Tag: Netroots Nation

Weekend with Bernie


BernieBernie and Elizabeth came to Phoenix this weekend. A crowd, estimated between 2,000 and 2,000,000 filled the convention center. Imagine that! Insular as my existence is, I’m still surprised that an avowed Socialist and a faux Pocahontas populist statist could find so many enthusiastic supplicants in free-carry Arizona. Then again, the world is filled with government workers, teachers’ union members, students, and would-be artists, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

They all gathered in the whinefest I’ll call the “New Weekend with Bernie.” Sanders is markedly old and stiff, but filled with vituperous energy directed at “banks, big business and Republicans” — Satan’s trilogy of the free markets. Republicans blame the government. Socialists blame free markets. Elizabeth has obviously joined the Sanders entourage as the de facto VP candidate. Bernie, as we all can see, is one weekend away from being a recyclable mass in the mulch pile, so Elizabeth is the real heir apparent, challenging Hillary from behind. Interesting strategy.

But the really interesting thing about all this is that any pretense of free markets as a force for any good at all is condemned as vulgar, reflexively ignorant, and a kind of mass Stockholm Syndrome. To paraphase their muddled logic: We’ve all had to accept corporatism because we rely on it for everything, but this is a massive lie. Right wing corporatism, that is free markets, has no conscience. Those on the Right seek only one thing, money, and they use this money to control everything and to buy power, which gives them access to more money.

A Tale of Two Conferences


This weekend, I attended a Defending the American Dream Summit in Dallas. An annual conference organized by Americans for Prosperity, the event brought together politicians, policy wonks and grassroots activists for two days of training, presentations and socializing (sans socialism).

Speakers included a lot of possible presidential candidates such as Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Mike Pence and Dr. Ben Carson. The power of free markets was extolled by Carly Fiorina, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Bill Whittle, and AEI’s Arthur Brooks (Dr. Brooks told me he’s a Ricochet fan, by the way).

Nothing Shocking: Disarming the Left of Their Ability to Offend


sarah-silvermanRicochet Editor Jon Gabriel attended a humor panel at the progressive conference Netroots Nation 2014 a few weeks back which he documented in a short but brilliantly insightful piece into the mind of the perpetually angry, titled ‘Creating Oneness’ through Progressive Comedy’. As Gabriel notes in his piece:

“The Left is supposed to be funnier than the Right, damn it,” the panel description stated. “So why do we so often sound in public like we’re stiltedly reading from a non-profit grant proposal?”

This defensive tone was apparent throughout the hour-plus session, brought up repeatedly by speakers and audience members. Much like a co-worker who doesn’t get anyone’s jokes but insists, “I have a great sense of humor!”