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It all seems like a ruse for socialism

It’s refreshing to see a city finance director acting professionally at City Council meetings with no animosity toward her boss or axes to grind.

Leticia Dias was given the position recently and as an outsider looking in it appears she has been doing a great job.

* * * * *

I think it’s terrible that if you’ve lost your job it’s because the government decided to create a list of “essential” and “non-essential” workers. It’s kind of ironic to me that you can flip burgers to make money and be considered essential but if you cut hair or sell products at Costco you’re not worthy of earning a paycheck.

The latter job is what an old classmate of mine and great friend does. Eric recently moved to Ohio from Lodi last year. On Friday he posted on Facebook: “As one of the 30+ million unemployed “non-essential workers,” I resent being told my job is not essential for me to make a living and provide for my family.”

I answered him: “I’m sorry. You are essential. All people’s jobs are important. It’s time to quit with this grand socialist game. I’m tired of the games being played by the power brokers.”

I know there are a lot of under 30’s who still live with their parents and play video games all day – products of the entitled generation – but many men find their worth and value in working and providing for their wives and children. I fear this pandemic shutdown – which has gone on too long, governor – is damaging the psyche of the average person. The government has some people in fears that if they pick up a gas nozzle or touch the door to a Circle K that COVID-19 will have them dead by evening.

Get past the fear and look at the statistics.

The death rate in Stanislaus County so far is 0.000025 percent. You get that by taking the 15 who have died divided by the population of 550,660.

As of Monday, 2,172 have been listed as COVID-19 deaths in California. Divide that number by 39,780,000 and you have a death rate of 0.0000546 percent. So Stanislaus County’s death rate is about half of the state’s. And so far all who have died have had compromised health or were elderly. If you took LA County out of the picture, California would have a death rate of 0.00002371 percent!

California is the most populous state yet our COVID-19 deaths account for 3.1 percent of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths. New York, by contrast, was at 27.5 percent. Is our death rate relatively low because of herd immunity or social distancing? I don’t know but I suspect it’s been traveling back and forth between California and China for some many months now.

So as you can see, the problem is in the highly densely populated areas, not in rural areas like Stanislaus County. So why are we still in lockdown?

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I grew up in a large family that met frequently. I was exposed to a lot of my elders – grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, and others – who modeled civility for me. I looked up to my great uncles (my grandmother’s brothers) both of whom served in Europe during World War II. They were fine Americans. They worked hard. They fished. They were family men. They treated me, a child, with kindness and respect.

Which leads me to 2020. Respect seems to have been flushed down the toilet. In an era of social media, a person feels they can disregard one’s feelings and shoot arrows and expect few repercussions because of distance or a short attention span.

Recently I posted a meme that showed The Office actor John Krasinski at a white board with the words: “How about anybody who wants to remain quarantined can stay at home while the rest of us go back to living our lives as we choose…” The next frame continues: “After all it’s ‘my body, my choice,’ isn’t that right?”

Obviously it was an attempt to use the left’s defense of abortion as being a body right and apply it to our civil liberties.

Only one of my Facebook “friends” posted a disrespectful “Stay the f--- away from me and mine!” Given that he lives in Florida and I doubt if I ever see him again, I took offense at his curt obscenity and his complete abandon of civility. I “unfriended” him as I refuse to accept being at the receiving end of such incivility. 

Unfortunately far too many people today pop off with the f-bomb or spew utter filth on social media. It really degrades humanity and I long for a return to the day when people seek to better themselves and others and care about their language.

Obviously the Bible had a lot to say with the words that come out of our mouths: “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:10-11. And this is good advice, too: “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23). This is also a good one: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6).

* * * * *

I have yet to receive my stimulus check but I’ve seen the letter that is sent to recipients. It’s from the White House and bears the facsimile signature of President Trump.

I confess that I thought it was out of place and wondered what Speaker Nancy would have to say about it. Just being honest, I thought it odd that the president would send a message – and seize on the publicity of it all – conveying information about payments from the $2 trillion stimulus payments approved by Congress. Keep in mind, though, that the law said a letter had to be sent out explaining the reason for the payments – that Americans were given money to stimulate the economy and help pay bills after most businesses were shut down because of the Covid-19 deal.

But, boy is the Left squawking about Trump’s letter! Nina Olson, executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights, called the letter “unbelievable” and said it makes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) look “like it is the handmaiden of one administration and one party.”

