaken without internalizing the costs of degradation or redressing them has compromised the health of the mangrove ecosystem and undermined its productivity.

In the absence of measures to harmonize resource use and modify entitlements the activities of competing users are likely to result in irreversible damage to the ecosystem contributing to the further loss of biodiversity and undermining habitats and livelihoods.  Consumption and Environmental Degradation (p.2)

Groups led by Carlos Alberto Delgado Zúñiga have stacked the legal deck in favor of developers and tourism interests, making it clear that the "redefinition of entitlement rights" will benefit wealthy developers, not environmental preservation.

I've always believed there had to be a good reason why Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA has repeatedly and consistently lied to his supporters, journalists and the rest of America about his family’s background in El Salvador.  With this report, we learn what one more of those reasons is.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Why Black People Don't Get and Don't Like Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (M.A.M.Z.) of DailyKos

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In comments to my diary of the weekend, Stu Piddy said,

"But I think the idea of criticizing a Democrat got him [me] in trouble....[at DailyKos.]

Francis L. Holland to Attend YearlyKos, Lead "Truth About Kos" Panel Discussion

The reason I offered the two links in that diary to Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA's (M.A.M.Z.'s) articles and quotes attacking Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is to show that Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (M.A.M.Z) is making a living criticizing Democratic front-runners, which will only help the Republicans since Hillary Clinton IS going to be our nominee and Barack Obama may well be her running mate.

It might well be argued that M.A.M.Z. is trying (1) to soften up Clinton before the Republican onslaught and (2) trying to soften her support on the left precisely because her position is rock solid everywhere else in the Democratic Party.

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Can't anyone else see the irony that the same M.A.M.Z. who supported Ronald Reagan (who invaded Grenada, El Salvador and Nicaragua with US dollars), and the M.A.M.Z. who supported George H.W. Bush (who invaded Panama), and the M.A.M.Z. who supported Republican Congressman Henry Hyde (who led the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the US House), and the same M.A.M.Z. is now suddenly attacking leading Democratic front-runners FROM THE LEFT?!!!!!!!!! The guy is schizophrenic at best, and represents a cynical ploy by Republicans at the most realistic worst.

Now add to this what we have learned about M.A.M.Z. most recently: That he trained at the CIA, lied about his family's wealth, lied about being an immigrant, lied when he said he was not from a powerful family . . . It is well said that a person who will lie about one thing will sometimes lie about other things as well.

Although I literally have t-shirts from trips to Florida that are older than M.A.M.Z.'s switch to the Democratic Party from the Republican Party (if, in fact, he ever has switched), nonetheless M.A.M.Z. is trying to rhetorically outflank the Democratic front-runners from the left, even though M.A.M.Z. was last seen supporting their opponents from the right!

Black people don't know how to be so inconsistent. Ninety percent of us support the Democratic Party all of our lives, and we NEVER, EVER cross the lines to vote for a Republican because our position is principled and stable, based on an analysis of our position and of the parties that goes far beyond what any one candidate says on any particular day. We don't decide between voting Democratic and voting Republican, like M.A.M.Z. and his supporters do. We decide between voting Democratic and not voting at all.

M.A.M.Z. attacks the Democratic front-runners while I support them. M.A.M.Z. supports the Democratic white male also-rans while I oppose them. If I had criticized Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama when I was at DailyKos, I would probably still be a member in good-minion-standing, and I would also be welcomed in the Republican Party.

But, because I criticized M.A.M.Z., who supported Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Henry Hyde, I was banned from DailyKos. As I have said before, I would rather be banned from DailyKos one thousand times over than be mistaken for a M.A.M.Z. minion only once.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Francis L. Holland to Attend YearlyKos, Lead "Truth About Kos" Panel Discussion

Cross-posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog.

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Francis L. Holland to Attend YearlyKos,

Chair “Truth About Kos” Panel Discussion

In a carefully negotiated deal worked out through intermediaries, Francis L. Holland and Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA have agreed to end their public acrimony and work together for the good of the Democratic Party.  Without admitting guilt, Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA has agreed to do the following:

1) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will sever any and all contacts with the Central Intelligence Agency, if, in fact, he has any remaining contacts with the CIA;

2) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will acknowledge that, contrary to what he said at the Commonwealth Club on June 2, 2006, the CIA really is, in fact, responsible for extraordinary rendition and therefore is not "a very liberal institution” and does not have its “heart in the right place."

