Saturday, July 31, 2010

State of the Run Off from a Libertarian Point of View



















Looks like Libertarian John Monds is 5 by 5 and in the glide path.

The republican slug fest for the Governors race continues unabated with Karen "Ethics" Handel and Nathan "Stinky" Deal adding insult to injury with snide comments on age, gender and personal health. The good news for Liberty is that both of these cats are shaking the republican money tree as hard and fast as they can and reportedly about a million bucks worth of donations have flowed into their campaigns as of Friday. At this rate they'll have raised another million or so by the 13th and I'll wager all of it will disappear into the gaping maw of conventional media as they saturate the airwaves with TV/Radio/Direct Mail attack pieces.

The same story is repeating itself in the republican run off for Insurance Commissioner and the PSC contest albeit on a much smaller scale. The fair Maria has unleashed her campaign manager on her website who has called Ralph "Huggie Bear" Hudgens everything but a child of god. I do think that this Ballou chick had a good idea in the making when she called for Ralph to refund his salary as State Senator and urged him to return all the campaign contributions he's gotten from insurance industry operatives.

Matter of fact, I'll go one better than my erstwhile opponents and call on the both of them to return every dime they've collected from people who work in the industries the Office of the Commissioner regulates. It's a major chunk of change and both of them are guilty as hell of taking donations from insurance operatives and industrial loan operatives. Yeah, I know that they cloak it with statement's about the money is not from Insurance companies, it's from the people that work there and so it's OK and there's no reason to deny the little guys the ability to buy the politician of their choice. There is a big reason. Ethics.

How can the Insurance Commissioner claim to be an impartial regulator looking out for the best interests of the citizens of Georgia if he/she took money from anyone in the industry he/she regulates. Is King Solomon in this race? He sure as hell didn't pay his qualifying fee.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Republican Run Off for Insurance Commissioner is Heating up



















This just in From Political Vine.

Lots of nifty news folks on the state of the race between Ralph "Huggy Bear" Hudgens and the fair Maria Sheffield in the republican run off for the Insurance Commissioner gig. The readership is encouraged to head over to Political Vine for all the details but the snapshot is:

Ralph's got about $8 Million bucks laying around the house.

Maria was knocking back more money as a Lawyer than the Insurance Commissioner pays and has managed to build some personal wealth, not Ralph level wealth, but a nice chunk of change. Remember that Ralph's had about 30 more years to stack it back than the fair Maria, I'm sure she'll catch up.

They both got campaign money from the same sources as the Ox did. No Insurance Company money or Industrial Loan money as that would be illegal. It's the perfectly legitimate money from individuals that work in the Insurance industry or the Industrial loan industry. Obviously there are no strings attached, no associations to be inferred and absolutely no sense of impropriety.

Right.

I'm gonna claim the high ground here and categorically state that I will not accept any donations from anybody in any of the industries regulated by the office of the Insurance Commissioner. It just isn't right and I'm not gonna do it.

The Insurance Commissioner is supposed to represent the people of Georgia and look out for the best interests of the consumers in this state, not the people that own the companies that provide them services. So now that I've knocked the legs out the most lucrative segment of fundraising available to conventional aspirants for the job of Insurance Commissioner, how am I gonna be able to run my campaign?

Just like I've run it so far. On a wing and a prayer and a flipcam. So feel free to bump those flippy's around folks. Drop by my facebook page and friend me up and Google "Libertarian Shane Bruce" every once in a while.

Come November, I'll be glad you did.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner Shane Bruce does a little Politickin' at a Local Junkyard

Libertarian Chuck Donovan's New Campaign Button





























Nuff said.

Stirrin' the Pot over at the Gwinnett Daily Post



JK Murphy gets it.

I ran across this little gem over at the Gwinnett Daily Post on the expensive nature of Georgia's cumbersome primary election process and just had to toss in my 2 cents. The readership is encouraged to head over and skip some stones as well. Here's my comment:












Greetings,

You hit the nail on the head with your outside the box solution for funding the republican and democrat primaries. Let them pay for the expense of determining their candidates like the Libertarian Party of Georgia does.

We picked a full slate of statewide candidates on 28 APR 10 at our yearly convention and did it on our own dime. If it's costing Gwinnett county 800K to sort this mess out, what's it costing the other other 158 counties in Georgia. Do we have $70 million dollars to waste on providing republicans and democrats a free lunch on primary day and a free snack on run off day?

They are the established political parties in power, they got money, make them use their own funds to pick their candidates not the public's purse.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Republicans Seth Harp, Stephen Northington and Rick Collum endorsements get Front Page Status on Maria Sheffield's Website























Hey, I endorsed her first!

And I stand by that endorsement even though I'm just whistling past the graveyard because Ralph "Huggy Bear" Hudgens is gonna win the republican runoff for the Insurance Commissioner gig. Period.

After scrutinizing the in depth analysis conducted by Team Sheffield on Maria's website and comparing it to the "Who's got da Money" model we used the predict the outcome of the primary, only one conclusion can be reached. Maria is toast.

