Bob Barr: Government’s Demand For Data Truly Is Insatiable

Your Georgia Desk

From Bob Barr

Government’s Demand For Data Truly Is Insatiable

The launch of the new iPhone 6 late last month set a record for Apple, selling 10-million units in the first three days. In spite of the record-setting sales, it was not long before consumer enthusiasm for the new technology dulled with reports of alleged problems, including a potential for bending if sat on for long periods; a phenomenon quickly dubbed “Bendgate.” The release of the iPhone 6 presented another, more serious problem for a much different demographic: government snoops.

Rather than continuing to be the rope in a tug-of-war between consumer privacy and warrantless government requests for consumer data, Apple smartly took itself out of the game altogether. The techno-giant did this through its new iOS 8 operating system which Apple claims makes it not “technically feasible for [Apple] to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices.” Not surprisingly, Apple’s move did not sit well with government officials who not only see surreptitious surveillance as their duty, but a right no citizen should have the power to impede.

The surge in technological innovation over the last few years has raised the stakes in this fight, highlighted by the recent Supreme Court ruling Riley v. California in which the Justices clearly noted the differences in searching paper files versus digital data. However, the federal government’s efforts to undermine the development and use of devices or programs (such as encryption keys) that protect citizens’ communications against government snooping, goes back more than two decades.

In 1994, for example, Congress passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which forces telecommunication carriers and manufacturers to modify their digital communications platforms and hardware in order to facilitate the government’s ability to surreptitiously monitor communications made over those networks. (more…)

GA GOP: Hispanic Voters Buck Assumptions, Back GA GOP Candidates

Your Georgia Desk

From The Georgia Republican Party 

Georgia Politics GAGOP

GA GOP: Hispanic Voters Buck Assumptions, Back GA GOP Candidates

 The crowds of Spanish-speaking shoppers that fill DeKalb County’s Plaza Fiesta also give Georgia Democrats a measure of hope for this election. With Georgia’s Hispanic population growing, Democrats hope non-white voters will help them surprise Republicans in November.

But the assumption that Hispanic voters will support Democrats may be flawed, according to an 11Alive News poll released last week.

The poll showed the race for governor between Democrat Jason Carter and Republican Nathan Deal to be neck-and-neck. But the poll showed Hispanic voters backing Gov. Deal 40 to 29 percent.

Same thing in the senate race. Hispanic voters surveyed backed Republican David Perdue 44 percent to 32 percent for Democrat Michelle Nunn, the poll of 550 voters sampled fewer than 40 Hispanic voters, proportionate to the amount of expected Hispanic voter turnout. (more…)

Gov. Nathan Deal: State Awarded $6.75 Million to Support Re-entry Services

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal

Deal Leadership

Deal: State awarded $6.75 million to support re-entry services

Grant money to assist Georgia re-entry programs, reducing recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia was awarded $6.75 million in federal grant money to support re-entry services for rehabilitated offenders. The grants were administered by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry (GOTSR) and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“Since taking office, I’ve emphasized and implemented meaningful changes to our criminal justice system because Georgia could simply not afford the ever-increasing costs of incarceration,” said Deal. “By putting common-sense back into the equation, we’ve reduced our state’s prison population and recidivism rates. These reforms are working, and being awarded these nationally competitive grants is a testament to the fact that people are taking notice.

“The final step toward a lasting criminal justice overhaul is successful re-entry into society. This grant money will aid Georgia’s efforts to remove barriers to employment, housing and education for rehabilitated offenders. (more…)

David Perdue: Obamacare Is Not Fixable

Your Washington Desk

From David Perdue – U.S. Senate 

Perdue Senate Logo

Perdue: Obamacare Is Not Fixable

 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, David Perdue, today commented on the one-year anniversary of the rollout of Obamacare. The failed law continues to hurt Georgia families and businesses.

