Monday, May 31, 2010

Campaign Issue: Pay Day Loan/Industrial Loan Operators in Georgia

Time to start nailing down my positions on the issues.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner is tasked with a wide variety of responsibilities in the great state of Georgia. Regulating the delivery of insurance products is the best known but the office is also in charge of regulating "Small Loan" or "Industrial" operators as well.

As a Libertarian, I am of the belief that if two citizens sign a contract, then the terms of the contract should be binding. That belief has an underlying assumption that both parties are able to walk away from a bad deal and seek more suitable terms for said service from another provider. As a Georgian I know that this is not always the case.

There are quite a few citizens in Georgia that do not have access to capital from traditional sources because of poor prior performance with credit products, documented income that is below lending standards and a host of other problems that can blacklist a borrower in need. These are the people that the Industrial loan operators target. While it is true that the legislature overhauled the Pay Day loan statues several years ago with the Payday Lending Act of 2004, the business has adapted to the changed environment and is flourishing. Just type "Pay Day Loan Georgia" into your favorite browser and watch what happens.

What to do? The Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates these guys according to the statutes passed by the legislature. The old methods of separating the citizen in need from his money are no longer valid so the business changes it's process and still retains the exorbitant profits while complying with the law. And the citizens of our dense urban areas, our poor rural areas and our citizens in uniform are left with limited choice. Agree to an outrageous loan package or watch Georgia Power turn off your lights, or wave good bye to your car as a repo man hauls it off or suffer with that wisdom tooth that's not covered by your dental plan. Your choice.

The biggest argument made by the operators and owners of these Industrial Loan products is that people need them. If there was no immediate need, there would be no Industrial loan industry. If citizens were not willing and able to pay an effective rate of 391% APR for a $400 dollar two week loan they simply would not. And there is some truth to that statement. But is there Justice?

As a Libertarian Politician running for the office of Insurance Commissioner, I think it's time to include this mess in the general debate. I have yet to formulate a platform plank on the topic but I am working on it. And an article published yesterday in the Athens Banner Herald by Johnathan McGinty has a big clue about a solution. In North Carolina they have used the credit union model to build a robust, economical solution for NC citizens who need small loans with out expanding government or increasing taxes. Quote:

In North Carolina, the state's credit union has decided to simply interject some old-fashioned market competition into the mix. The North Carolina State Employees' Credit Union has grown to become the largest lender to the state's low-income population.
It provides more than 50,000 individual loans per month. These loans, of less than $500, feature an interest rate of 12 percent. Each time a loan is processed, 5 percent of its value is placed into a savings account for the borrower.

Perhaps Georgia would be wise to follow suit.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

State of the Race on FaceBook Update #5

Update Time!

Here are this weeks results from our totally unscientific FaceBook metric.

US Senate Race
Libertarian Chuck Donovan
Chuck Donovan for US Senate, Georgia 2010
Donovan for Senate
117 friends at the start
4 APR 10 221 Fans +104 Fans
11 APR 10 233 Fans +14
16 MAY 10 425 fans/friends +192 Fans/Friends
23 MAY 10 481 fans/friends +56 Fans/Friends
30 MAY 10 491 Fans/Friends +10 Fans/friends

Georgia Governor's Race
John Monds for Governor of Georgia
John Monds
John Monds, Politician
Libertarian John Monds 346 fans at the start
4 APR 10 349 Fans +3 Fans
11 APR 10 348 Fans -1
16 MAY 10 1670 Fans/Friends +1322 Fans/Friends
23 MAY 10 2103 Fans/Friends +781 Fans/Friends
30 MAY 10 2112 Fans/Friends +9 Fans/Friends

Lt. Governor
Libertarian Rhonda Martini
Rhonda Martini
16 MAY 10 33 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 45 Fans/Friends +12 fans/Friends
30 MAY 10 50 Fans/Friends +5 Fans/Friends

Georgia Secretary of State
David Chastain for Georgia Secretary of State
David Chastain
Libertarian David Chastain 127 fans at the start
4 APR 10 129 Fans +2 Fans
11 APR 10 131 Fans +2
16 MAY 10 fans/Friends 669 +538
23 MAY 10 722 Fans/Friends +184
30 MAY 10 727 Fans/Friends +5 Fans/Friends

Labor Commissioner
Will Costa for Georgia Labor Commissioner
William Costa
Libertarian Will Costa 174 fans at the start
4 APR 10 233 Fans +59 Fans
11 APR 10 277 Fans +44 Fans
16 MAY 10 2094 Fans/Friends +1817 Fans/Friends
23 MAY 10 2161 Fans/Friends +344 Fans/Friends
30 MAY 10 2171 Fans/Friends +10 Fans/Friends

Superintendent of Schools
Kira Willis for State Superintendent of Georgia
Kira Willis
Libertarian Kira Willis 334 fans at the start
4 APR 10 379 Fans +45 Fans
11 APR 10 406 Fans +27 Fans
16 MAY 10 798 Fans/Friends +392
23 MAY 10 858 Fans/Friends +60
30 MAY 10 879 Fans/Friends +21 Fans/Friends

Commissioner of Agriculture
Kevin Cherry
Libertarian Kevin Cherry
16 MAY 10 24 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 31 fans/Friends +7
30 May 10 31 Fans/Friends No Change

Commissioner of Insurance
Shane T. Bruce
Shane Bruce, Politician
Libertarian Shane Bruce
16 MAY 10 161 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 172 Fans/Friends +11
30 MAY 10 162 Fans/Friends -10

Public Service Commission District 2
James Sendelbach, Politician
Libertarian James Sendelbach 21 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 35 Fans/Friends +14
30 MAY 10 30 Fans/Friends -5

Attourney General
Don Smart, Politician
Libertarian Don Smart
16 MAY 10 43 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 48 Fans/Friends +5
30 MAY 10 47 Fans/Friends -1

That's the update. Kira Willis is this weeks leader and Shane Bruce is the loss leader. What a bummer. Is it something I said? Hope so.

"Blogger Shane Bruce" holds Page 1 ranking out of 2,590,000 results on Google


It's always amazing in this digital age when you get around to Googling your own name. That's when you find out that contrary to what your mother told you, you're not all that special, there's thousands of cats running around with your name. And the Shane Bruce's of this world are a very busy bunch. There's a filmmaker, a couple of professors and lots of other guys but I appear to be the only blogger running for statewide office as a Libertarian. For now.

Here's the skinny on some of my erstwhile opponents for the Insurance Commissioner gig:

"Democrat Mary Squires" Page one ranking out of 111,000 results

"Republican Maria Sheffield" Page one ranking out of 1,420,000 results

"Republican Ralph Hudgens" Page one ranking out of 769,000 results

"Republican Gerry Purcell" Page one rank out of 735,000 results

"Republican Stephen Northington" Page one ranking out of 22,900 results

"Republican Seth Harp" Page one ranking out of 488,000 results

"Republican Tom Knox" Page one ranking out of 75,300 results

"Republican Rick Collum" Page one ranking out of 821,000 results

"Republican John Mamalakis" Page one ranking out of 1,400 results

So in light of this important information I call on my opponents to fold their tents and leave the field. Google has spoken.

It's a good thing that Libertarian David Chastain has Big Shoulders

Does Garland Favorito ever take a break?

We've been running a series from Garland on republican gubernatorial wanna-bee Karen Handel and still have a couple of segments to go. Time for a break. Here's Garlands latest work on the race for SecState. Hint, Libertarian David Chastain is the man!

Take it away Garland!

Only one of seven SOS primary candidates supported statewide verifiable voting

Seven Democrat and Republican primary candidates are vying to join Libertarian David Chastain on the ballot in the November 2010 elections for the position of Georgia Secretary of State (SOS). Ironically, only one of them actually has a proven track record of campaigning for statewide verifiable voting since the initiation of their campaign. Several of the primary candidates seem perfectly content to continue using Georgia’s “no evidence” voting systems indefinitely and at least two have adamantly opposed a return to verifiable voting in Georgia.