Bad news for my $19.95 campaign. Instead of having the luxury of watching Mary Squires and Maria duke it out from the sidelines, I'll have to develop an entirely new strategy of watching Ralph and Mary duking it out from the sidelines.

Either way my name will still be first on the ballot.

Shane Bruce (L)
Ralph Hudgens (R)
Mary Squires (D)

That ain't so bad.

Unverifiable Voting Proponents Win Big in Georgia primaries


Some interesting stuff from Garland Favorito and the primary results as viewed from the perspective of verifiable voting. Looks like the the "Green" effect has yet to strike Georgia, or has it already?

From Voter Georgia:

VoterGa Supporters,
Proponents of “no evidence” unverifiable voting won by big margins in the Georgia primaries conducted on Tuesday July 20. While some people were surprised at some of the outcomes I don’t think there were many real surprises from the perspective of those of us who are long time advocates of verifiable voting. Here are some of the intriguing results:

· Roy Barnes, won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in a landslide getting nearly two thirds of the votes in a 7 way race. Roy was the governor who supported Cathy Cox’s purchase of $54 million in unverifiable voting equipment. That equipment did not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as required by law (O.C.G.A. 21-2-301(b) of the 2001 Ga. Election Code)


· Karen Handel, suddenly surged in the last week before Election Day and won a solid 10% point victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary that had 7 candidates. As the former Secretary of State, she reversed her position and supported unverifiable elections while taking about $25,000 in direct contributions from individuals connected to the voting machine vendor lobbying firm, Massey & Bowers


· Brian Kemp handily won the Republican Secretary of State primary by a 59-41% margin. He is the incumbent Secretary of State who is responsible for counting the unverifiable votes in Georgia’s 2010 elections. Kemp also reversed his position and opposed the legislature’s HB1215 verifiable voting bill after saying that he would be willing to lead the charge for the legislature


· Gail Buckner, handily won the Democratic Secretary of State primary by a 13% margin in a field of 5 candidates. Gail is the only person in the entire state legislature on public record as opposing all four 2006 statewide legislative initiatives for verifiable voting and precinct audits


· Georganna Sinkfield gained the second run-off spot against Gail Buckner by 3% over Angela Moore, a long time verifiable voting supporter. Georganna entered the race in the last couple of days and split the black vote that otherwise would likely have given Angela Moore not just a runoff spot, but the primary victory.


Does something smell sort of fishy about all of this? You decide.

Roy Barnes and the winner of the Karen Handel - Nathan Deal runoff in August will be on the ballot with Libertarian gubernatorial candidates John Monds in November. Brian Kemp and the winner of the Gail Buckner – Georganna SInkfield run off in August will be on the ballot with Libertarian Secretary of State candidate David Chastain in November. If Georgians want verifiable voting anytime in the near future all of us must cast more informed votes in the upcoming elections this year and provide early support for the candidates that have our values.

Also we still need your help to take this fight into federal court with the new evidence of vote manipulation that we have collected. I don’t think I have made a plea for funds in over six months but Freedom is not free and we need your assistance. Unlike candidate contributions, all VoterGA donations are fully tax deductible and 100% of the funds collected will go to offset legal fees as we are an all volunteer organization. Please click here to make a donation or mail your contribution to:
Voter GA P.O. Box 808 Decatur, Ga. 30031

Thank you,
Garland Favorito
Voterga.org
404 664-4044 CL
PERMISSION TO REPRINT GRANTED


The readership should really think about providing Garland with some funding to do some additional investigation and kick start the lawsuit effort. It's tax deductable after all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Current Market Price for the Georgia Insurance Commissioner Gig +$725,000



Such a deal.

The control freaks over at the Marietta Daily Journal have a nifty little article up about the republican run off between Maria "Ox's Girl" Sheffield and Ralph "Huggie Bear" Hudgens that reveals startling information about the high cost of the Office Of the Insurance Commissioner. I left a small post in my wake and we'll see if it makes the cut with the editorial staff over there as the day progresses. I not, I'll put it up here.

It seems that Ralph has already dropped $400,000 bucks so far and the fair Maria blew $125,000 to survive the primary. They also expect to spend an additional $200,000 over the next three weeks to see which one of them advances to the general election.

Wow.

$725,000 between those two alone. I don't know the exact numbers from the rest of the crew that was running, but lets call that a conservative $75,000 and tack in on the total to bring up the number to a cool $800,000. That's a lot of money and a lot of time and energy for an statewide office that has a salary of $120,000 a year. Of course the payoff's are huge, just look at the Ox's track record. Where else in Georgia can you shake down the companies you regulate for enough money to build a $2 Million dollar warchest for political activity?

I'm amused by both candidates assertions that their experiences as either a tool for the out going administration or as a Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee and port-a-potty manager is the panacea for success in the job. I don't have any of that kind of experience, but I know enough to hire smart people to run the office and right now there are some really smart people with good ideas that might be available for the job.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Long Does It Take for Georgia Common Cause to Update Their Website?











