Karl Rove Couldn’t Have Done A Better Job

09 Mar

Zach Green may not be working for the GOP and of course I have no hard evidence that he is.  But one thing is certain… he couldn’t have done a better job of destroying the unity the Progressive community on Twitter was enjoying had he BEEN on the GOP payroll.

I’ve been on Twitter for about thirteen months now and during that time had never seen a major conflict among the many and diverse members of the Progressive community.  With a few exceptions, which I’ll get to later, the entire list of people I followed were engaged and focused on one thing… countering the right wing bullshit machine and electing candidates who shared their views.

While I don’t consider myself a Progressive in the accepted sense of the term, my own views in regard to final outcomes tend to coincide with theirs more often than not and I found myself supporting them in most of their efforts… except the constant warfare some of them… the exceptions I referred to above… seem to have declared on the few actual liberals who dare to go against whatever the “grain” is as declared by those who get to declare such things. 

Anyway, for the most part the Progressive community went along it’s way for my entire tenure on Twitter without a lot strife or dissension, most of them having actually having fun and enjoying the good fight while basically supporting and reinforcing each other’s views against the one percent and their open attempt to assume control of the country.

As is always going to be the case when such situations exist, someone came along who immediately sensed a way to make money from it or in the words of the trade to “monetize” it.  I use the quotes because I don’t use the word in the sense that you’ll find when you look it up in a dictionary.  The dictionary tells us the primary definition is “To establish as legal tender” or to give monetary value to something, in other words to convert something into money.

For the purposes of this post, I’m using the term in the sense that investors and financial types use it to describe the monetization of assets… establishing a means by which money may be readily earned through the manipulation of an asset or assets.  This is what Mr. Green and his family are doing.  They’re taking a situation that already existed, namely the cohesion and camaraderie of the Progressive movement on Twitter, and manipulating it in order to provide revenues for their company.  And not incidentally I suspect, destroying it in the process. 

Another way to put it is that they’re privatizing a political movement, something that has traditionally spelled the end of any movement unlucky enough to be usurped in such a manner.  We have only to look at the last twenty years to see the disastrous results of privatization on any form of community endeavor that has found itself snared by the Wall Street parasites in their relentless drive to privatize and thereby monetize everything in sight. 

THIS is what I, as someone who, if any “ism” can be applied at all, considers himself a modern Populist, fight against and I see no difference between our public school system being privatized for the financial benefit of some Wall Street syndicate than I do the Progressive movement on the internet being coopted and privatized for the financial benefit of Zach Green.  But it doesn’t necessarily stop there.

There are those among the Progressive community who see Mr. Green as a right wing plant, someone deliberately attempting to sew strife and discontent among progressives in order to destroy the momentum their efforts had built up which had resulted in Mr. Obama being reelected in spite of the Rove sabotage machine.  Indeed many see the soft white fingers of Turdblossom himself holding the strings attached to, if not the whole 140X operation over the past few years, at least the entities financing it.  I’m not sure what I think myself. I certainly have no hard evidence that this is so but neither has anyone from Mr. Green’s organization provided any hard evidence that it’s not.

As someone outside the actual Progressive community I would like to think that I can be 100% objective but to also be 100% frank, my total contempt and disdain for data mining and “analytics” operations such as those conducted by Mr. Green and his family tends to color my own views in regard to the situation.  If you’re one of those types that goes all hostile and hysterical when someone points out that your particular emperor doesn’t look so good naked, then you’d probably better stop reading here for the sake of your blood pressure.  I’m not here to tell Zach Green’s side of the story, that’s his job. 

What appears to be the case is this: For several years Mr. Green and the various offshoots of his base “140” organization have worked solely for various right wing candidates and organizations in providing data used by those organizations to manipulate public opinion in their favor.  In many cases, one or more of Mr. Greens organizations has actually been the manipulator of the data gathered and correlated by another.  There are numerous examples on the internet of Mr. Green touting the efforts of his organizations on behalf of right wing causes.

