Netroots: Snake oil, y’all?

Ladies and gentlemen, attention please
Come in close so everyone can see
I got a tale to tell
A listen don’t cost a dime
And if you believe that we’re gonna get along just fine

Now I’ve been travelin’ all around
I heard trouble’s come to your town
Well I’ve got a little somethin’
Guaranteed to ease your mind
It’s call snake oil y’all
It’s been around for a long, long time

— Steve Earle “Snake Oil”

Netroots, the allegedly grassroots movement launched by Markos Moulisas of DailyKos and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD to take back control of the Democratic Party solely through the Net has always seemed pie-in-the-sky naive to me. Like it can be done via the Net alone…

They claim to want transparency, openness, and an end to special interests and money controlling politics. Yet currently they’re ensnared in two brouhahas, and their response has been way less than open, in my opinion.

First off, Jerome Armstrong was spanked by the SEC in 2003 for touting worthless stocks, stock he’d received at below market prices. The NY Post broke the story nationwide.

From the SEC release

The Commission also alleges that Jerome Armstrong engaged in illegal touting of BluePoint on March 6 and after because he promoted BluePoint on the Raging Bull internet site, which carried hundreds of posts about BluePoint without disclosing the compensation he received from Markow and Goelo in return for his posts.

From the SEC complaint

69. Markow and Goelo orchestrated a scheme to arrange for individuals, including Armstrong, to tout the BluePoint stock. Armstrong posted over eighty times on the BluePoint message board located on the Raging Bull website in the first three weeks. He praised BluePoint’s investment value and encouraged traders who were having trouble getting their orders filled to keep trying. Armstrong never stated in his posts on the Internet that he was being compensated for making the postings. However, Goelo and Markow compensated Armstrong by transferring stock in three separate companies to Armstrong at below market prices during the relevant time period.

74. Armstrong made at least $20,000 from selling the shares of the three securities he received from Markow and Goelo.

Yes, the NY Post is right-wing, but the SEC isn’t. Yet the reaction to this from netroots has been crickets. You can’t say openness and transparency are your goals, then not live up to it – else some might say you’re just shucking and jiving.

Plus, many now are wondering, just what is the relationship between Armstrong/ Kos and Mark Warner? They’re pumping him as a presidential candidate while apparently receiving money from him. Cash for bytes? This appears to be what they did with Howard Dean too. Again, this doesn’t pass the smell test if you say you’re a reformer. You can’t claim to want money and special interests out of politics, then play that very same game.

From Politus, a blog by a “centrist Democratic activist,” comes these two posts.

Jerome Armstrong: Huckster

Now Armstrong and Moulitsas are again under fire for evidently taking money from Mark Warner while touting him as a presidential candidate. It’s like a shake-down with these guys: Nerd Soprano wannabes.

Whatever it is, it stinks. The Democratic Party should get as far away from these two grifters as they can. That stink is hard to wash off.

Payola at DailyKos?

And now it seems Kos and Jerome are at it again. They have been softening up their “netroots” crowd toward Mark Warner, touting him as somebody to watch; suggesting he is a good candidate with a good organization — the same crap they said about Howard Dean. Once again, are Markos and Jerome being paid to shill for risky stocks and marginal candidates? It is a reasonable question that deserves a serious answer.

So, I politely asked the question at DailyKos and got instantly banned, and the question got instantly deleted. Again… So much for Markos’ integrity. What is he so desperate to hide?

Why is the reaction from the Kos bloggers on this so defensive? Does transparency and openness only apply to everyone else?

A hopefully-useful Kos-Armstrong timeline


  1. Gee… I don’t think I was being defensive at all. I’d be happy if Kos was
    humiliated, arrested, and driven from the party. He is corrosive and completely


  2. Oh wow, I guess KOS won’t be getting an invite to the next Yearly Politics In Zero.. huh? So, is there other dirt we should know about?

    And just how long has this feud been going on? I was unaware of it until now… of course there have been hints, but I thought it was an East Coast West Coast sort of thing.. you know?

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