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Exerting influence: A Political Primer for Millennials, Even Those Too Young to

EXERTING

INFLUENCE

A Political Primer for Millennials

Even Those Too Young to Vote

By Jay Hamilton

Table of Contents

About the Author

Copyright page

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. THE BASICS OF INFLUENCING POLITICS

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. THE ISSUES

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. FINDING WHO TO CONTACT

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. HOW TO CONTACT THEM

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. WHAT IF YOU ARE TOO YOUNG TO VOTE?

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. HOW TO INFLUENCE OTHERS

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p<>{color:#0563C1;}. APPENDIX

More books by Jay Hamilton and Crossroads Publishing of Florida

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jay Hamilton has two decades of experience as a freelance motorsports photojournalist, and has been an elected officer of a sports car club as well as Publicity Director, Newsletter Editor, and other officer positions in two different motorcycle clubs. His work has been published in National Magazines such as “Cycle Guide” and “Modern Cycle.” He has also had photos published in “Cycle” Magazine. In addition, he has worked as parts, service, and warranty claims manager in two small sports car shops, and been a service writer in a much larger dealership, as well as a salesman in several dealerships in three different states. He has full knowledge of the working principles behind these dealerships. As a journalist, he was invited to participate in a workshop held by a large motorcycle organization, to inform motorcyclists how to influence their state and national legislators. He has also been an officer and newsletter editor of several Non-Governmental Organizations including two 501 © 3 charities which had occasion to seek assistance in influencing politicians.

Crossroads Publishing of Florida is the coming together of three different names who were all well-known motorsports journalists at the same time and at the same events. We will be doing cookbooks, photography courses, how-to books of all types (including some gardening and off grid stuff), and some fiction as well. We have published over a half dozen E-books, but felt that the circumstances of this election required our attention to this subject.

Check out our website at www.cpubfl.weebly.com, where you can find information on all of our books, as well as the live links from this book, if you happen to be reading a printed version without the live links.

Copyright 2016 by

CROSSROADS PUBLISHING of FLORIDA

P. O. Box 222 Worthington Springs, FL 32697

386.266.6206

www.cpubfl.weebly.com

Thank you for purchasing this book! And congratulations on making this the first step into our political system, which has served us fairly well until the new Millennium, but fell flat on its face this year, with outright fraud contributing to the failure of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and fear and ignorance, along with a total lack of anyone qualified among the top Republicans, driving the Trump campaign. It is time that we brought our political system into the 21st Century. To do that, we need to allow a greater number of parties to compete for every office, including the Presidency. And in order to do that, we must do away with the archaic rule that our President must achieve a quorum, you could call it, of 50% of all votes cast, PLUS one vote! That simple requirement pretty much forced us into a two-party system. And if whoever wins this upcoming election fails to achieve that goal, the gerrymandered House of Representatives (and my rep does NOT represent my interests in any way, shape, manner or form) gets to choose the next President, and they are not limited to those who were in the general election. Are you ready to say hello to President Paul Ryan? He would be the likely winner if the House gets to choose the President.

The time to act is NOW! But even those too young to vote, can get involved. They need to talk to some older people who are registered but not likely to vote, and get them fired up to vote. Find them transportation to the polls, if necessary, but get them out to vote (or vote by mail), and best it should be for Hillary Clinton, because if Mike Pence or Paul Ryan is in the picture, you can say goodbye to Social Security as we know it. Older people should be an easy sell on that point.

CHAPTER ONE

THE BASICS OF INFLUENCING POLITICS

Okay. You’re young, and you admired Bernie Sanders. But he got beaten in the primaries because he either did not recognize the importance of the black vote, or blacks simply never got the message that as a young man, Bernie put his money and his ass on the line to support Martin Luther King and other black activists, and the black community leaders preached that ex-Goldwater conservative campaigner Hillary Clinton was right for blacks, in spite of the omnibus crime bill that she and Bill supported and ran through, which put millions of young blacks into for-profit prisons. And, oh yeah, there was that little matter of outright voter fraud by the Democratic machine that re-registered millions of life-long Democratic Bernie fans in many states as republic party members or No Party Affiliation, so that they could not vote in the Democratic primaries.

So the system is corrupt. And we need to create a multi-party system, like all other Democracies have. That will take a lot of work. And it won’t help us this year. But understand that whomever is elected this year will be a one-time President! There WILL be a backlash in 2020! But to fix the system, you must understand it. This was set up to be a two-party system, perhaps by accident. But our system requires that the winner receive 50% of the vote PLUS ONE VOTE, in order to be elected President. If that situation does not occur, then the gerrymandered House of Representatives gets to choose the President, and they are not limited to the candidates who ran in the general election! Thus, if Jill Stein and Gary Johnson should keep anyone from achieving 50% plus one vote (and the most recent polls show those two sharing about 15% of the vote, with Hillary and Donald running in the low forties, so this is a VERY STRONG possibility), the most likely next President will be Paul Ryan. Talk about a back-door election! And we’re not even talking about back door sex here, even though that’s what it would feel like! So the first thing that MUST be done to switch to a multi-party system is to eliminate that 50% plus one vote requirement. And that might take a Constitutional Amendment.

So we have a whole lot of work ahead of us. Hopefully, this do-nothing Congress will be re-staffed with Democrats and a few progressives, after this election, and we can start the process for a Constitutional Amendment.

But for now, we need to be able to inform the legislature that we consider it broken, and that something must be done about it, including turning over both houses of Congress to the Democrats in this election cycle. Millennials went out in force for Bernie Sanders during the primaries, but they did not get sufficiently involved to scare the republic party OR the management of the Democratic Party. These are the people we need to show that Millennials and other progressives are a force to be reckoned with. To demonstrate that, we must do several things. We must locate others who feel as we do. We must try to grow our numbers. We must contact legislators, and teach others how to contact legislators, and we must know what to say and make sure that others do also.

Locating others who feel as we do is not very difficult. We have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and about a thousand other social media sites, as well as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. If you live in a college community, the college will have a student organization for Democrats and/or progressives. You can find bars where liberals hang out—gay bars would be a start, but there are bars and coffeehouses which cater to geeks and other intellectuals, which tend to be very liberal places. The local Linux Users Group would be another haven for liberal intellectuals, if you are into computers. The theater community is also a haven for intellectuals, and you could volunteer to do prop work and other jobs in a local community theater.

Growing our numbers is not always a matter of convincing conservatives that they are wrong. Often there are people who agree with progressive ideologies, but are not active, and do not vote, either because they do not like the choices, or because they don’t think that they can make any difference. A simple remark made in public, might cause someone to approach you, or you approach them, and can be the start of a relationship, which could draw that person out to make an effort. They might be able to influence others who feel as they had felt until they met you. Growth under those circumstances could be logarithmic!