More than 10 days apparently.

After two emails that received no response I feel compelled to repost my responses to their ethics poll that I answered way back on 12 JUL 2010. What is the problem here? You guys wanted a response and you got it. Are you gonna put it up or not?

Here's the original post:

It's position time folks.

I got an email in today from the state LP asking for a response to a poll being conducted by Common Cause Georgia on the contents of last years HB 920 which sought to place limits on how much money a lobbyist could give to sitting politicians. I found the tone of the invite quite interesting and responded with a query of my own. We'll have to see if the 50 word limit on comments is set in stone when they publish the results next week.

Here's the invite and my response:


2010 Common Cause Georgia Candidate Poll

Dear Candidate,

Common Cause Georgia invites you – as a candidate for Georgia statewide office this year - to declare yourself in support of 2 specific ethics reform measures in 2011.

House Bill 920, introduced last year by Rep. Wendell Willard, had 40 co-sponsors, Republcans and Democrats who came from all parts of the state. This legislation offered real reform that would have taken major steps forward in curbing the ability of lobbyists and special interests to use money to slant the legislative process.

House Bill 920 was not passed. It never even got a committee hearing. The ethics bill that was passed in 2010 did not address any of the reforms supported in HB 920; specifically, a $100 limit on the value of any one gift by a lobbyist to an elected official, and a $10,000 limit on total transfers from a candidate's campaign account to other candidates, parties, campaign committees and PACs

You will have a chance to remedy that in 2011. We ask you to support two specific reforms from HB 920. The questions below do not include the specific limits mentioned above, which may differ in final legislation. Rather, we seek your reaction to the principles addressed in the questions. We will post all responses – and non-responses - on our Common Cause Georgia website.

If elected, would you support in 2011:

1.) Legislation to limit lobbyist gifts to elected officials? Yes or No?

2.) Legislation to limit movement of campaign funds out of campaign accounts for purposes other than paying for valid expenses of the candidate’s own campaign? Yes or No?

Comment to both questions: (up to 50 words total)

Click here to respond via e-mail.



Regards,



Bill Bozarth
Executive Director


Mr. Bozarth,

Here are my responses to your poll questions on lobbyist gifts.

1.) Legislation to limit lobbyist gifts to elected officials? Yes or No?

2.) Legislation to limit movement of campaign funds out of campaign accounts for purposes other than paying for valid expenses of the candidate’s own campaign? Yes or No?

1. No.

I'm a Libertarian. Politicians should have a sufficiently developed ethics base to see that accepting gifts from lobbyists is patently wrong. Republicans and democrats have a great deal of trouble with this, Libertarians do not. If some fool wants to give $100 dollar gifts to a politician to buy a vote on a particular piece of legislation, the fool should be allowed to do so. Having said that, I would like to see legislation introduced that requires such donations be documented in painstaking detail and published for all the world to see with draconian penalties for not doing so. More transparency in the murky world of politics and influence peddling should gain the result that HB 920 sought to achieve by limiting gifts to $100. A better solution would be to vote for Libertarian candidates since they wouldn't take the money to start with.

2. No.

I'm a Libertarian. If one of our multi term elected officials with huge wads of cash stashed away in the campaign kitty wants to help out a fellow politician, PAC, or single issue group with a cash infusion to maintain the status quo, he should be allowed to waste his resources any way he sees fit. If we mandate that they keep their warchests full for their own use we'll never be able to bleed the entire system of it's financial resources and bring about fundamental change. Why would we seek to give our elected officials an official reason to deny their supporters and affiliates huge wads of cash? We should be encouraging them to spread their money around as fast and furiously as they spend the publics purse.

Now that we've addressed your concerns about Lobbyist gifts, it's time to ask your position on Ballot Access Reform (B.A.R) in Georgia. What is your position sir, do you support last years HB 1141, HB 1257, HB 1425 or SB 359? All of these bills sought to bring relief to Georgian citizens and all of them died in committee like HB 920.

I await your response.

Shane Bruce
Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner

Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner Shane Bruce at last nights Libertarian Cigar Club Meeting



Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Come on Down to the Libertarian Cigar Club Meeting tonight at Dantanna's





















Time for a new picture.

So you want to meet and greet the next wave of political leadership in Georgia? Great! We want to meet you! And that can happen tonight at Dantanna's in Buckhead as the Libertarian Cigar Club gets ready to light it up and savor some top flight cigars and equally fine spirits.

The shindig starts at 7:00PM and will wend it's way to 9ish or later depending on how the conversation rolls along. Tonight's topics include the results from yesterday's primary election and their impact on our candidates for the fall. Come on down and join the fun!

Can Maria Sheffield Beat Ralph "Huggy Bear" Hudgens?
















Run off, baby, Run off!

Looks like the Libertarian inspired operation to propel a weak candidate to the top of the heap or near it worked out in the Insurance Commissioner Race. The "Who's got da money?" republican behavior model performed exactly as expected and the top two money holders in the campaign defeated better candidates who couldn't raise the big money. So it goes in republicanland.

