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Markos "Kos" Moulitsas in the U.S. Army
|Born||Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
September 11, 1971
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Residence||Berkeley, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Northern Illinois University (B.S.)
Boston University School of Law (J.D.)
|Known for||Political activism
Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (/ /; born September 11, 1971), often known by his username and former military nickname "Kos" (// KOHZ), is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, a blog focusing on liberal and Democratic Party politics in the United States. He co-founded SB Nation, a collection of sports blogs, which is now a part of Vox Media. He is also a weekly columnist at the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill.
Moulitsas was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a Salvadoran mother and a Greek father. He moved with his family to El Salvador in 1976, but later returned to the Chicago area in 1980 after his family fled when threats were placed on their lives by communist insurgents during the Salvadoran Civil War. As an adult, he has recounted his memories of the civil war, including an incident that occurred when he was 8 years old, in which he saw communist guerrillas murdering students who had been accused of collaborating with the government.
After graduating from Schaumburg High School in Schaumburg, Illinois, he served in the U.S. Army from 1989 through 1992. He completed training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and fulfilled his three-year enlistment as a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Fire Direction Specialist while stationed in Bamberg, Germany.
By his own account, he "missed deploying to the Gulf War by a hair." Moulitsas has described the Army as "perhaps the ideal society – we worked hard but the Army took care of us in return."
Prior to enlisting in the Army, Moulitsas was a member of the Republican Party. During the 1988 presidential election, he served as a Republican precinct captain and assisted with the re-election campaign of Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde. However, during his time in the military Moulitsas began a transition in his political philosophy that would lead him to change his party affiliation from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.
While attending NIU, he wrote for the college newspaper, the Northern Star. Further illustrating the transition of his political philosophy, now a staunch supporter of gay rights, in 1993 while a freshman at NIU, he penned an opinion piece for the Northern Star when Bill Clinton was working to lift the ban on homosexuals serving in the military denouncing such efforts in starkly homophobic terms. As a writer, he also questioned NIU's policy of spending student fee money on athletic programs, generating a negative response from school officials, and waged an unsuccessful campaign to save the school's journalism program. In 2007, he was inducted into the Northern Star Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed by the newspaper's alumni association. After graduating from NIU, he attended the Boston University School of Law from 1996 to 1999, earning a J.D. degree.
Moulitsas describes himself as a recovering Catholic, and says that while he has many problems with the Church, Salvadoran martyr and archbishop Óscar Romero is still his greatest hero and inspiration.
After graduating from law school, Moulitsas moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked as a project manager at a web development shop. He founded Daily Kos in May 2002, and has managed the blog as a full-time occupation since early 2004.
Since its creation Daily Kos has grown to become the largest liberal community blog in the United States, with over 215,000 registered users and 2.5 million unique viewers per month as of August 2009.
The blog's popularity has attracted the attention of many Democratic senators, members of Congress, governors and candidates who have posted on the site, including Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, former President Jimmy Carter, and former President Barack Obama.
Daily Kos has also spawned an annual conference. The inaugural YearlyKos was held from June 8 to 11, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Guests included Harry Reid, then-Virginia Governor Mark Warner, and Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean. The conference has since been renamed Netroots Nation.
Moulitsas attended the California State Democratic convention in Sacramento in March 2003 with Jerome Armstrong of MyDD. According to Glenn Reynolds, founder of the conservative blog Instapundit, he, Moulitsas and Armstrong may have been the first bloggers officially accredited at a political convention.
In April 2004, Moulitsas and Daily Kos became the focus of controversy over a statement that he posted in the comments section of a blog post about Blackwater USA employees who were killed and mutilated in Fallujah:
"Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic]. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them."
In a blog post the next day, Moulitsas defended and clarified his remarks:
"My language was harsh, and, in reality, not true. Fact is, I did feel something. That's why I was so angry. I was angry that five soldiers—the real heroes in my mind—were killed the same day and got far lower billing in the newscasts. I was angry that 51 American soldiers paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly in Iraq in March alone. I was angry that these mercenaries make more in a day than our brave men and women in uniform make in an entire month. I was angry that the US is funding private armies, paying them $30,000 per soldier, per month, while the Bush administration tries to cut our soldiers' hazard pay. I was angry that these mercenaries would leave their wives and children behind to enter a war zone on their own violition [sic]. So I struck back."
On March 17, 2008, Moulitsas stated that Senator Hillary Clinton, who was then involved in a protracted race against Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, "doesn't deserve fairness on this site" because she "fails the test of the guiding principles of this site" and because Clinton had "no reasonable chance of victory". He accused her of "formenting [sic] civil war in order to overturn the will of the Democratic electorate" and said Clinton's "only path to victory [...] is via coup by super delegate."
His statement was precipitated by a "strike" conducted by several pro-Clinton diarists, even though none of these posters was paid or in any way officially linked to the site. Moulitsas responded directly to the "strike" by saying that it was more like a "boycott", noting that "It's a big Internet, so I hope they find what they're looking for."
In 2004, Markos and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD founded BlogPAC, a political action committee focused on progressive bloggers and politics online. In 2012, he was, by some measures, the most accurate major pundit to predict the result of the presidential election.
During the United Kingdom general election in 2005, Moulitsas was hired by the British daily newspaper The Guardian to write elections analysis for its weblog. Moulitsas is also a regular contributor to Newsweek, having been hired by the magazine for its 2008 presidential campaign coverage. He has also authored three books: Crashing the Gate: Grassroots, Netroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics (co-written with Jerome Armstrong) and Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era.
Moulitsas is a fellow at the New Politics Institute, a think tank of the New Democrat Network, which was founded by Simon Rosenberg in 1996. The NDN's stated purpose is to help elect "centrist" Democrats, and is considered by many to be a successor to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), an organization that Simon Rosenberg resigned from in 1996.
In addition to political pursuits, Moulitsas co-founded SB Nation, a network of sports blogs, with Tyler Bleszinski (of Athletics Nation) in 2003. The network now covers all major American leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL), as well as dozens of colleges and other specific sports like golf, cycling, and ultimate fighting.
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