Well, Maya-Apocalypse (back on 12/21/2012 – when the world was supposed to end) is long since over. The dysfunctional Congress critters made it over the fiscal cliff without too much difficulty, albeit with plenty of grandstanding theatrics and finger-pointing on both sides. And one month has already come and gone into the new year.
I meant to write this sooner but one thing or another got in the way. And I was just too depressed. I, for one was disappointed about 12/21/2012. Not that I believed that the world was going to actually end and that we would all be raptured up to meet the Republican Jesus. But some part of me hoped that the world as we know it would end and change for the better. While it might be painful in the short term, I had hoped that like the phoenix rising from the ashes, the destruction would give birth to a much better society for everyone.
Alas, it was not to be. Now I think we are in for much rougher time as we continue the slow descent towards utter collapse and chaos. It's going to get much worse. Economics alone dictate that there is going to have be some restructuring of the money system because the government will not stop its wasteful spending on the military. It’s not the so-called "entitlements" – those are a drop in the bucket as compared to the billions squandered on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the monies needed to have the military bases all over the world. But the government will not do the right thing and instead its going to impose "austerity" on us. When that happens, we are going to be like Greece or Spain.
In emailing friends and others and reading the news, some commentators are railing about supposed communism or socialism as in "Obama's a socialist or communist." Obama is not a communist or a socialist. He’s a corporatist. Just look at what he’s done. Who’s going to head up the SEC? Why, Mary Jo White who helped quash investigations by the SEC into some the misdeeds of the Wall Street insiders. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/choice-of-mary-jo-white-to-head-sec-puts-fox-in-charge-of-hen-house-20130125
And we don’t have to stop there. He has also been a boon to the military-industrial complex. He is like Bush on steroids. He signed the NDAA. The government can now lock anyone up and hold anyone indefinitely without a trial or other rights. The US has proceeded to invade more Muslim countries (not only Afghanistan and Iraq, which Bush started, but Libya, Yemen and he is keeping up the pressure to topple the Syrian regime next). Obama maintains a "kill list" of people to be killed. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Not all of this is new news. The point is that he is there because Wall Street and the corporations want him there. So when Rush Blowhard or any of the other talking heads on the right rail about how Obama's a socialist or communist, think again. It's all bull to keep us focused on the wrong thing.
And terms like communism and socialism are so 20th century and outdated.. There is no communism or socialism anymore except in places like maybe Cuba or North Korea. The Soviet Union collapsed over 20 years ago. Communist China is anything but communist. No, the new "ism" which I identified as the "beast" back when I was running for office is nothing more than corporatism. Communism is where the government owns the means of production. Socialism is where the government tells the private corporations what to produce – a marriage of government and private ownership. Of course, these are very simple definitions but they serve the purpose. In America, we have neither of these systems. What we have is corporatism.
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We do not have an independent government that tells corporations what to do. It's the corporations who are running the country which tell the government what to do. They are the ones that donate to campaign coffers of the Congress critters to get them elected to office and, once elected, to keep them there. Once there, the Congress critters pass laws filled with loopholes and favors for their special interest buddies who brought them to the big dance. Just to help, the corporations have their legions of lawyers and lobbyists to not only write the bills that Congress cannot even manage to read but to make sure that the Congress votes the "right" way (i.e. in a way which favors the corporations). When they leave Congress (or more likely get defeated), where do they go? Right into a lucrative position at the corporations or maybe working as a lobbyist. Need oil? Or a more favorable contract regarding a country’s minerals or other natural resources and they won’t give it to you? No problem. Have Congress or the president start a phony war and send in the military and drones to invade and take over for you.
The corporations are now even taking water and selling it back to us while poisoning the groundwater and engaging in other pollution (like the BP disaster in the gulf of Mexico). And they have now taken the seeds for crops and turned them into Frankenfood with the genetic modifications. What’s next? Taxing the air we breathe? Seriously. Have none of them ever considered where humans are going to live and what they are going to eat if the Earth becomes toxic? They all aren’t building space pods to escape in like Robert T. Bigelow. http://www.wired.com/science/space/magazine/15-11/ff_spacehotel?currentPage=all.