On the Republican side, current Secretary of State Brian Kemp, an otherwise mild mannered, likeable man, opposed Tim Bearden’s HB1215 election integrity bill this year. That bill would have replaced our current “no evidence” voting machines with auditable optical scan equipment, established precinct level audit procedures and required hand recounts to ensure original vote totals were correct. Just a month earlier, in February 2010, when discussing the possibility that state legislators may want to return to verifiable voting machines he told hundreds of people at a Georgia Christian Alliance debate: “Now If they want to, I would be ready to lead the charge”

At that same debate, Kemp’s primary opponent, Doug MacGinnitie, told the audience: “I have a plan that makes a lot of sense. I think we need to put in place a way to audit the systems. I have talked to some technology folks and some election lawyers. There is a cost effective way to prove or disprove once and for all if these machines count accurately or not.” But when I immediately pressed him to explain his plan he was unwilling and unable to even discuss it. Had he actually talked to me or any other competent technology professional we would have told him that it is technically impossible to audit the vote recording mechanisms of the current machines since they have no Voter Verified Paper Ballot Audit Trail.

Of the five candidates on the Democratic side of the SOS primaries, only Angela Moore has an established, historical track record of consistently supporting verifiable voting. This dates back to her 2006 campaign for the SOS office when she supported the SB591 vote count bill. Ever since then she has consistently carried the message of restoring integrity to Georgia elections.

One of her opponents, newcomer Michael Mills, articulately touts that he was once a legislative aide for Lewis Massey, the voting machine vendor lobbyist who profited from bringing unverifiable voting to Georgia. No wonder he doesn’t show much interest in verifiable voting. Need I say more.

Another newcomer, Gary Horlacher, is honestly and creatively trying to solve the ethics problems in Georgia by challenging his opponents to take a polygraph test like he did. I appreciate his recent pledge to correct Georgia’s voting machine problems and I respect his willingness to visit every Georgia county before the elections. However, he originally developed a platform, initiated a campaign and published his web site without even realizing that “no evidence” voting in Georgia was a major issue. Had it not been for Angela Moore he may not have figured it out.

Still a third newcomer in the race is Representative Georganna SInkfield. She has never co-sponsored any verifiable voting legislation and most of her legislative initiatives have nothing to do with Secretary of State functions. To her credit, she voted in 2006 for Karla Drenner’s SB500 amendment that would have required audit trails on voting machines used throughout the state. But she entered the race on or about the last day of qualifying just ten weeks prior to primary Election Day while her opponents have been running established campaigns for a year. Now just six weeks away, she still has no platform and no website, or Email address posted at the Secretary of State’s office. Her actions are so bizarre that they demand more scrutiny.

Rep. Sinkfield qualified just after Darryl Hicks had wisely decided to withdraw from the Secretary of State race to run for the Labor Commission post that Michael Thurmond will vacate in his bid for the U.S. Senate. Hicks is more suited to that position and has a better chance of winning that primary. But why would Georganna Sinkfield bother to incur the qualification and campaign costs to make such a feeble run for the SOS office? Well, it may help to know that Darryl Hicks, Georganna Sinkfield, and Angela Moore are all of African American descent (please forgive me for using that hyphenated term because we are all Americans). Angela Moore believes that Georganna’s role is to keep the black vote split and I have to agree. However, I think those voters will see through that ploy. But who would benefit if Georganna Sinkfield siphons off enough voters to prevent Angela Moore from consolidating the black vote and becoming a legitimate favorite to win the Democratic primary? The beneficiary just happens to be Gail Buckner, Georganna Sinkfield’s former fellow legislator from a neighboring district and the 2006 SOS Democratic primary winner who is also running for the office again in 2010.

Gail Buckner, a current state senator, is well aware of the “no evidence” voting issues that plague Georgia since many of us spent lots of time supplying her with a variety of information and reference material on the issue in support of our 2006 volunteer lobbying efforts. In spite of that, she has never sponsored any legislation to rectify the statewide problems, never offered any kind help to us and actually opposed all of our initiatives. She is the only legislator in the entire General Assembly who is on public record as opposing all 2006 statewide vote audit legislation. Specifically, as a representative:
n She opposed the HB 790 audit procedure bill in the House Government Affairs committee;
n She opposed SB 500 audit provisions in the House Government Affairs committee;
n She voted on the House floor against Karla Drenner’s SB500 amendment that would have required audit trails on voting machines used throughout the state;
n She ridiculed Angela Moore in the 2006 Democratic primary for supporting the SB591 vote count bill.

No other legislator opposed more than one of these initiatives but Rep. Buckner opposed all of them and even took on her on fellow Democrats in doing so. Her actions so infuriated some Democrats that several of them signed a letter that they sent to the leadership in 2006 asking her to be replaced in the Secretary of State contest. Nevertheless, she is back again even though she has alienated many grass roots Democratic Party members. While she may be qualified for other positions, the question for the Democratic Party leadership is: “Why would you want to place a candidate on the ballot in this race who cannot even unite the members of your own party?”

Perhaps the answer to that question is that the state leadership of the Democratic Party is still just as determined as the state leadership of the Republican Party to keep “no evidence” voting here in Georgia. Are they continuing their blockade against verifiable voting in expectation that one day they can use “no evidence” elections to their benefit if they have not already? It will take a highly supportive, grass roots nominee like Angela Moore to win the 2010 primary or the hopes of the people to restore the integrity of Georgia elections in 2010 may rest solely on the shoulders of Libertarian David Chastain.

Garland Favorito
Elections Director
GA Constitution Party
404 664-4044 CL

Saturday, May 29, 2010

This Guy Northington Makes Sense

Too bad he's not gonna survive the primary.

I've spent some time over the last few days checking out Ralph and Maria, my prime competitors for that sweet gig down at the Insurance Commissioners Office and now it's time to look at the rest of the herd. And since the MDJ didn't see fit to publish my comment on their article about Steve, I thought I'd do one myself.

Steve Northington is only republican candidate to have had the vision to put his thoughts on major insurance topics up on YouTube. Thanks for the crash course Steve! He covers the whole Insurance Commissioner spectrum from manufactured Homes to Pay Day Loan operations to Fire Safety and Insurance Mandates and Premium Tax. No racetrack video, so maybe I can beat him to the punch on that one.

The guys no Jon Stewart, but he is an honest communicator. Here's a sample from his You Tube Channel:

Holy Crap! Georgia's Holding some Insurance Companies Captive!

And the Kicker is, they like it!

It's truly a wondrous world filled with surprises at every turn. Who would think that being a "Captive" insurance company could be a good thing? The word captive has dark connotations, dungeons, bad food, no sunshine. Kind of like being a slave without the work requirement.

However in the arcane world of insurance in the great state of Georgia, a captive insurance company is a good thing. Turns out that they're not really captives, they're in house insurance companies that service the needs of their owners. And they got some perks too!

From the Georgia Captive Insurance Association Website

The Georgia Captive Advantage

The Atlanta Area Metropolis, the eighth largest in the nation and a top business and transportation hub.
Favorable economic climate.
The ability to write all property and casuality directly, including Workers’ Compensation.
No rate and form filings.
Pure, Association and Industrial-Insured captive are available.
No investment restrictions for Pure and Industrial-Insured captives.
Broad reinsurance powers.
Easy access to substantial alternative market insurance expertise.
No premium tax on reinsurance or non-Georgia based business.
No residual market load charges for Worker's Compensation

The three that jump out to me are no rate or form filings, no premium tax and no residual market load charges. The exclusion from the premium tax knocks at least 2.25% straight to the bottom line and that's got to be a good thing for the captives owner. Not such a good thing for the average Georgia consumer, if one group of folks don't have to pay the premium tax, why do the citizens of Georgia at large have to pay it?

Great big ol' hat tip to republican candidate Maria Sheffield for pointing out the existence of captive insurance on her campaign website.

Karen Pulled a Kerry? Part 3 of Garland Favorito's latest Missive

Influence Peddling? At the SecState's Office!? I'm shocked!

