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The hysteria of both climate change and methadone clinics

One of my favorite movie scenes is when the wizard con artist is exposed as a fraud at the end of “The Wizard of Oz.” It all comes to end when nosey dog Toto pulls back the curtain. He continues his sham of instilling fear by hopelessly flailing at the controls and barking into the microphone: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Dorothy and her friends see a fraud for what he is.

Folks, global warming proponents are the man behind the curtain. We’ll stick with the term “global warming” because that was the original charge before they switched it to “climate change.”

Governmental agencies like NASA and the UN are perpetuating the sham. It’s all gloom and doom and stupidity.

Take a recent op-ed written by Kathleen Rogers who is president of Earth Day Network, one of the biggest fronts for the global climate community’s quest to push for more government control and money.

Listen at her dire doomsday statement: “The way we produce, consume and discard food is no longer sustainable.” Whoops, better tell the farmers in our county about this.

The alarmists are attacking food production as being responsible for “up to a third of our global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Then this hand-wringer goes on to attack livestock production. (This is where the concern over cow farts comes in.) According to Rogers, cows are “culprits” that are “driving deforestation, degrading water quality and increasing air pollution.” I live in Stanislaus County and I’ve been to Montana and all western states and never once seen cows grazing on land that was denuded of its forests but she wants us all to cut back on eating steaks and hamburgers. (I think the global climate chicken littles are in cahoots with PETA).

“Leaders must create policies that ensure all communities and children have access to affordable fruits and vegetables,” Rogers writes. I know that every town with a grocery store sells fruits and vegetables so is saying taxpayers must subsidize people who can afford cigarettes, sodas and Twinkies but not broccoli? Why can’t they buy carrots and cauliflower with those taxpayer-supported EBT cards. I’m confused. And for crying out loud, how about growing veggies in their yard? Seeds are cheap.

But like all good liberals, it’s about the money, I am guessing, when I read: “Politicians can also tackle systemic inequalities by redirecting agricultural subsidies to promote healthy foods, as well as investing in infrastructure like rural roads, electricity, storage and cooling chain.”

The oceans are not rising, like the alarmists claim. The beach in San Francisco is no higher than when Buffalo Bill rode on it in 1902. The South Pole has more ice than ever before. The temperature change in the last 100 years is a half a degree – and it’s surely not man caused.

After a while you’d think people would start being skeptical of this nonsense which is designed to scare the crap out of our kids when people like Al Gore when he uttered in 2006 that we had a point of no return from disaster by 2016.

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I have attended decades of council meetings and think it’s funny how people form into camps on issues or on personalities. It’s funny too how hysteria steamrolls into outright exaggeration.

I’ve heard numerous people make claims like, “If you guys don’t do something, somebody’s going to get killed.”

I heard a full gamut of similar exaggerations last week, like how the entry of a methadone clinic on Mitchell Road will cause downtown Ceres to fall apart. And if you weren’t familiar with a map or didn’t know Ceres at all, you would have thought the clinic was being dropped into the middle of downtown – or a residential neighborhood next to a school and it clearly isn’t.

The truth is that the Aegis Treatment Center is going into a commercial area behind the Walmart store along busy Mitchell Road. The nearest residence is Rosewood Avenue and is basically cut off from the eastern side of Mitchell Road by an ever-present stream of traffic both northbound and southbound.

The residents wasted their time – about a full hour – because the Commercial Commercial (CC) zone allows medical clinics like the methadone clinic Aegis is bringing. To deny Aegis the right to set up shop would not only be unfair since they are playing by the rules set forth by the city, but it most certainly would justify a lawsuit against the city for discrimination.

Of course, the council can change the zoning issues relating to methadone clinics but for this project it cannot. The rules are in place and Aegis is abiding by them.

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Shawna Moore is a bit off in her suggestion that I “attack” Councilman Condit because of some deep-seeded bias against the Condits. Any criticism that I have is based on what I see occurring at council meetings. Not only did I serve on a city council in my lifetime and know quite a bit how local government works, I have been covering council meetings since the 1980s.

I have complimented as well as criticized or questioned Channce’s votes and motives. In my June 5 column I noted how I liked his Memorial Day speech at the Ceres Memorial Park; and on July 17 noted that he had a good idea in having Ceres participate in strike teams. But as I witness some head-scratching votes, I, as well as others, wonder if it is more about laying the groundwork for higher office. Part of that behavior is making unreasonable demands and quarreling with staff and fellow councilmembers. 

I’ve never been a fan of term limits because they don’t really benefit government.  At higher levels limits only serve to insure that the unelected bureaucrats control the process. It didn’t surprise me that Condit stated that he wants term limits for the Planning Commission and City Council – maybe because term limits are popular with many. Nobody else on the council liked the idea. The truth is, it’s hard to find good people to serve on the commission and term limits would only further frustrate filling open positions. 

If he doesn’t run for higher office – like mayor or county supervisor – I will publicly apologize for my suspicions. But to be fair, it’s okay to seek higher office once you’ve completed the term that one so desperately sought and pledged to serve.

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The longer you live, the more predictable life is.

Last week there was a fatal crash taking the lives of three persons on the Oakdale-Waterford Highway. When I saw a photo of a mangled Camaro, I told others that it involved a young man and high speed. I was spot on. The driver who caused it all was 21 and from Oakdale and he was speeding. He was killed and unfortunately he took out two innocent people after he smacked head-on into them.

There are far too many young teenage boys and males in their 20 who don’t use their brains. They are brash, reckless and feel indestructible because of the lack of experience in life.

I’ve known my fair share of young people who died young in a car. Not all people mature at the same age but I’m starting to wonder if it would be wise to raise the driving age and voting age.

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It’s hard to believe that we live in an age in which judges treat prisoners like royalty.

A panel of three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Federal District Judge B. Lynn Winmill’s December ruling in favor of inmate Adree Edmo receiving a taxpayer-funded gender reassignment surgery. Edmo is serving a 10-year sentence for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy at the age of 22. He is a male and has the parts and tried to cut them off. Now the judges say the state has to pay for his surgery.

Some people might be wondering why we are letting this man breathe after what he did. But I think it’s reasonable that Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican with common sense, is fighting this insanity of spending $20,000 to $30,000 for a surgery.

The judges feel it would be cruel and unusual punishment to allow this man to continue being the male he was born as. Maybe Edmo should have thought about the consequences of his actions. Going to jail kind of pre-empts enjoying the freedom to have unnecessary surgeries. 

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at