The next phase of the operation is to make sure that Ralph and Maria burn up every dime they got trying to win the run off during the next three weeks so that whichever one of the wins, they won't be sitting on a 1000 to 1 cash advantage over my modest Libertarian effort. I can live with a 100 to 1 edge.

The primary is over, the run off has begun so please stick to your guns and let's make sure that the republican nominee is the fair Maria.Remember my dream ticket for this fall

Shane Bruce (L)
Maria Sheffield (R)
Mary Squires (D)

Libertarian Taylor Bryant Gets it in Gear



Update time folks.

Augusta's own champion for Liberty, Taylor Bryant, has got his engines up to speed and is beginning the long campaign for a seat on the Board of Education District 6. Taylor was 2010's Libertarian pioneer in the District 22 State Senate race in Augusta in January and in spite of no prep time, inadequate funding and almost insurmountable odds managed to get 9.8% of the vote in the special election and caused a run off for his democrat opponents.

In this new race, Taylor will have time to raise funds and build staff for the effort. And you can and should help him in this. Visit his new webpage and slap that donate button silly and the cruise by his FaceBook political page and friend the man up.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who's gonna get "Greened" in Georgia this Fall?



Ya'll remember Alvin Greene over in South Carolina? C'mon, he's the cat that won the democrat primary for US Senate a little while ago with nothin', zilch, nada. Here's his first public appearance courtesy of WCNC in Charlotte.

How are Georgia and South Carolina similar? We're both saddled with unverifiable electronic voting machines from the same company! Yay! That means any of our stellar candidates for public office could win by the effects of disobedient electrons regardless of how big their campaigns are, how much moola they mooch from PACs, special interest groups and of course their own national political machines. Talk about a leveled playing field.

Now Ex-SecState Karen Handle could have solved this little problem during her oh so brief tenure like she promised in her campaign for SecState. Didn't happen. Any bets on some surprises this fall? Hell, any bets on some surprises tomorrow?

Tomorrow is the Big Day for the Republican Primary for Insurance Commissioner

Drum Roll Please.

Months of waiting are fixin' to be finished and we'll all get to see who the republicans pick as their top choice or top two choices for this fall's election. At one time there were ten republicans vying for John Oxendine's old job, then there were 9 and Tuesday night the field will be much smaller yet.

Here's the merry crew like you didn't know already:

Dennis Cain
Rick Collum
Seth Harp
Ralph Hudgens
Tom Knox
John Mamalakis
Stephen Dale Northington
Gerry Purcell
Maria Sheffield

The $64 dollar question is which one or ones are gonna pass go, collect $200 and do it all over again for another month. What a grind. I have my personal picks for political reasons which I will happily reiterate for the readership. At least the readership here in Georgia that might be inclined to vote in Tuesdays republican primary to skew the field for the fall elections.

Simply put, cast your vote for Maria Sheffield. Help make sure that there are two women and one man (Yours Truly) on the ballot this fall. That ought to kick start the discussion so the citizens of our great state can figure out which one of us is best suited for the rather thankless job of Insurance Commissioner. I look forward to the clash of ideologies that Mary and Maria will bring to the race, almost as much as any other cat fight I've ever witnessed.

Being the invisible Libertarian will be great fun no matter who my opponents are but the mind reels with the possibilities of the sorts of attack ads they'll resort to in the closing weeks of the campaign. I'm gonna stick to basic Libertarian stuff like smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom or maybe the new and improved Maximum Freedom Minimum Government mantra. We'll see what tomorrow night brings!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Republicans have started Ragnarok in the Insurance Commissioners Race















It was bound to happen.

The republicans have begun eating their own as the clock ticks down to primary day on July 20. With so many competing for so few slots a bare minimum of political skulduggery was to be expected as the perceived front runners try to Mozambique each other out of the impending run-off.

Candidate Seth Harp's press release today was two-fer as he sent a broadside across the deck of the SS Hudgens over Ralphie boys inability to read, understand and comply with the State Ethics Board requirements for campaign finance reporting. As soon as the smoke cleared the sound of heavy artillery in the distance confirmed that the big shells had also landed square on the forehead of republican Gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine.

Most of it was dedicated to talking bad about Ralph but the last paragraph was my personal favorite, to wit:

Georgia’s Office of Insurance and Fire Commissioner is already operating from under a dark cloud of corruption and now Senator Hudgens’ campaign is following suit. Georgia can’t afford more of the same.

Is he talking bad about the OX? You betcha. And he should because John Oxendine is Georgia's version of that Blagojevich cat up in Illinois. Seth just needs to remember that the Ox ain't in this race and running against him is on page number one of my playbook. Stick to needling your direct opponents and leave the Ox to me.

I want to remind all of you Libertarians who are gonna play in the republican primary to be sure to vote for Maria Sheffield. My dream ballot reads like this:

Shane Bruce L
Maria Sheffield R
Mary Squires D

Headliner, Baby, Headliner.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Republican Ralph "Huggy Bear" Hudgens Finds an extra $100,000


I wish I had that kind of scratch just laying around.

Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens screwed up for the second time in less than two weeks when he dumped another $100,000 bucks into his campaign to pay for this weeks media onslaught without posting a 2 business day report down to the state Ethics Commission.

The two business day report is designed to provide the citizens of Georgia with campaign finance info on our stellar political leaders by making them report any surges in donations including loans exceeding $1000 if said donation/loans were received between the last report due before the election and the election.

So candidate Hudgens went out and bought a media buy to entertain us all with pertinent imagery and profound voice overs designed to assure the citizenry that he is the one to lead the Insurance Commissioners office. And he forgot to tell the State Ethics Commission about a measly $100,000 dollar loan to make that TV magic happen.

Hopefully he won't screw up again before the 20th and have to exit the race. If he does, who will Maria Sheffield have to face in the run-off? Seth Harp?

Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner Shane Bruce Addresses the DeKalb LP

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The DeKalb LP announces the formation of C-TADS

Just in from DeKalb LP Vice Chair David Montané:






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement on behalf of the Libertarian Party of DeKalb County announcing the formation of the Committee to Audit DeKalb Schools (C-TADS):

July 9, 2010: The Libertarian Party of DeKalb County announces the formation of the Committee to Audit DeKalb Schools (C-TADS), which will examine the DeKalb County School System budget, both income and expenses, and recommend ways to lower the school portion of our property taxes and possibly eliminate our 1% “Educational” sales tax. The Committee is seeking other citizens interested in participating in this long-needed independent review.

About 60% of all state and local taxes go toward the school systems. State budget reductions create pressure on local government to increase property taxes to make up the difference. Recent embezzlement charges of top bureaucrats in the DeKalb school system indicate that the budget may benefit from closer scrutiny by the public. This is best done by an independent panel not subject to the protests of special interest groups.

Interested parties are invited to attend an orientation meeting to learn more and decide if they want to participate. The orientation meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010, 7:00 PM at the Famous Pub in the Toco Hills Shopping Center at 2947 North Druid Hills Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.


Libertarian Party of Dekalb
 Christopher Barber, Chair
 David MontanĂ©, Vice Chair
 Barbara Rickard, Secretary/Treasurer


http://www.lpdekalb.org/
[This e-mail address is still being tested:] vice.chairman@lpdekalb.org

Libertarian Brad Ploeger Makes History in Georgia's State House District 59


Mark down a new one in the history books folks.

Libertarian Brad Ploeger successfully concluded his petition drive today at the SecState's office and turned in his hard won petition signatures in order to appear on the ballot this fall in State House District 59. Congratulations to Brad, his campaign staff and hard working volunteers who walked throughout District 59 for weeks in the hot Georgia sun talking to residents and asking for their support.

It's hard to overstate the importance of Brad's efforts for Liberty thus far. The first hurdle has been cleared and now he's got to get ready for the contest with the sitting incumbent, Margaret Kaiser. He'll need your active support as a volunteer, your time or treasure or both as his opponent is a capable politician seeking her third term in office.

So get off the couch, go to his website or Facebook page and get involved with Liberty this fall.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Common Cause Georgia sent me an Email on HB 920






It's position time folks.

I got an email in today from the state LP asking for a response to a poll being conducted by Common Cause Georgia on the contents of last years HB 920 which sought to place limits on how much money a lobbyist could give to sitting politicians. I found the tone of the invite quite interesting and responded with a query of my own. We'll have to see if the 50 word limit on comments is set in stone when they publish the results next week.

Here's the invite and my response:


2010 Common Cause Georgia Candidate Poll

Dear Candidate,

Common Cause Georgia invites you – as a candidate for Georgia statewide office this year - to declare yourself in support of 2 specific ethics reform measures in 2011.

House Bill 920, introduced last year by Rep. Wendell Willard, had 40 co-sponsors, Republcans and Democrats who came from all parts of the state. This legislation offered real reform that would have taken major steps forward in curbing the ability of lobbyists and special interests to use money to slant the legislative process.

House Bill 920 was not passed. It never even got a committee hearing. The ethics bill that was passed in 2010 did not address any of the reforms supported in HB 920; specifically, a $100 limit on the value of any one gift by a lobbyist to an elected official, and a $10,000 limit on total transfers from a candidate's campaign account to other candidates, parties, campaign committees and PACs

You will have a chance to remedy that in 2011. We ask you to support two specific reforms from HB 920. The questions below do not include the specific limits mentioned above, which may differ in final legislation. Rather, we seek your reaction to the principles addressed in the questions. We will post all responses – and non-responses - on our Common Cause Georgia website.

If elected, would you support in 2011:

1.) Legislation to limit lobbyist gifts to elected officials? Yes or No?

2.) Legislation to limit movement of campaign funds out of campaign accounts for purposes other than paying for valid expenses of the candidate’s own campaign? Yes or No?