3) Disavowing his statements in his October 2006 Cato Institute article entitled, “The Case for the Libertarian Democrat,” Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA vows never again to support “states’ rights,” which was the Confederate rallying cry during the Civil War;

4) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA has agreed to acknowledge that the First Amendment guarantees of free speech are fundamental to the American way of life, and therefore he will review policies and procedures at DailyKos to replace the pervasive, repressive and dictatorial and apartheid-like “banning” and censorship policies at DailyKos with First Amendment-based policies that show respect and esteem for the Constitution of the United States.

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5) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will acknowledge and disavow any family connections that may exist to Exportadora de Sal, S.A (ESSA) of Mexico and its representative, the Baja Salt (Group) of El Salvador, ending any and all direct and/or indirect contacts with the destruction of grey whale spawning grounds and poisonous slaughter of sea turtles in Baja Mexico.

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To the extent that they may exist, Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will acknowledge and disavow any and all family contacts with El Salvador’s right wing Asociación Nacional de Empresas Privadas (ANEP), which the CIA calls an El Salvadoran political pressure group that is associated with the 1980 assassination of Catholic Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.  (Members of the National Association of Businessmen (ANEP) ... The chain of command then proceeds to death-masters like [deleted by the CIA] [who] have contacts with retired officers who go around to the different security forces as "black bag" men, paying off and recruiting likely foot-soldiers.  The latter are recruited at the lower and even middle levels (captains and majors) of the different security forces.  Death squad hitmen thus recruited are on the receiving end of a vertical hierarchy leading up to the paymasters (whom the foot-soldiers do not know...)." Intelnet.Org

7) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will publicly disavow any all connections, direct or indirect, to the Salvadoran death squads that the CIA says are supported by ANEP, of which Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA is a board member, while also serving as “manager” at the family hotel business of Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA, the Jaltepeque Suites Hotel;


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8)  Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will permit Black and Latino Americans to join and remain members of DailyKos, without been “banned” or exiled, at least until their present numbers (currently 2.5% and 1% respectively) rise to the percentage of Black participation among delegates to the Republican National Convention (6.7%);  Is the term "Whitosphere" a Fair Descriptor for the White Blogosphere?

9)  Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will stop undermining the candidacies of non-white-male candidates for the presidency
and will work to end the 43-term white male monopoly of the US Presidency in 2008, acknowledging the value of pluralistic leadership at the highest reaches of American government while accepting the inevitability of the end of the white male monopoly paradigm.

10) Explicitly disavowing his past political history, Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA agrees to never again support candidates who hate Black people and eschew women’s rights, such as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush (who appointed Justice Clarence Thomas), Henry Hyde and other Republicans well know for interventionist policies abroad and divide and conquer tactics here at home.

11) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA agrees never again to support a presidential candidate who believes that ketchup should be counted as a vegetable in school lunches for low income children.

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12) Moulitsas will allow September 11 conspiracy theories to be discussed at DailyKos, at least until there is a consensus about how and why and by whom the Twin Towers were actually destroyed. (Watch the Eye-Witness Video Compilation from the Major Networks and See What You Think!)

13) Moulitsas will suspend the enforcement of  The 10 Unwritten Rules of Speech at DailyKos (How to Avoid Violating the 10 Unwritten Rules of the DailyKos Public Opinion Governance Board (DKPOGB)), at least until it can be determined whether these rules are the harbinger of a coming police state.

14) Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA agrees to inform YearlyKos participants of their right to participate in any protests at YearlyKos that may originate at the “Truth About Kos” panel discussion.

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15) Instead of repeating the meme that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (and all people who are not white men) “don’t lead,” Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will announce his support for the Clinton/Obama ticket at YearlyKos.

16) To prove that he is no longer a Republican, Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA will commit to help the Democratic front-runners win the presidency and vice presidency, instead of trying to throw the election to the Republicans.

In exchange, Francis L. Holland has agreed to:

1) Moderate his criticism of DailyKos, YearlyKos and Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA;

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2) Francis L. Holland will refrain from publicly calling Markos ZÚÑIGA a “liar” for previously insisting that "I don’t have money. I don’t come from a famous or powerful family. I was an immigrant to the United States," all of which has been proven not to be true. 

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Francis L. Holland will refrain from calling Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA a "liar" as long as the latter agrees  to acknowledge that his family owns a sumptuous and exclusive multi-million dollar hotel complex in El Salvador called the Jaltapeque Suites Hotel, while the “manager” of the ZÚNIGA "family business" is, in truth, president of the Salvadoran national tourism board, president of the Salvadoran national association of hotels, and a board member of the Salvadoran national private business associations.

