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Column: Does money talk?

by Ron Holdraker
December 14, 2019

You betcha!

I find it amazing how a number of Democrats in Congress have not jumped onboard with their fellow Dems in the howl for impeachment of President Donald Trump. Either they believe there is not enough evidence to move forward, or...

Oh, no, wait, they all are in districts where Trump won in the 2016 election and still has a strong presence among voters. In other words, they want to save their jobs and asses rather than vote their conscience.

No, this is not a Democrat phenomenon. There are a number of Rs who fear their livelihood by speaking their conscious.

You see, being a congressman/ woman is a risky business. No, the job really does not pay all that well, but amazingly, few politicians who follow the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ retire in the poor house.

Both legal/illegal shenanigans seem to build upon one’s wealth the longer they are in office. Strong lobbyists have a way of ‘enticing’ legislation to go their way. Again, this is not a particular party preference.

Both congressmen/women, senators and even presidents, pretty much retire as multi-millionaires. How can this be if the standard pay/retirement package is a small portion of their savings?

Yes, some hit the jackpot after leaving office, but again, how can this be? Money talks and anything can be up for auction for the right price.

So, how can we have a true democracy, but at the same time have the right people make important decisions that affect us all?

For one, term limits. Yes, this may actually backfire as short term politicians attempt to grab the brass ring in an accelerated fashion. Perhaps though, it would inspire those same political figures to follow the very reason they sought political office, to do better and follow their original promises and agenda.

Another avenue is to make retirement and health benefits are the same as the average people voting them in.

Shut down/limit the influence of lobbyists. Severely limit pork barrel expenditures in exchange for votes, or for those powerful congress folks and senators in high ranking positions.

Yes, capitalism has its good points, but it also has a way of corrupting individuals. By the way, even socialism and communism have money grabbers.

Limit spending on campaigns and limit PACS supporting their favored candidate.

Allow electronic media (TV and Radio) to deny political ads if they are deemed unfair, or just false. Currently, under law those media outlets, unlike newspapers, are required to run political crap, even though it may be false.

Imagine a political campaign, not based upon the number of ads run, but rather the hard work of the candidate.

Closely watch social media platforms for invasion by lying ‘posters’, or by foreign entities. Monitor platforms for truth.

If you listen to Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg, he feels any kind of ‘censorship’ would be counter to free speech. If Facebook did not accept posts, or ads, even false ones, it would be counter to the ‘accepted’ American way.

This past week NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo called on Facebook to remove deceptive ads on an HIV-Prevention drug. He wrote: “I am deeply troubled by reports of deceptive advertisements on Facebook questioning the safety and effectiveness of the HIV-prevention drug Truvada. The ads are unwarranted and unacceptable, and Facebook should remove them immediately.

“Health officials and federal regulators have been clear that Truvada — or PrEP — is safe and effective. Despite this fact, fear-mongering attorneys who lack medical credentials are pushing these deceptive ads and scaring individuals into thinking this life-saving drug is causing them harm. This ad campaign is putting New Yorkers in danger and jeopardizing the great strides our state has made in helping end the AIDS epidemic.

“Just last week, in recognition of World AIDS Day, we announced the estimated number of new HIV infections and newly confirmed HIV diagnoses have fallen to all-time lows - this progress is due in part to the increased use of PrEP. In October, New York was the first state in the nation to host a statewide PrEP Awareness Week, and in 2018 about 32,000 New Yorkers were provided a prescription for PrEP more than any other state in the nation.

“Anticipating the concern and confusion this type of false advertising would have on users of Truvada, in October I directed the Department of Health to issue a letter reassuring healthcare providers that this medication is safe and effective.

“I urge New Yorkers to listen to their health care providers and not be swayed by these disturbing and misleading advertisements, which have no place in New York and must be taken down immediately.”

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand censorship and how it can creep in to the media and social platforms, but perhaps if common sense filtered into our daily society, it would stick.

I have questioned ads in the Times and have even refused ad sales for honesty. I have never turned down ads from opposing political positions and never would.

Yes, I have been offered money to either run a story, or not, but chose integrity over cash. No, I am no saint, but I try to stick to something called principals.

Could we have a political system, media and business, based upon honesty?

I would hope so, but if history is any example...

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