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On our changing society, Silicon’s buying a candidate

It was fun to watch the kids return to school from summer vacation at Carroll Fowler Elementary School where the red carpet was rolled out on Aug. 15.

It just seems like yesterday when I was attending school for the first time at Catherine Everett Elementary School in Modesto. We later mved to rural Oakdale which meant my second school was Fair Oaks Elementary School.

So much has changed since my days at Fair Oaks. For one thing, most of my teachers were women and only men, it seems, were in administration. Gordon Byers was the oldest, meanest, ugliest principal ever! Contrast that picture with the attractive young lady who is now the principal of Carroll Fowler. The big controversy of 1973 was whether or not this one girl at student – she was cowgirl – could wear jeans to school rather than the required dress or skirt for girls.

Back then we didn’t have students confused about their sexuality identity. If you had a male member, then there was no dispute that you were a boy. Missing said part meant you were a girl. It’s pretty cut and dried biology.

We knew there were gays, but they were rare – or hiding. I think my graduating class had one and he was popular nonetheless. Then society grew more complicated and was slowly introduced to LG (lesbians and gays). Then LGBT crept in (lesbian, gay, bi, transgender). Now there is a LGBTQA. I had to look that one up because I thought we had reached the end. It means, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/questioning and Asexual/aromantic. Then there is the LGBTQIA. Translation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or questioning), Intersex and Asexual or allied. In case you’re wondering what “intersex” means – I had to look it up – according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights it refers to people born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies.”

We weren’t as so “enlightened” back in the day and you know, I think people were a lot happier.

At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur in a land of eight tracks, pay phones, Camaros, no cable TV and no cell phones, our schools weren’t shot up by other students. It just never happened. If you had a beef with another student, you called him out behind the backstop after school for a good old fashioned duke out. Today some feel the need to destroy life and limb with bullets.

* * * * *

I still can scarcely believe that with all the money Stanislaus County put into “fixing” the intersection of Santa Fe and Hatch roads that they did not allow for a right-turn pocket for westbound Hatch Road traffic. It’s a single lane for westbound so if anyone is in front of you stopped by a red light there is no room to make a right turn onto northbound Santa Fe Avenue towards Empire and southeast Modesto.

I’m not a traffic engineer but I deem this to be a colossal fail. I guess that means people will still have to cut through the private lot on the corner which once housed a seasonal fruit stand.

* * * * *

According to the late California political kingpin Jesse Unruh, money is the mother’s milk of politics.

Wow, so it’s true. Josh Harder is being bankrolled by lots of people from the Bay Area, the land of sanctuary cities, government overreach, environmental extremism and social re-engineering – and untold wealth trying to buy Congressional seats here in the Valley. We’re only 80 to  100 miles from the Bay Area but were continents apart in values.

How bad is it? Campaign finance records indicate that Democrat Harder has raised about $860,000 from liberal interests in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. That’s more than 30 times as much as the $27,000 he raised from the Valley. 

I’d say that gives Jeff Denham the right to suggest Harder is the Bay Area candidate for the Valley, which are very far apart in values and priorities.

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I note the passing of John Noah Gardenhire, who was born and raised in Ceres and was living in Carmel at the time of his passing. His parents were Neal and Geri Gardenhire. Now the son joins his parents in death. John was just 69.

A 1967 graduate of CHS, John was a noted combat photographer in Vietnam. One of his thought-provoking photos was published in Life magazine. He trudged through muddy fields to capture death and harrowing life experiences faced by American soldiers like my uncle, Carl Dodd. The pictures and the words helped to put a face with real heart and soul on our boys who fought and died in Vietnam. Combat photographers shoot for history and posterity, not body count, the choice to shoot with M-16 or shoot a camera, often a difficult one, one internet source concluded.

A Celebration of Life for Gardenhire is set for Sept. 8 in Monterey.

* * * * *

I find great amusement – and great frustration – with social media.

Let’s try the amusing, first.

Lee Brandt posted that he was happy to see Ceres Police set out the speed display trailer on the route he was complaining about speeding. He wondered if the trailer captured license plate numbers and recorded speeding. Of course they don’t. But William Short suggested, in jest, that: “With new automation technology, you could program the thing to shoot a missile at the offending vehicle and get the speeder out of the highway system forever ... just sayin.’ ”

Now for the aggravating. Don Cool posted a comment about the murder of 20-year-old Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts. The young woman disappeared during a run last month and her body just turned up after a massive manhunt. Arrested for her killing was Cristhian Rivera, 24, who crossed the border illegally from Mexico. He claims he blacked out and knows nothing of the attack. What a preposterous defense. Don Cool posted: “An illegal has been arrested in the murder of the young women from Iowa, what a surprise.” That didn’t sit well with liberal David Graybeal of Ceres who said, “Let’s politicize this tragedy!!! Never here (sic) much when Americans murder someone!!!...”

Sensing Graybeal didn’t exactly appreciate Cool’s view, I replied, “Well, there would be one less dead American if it were not for a person who illegally jumped the border and did not go through proper immigration channels to be vetted. That kind of attitude is like oh well, another illegal killed an American, no big deal.” Graybeal responded, telling me, “You don’t know me!!! That’s NOT my attitude at all!!!”

Actually it’s not politicization when you consider how much crime in the United States is attributed to those who broke the law to be here. The U.S. Department of Justice says 26 percent of the U.S. prison population is comprised of those who shouldn’t be here who were convicted of crimes.

The Tibbetts murder is only the tip of the iceberg. The amount of carnage is staggering and most unnecessary.