Corporations have even found a way to make money off our sicknesses – its why there will never be a cure for cancer or any other malady. Too much money to be made by big pharma and healthcare ceos who are paid billions. Patient dies or doesn’t get the care they need? Too bad! Doing the right thing isn’t good for the corporate bottom line and woe to the doctor who dares speak out about this. http://drjshousecalls.blogspot.com
After the banksters (bank + gangster = bankster) crashed the economy, have any of them been prosecuted for the crimes they perpetrated on the American public? Heck no. They are not only too big to fail and deserving of bailouts of the taxpayer’s money, but they are too big to jail too. See: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21568403-two-big-british-banks-reach-controversial-settlements-too-big-jail
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216#ixzz2IwLLCB2Q for an inkling.
So now we basically have legalized "plunder" as Frederic Bastiat put it in his pamphlet called "The Law". Corporations can commit crimes with impunity. There is nothing now to stop them. If the government won't do it, who will?
The laws have no meaning any more, not when some people can do anything they want whereas others can’t. Corporatism and the greed which permeates everything in search of increasing the corporations’ wealth, has infected every facet of life - from academics (witness all the cheating scandals to win titles and bowls and obtain players - all in the name of increasing revenue for the schools), to politics (we have already discussed the symbiotic relationship between government and the corporations above), to our two-tiered "just-us" legal system (there is no such thing as justice anymore; it’s a "just-us" system made up of the haves and the have nots – the have nots are poor minorities who usually get the shaft – hey, the prison-industrial complex needs those warm bodies to fill the privately operated prisons! and those who have money get some semblance of justice) and the media, which is filled with bloviating talking heads which regale us with stories about Michelle Obama’s bangs and whatever love interest of the week is romantically involved with one of the Kardashians. But heaven forbid that they give us real news. Can’t have that! The media might not get invited to the White House Correspondents dinner. It’s like some kind of virus that has consumed everything in its path.
What can we, the 99%, do? Not much. While some in the so-called "Patriot" movement are well-meaning, this has become so infiltrated with what I call "neutralizers". Their task is to make it look like they are on the side of the people, but really, their function is to keep the fringe elements bottled up in flame wars fighting one another, chasing down rabbit trails of phony enemies and keep them away from finding out the real truth and the real enemy (Alex Jones and his rants come to mind, all the while he is out for himself and building his little media empire while touting false idols like Ron Paul – whose last campaign was about nothing more than paving the way for his son and being the point man for Romney). It’s impossible to know who to trust any longer or where to turn for some real semblance of journalism.
Is there any hope? Not that I can see. Not for as long as the people allow corporations to rule the day and control everything from our courts, schools, media and governments. Not when people like those in the 9/11 movement are too busy sniping at each other and behaving like kindergartners rather than adults having a serious and intellectual discourse about what really happened based on the evidence. Not when the majority of the public is more interested in frivolous faux news rather than the real thing.
Which brings me back to the meaning of dystopia. "Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization totalitarian governments, environmental disaster or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society." They aren’t fictional or speculative any more. They are already here.
Rachel Lea Hunter
Wikipedia defines a dystopia as a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia. Such societies appear in many works of fiction, particularly in stories set in a speculative future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization totalitarian governments, environmental disaster or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Elements of dystopias may vary from environmental to political and social issues. Dystopian societies have culminated in a broad series of sub-genres of fiction and are often used to raise real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, religion, psychology, spirituality, or technology that may become present in the future. For this reason, dystopias have taken the form of a multitude of speculations, such as pollution, poverty, societal collapse, political repression or totalitarianis.
July 4th 2012
Wow! Has it really been 2 whole years since I last wrote? Since then much has happened. The NC Supreme denied my appeal on December 15, 2010. No surprise there. In the interest of completeness, I am attaching a copy of the order as it is not possible to locate online.
Let's see - what I said about Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010), turned out to be true. That decision has opened the floodgates to special interest money. No longer is corruption covert - it's overt. Corporations can now "buy" the candidate they want and it's all perfectly legal. We are not living in a corpocracy, or more like a kleptocracy with banks and politicians stealing as much as they can get away with without fear of any repercussions.
Have any big banksters gone to jail for the crimes committed to crash our economy? NOOO!! Instead the Congress critters and others grovel and fawn over the likes of Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, who is doing "God's work." Read about their crimes here [http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/senators-grovel-embarrass-themselves-at-dimon-hearing-20120615] here [http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/sec-taking-on-big-firms-is-tempting-but-we-prefer-whaling-on-little-guys-20120530], here [http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/blankfein-the-wrong-spokesman-for-gay-rights-20120214] and here [http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/bank-of-america-too-crooked-to-fail-20120314] just for starters. Really, read almost anything by Matt Taibbi - he is one of the few journalists who consistently stays after these crooks. Max Keiser is another - see http://maxkeiser.com/tag/keiser-report or http://rt.com/programs/keiser-report.
Speaking of gay rights - well the idiotic amendment passed in North Carolina outlawing gay marriage and civil unions and anything other form of living arrangement besides a bona fide heterosexual marriage. I don't want to get a barrage of hate mail from well-meaning but intellectually challenged Bible-thumping Christians. Spare me - I understand your world view but suffice it to say that I do not share it. You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine and we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. If you don't like it, then content yourself with the knowledge that I will be burning in hell with all the rest of the sinners.
There is a very very simple solution to all of this - take the government out of the marriage business. If two people want to get married by a church that will recognize it, then so be it. Love is rare enough in any form and if two consenting adults happen to be of the same sex and profess love for one another then it is not up to any of us to dictate how they should live their lives. While I have hopes that one day this enactment will be overturned, in the short-term that we are now living in an Art Pope-paradise and we will have to endure this discriminatory amendment.
What else has happened? Oh - Barak Obama killed Osama bin Laden and any one else he fancies, American citizen (like Anwar al-Awlaki) or not. One may argue over whether these were bad men - I am not out to defend them. However, President Obama has no right to unilaterally decide who gets to live or die and be judge, jury and executioner. Whatever happened to due process and a trial? Even a show trial?
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President Obama has been a disappointment in sooo many ways. There is no "hope" and "change." In fact when I hear the ReBloodlicans (as Jesse Ventura calls them) decry him as a "Muslim" or "Socialist", I have to chuckle to myself. This is nothing more than smokescreen and distraction to keep us all chasing rabbit trails and fighting each other rather than the real enemy of those who seek to control us.
Obama has been a most pro-Republican president. In fact, he's worse than Bush - he's like Bush on steroids. Bush started wars and spied and tortured. But what has Obama done? He has done all that and more. Has he closed Guantanamo? Nope. Outlawed military tribunals? No again. Stopped rendition? Not that either. Ended the wars and brought the troops home? Afraid not.
Like Bush, he too has engaged in military action, even unilateral action when necessary. The raids into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden and the ouster and murder of Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan action come to mind and he is itching to start something in Syria, Yemen and Iran. Even worse he passed the National Defense Authorization Act which allows the government to round people up and detain them indefinitely. So now we have a president who can lock people up indefinitely and decide to eliminate you if he doesn't think you deserve to live.
And I can't say much for his supposedly "leftist" health care reform. It reformed nothing. While people are now speaking out about "Obamacare" the truth is this was nothing more than him pandering to the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies who wrote the law. There is no meaningful health reform for the millions in this country who have to navigate the morass of our woeful healthcare system. Its woeful because it only works: (a) if you have money; or (b) have decent health insurance. If you have neither then you are f*cked. You either have to forego medical care or get it and take a chance that you will be left with a humongous bill. You can't even shop for providers to rationally compare costs, although that may be changing for some procedures. Healthcare providers will not tell you in advance what a procedure costs. And don't ask the doctor - they are clueless. But they will be happy to issue you a prescription for the latest thing which they also have no idea what it costs either.
Oh don't think Willard "Mitt" Romney will be any better. This guy is the ultimate 1%'er. He has no clue how the rest of us have to live. He is reported to be installing a car elevator at one of his homes. A car elevator! While I understand that others have them and there may be reasons for it, it comes across as something only an obscenely rich person with more money than brains would do. None of my neighbors have car elevators and I would venture to say that most of yours don't either.
And he's a Mormon. Anyone who has studied the roots of Mormonism will learn that it is a religion started by a counterfeiter and charlatan who came up with the idea of polygamy so he could lawfully fool around with other women. And Mormonism is rooted in Freemasonry - but that is a whole 'nuther topic. While it has evolved, they still believe in baptism of the dead, celestial marriage and magic underwear. And you want this guy to be president? Leaving that aside, he is in tight with the Wall Street crowd and is one of them. He has received the blessings of the Bilderbergers and was alleged to have attended their recent gathering.
When will the masses realize that you cannot really vote. You have no real choice; your vote means nothing. It's all controlled from above; your "choices" have been pre-selected for you. Obama has done nothing but what his handlers have told him and allowed him to do. Romney is no different. Either one, if elected, will continue to do the bidding of Wall Street and the kleptocrats. Its Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.
Now if you want to vote and make your vote really count - choose Gary Johnson. Yes, he is running on the Libertarian ticket, but he is not the typical flaky Libertarian that one may think of. It is the only vehicle that he has so I can understand his decision. He was a former governor of New Mexico so he has executive branch experience. Since the corporate media and both wings of the establishment will work to keep him out of the news here is a link to his campaign website: http://www.garyjohnson2012.com. While the establishment will not allow him to win, he could really shake things up especially if he does well enough.
Enough about national stuff - on the purely local scene, John Edwards got off. What a colossal waste of money his show trial was. We knew what a sleazoid he was and did not need the trial for that. I have not been following the local elections here. It's not worth the time or trouble. Why bother? I don't have a crystal ball, but the passage of Amendment One, the gay rights amendment, is a good barometer of what will happen in the fall. The DemoCrips, as Jesse Ventura calls them, are jumping ship or are not running or have been re-districted out of existence. I look for Obama to lose in this state and probably nationally as well, although it's too close to predict as of right now. Governor Perdue is not running and has anybody really heard of her would be successor, Walter Dalton? He is going to lose. So look for the Republicans to take control of the governor's seat as well as consolidate their position in the legislature and courts. Truly, it will be a Republican paradise. Or not.
This all sounds dismal. It is. The European Union is crumbling - Europe is a basket case - Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece are financially in bad shape. The Middle East has become even more de-stabilized than before. The Anglo-American Empire is likewise failing. We cannot sustain this perpetual warfare state that benefits only the kleptocrats and the military/prison-industrial complex. Hope springs eternal though. All across the world people are popping up who are thumbing their nose at the establishment so to speak. No greater example of this is Wikileaks spokesperson, Julian Assange, who recently sought political asylum in Ecuador. However, there are others throughout the world. Whether they will succeed or fail, time will tell. Hopefully, someone in America will take up the challenge next.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began on Wall Street but spread across the US and became global in scope. While many of them are reminiscent of the hippies from the '60s, that doesn't take away from their message. But what they are lacking is some essential ingredients: (a) a charismatic leader; (b) a concrete consumer-oriented program and (c) political organization. If they can ever surmount these obstacles, they will be another force to be reckoned with.
So do something really independent on this Independence Day. Be the independent person you are and say no the way thousands of others are saying no to the establishment. No more mindless wars for the sake of corporations and bankers' insatiable greed. Just say no to the establishment politicians when it comes time to vote. Just say no to the corporate media - find another outlet for information and refuse to be spoon-fed drivel by the talking heads. Just say no to the pollution of the earth, like BP blowout which led to economic as well as ecological devastation. Or it can be local, like the people suing to stop the red-light cameras which do nothing but suck revenues out of the people for corporate profit. That's right - most of the money goes to the corporations running the things and not even the communities in which the red-light robbers are located. Or find your own way to fight back. Just do something!
Rachel Lea Hunter
June 15 th 2010
I have been loathe to write as I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the decision from the Court of Appeals in my case. My wait is over - the decision was released on the first of this month. For those who are interested, click here: http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/ Spoiler alert for those who want to actually read the opinion - I did not win. Not that I had any illusions on this score. The Court of Appeals is an intermediate court. There was no way that they are going to strike down the Judicial Canons of Ethics even if they believed them to be unconstitutional, which they don't. That would have been overstepping their bounds. While I understand the reasons for the decision, that does not mean that I agree with their decision. I don't. And I am disappointed. Not because I lost, but because I had hoped for at least one dissent. I had hoped that at least one legal person would look at this matter and agree that what was done to me was just plain wrong (oh, I have been told privately, but no one in the legal community is willing to step forth and say it publicly).