Comment to both questions: (up to 50 words total)

Click here to respond via e-mail.



Regards,



Bill Bozarth
Executive Director


Mr. Bozarth,

Here are my responses to your poll questions on lobbyist gifts.

1.) Legislation to limit lobbyist gifts to elected officials? Yes or No?

2.) Legislation to limit movement of campaign funds out of campaign accounts for purposes other than paying for valid expenses of the candidate’s own campaign? Yes or No?

1. No.

I'm a Libertarian. Politicians should have a sufficiently developed ethics base to see that accepting gifts from lobbyists is patently wrong. Republicans and democrats have a great deal of trouble with this, Libertarians do not. If some fool wants to give $100 dollar gifts to a politician to buy a vote on a particular piece of legislation, the fool should be allowed to do so. Having said that, I would like to see legislation introduced that requires such donations be documented in painstaking detail and published for all the world to see with draconian penalties for not doing so. More transparency in the murky world of politics and influence peddling should gain the result that HB 920 sought to achieve by limiting gifts to $100. A better solution would be to vote for Libertarian candidates since they wouldn't take the money to start with.

2. No.

I'm a Libertarian. If one of our multi term elected officials with huge wads of cash stashed away in the campaign kitty wants to help out a fellow politician, PAC, or single issue group with a cash infusion to maintain the status quo, he should be allowed to waste his resources any way he sees fit. If we mandate that they keep their warchests full for their own use we'll never be able to bleed the entire system of it's financial resources and bring about fundamental change. Why would we seek to give our elected officials an official reason to deny their supporters and affiliates huge wads of cash? We should be encouraging them to spread their money around as fast and furiously as they spend the publics purse.

Now that we've addressed your concerns about Lobbyist gifts, it's time to ask your position on Ballot Access Reform (B.A.R) in Georgia. What is your position sir, do you support last years HB 1141, HB 1257, HB 1425 or SB 359? All of these bills sought to bring relief to Georgian citizens and all of them died in committee like HB 920.

I await your response.

Shane Bruce
Libertarian Candidate for Insurance Commissioner

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Libertarian candidate for Insurance Commissioner Shane Bruce gets a mention over at the Gainesville Times


The new Headshot is on the way!

Earned Media Time folks, I got a name mention over at the Gainesville Times in reporter Melissa Weinman's article on the republican primary for the Insurance Commissioner gig. Granted, you have to look under the continually scrolling pix of the current herd of republican candidates to find my name, but hey, it's there. It's my major media score of the week.

I was surprised to see the Insurance Commissioner post being touted as a launching pad to higher office in the article. Just because the Ox finally cornered enough cash to make a play for the Governorship doesn't mean it's the magic springboard to future fame and political glory. If you're a glass half full kind of guy, it could be looked at as an inescapable trap, sheesh, it took the Ox 16 years to get out of there.

My own meager research into the in's and out's of the post just don't paint the Commissioner's office as party central USA. You have to smile and tell a whole bunch of Georgian's that there's just no way for them to get any form of health insurance. You have to collect that pesky insurance premium tax and hand it over to the general fund so the current Gov can get a few more boat ramps built. You have to play nice with Georgia's "Industrial Loan" operators because that's a big chunk of campaign cash, they're well connected politically and they swing a big bat. And somewhere in there you have to do a little racetrack regulatin'.

The good news is I still have a couple of weeks to brainstorm up some solutions to these intractable problems and offer a clear vision and a sound plan to the voters of Georgia as a reason to elect me as the next Commissioner of Insurance.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Karen Did What?


Ethics? Ethical? Really? Really-Really?

Another bombshell from Georgia's hardest working single issue activist, Garland Favorito, on past shenanigans down at the SecState's office under the past SecState, Karen Handel. Check out his latest missive below:

Press Release July 8, 2010



Voting Rights Watchdogs Cite Ethics Issues, Call on Handel to Withdraw


ATLANTA, GA – Leaders from two of Georgia’s largest voting rights watchdog groups personally appealed today for former Secretary of State (SOS) Karen Handel to withdraw her gubernatorial bid on grounds of unethical conduct during her tenure as Secretary of State. The leaders, John Fortuin, co-founder of Defenders of Democracy, and Garland Favorito, founder of VoterGA, presented evidence that Mrs. Handel:

took $25,000 in campaign contributions from individuals directly connected to the voting machine vendor lobbying firm, Massey and Bowers

reversed her position and supported Georgia’s unverifiable voting machines while accepting the contributions

appointed a former lobbyist partner, Rob Simms, as her deputy, thus allowing the lobbying firm to have undue influence and control over the SOS office

conducted politically motivated investigations as cited in many of 63 impeachment articles filed at the General Assembly against her Inspector General, Shawn LaGrua

Watchdog leaders also challenged state and local news media to investigate ethics questions evenly for all candidates. Mr. Fortuin elaborated: “These are some of the most serious ethics charges that have been raised against any public official. They illustrate in part, how the Secretary of State’s office has been an epicenter of political corruption for eight years. Former secretaries have historically gotten a free pass from state and local media on ethics questions even when unethical conduct shows them to be unfit for public office.”

