I hope you have a means to protect yourself now that a third of the Stanislaus County jail is being flushed out onto the streets.
Sheriff Jeff Dirkse isn’t very happy about it either.
Why is this being done? Because the California Judicial Council says they can’t socially distance themselves so they set bail statewide at $0 for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in California jails. That means about a third of local inmates will be let out, including the thieves and drug dealers. Since the majority will go back to their crimes, look for more of your cars and houses being broken into.
* * * * *
I’ve been telling you this whole Covid-19 thing has been an overblown situation from the get go and certainly not worthy of destroying the American economy – unless the ulterior motive is to screw with Trump’s re-election chances.
The models started out with a doomsday scenario of 2.2 million Americans dying. Then it was revised to 200,000. Now Dr. Fauci suggests it may now be closer to 60,000, which is what the death count to flu is every flu season yet we never shut down the economy for that.
If Trump opens up the country, don’t expect Gov. Newsom to follow suit. In fact, watch for the two to butt heads – again. Never forget how Newsom tried to scare the crude out of everyone with his excessively exaggerated forecast that 56 of us in California were going to get this virus. As of this writing, of 39.51 million Californians, just 23,300 cases were reported in the state. That’s 0.00058972 percent – nowhere near 56 percent.
* * * * *
Having watched internet only accessible meetings of the Ceres City Council (twice now) and Planning Commission I have to say this is not a good way to conduct government.
I think a large segment have been disenfranchised, to quote today’s left. The older set tends to be technologically deficient and could no more navigate the process of Zoom to watch – let alone participate – in online meetings.
Of course, Gov. Newsom is the one who signed Executive Order N-25-20 to allow this nonsense to happen. I find it ironic that many of us have continued to shop at Walmart or Target or Save Mart or AM/PM and yet the few interested folks can’t go down to the Community Center and watch local government in action?
In the council meeting of March 23 to comment on an item you would have had to jump onto your email account, and shoot off a coherent email in time before the council voted. This isn’t feasible for some folks, especially those without computers or the know-how.
To watch the Planning Commission last week I had to download the Zoom app and take up more space on my personal hard drive.
This is nonsense.
I’m not criticizing our local officials – I’m critical of the governor and his overreach by suspending the Ralph M. Brown Act which keeps open transparency in government for its citizens.
* * * * *
I’ve noticed something in the past month.
Those who are quick to embrace the government lockdown of business and life itself tend to be liberals like Ceres resident Dave Carreon, who always has to post antagonistic comments on our Facebook page.
Liberals subscribe to the notion that government is all knowing and needs to take care of the bleating masses of sheep too dumb or weak to take care of themselves. That’s why schools “have to” feed kids when they’re out of school – families depend on the government to supply food when back in my day your parents made you a baloney or tuna sandwich and you took it to school in a sack or a lunch pail.
Liberals were happy to hear that Congress passed the economic stimulus bill to send $1,200 to every American but wanted more. (Liberals love government handouts). I cringed at the news of yet another stimulus bill. The federal government decided to spend $2.2 trillion it doesn’t have to pay people who have been forbidden from working despite the fact that they could have with masks and gloves and/or distancing. For the most part, our staff at the Ceres Courier hasn’t stopped showing up at the office yet we’re seeing Sacramento TV reporters broadcasting from their homes? Is this just for show?
Does the average American have any idea how deep in debt the U.S. government is already? $24 trillion and climbing! Today, the country owes over four times more than it did in 2000, when the national debt was at $5 trillion. How did we get here? By spending more than we took in and to pay it off, every American household would have to cough up $186,745. Do you have that kind of money lying around?
* * * * *
In these times, turn off the TV news and read a good book. For those hysterical and afraid of this pandemic, here are a few comforting statistics. As of March 19: you have approximately a 0.00006963 percent chance of dying from COVID-19 in the United States, so chill. You have small chance of getting it, in which case — unless you’re older and have an underlying medical condition or compromised immune system — you can stay in your house and recover just like 63-year-old Tom Hanks did.
* * * * *
Somehow Americans have slowly been convinced that the U.S. government is the Savior. Trump was exactly correct when he schooled a reporter that the states should have been handling the coronavirus on a state-by-state basis. We’ve gotten away from the notion that states should take care of their problems before the U.S. government is asked to help out. It used to be that the federal government was responsible for several key things: national defense, postal system, and later roads. FDR introduced socialism into the mix and suddenly the government became primarily a distributor of wealth, taking and giving on the basis of the haves and have-nots. Our Founding Fathers never intended for the federal government to dictate loss of freedoms and putting food in the mouths of the American people.
* * * * *
In the American Thinker, Christopher Paslay suggests that the coronavirus is the left’s “third and final installment of its trilogy of doomsday scenarios that rounds out the Russia collusion and Ukrainian quid pro quo narratives.” He hits the nail on the head that while the prior attempts to get rid of Trump didn’t work, they think now they’ve now hit the jackpot. He believes the “elitist ruling class and self-appointed gatekeepers of our society and culture — academia, Big Tech, the entertainment industry, and the mainstream media” have found a way to “gain back some of the direct control over the lives of average Americans they’d so frustratingly lost under President Trump.”
It started with a foreboding sounding name which scares more than the word, influenza. Although it kills 500 times more people and sends 50 times more people to the hospital, the flu is not exotic sounding enough to create a panic over, suggests Paslay. But Covid-19, oh my! Then so-called medical experts – who are all over the map – used models which forecast 2.2 million Americans dying, then throttled that number back down to 60,000.
So let’s talk about the flu you and I are used to living with. Flu season in the U.S., which runs from October through May, claims tens of thousands of lives every year. This season CDC estimates that, as of mid-March, between 29,000 and 59,000 have died due to flu! Ordinary flu puts 400,000 in the hospital every flu season yet there is no government mandate of businesses, parks, malls, golf courses to close. Why don’t 60,000 deaths prompt medical experts to urge the president to shut down life every year? Good questions nobody has answered yet. I suspect it has more to do with 2020 being an election year in which Trump is running.
As TV stars galore assure us on quickly produced TV commercials that “you are not alone” – despite the fact that we are all alone and tired of it – they seem to be selling us the idea that we should accept staying at home and not spending money as the new norm in America. I’m not buying any of it.
As Paslay suggests, the left gains “the power to control your life, to make your decisions for you, to set the narrative and impose their elitist progressive worldview on everyone and everything — oh, and to get rid of Trump, too.”
As a fellow classmate of mine from the Oakdale High School class of 1979 living in Ohio said: “This is a self-inflicted crisis that is shocking, and disheartening, and frankly maddening that we have allowed our overlords to devastate our economy.”
* * * * *
Election? What election? Oh yeah, 2020 is an election year isn’t it? Despite the media’s obsession with making Covid-19 the ONLY story, there are other things going on.
The 10th Congressional District will be electing a new congressman. The election was held on March 3 but here we are … still waiting for the canvass period to be over since the governor extended it another 21 days because apparently he doesn’t think elections workers can count ballots with masks over their faces.
On Thursday I checked the California Secretary of State website and spied the latest numbers: Democrat Josh Harder has 64,656 votes. Republican Ted Howze has 50,843.
There were three Democrats and three Republicans in the March 3 primary race.
Here’s what’s interesting: If you take all the votes for Democrats, you arrive at 72,879. When you add up the Republican vote totals you come up with 75,542. That’s encouraging for Howze supporters because those Elliott and Livengood votes will not go to Harder.
One can only wonder if Harder can possibly win without his busloads of Bay Area activists knocking on doors in post Covid-19 to harvest those ballots.
If a person can’t vote and send in a ballot on their own or show up at the polls on their own initiative, I question if they ever gave the candidates or the issues much thought. I still hold that California should ban ballot harvesting like other states have. But it’ll never happen.
* * * * *
The latest vote tally in regards to the county supervisor’s race is as follows:
• Channce Condit, 5,292 votes (40.86 percent).