Contacting legislators is important. Active voters who express themselves to legislators do get some attention, because if said legislator wants to keep his job, he had better not upset too many people. The closer that legislator is to the center, the less likely he or she is to be vulnerable, but if enough progressives contact a Democrat, they may be able to swing that legislator to the left. If you are dealing with a republic party legislator, you might be able to scare them enough to sway them to the center on a particular issue, and the next election cycle, you might be able to unseat them. Conservatives are dying off, and younger voters are dramatically more progressive. Our day will come (that used to be a song). It’s just a matter of time (ditto). But the harder we work, the more we can speed things up. Legislators respond best to letters sent through the US mail. They take more time and effort to do than E-mails, or even a phone call. A phone call is interactive, and that will also be noted. A petition or E-mail campaign is not likely to be viewed as seriously. A handwritten letter—assuming it is legible—is very good, so the lack of a computer does not hurt there. But if you write it on a computer, it must at least be in your own words. If every letter they receive looks alike, they all go into the trash. On the other hand, it is important that the letter at least be written in correct English. It can’t get much attention if it is so full of misspelled words and grammatical errors that it is virtually unreadable. If you are encouraging people to write letters, you should have someone available to edit those letters for people, and you might set up a fund to cover postage, and do the mailing. If not, you could ask people to have someone at their local library suggest corrections to them. Someone at the library might be willing to type it out on the public computers at the library, with the corrections incorporated, and hand it to the voter. You can prepare a list of talking points, but make it large enough so that people can choose two or three of them, so that each letter will be different. You can prepare posters telling people how to contact their legislators. The talking points could be listed there, along with mailing addresses and phone numbers. You can obtain these from the League of Women Voters in your area, or the local office of the political parties, or Google “Legislators in (your state)”. The state government website should also have this information. In the case of election districts whose borders are crossed in your area, you should have information so that each person can determine which district they are in (this could be as simple as a phone number to any of the above organizations, or you could incorporate a map). You can post these posters on bulletin boards in stores, libraries, and other public places. You could put contact information for yourself or your organization on the poster also.

There is no question that we are in the information age. All of the information you need is readily available. Even if you are not old enough to vote, your opinion should matter to the legislators. For one thing, you are in a position to influence those who do vote. Or you could influence an older non-voter to register to vote, and to get out and vote when the time comes. If you can drive, you can set up a system to drive voters who have no transportation, to the polls and back home again. And you yourself, if you are reading this, but not yet old enough to vote, you can inform the legislators that unless they pay attention to you, you will register to vote as soon as you turn 18, and your first priority will be to help unseat them. If you threaten to get 10 actual voters to vote against them, and they get 100 or 1000 such letters, they should be very afraid indeed.

Note that some of what they are voting on actually affects people too young to vote, particularly when it comes to legislators at the state level. Back in the 1950s, a particularly dark time in Florida’s legislative history, when the Johns Committee was actively seeking out gay professors at the University of Florida for discrimination, they passed a single law, the statutory rape law, which tried to effectively raise the age of consent for adult sex acts from 16 to 18. It did not work, of course, because when a single law like that conflicts with a dozen or more specific laws regulating each sexual act, the single law must be ruled unconstitutional. That is why, when the Lake City Distorter (they call it the Lake City Reporter, which is owned by the New York Times group) ran an article on the law in the late 1980s, they interviewed the local prosecutor, who admitted that the law was primarily used against poor citizens, usually represented by the Public Defender, and usually young black men, who were threatened with prosecution under the Statutory Rape law, which was clearly unconstitutional, in order to secure a plea bargain under a lesser law. This sort of thing goes on all the time. The prosecutor stated that there were attempts under way to get the other laws changed, but because it involved so many laws, it was tough to get the legislature to undertake the project. Well at some point, apparently recently, under Governor Rick Scott (funny how two of the worst governors in the country are named Scott—Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Rick Scott in Florida) they did rewrite all of those other laws. Not only did they change the age of consent to 18, but they made it illegal to use as a defense, that the particular teen was somehow more capable than others, of making an informed decision to engage in adult sex acts. They even went so far as to say that a teen who had been legally emancipated—that is, declared an adult, by a court of law—could not decide to engage in an adult sex act. He or she can drive, can own property, and can even sign contracts, which means they can be married, which is in effect a lifetime of adult sex, yet they cannot consent to an adult sexual act under any other circumstances. And while usually any law such as this that is similarly modified will exempt those who were already legal by virtue of having turned 16 before the law was changed, would not lose those rights under the new law. That would usually be done by saying the law applied only to people born after 16 years before the date the law passed. But that was not done here. People who were between 16 and 18 when the law passed, were legal under the old law, but lost that status under the new law. That seems like it would have to be unconstitutional. We will discuss this later in more detail, but these laws are clearly unconstitutional, since everyone knows that children go through puberty and mature emotionally at vastly differing times, and it should be up to a court to decide if the child was capable of informed consent, particularly in an age when every kid who is 12 years old carries in his pocket the ability to download every single bit of information ever set on paper. Note that the full legal term for such consent is INFORMED CONSENT, so the ready access to such information should be a factor here. But in Florida, it is solely the chronological age of 18 years, which determines the ability to consent to a sexual act. While this law punishes the adult, it restricts the child, who may well be far more informed and capable than others of their same age. The law says simply that young people, who previously were able to decide what to do with their sex organs, and with whom they wanted to do it, pretty much as soon as they went through puberty, are now being told that they can’t make such decisions until up to eight years past puberty, in spite of the ready availability of information concerning sex acts, STDs, and other information required to make such informed consent. Those children should certainly be consulted before such a law is passed. On the 25th of August, 2016, it dawned on me why the republic-party dominated legislatures throughout the country are working to raise the age of consent to 18. It is a reaction to the Supreme Court decision which made sodomy legal. These legislators, who claim to be in favor of smaller government, with fewer restrictions on our lives, think that it is all right to interfere with how people live their private lives, if that private life is not in accord with their publicly stated religious views. Hence we have laws against transsexuals using the bathroom of their choice, when of course, republic party legislators complain vociferously that women need protection from men going into their bathrooms. But in ladies’ rooms, all acts which would reveal anything, take place behind closed and locked doors. No need for protection there! To the mind of the republic party, most people of marrying age would rather produce children. While we don’t expect many people to get married before they graduate from college at age 22, some do choose to get married out of high school at age 18. It was already illegal to have sex with anyone under the age of 16, even though that number has been used since colonial America, when few people under the age of 15 were through puberty, and nobody went past the eighth grade in school, so they left school at age 13, boys were apprenticed to a local business at 14, and children were married as soon as they went through puberty, at age 15 or 16. These laws were clearly intended to protect prepubescent children, and in those days, there was zero time between puberty and family life, and everyone had a duty to the community to produce lots of children so they could help out-populate them derned injuns! The situation today is vastly different, with some children going through puberty at age 10 (Obesity drives puberty, as does global warming and our richer diets) but not expected to raise a family until they graduate from college at age 22. Some are thus spending more than half of their life post-puberty, but not making babies. To the republic party mindset, most people available for sodomy are those not yet married and making children. Those who are under 16 were already illegal, so all they had to do to virtually eliminate sodomy, would be to raise the age of consent to 18, by which time anyone not going to college would be married and making babies. So this is their way to get around a Supreme Court decision they don’t like, and to put government more into our private lives than ever before. And better yet, those affected by it can’t even vote. And parents, who refuse to talk to their children about sex, and don’t want comprehensive sex education in schools, will back them. Older people who are opposed can be labelled as pedophiles, and younger people, who are the most affected by these laws, have no say in the matter. This book will teach you how to have your say in such matters.