The leaders contend that impeachment articles and supporting documents cited in a Lowndes County State Election Board (SEB) case clearly indicate how a voting machine technician was framed to cover-up violations committed by an elections supervisor who was an acquaintance of Karen Handel. They also cited a December 2009 SEB petitioning case where as chairwoman Handel referred a former county commissioner for a felony forgery investigation even when there was no probable cause and no evidence that he ever forged any petition signature. The commissioner was petitioning for another commissioner to run against a personal acquaintance of Karen Handel. Both victims in these cases have offered to be available to the press.


Media Contact: Garland Favorito (404) 664-4044


References:
The HR1714 Articles of Impeachment: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/fulltext/hr1714.htm.
A May 24, 2010 analysis of the ethical issues cited: http://www.voterga.org
Documents concerning Lowndes Co. SEB case: http://www.voterga.org/more/index.cfm?Fuseaction=more_15727

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

OK, Time to Declare that the Fat Lady has Sung in The Peach Pundit Online Poll for Insurance Commissioner


Looks like Gerry Purcell won big time.

The poll itself is still running over at Peach Pundit but I've made a command decision to call the event a clean win for republican candidate Gerry Purcell. He has an nearly overwhelming 46% of the votes cast so far and is uncatchable unless one of the other candidates can mobilize an astroturf effort to flood the zone.

Here are the results:






If the Republican Primary for Commissioner Of Insurance were held today, for whom would you vote?
Dennis Cain 1% (18 votes)
Rick Collum 0.2% (4 votes)
Seth Harp 29% (513 votes)
Ralph Hudgens 8.3% (146 votes)
Tom Knox 3.2% (56 votes)
John Mamalakis 0.8% (14 votes)
Stephen Dale Northington 1.5% (26 votes)
Gerry Purcell 46.1% (815 votes)
Maria Sheffield 6.8% (121 votes)
Undecided 3.1% (55 votes)
Total Votes: 1,768


Hopefully this online poll is not reflective of the election on the 20th, I've said it before and I'll say once more, I really want Maria Sheffield on the ballot. Not Gerry Purcell.

You Never Know What Kind of Nuggets You'll Find in a Comment Trail


Electronic Petitioning Baby, Electronic Petitioning.

Most of the time the comment trials over at Jim Galloway's Political Insider blog are interesting but today's entry under the sad tale of Mary Norwoods failure to qualify is almost riveting. From "Sign Online":

Sign Online
July 7th, 2010
3:15 pm

GA should follow Utah’s lead. Our state needs to move beyond its past. Online petition signatures should count. We all use the internet to do everything else, why not sign online? From the WSJ, June 22, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Supreme Court said Tuesday that state election officials must accept online petition signatures to qualify individuals for the ballot.

“A signature under [Utah law ] does not require a signor to physically handle a piece of paper and sign her name with a pen,” justices said in a 15-page ruling issued as voters went to the polls for primary elections. “An electronic signature is sufficient to satisfy the election code.”

In March, Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell rejected a nominating petition from Farley Anderson, an independent gubernatorial candidate, saying state law didn’t allow for e-signatures. Mr. Anderson had included more than 150 e-signatures on his petition.

In its unanimous ruling, the court said Mr. Bell’s decision “exceeded the bounds of discretion” afforded his office and he would need specific rules in place to exempt the election process from laws that allow electronic signatures in other settings.

The ruling orders the signatures submitted by Mr. Anderson to be recounted to determine whether he qualifies for the November ballot.

“The court’s opinion, which is the first of its kind nationwide, has the potential to increase significantly the ability of independent candidates to access the general election ballots,” said Darcy Goddard, legal director for the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the case on Mr. Anderson’s behalf.


Ballot Access and electronic petitioning have been the top two issues of the day for us over here at Bludgeon & Skewer for the last two years. Nice to see that some progress is being made on it in Utah. How about here in Georgia?

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Insurance Commissioner Gig Job Description Just Keeps Growing


Talk about your Augean Stables.

The Peach Pundit call for articles by candidates for the Insurance Commissioner race came and went and the respondee's have their responses up for public view. And it's pretty damn interesting for newly born insurance junkies like me. I tried and tried to come with 750 words for my contribution but was unable to get it done by the deadline and so passed on the opportunity.

The readership should head over and review my opponents statements as well cast a vote in the nifty online poll that currently has Gerry Purcell running neck and neck with Seth Harp. That's a major surprize to me because I've been forecasting with the "Who's got da Money?" model which predicts the runoff will be between Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield. At the moment, Gerry and Seth have the most active polldaddy base but that could change radically tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see.

One cool aspect of this exercise is the opportunity for each candidate to differentiate themselves from the rest of the herd in republican land. I was also keen to see if the only other candidate that will definitely be on the ballot this fall, Mary Squires, wanted to venture out of the safe confines of democratland and brave the lion pit. She did and she intends to put all sorts Crisis Command Centers and Conviction Teams and Enforcement Squads and such into action if elected.