Take it away Garland!


To understand why former Secretary Handel would reverse a popular position and replace it with such a deceptive position, an informed citizen need only to follow the money. That money flowed from what may be the most powerful and strategically well placed lobbying form in Georgia. Here is the story:
In 2002, former SOS Cathy Cox signed a $54 million contract for Diebold voting equipment that did not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as required by law. [O.C.G.A. 21-2-30(b) of the 2001 Georgia Election code] Kennesaw State’s former director of the Center for Election Systems, Ray Cobb, since admitted under oath in deposition that the voting machines have no audit trail that is independent. Sec. Cox’s office chose not to include the audit trail recommendation from the 21st Century Voting Commission report in the Request for Proposal. At least two other vendors at that time met the audit requirement but were not seriously considered. Secretary Cox entered into the agreement despite numerous warnings from governmental sources and the general public. Her former boss and former SOS, Lewis Massey, was the lobbyist for the voting machine vendor, Diebold Election Systems.
Lewis Massey then established Massey & Bowers in partnership with Bruce Bowers, son of Bette Rose Bowers and former gubernatorial candidate Michael Bowers. Massey & Bowers is the lobbying firm that represents the voting machine vendor. That vendor, Diebold, has since changed the name of its division to Premier Election Systems and sold the division to Electronic Systems & Software after intense national scrutiny and ridicule.
In 2006, then SOS Candidate, Karen Handel, eloquently explained the nationally recognized voting machine problems in her white paper entitled “Basics”. She was elected, in part, with non-partisan support after showing promise that she would help correct the problems. However, late in her campaign she acknowledged that she had received significant financial help from Michael Bowers. Once elected, she reversed her position on the voting machines and appointed former Massey & Bowers partner, Rob Simms, as her Deputy Secretary.
A simple review of campaign contributions for the last five years will reveal that the Bowers family members and other Massey & Bowers employees have contributed thousands of dollars toward the campaigns of Karen Handel. In fact, Rob Simms left his deputy position in the last few months of Karen Handel’s tenure to raise funds full time for her gubernatorial campaign. Therefore, Karen Handel had a vested interest that necessitated her reversal of position and forced her to make highly deceptive statements to protect the various business interests of the voting machine vendor lobbyist who had so heavily supported her campaigns. Likewise, Handel and her Inspector General, Shawn LaGrua, had a vested interest to ensure that elections investigations would not expose flaws in the voting machines that could further jeopardize the interests of the lobbyists.

Diebold strikes again. When will the citizens of Georgia strike back?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Who's the Lead Dog in the Republican Primary for Insurance Commissioner?

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

Looks like Senator Ralph Hudgens is the defacto lead dog as of the 31 March 2010 filings with the Ethics Commission Website. He's got da money. Of course that beggars the question, "Where did he get it?"

in an effort to solve this question I went digging around in his contributor reports on file at said State Ethics Commission website and discovered the following:

Total number of Contributors for the 31 DEC 2010 report: 320
Total Amount raised: $279,660
Number of contributors in the Insurance Industry: 40
Amount raised from the 40 self identified Insurance guys: $34,175

Ralph didn't raise all that much while the last session was going on because he couldn't by state law. And sometime around the end of last year he dumped $106,000 out of his Senate campaign account into his Insurance Commissioner account and that is being looked at as a potential violation. At least that's what republican candidate Maria Sheffield says on her website.

Georgia’s Ethics-in-Government Act prohibits officials from taking money directly from companies they regulate. I suppose it's OK for candidates to do so because they're not the commissioner yet. It still smells. And Ralph got a lot of love from various and sundry Lobbyists, small loan operations as well a plethora of PAC's. That stinks as well.

So the lead dog republican looks like he's ready, willing and able to carry on with the fine traditions established by out going Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. With him at the helm we can look forward to climbing further up the ladder from 9th most expensive state for insurance all the way to #1!

Stirrin' the Pot at the Savannah Morning News

They keep ignoring us, I keep pointing it out.

You gotta love the folks over at the Georgia Political Digest since they log almost every political story written by the traditional media here in the great state of Georgia. It makes my job as a candidate easier because I don't have to spend countless seconds looking at all those papers in Augusta, Columbus, Rome, Macon and Savannah. When you're running a one man part time shop aspiring to statewide political office, time matters.

Any way, the Savannah Morning News ran a nice piece on republican candidate Seth Harp written by reporter Larry Petersen which the AJC's Georgia Elections Central blog picked up as part of that 13 newspaper realignment gig they cooked up this month. I've already commented over at the AJC but felt compelled to go for the double whammy down in Savannah. Here's the post, any of the readership residing down in that neck of the woods is invited to join the fray.

Greetings All,

One important point absent from this article is the fact that the winner of the republican primary will be facing two opponents this fall. The republican primary will eventually resolve itself and I am of the opinion that Candidate Sheffield will win the day in the run off. Money talks and losers walk.

Mary Squires will represent the democrat party and I am the candidate of the Libertarian Party of Georgia.

As the Libertarian Candidate, I will be focusing on the following issues that confront and confound the Citizens of Georgia daily.

Why is Georgia ranked as the 9th most expensive state for insurance products in the USA? Shouldn't we be at 49th like we are in education?

Why does our state legislature saddle the citizens with 45 insurance mandates? Shouldn't the citizens be able to make their own decisions about the types of coverages they want?

Why does the state of Georgia have one of the highest Insurance Premium Taxes in the country? What can be done to reduce it?

I am a first time citizen politician representing Georgia's largest third party in this fall's elections. If you are tired of the same old same old and want to see some actual change for the better, then Vote for Libertarian Shane Bruce for Insurance Commissioner.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stirrin' the Pot at the AJC's Georgia Election Central blog

The Chicken Neck has got to go.

I ran across the AJC's Georgia Election Central today and had to comment on the Seth Harp article from yesterday. Looks like Seth is brimming with confidence about his run for the republican nomination for the Insurance Commissioner race. I hate to bust his bubble, but over in republicanland, money talks and losers walk. I urge the readership to head over and drop some more breadcrumbs on the discussion if you're of a mind to and before you go, cruise by the sidebar and see what you can see.

Here's the post:

Greetings All,

I am sure that all nine of the republican candidates for the office of Insurance Commissioner are confident that they will emerge victorious from the impending primary. I'm also sure that just like in "HighLander", there can only be one. Which one? Based on the meager scraps of intelligence I've come across over the last few weeks, I think it'll boil down to candidate Hudgens and candidate Sheffield in the run off and I suspect that candidate Sheffield will win the day.

Which is good news for my unfunded, unstaffed campaign for the same office. I'd love to be the only Libertarian guy in the race facing a female republican lawyer who worked for the Ox for 6 years and a female democrat ex-State Rep/Senator. Nice contrast.

So please keep up the good work republicans. Make your primary as contentious as possible and get some of those back burner issues up to the front. I would suggest:

-The 45 Insurance Mandates in Georgia that all Georgians pay for whether they use them or not.

-Georgia's Insurance Premium Tax, one of the highest in the USA.

-Ethical considerations about taking campaign donations from the industries the Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates or from the law firms that represent them.

-Georgia's ranking as the 9th most expensive state for insurance products in the USA. Why aren't we 49th like we are in education?

If you'd like know to more about me and my Libertarian campaign, good luck. It's not like we get press coverage or anything. You can head over to the FaceBook page or drop by Bludgeon & Skewer for a start.

Vote for Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom! Vote for Shane Bruce for Insurance Commissioner!

Karen Pulled a Kerry? Part 2 of Garland Favorito's latest missive.

Are you ready for this?

Here's part 2 of Garland Favorito's latest compilation of republican candidate for Governor Karen Handle's ethical corundums. I love the title of this section.

Take it away Garland!