CHAPTER 2

The Issues

One of the biggest issues facing us these days is one General Eisenhower warned us about in the 1950s. Ike spoke disparagingly of the Military-Industrial Complex. The military drives industry, and we all know that Wall Street drives America. Thus we are sending thousands of young United States Citizens to their death every year, fighting wars where we have no right to be, to enrich people like Dick Cheney, whose Haliburton Corp robbed U.S. taxpayers of billions of dollars due to profiteering. In addition, what many people do not even realize is that dubya bought up every sheet of CDX plywood, the mainstay of the construction industry at the time, to set up reconstruction in Iraq after he disposed of Saddam Hussein. The price of CDX in the civilian marketplace doubled from $8 to $16 within 30 days, and actually CAUSED the housing bubble, where the price of new home construction went up dramatically all over the country, and people, whose incomes had not risen, were struggling to get loans to buy homes. Thus the price of second-hand homes, many of which needed repairs requiring plywood and other lumber products, jumped through the roof also, and bankers came up with sleazy mortgage variants to serve the market needs caused by George W. Bush. Had dubya built a nice plywood factory over in Iraq, plywood could have been made over there very inexpensively, thousands of Iraqis could have been put to work, thus reducing the factors which caused the rise of ISIS, and plywood in this country would have remained at $8 per sheet, and the housing bubble would never have occurred. It is no accident that results like this are simply a response to one single bad decision by the war effort. Now we have a choice between a guy who wants to wants to bomb the hell out of ISIS, and a woman who has thrived on her relationship with the military industrial complex. We are looking at four more years of more of the same, no matter which one of these idiots makes it into the White House! We simply can’t afford this. This is why there will be a Progressive President in 2020, whether that is Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts, or Tulsi Gabbard, the Representative from Hawaii, or some other progressive who jumps into our vision over the next few years.

Then there is the Trade issue. NAFTA, child of Bill Clinton, has driven many American businesses to invest heavily in Mexico—particularly the automotive big three. It has been a total disaster to the United States, especially since Mexican truckers can cross the border and bring supplies into the United States, driving beat-up old trucks that pollute our skies, and often breaking U. S. safety regulations and causing accidents. Now we have the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement being pushed through, and heavily favored by both candidates, even if Hillary has spoken out against it from time to time. There is no doubt that China is our largest lender, even if their total is only 7% or so of our total debt. We are allowing China to bring stuff into the United States that damages our own economy. In large college cities across this country, Chinese students are selling counterfeit or off-license Microsoft software to computer stores all over town. Those store owners who refuse to buy from them cannot compete with the prices of the stores which do buy from those guys. The owner of Crossroads Publishing of Florida, used to own Crossroads Computer Corp, and discovered that one of his competitors was purchasing Office 97 Professional—which was not even available through Microsoft’s distribution to the “Channel”—ie, small computer stores. They had to buy Office Small Business Edition, at a cost of over $100, while other stores were buying Office Professional for about $30 from a Chinese student at the local university. And the Professional edition included the MS Access database program, while the Small Business Edition did not include that. They lost a lot of sales, since MS Access was a required program for the students to have for many courses. Thus, not only was Microsoft being hurt, but thousands of local businesses over the country had to join in the fraud, or die. Crossroads Computer Corp went out of business that year, followed shortly thereafter by Green PCs of Florida, a local dealership that was selling computers that ran on solar power, putting a battery in the area normally occupied by the power supply, and using a bus board power supply that took the electricity from the solar panel and used it to run the computer and to charge the battery for nighttime use. He was selling some units to South America, but his local business faltered because he refused to buy the counterfeit or off-license Chinese software. Trade is YUUUUUUUUGE. We need to be a lot more aware of what is going on. The oil pipeline transporting Canadian Shale oil to the US coastline is another example of big oil getting their way regardless of environmental damage or the destruction of legally protected burial grounds. Junk science believed by republic party politicians also affects us. My district—and I live in a district which used to be over 120 miles wide, and no more than 14 miles high, which has been transformed into a better-looking district, but one which still violates the new Florida Constitutional requirement that the area be of uniform political consistency—lets more densely populated areas with large republic party registration, control the election for smaller, less dense counties with primarily democratic registrations. My so-called representative is a Veterinarian—a doctor, presumably a man of science—who does not believe in global warming. I am, according to the official USDA map, in Zone 8. But the maps used by most nurseries selling plants over the internet, place me in Zone 9. They have moved the borderline between the two zones about 60 miles north of the official map, citing micro climate concerns not yet recognized by the USDA, and certainly not by my non-representative! This has happened within the 14 years that I have lived in that home. This means that plants I might have bought a decade ago based on the USDA map, simply will not grow properly here. This is a more immediate trade concern to me, but this type of concern—and others like it—may occur all over the country, and in all areas of commerce. Trade is a very important concern to all of us, and when the government favors big business over smaller firms, which employ the largest number of citizens, we all lose. We MUST consider the smallest ramifications of all areas of trade concerns.

Another area of concern is medicine. Obama Care, more properly called Romney Care, because it was copied from the plan Mitt Romney pushed through as governor of Massachusetts, has saved lots of money for many Americans, and has provided health care for people who simply could not have afforded it earlier. Yet it requires that all American citizens obtain coverage from FOR-PROFIT insurance companies. This is not a Democratic party plan, it is a republic party plan, through and through. No Democratic plan would ever allow a layer of profit in a universal healthcare system. I am a veteran, and I use the VA, which supplies me with healthcare I could not possibly afford on my own. Yet I have noticed that the parking lot there is full of Escalades and Town Cars. So people who can afford better, are eminently satisfied with the quality of the healthcare they are getting there. During Hurricane Katrina a few years ago, we learned that they were building a combination VA/charity hospital in N’Orleans! That should be the standard of care throughout the country. It would be a really easy way to move to single-payer health care. Those who can get insurance through work, or afford to pay for their own healthcare—self-insured, shall we say—can go elsewhere, but those who can’t afford better can get a very decent level of healthcare. Sure, it takes a while to get seen, and you will generally be seen only by an intern (basically a medical student) but that intern will have to have his or her work reviewed by an actual doctor before you leave. And any actual surgery or other intensive procedures will be performed by real doctors. But we are the only well-developed country which does not have a single-payer health care universal plan covering all citizens. We MUST move to a modern universal healthcare plan as soon as possible.

