Jill Pyeatt: ‘My Weekend at Politicon’

My Weekend at Politicon


By Jill Pyeatt

August 6, 2017

A convention for political junkies in my Pasadena neighborhood on July 29 and 30, 2017 was just too hard to resist. So, a few weeks before the event, I wrote for a Press Pass and was pleased to get one. This was a good thing because the event was fairly expensive, especially to attend both days. And now, I can’t wait to tell everyone what I learned at Politicon.

Well, I don’t think I learned much that was new, actually, except to put faces to some names that I’ve heard from media outlets I don’t pay much attention to. It did give me kind of an update of how people are really feeling, aside from the polls and what the television tells us. The event was more crowded than last year’s event (this was their third annual Politicon). There were many young people, which I found heartening. I was on a personal quest to try to understand the pulse of Democrats and of the Republicans. There were over 30 events to choose from on both days. They included talks by individuals, such as the hour I sat listening to Brad Sherman make his case for the impeachment of Trump. There were debates, such as Chelsea Handler debating Tomi Lahran, or Ben Shapiro versus Cenk Uygur. There were some comedy acts and some book signings (I made a point to miss Roger Stone’s book signing) . Most of the events I checked out were panels, usually about 5 people discussing their topic. One was called “WTF Hillary”, and another was called “What Now, “Republicans”.

There were a few others I attended, including one about a current favorite topic of mine, which is Fake News.

That last one was a complete waste of time. They all pretended that the only errors made by the mainstream media were probably just genuine errors. There was absolutely no mention of the alternative media, the existence of which is the whole reason the whole # Fake News narrative was started. Everyone on the panel were quite clueless, or at least did a good job of pretending to be.

Brad Sherman’s talk about impeachment of Trump was a bit frustrating. He is a local legislator for us in LA County (he’s a Democratic Congressman) and is not terribly popular with the people I hang out with. I was actually surprised at how well he spoke and he was actually quite pleasant, even funny sometimes. I was a little frustrated with the subject matter, though. He spoke for a whole hour, and it really came down to Sherman saying that Trump would have to do some really bad things for at least a year for anyone to pay much attention to his Articles of Impeachment. It made me think that a better time for the filing might have been right after one of those awful events, but the rest of the audience seemed supportive of it for now.

I must say that the panel for “WTF Hillary”, which was intended to dissect the reasons she lost, might as well have been talking to us from Mars. Eight months after Hillary’s loss, I expected to hear some introspection. Well, there didn’t seem to have been any lessons learned. I sat in a room with hundreds of people, and there was never a mention of emails or Wikileaks. There was only one small comment about Hillary’s lack of likeability. One of the panelists actually said that she thought every woman in the country would vote for her! (I considered that a very sexist statement.) According to everyone on the panel, Hillary lost because Trump is white, Misogyny, Russia. Yeah, okay.

The panel discussion called “What Now, Republicans?” was a little less unrealistic, I thought. There was a schism among the panelists as to some of the events being discussed in the news. For example, some guy named David Frum tried to tell everyone in the room that Trump needed to be investigated because he colluded with Russia and was roundly booed by both the rest of the panel and most of the audience, The general attitude of the panelists was that Trump was possibly a huge mistake, but how could the GOP move forward for the next few years? I don’t recall any of the panelists admitting to being a Trump supporter, at least not at this forum.

The room called “Democracy Village” had some vendors. There was a large MSNBC area where they handed out Morning Joes (coffee and iced coffee) and had a line for people to have their picture taken with their favorite newscaster. I didn’t see any of their newscasters there, but I might have just walked by the booth at the wrong time. The Libertarian booth was quite popular and usually had people lined up to take the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz”, I know my friend Boomer Shannon was interviewed a few times, and I was actually interviewed twice. ( If I see any of the interviews online, I’ll post them here.) The vice-chair of the Libertarian Party of Pasadena was there in costume along with one of our recent candidates, who was dressed as Lady Liberty. They were interviewed several times and had their pictures taken quite often.

The weekend was fun and interesting. I met some new people, and bumped into a couple I hadn’t seen for a while. The event was well-run, and I wasn’t aware of any issues that became a problem. I was very pleased that some food trucks were brought in, and I had one of the best burgers I’ve had for years. There is one glaring complaint from me, though, and that is that there were no third parties featured. Richard Winger and Christina Tobin both were there, but I wasn’t able to see either of them speak, and I haven’t found videos of their talks yet. Gary Johnson spoke last year, so I don’t think there is some policy they had not to mention alternative parties. I plan to write to the Politicon people and ask that they add some speakers besides the duopoly for next year.

I do think our Libertarian booth made the weekend worthwhile for Libertarians. We made sure that we had a presence and educated many people about what our Party stands for. I also networked with some of the other vendors and found some people I’ll stay in touch with and, hopefully recruited some people to learn more about what Libertarians can offer.

Here is a link to the Politicon website

Jill Pyeatt is the Regional Chairperson for the Libertarian Party of Pasadena/Glendale and is an occasional writer and commenter at IPR.

26 thoughts on “Jill Pyeatt: ‘My Weekend at Politicon’

  1. Mike Williams

    Nice professional review / write-up. Though the event would bore me to death. I’d prefer a music related lecture about the history and significance of Pink Floyd, The Beatles, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, or the like. Or in the visual arts, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Vincent van Gogh, William Blake, or Andy Warhol, etc.

  2. Tony From Long Island

    Good stuff Jill!

    I will just disagree with you slightly . . . . .

    There was absolutely no mention of the alternative media, the existence of which is the whole reason the whole # Fake News narrative was started.