Former Secretary Handel’s last position statement is a textbook example of how a politician can use phrases to mislead uninformed voters. Only someone who is intimately familiar with the facts would realize that there are five deceptive or false implications in that one single sentence! I think it is worth the time to dissect the phrases I this one sentence and point out the counter facts that reveal an astonishingly different picture:

Handel: “Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation..”
Counter Facts: In 2004, Free Congress Foundation rated Georgia as having the worst voting systems in the nation in regards to “system reliability and recount preparedness” No significant change has been made in voting equipment since then.

Handel: “...due to four levels of security testing on touch-screen voting machines”
Counter Facts: The Federal Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Technical Guidelines Development Committee concluded that: “The National Institute of Standards and Testing & EAC Security & Transparency Subcommittee do not know how to write testable requirements to satisfy that the software in a DRE is correct” Therefore, no amount of testing levels can assure vote recording accuracy.

Handel: “our partnership with nationally renowned elections experts at the Kennesaw State University [KSU] Center for Elections Systems [CES] …”
Counter Facts: Former KSU Professor Britain Williams oversaw 2001 and 2002 certification testing for voting equipment that did not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as required by law at the time. [21-2-301(b) of GEC 2001] Former KSU CES Elections Director, Ray Cobb admitted to being “unaware of any audit trails that are independent of the equipment” The CES has downplayed voting machine deficiencies and advocated unverifiable voting which financially benefits KSU to the detriment of all Georgia voters.

Handel: “..the dedication by county election officials to provide secure and fair elections at the local level”
Counter Facts: An investigation conducted by Inspector General, Shawn LaGrrua, provided overwhelming evidence that the Lowndes County Elections officials:
Forced 947 test votes into the live elections results for the 2008 general election,
Failed to reconcile the voter poll book totals to the voting machine vote totals to detect the discrepancy;
Certified the incorrect results;
In another case an investigation found that in 2008 Douglas County election officials:
Failed to advertise logic and accuracy testing of all voting machines used on Election Day,
Solicited KSU to create a second ballot unauthorized by the SOS for use on Election Day;
Took election results home in a spreadsheet and approved them;
Allowed a Diebold (Premier) employee to manually enter the Election Day results from the spreadsheet into the county tabulation serve (GEMS);
Failed to certify the recounted results in all county and state races except one
The original investigation by LaGrua, who was appointed by Handel, protected the Lowndes County officials. To date, the Attorney General’s office has taken no substantive action against any of the officials in either county.

Handel: “and our photo ID requirement,”
Counter Facts: The photo ID requirement for voter registration has nothing to do with the Georgia Supreme Court case to which the Secretary responded in her statement. Regardless of personal beliefs on the issue, most people agree that the stringency of Voter ID requirements has partisan implications between Democrats and Republicans. Karen Handel fought consistently and valiantly for highly stringent Voter ID requirements that are perceived to benefit her fellow Republicans. But when it came to the non-partisan issues of opening the ballot to all candidates or ensuring that the votes of all citizens could be properly verified, audited and recounted, Karen Handel took no significant action. Our potentially corrupt voting system still contains the flaws she acknowledged in 2006.

Be sure to drop by for tomorrows installment, my personal fav, Lobbyist Influence peddling! And while you're waiting, head over to Voter Georgia and see what you can do to help the hardest working single issue advocate in Georgia, Garland Favorito!

Shane Bruce, Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner Responds to the Tea Party Voter Guide

Q & A Time Folks.

Just in from Georgia LP HQ, a request for information for a voter guide being compiled by the Tea Party of Georgia. I'm not sure which one of the Tea Party subsets these guys and gals represent but the questions seemed reasonable if a bit heavy on health insurance.

Here's the response from my campaign.

Ms. Stanton,

The LP Operations Director, Brett Bittner, forwarded your email to me. It seems from the specific questions that these are policy questions for the candidates for the Office of Insurance Commissioner this year in Georgia.

First order of business, the name is Shane Bruce, not Bruce Shane.

Your questions. Please note that each is provided with a yes or no as requested and additional info as I see fit.

Reduce spending: Yes. That is one of the three fundamental elements of Libertarianism. Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom.
Reduce fees and taxes: Yes. See answer number one.
States’ Rights: Yes. Only as a subset of the rights of the individual citizen. Are any of the amendments after the 10th Amendment real?
Purchasing insurance across state lines: Yes. The citizens of Georgia must be freed from the Insurance plantation.
Obama Care: No. Obama Care is another intrusion by the federal government into the lives of Georgia citizens and must be stopped.
Establishing risk pools: Yes. Georgia already has a high risk pool that is unfunded. It is not perfect but it is a start.
Establishing coverage by menu: Yes. Each citizen of Georgia should be able to pick and choose the coverages they want and not be dictated to by the state in the form of mandates.
Portability: Yes. The citizen is the user of insurance products. The citizen pays for this directly or indirectly but the coverage is his. If he leaves one employment situation for another his policy coverage should go with him.

I appreciate the Tea Party's interest in these matters but urge you to also look at some of the other functions of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. What do the members of the Tea Party think about Georgia's hidden insurance premium tax? What is their opinion on payday loan operators? Do they think the statewide Fire Safety program as is currently constituted adequate for the job or in need of additional funding and staff?

As a first time politician and long term Libertarian I am interested in establishing communications channels with as many like minded Georgians as possible. Thanks for your inquiry and if you need more info, pick up the phone and call me. Or go to the campaign FaceBook page or my blog and see what's happening today.


Shane Bruce
Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner!/pages/Shane-Bruce/111977342173440?ref=ts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Karen Pulled a Kerry? Part 1 of Garland Favorito's latest missive.

Sorry we're a day late Folks.

Here's part one of Garland Favorito's latest communication on the most ethical republican candidate running for Governor, the one, the only, Karen Handel.

Take it away Garland!

Will the Real Karen Handel Please Stand Up?

Many of us have encountered politicians who say one thing and do another. We already know the drill. A candidate runs for office on a given platform or set of promises and then after being elected, ignores the platform or sometimes even embarks in the complete opposite direction. There may be no more perfect an example of such a total flip-flop on an important current issue in Georgia than that of former Secretary of State (SOS), Karen Handel on Georgia’s statewide unverifiable voting. But the story is deeper than just a reversal of position. It entails deception, a betrayal of constituents, and politically motivated power abuses that local news media outlets are unwilling to touch. It also illustrates how contributions from vendor lobbyists can negatively impact public policy.

In 2006, Karen Handel demonstrated that she clearly understood the deficiencies of our voting equipment as well or better than any of the ten Secretary of State candidates in the race. She also showed promise that she was willing to do something about the equipment that was implemented in 2002 at a cost of $54 million. Although she cleverly avoided making a quotable commitment, her “Basics” report perfectly articulated the problems with Georgia’s voting machines. It stated:

“The electronic voting machines currently used in Georgia’s elections are already obsolete… ”
· “Voters should have the ability to review their ballot both electronically and manually on paper”,
“Procedures must be established for audits of elections to verify that the electronic vote totals are accurate.”
“The paper audit trail should be the determining factor in discrepancies in the vote and should be the ballot of record.”

Many E-Voting rights activists, including myself supported her. I personally helped create scorecards outlining her positions in the primary versus Bill Stevens. I also assisted in securing a sizeable political donation for her campaign. I even convinced hundreds of Democrats to cross party lines and vote for her over opponent Gail Buckner, who staunchly opposed all forms of statewide voting legislation. But after her election, she took no substantive action to correct the problems. We were forced to continue our lawsuit challenging the removal of election audit capabilities all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court which ruled to uphold unverifiable voting in Georgia.

In response to the ruling on September 28, 2009, a weekly Gwinnett County based news service that ran ads for Karen Handel published an article that falsely portrayed our lawsuit as a challenge to all electronic voting although several plaintiffs including me had actually worked hard at the state legislature in support of auditable electronic voting. In that article, was an official statement from Secretary Handel that completely reversed her 2006 position. It read:
“Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation due to four levels of security testing on touch-screen voting machines, our partnership with nationally renowned elections experts at the Kennesaw State University Center for Elections Systems, the dedication by county election officials to provide secure and fair elections at the local level and our photo ID requirement”.