Social Security is another area of concern. Many countries have a guaranteed minimum income for all citizens, whether working or retired. This means that everyone can afford the necessities of living, and an occasional splurge. It would be a big shot in the arm for our economy, as sales would dramatically increase. But the republic party has nixed even a modest Cost of Living Adjustment for Social Security recipients ever since dubya was in the White House. I figure that they now owe me something over $100 per month in missed COLA payments. Their excuse the first year, was that while there had been increases in lower-priced necessities, that was offset, they said, by the cost of new cars and large-screen TVs, which were being sold at bargain prices. Well I have news for them. When you live on less than a thousand dollars a month from Social Security, you are NOT buying new cars and large-screen TVs!!!! We should be working toward a guaranteed minimum income for every U. S. citizen, rather than patching up Social Security! That is not only fair, it will boost the economy from increased sales. For years, we have been living on the basis of the trickle-down theory, which was originally proposed by Jack Kemp, a former football player, elected to the House of Representatives because of his popularity in the Buffalo, NY area. He had no economic credentials at all. Letting everyone have a guaranteed minimum income would be more of a trickle-UP theory. Businesses would benefit from greater spending by poor people, which would increase hiring, taking some people off the floor income, and generating even higher gross national product, which would be good for business.

A related area to that is the minimum wage. The Federal minimum wage is too low, and everyone except those in charge, knows that. A person earning minimum wage would have to work two or three jobs to raise a family in most areas of this country. Everyone should have the right to own their own home, and the means to afford it. They should own reliable transportation, or be able to afford public transportation to wherever they need to get to. They should be able to afford to eat a diet that is beneficial. I qualify for, and occasionally partake of, the free dinners provided to senior citizens. They bombard us with texts saying that we should not eat processed foods, yet those dinners are loaded with processed meats—many even showing fake grill marks! This is pure junk food. Many cities now have a minimum wage of $15 per hour, and the businesses there, unlike doomsayer’s predictions, are booming. Many states now have minimum wages above the Federal level, even in areas where the cost of living is below average. We MUST get the minimum wage raised to the point where nobody who is able to work should be living at the poverty level. $15 per hour would seem appropriate. I can remember earning $0.75 per hour, but I paid $35 for my first car, $200 for a two-year-old Triumph motorcycle, gas was under 30 cents a gallon, bread was about 18 cents a loaf, and so on. My parents paid $13,000 for a brand new two-story three-bedroom home in a suburb of New York City, and my father said he would have sold me the family’s summer cottage, which had five or more bedrooms, had he known I would have wanted it, for $3,000. That $13,000 house is probably worth around $200 Grand today, if not more (and to buy a comparable new home would likely run close to half a million dollars), and that 18-cent loaf of bread is well over $3 today. I remember my father telling my mother to be sure and put the “good” oil in the car if it needed any, and the good oil was the “thirty-cent” oil, now closer to $5 per quart. I can remember my father asking my Uncle, who was a manager at Art Ford in Brooklyn, what a new Ford would run, and the answer was $1600, for a full-size car, which was all they made then. I can remember when a new Cessna 152 airplane was about the price of a new compact Oldsmobile car (people literally had planes in their back yards, if the yard was big enough for a landing strip), but similar planes are now in the area of a quarter of a million dollars. So prices are at least 20 times what they were then, and other costs, like interest on loans, and various services, are even higher, relative to what they were then. $15 per hour seems entirely appropriate, now.

Then there is the issue of Foreign Affairs. This nation has supported Israel throughout its short history, but the government of Israel has changed to the point where even many Jews in this country do not support the current government over there. When Israel attacked Lebanon, I told a conservative neighbor, that it was the same as if a bunch of KKK members went into Mexico, killed a few illegals about to cross the Rio Grande, then hightailed it back to Georgia, and then Mexico invaded the United States to go after the KKK. The answer is that under those circumstances, Mexico does not have the right to invade the United States, just as Israel did not have the right to invade Lebanon. We cannot support countries that blatantly disregard international law, and we cannot be invading countries like Iraq in violation of those same laws, either. Both major parties now support regime change efforts by the US government. That violates international law. Our government has no right, and we cannot allow them, to commit these crimes. The majority of United States Citizens do not support drone attacks that kill hordes of innocent civilians, yet our government continues to persist in committing these atrocities.

And then there is the issue of personal freedom. This can encompass a whole host of issues, but for a party which claims to be in favor of getting government off our backs, the republic party sure has a history of trying to regulate our bodies when it comes to personal choices, like birth control, abortion, sodomy, and marijuana (and the for-profit prison industry, where minimum occupancy contract terms force the courts to keep putting more and more people in jail for victimless "crimes" like the sale of small amounts of Marijuana, and even, in states where it is still illegal, the medical use of said Marijuana!) They also favor teaching their personal religious views in schools, including very distorted pictures of history and science—the state of Texas being a prime example of that, and then there is that taxpayer-funded Noah’s Ark “reproduction” in Tennessee! And they favor Gay Conversion "Therapy"—which might better be labelled Gay Aversion techniques. Their religious views have no place in my government, and the United States Constitution guarantees me the right to not have to live with that! We have the freedom, in this country, to be ourselves and not to be interfered with in doing so, at least until we interfere with the same right of someone else. And note that the other person does not have the right not to have two guys kissing each other in a public location near him. He just doesn't have to look! THAT is what The United States of America is all about! (Unless, of course, you are a Native American, and the white folks—count my ancestor John Alden among them—stole your land and kicked you onto a reservation.) And while the republic party is the prime offender here, the Democratic National Committee has moved to the right of center on issues where Progressives are still very much to the left of center. Fracking, and other environmental issues, are a key example of that. But the omnibus crime bill, which has put so many young blacks in jail, was championed by Bill and Hillary Clinton. So while, unless you can guarantee me that Jill Stein or Gary Johnson can garner more than 50% of the vote, Hillary remains the only acceptable candidate on the slate, we MUST communicate to the Democrats on a national basis, that they had better mend their ways, and get back to being the true progressive party, or we WILL get behind the next Bernie Sanders and make that candidate win in spite of the leadership of the Democratic party, or the wishes of their national committee.

THIS is our duty as United States Citizens. (Note that I do not refer to us as Americans. America is two whole continents, not a single country! We have no right to act like the term “American” refers only to the citizens of the United States of America. How Arrogant is that?!)

Both Vice Presidential candidates are as bad as their respective Presidential candidates. Trump is a failure in every sense. He inherited his money from his father, and had he just invested it in an index fund that tracked the performance of the stock market, he would have a lot more money today than he does. That is the very definition of failure! We cannot have the United States declaring bankruptcy, for gosh sakes. And Pence is no better. See, for instance, [+ https://thinkprogress.org/indianas-economy-isn-t-the-conservative-success-story-mike-pence-is-telling-a25ae94c73cb#.a0z905voc+] or [+ http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/pences-indiana-record-complicated-campaign-claims/+] or the Fact Check site, http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trump-oversells-pences-record/ . For a story which includes a discriminatory act which has caused Indiana and other states to actually lose business, see [+ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/31/mike-pence-religious-freedom-law_n_6978194.html+] . And for a compendium of articles about Indiana’s economy, see [+ http://www.nuclit.com/about.php?t=indiana_economy_under_mike_pence+]. These two would not be at all good for this country.