What there is NOT however, is any evidence of Mr. Green or any member of any of his organizations having applied themselves to any solely Progressive causes over the same time period.  Indeed the entire 140 this and that operation seems to have sprung up as an integral part of the effort to establish a strong Right Wing Internet presence to counter that of the left, which had basically dominated the netroots after the right took control of the “mainstream” media.

I’ve looked over some of Mr. Green’s web pages that detail his involvement with these right wing organizations including one the detailed the rates he was either getting or expecting to get for his services and several of the fees being charged ran into the $5k-10k per month range.  It’s obvious that no local grass roots bunch has this kind of money to blow on services that don’t provide a ton of benefit for their cause and that none of the larger PACs or groups WOULD do so if they weren’t getting their money’s worth.  If it was one or more of the biggies that was putting the bucks in Mr. Green’s pockets, then might as well, in the absence of any hard evidence either way, suspect Crossroads as any other.

It doesn’t really matter which specific group(s) the money was coming from.  What matters is that throughout the past several election cycles, Mr. Green has willingly… happily if we consider the self congratulatory reports he’s posted… served as a paid agent of the same GOP/Tea Party propaganda apparatus that the rest of us have been busting our asses fighting, (some of us for decades now) helping them construct many of the campaigns that Progressives supposedly came together on the social networks to oppose.

None of this is to mention that the main thrust of the entire community seems to be shifting towards attacking the left rather than the right these days but that’s a subject for a whole ‘nother post.

So… what we have is a situation in which a paid operative… indeed one of the principal architects, at least on the Internet… of the GOP propaganda machine has suddenly renounced all allegiance to his former employers and decided to use the apparatus… that only came into being as part of the Great Thundering Right Wing Noise Machine and that was bought and paid for by the GOP… to “Unite” progressives and somehow thereby literally bite the hand that up until a scant few weeks ago was feeding him? 

And let’s not be forgetting that a particularly timely bogey man… remember, the GOP thrives on creating straw or bogey men… happened to spring up in the form of #tgdn just as Mr. Green was about to launch his entirely new enterprise in a 180 degree about face.  

You know, I’m sorry if it offends some of the more sensitive pearl clutchers among you Progressive folks but I’m having a tad bit of trouble getting myself around that one.  I’ve sat here the last several days/nights and watched virtually the entire community that I had felt a part of for thirteen months literally tear itself apart in three days.  

I’ve watched people I had come to consider my friends literally tear each other to shreds over something so trivial as “twibbons” and hashtags.  I’ve seen a thread in which one of my favorite favorite Twitterfolks blocked two others for no more reason than… and this is a quote… “dissing the #UniteBlue I believe in” when all either of them had done is express the reasons they themselves had reservations.  I myself got my first block ever by someone whose Twitter company I thoroughly enjoyed shortly after expressing some of my own thoughts in her presence.

I’m not about to say that Zach Green is still a full time employee of the GOP Internet apparatchik simply because I have no real evidence this is so nor frankly do I care one way or the other whether he is or not.  The important thing to me is that he couldn’t have done a better job of destroying the community I had spent the last year enjoying being part of if he HAD still been on their payroll.  And he did it for the same damned reason that the vaunted one percent do the things they do to F**k up this once great country… for money.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for letting me vent. I’ll let y’all get to your unfollow and block buttons now.  Since I’ve noticed that numbers of followers seems to be a big thing in the Unite Blue universe, I hope you won’t be laboring under the impression that unfollowing or blocking me will serve as some kind of punishment for any blasphemies I may have committed against the Twitter gods.  While it’s never a good feeling to have people turn their backs on you, I was fighting my fight without y’all before I discovered Twitter and I’ll go right on fighting it if I lose every follower I’ve got and get blocked by everyone I follow.  I’ve got bigger things to worry about.



Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized


22 responses to “Karl Rove Couldn’t Have Done A Better Job

  1. nancydrewed (@nancydrewed)

    March 9, 2013 at 16:41

    Thanks for this. I have no clue as to the intrigue going on here, but I will say there is a certain “thou protest too much” quality in the need Green seems to have to address certain individual twitterers (!) who have/are asking questions or expressing reservations. These individuals hardly have airtime on say, the Maddow Show. They are using their free speech rights on the flipping twitter machine. Fergawdsake.