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3) Francis L. Holland agrees to acknowledge that there is no direct evidence yet that Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA is personally responsible for the destruction of grey whale spawning grounds in Baja Mexico by the Baja Salt (Group) that is owned by Carlos Alberto Delgado ZÚÑIGA, who is listed as “manager” at Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA’s family’s Japultapeque Suites Hotel;

4) Francis L. Holland agrees to stop referring to Kos supporters as "minions" and "sycophants" and he will reaffirm his belief in their right to be wrong;

5) Francis L. Holland further stipulates that his “Truth About Kos” panel discussion at YearlyKos will be “only one of many events” at YearlyKos and, therefore, out of respect for the free speech of others, Francis L. Holland agrees not to disrupt any overt or covert CIA recruitment activities; not to disrupt any white supremacist panel discussions on how to make the Democratic Party only as inclusive in the future as DailyKos is now; and respect DailyKos members’ right and tendency to meet and discuss how to perennially and perpetually support and maintain the white male monopoly of the presidency.

6) Having been reinstated at DailyKos, Francis L. Holland agrees to post not more than one high-impact diary per day denouncing the white male supremacy paradigm and the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Markos Alberto Moulitas ZÚÑIGA "Worked" at the CIA in 2001

Cross-posted at MyLeftWing

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By definition, the word “work” includes BOTH paid and unpaid “toil or labor” and efforts toward a goal.

Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA wants to "crash the gates" of the Democratic Party to change both the way that the party is run AND the people who are running it. Precisely because he seeks so much responsibility and authority, I believe it is very important that we know as much as we possibly can about Mr. Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA.

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA has said,

Obviously, playing in politics is a contact sport. It’s not for people who don’t like to be criticized or are afraid to be criticized. …[T]hat should be obvious.
Over the last few days, we have all become aware of Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA’s speech to the Commonwealth Club, in which he acknowledges spending six months in training at the US Central Intelligence Agency. We have debated at great length what Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA did with the Central Intelligence Agency in 2001. Some of us (including myself) interpret his public declarations to mean that he “worked” at the CIA in 2001 while others acknowledge that he "trained" there but strenuously deny that he "worked" there. Francis Holland Stole My Ideas On Markos and the CIA

Some interpret his statements to mean that Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA had been engaged in training and/or evaluation to become a CIA agent, but that the training and evaluation had not culminated in a formal and publicly acknowledgeable position within the Central Intelligence Agency. Some of Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA's supporters have made allegations that saying that Kos "worked" at the CIA rather than saying that he "trained" there may make some MLW participants liable for libel. I strenuously disagree, based not only on my understanding as an attorney but also based on reason, (poetic) justice and common sense.

One thing is certain: Now, America has a much clearer idea of the kind of leadership this “gate crasher’ offers. For example, if there are panels on extraordinary rendition and Government-sponsored torture at YearlyKos, with the Democratic candidates present, then Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA may perhaps more knowledgeably address these issues from the perspective of the CIA, based on some of his training there.

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA's supporters and enablers will insist that this is not true, although it obviously is true. And so they will insist that this information is too prejudicial to be made public, because publicizing this information will inevitably hurt Kos politically. And here is where the advocacy for the censorship inherent in dictatorship enters the conversation. See "On the Diaries of Francis Holland", an MLW anti-censorship diary. Regarding articles about Kos' contacts with the CIA, see also "An Apology to Markos from an MLW Member," a pro-censorship diary with pro-censorship comments posted at DailyKos.

The question of whether Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA "worked" or "trained" at the CIA depends either both upon our own common sense understanding of the words "work" and "train" as well as the various definitions of these terms as commonly used by the US Government and in other contexts.

A lot of people believe it is very important whether Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA worked at the CIA in 2001. Within three days of the article published last week, at least twelve progressive blogs reported as news the fact that Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA spent time at the CIA. (See partial list of blogs and clippings reporting on this issue in the footnotes here.)

Although some supporters of his believe his time spent at the CIA is a non-issue that can easily be explained away, nonetheless this is an issue of great interest to many people who believe that the CIA is an agency whose goals and methods make participation there, in any form, inconsistent with being a “progressive.” This is why we are having such a great debate over whether Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA worked at the CIA or not. Because if he did “work” there, then many people will conclude that he is unfit to lead progressives in any way, shape or form.