And Clinton would not fare much better. We’ve already mentioned some of her problems, and her running mate is to the wrong side of Attila the Hun. Tim Kaine is a Senator and a former governor, both for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As Governor, he said he was opposed to the death penalty, yet he approved 11 executions, while commuting only one. Doesn’t sound very progressive to me. He claims to be in favor of human rights for LGBTQ people, but remains a devout Roman Catholic. In Wisconsin, he bragged that the state had recently won a voting rights case. Yet the Democratic party that he represents destroyed the voting rights of many thousands of loyal Democrats in the recent primaries. He certainly did not talk about that! He was one of 13 Senate Democrats to vote in favor of the republic party bill, promoting Trade Promotion Authority. He voted in favor of the farm bill, which cut food stamp allotments up to $90 per month for 1.7 million recipients in 15 states. That’s certainly not progressive. We don’t know who did it or why, but Kaine’s Wikipedia page was edited more than 200 times within a week after he emerged as a top candidate for the VP pick. That sounds like a cover-up. That number is dramatically higher than most candidates would see….

So the issues are many and varied. When talking to people, we have to be careful to tailor the issues we mention, to the person with whom we are talking, and if the candidate upsets us for a reason that would not upset the person we are talking to, we should use other issues to steer that person against that candidate. This requires some thought, but anyone reading this book should be capable of exerting the proper level of thinking. If you want to exert influence, you need to know how to do it.

Chapter 3

Finding Who to Contact

You need to know the pecking order of our government. National issues should be addressed with your Federal Representative and the two Senators from your state, as well as the President of the United States, and possibly others in the Federal government, like the Attorney General, Committee heads in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, and so on. State issues should be addressed with The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and with your local representative and your local state senator and committee heads in the legislature, while truly local issues need to be addressed with your local governing officials, in the municipality where you live, or in the local county or parish where you live. The people you need to talk to there, are County Commissioners and City Commissioners, and Town Council members, as well as the Mayor, the Chief of Police, or other local officials.

The principal place for most people to approach to find out exactly who to contact, is the League of Women Voters. They have more knowledge than any other non-governmental agency, in this area of expertise. Their homepage is at www.lwv.org. They have offices all over the country, and simply looking in Google for your local office will return more local contact information, or you could go to their homepage, and narrow it down from there.

www.vote411.org is another arm of the League of women voters, and is a good spot for seeking information on actual candidates as an election approaches.

Your state government should have a website which will allow you to find out who your state and federal representatives and senators are, and the phone numbers and addresses to use to contact them. They should have phone numbers for both the local (home) offices and the government offices in the capital city, for each one. Google is your friend, when finding these websites. We have compiled a list for each state, and placed it in an appendix at the end of this book. If you are reading a paper copy, the links will not be live, of course, but we will place a copy of the appendix on our website at www.cpubfl.weebly.com . We may also put up another website specifically for this book. The office for the state of Florida, for instance, is https://www.flsenate.gov. From there, select senators, then select find. For the Florida House of Representatives, the website would be www.myfloridahouse.gov. When you input your home address, they will return your state and federal representatives and senators. That is how it should be for every state. I obtained that information by Googling “Florida legislators.” Most of the information in the appendix was obtained by entering the state’s 2-letter ZIP code abbreviation followed by “laws and legislators.”

The republic party has a website at www.gop.com and the Democratic party is at www.democrats.org. From there you should be able to dig down to your local party headquarters, and they can tell you how to contact any local, state, or federal officials within that party.

For the official ways to address your letter to any particular official, you may go to www.formsofaddress.info/USO.html, or to www.emilypost.com/advice/official-forms-of-address/. The League of Women Voters should have the same information right within their own website at www.lwv.org. The same information should also be available in the website of your state government. This is the kind of information you should be able to provide to anyone you are seeking to assist you by writing a letter to any government official. You should obtain the correct information for each person you want these people to contact, and should specifically set out each name and address, along with the proper greeting to use, for each official you are asking them to contact. The more care that is used in making the proper form of contact, the more weight the communication will have. It identifies the person contacting the government official as someone who is fairly intelligent, and their views will be seen as more important than the views of someone who is less intelligent. This is because someone who is more intelligent will be able to communicate more effectively in discussing the issue with his friends, and may have the ability to contact more people than someone of lower intellect may be able to contact. Giving your people the exact correct information for each contact will result in more influence on the government official.

Chapter 4

How to Contact them

The most effective form of contact is through the US Postal Service. Regular old first-class US Mail. One reason this is effective is that they have to read every letter that comes in, in its entirety. Another reason is that they know you spent at least as much time writing it as they had to spend reading it, so they know that the issue means something to you. Mail is also a permanent record. It exists. It can be referred to in the future, in case there is any question about what was said or done. Legislators pay attention to requests in the mail. They pay less attention to phone requests, although those are perhaps second-best, because they are interactive. They also generally cost more than a letter, and they get there quicker. They are a faster response. So they may well be given some credit for those reasons. But phone requests are subject to interpretation. Any historical record is subject to the limitations of the notes taken at the time, or the fuzzy recall of their staff. They pay very little, if any, attention to emails, which can be dashed off in seconds, possibly cut-and-pasted, and require little if any thought on the part of the sender. And mass petitions via the internet are almost universally ignored. They may well feel that an equal or larger number of their constituents may take the opposite view of the issues covered by the petition.

But the letters should be unique to each writer, each constituent. The letters should NEVER appear to be mass-produced. Giving the constituents a list of, say, ten talking points, and suggesting that they pick only two or three to mention in their letter, ensures a good range of different viewpoints across the stack of letters. And the letters should be edited by an English geek. They should be written in the voice of the constituent, but they should not be full of spelling and grammatical errors, and they should look neat. Probably they should not have full justification enabled. Ragged right looks less “processed” than fully justified. If one or two constituents always type in fully justified mode, they can do so in the letters to their elected officials. But you want to make sure that all letters don’t look the same. All letters should seem genuine. But they should be as free as possible of serious errors which would make the constituent look stupid in the eyes of the staffer who reads the letter. Therefore, some editing should in fact be done.

Each constituent, however, can send identical letters to all of their elected officials. In some cases, it might not hurt to emphasize different areas of concern to specific officials. In fact, your poster or other information sheet, might list specific interests of each legislator, which might suggest that talking points should be different between them. In particular, legislators from different parties, may be swayed for or against the same bill, by using different issues related to the bill. In fact, any specific issue can be portrayed in vastly different terms to members of each party. When I was an officer of my local ABATE group (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments, the group formed to fight against motorcycle helmet laws) I noticed that the group was concentrating on republic party legislators. I tried to bring up talking points that could be used to get Democrats onto our side. Even though this was being fought as a big government vs small government issue, I tried to inject the fact that bikers were a minority who were being discriminated against, and also facts like people with claustrophobia could not enjoy riding if they had to wear a helmet, which set up an even smaller minority who felt they were being discriminated against. Our President even went to talk to our local representative, a Democratic woman, using these points to speak out against the bill. Frankly, I won't ride without a helmet, and I prefer Arai helmets over all others, because they simply do a better job of protecting you, and they are also far more comfortable during the 99.99% of the time when you don't need its protection. But I can't think of any issue which could not be presented favorably to members of either party. Make them see that the case is not black and white, and you might sway a few of them, perhaps by implying that a number of voters in their district would be unhappy if they voted in lockstep with their party. Often it only takes a few crossovers to change the results of a vote.