“Obamacare cannot be fixed. For too many Georgians, it has not been working over the past year and it will never work as promised. As long as Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Michelle Nunn continue their liberal agenda in Washington, Obamacare will continue to hurt Georgia families. This is much more than a failed website. This is about the need to protect Georgians from Obamacare’s disastrous effects on families, businesses, and our economy. (more…)

Rep. Rob Woodall: Receives Legislative Excellence Award from Manufacturers

Your Washington – GA 7 – Desk

From Congressman Rob Woodall


Rep. Rob Woodall Receives Legislative Excellence Award from Manufacturers

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recognized U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (GA 07) as a recipient of the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award for the 113th Congress.  The award is presented to Members of Congress demonstrating a strong commitment to policies that enable U.S. manufacturers to create jobs, compete in a global economy, and improve living standards for their employees.  Woodall received a 100% rating on the key votes tracked by the organization.

“We have a tremendous manufacturing community in the Seventh District, and they are leading the charge to grow American jobs and provide quality products for consumers,” said Representative Woodall.  “Their success ripples through the entire economy and the best thing Washington can do is provide stable, commonsense policies that partner with their efforts rather than work in opposition to them.”

With a large and robust manufacturing presence throughout the Seventh District, the region is also host to the annual GA Manufacturing Expo, which seeks to highlight local manufacturers and increase awareness of these hometown products among consumers. (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 1, 2014

Original Communist (O.C.) Karl Marx published Das Kapital on October 1, 1867.

Voters in the state of Washington adopted the state constitution on October 1, 1889.

The first World Series of baseball opened on October 1, 1903.

On October 1, 1908, Ford introduced the Model T.

Former President Jimmy Carter was born on October 1, 1924 at Wise Sanitarium in Plains, Georgia, the first American President to be born in a hospital.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the 21st time beginning on October 1, 1931.

In a Special Election October 1, 1940, Florence Gibbs became the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia, completing her late husband’s term and serving through January 3, 1941, but no standing for a full term of her own.

Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the Communist People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

The Carter Center in Atlanta was dedicated on October 1, 1986.

Mikhail Gorbachev named himself Chairman of the USSR’s Supreme Soviet on October 1, 1988.

President George H.W. Bush condemned Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait in a speech to the United Nations on October 1, 1990.

Georgia Politics in Brief

On October 8, the State of Georgia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will sign an agreement to begin the deepening of the Savannah River channel.

The signing will allow the Corps to accept bids for the first contracts to be awarded under the $706 million project. The Corps’ Savannah District will announce two of those contracts this week.

Deal said the signing next week means the physical dredging of the Savannah River channel can finally begin.

“This expansion project is vitally important for economic development and job creation on a local and national level,” the governor said. “After years of regulatory purgatory, we will soon start moving dirt. I’m grateful to all involved for working tirelessly to see this project through to fruition.

“Next Wednesday will certainly be a great day for Georgia.”

And a day that has been a long time coming. Initially approved by Congress in 1999, the project’s 15-year path to a 47-foot river channel has been anything but smooth.

That’s timely news, as Toyota announced it will use the Port of Savannah to export automobile built in the United States to Australia and New Zealand.

“When researching a location for exports to Oceania, Toyota’s experience in Brunswick made a GPA facility an appealing option,” Akahoshi said. “The challenge was in bringing together the service profile — vessel schedules, processing, survey requirements and direct rail service.”

Toyota’s collaboration with GPA, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines, Vehicle Services Americas and Norfolk Southern took the move from concept to reality within an abbreviated time frame, Akahoshi said.

“We had great confidence that with the GPA as a partner, the project would get done.”

The Japanese automaker will move thousands of Highlanders a year from its Princeton, Ind., plant through Ocean Terminal, which is located on the river just west of the Talmadge Bridge.

