By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Leftists pit race against race, poor against rich

Other than pitting race against race, pitting poor against the wealthy, taking away gun rights, robbing from Peter to give to Paul, the Democrat Party doesn’t have much of a platform.

Every issue brought up by Democrats – keep in mind I used to be one about 39 years ago – seems to be framed through the lens of race.

An example: Instead of taking issue with marketing scheme of tobacco companies – they call it “Big Tobacco” to make it appear more ominous – the Democrats inject race in condemning an ad campaign against SB 793, a bill that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products in California. 

I’m not a tobacco user and never have been. But I’m all in favor of people having the freedom to use tobacco products. After all, I thought our fine education system was educating kids about the dangers of smoking and chew tobacco.

A press release issued by the Democrats last week said “‘Big Tobacco’ is notorious for dumping millions of dollars on slick and misleading ad campaigns …” Misleading ads? Like Democrats won’t be dumping millions of dollars lying in an effort to repeal Prop. 13 this November; or telling us how bad the Trump presidency has been despite evidence that the country was flourishing before these Democrat governors shut down our states’ economies.

“This ad campaign shows Big Tobacco will continue to cheat black and brown Californians out of their chance at survival unless lawmakers stand up and vote Yes on SB 793,” said San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton. No mention of white children. Why the need to single out race? If the health of all persons using tobacco is at risk, why only mention black and brown people?

Phillip Gardiner, co-chairman of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, took it farther, suggesting that tobacco ads target poor black people. He labeled the tobacco companies’ ads “racist lies.” Hold on. If tobacco companies are claiming tobacco is good for you that would be a straight-out lie, not a “racist” lie, right?

The same press release notes that black people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and smoking only exacerbates the disease. No argument there. But don’t people in a free country have a right to decide if they want to smoke? Democrats fail to mention that COVID-19 affects black and brown people to a greater degree because they have a higher incidence of underlying health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure from unhealthy habits. They also tend to live and socialize in higher family densities.

Democrats also proclaim: “Over 80 percent of black smokers use menthols as the direct result of Big Tobacco’s decades of predatory marketing…” What in Sam Hill is predatory marketing? You mean ads that try to get you to use their product? If that’s the case, I guess all those TV ads trying to coax you into making that expensive trip to Disneyland or a family vacation aboard Carnival Cruises or trying to get you to use your subscription drug of choice could be classified as predatory. I see a lot of car commercials trying to get me to go into debt to feel good about myself when behind the wheel are also predatory; yet I pay them no heed because I’m content with what I have for now. I wouldn’t call their ads or commercials predatory.

* * * * *

I’ve never seen a political party rush to the aid of criminals like I have the Democrats in California. 

On Wednesday California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra – a true danger to all hard-working, law-abiding Californians – urged the state Supreme Court to eliminate unaffordable bail. Becerra feels that pretrial detention should depend on an individualized assessment of the need for a person to be detained, rather than on a defendant’s financial resources.

(Odd, however, that Becerra is all in favor of taxing the crap out of people based on a person’s financial resources.)

So Becerra wants to eliminate unaffordable bail. Silly me, I thought the idea behind bail was ensuring that flight risks will return for their trial. Imagine how many defendants will never darken the door of the courtroom if they’re allowed to skip out of jail with paying no bail.

Becerra has always been a friend of the criminal. There’s never seen a more meddlesome AG than him. Earlier this month, he interfered with Florida lawmakers – gee that’s not your state, dude – by demanding they do away with a new law they passed that strips voting rights from parolees or those on probation who have NOT paid remaining court fines, restitution, and fees. What’s it to this California official what Florida lawmakers enact? Besides, actions having consequences is a concept Becerra doesn’t believe in. He doesn’t even think felons should stay behind bars for COVID-19 reasons.

* * * * *

Do gun laws work?

Well, let me ask you this: Did laws against the use of illegal fireworks curb the use of illegal fireworks last month?

So the answer is no.

Up in Seattle they’ve added restrictions on law-abiding Washington gun owners, plus a tax on gun and ammunition sales, and they have dramatically failed to reduce violent crime as promised.

In 2014, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a gun prohibition lobbying group funded by wealthy elitists pushed through Initiative 594, a so-called “universal background check” that was supposed to keep guns out of the wrong hands. And in 2015, the Seattle City Council adopted a gun tax that has not come close to revenue forecasts. In 2018, the gun ban lobby rammed through Initiative 1639 to prohibit young adults from purchasing any kind of semiautomatic rifle and requires an “enhanced” background check and 10-day waiting period, plus proof of training. 

