Sen. Lauren Book Isn’t The Problem. Lobbying Is The Problem.

For the people on the sex offender registry living in the state of Florida must be a complete hell living experience. The random sex offense laws conjured up appears to be one of the most repressive compliance standards in the nation. However, there seems to be a focal point on assessing blame to Florida State Senator Lauren Book making a case for those oppressive bills to become law. But I would argue that Senator Book isn’t the problem with registry issues in the state of Florida. I would say that lobbying perhaps is the fourth branch of government for the Sunshine State that allowed such harsh conditions for Florida registrants.

First, all one has to do is follow the money trail. That begins with a simple search of the Florida Department of State Campaign Contributions website. A quick query instantaneously identified a plethora of lobbying donors in addition to real estate, educators, attorneys, and a trickle of a few large corporations. Rather than place direct blame at Senator Book for her legislative introduction, she was perhaps influenced by high profiled lobbying. Before anyone begins shooting fish in the barrel and tossing a lawn dart on Ron Book. I would suggest focal attention on the outside players. The Book family remains successful only if it has spending dollars filling its coffers. This implies that lobbying to introduce strick compliance laws for registrants are motioned by perhaps real estate, educational, and entertainment contributive dollars.

Let’s take an easy example of entertainment lobbying economics. Disney is perhaps the most identified source of revenue for Florida. The Disney corporation provides a political donation. Not because Senator Book has a pretty face. Instead, it is a political contribution to be heard later down the road once in office. So, if Disney wants to strengthen its “family atmosphere,” it would suggest a public policy that would eliminate possible harm or liability from happening on its property. Disney has said it utilizes facial recognition software to ban registered offenders from its property. But Disney doesn’t escort people off its property. That task has been outsourced to the local Sheriffs department. That indicates that Disney and the county have an exclusive agreement in place to trespass people from its properties. Disney has exclusively outsourced its problems to Florida presenting an illusion that it was deputies the entire time seeking offenders entering its properties. Naturally, this allows the Book family to become victims of circumstance. Sure, there is a plausible argument that there wouldn’t be such a case if Senator Book hadn’t introduced registrant bills that become law. However, it is safe to say that lobbying would have identified another member of the legislature to pass its restrictive measures sooner or later.

The money trail in sex offender legislation in Florida is pretty clear that the entertainment, real estate, and educators are the leading lobbying effort and establishment of maintaining a sex offender registry to rid of people from its state. Otherwise, why would a rising star democrat senator become the voice of the opposing party by introducing legislation typically found in republican policymaking? Deductive reasoning and logic points directly to lobbying and a need to sterilize the state entertainment sector from certain liabilities.

So, how does the sex offender registry advocacy tackle how to deal with lobbying? Simple. It begins a boycott campaign, not with Florida. But with the businesses that contribute to campaigns. An economic woe no matter how small, will eventually send a ripple effect to the business sector, even if you never step foot in the state of Florida. Rather than focus energy an attention on Senator Book. Focus and energy should be pressured upon the very contributory organizations that help finance and pressure public policy. To stop lobbying in its tracks, it is essential to slow their cash flow.

I’d bet if registry advocacy lobbying somehow became a contributing source of campaign influence during elections to render the registry obsolete, that opposition would be employing the same tactics.

Most of all, being visible to speak with legislatures is a crucially important role in our democracy. If people don’t listen, it’s okay. Eventually, if they see you in the hallways each week, they begin to pique an interest because they have no idea if you are making headway or not? Being visible in registry advocacy is vital not to tell your message but to describe how the registry has increased homelessness, higher unemployment rates, starvation, and other issues relevant to your particular state. Advocacy begins with being a lobbyist and sharing concerns for all constituents past, present, and future.

Lauren Book isn’t the problem. Lobbying is the problem.

Footnote: I would be willing to talk to Lauren Book about registry issues affecting her state in a professional diplomatic discussion if she would allow me the privilege?