    The real “fake news” was started by Russian pail trolls in Montenegro posting non-stop nasty crap about Mrs. Clinton. Trump took the ball and rolled with it. I know you are going to hate that 🙂 I am aware of your venomous hatred of Mrs. Clinton. I didn’t vote for her, but the fake news crap was just ridiculous (but effective).

    ————————————–
    I have not seen the Ben vs. Cenk debate, but a friend of mine said it was quite good. He tends left, but said that Ben Shapiro made some good points.

    I definitely want to go to a Politicon in the future.

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    I will disagree with you about Fake News because I have followed it from the beginning and actually made a speech about it, and that speech involved genuine research. But, it’s not a big deal that you have a different take one it.

    The Ben/Cenk debate seemed to be the biggest event of the weekend. There were so many people in line for it that the line had to go outside, meaning the people waited in 100 degrees hot sun for an hour. I chose to watch it on video. The audience booed Cenk quite a bit, so maybe that gave him a disadvantage. They both made some good points.

    It would have been difficult not to have a good time there. Despite the big division between the Democrats and Republicans, everyone seemed to get along fine, and some of the debates were genuinely thought-provoking.

    There was a Metallica concert at the Rose Bowl Saturday night, which is In Pasadena, and I know some people actually went to that as well as Politicon. I’ve seen Metallica, and that would have been fun–

  4. paulie

    I don’t think clickbait fake news started with the US 2016 campaign. It’s a phenomena that evolved in the last few years as a way to capture advertising money with sensational, made up headlines, basically the internet equivalent of a supermarket tabloid. It’s true that the Putin-Trump gang made extensive use of it to manipulate the US election, as was done by Putin agents before and after the US election in other countries. It’s also true that mainstream news has its own spin and is often misleading, but it’s a false equivalence to equate to these types of clickbait sites. Just as it is a false equivalence to say that because the US regime has done its own share of manipulating public opinion and elections in other countries that we shouldn’t see any problem with Putin’s gang doing so on behalf of racist movements and dictators all over the world, including in the US.

  5. Tony From Long Island

    Jill, I’m sure you are right that 2016 wasn’t the absolute start of Fake News, but it certainly had its most impact.

    You and I are never going to agree on what you call the “mainstream media” 🙂

    mmmm Metallica . . . haven’t seen them since 1997 or so . . .I think I’ve seen them 3 times

  6. Mike Williams

    Tony, yup, it is quite true that Jill is not a Clinton fan to say the least, nor Trump. But I think this article was rather neutral and fair in all cases, noting that Jill is a Libertarian and it is an opinion piece from her perspective. As noted though, personally I find politics boils my blood and so I stay away from it as much as possible. I have way too many other interests in life. Zzzzzzzzz

    Again, good job Jill.

  7. Derrick Michael Reid

    Hi Jill

    I started following you on Twitter.
    I am considering running for US Senate in California.
    Any Advice?

  8. Jill Pyeatt

    Hi, Derrick–Nice to hear from you. I’m not as active on Twitter as I am on Facebook, but I’ll follow you back on Twitter next time I’m there.

    If you’re running for the Senate as a Libertarian, I suggest you meet with or correspond with the Orange County chair, whose names escapes me right now. I’ll see if I can get his contact info for you.

  9. paulie

    As noted though, personally I find politics boils my blood and so I stay away from it as much as possible.

    So how did you find your way here?

  10. NewFederalist

    “I am considering running for US Senate in California.
    Any Advice?” – Derrick Michael Reid

    Switch to a gray uniform. California is into secession now!

  11. langa

    It’s also true that mainstream news has its own spin and is often misleading, but it’s a false equivalence to equate to these types of clickbait sites.

    You’re right. It’s an insult to the clickbait sites.

    Just as it is a false equivalence to say that because the US regime has done its own share of manipulating public opinion and elections in other countries that we shouldn’t see any problem with Putin’s gang doing so on behalf of racist movements and dictators all over the world, including in the US.

    You should tell that to the straw men in your head, since they seem to be the only ones making the “false equivalence” to which you refer.

  12. Andy

    It sounds like Jill had a fun and interesting weekend. If I had been in that area and not been too busy I would have probably attended as well.

  13. Bondurant

    Thanks for the Politicon write-up, Jill. Always like to read original content on IPR when possible.

  14. Stuart Simms

    Derrick Michael Reid, find about 200 well funded friends to run for Senate as Democrats in CA. Then when you and one other Libertarian receive the two highest vote totals in the primary, you have a chance to win.

  15. Jill Pyeatt

    Richard, please let me know if you find a video of your talk. I looked last night, and couldn’t find one. I also couldn’t find one of Christina’s with Ed Asner.

  16. Michael Williams

    Hi there Paulie,

    I’m not a fan of politics per se, but I don’t have tunnel vision either and do have WIDE interests at a basic level in a LOT of things. Yes, I either saw a link on Face Book or got an Auto-generated email via Jill C. Stone – Pyeatt’s FB about it. I more wanted to read some of her formal writing. As apposed to her off-the-cuff FB. Jill and I have known one another since we were perhaps 5 or 6 years old. We lived on the same street and her father was our insurance agent. But aside from Hard Rock and Pet Animals our interests have gone in other directions. But even when we disagree she is reasonable and respectful. As you should have seem she did quite well here. It figures she can write, I’m just remembering she was our HS yearbook editor once. LOL She enjoyed HS, for me those were some of my most horrible nightmarish times. Long story there…

  17. paulie

    Rather was in fact essentially correct. The story was planted, most likely by someone connected with Bush, to get the media off that trail.

  18. Andy

    “David Aitken
    August 10, 2017 at 23:11
    Fake news has been around since Rathergate (2004), ”

    Fake news has been around a lot longer than that.

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