Chapter 5

What if you are too young to vote?

We cited an example of a law which affects people who are too young to vote at the end of the first chapter. They always punish the older person in such a relationship. There was a highly publicized relationship between a female teacher and a 12-yr-old male student some years ago in Washington State. She went to jail, and was forbidden to contact him forever. She was arrested in 1997, served three months in jail, with a no-contact court order, and was found having sex with him again in 1998. She had a daughter by him on each of those occasions, the second one was born in jail. When he turned 21, her lover petitioned the court to cancel the no-contact order, and the two got married in 2005. They are still together, raising their teenaged children. While in jail, she co-authored a book with him, published in France, and titled Un Seul Crime, l’Amour (Only One Crime, Love). I knew of a case not far from the fictional city of Peyton Place, where a young couple owned a home directly in front of the local Junior/Senior High School. While the husband was at work, the wife would invite other ladies in similar circumstances to her home for koffee klatches. They would sit on lawn chairs in the backyard, scantily attired, and motion for the young students to come on over. The students were quite happy to do so, and they had a cadre of students from 11 to 15 years old, coming over during study halls and other times when they did not have to be in school. Her husband said he knew that boys were coming to their home, but that there was no sexual activity going on. I gave a 15-year-old boy a ride home one day, and I witnessed a goodbye kiss between him and the wife, that was to this day, the wettest and juiciest kiss I have ever seen! That kiss was a promise of much more to come. That boy had been going to that home since he was 11 years old! I know of a couple I had a lot of contact with in the 90s. The older man was a banker, and he paid for the younger man’s college education. They were still together the last I knew, though the last time I saw the younger man, he appeared to be very ill, but I was a long way from him in a supermarket parking lot. When they first got together, the older man was 34 years old, and the younger man was all of 14 years old! When I was selling stereo equipment in the 1960s, I had a 16-yr-old boy come in with his mother, to look at systems. They explained that the mother was not buying it, but that their next-door neighbor would be buying it. She explained that the boy’s younger brothers made so much noise that the boy could not study at home (the boy was quite studious). She was thrilled when the neighbor offered to convert an unused bedroom into a study for the boy, so that he could do his homework over there, and the stereo system was to be part of that study, so that the boy could spend even more time in the neighbor’s home. These kinds of relationships go on all of the time and I have known of others as well. In the early days of the internet, when local Bulletin Board Systems provided the only contact with the internet, and we used Fido Mail, I was on a gay men’s’ mailing list. There was no instant messaging. You sent a letter, your BBS uploaded it to a regional hub that night, later that night, it would go out to a national hub. Then it would be relayed to the regional hubs, and then each BBS had a specific time to call in and receive their messages. Everyone looked at your message the next day, and people would respond to it, and a day after that, you could see the responses. There were several people on there who claimed to be psychiatrists and psychologists, and said that the older man was always the one to move on the younger one, always at fault, and that the relationships always harmed the younger one. Two guys who were either in college or had just graduated, stood up to them, and said that they had benefited greatly from their relationships with older men, and that it gave them protection from having their sexual orientation broadcast among their fellow students. They also had access to concerts and even opera(!) to which their parents would not take them, and they learned a lot from their older lovers. They both said that dating older men enhanced their lives in many ways, but that now that they were living on their own, they were dating within their own age group. But they did insist that they were completely in charge, and never had to do anything they were not completely in accord with doing. They insisted that there was no downside of any nature in their relationship with older men. Yet legislators keep up the charade of blaming the older person, gaining the support of parents who refuse to believe that they are responsible for the sexual orientation of their children. Even when the real experts tell us that sexual orientation is established by the age of 2, and is controlled by DNA, with some influence from early environment, parents want to believe that they are not the “cause” of a child’s homosexuality. When you want to pick up a young boy, that boy has to want a relationship with not only your particular sex, but also with someone older, or he will not agree to go with you. I saw a 15-yr-old boy come out of a house after having been with a 13-yr-old girl, and said boy had a visible erection. That girl dated older men and women all of her life, until she herself reached her sixties, at which point she realized that they could not keep up with her any longer, and she started dating younger men. Even those who most strongly claim that sexual orientation is a choice, have all the information they need to realize that is a lie. After all, if you were meant to date the opposite sex, then ANY member of the opposite sex should turn you on. I don’t care if is a petite French brunette, a large-breasted Scandinavian Amazon, a fat Italian Momma, or maybe Aunt Jemima herself, who turns you on, I’d wager that at least two of those types just don’t do it for you. What excites you, what gives you an involuntary woodie, is controlled by an electro-chemical reaction inside your brain, determined by your DNA. There is nothing you can do to change that, and all attempts to do so have been determined to cause more harm to the young person whose life they have attempted to change. These are not choices, and we need to stop promulgating laws on the basis of that claim.

Okay, so you are too young to vote. How, then, can you have an influence on politicians? You should still write them, and state your opinion, as one of their constituents. And you should state or imply that you have the ability to influence the votes of active voters, or make it possible and likely for former non-voters to register and vote, and you will be able to influence their vote. And you should state most emphatically, that if the legislator does not vote in your interests, you will personally register to vote the minute you turn 18, and will immediately (or at the first opportunity after that) cast your vote to turn them out of office. Think about what you can say that should appeal to a reasonable person, and possibly inform him that a reasonable person should agree with you, and therefore, if does not agree with you, he is clearly not a reasonable person. For instance, if you were specifically referring to the age of consent issue, you might state that the factors affecting the age of consent all favor LOWERING the age of consent. You have the constantly diminishing age at onset of puberty, coupled with the increasing availability of information about sex, STDs and other factors, to younger and younger people on their cell phones. You have the dramatic increase in the age when people are expected to produce children. You want to provide sexual outlets for young boys that will not result in their girlfriends getting pregnant while in junior high school. And you should likely insist that comprehensive sexual education be taught to all children before they enter puberty! Those conservatives will love that one! And you might want to allege that the recent increases in the age of consent have, at their root, the twin factors that conservatives are trying to get around sodomy decisions by the courts, and the fact that while these laws are based on the idea that no person under the age of 18 should have the right to determine their own needs and desires in that area, the people who are affected by these laws cannot vote. But with the information age upon us, you can and will make it possible for older non-voters to register and vote, and you can and will influence current voters to vote against the legislator in question. Do your homework here. Research this legislator’s voting history. Find issues where someone who would normally like this legislator, might not like a particular vote by that legislator. Tell him you will use those issues, not the issue which offends you personally, to change the votes of these current voters, who are friends and relatives, and who value your opinion. Is this easy? Well, it is no more difficult than a lengthy homework assignment for school, and you should have ample practice doing those. Get together with others in your school who feel as you do, and perhaps ask your teacher if you can do this project for some extra credit in your Social Studies class or some similar endeavor. Working as part of a group, you can contribute in those areas where you excel, and get help from others in areas where they excel. You might even make some new friends who will assist you in learning other subjects where you are having difficulties. And make sure that you have some people who are ready to edit the work of students who simply cannot write a forceful or meaningful letter. Again, these letters cannot look like carbon copies of each other. Each person should choose their own talking points, and at least change the order around, and write in his or her own voice. If the person doing the editing finds a group of letters that seem too similar to each other, he or she should suggest ways to change that situation.

