Ellis Soodak, Bernie Sanders, and Media Bias.

This article was posted with the permission of Ellis Soodak, a good friend and avid Bernie Sanders supporter. It originated as a facebook post.

Even if Hillary’s policies were better than Bernie’s—and I emphatically believe they are not—electing Bernie would be the first step toward dismantling our increasingly-corrupt political system. Voting for Hillary because of our long history, and sadly continuing tradition, of sexism might make us feel warm and fuzzy, but it won’t do anything regarding dismantling the actual systems that allow for this discrimination to continue to take place. These systems all derive from one place: the disconnect between the government and the people. Women make up 50% of our population, yet men practically have 100% of the power in politics. Whites make up 77% of America yet, again, practically control politics. The government has no incentive to listen to these groups because money speaks louder than people—disenfranchisement is easy when a hefty donation can buy political influence. And while I think Hillary is great and I doubt she truly intends to feed into the corruption in Washington, right now America needs someone who not only speaks out about these issues, but also someone who embodies them. To me, the decision isn’t just clear—it’s essential: Bernie Sanders 2016.

Ellis later expanded on allegations of media bias:

The polls [are not] an accurate gauge of who won—neither does the video—but it’s newsworthy. In fact, I actually think that Hillary *narrowly* out-performed Bernie, but I also think that because they had different goals for their performances, victory isn’t linear/zero-sum. Spencer’s giving me the benefit of the doubt was wise, I can do a lot with that benefit. For example, CNN could have just as easily written “Internet Poll Respondents Disagree with Political Experts” in their headline article covering the debate. They could have even made it a separate article—but instead the only article about Bernie’s performance in the debate from CNN was this absurd article (http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/14/politics/bernie-sanders-va/) about his statements on Veterans Affairs. CNN actively CHOSE to remove the poll—that is not in the spirit of journalism; it runs counter to a goal of informing the public. At best, it’s terrible journalism (although terrible journalism that consistently favors Hillary from the mainstream media makes me raise an eyebrow [http://www.alternet.org/…/bernie-bias-mainstream-media…]), at worst, it’s a blatant furthering of an agenda.

These are definitely interesting points that merit consideration. I have my own view, but I’m curious to see what you all think! Please let me know!

This video, with an annoyingly tenuous link between CNN and Hillary (alleging insidious corporate bias), was posted along with the article. Watch it at your own peril.

Memories Maketh Man

list-820965_1280Something that I’ve struggled with throughout my seemingly eternal seventeen years of living has been the idea of missing someone. When you miss someone, your whole life is thrown out of whack. You start seeing that person in every part of your life, even those where that person normally wouldn’t be found, even in your thoughts. But these memories, these mental images, are never accurate. Personally, I always forget about the little flaws and sometimes even the big ones, and, on seeing this person again, I’m always let down. That’s because I didn’t actually miss them. I missed the idea of them; I missed the construct of that person with which my mind had replaced their reality. In fact, if I could compare my memories, as I have them now, to the actual events that occurred, I’m perfectly confident that not a single memory would be entirely accurate. As such, are any memories real? I would say no. This school of thought brings up an interesting point. I believe that each person is defined by their memories, and if any of my memories were different, the bad ones or the good ones, I would be a completely different person from who I am today. From that perspective, it would seem as if the things that happen to you dictate the person you become, but that’s not what I believe. I am confident that, since none of your memories are 100% accurate you are actually changing who you are and who you will become by the standard deviation of the incongruity of your memories. I’d go so far as to say that your own subconscious bias is what colors your memories and thus defines you as a person; as such, you define yourself. Yes, that is a whole bunch of faux-psychological poppycock, but it leads me to ask: what factors go into the discoloration of your memories?

Kevin McCarthy and the Speakership.

I thought the Republican Speakership race would be a coronation—a swift, uneventful vote…and voíla: Boehner 2.0. I clearly thought wrong. Kevin McCarthy’s decision to drop out of the race was startling but not necessarily surprising, as I will touch on later. Fundamentally, it’s just the latest chapter in the political saga of Republican disunity.

Liberals may look upon the proceeding with a sense of unabashed, unaltered glee—political schadenfreude at its finest. I’ll admit it, it’s sort of funny that Republicans are engaging in this civil war. But we shouldn’t be happy at all.

While the Bakersfield Boy’s (Kevin McCarthy’s) comments on Hillary Clinton and Benghazi were certainly damaging, he was still expected to glide to victory. Jason Chaffetz, known Secret Service-hater, was already being considered an also-ran—so what the hell happened? The Freedom Caucus did, well, most likely. While we may never be able to know McCarthy’s exact reasons for leaving, his rhetoric—concerning a divided conference and disunity—provides a pretty good guide.

Over the last week it has become clear to me that our conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader. I have always put this conference ahead of myself. Therefore, I am withdrawing my candidacy for speaker of the House.

Translation: “How did Boehner deal with these people?! No wonder he cried a lot!” (Disclaimer: translation might be totally fictionalized). It seems clear that the proximal cause of this announcement was the Congressional far-right’s decision to back Daniel Webster, well-reputed to not be Kevin McCarthy. And…. another one bites the dust. The same forces that drove Boehner from his office, toppled McCarthy, and that bodes ill for the house—which is why this shit show is not surprising. As my boy Pete King put it: “It is total confusion – a banana republic.”

The Republicans had the imperative, upon election, to demonstrate that they could properly govern. They have bigger problems than that now, they need to learn to govern themselves. Going back to my point about why liberals ought not be happy—these developments are not well and good. The speaker that does rise from the burning embers of the House Republican Caucus will most likely not be as moderate as McCarthy or Boehner were and Mcarthy and Boehner were not even that moderate…dammit!

The retort “but [Democrats] will retake the house, right?” is a function of willful ignorance of our country’s politics. As Matthew Yglesias points out, in an entirely different context,The odds of a continued Republican congressional majority are overwhelming.”[1] Everyone should be concerned with the outcome of the speakership race due to the political chaos it has created, we have a debt limit crisis coming up as well as a spending fight that keeps getting postponed. The volatility of the political climate in the House and the power wielded by the Freedom Caucus threatens the ability of our legislators to govern. Ultimately, good governance should be the House’s the main focus; sadly, it is not.

Update: Congresspeople are straight up crying because of the stress and chaos.

[1] http://www.vox.com/2015/9/30/9419309/elizabeth-warren-should-run