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Issue 39 of Banter M is now out! In this week's edition: 

Why I Love Bernie Sanders - Ben Cohen goes in depth on Bernie Sanders and argues he is the best candidate for President in 40 years. Does this mean Hillary is a bad choice? Not necessarily, writes Ben, especially in light of Donald Trump's alarming ascendancy.  

Dancing Dad pt 2 - Chez Pazienza's hilarious trip to Las Vegas for a children's dancing competition continues. Key quote: "I’m sitting in an oversized banquet hall about 20 feet away from a 16-year-old who’s thrusting her vagina at me. She looks alarmingly like Jessica Alba. This could be a problem." 

Anyone Upset by the New Ghostbusters Trailer Can Go Cry About It - Do not insult the new Ghost Busters movie, threatens Jamie Frevele, who says it is "really exciting to see Ghostbusters who look like me. They aren't secondary, they aren't dumb caricatures, or in need of rescuing, or nagging anyone. They are people. They are Ghostbusters." You have been warned. 

You can read the first half of Ben Cohen's article below, and the entire issue here.


Why I Love Bernie Sanders

by Ben Cohen 

I want to be clear about this -- I love Bernie Sanders. I mean this in the most fanlike way possible and am not ashamed to say it.  I think he is the best candidate the US has seen in decades -- and that includes President Obama, Clinton and Carter. 

Bernie Sanders is more progressive than virtually every active politician today and has a record of being on the right side of every issue important to liberals. From war to welfare, Sanders has consistently put the interests of the vulnerable ahead of those with the most, and his lengthly legislative record is definitive proof of this. As Matt Taibbi, a journalist who has spent a significant amount of time with him, wrote when laying out the case for his presidency:

Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his "grumpy demeanor." But Bernie is grumpy because he's thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who've had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time.

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, it is impossible not to respect this. His compassion for the most needy and his unwillingness to sell out to gargantuan corporate interests that have corrupted the US political system are a real rarity in the current political climate. To declare oneself a socialist in America should spell the death knell for any politician's career, yet here Sanders is, running for president against the well oiled Clinton machine -- and doing pretty well. 

To me, it is blindingly obvious that Bernie Sanders is a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. As corporate centrist Democrats go, Clinton is fine. She is effective, driven, and a highly skilled political operator. She has a reasonably solid, liberal record in the Senate, and she is running on a platform decidedly more leftwing than  in 2008. But she has political baggage, and a lot of it. 

It is true that the majority of her baggage comes from the breathtakingly cynical Republican led war against her and her husband -- a war entering its third decade that promises to get even more rabid and insane should she be the Democratic nominee for president. But Clinton's negative image amongst many liberals is exclusively of her own doing -- a fact made clear during her campaign against Obama in 2008. Clinton's ruthlessness and dishonesty as the election began to slip away from her seemingly knew no bounds. She flailed desperately against a surging Obama, and resorted to a number of underhanded strategies to regain control of the election, including a smear campaign involving his former pastor Rev. Wright, an unsubtle attempt to link him to Louis Farrakhan (and even Hamas), then letting her husband loose to astonishingly use the race card in South Carolina. 

It should not be forgotten that the Clintons ushered in an era of corporate centrism that betrayed many of the Democrat's core deals, arguably setting the course for mass incarceration, widening inequality and the financial collapse in 2008. Hillary opposed some of her husband's policies in private, but has remained throughout her career a 'safe' Democrat who has pledged not to rock the boat or disrupt business as usual. Clinton has taken millions in donations from Wall St precisely because of this. She is a good investment for the industry and she knows it. 

Clinton is also a foreign policy hawk who voted for the Iraq war, and consistently refused to take responsibility for it. She is a hardliner on Israel, wanted to intervene in Iran during their revolution and urged US military action in Libya. There is no doubt she will likely continue Obama's drone wars in the Middle East if she wins in November, and we can be fairly certain she will be more aggressive than Obama when dealing with foreign policy issues. This was the major reason I regularly denounced Clinton in 2008 and strongly preferred Obama, who ran on a far more cautious, realist platform. It is also a major reason why I support Bernie Sanders in 2016. 

However, my dislike for Hillary Clinton as a politician and her dubious record in office does not mean I believe she would be bad for the country. And it does not mean I am going to partake in the incessant Hillary bashing we are seeing from ardent Sanders supporters who are genuinely convinced Donald Trump would be a preferable candidate. 

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