Records Expungement Isn’t Really Expunged

The State of North Carolina recently introduced House Bill 863 that would bar convicted felons from running for the office of Sheriff. It seems like a no-brainer if one only reads the title. However, the fine print in the legislation mandates explicitly and clarifies that even if a conviction is expunged, the individual is still a felon. Why? Because the Governor has not pardoned the felony.

A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be absolved of guilt for an alleged crime or other legal offense, as if the act never occurred. The pardon may be granted before or after conviction for the crime, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction.

Okay. That seems fair right? Perhaps. However, I would argue that if a conviction has been expunged, then shouldn’t that also indicate that the criminal record is no longer valid? I only bring up this particular issue because if Second Chance laws are passed around the nation to expunge criminal convictions does that imply that criminal records are indeed expunged? According to the North Carolina General Assembly that answer may be a short “no” and a concern for the validity of Second Chance laws across this nation.

A very real distinction exists between an expungement and a pardon. When an expungement is granted, the person whose record is expunged may, for most purposes, treat the event as if it never occurred. A pardon (also called “executive clemency”) does not “erase” the event; rather, it constitutes forgiveness.

A particular question to be addressed is, “why is it the business of the legislature to determine who can or cannot be elected as a citizen?” It isn’t as if the people of North Carolina suddenly rose up in protest to voice a person shouldn’t be able to become Sheriff. After all, the office and duty of Sheriff is an elected position by the people. It is highly unlikely in a YouTube and Twitter world that the most skilled reporter or journalist wouldn’t vet any person seeking a political office. However, the more profound concern is that such laws creeping into policy will eventually make anyone ever convicted of a crime, even if it is erased, unable to seek political office. It seems like a law for the elite rather than for the will of the people.

On July 1, 2010, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 1307 that allowed the voters to decide on an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution (N.C. Const. art. VII, § 2). This amendment was passed by the voters in November 2010, officially amending the North Carolina Constitution (Attachment 1). Until this amendment, there was no constitutional provision prohibiting a convicted felon from being elected or appointed sheriff. This amendment prohibits anyone that has been convicted of a felony from serving as sheriff, which applies to both a sheriff elected or appointed. Also, the individual does not have to be convicted of the felony in North Carolina, rather any conviction, anywhere qualifies.

Personally, I am concerned about the passing of this bill. On the one hand, we have our constitution that allows people to govern and seems to have been working for hundreds of years. On the other hand, we are beginning to micromanage, who is constitutionally protected and applicable for a position that has been around for centuries. Legislatures should be in the business of fixing government for the people rather than breaking it. It appears that the unnecessary micro details are easier to perform than the macro duties we elected them to settle in the first place.

In the common law legal system, an expungement proceeding is a type of lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories

Democrats felt the Bern on Election Day

Democratic Party and Hillary campaign staffers ultimately shuttered out Bernie Sanders supporters.

Since the day after the election, I have watched media outlets nearly overload its own circuits at how Trump miraculously won. It is somewhat like watching and listening to everyone taunt that Santa is coming to town, but he fails to show. That suggestion alone may be another reason that Hillary lost the election. Sure, we could go through all the conspiracy theory rhetoric claims from Russia, the CIA director, voter fraud and other issues. But one thing is very clear, the Democratic Party and Hillary campaign staffers ultimately shuttered out Bernie Sanders supporters. The Democratic Convention was perhaps a warning that Sanders supporters would alienate its own party on election day.

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What I failed to hear from Hillary over the course of her campaign was her connection to the working class. Instead, I would argue that Trump made a much better connection with these voters primarily with his snake oil sales pitches. Hey, it doesn’t have to be true, but you do have to connect to get voters to the polls. Apparently, Trump won those voters while Hillary alienated the Sanders camp. There was little or no mention about Bernie’s visions and how to mesh those camps together, other than just get to the polls. This was, in my opinion, no way to connect with its party and perhaps a crucial part of how Hillary lost an election. What I did hear over and over is that Hillary would be our first female president. While I would have been grateful to witness that moment, it didn’t provide a credible quality to my needs as a voter.