Former Secretary Handel, still uses the slogan “Bring it On” and boasts that she can take on the tough issues, after completely ducking this key issue altogether and reversing herself on the position. She did not take action to ensure that the state will protect the fundamental voting right for its citizens, thus putting Georgia at more risk of unnecessary federal intervention which can set new precedents for a bigger, more intrusive, federal government. At the same time she also disingenuously claims to be a state’s rights candidate. Many people would call that hypocritical. But worse yet, her final position on this issue is not just a complete reversal but also highly deceptive.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stirrin' the Pot at the AJC's Political Insider

Uh oh, it's "Major Candidate" time at the Political Insider.

It's getting rather tedious having to take action to correct omissions in Georgia media about who is and who is not going to be on the ballot this fall. Of all the Gubernatorial wanna-bees profiled by this article at the AJC, only one republican and one democrat will appear next to Libertarian John Monds on the ballot in November.

That doesn't constitute "Major Candidate" status?

We left some breadcrumbs and invite the readership to head over and add some more to the pile, but before you do, cruise over the sidebar and click the ad for Karen Handel or Roy Barnes or whoever is over there. It's the fun and easy way to influence politics in Georgia right here and right now!

Greetings All,

Here's what Libertarian Candidate for Governor John Monds has to say on education here in Georgia


In order for Georgia to compete in the global economy in the 21st Century, we must have a highly educated citizenry. For too long Georgia has been near the bottom in educational performance measures in the United States, despite sitting near the top in the South in pay and benefits to teachers and spending at a higher rate than the national average by investing $8,658 per student.

It is not that we aren’t investing in education; empirical evidence shows that we are, with over 55% of the state budget dedicated to education. It should be obvious that spending more is not the answer.
Parents should have more choices and responsibility in making educational decisions for their children.

My administration will emphasize all forms of education. I will encourage more charter schools and a tax credit worth up to $4,000 to parents who choose to educate their children in a private school or at home.

Although it is not a traditional voucher or scholarship system, a tax credit would allow parents more schooling options while lowering the financial burden on taxpayers. According to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, similar tax credit scholarships have been shown not to decrease the amount of spending per student that goes to public schools.

I will also seek to return control of education to local communities and fight against unfunded federal mandates like No Child Left Behind.

Compare that to the other candidates surveyed in this article. Then head over to and get the rest of the story.

Be sure to Meet some of the Libertarian Slate Tonight at Alpha Soda in Alpharetta

It's Politikin' Time.

I'll be at Alpha Soda tonight along with a slew of other Libertarian Candidates to preach to the choir as we start our campaigns for this fall. David Chastain and Will Costa have said they'll attend as well so it's an excellent opportunity to meet and greet a large chunk of the Libertarian slate.

The event is sponsored by the guys and gals of the North Fulton Libertarian Party and is held at Alpha Soda in Alpharetta. See you there!

YouTube Vid from the Fine Folks over at Poli-Tea

I gotta get me one of these!

Lots more to see over at Poli-Tea.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Late Breaking News from the Hardest Working Single Issue Activist in Georgia, Garland Favorito


I just got back from seeing Ironman and whats waiting in the inbox? The latest press release from Garland Favorito, one of Georgia's true sons of Liberty. What's it about? Republican Candidate for Governor Karen "I Quit" Handel and her Henchettes. Is it long? You betcha. Is it detailed? Sure is. Will it take some time to fact check? Yup.

Bottom line here at Bludgeon & Skewer is that we'll put up this massive missive as soon as we make sure Garland's t's are crossed and the i's are dotted. Which has always been the case in the past.

You say you can't wait? Head over to Voter Georgia and get on the man's email list like we are.

Here's a teaser:

Drop by this Tuesday for the first segment, it's a real corker!

Georgia's 45 Health Insurance Mandates

Countin' Time Folks,

Here's a list of the 45 health insurance mandates that the State legislature has seen fit to add to your health insurance coverage over the years. Some of these are a good idea, some are pay offs to special interest lobbying groups and all of them are reminders that the guys and gals down at the Gold Dome really, really, really know what's best for you. So just shut up and pay for coverage you might not want or need. What do you think you are? A citizen or something?

The info is organized by the type of coverage, the amount it adds to the cost of your policy on average and the last number shows how many states out of 50 require the same coverage. Confusing? Yes. Expensive? Yes. Fixable? Not by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, it's a legislative thing.

Total number of Mandates: 45

Mandated Coverages 33

1. Alcoholism/Substance Abuse add <1% to 3% 45 states
2. Ambulatory Surgery add <1% to 3% 11 states
3. Autism add <1% 23 states
4. Bone Marrow Transplant add <1% 11 states
5. Bone Mass Measurement add >1% 16 states
6. Breast Reconstruction add <1% 51 states
7. Cervical Cancer/HPV Screening add <1% 31 states
8. Clamydia add <1% 5 states
9. Clinical Trail add <1% 23 states
10. Colorectal Cancer Screening add <1% 33 states
11. Contraceptive add 1% to 3% 29 states
12. Dental Anesthesia add <1% 30 states
13. Diabetes Self Management add <1% 34 states
14. Diabetic Supplies add <1% 47 states
15. Emergency Service add <1% 47 states
16. Habilitative Service ass <1% 3 states
17. Hearing Aid for Minors add <1% 14 states
18. Heart Transplant add <1% 1 state (Georgia Leads the way!)
19. In Vitro Fertilization add 3% to 5% 15 states
20. Mammography add <1% 50 states
21. Mastectomy add <1% 23 states
22. Mastectomy Minimum Stay add <1% 25 states
23. Maternity add 1% to 3% 23 states
24. Maternity Minimum Stay add <1% 50 states
25. Mental Health General add 1% to 3% 39 states
26. Mental Health Parity add 5% to 10% 47 states
27. Morbid Obesity Treatment add 1% to 3% 6 states
28. Off Label Drug Use add <1% 36 states
29. Ovarian Cancer Screening add <1% 7 states
30. Prostrate cancer Screening add <1% 36 states
31. TMJ Disorders add <1% 20 states
32. Vision Care Service add <1% 1 state (That would be Georgia)
33. Well Child care add 1% to 3% 34 states

 Mandated Providers

1. Athletic Trainer add <1% 3 states
2. Chiropractor add 1% to 3% 46 states
3. First Nurse Assistant add <1% 6 states
4. Optometrist add 1% to 3% 44 states
5. Psychologist add 1% to 3% 44 states

 Covered Persons
 1. Adopted Children add <1% 45 states
2. Continuation Dependent add <1% 43 states
3. Continuation Employee add <1% 45 states
4. Conversion to Non Group add 1% to 3% 42 states
5. Dependent Student/Adult add <1% 34 states
6. Disabled Dependent add 1% to 3% 42 states
7. Newborn add 1% to 3% 51 states

 To get the full story with a bewildering array of graphs and charts head over to Health Insurance Mandates in 2009 . It is informative but not very entertaining as is usually the case with things that cost you money that you don't know about.

State of the Race on FaceBook Update #4

Update time!

This is the fourth installment of the FaceBook Update series wherein we look at growth rates in FaceBook pages as a possible indicator of success at the polls this fall. Will the current emphasis on social media networking in politics eventually replace more traditional metrics for gauging the success or failure of modern political campaigns? Nah, but it is fun!

