First of all, thank you to everyone who attended our Senior Fair! It was very successful and I hope that those who attended enjoyed it and that the vendors were able to provide important information and services!
Also, throughout the last week the main news everywhere are the horrible stories we hear coming out of Israel following the terrorist attack by Hamas over the weekend. In this newsletter, I’ll share a letter written by a friend of mine reflecting on the attacks in Israel. I’ll also give you an update on news from Illinois and as always, an update from the farm.
Reflecting on the Attacks in Israel
Many years ago, while I was in court fighting to keep the Murray Center open, I met Bill. We have remained in contact all these years. He recently sent me this letter on the conflict in Israel. I thought I would share a portion of that letter here. I support Israel.
Israel is No September 11th
Many are calling the terrorism in Israel its September 11th.
But given Israel’s size, the murders – more than 1000 dead and counting – are the equivalent of about ten September 11ths. And if you add the injured and hostages, it’s more than 20 September 11ths.
But even that comparison fails.
September 11th was savage terrorists using airplanes as de facto missiles. There were no hostages taken on September 11. There were no shootings. No children killed in front of parents. No homes invaded. Nobody pulled from their cars and beheaded. No rapes. No torture. No grandmothers dragged across borders.
The better comparison here is, sadly, the Holocaust.
In the Holocaust, every Jew – man, woman, child, aunt, uncle, baby, neighbor, grandparent – was treated the same. They were slaughtered, shot, gassed, raped, and tortured, same as Hamas and the Palestinian terrorists did to Israelis and other innocents.
For those who want to discuss the broader conflict, “root causes,” and how we got here, I could share a long history lesson. I could discuss the merits. I could share facts. Provide context. Break down borders, water rights, and refugees.
But none of it matters, as it’s all mostly noise and a distraction. What instead is relevant reduces to something very simple.
There are 50 Muslim-majority nations in our world, which together are more than 1000 times Israel’s size. In contrast, there is one sliver size Jewish state. Just one. It is so tiny – about the size of New Jersey – that its name cannot fit within its borders on maps.
So the scoreboard now reads 50-1. It begs a simple question: is 50 to 1 not lopsided enough?
For those who want no Israel, no Jewish state, they are saying the scoreboard should instead read 51-0. If so, say it and own it, as that is the simple reality…
Peace reduces to one word: sincerity.
As judged by its actions, since inception Israel and her people have always sincerely wanted peace. As history shows, despite originally being promised much larger territory, Israel has been willing to reduce its New Jersey size “empire” and redraw borders in exchange for real peace.
But it has lacked a sincere partner. And that’s why there is no peace. The rest is noise.
When America suffered one brutal terrorist attack on September 11, how did we respond? Imagine what our response would have instead been if thousands of rockets were launched at us, our people taken hostage, babies slaughtered in their homes, and our country attacked by terrorists almost daily…
Anybody who can’t see the moral clarity here lacks moral clarity. Any moral equivalence is moral bankruptcy.
Israel is a sovereign nation, same as the 50 Muslim majority nations more than one thousand times its size (many of which ban Jews and non-Muslim worship altogether)…
As former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said: “When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
The only good thing about Hamas is there is truth in advertising. No mixed messages. It wants no Israel and no Jews. In this respect it is more like the Nazis in 1939, not the terrorists of September 11.
Changes Coming to Human Services Agencies
Last newsletter I told you about the audit of DCFS that found that the agency is actually doing worse than it was just a few years ago. As I have written to you about many times, I have the privilege of serving on both the Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee for Human Services. I understand the important responsibility our state has to care for our most vulnerable. And, I know that those agencies must have good leadership at the top to provide the best services for the people who rely on them.
At the end of last week, we learned that three of the state’s Human Service agency directors will be stepping down by the end of the year. The Directors of DHFS, DCFS, and the Department on Aging will all be stepping down by the end of the year. This is in addition to a new Director at DHS that I wrote to you about a few weeks ago.
We certainly need more accountability and better leadership at some of these agencies. I will be watching closely through my work on those committees to see how this new leadership plays out and to ask the tough questions to hold the agencies accountable.
Department on Aging to Provide Medicare Counseling During Open Enrollment Period
The Medicare open enrollment period began Sunday, Oct. 15 and now the Department on Aging is providing trusted, unbiased, one-on-one counseling and assistance through the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) for those looking to make changes on their Medicare coverage.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period begins annually on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. During this time, people with Medicare have the opportunity to review, renew, and/or change their current Medicare health or drug plan for the upcoming year.
To help beneficiaries compare available plans and make an informed decision about which option best meets their needs, Illinois’ Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) provides trusted, unbiased, Medicare counseling at no cost to people with Medicare, their family members, and caregivers. Counseling services are offered at more than 300 locations statewide. The SHIP counselor workforce of 1,000 local assisters recently completed specialized training on Medicare cost-savings updates and the types of changes beneficiaries can make during Open Enrollment. Beneficiaries are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a local SHIP counselor to review their current plan, costs, and health needs, then see how other plan options compare.
To find a SHIP counselor near you, call the statewide Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or email AGING.SHIP@illinois.gov. For general information about SHIP, please visit https://ilaging.illinois.gov/ship.html. You can also compare details of Medicare plans at https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/#/?lang=en&year=2023.
Veto Session Coming Up
The legislature is set to return to Springfield next week to take up legislative action on energy bills, a map for the Chicago School Board, the vetoed bills like the one to open up the building of new nuclear plants, and potentially other controversial legislation. I’ll keep you updated. As always if there are issues you are concerned about or questions you have, please contact my office and let me know.
This Week On The Farm:
It was time to harvest the sweet potatoes and I had some awesome little helpers.
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