    • Tom Bales

      March 9, 2013 at 20:11

      I have no answers, only questions really but until Green or one or more of the “directors” can start providing some straight answers to those questions I’m going to assume that my narrative here is at least somewhere close to accurate.

    • Tom Bales

      March 11, 2013 at 09:51

      Thank you for the comment. I’m no genius obviously but I do know that this is not serving any purpose. I just want to stop Wall Street from destroying the way of life I grew up with.

  2. Todd Miller

    March 11, 2013 at 09:48

    I’ve noticed a consistent pattern that anyone who asks the 140elect account a serious question gets trolled within the day if not the hour by seeming progressive accounts. Many of these accounts were built up with followers since the arrival of UniteBlue. Zach Green’s doesn’t respond by clarifying but by obfuscating the issues. My take is that at the very least he’s far too immature to be a constructive Democrat.

    • Tom Bales

      March 11, 2013 at 09:57

      With the departure of @Political_Bill, the new chief surrogate for Zach seems to be @SayethSimon who is spending more time attacking the “attackers” than in anything constructive. This is my beef… #UniteBlue’s existence has become more important to many of those folks than fighting the real enemies has. I think Zach Green… or maybe his daddy… is a consummate snake oil salesman and there are a lot of Progressives so desperate for some kind of Messiah, they’re lining up to buy what he’s selling.

      • LOLPAC Left Out Loud (@lolpacorg)

        March 12, 2013 at 01:56

        First time poster here, I stumbled across your blog after seeing that you had unfollowed me on twitter (gasp). On the rare occasion that someone unfollows me,⎝⏠⏝⏠⎠ I don’t usually bother to ask why, but I recognize people/accts who I’ve come to like on twitter and was a little suprised to see you on the list of “unfollowed you”. So I see this blog post and am guessing after reading it, that maybe I was unfollowed because I still have #UniteBlue in my profile (I also still sport #ConnectTheLeft in my profile). And yes, I still have my “twibbon” as well. I’ve tried to stay out of the whole Blue Civil War over the past few days hoping it would quietly work itself out, but since you unfollowed me, here it is… To me, this blog post is the last straw on my camel’s back. I can’t begin to tell you how much I identify with much of what you wrote here, I’ve been on twitter for just over a year and a half, mostly active in the last year, so I came on about the same time you did. It’s been absolutely brutal seeing people/accts I’ve come to really respect tearing each other apart. Tonight I saw two people I’ve come to genuinely like on twitter threatening to take each other down and blast each other’s personal lives online. It’s been ugly and it’s been relentless. To me, #UniteBlue is much bigger than @UniteBlue; in my opinion it’s more about a movement than a person. I’ve met some amazing people through Unite Blue and have enjoyed the whole experience, especially the weekly hashtags supporting progressive ideas. If uniting the left is some grand scheme of the right wing, it’s a pretty stupid one. Until this happened, UniteBlue was doing some great things on twitter. Should they vet people better when naming an advisory board? Of course they should (and I’m betting they will be sure to do so in the future). But now detractors are connecting the whole movement with one person’s criminal past (I didn’t even know who Bill was). I would never condone the behavior this person was accused of, but really, if we disassociated ourselves with every group that had a scandal from one of it’s members, we can say good bye to Republicans… and Democrats… and preists… and teachers… and cops… and Occupy… you get the idea. Zach has some questions that should probably be answered if he wants to maintain the trust he is asking of people, but others should reserve judgement until all the facts are out and people have had an opportunity to answer those questions. And it’s sad to see so many people getting pummeled by association. The attacks from both sides are non-stop, but mostly now from the anti Unite Blue side. Two last things I wanted to point out from my own time on twitter (at the risk of being attacked myself); I’ve interacted with Trina Cuppet (biggest UniteBlue critic?) since long before the elections and sincerely doubt she’s a RWNJ out to divide the left as many have suggested. I’ve also interacted with Zach and @140elect since long before the elections and sincerely doubt he’s a RW plant out to steal everyone’s email address. It would be much more productive for all of us if someone would start a blog somewhere for everyone to hash this all out, because all the digging into people’s personal lives and blasting it all over twitter is getting pretty disgusting and it brings far too much glee to the other side getting to watch all this unfold publicly. And when it comes right down to it, aren’t there enought real RWNJ’s out there for us to fight with already?
        Sorry for such a long post, 3 days worth of venting had to go somewhere. ⎝⏠⏝⏠⎠ .

