Stardards Doubled, or How Many Asterisks Does It Take?

President Trump, like growing numbers of most elected Republicans and supporters of this administration I’ve been blessed to know, have extreme double standards when it comes to the U.S. Constitution and any form of definable ideology when it comes to government and how it interacts with the American people, business, the states and healthcare.

For those of us on the other side of a Republican talking point, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

These are the Republican tools of government when it suits their purposes:

‘Regulate it. Control it. Stamp it out. Starve it of resources. Deny it access to the markets.’

And, make sure that no one sees yourself as the double standard, few discernible values, questionable ethics, loose moral standing person, party and movement that you happen to be part of at this moment.

The Republican Party has only been heading in this direction my entire life. That’s not to say that y’all aren’t good people.

Good people like Republicans and Trump supporters are very willing to cut food stamps (SNAP) while increasing tax cuts for the wealthiest corporate farms in America.

When the economy literally goes where it hasn’t gone since the Great Depression, it’s a struggle to get food stamps back on the bargaining table for many Republicans. And, food stamps literally is the most successful government program in existence.

I don’t care about people whining and complaining about people buying whatever food they want with food stamps. Yes, listening to these people whine and complain is the biggest cost to increasing food stamps and feeding hungry people in America.

Imagine how lucky it is. At any moment, we could have a new administration take over the White House, and willy nilly cut the food that helps feed the family, all because someone has a shitty story about seeing someone use food stamps to buy something they could eat.

Imagine if I had a job, had the skills and the training to do that job, had the education provided not by public schools alone but by a family and community that actually made certain I knew what I needed to know after every year. Imagine that.

Imagine if I hadn’t been hungry when I went to school every morning, and to bed every night. Someone is always coming in to eat our food. Food is always shared by good people.

That’s what makes throwing it away so painful and such a loss when the government could pay these farmers and construct an efficient system that would transport that food to hungry people, since apparently the private sector cannot figure out something sensible on its own.

We haven’t paid to make an efficient government system in this country in decades. That’s why most agencies use such ancient computers. That’s why it often seems as if these agencies don’t work well with one another for our benefit.

And, yet, Americans love telling shitty stories about their neighbors, apparently.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we started giving a damn about them instead?

We care enough about farmers to give corporate farms nearly all the bailout money, and we should care about farmers. We should care more about farmers to get the bailout right.

There is no reason a corporate farm should get the same percentage assistance as a small farmer. It doesn’t make any sense.

Smaller farms have higher costs, can’t negotiate prices, can’t purchase suppliers, I could go on. It’s why small farms have been disappearing for decades. Income inequality comes in many forms. It’s not just about individuals. It’s about business.

Anyone else notice all the farm bankruptcies forcing auctions across our lands over the last 3 years? That’s new.

No one was looking for Rauner’s ass during all of that? Nor were they looking for Trump’s either.


But, a pandemic happens, and all of a sudden, everybody around here is a public health expert, a doctor and doesn’t need to respect the law, the order or each other.

I will not like when those lessons come back to bite us all. 
And, they will.

The problem with double standard living as a nation is that no one respects our word, no one respects our work, and no one respects our nation.

That’s what we have now.

It was never more clear than it was when Trump blew up because Twitter gave him an asterisk.

If Trump didn’t know he deserved the asterisk, then the 25th Amendment should be invoked.

It’s a difficult world for a lot of people, including President Trump. He’s got a tough job, many jobs, actually.

Especially after getting rid of the pandemic response team in 2018 didn’t work out so well for so many.

One of Trump’s jobs shouldn’t be lying to us.

Our top job should be to make sure we’re not lying to ourselves.

(Image: Graphemica)

A Lot of Work Left to Be Done

It is clear the voters will have the first woman Representative to Congress in Southern Illinois come 2021. I congratulate Erika Weaver on a hard fought campaign to win the Democratic nomination for the 15th Congressional District. As I’ve expressed to her personally, I will provide any advice, expertise or personal effort that I can to help to make this a Democratic Party victory in November. 