The vehicles will arrive in Savannah by Norfolk Southern rail, where they will be staged at Ocean Terminal prior to export. The GPA recently completed paving an additional five acres at Ocean Terminal, bringing the total parking area for roll-on/roll-off cargo to 40 acres on the terminal.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is in Atlanta today, and can be seen at 1:30 at The Varsity supporting Attorney General Sam Olens in the upstairs breezeway. Before that, Romney will be at a closed fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate David Perdue. Some supporters (and detractors) of Romney are taking his busy political schedule as a sign he may be considering a run for President again in 2016.

Libertarian Amanda Swafford, the only candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia who has ever been elected or held public office, gets her close-up in a Time magazine profile of “the Woman Who Could Keep Control of the Senate Up for Grabs”.

There is a nightmare scenario that keeps most politicos working on both sides of the aisle up at night: after the midterm elections, and even through the anticipated Dec. 6 run off in Louisiana, control of the Senate likely won’t be decided until Jan. 6, the date a run-off in Georgia will take place, if any one candidate fails to muster 50% of the vote. It is this scenario that Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford, who regularly pulls 5% in most polls, relishes.

“In that situation, if we did force a runoff,” Swafford tells TIME, “I’d say that’s a clear mandate from people of Georgia for a small government and less involvement in people’s lives.”

As of the end of June, Swafford had raised $7,683 for her senatorial bid. The single 37-year-old has kept her day job as a paralegal as she has mounted her campaign. “It makes for a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she says, “but I believe electing someone to the Senate like me, who knows what it’s like to work a job, have a boss, and make ends meet on a regular budget, would bring a valuable perspective to the Senate.”

Swafford is pro-choice and for the legalization of marijuana. And, like most Libertarians, she’s deeply suspicious of President Obama’s engagement abroad, particularly in Syria and Iraq. “Last year, the President wanted to bomb Syria for their chemical weapons, now he’s asking for their help to defeat another enemy,” she says. (Obama hasn’t actually asked Syrian strongman Bashar Assad for help in defeating ISIS.)

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is back in business, issuing fines to Columbia County Chairman Ron Cross and dismissing a complaint against Jason Carter.

The Augusta Chronicle editors write that Georgia voters should keep Mark Butler on the job as labor commissioner.

As labor commissioner, he has pledged himself to putting as many Georgians as possible back to work, opening several avenues for job-seekers to find work as soon as possible.

And that’s why Butler deserves your vote to remain Georgia’s labor commissioner.

Butler also formed a Regional Coordinator Program and a Business Service Unit that help identify pools of work talent statewide that businesses and industries can access for job recruitment.

He might even be the only labor commissioner in the country with his own SWAT detachment. The Special Workforce Assistance Team helps jobless Georgians better market themselves to potential employers.

Butler’s newest program, christened just this year, is Customized Recruitment, which offers specialized, streamlined job-seeking assistance for newly located businesses.

For all his laudatory work in helping others find jobs in this troubled economy, Butler deserves to keep his job in Atlanta.

I concur and will vote for Mark Butler. I heard him speak about his work at the Georgia Department of Labor at the Walton County GOP recently and his expertise in the subject matter and accomplishments in office are impressive.

Residents in the city of Gordon are asking a judge to hold their Mayor in contempt for allegedly violating the court order that reinstated her to office.

Two city councilmen and a group called the Concerned Citizens of Gordon filed a lawsuit early this year seeking Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue’s removal from office. They alleged malfeasance and multiple violations of the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Whipple-Lue was suspended from office twice this summer, but she was reinstated in July on the condition that she abide by specific rules.

In the motion filed Tuesday in Wilkinson County Superior Court, the group alleges the mayor violated the order that reinstated her into office. Specifically, the group points out that Whipple-Lue sent City Attorney Joseph Boone a termination letter Sept. 25 that said “the city will take the next step and secure another city attorney.”

In the letter, Whipple-Lue told the longtime city attorney that although the city charter says the city’s lawyer serves at the City Council’s pleasure, two City Council members who took office with her haven’t voted for him to continue as city attorney.