I was debating to myself whether I should just let this die, but fate and circumstances have made the decision for me. The Court of Appeals decided not to make this a published decision. Part of me can understand that as well - this decision will apply to no one but me. On the other hand, this case should have been published as it is of interest to the bench and bar and the public. Or at least NC Lawyers Weekly thought so. So much in fact that they felt compelled to put it on the front page above the fold.
Unfortunately, Lawyer's Weekly did not get it quite right. Whether they were careless or deliberately trying to give me adverse publicity at the behest of the legal establishment, they purported to lift quotes from an article that was posted on my website and mistakenly attributed those comments to me. While I have my private very warm feelings about the legal power brokers in this state, the comments were by Dr. Mary Johnson, not me.
Dr. Mary Johnson is another soul who has been horribly wronged by both her profession and mine. Over the years, we have exchanged emails and commiserated with and lent support to each other. And although we have never met in person, I feel a kinship, a simpatico, with her. However, anyone who knows her or who is familiar with her blog, http://drjshousecalls.blogspot.com/, knows that Dr. Mary is no shrinking violet. She does not need me to speak for her or put words in her mouth. She is a competent physician and while her calling is medicine, not law (she can therefore be forgiven for any misstatements about the operation of our legal system), she is quite articulate. She is no nonsense and calls 'em like she see 'em. And her words, not mine, described what she felt about what she is seeing transpire in my case. Here is the link directly to her post about me: http://drjshousecalls.blogspot.com/2010/06/nc-state-bar-vs-rachel-hunter-when.html I allowed her article to be re-published on my site for one reason and one reason only. To say to the bar and the legal system and anybody else who finds their way to my site, that not everyone in this state sees this case the way you all seem to do. Maybe we are "batshit crazy" or "whackjobs," but at least there is one other soul besides me out there who doesn't agree with your interpretation of events and she has the chutzpah to say so in public.
And I never will agree that the bar and the legal establishment is right, no matter how many jurists and lawyers say otherwise. Is this so unusual? Do you think three or seven or nine men and women in black robes get it right all the time? Look at our past. The Dred Scott case, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) by our US Supreme Court upheld slavery. Would anyone in their right mind today think that this case was rightly decided? No matter your color, race or alienage, or how long slavery has been in existence or recognized by however many cultures, it is a monstrous thing to say that one person can own another human being as "property." It is WRONG. But we need not look back so far. Remember the decision which inflamed the passions of the nation in Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)? For those of you who have forgotten, this case held that a government can use its eminent domain power to transfer private property to another private owner for reasons of "economic development." And more recently, we had the case of Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), in which the US Supreme Court ruled that there are no limits to the corporate funding of political broadcasts, thus opening the floodgates to massive and outright corporate theft of what is left of our supposedly democratic elections. With this decision, we truly now have the US of Goldman Sachs in that the US is of, by and for the corporations, not us. There are scads of other situations where the courts, from the US Supreme Court down to a magistrate court, get it wrong every single day. And so it is in my case.
Neither the bar or any other professional board has any business meddling in political campaigns regardless of whether it is a lawyer who is running or not. Should the Kentucky Medical Board be allowed to interfere in the senatorial campaign of Dr. Rand Paul? No. Not that I agree with some of the sentiments Dr. Paul has expressed, but professional boards are not in the business of regulating political campaigns. Candidates should be allowed to express whatever statements they want about themselves or others. If a candidate crosses the line, the other candidate is sure to call him or her out on it. Or else the voters will hold the candidate to account. We see evidence of this in the gubernatorial race in South carolina involving Nikki Haley. Her primary opponents, acting through operatives, accused her of marital infidelity. It backfired big time and came back to haunt those who were responsible for the charges since Ms. Haley nearly won the race. So we do not need some super-police professional boards to regulate the political campaigns of lawyer or other candidates.
Much is made of my nickname and the fact that I was denied the right to use by the State Board of Elections. I asked, they said no. That should have been the end of it. And I am not the only one seeking to use a nickname on the ballot. Here is a recent article from the Las Vegas Review- Journal about candidates' use of nicknames: http://www.lvrj.com/news/candidates-hope-nicknames-help-them-stand-out-88090117.html The candidates described in the article used their nicknames for the same reason I did: to attract votes, to forge a connection between the candidate and the voters by creating a "brand" for the voters that the candidate hopes will stand out. No evil intent or "intentional misrepresentation" as suggested by the bar and the court.