There is a lot of work to be done throughout the 15th District, and I am dedicated to push forward our efforts to reform government, programs and policies that promote our economy, our communities and our people. 

As we trudge through this ongoing and unfolding coronavirus pandemic and response, you can make certain that we will continue to provide leadership on our priorities of healthcare, education and an economy that works for everyone. 

Now, more than ever, we must rely on facts, science and each other, holding elected officials and candidates accountable for their actions, for their words and for the consequences from what they’ve both said and done. 

We’re in this together. However, we must not be silent when confronted with facts and bad faith. 

I certainly won’t be. 

Thank you for your vote, for your support and your strength that keeps our district, our communities and our country alive. 

Why should voters nominate you and not your opponents?

Consistently, I have shown up, stood up and spoken out on our rural issues. When I hear a problem, I don’t just give it lip service, I do something about it. 

As a primary candidate, I had visited the Rosiclare Public Library many times. It was the only place for children to come to after school. Sometimes, it was the last place they’ll have access to food before school the next day. When the librarian informed me their roof was leaking and they may have to close, I asked tougher questions. 

They had not received a vital check from the state. Immediately after leaving, I made a phone call. In a week, the librarian had a check in her hand because Comptroller Mendoza’s office acted so quickly. 

I bring that hands-on approach to every issue.

I have a hands-on approach to healthcare from years working on federal boards and in the field. I got involved in healthcare because people’s lives were on the line. Healthcare professionals and consumers elected me to leadership positions because I had led the charge against decisions the government was making that would have adversely affected Americans. That’s what you can continue to expect from me today.

Watching our small farms continue to die while big farms have cashed in on the largest portion of the Trump bailouts is unacceptable. I remember getting my own hands dirty weeding beans in the 80s on my grandfather’s farm. We must have a strategic vision for our agriculture sector that brings more trade and job-creating opportunities for our farmers instead of relying on bailouts. 

Our energy sector is as diverse as our district. Investing in all of our workers and green energy while protecting both our energy diversity and the environment are all crucial. 

I offer a hands-on approach, one where I will listen and work with our local communities, to connect resources with jobs to move our district forward. #Gaither15IL

A Pro-Growth Investment in the Future of Sullivan

There are rumors that Titus Manor, after being purchased by the City of Sullivan, will be tore down, as well as the Civic Center, to be replaced by a larger, better facility. 

The Civic Center should have been replaced a decade or more ago. Titus Manor, although a historic building, has serious issues after being the home of hundreds and hundreds of our seniors over 50 years. In fact, the estimated cost to taxpayers to fix the Manor are upwards of $1 million dollars.

I do know that multiple permanent fixes were made to the Civic Center over the last few decades, and multiple contractors had the opportunity to finish the job. None of those permanent fixes were really permanent, as so many of us know. To fix the problems at the Civic Center as it is today are upwards of millions as well.

Over this last winter, the Civic Center facility was basically shutdown due to a broken boiler because there were no parts available because it was so old. The water was warmer than the air, I heard.

Simply put, we need new facilities in Sullivan, for our changing population, for our changing economy and for our changing needs. Seniors, retirees, veterans, and those living with chronic illnesses utilize both spaces, which is also why it is so difficult to even begin having this type of conversation, let alone start developing plans for the future of our community.

These spaces and facilities could work much better for all of the people that utilized them before while being an even better resource for our children and their children after they decide to remain in Sullivan after graduation.

If this complex is designed with larger community and economic set of attainable goals in mind, it can:

  • Help lure new business to the area.
  • Provide better opportunities for current small businesses to flourish.
  • Create a better environment for new small business start ups.
  • Grow families from children that decide to stay in Sullivan.
  • Bring in new families that want to become part of the Sullivan community and call this area home.

Immediately after hearing this idea, I see real opportunities to house specific agencies there, like Central Illinois Public Transit. This is a lifeline for so many residents in Sullivan. I used it myself when I first moved back to town, especially during the winter months.

Connecting the facility to The Little Theatre on the Square only makes sense. We have theatre education and dance classes already happening on the square. Being a bridge between our public schools and the community, I could see this facility playing an essential role. 

