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The Oregon Herald Endorses Bernie Sanders For President
by Aubra Salt - The Oregon Herald
  Sunday February 21, 2016 - 10:36 AM
 
PORTLAND, Oregon - The Oregon Herald, along with its editors, publisher, and parent, Oregon State Media Inc., is endorsing Bernie Sanders for president.

We have many problems, few of which is democratic socialism. A world government may be part of the answer to global warming, lack of food and water, bigotry, racism, capitalism gone amok, and most important, people who naturally have a tendency to support their football team, country, their own brand of religion, for no particular reason other than they were born or live there.

If you were born in some other country, would you still have the same patriotic feelings for The United States, or would you naturally have adapted the other country's local creed, nationalism or way of life? If you can answer this question honestly, then you may understand my point.

As John Lennon said "Imagine".

Perhaps the best answer is to finally unite as a world government, rid ourselves of most of these traits ruling our planet, and finally, wipe out the disease we call ISIS.

That's a mouthful, easy to say; wishful thinking? Naïveté? Perhaps. Are humans destined to forever own these traits? Probably. But that does not change what is right or wrong.

Let's hope we're not forced to settle for a future world government because there was no government after a World War III, after some international, or world disaster. It may take decades in such a scenario for an effective world government to finally agree and form, or perhaps centuries, or never. I'm thinking never.

Obviously, socialism seems somewhere between capitalism and communism. That's where a lot of the civilized world is heading. Some kind of socialism may be acceptable, even inevitable.

Look, I'm only a news reporter. I don't have any real answers or at least reason for people to listen to me. But let's hope someone has an answer. Maybe that someone is Bernie Sanders. Or maybe that someone is decades away. Do we wait, or think about it now?

If you're determined to hold out for your local dogmas, your state and country preferences because they're close and you're feeling a bit narcissistic, country right or wrong, do or die, then you won't care much for this basic idea or for Bernie Sanders. You'll be waving that flag of any color or design, and you'd rather follow the leader in your local area because it's more comfortable, or that it's the path of least resistance, reluctant to think out of the box, not just where you were born. We all love our family but sometimes blood is not thicker than truth.

I'm thinking, "wishful hoping" and that even now, it may be mostly too late for the people and other life inhabiting this lovely green/blue planet, inexorably but surely turning brown and red. Of course, the end of our "way of life", if there is such an end, will probably not arrive so soon, or even measured in decades or centuries, but technologically, we could find ourselves back in the frontier days. We're using all of our natural resources, water, food from the sea, and polluting our fields with poison. And while returning to "Frontier Life" may sound a bit romantic, remember, I'm not talking about Little House On the Prairie.

Before you say I'm crying wolf, remember, most scientist agree that this bleak scenario is realistic, inevitable, if we refuse to unite for our survival.

Yes, I know. To many this all seems over the top. That's natural. Most of us resist change or dead-end truths, get laughed at or dismissed because an idea sounds strange or even alien. However, the facts are readily available for anyone who takes time to read and open their mind. It's so much easier to deny than accept the truth of global warming and that the human species is, or soon will be, facing a long battle of survival, or at least the kind of life we currently have with modern technology.

Okay, with that out, let me attempt to be more positive:

It was Oregon Governor Tom McCall who signed the nation's first legislation decriminalizing certain marijuana offenses in 1973. I was born in Oregon and participated in the event. Many of us personally like Hilary but trust Bernie more, even though I hesitate, wondering if Sanders will be strong with other countries, in the short run, such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Syria.

Bernie Sanders seems to think out-of-the-box. Most of us may not be ready for it but the box remains nevertheless. A case in point is the desire to legalize marijuana on a federal level.

Many Oregonians felt "The Burn" when The Burn himself said, "Legalize it all" No other candidate has made such a statement and few candidates willing to make any such a statement. Sanders calls for marijuana's full legalization, both medically and for recreation, all at the federal level. Is he ahead of his time or just a lost cause?

The website, feelthebern.org reports:
In fact, Sanders introduced legislation, known as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, in the Senate during November, making his views on the illicit substance very clear. While Sanders has stated that marijuana "wasn't for him," he views the drug war on marijuana as wasting government resources. If you are strongly in favor of sweeping marijuana legislation, Bernie Sanders is the candidate you'll want to be closely monitoring.

Bernie Sanders believes the United States' current "war on drugs" is a failed policy. He recognizes that the war on drugs has not quelled the drug-use epidemics facing the nation. Instead, he advocates treatment for drug addiction, not punishment – and he's repeatedly introduced legislation to extensively reform the criminal justice system along these lines. He supports medical marijuana and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana, and has said that he supports the right of states to opt for full legalization.

Bernie believes that the war on drugs is ineffective and harmful, and has claimed from the country more than just money and manpower: it has destroyed people's lives through mass incarceration of nonviolent offenders. As of June 2015, 48 percent of all federal inmates are in jail for drug-related offenses. Compare this figure to the fact that homicide, aggravated assault, and kidnapping offenders comprise only 2.9 percent of the federal prison population.

Bernie says, "What I can tell you is this: We have far, far, far too many people in jail for nonviolent crimes, and I think in many ways, the war against drugs has not been successful."

How much has the war on drugs cost us?

The U.S. spends $51 billion annually and over $1 trillion dollars since 1980, according to a report by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Of this amount, over half is allocated to reducing the supply of drugs. Less than 45 percent of the budget is devoted demand reduction, such as treatment and education. According to the same DPA report, "Much federal funding for treatment is, in fact, funneled into the criminal justice system which is far less effective than health-based approaches." Instead of receiving treatment, people are being funneled into a drug court.

"We have to dream big because America is built of big dreams," Birnie Sanders aid. "I'm not hearing that from Secretary Clinton. What I hear from her is typically what I hear from the other side of the aisle: 'You may have big dreams, but they're not realistic.' "

Whatever comes in November, I'd be most comfortable with Sanders as president, and perhaps Hilary as Vice President. I would not be surprised to find it the other way around.