Welcome to the Machine

Bill Barrow and Christina A. Cassidy of the Associated Press have a look inside the campaign machinery of a modern first-tier Democratic candidate. Via Macon Telegraph.

— Behind a nondescript storefront just outside Atlanta, Delores Washington makes telephone call after call in this Democratic stronghold using a list of potential voters handed to her by a young party staffer.

The retired high school principal doesn’t ask questions about the massive data collection behind the list compiled by expensive political consultants to predict and influence behavior at the polls.

But she knows what to do. “My job is to expand and get out that base,” Washington said. “That’s how we win.”

Democratic and Republican campaign committees from Washington have invested heavily in field offices here, with paid staffers and volunteers using national party voter databases that try to replicate turnout successes of President Barack Obama’s national campaigns. Both sides are pushing their identified supporters to vote early, and each camp agrees that it will take about 1.4 million votes to win in Georgia this year.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 1, 2014


Laser is a one-year old Hound mix with a strikingly handsome coat who is available for adoption from the Sumter County Humane Society in Americus, Ga.


Lucie is a six-year old female Jack Russell Terrier who is available for adoption from the Sumter County Humane Society in Americus, Ga.


Cuba is a two-yeard old Boxer/Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Sumter County Humane Society in Americus, Ga.


Gov. Nathan Deal: Cartercare – Booming Costs, Few Benefits

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal

Cartercare: Booming costs, few benefits

Recent federal reports show that Sen. Jason Carter’s plans for Medicaid expansion would far exceed the costs of President Obama’s plan while doing little to increase access to health care providers.

“Inadequate access to care and higher health care costs for taxpayers are the exact opposite of what President Obama and Democrats promised the program would do,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Coverage does not equal access. Medicaid is a critical safety net for our most vulnerable patients and is in need of serious reforms. Rather than address these problems, however, Medicaid expansion doubles down on them.”

“Cartercare” would emulate the Arkansas model, the so-called “private option.” The federal Government Accountability Office recently issued a report showing that the Arkansas plan will cost $778 million more than traditional Medicaid over three years – a massive additional cost covered by taxpayers. (more…)

Newt Gingrich: Reflections on the Contract with America – 20 Years Later

Your Washington Desk
via Speaker Newt Gingrich
On Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting with S. Ganbaatar, a member of the Mongolian Parliament.
When he entered the room, Ganbaatar walked up excitedly to examine a framed document that has hung for years in my offices. The document is a list of commitments to the people, signed by dozens of candidates for public office who promised to vote on a specific policy agenda if they were elected to office. It’s framed alongside a picture of the candidates who signed and campaigned on it. Many of them went on to be elected in a historic vote that tossed out a party that had held power since the 1920s.
Ganbaatar was looking at a framed copy of the 1996 “Contract with the Mongolian Voter.” That contract was, as the Washington Post reported the next year, “the most widely distributed document in Mongolian history.” The Mongolian voters — with a 91% turnout — elected the democratic opposition, which four years earlier had held just six seats. With a program of “private property rights, a free press and the encouragement of foreign investment,” they defeated the Communist Party that had ruled since 1921.
Ganbaatar, who was elected to Parliament as an Independent in 2012 and is already one of his country’s most popular politicians, recounted emotionally how the Contract with the Voter was a watershed event in modern Mongolian history. The ideas in that document, he told me, “gave us our freedom.”
Mongolia’s peaceful, democratic transition of power from the communists to a republican government was one of the few hopeful stories to come out of the former Soviet states in the early years after the Cold War.
It was fitting, but only a coincidence, that Ganbaatar visited just a few days before the 20th anniversary of the Contract with America, the inspiration for Mongolia’s Contract with the Voters.
On September 27, 1994, more than 350 candidates for Congress gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to sign a pledge to the American people, a promise to vote on 10 key reforms if we won a majority in the House of Representatives. That campaign, which I helped organize, earned Republicans control of the House for the first time in 40 years.