Netroots Nation’s national conference in town, and how I heard of it

Lots of people interested in politics and next year’s Democratic presidential nomination will have their eyes focused on the Pennsylvania Convention Center through Saturday.

Netroots Nation is holding its annual convention there. The group’s website says,

“For more than a decade, Netroots Nation has hosted the largest annual conference for progressives, drawing thousands of attendees from around the country and beyond.”

This is what the Philadelphia Inquirer had to say about it in Thursday morning’s emailed newsletter:

The 2020 presidential campaign centers on Philly this weekend

Some of the more progressive Democratic candidates running for president, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are expected to take the stage at the Pennsylvania Convention Center this weekend.

They’ll be part of Netroots, a convention that started 13 years ago. As its annual attendance has grown, so has its influence. It’s no longer a fringe group, but rather a key voice in the Democratic Party.

The convention opens today and is expected to draw 3,000 attendees, with the headline being Saturday’s forum for presidential candidates.

Netroots Nation’s website says it’s expecting 3,000 attendees, 175 sessions, and 400 speakers at the Philadelphia conference.

It promises trainings, panels, networking and keynote speakers for progressive activists.

Among Thursday evening’s speakers will be NextGen America’s Tom Steyer, the billionaire who just threw his hat into the presidential ring earlier this week. Also scheduled is Alicia Garza, co-creator of Black Lives Matter.

Friday morning, controversial Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner is scheduled to be a panelist in a discussion called “What It Takes: What 2020 Candidates Can Learn From Local Struggles to End Mass Incarceration.”

At the same time, Philadelphia Councilmember Helen Gym is scheduled to be a panelist in a discussion called “Building a Movement to #EndPoverty in America.”

On Saturday morning, expect Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

At Saturday afternoon’s “Daily Kos/Netroots Nation Presidential Candidate Forum,” the speakers are expected to include “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sec. Julian Castro, Gov. Jay Inslee and others TBA.” (You don’t see Sen. Cory Booker’s [D-N.J.] name there, but he’s still a “TBA” possibility.) Councilmember Gym will return to offer opening remarks, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

I first learned about the group after researching a picture of Sen. Booker taken at last year’s conference in New Orleans. (Maybe they should’ve gone there this year, considering Tropical Storm Barry.)

You see Sen. Booker holding a sign that read “From Palestine to Mexico, All the Walls Have Got to Go,” along with some young activists or blind followers who gave it to him. They made sure to score publicity points off the senator’s lack of knowledge of his surroundings.

Obviously that took its toll on Sen. Booker’s popularity among Jewish and other pro-Israel voters, in New Jersey and out.

Here are some articles on the subject:

New Orleans, 2018

I’m glad I didn’t notice much pertaining to the Middle East on the website for this conference. The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which was responsible for Booker’s situation last year, will be back as an exhibitor. I’m pretty sure he’ll try to avoid them this year, while I wouldn’t put it past them to try to trick him.

There’s also the local independent bookstore Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, opened by anti-Israel former CNN commentator and Temple University Prof. Marc Lamont Hill.

Otherwise, the closest to dealing with an international issue is migration from the southern border. These are changes Netroots Nation says it put in place for this year and none mention the Middle East. Still, I think it tells a lot about the group.

Unfortunately, just this week, the far-left group If Not Now, got what it wanted (a quick answer they liked) and more (a picture and opportunity for a press release) from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) while she was campaigning in New Hampshire.

The group’s website says it was started by young Jews in 2014 with “three demands: Stop the War on Gaza, End the Occupation, and Freedom and Dignity for All.”

The land won in the 1967 Six-Day War stopped a lot of terrorist shelling into Israel, let Israel return to shipping from Eilat in the Red Sea, and opened the Western Wall for Jews to pray once again.

This is what If Not Now has pinned to the top of its Twitter page. It was posted Monday.

I find it interesting Sen. Warren has nothing at all about this on her own Twitter page, and think she has serious questions to answer.

The pinned If Not Now tweet was followed by this one…

…and then this press release:

Keep in mind whose Twitter feed this is, but the very next response wasn’t supportive. Thomas’ profile says he’s a fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who holds many views similar to Warren, and is competing with her for the Democratic nomination.

Then, in a crowded gallery, he showed these three pictures on the right side, perhaps to keep anti-Israel If Not Now supporters from voting for Warren.

The bottom picture is from an AIPAC convention.

But that’s not all the dissent for If Not Now and Sen. Warren. These are the next three posts:

I tend not to trust Sen. Warren on Israel policy. Unlike Sen. Booker, who I think simply made a stupid mistake, she also has to answer for this:

Linda Sarsour (L) joining Elizabeth Warren

(I wrote about both the Booker and Warren pictures in this post from after the Pittsburgh synagogue attack.)

Yes, that’s Linda Sarsour on the left. Just this week, she caused a ruckus by claiming Jesus was Palestinian! (What a week!)

It’s going to be quite a burden for Sen. Warren if she wants a shot at my vote and a lot of others. As the old adage goes, and everything I write is meant to be egalitarian,

“A man is known by the company he keeps.”

P.S. Wouldn’t it be nice if she abided by,

“Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer,” instead?

P.P.S. Take a moment to check out and subscribe for free to my new website, ThePhillyFiles. See the attempted abduction that happened last weekend, just *five blocks* south of this meeting, and who police want to catch.

About the author

The journalism “business” has changed — from standards to platforms to layoffs — along with the American public, and I’ve managed to survive somewhat on my own terms.

I started in 1994, becoming an award-winning and respected TV newscast producer.

Even better was creatively producing websites and social media, and serving as a station's digital media manager — writing news, creating graphics and getting evidence of growing my audience here in the nation's fourth largest market, Philadelphia.

I also taught first grade for eight years. My principal saw my class website and made me electronic gradebook manager to assist co-workers when we stopped using paper gradebooks.

In 2018, I took courses and earned the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

In 2019, I was a freelance newspaper reporter, but enjoyed copy editing and reviving the publication’s social media even more.

That got me striking out on my own with a local news website to join the blog I created, designed and write.

Ask me about all the details.

I did drive Uber to make ends meet until I started as a customer service representative at one of the world’s largest web-hosting companies, with more than 8 million customer contracts and hosting more than 12 million domains.

With classroom and newsroom experience, I know how to prioritize, analyze and take the best course of action. Getting results means attention to detail, following through and following up.

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