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One more hypocrisy on the left, answering some critics

For a group of people who claim to be the party of #MeToo, Capitol Democrats are remarkably willing to shield harassers from the consequences of their behavior – as long as they’re serving in the Legislature.

On June 10, when Republican Assemblyman Steven Choi of Irvine tried to advance a bill banning taxpayer money being used to pay out legal settlements for lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct, not a single Democrat supported it.

Last year, eight Democrats (who all refused to support Choi’s bill) co-authored legislation to prohibit taxpayer-funded harassment settlements. Was last year’s bill just a political stunt to appease advocates in the #MeToo movement? Or are Assembly Democrats voting against good bills just because they were written by Republicans?

Either way, Democrats sided with sexual predator lawmakers instead of victims and taxpayers who are still on the hook for paying out settlements.

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According to a thoughtful piece by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review magazine, California has “America’s first Third-World State.” I’ve been saying this for years as I see rampant crime, poverty, drugs, gangs and homeless defecating and urinating in public.

Hanson aptly points out that a third of the nation’s welfare recipients now live here. While California has 12 percent of the U.S. population, we have the highest homeless population in the nation (135,000) at about 22 percent. There are many reasons for this, not just our good weather. The state’s environmental policies and regulations make it difficult and costly to build housing to keep up with population. The middle class is fleeing radical state policies which include high taxes, excessive regulation – and they have been replaced by an influx of low-skilled, low educated immigrants from Mexico, many of whom are here illegally.

A third of Californians who seek care at a hospital are suffering from either diabetes or pre-diabetes, an epidemic in the Hispanic community but has not led to effective public-health efforts and sufficient publicity. Dialysis clinics dot the towns and communities of our Valley – a tragic symptom of dietary culture, massive illegal immigration, and poor public-health education.

Traffic remains intolerable, even between Turlock and Ceres or Modesto and Manteca. Long commutes to and from the Bay Area are robbing workers of family time. As Hanson notes: “The unspoken transportation credo of Jerry Brown’s aggregate 16 years as governor apparently was ‘If you don’t build it, maybe they won’t need it.’ ”

The direction of the state has been badly bungled since the days of George Deukemejian, Ronald Reagan and Edmund “Pat” Brown. Yes, as a Democrat, Pat Brown believed in dams for water storage and with JFK’s help ignited the first dynamite blast of construction for San Luis Reservoir in August 1962. I’ll never forget how in 2013 former state Senator Anthony Cannella noted how Democrats wage “a Holy Jihad against water storage.”

Hanson notes what I’ve been saying for years: with 27 percent of Californians not born in the USA, identity-politics is obstructing assimilation and integration into American values. We are left with a growing populace that demands overtures to their individual cultures which destroy any notion of coming together with a common interest of being simply one body of Americans who embraces American culture, history and government. The push toward socialism is, in part, coming from millennials and poor immigrants who don’t understand it was never the Founding Fathers’ idea for the government to pay people to do nothing. Until recently you were expected to support yourself – and not by dealing drugs or breaking into houses – by hard work and churches supported those who couldn’t work, like orphans and widows. In this post-welfare society, the name of the game is what money can I get from the government for doing nothing.

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Just months after demanding an investigation into California’s high gas prices, Assembly Democrats voted against a plan to prevent things from getting worse.

Thanks to SB 1 from 2017 – and the uniformed saps who were duped into not repealing SB 1 by Democrats confusing the title of the November ballot measure – California’s gas tax is set to increase by an additional 5.6 cents per gallon just before drivers hit the road for the Fourth of July holiday. That means our state will once again have the sad distinction of the highest gas tax in America.

Republicans released a plan to put off that tax increase and prevent even more pain at the pump for struggling California drivers. Not a single Democrat supported the proposal.

Visalia Republican Assemblyman Devon Mathism worded it well: “ If Democrats want to know why gas prices are high, they don’t need an investigation. They need to look in the mirror. While Democrats claim to support Californians who face the highest living costs in the nation, their actions tell a different story. With (the) vote, Democrats reaffirmed their support for a regressive gas tax increase that punishes every Californian who can’t afford a Tesla. So much for being the party of working people.”

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One of my sons recently moved from the Bay Area to Austin, Texas where opportunities for home ownership are more within his reach. He decided against a moving van because it was roughly $2,100.

However, another son of mine just moved from Plano, Texas to Turlock. The cost of the U-Haul truck was $99. Why the $2,000 gap? It was explained to them that so many Californians are fleeing their state to move to Texas, that the cost of a truck back to California is $100 because they need the brave souls willing to move here to drive their trucks back.

But you won’t hear that reported in bigger newspapers, will you?

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Last week I completed a 2,200-mile trip into Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming and it was a pleasure getting out of California. Traffic was scant, the people friendly, trash was almost non-existent, gas prices were about 70 cents per gallon less, the air was clean, freeway speed limits were mostly 80 mph and 85 mph, the country was wide open and beautiful countryside filled with farms. I saw one homeless person the entire distance.

While there, we checked social media only to be kept abreast of all the violent crimes, shootings and complete societal dysfunction back home here in Stanislaus County. No wonder so many are fleeing to Idaho.

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While I was away, I saw all the fangs come out after my June 12 column was teased on Facebook. (To be fair, lots of people liked what I wrote too).

I suspect that those who squawked the loudest didn’t read beyond the Facebook tease of: “I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about pride this month in relation to the LGBTQ community. Maybe there should be a little less pride and a lot more humility in the world. You don’t hear any talk about Heterosexual Pride Month. Maybe that’s because the LGBTQ community is trying its best to convince the rest of us that they are proud when many are really confused individuals.”

If they actually had read my piece, they would have read that I prefer that everyone live their own lives without shoving their sexual preference in my face. Most of us treat everyone the same despite needing to know which gender is preferred. My column suggested that let’s just be Americans where we all get along instead of promoting lifestyles that are an affront to Judeo-Christian values. Because it’s always shoved in our face, we’re expected to approve and celebrate. And because we’re all supposed to accept someone cutting off one’s genitals to pretend being another gender and we say that’s a little odd, we’re accused of being hateful bigots.

Some even want to shut me down. Take the example of Brenda Scudder Herbert – who works for state Assemblyman Adam Gray. Brenda went on Facebook with this shot from the hip: “It is all about selling newspapers. Jeff knows if he writes about a Condit he is going to get reaction just as when he blames the Democrats and gay pride or his man Toby so folks don’t take it personal, just don’t tune in each week to read what happens next. Remember, Jeff is not from Ceres, his newspaper is not from Ceres, he does not have his hand on the pulse of what is happening in Ceres, he only prints what he knows is going to stir up controversy to try and sell papers.”

I’m trying to understand her personal animosity. While she may be keyed into a lot of organizations and social circles in Ceres – and that’s admirable – for someone who doesn’t attend City Council meetings like I do to accuse me of not having the pulse of the community is hogwash.

Just to set the record straight, I never think about selling papers when I write my column. Newspapers don’t make money selling papers and never have. It’s all about ad revenue.

I don’t write opinion pieces for the purpose of getting reactions; I write to share what I think is going right and what is going wrong with our state and region because I have lived in Stanislaus County since 1966. I’m concerned about the direction of a state led by one party that seems to be hell-bent on destroying most values I grew up with – the value of playing by the rules, the value of life, punishment for wrongdoers, the value of hard work instead of having everything handed to you in exchange for your vote, playing fair with businesses who employ all of us, making sure we aren’t stealing more tax money than is needed to do the job, and dammit have a little respect for people of faith and what their religious tenants say about the right way and wrong way to live to please God.

I also don’t criticize any elected official without a detailed explained of why and I think I have done so thoughtfully. When I see them using office to grandstand for political gain, to buck the system merely to play to an audience to pave a path to higher office, I call them out for it. Honestly it is a painful exercise because it makes you a target and an enemy of that person’s supporters – some of whom are my friends – and it’s uncomfortable. (But then I also have a lot who side up to me privately to tell me what I wrote was “right on.”). Newspaper editors aren’t here to make friends; they are here to publish news and offer opinion and let the chips fall where they may. 

Remember what Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787: “the basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. but I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”

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I received a letter that disturbed me from a Jesse Magana. He wants me to “renounce” my “seat” as managing editor because I called those in the lesbian/gay, bi, transsexual, and queer community “confused” people.

That’s my opinion and I write from the experience of having three close family members who are gay.

Since the LGBTQ community lumps themselves together, I use the word “confused” because while there are two genders, male and female, they have invented 63 of them now. Confused like Stefonknee Wolscht, the 52-year-old father of seven who identifies as a six-year-old girl and who has tried to kill himself twice. If you want an example of the nuts out there, search for the YouTube video “Some people are ignorant - How many genders are there?” 

Magana – I have never met him – made some snap judgments about me. He accused me of several things:

• “Sneaking” in “really dumb and racist things” into CVHS graduation articles, even accusing me of writing something “incredibly offensive” in my June 12, 2013 column, “Let’s rethink the way we do grad ceremonies.” (I had a hunch he was a graduate of that class and I was spot on.) Apparently he was offended by a single sentence that questioned why we feel the “need to conduct bilingual speeches” – especially since not all are bilingual and since the native language is English.

He then claims my reporting of the recent CVHS graduation was “racist” when I reported that “Arellano offered the Senior Spanish Address which wasn’t translated.” The statement is true and I felt necessary to explain why this English language newspaper included none of her speech since it wasn’t translated. I suppose he wasn’t at the recent CVHS graduation to hear all of the students’ English speeches offered in Spanish. By not offering the Spanish address in English – any portion of it – a major segment of the audience was clueless as to what Arellano said. (I might add that the late Ceres rancher Sid Long, so highly esteemed in the community, told me once that he was so infuriated by the practice of students giving commencement addresses in the non-native language of English that he threatened to skip his granddaughter’s graduation. I encouraged him to attend.)

I stand by my belief that if we all spoke the common native language we wouldn’t be so fractured.

• Magana pronounced me as a “white man who presumably does not understand the privilege that he carries when writing about people of color. That is apparent in the ratio of people of color whos (sic) mugshots end up in this newspaper and the lack of white people who do.”

So-called “white privilege” is an invention of the liberal politician who loves class and race warfare so I don’t believe in the concept. Do I consider myself privileged because I was born in America, the most prosperous and powerful nation on the planet? Of course I do. Do I consider myself “privileged” because everyone has an opportunity in America to study hard, go to college become successful in life and make lots of money while the rest of the world doesn’t? Of course. Do I consider myself “privileged” because my skin is white instead of black or red or yellow or brown? Absolutely not. Quit wasting time crying that race holds a person back, and take a cue from Barack Obama who made the presidency, Colin Powell who became a general, Xavier Becerra who became California State Attorney General and Alexandria Orcasio Cortez who jumped from bartender to Congress (sigh).

Secondly, I hate to break it to Jesse, but I run all mugshots supplied by law enforcement; I don’t filter out any white folk, as he suggests. If people of any color have their mugshots in the newspaper, it’s because they have been arrested for a crime and were booked for it.

• Suggesting that I lack “any geographical context when I suggest that we need to quit breaking us down into sexual identity groups and identify simply as Americans. Magana was somehow offended how I used the term Americans. He wrote: “America is composed of Canada, Mexico, and the UNITED STATES.”

I thought it was common knowledge that people from those aforementioned countries are North Americans; but those from Canada are called Canadian; those from Mexico are called Mexicans; and those legal citizens of our 50 states are called Americans. Now, if you are a citizen from another nation and are a legal U.S. citizen, you are American – or at least should consider yourself to be. You fly the American flag and you become part of the American culture.

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Another great meme I saw: “Democrats claim DACA kids shouldn’t have to pay for their parents’ crimes ... but white people are still responsible for 17th century slave owners?”

That’s an absolutely true statement that shows the hypocrisy of the left.

Thanks for sharing that one, Duane Thompson.

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You can’t make up this insanity. Democrat state Senator Nancy Skinner of Berkeley (where else?) has introduced SB 310 to allow those convicted of felonies to serve on jury duty! If you honestly believe that jurors who have served time won’t be more lenient towards accused criminals, we’ve got a high-speed rail system to sell you. Is is stupid upon more stupid.

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Bakersfield and Delano are adding “In God We Trust” onto the back of police and fire vehicles. The ACLU, of course, fought it. Shafter is expected to follow suit.

Contrast that with the Democrats like Steve Cohen who have tried to get the “so help me, God” removed from oaths before Congress.

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