She said the letter would “harm the IRS and its ability to appear nonpolitical and nonpartisan.”

Wait. Stop. And the IRS, under Lois Lerner, didn’t damage the IRS’s so-called impartiality? Remember what she did? She was director of the IRS under Obama who was investigated for selecting conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. Of course, then FBI Director James Comey – perhaps the most corrupt FBI director in history – decided nothing wrong took place. You know, kind of like how he determined after a two-day investigation into Hillary Clinton’s shenanigans that she did nothing wrong despite evidence to the contrary, while Congress spent three years looking into Trump’s alleged Russian collusion theories and came up empty handed.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., one of the biggest political opportunists in history, called the kettle black when he said Trump ”unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests.” And Mr. Schumer’s party didn’t try to cram all kind of Green New Deal crap into the stimulus bill?

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When does this out-of-control federal spending end?

Two more rounds of stimulus are being discussed which could result in spending $10 trillion we don’t have. When it’s all said and done, we may be looking at Uncle Sam spending $60 million per COVID-19 case. The national debt could reach $35 trillion by the time it’s all over. This will accelerate the quest for universal basic income.

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Newsom is being sued by Judicial Watch for diverting $75 million of taxpayer funds to provide direct cash assistance to unlawfully present aliens. The lawsuit alleges Newsom overstepped his authority and violated federal law when, without affirmative state legislative approval, he took executive action to create the “Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project” and provide cash benefits to illegal aliens who otherwise are ineligible for state or federal insurance or other benefits due to their unlawful presence in the United States.

 On April 15, Gov. Newsom announced his new executive initiative to provide direct assistance in the form of cash benefits to illegal aliens. The initiative, known as the “Disaster Relief Fund” or the “Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project,” would spend $75 million to provide direct cash payments to illegal aliens and cost an estimated additional $4.8 million to administer. Newsom’s executive initiative would provide one-time cash benefits of $500 per adult / $1,000 per household to 150,000 unlawfully present aliens in California. These benefits are not provided to U.S. citizens residing in the state.

The lawsuit is based on federal immigration law which states that unlawfully present aliens generally are ineligible for state or local public benefits only through the enactment of a state law. The lawsuit alleges that the California State Legislature has not enacted any law that affirmatively provides that unlawfully present aliens are eligible for the $75 million of cash public benefits announced by Newsom.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said “The coronavirus challenge doesn’t give politicians a pass to violate the law. If California politicians want to give cash payments to illegal aliens, they must be accountable and transparent, and, as federal law requires, pass a law to do so.”

Unfortunately I think the Democrat-controlled state Legislature most certainly would have supported such a law.

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I have one reader in particular who is always an antagonist of any view that I hold. It’s OK for I can hold my own with him. But I’m a bit bothered by his militaristic responses to my column. For example, I never said that we should not be concerned about the coronavirus, just like we have always been concerned about the flu. As you know, approximately 40,000 to 60,000 people die every year of the flu and we never found it necessary to close down one of the greatest economies in recent memory. Mr. Carreon almost gleefully offers the latest COVID-19 death numbers as he tried to juxtaposition what I said about this being overhyped. At no point did I say that the deaths were overhyped. What I said was stripped down the liberties of the healthier population was wrong when we should be focused on quarantining those who are elderly and at-risk. That seemed like it would be better and healthier policy for the United States.

I never said no to social distance.

I never said don’t be concerned and be foolish about your daily routine.

What I said, rather accurately, was that with the Ebola virus with its 50 percent mortality rate, didn’t result in the Obama Administration shutting down the American economy. Where was the concern for the health of the American people or the media harping on Mr. Obama when he failed to act swiftly to the swine flu crisis? Or do the Democrats and the media see this as a great opportunity in 2020 to dismantle the Trump economy for political purposes, hoping that it will finally do the job that they’ve been trying to accomplish for the last 3-1/2 years which is impeachment?

Like lots of people I cannot for the life of me figure out the inconsistencies with this lockdown policy. On Thursday mornings, for example, you can still go down to the Modesto outdoor farmers market where people are jammed alongside the Modesto library but the governor of the state says you can’t plop down on a beach? Even though you keep your six-feet distance?

You can’t trust people to stay away from people at least six feet away while they go hiking in remote areas like Turlock Lake State Park?

You can go into a Home Depot and your local grocery store but you can’t go into church? What in the hell is that?

It has the fingerprints of the liberal agenda all over it which is attack or marginalize people of faith (they tend to vote Republican, you know); make people a ward of the state (by crippling successful business people who hire people); make people dependent on government for subsistence (so you’ll support them in the polls); usher in cash benefits who those illegally here in our country; make people quaking fear; control the sale of ammunition and guns; and get off on the control other people’s lives, not to mention the attacks on those who pointed to the Constitution as the reason why you can’t limit people’s movements and freedom. The Left doesn’t like the Constitution and wants to completely rewrite it.

Typically quarantines involve keeping sick people in their homes, not keeping healthy from going to work.

Of course it bothers me to see the media so laser focused on trying to rip the president a “new one” and focus on hospital beds and ventilators and far less concerned about what health experts may have learned about the virus or pressing for a return to normalcy. For New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi to plant this question is reprehensible: “If an American president loses more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam war does he deserve to be reelected?”

My first thought is, since when do we blame a president for deaths to a virus? We don’t blame the governor for highway deaths or mayors for every time some child gets run over by a car after stepping out in front of traffic. These lives are at Trump’s feet? Really? Since when?

I think most Americans are fed up with this political media snipe hunt against the White House because they’ve never liked Donald Trump.

* * * * *

There are institutions of which we don’t like to impune reputations.

We like to think all police are good when some are corrupt and are caught doing bad things – on camera.

We’d like to think every court verdict is just and fair when in reality some innocent people are placed behind bars for decades until DNA clears them.

We like to think that once we mail a letter it will get to its destination when at least three times a month I find somebody else’s mail stuck in my box.

We’d also like to think that our elections are free from fraud when obviously there is a problem.

The problem really came to light two years ago when an exorbitantly and suspiciously high number of provisional ballots were cast in the 10th Congressional District.

During the congressional primary election of 2016 there were a lot of zombie voters who came out. Zombie as in dead. Zombie as in they hadn’t voted in decades and yet they all rushed out to vote that election. 

The dirty little secret is that any candidate or political party can legally obtain a master voter file from a county Registrar of Voters which contained voters’ names, addresses, registration date and previous voting record broken down by past elections. You can find out which registered voters are not likely to vote based on past record. Send them into each precinct and impersonate that voter. 

There were reports of college-aged kids walking into the polls with blue cards in hand with pre-printed names and addresses and claiming to be that person who hadn’t voted in years and requesting ballots in person. There is the story that a Patterson gentleman who was allegedly 116 or 118 years old and hadn’t voted in 20 years walked into a poll to vote. Hey, we don’t check IDs of voters so I find out my neighbor never votes and walk into a polling place and claim to be him and grab his ballot and vote.

Looks mighty suspicious when long time poll workers in Manteca and other places didn’t recognize a lot of people and never had ran out of ballots on Election Day. 

How is it possible that, up until Election night in 2018, Harder was losing with 49.4 percent of the vote and yet he won 66.7 percent of the provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots? How is it explained when you consider that historically the change between the Election Night count and the final count differs by less than seven-tenths of a percent?

If Democrats were truly interested in guaranteeing fraud-free elections, they would back a voter ID law like the Republicans. But they don’t.

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Media outlets like the New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN embarrasses me as they should all Americans.

Sarah Palin is suing the Times for defamation when they suggested in an editorial that she was responsible for the Arizona shooting that killed six and critically wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords. They absurdly suggested that campaign materials distributed by Palin’s political action committee incited the shooting because a map had superimposed crosshairs over some Democratic congressional districts that could be challenged in future elections. The three judges on the  2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court was wrong to dismiss Palin’s defamation lawsuit and called her claims plausible.

If you’ll remember it was that same brand of irresponsible journalism that caused CNN to be successfully sued by Nick Sandmann, the Covington Kentucky high school kid who was maligned as causing the ruckus in front of the Lincoln Memorial in January 2019. CNN had to pay undisclosed millions. It wasn’t the white boy with the MAGA hat who caused the problems, like CNN reported, but videos showed it was a bunch of angry, foul-mouthed racist-towards-whites members of the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites. The demented members’ goal is to "bring about sort of a race war to foment the kind of ultimate clash between good and evil — between God’s chosen people and the damned and the imposters — so that we can bring about the second coming of Jesus and a new world."

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