Here are some thumbnail reviews of the candidates ideas that were presented that I'll have to research to see if they are a good fit for my campaign this fall.

Ralph Hudgens didn't really address anything concrete about specific programs or problem areas. The Dude has a lot experience with the industry but I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Gerry Purcell came out hard on the ethics thing and that's good. The Ox was legendary for abusing the office for political gain. He's one of the most vocal opponents out there on Obamacare and the High Risk Pool controversy. As a Libertarian, I also oppose the impending federal healthcare mandates but I think we have to find some mechanism that will allow Georgia citizens that are not viable customers for insurance companies to gain coverage. He's got quite a list of other ideas I'd like to pluck if he doesn't make the run off.

Seth Harp talked a lot about his qualifications like Ralph did. At the tailend of his spiel he got into specific ideas and you gotta like them. Crack down on fraud, fight to reduce the mandates and bring in more insurance companies. As far as I know, the only item he might be able to achieve is fraud crackdown. The mandates and the premium tax will have to addressed in the legislature.

That's enough for this particular post, the readership is encouraged to head over and review the statements themselves as one of those rascally republicans will be on the ballot this fall. And be sure to vote in the online poll for Maria Sheffield! She's the one I want to compete with this fall!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Undecided Rules the Roost in the Latest Insider Advantage Poll on the Georgia Governor's Race


Undecided knocks one out of the Park!

Talk about the energizer bunny of Georgia politics! Undecided took the top position in the latest Insider Advantage poll released today over at the Southern Political Report. this latest poll reflects the sinking fortunes and rapidly declining vote shares of republican candidates John Oxendine, Karen Handel and Nathan Deal as the Undecided Juggernaut rolls on.

This latest poll has led to a change of assessment of potential turn out for this years republican primary. It's gone from high turn out to lower than expected to absolutely abysmal as Undecided's ugly sister Inertia, is expected to keep potential republican voters on the couch watching cable as opposed to going to the polls.

Such is the power of Undecided when the candidate field is this lackluster. The good news for Liberty is that which ever loser actually wins the republican primary, they will pale in comparison to Libertarian John Monds on November 2nd.

Republican Insurance Commissioner Candidate Ralph Hudgens gets a Free Pass on the $106K "mistake"


Kind of looks like Jabba, don't he?

Big news folks, the leading republican contender for the Office of Commissioner of Insurance skated through an Ethic's Commission hearing on the supposed impropriety of dumping $106,000 bucks out one of his campaign accounts into another without saying the magic word. How many campaign accounts has this guy got?

The kicker of the story is that another republican candidate for the same gig, Maria Sheffield, has been screaming bloody murder about how rotten the move was and has sent out various and sundry press releases about it. Apparently, the members of the State Ethics Commission are not on her mailing list. But all is not lost for the fair Maria, with typical republican bloodlust for money, she's now crowing about how the cash difference between to the two campaigns is only $8900 bucks.

I can't wait to see the fundrasing numbers from last quarter when they finally get reported because that'll tell us who's gonna be in the run-off. I'm picking Ralph "Jabba" Hudgens vs Maria Sheffield and if the readership will participate in the republican primary as well as the republican run-off, you can help make my dream come true.

I really, really, really want the fall ballot to read:

Shane Bruce (L)
Maria Sheffield (R)
Mary Squires (D)

Please note the headliner position due to the spelling of the last name, that's worth 20% right there!

Score: Georgia's 1943 Jim Crow Ballot Access Laws 2, Independents trying to Qualify by Petition 0


Yeah, but its kept the Commies out of Georgia.

Update time folks, Independent candidate for Fulton County commission Mary Norwood has thrown in the towel on her bid to run this fall according to the AJC's Political Insider. Mary's departure from the scene makes the second time in recent months when the arcane twisted world of ballot access in Georgia has claimed another aspirant to political office. The backroom boys of 1943 Georgia state house have to be proud that their crafty legislation has survived and thrived right up here to the edge of the future with overpowering success.

Millionaire Ray Boyd was the first victim of this 67 year old geriatric legislation when he came to the realization that this is a rigged game and he did not hold the house advantage. Rather than spend upwards of $250,000 to pay a petitioning company, he decided to shut down plan A and go to plan B. No news on plan B's progress.

The next victim to fall prey to our "Jason" of ballot access legislation should be our brand new Superintendent of Schools, that Brad Bryant guy. He faces the same hurdles that the other two defeated candidates faced and has even less time to gather signatures. On the plus side, he's one of Sonny's boys, the republican party of Georgia has promised to aid his efforts and another one of Sonny's boys, our current SecState, Brian Kemp will be vetting the signatures. Any bets on whether he qualifies?

Just to remind the readership, we've been on this ballot access issue from the get-go. Hell, it's the main reason I got involved in politics to begin with. Here's a link to the earliest known post at Bludgeon & Skewer from June of last year.