Last week, Seattle reportedly matched its 2019 homicide total. With four months remaining in the year, the body count for the city, and likely the rest of the state, will only go up.

The gun is just a tool. Like any tools, it can be misused. Law-abiding gun owners have never been the problem – the problem is evil people wh misuse it.

You might also know that the Alliance for Gun Responsibility also sides with violent protesters who want to defund police, and whose occupation of a Seattle neighborhood earlier this summer resulted in four shootings and two homicides where the victims were both black teens.


* * * * *

Democrat lawmakers continue to screw business in California.

Lyft suspended its ride service on Thursday – resulting in a loss of income for thousands of independent folks who use their cars – all because Democrats had to tamper with the system and “rescue” people who didn’t need to be rescued. In the end they ended up screwing the drivers.

Democrats in Sacramento passed AB 5 which went into effect that says companies can only classify workers as contractors if they perform work “outside the usual course” of their business. Attorney General Becerra filed a suit against Lyft and Uber haven’t paid enough payroll taxes as a result of the new classification. The money-grabbing anti-business AG sought restitution for unpaid wages owed to drivers, civil penalties and a permanent ruling that would prohibit the companies from “misclassifying” drivers.

Becerra said classifying drivers as “independent contractors” simply means “you want your workers or taxpayers to foot the bill for obligations you have as an employer — whether it’s paying a legal wage or overtime, providing sick leave, or providing unemployment insurance.”

Um, it’s a gig job which drivers were more than willing to accept the terms of. 

A ballot initiative would override AB5 by classifying ride-hail drivers and other gig economy workers as independent contractors. It would also enact labor and wage policies for ride-hail drivers, including a net earnings floor based on 120 percent of the minimum wage and 30 cents per mile; a limit to the hours permitted to work during a 24-hour period; healthcare subsidies; occupational accident insurance; and accidental death insurance. 

* * * * *

Our story last week about the council brainstorming ways to stop the illegal fireworks in Ceres was met on Facebook with pushback against the idea of charging the sellers of legal fireworks an extra fee to buy more eyes and ears on patrol next year. Brandon Shaw posted: “That’s California for you; punish law-abiding citizens for the action of law breakers.” I agree that it seems to be unfair to ding the non-profits to finance the city’s campaign against illegal fireworks.

After all, isn’t the city collecting $1,000 from those who were cited in 2019 and 2020? Why not use that money to hire Ontel next year? 

* * * * *

Ceres resident Mitchell Christiansen would like you people living in cul-de-sacs that you cannot be parking with your nose straight in at the curb. It’s true that you must park parallel to the curb. Having your car stick out into the road means that fire trucks and other vehicles won’t have the room to turn around.

Use common sense folks.

* * * * *

People are not happy that the schools are shut down. I agree that it’s ridiculous. Students, of all people, are least affected by COVID-19 and remember it was our Democrat governor who shut our schools down. Jeremiah Sasser perceptively noted on our Facebook page that our public schools are gobbling up money at the same rate and delivering an inferior product. He posted: “All that money in and learning isn’t happening. Same people that fed us ‘every day missed of school is equal to 5 days’ crap. We should pay them based on the hour a day zoom they are feeding us! CUSD is a joke on learning. We need school choice to hold them accountable!”

Karen Julio posted: “So, the governor allows state-run daycare for kids to gather if the parents pay for it, but they cannot send kids to taxpayer-paid schools, because the virus knows the difference between the two? Ok, got it.”

Jewel Moore wrote: “I don’t feel like my kids are gaining anything from this. My daughter is usually already done with the instruction while the teacher is still trying to explain how to do it to the parents that have a language barrier or don’t understand technology, which takes away from the whole class and makes the kids lose focus.

“I wish we have an option to opt out of the school year until the kids can return to classroom or have the classes prerecorded so the kids and parents can do the classes on their own time.”

All of this will make home schooling more popular. But that’s something the teachers union in California would love to completely eliminate.

* * * * *

So Scott Peterson gets a new penalty phase trial. Big whoop.

Death Row inmates don’t actually die in California. We have a governor who campaigned in favor of the death penalty and once he got into office declared a moratorium on executing the worst of the worst. Bait and switch.

Let’s hope Scotty doesn’t see the other side of the bars.

* * * * *

I saw a great meme the other day: “While we train the police to better enforce the law, why don’t parents better train their kids to obey the law. It might help some.”

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