Collaboration helps build more opportunities. And, let’s face it, Sullivan needs more opportunities, for the town and definitely for our children.

With pro-active, forward-leaning leadership in both Washington and Springfield, there could be real linkages to federal and state monies and resources to decrease the cost to Moultrie County taxpayers while providing more opportunities for local, reputable contractors, high school students and workers wanting to learn the trades. 

If we’re going to rebuild our country, why not start in Sullivan?

That’s why the community has a robust Sullivan Area Chamber, which has inspired the Sullivan Spark initiative. I think we’re ready for this. I know we’re ready for this.

Sullivan is missing a U of I Extension Office, which provides ag education and other training throughout Illinois. Offices are currently offering new resources in industrial hemp education and training

I would love to see EIU and Lakeland get their foot in here as well. The EIU dual credit program offers students real opportunities to get their foot in the door of the university experience. Lakeland offers CNA, nursing and skilled training and trades coursework and certifications. 

Why would we not offer these two blocks from our high schools, connecting students directly to better paying jobs and careers when they get their high school diplomas, if not before?

My dream should be the reality, where motivated students walk down the aisle, pick up their diploma, and attached to it is CNA license or an apprenticeship. 

These are ideas that will make Sullivan and other towns growing, thriving communities where children graduate, stay, buy a house, and later on build a house. We would all be better for it when we invest in each other.

Let’s think about what Sullivan needs to make life better for those who are here and for those who are growing up here as well. We need to make it even better for those who are children so that we give them reasons to plant root and seed here. That is how communities grow again.

Rural America is my home. Sullivan is my hometown. I deeply cherish my upbringing, our culture, and see brighter, more productive, more prosperous days ahead. We need only invest in that future to make it a reality.

We won’t get there by doing the same things and expecting different results. 

Farm Bailouts and Trade Strategy

Farm incomes may increase this year over last year, but incomes would have shrunk without the Trump Tariff and Trade Farm bailouts.
The Trump Tariff and Trade Farm bailouts are double what the Obama Auto bailouts were initially. Both bailouts are and were essential to protecting America’s economy.
Let’s be clear on something. Ultimately, taxpayers were paid back all but $10 billion of those auto bailouts. Taxpayers will never see these bailouts to farmers repaid.
There also is another fundamental difference. President Trump’s failing Tariff and Trade War is a self-created crisis without a strategy to win it.
The mixed messages coming out of his Twitter feed about false trade deals are designed to keep farmers from falling out of line before the 2020 election.
Let’s face it. If President Trump loses a good chunk of his support among farmers, he’s in real trouble in 2020.
In the space of 24 hours, Americans can hear from President Trump that there will be a big Phase 1 trade deal, only hours later to be told that there will be no trade deal and more tariffs are coming, and later in the day there’s encouraging word that something for farmers will be coming soon. “Trust me,” he says.
Of course, President Trump has been playing musical chairs with farmers, trade and China for over two years, and the only one with any trade deals in America seems to be Ivanka Trump.
I’m not sure about anyone else, but I don’t believe a dang thing he says about trade.
> We need a strategy.
> We need to sell our goods.
> We need a new direction.
> We need people in Congress to make sure these trade deals don’t get rubber stamps but are good for farmers, American workers and for American jobs.
Ask anyone, I’m relentless when it comes to the details. The details matter in every trade agreement. 
Can we trust that President Trump will be?

Rep. Shimkus is Retiring

Rep. John Shimkus is retiring. Many good wishes to him and his family.

Rep. Shimkus reached the same decision as many other Republicans have been making.

Ask most farmers, they’re over President Trump’s Trade and Tariff War.

Ask businesses, both small and large, the growing uncertainty in the Trump economy is making life more difficult.

Ask working families, they’ve not received much if any of the benefits of the Trump-Republican massive tax cuts that have created historic Trillion Dollar Deficits.

It would be difficult for anyone to defend let alone to fight to prolong these failing economic policies for our rural communities.

After Labor Day, I’ll be making an announcement as to our plan and strategy for raising up the 15th District.

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend!