The WHO Wears Face-Masks

The World Health Organization (WHO) has led America on COVID-19 throughout the year. As new information and data poured in from across the globe, the WHO has been paying attention and adjusting guidelines appropriately.

President Trump has plenty of ‘fall guys’ for his flock to give him a pass on his COVID-19 failures. The WHO received their blame and bill at the end of May. 

For too many of the world’s developing countries, the WHO is the first and only line of defense against a pandemic/endemic threat like COVID19. Now that America has stepped backward from its a leadership role, its role is even more critical.

Of course, Trump has eliminated essential, vital funding and resources from the WHO when the world, including America, need it most. 

It is almost as if Trump is trying to sabotage the world COVID-19 response moving forward in order to increase world COVID-19 infections to make his failures not look so bad.

I am not going to be distracted by Trump, by haters, by anything. 

That is why when I saw Fox News sharing WHO guidelines, today of all days, regarding face-mask guidelines that are different from our CDC, I had to take a fresh look.

I have been busy inundating myself with scientific research, scientific journals, scientific commentary, public health data, public health commentary … I think you get the picture.

Also, for the last month or so, I have traveled while social distancing across central and southern Illinois, crossing into Indiana and Missouri. I was examining the way each community, municipality, each business and their employees as well as each individual interacts with the state and federal government response to COVID-19.


This face-mask issue is an essential piece in the public health fight against COVID-19 in this new phase of the endemic. It is a difficult pill for many to swallow.

That is why the intense over-politicization of this single issue has led to more political and divisive trenches being dug than new ditches to help with flooding along our waterways and rivers.

That is not how you nor elected officials should be making decisions about your health, the health and safety of your family and friends, the health and safety of your neighbors and community members, and especially the health and safety of the most vulnerable people in our society.


The WHO guidelines for healthy members of our community make the most sense to me given the breadth of all of the science, the public health data and all of the commentary on both sides, with a minor additon. 

We should be primarily be using face-masks when we are symptomatic and when we are in zones where social distancing is impossible. 

In this transitional period as outdoor socializing begins in public, use of face-masks would fall under ‘use at your discretion’ for customers.

Employees and employers would be wise to protect themselves, their customers and the public as much as possible.

Now, anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry, the bar industry or any customer service industry know how vital eye contact and facial interaction is with customers. 

Balancing employer liability, employee risk and access to healthcare, customer satisfaction and safety, and the public health risk with that vital customer interaction to me is a simple equation. 

Reports from Georgia, which completely ignored the CDC, the WHO, and any other intelligent source of information, have had many of their restaurants and bars close down permanently after opening way too early and with few if any precautions or mitigating strategies, economic or otherwise.

I’ve been happy to see business owners personally thrilled with the opportunity to open their doors to their loyal customers again while remaining vigilant and mindful of the COVID19 risk without losing their minds.

What most of us are doing is the best that we can do with the information that we have available to us from sources that we trust and rely on to protect the public from threats and real risks.

We have to remain open to new information, new experiences and to change course when faced with evidence. This principle has been largely missing in Americans for much of my life.

Personally, I know when I deliver information to people, I have sources for literally every bit of it and not just one source but multiple sources. 

I am elaborate, methodical and relentless in my pursuit for challenging the status quo, including my own.  We all are in this together. We cannot change that reality without each other and 64+% of the nation.

The political parties aim for 50% + 1 to win an election . . . not one percentage point . . . one person. America, as a nation, a government and as a people, are incapable of the transformational reforms necessary without an additional 14% not just agreeing but fighting for those transformational reforms.

(Roughly, 14% is the percentage size faction of the minority party in the House and Senate that can signal a major shift in direction without garnering the necessary votes for an override of the President’s veto)

When COVID-19 is classified as an endemic virus, we as nation need to have already prepared for it. The structural reforms necessary to successfully and consistently tackle a 5th endemic virus are extensive and should have been accomplished decades ago.

For this reason, I am hopeful that with America’s renewed vision, we will lead the world through this endemic into a better, stronger and healthier future where the economy doesn’t work against the people but builds upon success and community.

This is a vision for a better future that propels me forward in innovative and challenging ways.

If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19 or in an environment where social distancing is impossible.

  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Picture: Action News Now

COVID and You

Pretty ****ing typical American model for governance.

Businesses violate, let them skate. Individuals get sick, indict. Businesses will be able to operate which is great for them since they have no legal consequences. Individuals having a gathering? Not so much. That would violate the state COVID19 guidelines. 

Does State’s Attorney Danley’s policy violate equal protection under the law?

No one wants to go through what we’re going through as a nation, but it is an opportunity to see how public servants prioritize and balance our rights and safety with their responsibilities and actions. 

Unfortunately, lives are on the line as well as a further disintegration of our American values and systems of government. 

We must not only observe but respond. Too many are allowing anger and resentment to guide their reaction and obstruct any new information.

It is understandable for people to have questions and to have real concerns about the virus and about the decisions that are taking place here.

Currently, as a nation, we are struggling to find a proper balance between public health risks and economic consequences, federal and state rights and responsibilities, local and state control, and specifically here in Coles County, business immunity versus individual legal responsibility.

America was already highly polarized heading into this pandemic. It is important that we do not let our fears and anxieties overwhelm our empathy and ability to see another person as a human being. This is especially true when we have profound disagreements.

When criminal lability and viral testing both are involved, the best example that still is in place today, is HIV.


I worked in the HIV/AIDS field in some degree for over 20 years. 

HIV is a completely different kind of virus than COVID19. However, HIV does expose the best and the worst nature in people, just like COVID19 has done in 2020. We have wonderful groups that have contributed their time, efforts, and materials to making PPE for local healthcare clinics, nursing homes and neighbors while we all waited for COVID19 testing to become more available.

Testing is a key in the treatment and prevention of HIV. Once you know your status, you can make different choices that protect yourself, protect others and increase the longevity and quality of your life, regardless of the outcome of the test.

What state’s attorney Jesse Danley has done here is similar to what happened with HIV in the 80s. That mistake still keeps at risk people from being tested and getting treatment for HIV.

Danley’s policy places all the criminal liability on the individual. Workers are not given immunity from prosecution, just their boss.

Having an unelected attorney make policy that impacts both public health and our short and long term economy exposes the lack of leadership on these issues from the White House. 

It is dangerous when public health is predicated on fears and anxieties. That is not a way to best serve the public good. In fact, a number of the laws on the books about HIV are still counterproductive to public health and are predicated on fears and anxieties and the need for someone else to be responsible.

HIV disclosure laws make common sense, but they don’t make psychological sense. 

Disclosure laws actually predispose at risk people to not get tested for HIV so they don’t have to disclose to potential sexual partners and be rejected. Not being tested allows these at risk people to continue about their sexual life without any legal or ethical issues. Meanwhile, they are putting at risk every sexual partner.

The actual science says people who know their HIV status, are on HIV drug treatment and are undetectable don’t transfer the virus to anybody during sex. 

So, does anyone revoke all of the HIV disclosure laws? No, they do not. 

‘It’s not my responsibility. It’s their responsibility.’

People would prefer to live in the dark and blame others later.

What these disclosure laws have done is place all the responsibility, legal and otherwise, on the individual that already has all the weight and all the responsibility for keeping themselves alive in a government and social system that does not work efficiently, effectively and at times appears to be out to be rid of them entirely. 

This allows everyone else to just carry on while people that have to disclose their status also have to absorb the piling on of other people’s fears and anxieties, often which appear as toxic hate and rage. 


Why does any of this matter to COVID19? 

When businesses reopen while COVID19 cases keep increasing, employees have no choice but to go back to work. 

I’m certain the vast majority are very glad to get back to work, but they have no choice or they lose their job.

Under the the Coles County policy, the business has no responsibility for COVID19 only employees do. That is not equal protection under the law.

If an individual comes into that business, that individual has the responsibility. In addition, those employees that potentially could get infected now have the responsibility if they become infected. 

How about the entire household where the employee calls home?

Businesses aren’t taking names and addresses.

But, the legal responsibility only exists if someone knows they have COVID19. So, workers are the only ones to be legally responsible, because no business is going to go after a customer.

It’s not like the customer is going to take any responsibility for coming in a store during this interim period where rogue counties are doing whatever they want and hope no one in the community ever responds in kind to local law enforcement.

This is the most concerning dynamic and precedent and is why SA Danley’s policy is so dangerous. Our local law enforcement already got hit with COVID19 on the chin having been on the front lines interacting with the public.

Why would anyone get a COVID19 test in Coles County now? 

A business owner might try and sue you for their business not becoming successful again because you got sick with COVID19 while working and the public found out about it. 

The employer isn’t responsible any longer. Only the individual has legal responsibility in Coles County. 

And, I’m sure, Danley will say this was not the intent of his policy. The intention behind his policy is clear. Individuals aren’t a priority. 

He claims his policy has no impact on civil liability. Many people know a criminal complaint makes a civil case a slam dunk. 

The workers take all the responsibility. If you don’t show up, you are fired. If you show up sick, infect others, know your status, you’re to blame for the lives of your fellow workers going to hell, and you’re likely fired, or you or your loved ones could die.

There’s literally no plan for the people or the workers, except they’re to blame for anything that happens.

This is just a reactionary policy for folks that are freaking out about COVID19, the shelter in place orders and face mask guidelines.

Yes, these are frustrating and require discipline and patience.

It is not easy being in a position to make policy and implement it.

The most important people to think about right now are the people that are sick. 

What about if a person is sick:

Especially if they don’t have health insurance.

Especially if they have to pay massive co-pays and deductibles for healthcare.

Especially if they don’t know the answers to any of those questions. 

Now, thanks to Mr. Danley, they also have to fear criminal and civil prosecution in the Coles County state’s attorney office if they seek treatment and have COVID19. 

Mr. Danley has proven, yet again, if you’re a business and breaking the law, going against rules and regulations . . . who cares if anyone gets hurt, you can blame it on an employee or someone else. There’s always Madigan, JB, or anyone else but Trump. 

Most people already knew that this is the way our system worked. It’s who you know and how much money you have that matters more. 

This same ideology is why no one went to prison after the financial collapse.

We just had a former National Security Adviser, a convicted liar, someone who had admitted his guilt, have all charges dropped. If that is not clear evidence that our system protects those at the top and is not for workers and individuals and folks with no influence, I don’t know what is.

We have people in these positions that might be doing their best but are so beholden to something or someone else that they are breaking their bond to place the people and the public good above all else. 

When you look at Congress and the White House, they aren’t doing any better. 

People might ask, who am I to talk? I’m not a perfect person by any shot. My own PTSD has been extreme for months. 

Yeah, that doesn’t negate one fact, one logical argument nor American value, principle or truth that I’ve said. 

And, Danley has a tough job. Putting away murderers is something I’ve helped to do. It is not easy work. 

The police are only doing as they are directed and trained. They have the toughest job during COVID19, and the testing proves it. Every moment they are out serving and protecting the public, they are opening themselves, their families and their households up to COVID19 infection.

Danley also has an election coming up. He has wealthier and more well connected members of our community and every person they can get to harass and pressure him to go against the public health executive orders of Governor JB Pritzker. 

There are people that have a political agenda that are likely pushing him in many directions. When folks attempted to push me in one direction or another, my mentality was simple. No, I’m focused on listening to people, gathering all the facts, information, history and background, and then, decide where to set the vector. 

That is the fundamental issue here. What is the vector, the direction with force, that Danley and others are signaling here?

The entire country is experiencing something they’ve never experienced before. It’s a lot of stress, it’s a lot of intense emotions, and as a public official or anyone, we all have to make choices and live with the consequences . . . not just for ourselves but for others. 

Even if you’re not doing anything different, you know you’re not doing anything different. That in itself alters your brain neurochemistry and your thought process. 

And, regardless of whether we agree with JB, Trump or not, we’re in this together. Your choices impact my life. My choices impact yours. We can deny that. Our government did for two months, and we’re living with the consequences.

It’s a policy like Danley’s that furthers an ideological pattern that separates out businesses and corporations from individuals, making those entities a special class above people. Does that not trouble anyone? 

The people get screwed while businesses and corporations screw us. They get a golden parachute and get to do it all over again with millions of taxpayer money. 

That certainly is the way this ideology has framed their approach.  

Why pit business versus the working class?

Those that push this ideology have been at this for my entire life. It has led to wages stalled out at the bottom. It has led to working people pitted against one another. It has led to working people pitted against those that barely survive. 

Where are the beneficial results for any of those groups of people that is in any single metric comparable to the wealthy and established? 

It doesn’t exist.

I’m just shellshocked that public servants cannot breathe new life into public service at a time that America needs it most. 

We are blessed to be in this country. There is so much to be thankful for in every single day. 

The struggle is very tangible and is staring many of us directly in the face, and we all see something different when we stare in its face.

The way we perceive differently is America’s greatest strength. We need to harness our capacity to adapt and innovate, not return to what wasn’t working before. 

It is vital that America, starting with our community, begin seeing each other and correcting these mistakes that we’ve already made before. 

That is what I urge Danley and us all to do. Thank you. 

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. 

I Will Never Forget

On this World AIDS Day, as I do every day, I remember so many friends, loved ones and people around the world that have died after being infected with HIV and succumbing to AIDS.

In America, despite having the best research and development efforts into HIV medications and prophylactic treatments for AIDS, the prices continue to rise annually.

When access to vital medications is denied, people die. 

That is why when I lived in Indiana I worked on federally mandated boards alongside the Indiana State Department of Health to support, protect and in many cases defend these programs and vital services for those most in need.

When I left to return to Illinois, Mike Pence, now our Vice President, took over as Indiana’s Governor with a Republican supermajority in the Indiana State Legislature.

People that I love died because of choices that Gov. Pence and Indiana Republicans enabled.

Not in America they say. 

I’ll never forget the phone calls. He couldn’t get approved for medications in time because they had gutted the med program in political retaliation to President Obama. He died. He wasn’t the only one.

This happens in America when people deny science and reality because of their ideological and extremist beliefs that are most definitely not pro-life.

Gov. Pence, with these same enabling policymakers, also eliminated vital needle exchange programs, creating an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana. 

I’ll never forget the road construction signs flashing on I-65 saying HIV Outbreak Ahead (picture courtesy of HIV Plus Mag).

This is especially heartbreaking and devastating when you’ve fought alongside so many others to protect the lives of your fellow citizens. 

All of those years of dedicated work flushed down the toilet by ideological and extremist beliefs put into policy by so-called pro-life politicians that don’t care about all Americans but only about inshrining their indoctrinated, cynical beliefs into public policy.

It still makes me sick.

Republican policies kill Americans.

I won’t shy away from that reality. And, neither should any one else.

Our current state representative in the 110th district in Illinois, Chris Miller, is one who shares many of Vice President Pence’s beliefs. His millionaire wife wants to be our next U.S. Congresswoman. 

Rep. Miller voted “Present” on a bill this year to mandate insurance companies to provide insulin injectors to children. How is that pro-life?

It should concern all of us that we have elected representatives that deny science, facts and objective reality, not to mention our American values and principles of protecting people that are alive and breathing.

I will never be that kind of representative because I understand what is at stake: people’s lives and well being.

As I fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves before, I continue to fight alongside others again.

Join our campaign as we aim higher in America and in the 15th District. 

We use our values and principles to make good policy, not to harm our fellow citizens.

We focus resources where the need is the greatest, and in the state of Illinois, the need has been the greatest in the 15th District since Republicans have been running it. Republicans just refuse to do anything about it but give it lip service. Tax cuts for the wealthiest are just too damned important.

We deserve better than lip service legislators and those who don’t understand the gravity of the policies they enact.

You can’t say you’re pro-life when the policies you support deny people access to healthcare.

Currently, there’s an upsurge in HIV infections in Macon County, just outside the 15th District.

With the increase in injection drug use throughout America, we need more needle exchange programs to better protect the public, save money and above all save lives.

There are life and death consequences to ignoring reality.

We simply cannot afford to ignore reality nor failed policies any longer.

Join our campaign as we aim higher in America and in the 15th District.

A Campaign About People and Policies

This campaign was about people and policies for an economy that works for everyone, education that prepares our children for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and a healthcare system that is both affordable and accessible for our residents. 

Despite coming up short in votes during this election, the message we delivered resonated with voters across the 33 counties of the 15th District. Party loyalty and money remain stubborn forces in American politics. 

If we’re ever to dig out of the morass that our district finds itself within, we must see beyond party.

We must work to be rid of big money in our political system as it is as corrosive as it is deafening.

I urge all elected officials to make themselves as accessible to their constituents as possible. Being afraid to show up and answer the tough questions isn’t an excuse when you’ve been hired to do the job that the public is paying you to do.

We have to have tough conversations and be able to hear from those that feel they have profound disagreements with us. How can we live in a country where hearing something you don’t agree with prompts you to make threats of violence?

Our country must start working together.

That means we’re all part of the solution which is a sustaining force in our lives.