Here's the update:

US Senate Race
Libertarian Chuck Donovan
Chuck Donovan for US Senate, Georgia 2010
Donovan for Senate
117 friends at the start
4 APR 10 221 Fans +104 Fans
11 APR 10 233 Fans +14
16 MAY 10 425 fans/friends +192 Fans/Friends
23 MAY 10 481 fans/friends +56 Fans/Friends

Georgia Governor's Race
John Monds for Governor of Georgia
John Monds
John Monds, Politician
Libertarian John Monds 346 fans at the start
4 APR 10 349 Fans +3 Fans
11 APR 10 348 Fans -1
16 MAY 10 1670 Fans/Friends +1322 Fans/Friends
23 MAY 10 2103 Fans/Friends +781 Fans/Friends

Lt. Governor
Libertarian Rhonda Martini
Rhonda Martini
16 MAY 10 33 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 45 Fans/Friends +12 fans/Friends

Georgia Secretary of State
David Chastain for Georgia Secretary of State
David Chastain
Libertarian David Chastain 127 fans at the start
4 APR 10 129 Fans +2 Fans
11 APR 10 131 Fans +2
16 MAY 10 fans/Friends 669 +538
23 MAY 10 722 Fans/Friends +184

Labor Commissioner
Will Costa for Georgia Labor Commissioner
William Costa
Libertarian Will Costa 174 fans at the start
4 APR 10 233 Fans +59 Fans
11 APR 10 277 Fans +44 Fans
16 MAY 10 2094 Fans/Friends +1817 Fans/Friends
23 MAY 10 2161 Fans/Friends +344 Fans/Friends

Superintendent of Schools
Kira Willis for State Superintendent of Georgia
Kira Willis
Libertarian Kira Willis 334 fans at the start
4 APR 10 379 Fans +45 Fans
11 APR 10 406 Fans +27 Fans
16 MAY 10 798 Fans/Friends +392
23 MAY 10 858 Fans/Friends +60

Commissioner of Agriculture
Kevin Cherry
Libertarian Kevin Cherry
16 MAY 10 24 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 31 fans/Friends +7

Commissioner of Insurance
Shane T. Bruce
Shane Bruce, Politician
Libertarian Shane Bruce
16 MAY 10 161 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 172 Fans/Friends +11

Public Service Commission District 2
James Sendelbach, Politician
Libertarian James Sendelbach 21 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 35 Fans/Friends +14

Attourney General
Don Smart, Politician
Libertarian Don Smart
16 MAY 10 43 Fans/Friends at the start
23 MAY 10 48 Fans/Friends +5

That's update #4 folks, this weeks winner in terms of raw numbers of added supporters is Libertarian John Monds with an impressive 781 added supporters and Libertarian Will Costa is right behind with and additional 344.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stirrin' the Pot over at the MDJ Online

The Insurance Race is getting coverage!

I saw a great article over at the MDJ Online about republican candidate Steve Northington by Dick Yarborough today and had to post. If Mr. Yarbrough is looking for an underdog in this race, then he ought to be looking here.

Here's the breadcrumbs I left and I invite the readership to head over and join in the fun:

Greetings All,

Nice to see Candidate Northington getting some earned media in the Insurance Commissioner race. When you're in an 8 way republican primary for a statewide office every mention helps.

I'm Shane Bruce, the Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner and I am watching this this race closely as I will be facing democrat Mary Squires in the fall as well as whoever wins the day in the republican primary. One question for Mr. Yarbrough, which one of the republicans is a political activist? I thought I was the only candidate that had used that phrase within the last year. Is somebody stealing my thunder?

I wish candidate Northington well, but I think his candidacy is doomed. The best guess over here in LibertyLand is that candidate Hudgens will be in a runoff with candidate Sheffield after the primary and as is the norm with republicans and democrats, money talks and losers walk.

As one of the three choices on the ballot this fall, I would prefer to be facing democrat Mary Squires and republican Maria Sheffield as that would make me the only guy in the race. Is Georgia ready for a female Insurance Commissioner? I hope not.

So keep up the good fight Candidate Northington, do your best to influence the debate and help steer the discussion towards matters of interest to all Georgians. I'd suggest looking at:

-The 42 Insurance Mandates in Georgia that all Georgians pay for whether they use them or not.

-Georgia's Insurance Premium Tax, one of the highest in the USA.

-Ethical considerations about taking campaign donations from the industries the Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates or from the law firms that represent them.

-Georgia's ranking as the 9th most expensive state for insurance products in the USA. Why aren't we 49th like we are in education?


Shane Bruce
Libertarian Candidate for Georgia Insurance Commissioner

Update Time: Looks like Dick did not care for my post. C'est la.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

State of the Race for Insurance Commissioner

Good Glower Huh?

One of the best things about running for the Insurance Commissioner gig is that with all those wiley republicans out there trying beat each other down and make the run off, most of the hard work gets done. By somebody else.

Here's a real gem from the website of republican candidate Maria Sheffield wherein she belittles the fundraising efforts of her brother republican candidates and calls front runner republican Ralph Hudgens a flat out crook. The backstory on the ethics investigation is that Ralphie dumped $106,000 out of his State Senate campaign funds into his Insurance Commissioner campaign improperly. Or illegally. Or in the dead of night in a graveyard. Surrounded by democratic henchmen.

OK, those last bits I made up.

With a great big old hat-tip to Maria, here's some snippets:


By Maria Sheffield, on Apr 19, 2010

With seven Republican campaigns filing reports which reflect money raised, the Republican Primary for Insurance Commissioner can appear – at first glance – to be a competitive race among several candidates based on a quick glance of the executive summary pages of the financial disclosure reports.

However, a more in-depth look reveals the facts of where the campaigns are in terms of their ability to raise the dollars necessary to run a sustained, professional, statewide effort.

Three candidates - Knox, Purcell, and Logsdon have loaned themselves more money than they have raised.

Two candidates - Harp and Northington have less than $50,000.00 cash on hand.

One candidate - Hudgens faces ethics violations relating to a potentially illegal transfer of $106,000.00 in campaign dollars.

The fact is the office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner is important to Georgia taxpayers for many reasons. The Republican Party must not allow this office to be occupied by an anti-free enterprise, big government liberal Democrat.

I imagine Mary Squires will be surprised to hear she's anti-free enterprise. The big goverment thing is a toss up. If you would like to see the whole thing with it's really cool spread sheet complete with red ink then head over here and enjoy.

If Maria survives her run off against Hudgens then I'll be running against a female republican lawyer and a female democrat ex State Rep/State Senator. And they'll both have a lot more money than me.

I can't wait for the General Election

Chair Throwing Time at the National Convention in St. Louis?

Hot out of the inbox folks.

Libertarian Candidate for State House District 59 Brad Ploeger sent us this email in response to a letter by Bludgeon & Skewer co-founder Chris Barber regarding a recent attempt by one of the candidates for the Libertarian National Committee chair to muddy the waters at our national convention next week. It's one thing to have a spat within the party, it's another thing to call the cops.

Here's the message from Brad:

Statement by Brad Ploeger about Christopher Barber’s Letter.

Atlanta, Georgia, May 20, 2010 -- As many of you may have heard, it has recently come to light that the candidate for National Chair I supported, George Phillies, filed a secret criminal complaint with the Federal Election Commission concerning an alleged irregular transaction between the Libertarian National Committee and the Barr 2008 Presidential Committee. The complaint has subsequently been dismissed by the Federal Election Commission. To make matters worse, Phillies pursued these charges with the government after the Party’s independent auditors stated that there were no errors in our financial disclosures.

I was unaware of this Federal complaint until Christopher Barber’s letter. While I understand that Phillies was working within the law and his rights to lodge a complaint; I believe that his methods demonstrated a severe lapse in judgment. The Chairman of our Party should be working to increase the size of the Party and not run their opponents out of town. It is wrong to use the force of law to attack political opponents--even those with whom you disagree. We must work together to handle matters internally and not risk destroying the Party to settle our disagreements. I signed on to the New Path slate because I felt the leadership of the New Path would be able to move our party past the internecine warfare that has crippled the National Committee and consumed critical resources that were already in short supply.

In light of these revelations, I am no longer able to support George Phillies for National Chair. At this time I do not see a suitable candidate for Chair and will instead support None of the Above for Chairman of our Party. While I believe the remainder of the New Path candidates were unaware of this matter; I will repudiate any candidate on the slate that knew about this prior to Barber’s letter. We are the Party of Principal and it is time that the leaders of our Party demonstrate that they will provide us with more than hollow promises.