        p.s. A lot of the initial complaints about Unite Blue have been that you have to authorize an app to become a member. FYI- I had to authorize a wordpress app now just to leave a comment on your page.

        p.p.s If you decide to follow me again in the future sometime, we’ll still be here, fighting the good fight.

      • Tom Bales

        March 12, 2013 at 07:28

        Actually, I don’t remember following you at all. The only two people I’ve unhallowed have been Simon and Edie and them only until this thing died down and the vicious name calling and personal attacks stopped. My peeve right now is someone on Unite Blue pretending to send me tweets indicating that I was part of the group gunning for Trina Cuppett. That’s nasty little kid stuff involving me directly in an attack and “outing” of another member and I won’t tolerate it. Otherwise, everything I said here still stands. I prefer not to be a member for the reasons stated and that SHOULD be the end of it.

  3. LOLPAC Left Out Loud (@lolpacorg)

    March 12, 2013 at 02:04

    That awkward moment when you realize the blog you just posted a way too long comment on may not have even been from the person who unfollowed you. #SelfFail

    … Unless this is you: @Obama4More True Blue President Obama Supporter! Sorry #UniteBlue I WILL NOT FOLLOW! (Why? Read ) ONLY following #OFA ppl – Worked too hard ’07-’13!

    • Tom Bales

      March 12, 2013 at 07:31

      Nope. I’ve only got the one account and it isn’t that one. On Twitter, I’m @TomBales1 and in the words of Popeye, that’s all that I am.

  4. LOLPAC Left Out Loud (@lolpacorg)

    March 12, 2013 at 02:10

    #DoubleSelfFail – @TomBates1 still follows me (I thought from @Obama4More twitter profile description that this was their blog at first). Sorry for the confusion… Thanks for following! #FaceDesk LOL

    • Tom Bales

      March 12, 2013 at 07:40

      As I said, I haven’t unfollowed anyone execept the two most vociferous (and foul mouthed in one case) attackers or counter attackers or whatever they’re called. I have stopped however following any NEW people sporting the “twibbon” and will do so until the organization can stop promoting itself long enough to explain what it’s plan for combatting SS/MC cuts between now and 2014 and how we bring down the bankers without waiting another 2-4 years and all those other little… issue… things consist of

  5. mjg7

    March 12, 2013 at 12:02

    Tom I respect your perspective on the UnitedBlue debate. It’s obvious from your post that you have actually read their sites and dub behind the claims for confirmation or rebuttal. I tip my hat to you sir. I understand your wanting to see the whole truth. I join you in that desire.

    Personally, the only time I’ve noticed this level of controversy and personal attack with specious evidence has been by the extreme right. I too have been trolled, insulted, and had false accusations hurled at me by the bomb-throwers attacking my audacity to question Zach Green and his board. I share your frustration.

    • Tom Bales

      March 12, 2013 at 12:35

      Appreciate the comment. Like I say, I don’t know if I have the answer or even part of an actual answer but hopefully I know the questions to ask and so far I’m not getting anything from any of them except RW style talking points, Zach’s constant regurgitation of jingoist pep talks and being trolled by @ibUB2 at worst and ignored by the whole bunch at best. There’s no plan for this big victory they’ll be claiming credit for… IF it comes off… no united stand on any issues that involves an actual plan of action other than making hashtags and tweeting the exact same things they were tweeting BEFORE UniteBlue… I’m not going to tell anyone else what to do but I am going to stay clear of it myself.

  6. Miss Bee Bee

    March 15, 2013 at 20:44

    @SingingJustice sent me this piece. I was right. I thought something just wasn’t right when political_bill was tweeting opinions that were not supportive of President Obama.& shooed some comments I had made with msquiry (I think that is his handle , I don’t really care for the so called professor of African American studies who took exception to my personal opinion of MHP).

    Strawman ring a bell? Eileen was right. Anyway, yep-snake oil salesmen, grimy opportunists, lovers of Mammon with not an iota of integrity. So I never got the Twibbon, closed every suggestion to follow other unite blue members and did everything that critical thinkers do. Followed my own mind. @ericmata @alan_uplc @stcyrlyme2

    • Tom Bales

      March 15, 2013 at 20:50

      I’ve never understood this obsession so many Americans have with being “United”. They’ll find some “guru” and simply tuen themselves over to him, let the group fo their thinking and even their tweeting for them. When it starts walking like a cult, talking like a cult…

      • Miss Bee Bee

        March 17, 2013 at 11:14

        No amount of marketing tricks will ever make me a follower.

  7. alasscan (@ak2sandiego)

    March 25, 2013 at 12:09

    Very well done Tom! I was on late last eve over just this subject. I had joined UniteBlue early on because of being suspended. Didn’t pay all that much attention since I’m not a great ‘groupie’ because I am more independent.

    Suddenly all I saw on my time line starting a few days ago was fighting, constant tweets going after UB or some member of UB going after CL. Geez, we have so much work to do and finally I became disgusted with what I call school yard mentality about who is best and who isn’t. I actually supported both those groups and OFA.

    I did block a couple of people over personally nasty tweets going after people I know very well and not just on twitter, it seemed it has become an obsession with one person who I won’t name here but you did and just a very few others. Sadly, I thought I could be members of all things to progress the good cause but apparently you can’t do something that simply genuine these days.

    At any rate, thank you for a well written, well thought out opinion piece on this. I agree with you entirely.

    The one thing I will say is if Green has worked for GOP this long we do know he is not very good at his job because right up to within a few hours before the election was called most of the GOP data showed a near landslide for Romney. If he is GOP he probably thinks that progressives, liberals, independents, and democrats are as easily led and manipulated as GOP and Teaparty folks and he is in for a real shock in that misguided notion.

    • Tom Bales

      March 25, 2013 at 12:19

      I have no ill will toward any individual who chooses to become part of the organization and in that regard I remain strictly neutral. On a few threads I saw last night, some #UB members were demanding that “non-believers” unfollow them immediately, which I did and I have also unfollowed some whose tweets run almost 100% to proselytizing for #UB or RTs of Zach’s corny robotweets, mainly because I keep pushing the 2000 limit and don’t need my list cluttered with people who don’t have anything original to put on the table.

      Enjoyed our discussion this morning BTW. Thanks for keeping it real.

  8. Michael Galvin

    March 25, 2013 at 12:31

    Tom, This is a well written, authentic response to the situation we find ourselves in lately on Twitter. I agree with your sentiments and frustration. Those of us who have asked questions have been labeled as “haters,” “Tea Party” “GOP operatives,” “RWNJ,” and worse. Accusations have been made that are not true, but they get the “believers” fired up and attacking. The UB leadership has instigated the publishing of highly personal information containing out-right lies about dissenters.

    I have been researching the Greens and their businesses in depth over the past several weeks, and what I am finding is only raising more questions. These relatively wealthy business people have connections across the country and overseas and they exhibit a strong sense of entitlement. Responses to question if they even bother to, are typically condescending and belittling. They do not seem to be able to empathize with those of us who are concerned about the health and safety of the Democratic Party and more specifically regular folks, the 99%.

    When they talk about their work for the GOP and Tea Party less than a year ago, they have couched it in the language of “we were just testing our concepts, didn’t get paid, it was free.” Then there is the dodge that they didn’t work for Buddy Roemer until he became an Independent after we challenged them on that point. On further questioning, the revised the explanation again to well he may have been a Republican, but we wouldn’t agree to work for him until he gave us proof he was leaving the party. I believe they said there may have been a two week overlap, but Roemer was against money in politics so that makes him okay. None of this is true. They were paid by GOP and did work for Roemer long before he switched from the GOP to an independent bid.