How about the Honduran illegal Juan Ramon Vasquez, who was deported in 2009 but came back and was shielded in sanctuary city Philadelphia where he then raped a child? Philadelphia officials did not comply with a detainer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Vasquez was released, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office. After his release in 2015, Vasquez was rearrested and convicted for the rape of a child and unlawful sexual contact with a minor.

The liberal mayor of Philly, who performed his sick little happy dance after his city officially thumbed its nose at ICE and became a “sanctuary city,” should be sued by the victim’s family for failing to obey law and protect criminals rather than his constituents.

There is so much drug peddling going on here in the Central Valley by illegal aliens from Mexico, not to mention other crimes. Off the top of my head there are stories I remember where a drunk illegal alien ran into the back of a car on 99 south of Ceres and killed a citizen. Then were there were the illegal aliens who were involved in a series of home invasion robberies in Stanislaus County that ended in a Turlock shootout. And let’s not forget that the Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S. are responsible for multiple cases of people being burned alive, such as the October 2007 case where Rosa Avina, 27, of Livingston was set on fire outside of Ballico, murdered over a $750 drug debt. Arrested were five members of a mid-level drug trafficking organization who could speak only Spanish. Luis Alberto Valencia was a confirmed illegal alien. Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin saw the obvious similarities Avina’s death shared with a homicide of a man on Santa Fe Drive in the Ballico area in August 2006; and with a May 2007 case where a man’s burned body turned up in an abandoned Gustine barn. 

I’d be willing to bet the two bodies in the trunk of a car found Sept. 4, 2011 burning in an orchard near Hughson was the work of evil doers from south of the border. And what about the other unsolved case where the burned body of single Hughson mom Lauren Grace London turned up in an orchard southwest of Central Valley High School in Ceres? That case appears to have drug cartel fingerprints all over it. No arrest yet as promised, Sheriff Christianson.

And you wonder why Trump was elected president and why Californians are upset at leaders like Jerry Brown who want to harbor criminal illegal aliens?

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Speaking of all of this, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked by a reporter: “Mike Pence and the president have suggested the immigration laws need to be stronger so that people like this man who is accused of this murder were not in the country. Your reaction?” Warren said this: “One of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are. Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers, I met with their mothers who had been lied to, who didn’t know where their children were, who hadn’t have a chance to talk to their children, and there was no plan for how they would be reunified with their children.

“I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat and I don’t think mamas and babies are the place we should be spending our resources. Separating a mama from a baby does not make this country safer.”

I liked the response that FB user Rachel Hanson offered up: “So their children beng housed, clothed and fed in a safe place is so much more horrific than this baby girl being murdered and taken from her family forever? The pure ignorance is disguting.”

I get that not all illegal aliens do such horrific crimes, that most just want a better life. But there is a process that cannot be ignored. Being here is not a right but a privilege. I think we should be allowing people here based on their skills and merit, not just their economic need.

* * * * * 

They tried but failed. But boy did they try.

The Democrats in the state Legislature backed off from a bill, SB 974, which would have given “full scope” Medi-Cal bennies to illegal aliens. It was too hard a push during an election year, but you watch, it’ll come back at a later date if we don’t elect John Cox as governor. My suspicion is they’re waiting for Sleezy Gavin to take Brown’s office.

Latino state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the bill, which would have cost about, oh a cool $3 billion of the taxes we pay. It died in the state Assembly’s Appropriation Committee on August 18, despite an effort to save part of the bill by reducing the cost of taxpayer coverage to $200 million by only covering adult illegal aliens 65 years and older.

You’ll remember that the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed “Health for All Kids” (SB 75) in 2016, which extended full Medi-Cal benefits to 200,000 illegal alien children.

Lara dishonestly (or foolishly) claimed that there would be no additional taxpayer burden from SB 974, because California is already footing the bill for indigent illegal alien adults when they visit emergency rooms. Not true, claimed the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) study of the financial impacts of SB 974. The LAO said the bill would come to $4.74 billion — a $3 billion increase in the burden over the cost of emergency room visits made by aliens. That estimate did not even calculate how many illegal aliens would be magnetized to California from other states for free health care.

Why is Lara so sympathetic to illegals and so quick to make hard-working taxpayers foot the bill for people who have NO RIGHT to be here? Why did he push for driver’s licenses to be extended to illegals and who would love for them to be eligible to vote? Oh I don’t know, maybe because his father, Venustiano Lara, was smuggled in and his mother Maria Dolores Tadeo overstayed a U.S. visa – two people who had no qualms about law breaking? Just a guess. Now like a Trojan horse, their son is in power and does the bidding for millions of other lawbreakers like his parents. Lara is one of these guys who conveniently pull out the “hate card” when anyone wants to protest his bend-over-backwards catering to those who broke the law to sneak into our country.

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Yes, it’s true, Democrat Josh Harder did not vote in 17 of the past 20 elections. The one seeking to defeat Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, was called on it at a recent event in which he said, “That was wrong – I was complacent.” Then he went on to give a very flimsy excuse: “I’ve always believed in solving problems, and I thought a way of doing that was not politics but through business and teaching.” Righ-h-h-t.

Imagine someone not feeling like voting has mattered now trying to get into Congress to cast votes for his own Obama like agenda.

If you watch Harder speak, it’s almost as if he’s watched Obama speeches and tried to copy his cadence and speaking style. 

* * * * *

A Modesto Bee reporter suggested that Denham has “tightly controlled events.” You can blame the crazy leftists who badger Denham in an attempt to get him to lose his cool with their insane pack mentality – hoping it makes the news. As someone who has seen Denham in action for years before the hate-mongerers showed up, and never seen him dodge the issues, Denham seems to remain cool despite the nastiness displayed toward him.

How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at