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Many political observers felt during the election cycle that the Republican Party was dead. Instead, Trump rebranded it and sold it to the American people. The Democratic Party had a fracture all along and pretended it had no outstanding issues. The biggest problem was that it didn’t rally its own party to show to the polls and perhaps abandoned nearly half of its Sanders supporters along the way. I would argue that the Democratic Party might be on life support or in need of some anti-anxiety medication for future elections. Perhaps the Democratic Party needs to rebrand itself. It’s going to be a huge struggle now that we have a Republican president and Republican controlled house and senate. There is also a significant possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will shift towards becoming majority conservative. Was the Republican Party really dead? I think not. It was the Democratic Party that became complacent and overly confident of the American people. It was the Democratic Party that fell asleep during this election year and incidentally gave out Ambien pills to the Sanders supporters it should have been energizing all along.

Election Conspiracy Theory

When I hear “Conspiracy Theory” I tend to roll my eyes and shut down my listening ability. To be quite honest I don’t find much if any credibility at all in conspiracy planning. Today I was in the car running some errands and noticed a few lingering campaign signs along the roadway. What struck me was during the entire election cycle there was not one Trump or Clinton sign visible. I shrugged it off thinking perhaps the television ads alone were enough. But as I was listening to the radio I heard something about Vice-President Elect Pense saying, “If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.” I began to think perhaps our general election could have been hacked but not in the traditional sense.

Naturally, all eyes are on voting machines and ballots. But there are strange anomalies during the canvas stage. For example, when Britain held a referendum on whether to leave the European Union (Brexit) all polls seemed to lean on remaining. The result was a shocking exit plan. Immediately afterward media outlets were trying to understand or interpret polls versus ballots. Nearly the same circumstance occurred with Trump versus Clinton. All polls appeared to lean towards Clinton, but the result flipped traditional blue states to red.

What if, just what if the canvas data and polling information were skewed and adulterated by Russia or another nation? Of course, this would be the most surprising identifier of events to alter an election and perhaps the most ridiculous theory. But it could be possible.

What presents an argument for my case is the Stuxnet program. Stuxnet is a computer worm that was developed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. What is most intriguing about the virus was its ability to go undetected. The worm also infected a nuclear power plant in Russia. The Stuxnet program was not intended to harm computers and networks. Instead, it was designed to alter and reverse data calculations. That program ran during the George W. Bush years until 2015. That is a long time to go undetected.

Here is something to ponder. What if hackers took the original code and altered it to shift election data results. Of course, election officials at the state level are not concerned with polls and data. Instead, they are watching ballots and machine data carefully. But many polls use standard software platforms and continually share random samplings of purchased or shared consumer data. The same data that seems to be frequently hacked at banks, stores, and online. If there is a similar virus introduced and designed to manipulate canvas and poll data, then that would affect any election result. Perhaps the beta test was Brexit? The ultimate test was the recent U.S. elections – If that theory is correct.

I certainly hope that my question about conspiracy theory is not taken as an interpretation of a sore loser. I will recognize whoever is our national leader. But perhaps there may be a clue that something is wrong with our data. We had every indication that another nation may try to influence our election process. Perhaps this was how it was done?

Are the elections over yet?

I will be pleased when the presidential elections are finally over. I am tired of the daily robo calls begging me for my support. However, it does not stop there. I tire of the barraging political items stuffed in my mailbox. It does not end there. There are television ads that pepper those once annoying product ads usually during my favorite TV program. I hate to say it, but I already miss horrible commercials.

The next step of insanity is after the elections. We are forced to listen to statistical commentary by political journalists for the months before the actual inauguration. The American voter will subject to dissection each day on the news. Then without warning it will start all over again with new elections and who may run in the upcoming election. It is a vicious cycle that seems never to end. Americans are inundated with political news as if we are interested as to who is running rather than the actual issue at hand.

I guess I will be glad when it is over… alternatively, perhaps when it starts all over again?

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