Our democratic political system gives each of us the prerogative and responsibility to decide what we think is important, giving each fact the weight that we, in our individual judgment, believe it is due. So, this question cannot be resolved simply by resolving not to discuss it. It can only be resolved by finding out the facts and applying to these facts the various definitions, including our own, of the word “work,” so that each of us can weigh these factors as s/he will.

When one listens to Moulitsas’ ZÚÑIGA’s comments at the Commonwealth Club, it is quite clear to me that he “worked” at the CIA within the normal meaning of that word. He says that he went there because he was “unemployed, underemployed, unemployed (…) Kinda like, in between jobs, doin’ a little contract work and . . . kinda (…) in this really horrible netherworld of ‘will I make rent next month’ and . . .”

When people are “unemployed” they look for “work,” because only obtaining “work” resolves the problem of being unemployed.

The alternative logic makes no sense to me. If we assume that Moulitsas ZÚNIGA did NOT get paid for his work at the CIA, then we must also assume that he utterly failed to address the foremost reason for which he went there in the first place – to “make rent next month. (Emphasis added.)

Another way to understand whether he worked at the CIA is with reference to Government and other websites that discuss CIA training. The IntelligenceCareers.Com website offers some useful guidance concerning whether it is fair and correct to say that Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA “worked” at the CIA during his six months there in 2001. It says,

The CIA Summer Internship and Student Trainee (Co-op) programs provide students an opportunity to see first hand the role the CIA plays in supporting U.S. foreign policy. Students selected participate in substantive work with assignments commensurate with their academic training.

So, do trainees CIA trainees, as was Markos Moulitsas for six months in 2001, do “work” when they are in training? Do they “work”? Although Moulitsas never mentioned his time spent at the CIA before last year, and did not include in his public resumés, he has not denied that he “worked” at the CIA, but his supporters and defenders have.

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The Federal Government offers many training programs and considers trainees to be “working” during their training time, even when the do NOT get paid for their efforts. Here is a page from the CIA’s own website that highlights “paid” “training” offered by the CIA.

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Outside of government, in the biotechnology field, Trainees work side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research.”

So, did Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA “work” at the CIA? The word “work” has many different definitions, with one Princeton University online dictionary offering 27 different definitions of the word “work,” of which only nine are relevant to this discussion.

Let’s look at what Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA says he did at the CIA to then determine whether it meets any one of the nine definitions of work offered by the online dictionary. If his involvement meets ANY of these definitions, then we must conclude that he DID “work” at the CIA “in a way.” If his involvement arguably could meet any one of the definitions, then we may need more information to decide whether his involvement actually meets ALL of the relevant definitions.

At this point, the only proof we have of what happened is Markos ZÚÑIGA’s own recorded interview at the Commonwealth Club, combined with publicly available documents about the function of CIA training and training programs in general. I don’t think it is wrong to reprint and quote verbatim from public speeches, and so I do so now for the purpose of examining with particularity exactly what Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA said, with the hopes of understanding exactly what he meant.

Here is my verbatim transcription of Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA’s entire discussion at the Commonwealth Club of his 2001 CIA involvement:

QUESTION: Not long ago, liberals loathed the Central Intelligence Agency as the enemy of democratic governments and they installed dictators around the world, and these days you read the papers and people on the Left are rallying to the defense of the CIA and are indignant when the CIA is politicized. How did this come about, that suddenly liberals are championing the CIA:

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA'S ANSWER: I don’t know. You know I.

QUESTION: Do you find it stranger or ironic, this sudden love for the CIA?

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA'S ANSWER: You know . . . coughs . . . I think a lot of the people that did have problems with the CIA, I mean it was a very vocal minority.

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA'S ANSWER: You know . . . coughs . . . I think a lot of the people that did have problems with the CIA, I mean it was a very vocal minority. I think most people really didn’t think about it all that much. Right? It wasn’t really on their radar screens, ah, in the way that now it is, because now we are in this huge war, and it was the CIA that was warning the Administration against invading because, there were no weapons of mass destruction.

Here’s a little secret I don’t think I’ve ever written about: But in 2001, I was unemployed, underemployed, unemployed. You know I was in that . . You all have been there “dot com” people? Kinda like, in between jobs, doin’ a little contract work and . . . kinda. So, you know. That’s where I was: in this really horrible netherworld of ‘will I make rent next month’ and . . .