And of course, when you do turn 18, waste no time in getting to the registrar’s office and register to vote. If you live in a state where having a driver’s license automatically registers you to vote on your 18th birthday, make sure get that license early. So far, I think that the only state with that law is Oregon, but others should follow. Anything that enables and enhances voting, helps democracy. But the voters must be educated on the issues. Anytime you feel that there are voters who would vote against your interests, you should have the most intellectual person in your class or group, write an op-ed in the local newspaper to get your views out there to the maximum number of people. I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper, stating why I felt that young boys with fast cars should have a place to race legally so they could choose not to race on public roads. I referred specifically to drag racing. I think two of my classmates actually mentioned that letter when they autographed my yearbook! Your views CAN influence others. Never think otherwise! Express your views often and fully, in any available media. You might specifically ask the editor of the paper to correct spelling and grammatical errors if you can’t find anyone to do so before you submit it, but of course, understand that you are submitting your letter to someone who works with the English language for a living, so it will look much more impressive if your letter arrives in publishable form. I went to a prep school where I had to write and submit a 300-word theme every week in sophomore English class, and a 500-word theme every week in Senior English class. I wound up writing a few stories for that same newspaper! It did not hurt that I was also vice president of the camera club in school, and I was in charge of determining the topic for the meeting every week, and getting the educational materials in time for the class, from such companies as Kodak and Ansco (now known as GAF, and out of the camera business, as is Eastman Kodak….) But do understand that when you band together with others who feel as you do, you can increase your influence dramatically, and you might get support from people who might not otherwise get involved, and every one of those who signs a letter to your legislators, magnifies your efforts even if you are all too young to vote!

Chapter 6

How to Influence Others

To be effective, you must stand by your promise (don’t call it a threat) to influence voters in your district. You should try to convince your legislator that you can actually influence ten votes against him. That’s a lot of votes, and he is probably smart enough to realize that you will have duplicates with other influencers. If you can actually increase your number past ten, by all means, do so. But you will have to research the individual voters to see where they stand on the issues. If you don’t think you can have any effect on a particular one, don’t waste a lot of time with that person. Find someone else. Find those areas where this voter might be swayed against a particular legislator. It never hurts to stress that legislators should not serve more than two terms, as they do get entrenched, and they do form alliances which you and your target voter might not appreciate. Find out what companies donate to each legislator, and find out how your target voter feels about those companies. That could be an easy way to sway a voter toward a newer challenger. Refer to specific votes by that legislator. The office where he works, whether it is the House of Representatives, or the Senate, in your state, or in Washington DC, should be able to provide you (probably by downloading it directly off the internet), a copy of his voting record. Look it over for any anomalies. Try to find instances where he has voted against the wishes or interests of his constituents. Look for any areas where his vote might have been influenced by outside forces, either within his party, or third party moneyed interests. Match those incidents up with where you feel each voter on your list would likely stand. Convince this voter that this legislator (or other government officer, like governor, lieutenant governor, or attorney general) should be replaced, and then suggest an alternative that is more acceptable to you, be it in the primary race, or in the main election. And stay with the voter through the process. He might hear something from either candidate, or from any third party, that makes him want to reconsider. You would have to be available to remind them of why they made that choice, and that they need to stick with it. These same factors control your actions with regard to ANY elective office, including judgeships, in those states where judges are elected. (I know of a now-retired judge who has been banned for life from a local bar because of his treatment of women there, and is considered to be a criminal by the Deputy concerned with prosecuting sex crimes in that county, and I know another judge in another county, who has vehicles coming onto his property at 3-4 AM, and leaving 15 minutes later, while neighbors of the judge inform me that they believe the judge is responsible for bringing most of the drugs into their county.) Not only must you guide the voter away from the current person in office, but you must also guide that voter TO someone who will be voting more in tune with your interests. Thus, you may have to encourage the voter not to vote strictly along party lines. As we get to more and more parties involved in the elections, that may become easier. You might be able to at least sway a voter away from a hard line conservative, to a more centrist liberal, rather than toward an extreme progressive. At the same time, you might want to consider how this will affect the election results. If the hardline conservative is not polling well against the centrist, you might let a particular voter vote for the hardline conservative, rather than the centrist, in the hopes that your progressive candidate might be able to beat the centrist, if the hardline conservative takes enough votes away from the centrist. If the race is closer, you might have to allow the centrist to win in order to guarantee that the hardline conservative cannot be elected. That can sometimes be a close call. You may have to accept at some point, that you made the wrong choice, and try again during the next election. Right now, I think that Donald Trump, a New York liberal and former registered Democrat, might be to the left of Hillary on some issues, and I think after the election, both of them will resort to their former ways—and she was a republic party campaigner for Barry Goldwater, one of the most conservative men ever to serve in the US Senate. But I also believe that Trump will resign after 100 days. After all, he does not want to BE the President, he only wants to prove that he COULD be elected to that position. If he can get a good 100-day assessment, that would be the proof that he could do the job if he wanted to. Then he can resign, get all of the benefits that accrue to former Presidents, and be free to do whatever he wants. That would put Pence in that office, and he would not be someone I want to see there. On the other hand, Hillary moving to the wrong side of center, would not be pretty either! Wall Street has already indicated it wants Hillary over Trump, and that’s not a good sign. But centrist judges are a whole lot better than any that Pence would nominate, and that tips the election for me. I will have to hold my nose to vote for Hillary. After all, she DID steal the primaries from Bernie, even in New York City, but also in several other states, with blatantly crooked reregistration of lifetime Democrats to either republic party affiliation, or No Party Affiliation, thus preventing likely Sanders voters from being able to vote in the Democratic primaries. That is simply CRIMINAL. The fact that state law enforcement officials are not prosecuting those responsible for these atrocities is also criminal. We need a very strong reaction four years from now, to make absolutely certain that whomever is elected this year cannot be an 8-year President! Influencing an election ought to start a full year before the election, but we just do not have that much time. You still can influence a few people now, and you certainly can volunteer to get potential voters to the polls on election day, if they are already registered. Finding voters in that position who are likely to vote with your interests, is plenty of work for this year’s election, but that could be enough to sway a few Senate seats, and that would make a YUUUUUUUUUGE difference! And four years from now, realize that you have a lot more influence than you might think, especially if you get together with others who feel as you do.

And while I realize that this book is written from the standpoint of a very progressive liberal, and some Millennials may still be conservatives (I know at least one or two of them), they are a dying breed, and the youth vote is very much a progressive-leaning block, for which I am grateful. If you are a Millennial, and a conservative, I would urge you to get your news from a source other than the FOX, and study up a little bit more on the issues. Just because your parents were members of that republic party, or even the Democratic Party, which has outlived its usefulness, does not mean that you have to be as well. If you are a conservative, these same techniques would work for you, except that you might discover that you really are in a minority even among your own friends.