    Now Adam Green, who is proud of his son’s attendance at a Boston Hacking event earlier has publicly stated that he is in business. He will go were the money is. That doesn’t surprise me. I actually understand that motive. But we are talking about a community of progressives (mostly Democrats) that is being absorbed by a concerted marketing campaign appealing to peoples innate desire to be part of the “group.” If this community is manipulated or misinformed, a certain percentage will be influenced to act against the interest of their own philosophical/political being.

    I keep asking myself, why are so many giving their trust to these guys so quickly? Does anyone ask themselves how they represented themselves to, the GOP, Buddy Roemer, and other republicans to whom they sold their tools and consulting services? Do we really accept that these professional political groups didn’t ask them for bona fide evidence of support and political trust. I mean, they are going to be handling sensitive tactical and strategic information, collecting data that the Democrats would love to have for their opposition research. It strains credulity to believe that they were engaged without this vetting. Ask any professional political operative if they would do that.

    So now, miraculously overnight, they have become liberals and want to organize us because the #OFA isn’t doing well enough. They have said things like we are not leaders, we are community organizers, yet they build the tools, set the agenda, organize the actions, and go out drumming up business to do political consulting. Their web sites, which I believe most people have not fully read, closely, with a critical eye, taking notes (not to mention printing out/screen captures because they work real hard to change and remove pages/links/ or phrases that do not support their new populist persona; yet, they continue to beseech us to support their “forward” agenda and to ignore the “paranoid” questioners. They ask us to trust them.

    If they want me to trust them, they need to come 100% clean in many areas which I’ll discuss in my own article that is being fact-checked now. If they want me to trust them, I want to see a total cessation of bullying and false accusations that are designed to silence those of us who have legitimate concerns. If they want us to trust them, they should be honest, direct, answer the questions, stop trying to cover their tracks.

    Once again, Tom your thoughts are welcome and pertinent to the health of democracy and progressive ideals: honesty, inclusion, and critical thinking. Thank you for the courage to put yourself out there. I tip my hat to you sir!

    • Tom Bales

      March 25, 2013 at 13:02

      Thanks Michael but in all honesty it might be a little easier for me since I’m neither a Democrat nor a Liberal but consider myself an Independent and a Populist and as such I’m used to doing a lot of my shouting in an empty room.

      • alasscan (@ak2sandiego)

        March 25, 2013 at 13:23

        Well I’m glad to hear it isn’t an empty chair Tom. LOL. Hey, I lived in Alaska during the Palin debacle. You can’t get any emptier than that! It actually got threatening and vicious!

  9. MyPublicOpinion (@MyPublicOpin)

    March 25, 2013 at 15:27

    Thank you for your insightful analysis. I have over the past few weeks become more and more uncomfortable concerning this elusive issue. When I suddenly started gaining large amounts of new (but often “hollow”) followers, something felt very off. My timeline became very robotic, nonsensical, repetitive and cluttered. It now appears as though one gets screamed at for daring to ask simple questions. This seems eerily similar to right wing tactics to me, and although I realize that most followers are not at all like the RWNJ crowd we all take issue with, I can’t help but wonder what it is about this type of structure that makes people just blindly follow the self-appointed leadership and viciously attack anyone who appears even slightly skeptical.

    I don’t want to seem too paranoid, but the tactics here have planted a vague memory of the movie “The Wave” in my mind. I for one now choose not to involve myself with this group, but I’m struggling with how to deal with the members who actually appear quite sane. Guess I’m inclusive to a fault. I just don’t understand why the UB crowd is so defensive and aggressive. Aren’t we all interested in transparency? I thought that was one of the things we had in common.

    If there is a positive side to the division, to me it would appear that it has indeed made it easier to quickly discern who is more likely to be someone worth listening and talking to, and who is just on Twitter to “collect coins” and monitor stats. I just hope there isn’t anything more sinister at work underneath. Brainwashing is so much easier when the subjects trust the perpetrator/s/.

    I’d be more than happy to change my position, given some actual disclosure. But trust has to be EARNED. For now, I remain skeptical.


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