So, I applied to the CIA and I went all the way to the end, I mean it was to the point where I was going to sign papers to become Clandestine Services. And it was at that point that the Howard Dean campaign took off and I had to make a decision whether I was gonna kinda join the Howard Dean campaign, that whole process, or was I was going to become a spy. (Laughter in the audience.) It was going to be a tough decision at first, but then the CIA insisted that if, if I joined that, they’d want me to do the first duty assignment in Washington, DC, and I hate Washington, DC. Six years in Washington, DC [inaudible] that makes the decision a lot easier.

[ . . .] This is a very liberal institution. And in a lot of ways, it really does attract people who want to make a better, you know, want to make the world a better place . . . Of course, they’ve got their Dirty Ops and this and that, right but as an institution itself the CIA is really interested in stable world. That’s what they’re interested in. And stable worlds aren’t created by destabilizing regimes and creating wars. Their done so by other means. Assassination labor leaders . . . I’m kidding!

[ . . . ] I don’t think it’s a very partisan thing to want a stable world. And even if you’re protecting American interests, I mean that can get ugly at times, but generally speaking I think their hearts in the right place. As an organization their heart is in the right place. I’ve never had any problem with the CIA. I’d have no problem working for them . Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA at the Commonwealth Club.

Certainly, if his involvement meets ANY of the commonly accepted definitions of the word “work,” then it is not misleading or unfair to say that Markos Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA worked at the CIA while he was in training there, based on what he said in his interview at the Commonwealth Club.

But, for those who are not convinced that Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA did work at the CIA, we compare the standard dictionary definitions of the word “work” to Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA’s own description of what he did at the CIA, paragraph by paragraph, giving Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA’s credibility every benefit of the doubt.

Here is the definition that Merriam Websters Online Dictionary provides for the word, “work”:

Main Entry: 3 “work”:

Function: verb

Inflected Form(s): worked /'w&rkt /; or wrought /'rot/; work•ing

Etymology: Middle English werken, worken, from Old English wyrcan; akin to Old English weorc

transitive verb

1 : to bring to pass : EFFECT Not applicable.

2 a : to fashion or create a useful or desired product by expending labor or exertion on : FORGE, SHAPE b : to make or decorate with needlework; especially : EMBROIDER

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA said at the Commonwealth Club, “I applied to the CIA and I went all the way to the end, I mean it was to the point where I was going to sign papers to become Clandestine Services.” If Markos “worked” on getting invited to become a CIA agent during his six months training with the CIA, then he succeeded in his “work. (…)

Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA said at the Commonwealth Club, “It was going to be a tough decision at first, but then the CIA insisted that if, if I joined that, they’d want me to do the first duty assignment in Washington, DC, and I hate Washington, DC. Six years in Washington, DC [inaudible] that makes the decision a lot easier.”

So, if the “desired product” of his time at the CIA was to win an invitation to work there permanently, and that is why he was “expending labor or exertion” toward this goal when he was participating in the training program, then he did “work” at the CIA within the meaning of definition (2). He “worked” during the training program on the “desired product” of being invited to join the permanent CIA workforce and he says that he achieved that goal.

7 a : to carry on an operation or perform a job through, at, in, or along (the peddler worked the corner) (a sportscaster hired to work the game)

b : to greet and talk with in a friendly way in order to ingratiate oneself or achieve a purpose (politicians working the crowd) (worked the room)

8 : to pay for or achieve with labor or service ("worked my way through college") ("worked my way up in the company") Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA “worked his way through” the required material of the training program and “worked” his way into an invitation to join the CIA as a permanent employee.

9 a : to get (oneself or an object) into or out of a condition or position by gradual stages b : CONTRIVE, ARRANGE (we can work it so that you can take your vacation)

E.g. 'Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA worked on completing CIA training and learning the materials of the training program.'

Kos 'worked his way' into an offer of permanent employment at the CIA.

Certainly, there are those who will say that this discussion of Kos and the CIA evinces an intent to engage in Kos-bashing." But, is "Kos-bashing" always wrong? The word "bash" is really just a synonym for "criticize strongly and vigorously." Many Kos supporters would argue that, “because Kos is always right, therefore bashing Kos is always wrong.” The corollary to this premise would be that, “If bashing Kos is always wrong, then Kos must always be right.”

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However, NOBODY is always right.

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A dictator is one who rules by fiat and force rather than by force of reason, like the oligarchies that enforce their power through the use death squads, torture and other intimidation. All too often, such dictators are supported by the Central Intelligence Agency.