Politics is frequently a choice between the unpalatable and the disastrous. We will always face disagreements between factions in our Party; however, I cannot support anyone who advocates methods meant to destroy their opposition within the Party and risk our long-term viability. We must remember that our stated goal is to ensure that Libertarians are elected to public office. I cannot and will not support Party leadership that does not make electing Libertarians their primary focus.

# # #

Brad Ploeger is a resident of Atlanta, Georgia and is running as a Region Representative for the Libertarian National Committee. He is a founding member and current Vice Chair of Communications of the Libertarian Party of Atlanta, a 2010 Representative to the Libertarian Party of Georgia Executive Committee and the 2010 Libertarian Nominee for Georgia State House District 59.

For those members of the readership that are uninformed, we'll be putting up a copy of the initial letter later today or you can head over to Independent Political Report and watch the fireworks there.

Undecided has Huge Lead in The Republican Primary for Governor!

Major Earned Media Time.

Perennial favorite, Undecided, clobbered his competition in the latest Insider Advantage/WSB TV-3 poll released yesterday. This unsung, unfunded and non existent candidate picked up 8% from his April poll position which pegged him at 31% to a dominating 39% in this latest survey.

Undecided's surge to the lead over actual republicans John Oxendine, Nathan "Stinky" Deal and Karen Handel was attributed to the increased TV news presence of candidates causing concern and confusion among likely republican primary voters. The more they see of the choices they have, the less they like it.

Not to worry however. By the middle of June those republican candidates with enough funding to start running TV ads will eviscerate Undecided's lead as the voters start to compromise with their principals and pick the least worst candidate to lead the republican brand this fall.

Over all, that's good news for Liberty. We're still hoping that Nathan "Stinky" Deal will win the day over there in republicanland and that King Roy will get the the democratic nod to set up the most contentious Gubernatorial election Georgia has seen in recent years. One ex-democrat turned republican against one ex-governor against Libertarian John Monds.

Could it get any better that that?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Libertarian Cigar Club Meeting Tonight at Dantanna's in Atlanta

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

The first Official Libertarian Cigar Club of Atlanta meeting is tonight at Dantanna's Buckhead Cigar Lounge. Come on down and talk politics with Libertarian Candidates and party members about the best way to bring change to Georgia this fall. Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes because the Cigar Lounge at Dantanna's has 300 square feet of walk in Humidor to browse around, making the circuit could take some time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner Shane Bruce has Filed his Declaration of Intent

I got to get a better headshot.

Big news in the Insurance Commissioner race folks, I've filed my DOI (Declaration of Intent to raise funds) with the State Ethics Commission down at the capitol and ran into the first of the many firewalls Libertarians face in politics in Georgia. Did you know that the State Ethics Commission has three, count 'em, three types of political parties that they recognize here in Georgia? They can see republicans and they can see democrats but they are only able to see "other party" if you're a Libertarian or a Green or a member of the Constitution Party or the Party of What's Happenin' Now.

Right now I'm listed on the Commission's website for Insurance Commissioner with a thundering herd of republicans and one democrat as a representative of "other party" with not one mention of the fact that I'm one of the candidates that the Libertarian Party put in the field this year. I resent that. It damages my brand, hurts my party and confuses the electorate.

I call on the head of the State Ethics Commission to change this process to allow third party candidates to be listed by their political affiliation instead of lumping all of us together under the generic, mundane and boring label of "other party". I'll be on the ballot this fall as a Libertarian, not as a member of some "other party". This is a simple request with a simple solution, responding with "That's the way we do it" ain't gonna get it. If you're not able to to make this simple administrative change, I want to know why.

I'll update this post tomorrow after I get in contact with the head honcho or honchette down there and see what the what is. Should be an entertaining conversation.

Libertarian Candidate for Secretary of State David Chastain Picks up the Constitution Party of Georgia's Endorsement

Just in from the hardest working man in Georgia politic's, Garland Favorito:


Constitution Party Convention Recommends David Chastain for Secretary of State

ATLANTA, GA – Delegates to the state convention for The Constitution Party of Georgia unanimously passed a motion recommending that its members and supporters strongly consider supporting Libertarian David Chastain for the Office of Secretary of State in the 2010 Georgia elections.

Party chairman Ricardo Davis explained the reason for the recommendation: “David is the only candidate in the race who has worked for verifiable voting in Georgia, for removal of petitioning requirements that keep third party candidates off the ballot and for preserving Constitutional rights of the people during elections investigations. These are all issues of great concern to our party members. His efforts to date have also been on a volunteer basis at no cost to Georgia taxpayers.”

Chastain emphasized the need to change Georgia’s archaic ballot access laws while speaking at the convention on Saturday May 8 in Austell. He explained how he met with a contingent from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and realized that they had better ballot access and more candidate choices than people from the state Georgia here in America. He drew an analogy between a third party candidate attempting to meet Georgia’s petitioning requirements and the Jamaican bobsled team attempting to practice for the Olympics at home with no snow and no track.

The Constitution Party platform advocates a limited federal government, reduced federal spending, American sovereignty, repeal of the income tax and freedom of religion. More information can be found on their website at the address shown.

Media Contact: Garland Favorito, Elections Director 404 664-4044

They are right. David's been active in these key areas for years and your support for his run for SecState is crucial. Head over to his FaceBook page or Website and, fan or friend the man up and see what you can do to support his candidacy and spread the word for Liberty in Georgia.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Kathy with a "K" has Decided to Go

The race for State School Superintendent just got less crowded.

Incumbent State School Superintendent Kathy Cox (R) has jumped ship like Karen Handle and taken on a new gig with some outfit called the US Education Delivery Institute up in Washington DC according to the Political Insider. That cuts the competition on the republican side down to two contenders, one of which may end up appointed by Governor Purdue as the Interim State School Super if Kathy's resignation is effective immediately. Like he did for his best bud, interim SecState Brian Kemp.

Here's a novel idea. The Governor should appoint Libertarian Kira Willis as the interim State School Superintendent to give her the power of incumbency for the election's this fall. As of right now, she's the only candidate that will be on the ballot for sure this fall and there's no reason to wait for the publicly funded republican/democrat primaries to finish up to make a decision on the Governor's next appointment. Just sayin'.

So it looks like one of the two republicans running for the seat gets to keep the seat warm until November and as a result of having access to the warm seat, will be the favored candidate. No matter, Libertarian Kira Willis is going to light a fire in this race and push the ABC's over the finish line this fall. And she needs your help to make that happen. Head over to her website or FaceBook page and volunteer your time or treasure to bring change to education in Georgia.

Vote for Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom! Vote for Libertarian Kira Willis for State School Superintendent!

Boots and Saddles Time!

We don't normally give Kudos to Republican TV Ads, but..... this one rocks.

OK, it's Ala-damn-bama, not Georgia, but it appears that Dale Peterson gets it. White hat (universal good guy mnemonic), stern look, commanding presence and you can't get greener than riding horseback with a Winchester Model 92 in hand. Betcha it's a 30-30.

H/T to the Guys over at Peach Pundit on this little beauty.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Libertarian Candidate for State School Superintendent Kira Willis Addresses the Tea Party Eggs & Issues Breakfast Yesterday

Hot off the Presses from the Georgia LP YouTube Channel!

Libertarian Kira Willis talks about the importance of direct student contact at yesterdays Tea Party Eggs & Issues meeting. Head over to the Georgia LP YouTube Channel and see all the rest of Kira's vids or just drop by here for the next few days.

You've got an excellent opportunity to see her in person at the Thirsty Dog Tavern Fundraiser this afternoon at 3:00PM! Bring the hounds along and make sure to pack an extra sawbuck for her campaign. See you there!

State of the Race on FaceBook Update #3

Howdy Folks,

This is the third installment of the FaceBook Update series wherein we look at growth rates in FaceBook pages as a possible indicator of success at the polls this fall. Update three will reflect some changes in the process as we ditch our republican and democrat brothers and sisters and only look at the growth of our Libertarian Candidates. The terms will also be broadened to include multiple FaceBook pages in addition to the fan page only filter of the first two installments.