APPENDIX

One website that should do it all: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

Find your US Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Find your US Senator: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

National Conference of State Legislatures: [+ http://www.ncsl.org/aboutus/ncslservice/state-legislative-websites-directory.aspx+]

Law Librarians Society of Washington DC list of State Legislatures, Laws, and Regulations: http://www.llsdc.org/state-legislation

Ballotpedia, a free political encyclopedia online. This is a good place to look up almost anything related to influencers and elections: https://www.ballotpedia.org

League of Women Voters—another good place to look up almost anything about politics: http://www.lwv.org

Law Library of Congress—the Library of Congress’ compendium of laws: https://www.loc.gov/law/

FindLaw—a good compendium of legal information: www.findlaw.com

Good information on general legal issues, especially civil law. This site may be very good for people who wish to file civil cases without hiring a lawyer: http://www.nolo.com/

Another good source of information is your local state University, especially law schools in your state. One of the oldest in the nation is the Yale University (private) law library: http://library.law.yale.edu/.

If you go to your local law school, the friendly librarian there may be able to set you up with a free temporary access account with LexisNexis, the firm which maintains the national database of laws and court judgments. You may also be able to obtain some access from your own computer at home. Their home page is at www.lexisnexis.com and you can try to contact them at http://www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/products/lexis-advance.page

Alphabetical list of states, by ZIP Code abbreviation, which are NOT in alphabetical order:

(Hint: The code word for “laws” in many states is “Code” as in “Georgia Code”)

AL

General link for Alabama State Legislature, includes links to find your state representative and senator. The Legislature convenes in regular annual sessions on the first Tuesday in February. www.legislature.state.al.us/

Laws of Alabama: [+ http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm+]

AK

General site for Alaska laws and legislators. You must look at this page all the way to the bottom to find certain things, like links to your legislator: http://akleg.gov/index.php

AZ

General website for the Arizona state legislature with a good assortment of links for specific information: http://www.azleg.gov/

Laws of Arizona: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/arizonarevisedstatutes.asp

AR

Complete page with links to all legislative and law information: [+ http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2015/2016F/Pages/Home.aspx+]

CA

Basic Legislative information: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/

California laws and Constitution: [+ http://www.legislature.ca.gov/research_and_publications/laws_and_constitution/laws_and_constitution.html+]

CO

One of the most comprehensive state websites, with laws maintained by LexisNexis: [+ http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cslFrontPages.nsf/HomeSplash?OpenForm+]

CT

General Connecticut legislative information: https://www.cga.ct.gov/

Laws of Connecticut: https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/titles.htm

DE

General legislative information. One of the worst websites in the country—click on the General Assembly on the left to find your legislators: http://legis.delaware.gov/

Delaware laws—with downloadable pdf files and e-books in 2 formats: http://delcode.delaware.gov/

DC

DC is unique, because it is not a state, so it has no governor, and no legislature per se. If you live here, start with this site and research extensively: http://dccouncil.us/legislation

FL

South Florida is more populous, and tends to be very conservative, with many wealthy retirees and even many of the Hispanics, being conservative. So they tend to elect the governor, and enough representatives to make life hell for the rest of us. The principal legislative website is at: https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/find

Here is a more general site with links to almost anything in the state government: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/

GA

Very comprehensive site for Georgia. Look under GEORGIA CODE link for the laws of the state: http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx

HI

Comprehensive Hawaii page. There’s a lot information here, you may have to read carefully to find what you are looking for: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/

ID

Idaho statutes are front and center, links to legislators are on the left: https://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/TOC/IDStatutesTOC.htm

IN

General legislative site: https://iga.in.gov/

Laws of Indiana—this site changes name every year: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2016/ic/

IA

Very comprehensive all access site: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/

KS

Kansas legislators’ information is at: http://kslegislature.org/li/

Kansas Laws are listed at: http://www.kslegislature.org/li_2014/b2013_14/statute/

KY

A Very comprehensive site for Kentucky: http://lrc.ky.gov/

LA

Very comprehensive site for Louisiana: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/home.aspx

ME

Basic Maine Legislature site: http://legislature.maine.gov/

Maine Statues: http://legislature.maine.gov/ros/meconlaw.htm

ME lookup site: [+ http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/voter_lookup.php+]

MD

Very comprehensive site for Maryland: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home

MA

Find your legislator: https://malegislature.gov/People/Search

This is a subsite of the main webpage but this site also has links to the statutes and such.

MI

Very poorly designed site, but there are links to everything here, you just have to find them: [+ https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(qgurpwh2kj3bgwflvgejf5by))/mileg.aspx?page=home+]

MN

Very comprehensive site that is easy to navigate: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/

MS

One of the worst sites in the country, with no real way to figure out who your legislators are, but there is a link to the statutes: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/

MO

Pretty good single site with links to almost everything: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/

MT

Not as intuitive as I’d like, but the links are all there: http://leg.mt.gov/css/default.asp

NE

This gives access to laws, but you have to click on “For Citizens” on the left to find your legislators:

http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/laws.php

NV

Another one of the worst sites in the country. The information is all there, but you could spend a day finding what you want: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/

NH

Incredibly poorly designed website. You have to click the government link, then the state government link, to find your legislator: https://www.nh.gov/index.html

NJ

Decent site with a full list of links down the left side: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/

NM

The home page doesn’t look like much, but the links are there, and fairly intuitive: https://www.nmlegis.gov/

NY

Another unimpressive home page, but fairly intuitive links: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/

NC

Another website where you will have to study hard to find everything, but the links are there: http://www.ncleg.net/

ND

HINT…The most important links are at the bottom of the page: http://www.legis.nd.gov/

OH

Nice site with more than one way to find the most important links: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/

OK

Nice simple site with links to everything: http://www.oklegislature.gov/

OR

Very nice website with a lot of information and intuitive links: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws

PA

Another good website with more than one link to important pages: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/

RI

Basic site with relatively intuitive links: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/legislation/

SC

Surprisingly good website with obvious links to everything: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/

SD

One of the better sites—very simple with obvious links to anything important: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/

TN

Good legislative site: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/

Incredibly, I could not find a state-owned website detailing the laws of TN. This is the best I could find: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/tennessee-law.html

TX

Not the easiest to follow, but everything is there and available: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

UT

Very simple site with links to everything: https://le.utah.gov/

VT

Very easy site to use with well-defined links: http://legislature.vermont.gov/

VA

Decent site with good links: http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/

WV

Simple site, not terrible: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/

WI

General legislative info with links to laws: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/

WY

Good site with links to everything you need: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/Default.aspx

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Exerting influence: A Political Primer for Millennials, Even Those Too Young to

This is a book for Bernie Sanders fans who are upset about election 2016 and want to do something about it. It offers an introduction to how our political system works, how to influence voters and legislators, how to find out who to contact, and how to contact them. There is a full appendix with links to the principle websites in each state to look up legislative information and legal statutes.

  • Author: John Waaser
  • Published: 2016-09-16 06:05:14
  • Words: 12963
Exerting influence: A Political Primer for Millennials, Even Those Too Young to Exerting influence: A Political Primer for Millennials, Even Those Too Young to