• Tom Hallinan, 4,236 votes (32.71 percent).
• Mike Kline, 3,424 votes (26.44 percent).
As of now, Condit received 1,056 more votes than Hallinan.
Startling is that there were 1,012 “under votes” in the supervisor’s race, meaning voters didn’t vote for whatever reason – likely because they weren’t paying attention.
With Kline out of the race (and pledging to seek re-election to the council), Condit and Hallinan face off in the general election under circumstances never anticipated. The Covid-19 thing may possibly prevent candidates from campaigning as they have – going door-to-door, slapping backs and kissing babies, speaking to groups – well into the fall. If anything, there may have to be a more direct focus on the issues since personal contact may be out the question.
There’s speculation as to what happens to the Kline voters. Will they go to Condit or to Hallinan or go into the land of “under votes” (could have voted but didn’t)? They obviously make the difference for the winner.
My theory remains that a majority of Kline voters will slide into Hallinan’s column. Here’s why: The 5th District encompasses Ceres and the west side communities of Patterson, Grayson, Crows Landing and Newman. Kline wasn’t well known outside of Ceres but made attempts to familiarize himself with the west side. Hallinan is well connected to the west side where he has served as attorney for the city of Patterson and counsel to the Grayson Community Service District.
Condit’s strength obviously is in Ceres which is in the thicket of “Condit country” who still believes Gary Condit was a great congressman who got a raw deal. Channce has a fan base here. I think it’s a very safe assumption that Kline pulled a lot of Ceres voters who are no fans of Condit. They may, like me, see Condit as a political opportunist who isn’t committed to his office, and couldn’t resist climbing the political ladder not even halfway through a four-year council term. The 3,424 who voted Kline, on the other hand, recognized that Mike was committed to serving out all of his term and only sought a supervisor’s seat at what would have been the conclusion of his second term on the City Council. They didn’t view him as someone lusting after Sacramento power. Kline voters will then feel more comfortable in 59-year-old Hallinan, who is far more experienced with life and politics (served on the Yosemite Community College District Board for 20 years).
Hallinan is perceived as an amiable middle-of-the-roader who doesn’t carry the arrogance of an attorney. Hallinan should think about educating voters about Condit’s lack of experience, controversial council voting record and his complete abandon of his commitment to Council District 1 voters for personal political purposes. Put the two resumes side by side in a political mailer that seeks to convey truth and not bear the feel of slinging mud.
* * * * *
I am a fan of Survivor so I usually run CBS Evening News beforehand to keep the TV on that channel. The news was on. I don’t like listening to mainstream news because of the perverse way they report news. I was not surprised when they decided to introduce race into their coverage. Like right out of the Democrat’s playbook they ran a story about how Covid-19 impacts the black community five times worse than whites. My first question was why would that be the case? Isn’t the black community following the same shelter in place rules as those of any other race? Charges of government racism be damned, could it be that diabetes is 60 percent more common in black Americans than in white Americans and that those conditions do not bode well for flu victims? Genes play a role but more importantly lifestyle is the reason for diabetes. So now if you’re critical of the government suspending your rights of free travel and the pursuit of happiness you’ll be tagged as a racist?
Those three intellectual midgets of the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris – the ones recently rejected by Democrat voters in the primaries – have demanded a daily racial breakdown on Covid-19 victims and testing. They’re back to the old race baiting. It really gets old and it’s no wonder why Americans rejected them in their respective presidential bids.
And if you don’t think she’s intellectually dishonest and corrupt, Harris suggested Trump’s support of hydroxychloroquine makes him a “drug pusher.” That comes despite many medical professionals who suggest the anti-malaria drug (around since the 1950s) could be effective for the worst off of Covid-19 patients.
* * * * *
CBS was caught again with dishonest reporting again.
While reporting about New York hospitals and Covid-19 CBS ran video of crowded Italian hospitals. They were called on it and apologized and said it was an editing error. But then they repeated it again the following week.
Here’s some more mainstream media B.S. courtesy of MSN, of course: “Squandered week highlights Trump’s lack of COVID-19 focus.”
The rest of U.S. have seen a president intently focused on the pandemic nearly every day with two leading doctors at his side for press briefings yet MSN recounts in a childish piece the early days of this in early March, claiming Trump was too lackadaisical, that he golfed, that he shook hands. Who exactly was it who shut down travel from China in late January, 10 days after the first U.S. case? Trump. Who said it wasn’t necessary? Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.
The effort to portray Trump as unprepared to deal with this medical crisis is dishonest and disingenuous.
On Feb. 29 Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, said on the Today Show: “Right now at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. You’ve got to watch out, because although the risk is low now — you don’t need to change anything you’re doing — when you start to see community spread, this could change, and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.”
And Trump was faulted for not shutting down the country earlier?
* * * * *
Some are alleging that all the Covid-19 death numbers are not accurate. Candace Owens noted that about 1,002 Americans die of heart disease each day. If you die of heart disease and have symptoms of Covid-19 officials are report it as a Covid-19 death. After Owens released that Twitter a medical examiner’s office worker said that suicides and murders are being classified as Covid-19 deaths if they carry the antibody. Most of those would have been survivors.
* * * * *
I fell for it. I clicked on a Drudge Report link that suggested only 40 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance. As you know, presidents are safe when it’s 50 percent or higher, especially in an election year.
The click took me to the Reuters poll. It sampled 1,116 Americans by phone, of which 157 aren’t registered to vote. Of the 1,116 surveyed, 480 were Democrat and 376 Republicans so they oversampled Democrats to Republicans by 104 people! No wonder the Trump numbers looked questionable.
I dug into Reuters’ numbers and this came up: 86 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance and 9 percent of Democrats do! So when you oversample Democrats you’re contriving the numbers. Polls are intended to influence people not explain where people are!
* * * * *
It’s no secret that Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra is a Republican who thinks the state has bullied cities. He has slammed the heavy-handed tactics of the state as they seek to undermine local control.
I always appreciate his take on things. On April 1 he shared somebody else’s posting on Facebook. It read:
“GOVERNMENT STIMULUS CHECK
So here’s what’s up:
1. To Tenants: If the government says you don’t have to pay your rent and there’s a ban on evictions, you better do whatever you can to pay your rent. There will be major repercussions when evictions bans are lifted. Don’t think you’ll get a free ride out of this. PAY YOUR RENT! Your landlord has bills to pay too.
2. To homeowners: If the government tells banks to stop mortgage payments, DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO PAY YOUR MORTGAGE! Some lenders are saying you don’t have to pay for 3 months but on the fourth month, all four payments are due in full. Do not take a chance and not pay. Major foreclosures will come from all this. The banks didn’t help homeowners in 2008-09 and in 2020, it’s still the same. Pay your mortgage.
3. If the utility company suspends payments, you better pay any amount you can! They are like banks, they will want their money eventually and when all this clears up, you’ll owe an exorbitant bill and still won’t have any utilities. Pay whatever you can.
4. If you get a government stimulus check, this check is to help pay your bills. That means you pay your rent, your mortgage, your utilities, your insurance, your car payment, your bills. This is not for frivolous spending.
5. The real problem is, many who will get the stimulus check....you won’t pay your bills then be crying and wailing saying “They evicted me. They cut off my power, they repossessed my car...”
All while you’re broke and carrying that empty purse you bought with your stimulus check.
It’s not a free for all, people think wisely!”
* * * * *
As you know the Great Government Mandated Business Shutdown of 2020 will destroy tens of thousands of businesses. But prior to that, it was announced that Berkeley Farms is closing its Hayward milk plant and sending 315 to the unemployment office. Dean Foods, the company which owns it, was hoping to sell the plant but there were no buyers. Who would be interested in the regulatory BS and taxes of the Bay Area?
The company filed bankruptcy as a result of a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption. Dairy sales dropped from $14.7 billion in 2017 to $13.6 billion in 2018, according to the Dairy Farmers of America.
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 email@example.com