Here's the update:

US Senate Race
Libertarian Chuck Donovan
117 friends at the start
4APR10 221 Fans +104 Fans
11APR10 233 Fans +14
16MAY10 425 fans/friends +192 Fans/Friends

Georgia Governor's Race
Libertarian John Monds 346 fans at the start
4APR10 349 Fans +3 Fans
11APR10 348 Fans -1
16May10 1670 Fans/Friends +1322 Fans/Friends

Lt. Governor
Libertarian Rhonda Martini
16MAY10 33 Fans/Friends at the start

Georgia Secretary of State
Libertarian David Chastain 127 fans at the start
4APR10 129 Fans +2 Fans
11APR10 131 Fans +2
16 MAY 10 fans/Friends 669 +538

Labor Commissioner
Libertarian Will Costa 174 fans at the start
4APR10 233 Fans +59 Fans
11APR10 277 Fans +44 Fans
16MAY10 2094 Fans/Friends +1817 Fans/Friends

Superintendent of Schools
Libertarian Kira Willis 334 fans at the start
4APR10 379 Fans +45 Fans
11APR10 406 Fans +27 Fans
16MAY10 798 Fans/Friends +392

Commissioner of Agriculture
Libertarian Kevin Cherry
16MAY10 24 Fans/Friends at the start

Commissioner of Insurance
Libertarian Shane Bruce
16MAY10 161 Fans/Friends at the start

Public Service Commission District 2
Libertarian James Sendelbach 21 Fans/Friends at the start

Attourney General
Libertarian Don Smart
16MAY10 43 Fans/Friends at the start

So that's todays update, the growth leader for the last month is libertarian Will Costa with an aggregate total of 1817 Fans/Friends added to the rolls since 11 APR 10. Most of those are a result of the new tally technique, but numbers are numbers. We'll see how things work out next week with the next update!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Meet Libertarian Kira Willis Tomorrow at the Thirsty Dog Tavern in Atlanta

That's so 1776.

Nothing like modern politics in the Public House setting with a host of hound dogs prowling the floor for scraps. And to use the good graces of the Political Insider to further publicize the event makes it all the sweeter. Big Jim Galloway saw fit to amplify the Peach Pundit unknown candidate post about Kira Willis and so we had to stir the pot. Breadcrumbs are below:

Greetings All,

Things are all a-buzz and a-twitter over here at the Secret Underground Libertarian Command Center on the triple whammy almost endorsements for Libertarian Kira Willis over at Peach Pundit, RedState and here at the mighty, mighty AJC Political Insider. Since it's a matter of Public Record that Kira is the Libertarian Party of Georgia's candidate for the State School Superintendent the need to be coy with the readership is rendered moot.

As it happens, you have an opportunity to see what all the ruckus is about as Kira will be having a fundraiser at the Thirsty Dog Tavern at 2110 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30309 tomorrow. The event starts at 3:00PM and will run until all requirements for politic'n, speechifyin' and fundraisin' have been met. The Thirsty Dog is a pet friendly tavern so bring the dogs along for the ride. And bring a Jackson for Kira's campaign while you're at it.

At last report, at least two other Libertarian Candidates for Statewide office will be in attendance to support Kira's run. Libertarian David Chastain, candidate for Secretary of State and Libertarian Shane Bruce, candidate for Insurance Commissioner will be on site to cheer Kira on to victory this Fall.

Vote for Smaller Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom! Vote for Libertarian Kira Willis for State Superintendent of Schools!

State of the Race for Insurance Commissioner

Greetings All,

The District 42 campaign is done and Libertarian David Montané did a stellar job in carrying the Banner of Liberty another step closer to the goal line. It's time to shift my attention to the Insurance Commissioner race and begin to build a successful campaign.

Lot's of things to do between now and November, including but not limited to, recruiting volunteers to work on the campaign, begging for money to run the campaign and building a viable platform to challenge my republican opponent (who ever that ends up being) and democrat Mary Squires in the fall.

Among the first things to be addressed is whether to recreate my nascent FaceBook page or roll with what I've got and whether to set up a new website for the campaign or reorient the Bludgeon & Skewer blog site for that purpose. Any thoughts on those topics are appreciated.

I'll be hangin' with the crew at tomorrows event at the Thirsty Dog Tavern in Atlanta in support of Libertarian Kira Willis and her run for State School Superintendent. I encourage everyone to attend. Kira made history this week by being obliquely mentioned by Erik Erikson over at Peach Pundit and Redstate, come on down and see what the buzz is all about and bring any loose change you can dig out from the couch cushions

Current Market Price of a Georgia State Senate Seat

Time to get back to work.

The fat lady belted it out last Tuesday and the voice of 8% of the people was heard across the land in State Senate District 42 as handfuls of people straggled to the polls to vote. After months of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign expenses Jason Carter won the day and was elected to represent the 42nd from now until November of this year.

It's a tradition here at Bludgeon & Skewer to take a look at the campaign reports filed at the State Ethics Commission after any election we've been involved in and see what the Votes Per Dollar/Dollars Per Vote (VPD/DPV) ratio is for the Libertarian Candidates and his or her foes on the ballot. It's quite a bit of fun and very enlightening.

Jason Carter 15 Day Report:

$260,354 raised, $172,998 spent on 5,559 votes = $31 a vote

David Montané 15 Day Report:

$2,100 raised, $1,400 spent on 635 votes = $2 a vote

Tom Stubbs 15 day report:

$18,330 raised, $13,300 spent on 1,938 votes = $6 a vote

Steve Patrick 15 day report:

$450 raised, $3,204 spent on 327 votes = $9 a vote

So that's the rough picture, we'll repost on this topic sometime next week as soon as the final reports are filed by the candidates and we can get a look at what each campaign spent in the last two weeks of the race. We're pretty sure that Jason Carter broke the $300K fundraising threshold and we're also pretty sure they broke the $260K expense threshold in the waning days of the race. If so, their VPD/DPV ratio could have surpassed $46 bucks a vote. Kinda high for a limited term special election, but what with Tom Stubbs bowing out of the November election, you could cut it in half since young Senator Jason will run his next campaign as an unopposed incumbent. It's a fine Georgia tradition for both republicans and democrats.

And here's a bit of historical data from District 42's 2008 election cycle with Incumbent Senator Bundlin' Dave Adelman against Republican Altaf Galeyev.

Bundlin' Dave 31 DEC 2008 report:

$191,000 raised, $28,823 spent on 51,409 votes = 56 cents a vote

Republican Altaf Galeyev 31 DEC 2008 report:

$3,915 raised, $3,633 spent on 12,154 votes = 29 cents a vote

We're sure that Senator Carter's 2014 campaign will be more in line with Ex-Senator Adelmen's last election once he's fully enmeshed and immersed in the privilege and perks of incumbency. Let's hope so because if he's still gotta pay $31 a vote to get elected in a 50,000+ race the costs will break the $1.5 million threshold. That's kind of steep for a State Senate Race.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How many Blank Ballots will be Cast in Todays Special Elections?

Experiment Time Folks.

Remember Libertarian Candidate for SecState David Chastian's investigation into blank ballots? In a nutshell, those are ballots that are cast by voters who went to the trouble to go to the polls and once in the booth, just could not make thier minds and do not vote after all. They just hand the data card over to thier poll worker and go thier merry way after wasting time waiting to not vote. You can re-read it here for a quick refresher.

The question of the day for the readership is:

How many blank ballots are going to be cast in todays special elections? With voter turn out predicted in the 5% range in district 49 and the 10% range in district 42, how many of these blank ballots will surface? The work done by David Chastain indicates an average of .8% in the surveyed single issue elections he's researched at the State Archives. .8% of the votes in a 10,000 vote contest equals about 80 votes. That wouldn't swing an election, would it? What if district 42 has a particularly crappy bunch of Diebolds? What if the blank ballot rate is closer to 3%? Would 300 blank votes influence the outcome?

We'll find out tonight while scrutinizing the returns with the other DeKalb Libertarians at the Famous Sports Pub in Toco Hills. Come on out and join in the fun!