And why should it matter that I gave myself the nickname? Again, I point to the candidates in the Las Vegas article. The nickname was done to create a brand. Companies do it all the time to sell things to the public. Why is a candidate any different? He or she is "selling" him ir herself to the voters.
I am not going to belabor discussion of why the decision is wrong. Let this decision be a warning to all you candidates, lawyers and non-lawyers alike who entertain even the slightest notion of running for office and challenging an incumbent. We do not have a system of injustice in this country. We have a system of "just-us." Those with wealth or power are in it; the bulk of us are not. If you are not in the "just-us" club (and you know who you are), and you, like me not only dare to run for judicial or other office, but run to win, look out.
It's not a Democrat or Republican thing. Just ask Alvin Greene, who won the South Carolina Democratic primary for Senate. Mr. Greene is experiencing what I went through as charges are coming out of the woodwork against him. Betsy Wolfenden, who ran for judge in Chatham County, is also getting the "Rachel" treatment from the NC State Bar. Judge Bill Belk, who had enough money to actually pull off a win, soon found himself drummed out of office. There are others. And if this decision is allowed to stand, then lawyers and non-lawyers are going to be facing the same kind of treatment from their professional boards. All it takes is some moral component in their professional rules and some campaign conduct which those in power will not like because its effective, and voilà! The candidate who transgresses the unwritten rule will find him or herself will be mired in ethical and other complaints.
Some may say that there will not be others. You would be right. Any sane person who thinks about it will not want to be black balled and smeared in their profession like I am. They would not want to have their lives destroyed. They will not want the publicity of endless anonymous complaints. And so these decent people will never run for office. Instead, we will get the usual stream of incompetent, greedy and corrupt candidates seeking and occupying office (Mike Nifong, Governor Mike Easley, former presidential hopeful John Edwards and many many others which, alas, are too numerous to count).
The lack of leadership in all our officials is nowhere more evident than the disaster down in the Gulf of Mexico, a disaster which did not have to occur. We humans are meddling with forces that we do not understand and for which we have no plans if something goes awry, like it did in the Gulf. I am saddened by the loss of jobs, tourism and the impact on the environment and seaand human life. And I have a feeling that it is much much worse than we have been told. I sure do not believe the propaganda by BP or our government.
We have one planet folks - as of this writing, there is nowhere else for us to go. The Earth has a self-correcting mechanism and if we do not stop what we are doing very very soon, I am afraid that the Earth will correct itself via earthquan'kes and volcanoes and other natural disasters. Just look at the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, that erupted a few months ago. It shut down the skies for days. What if Old Faithful in Yellowstone really blew up again? The ash cloud that it would send up would be enormous. Oh sure, the rich and privileged would try to go to their secret bunkers, but unless they have found a way to grow food in artificial light, they may not survive if the sun is blotted out for an extended period of time. Earthquakes and tsunamis are occurring all over. We have got to stop and realize that our actions have consequences. We can no longer pollute the oceans and the skies, deforest the land and go on as if we are the only things that matter on this planet. Building skyscrapers and day-trading in collateralized default swaps is not the be and end all of existence. All life is sacred, even the cockroaches and snakes and plants, have the same right to live. I am not saying never kill a fly - but recognize that these things have aright to exist as much s you do.
And we have got to stop allowing corporations to run our government and elect pliant toadies who do their bidding. The healthcare bill was a sham after all was said and done. Nothing changed for us, the little guys, as the healthcare companies won. The Obama administration is no different than the Bush administration - the same Goldman Sachs people are in charge. As comedian Lewis Black said the other night, our two party system is like a steamy smelly dung hill staring at itself in the mirror - he was more graphic, of course, but you get the picture. He was right. The two-party shared monopoly that we have is beyond broke. I can see no other course but to leave the Democrats and Republicans behind and form a viable third-party. Had one been formed back in 2006, it now would be a force to reckon with. Instead, we got suckered in by hope and change which has turned into more of the same and economic hopelessness. The Republicans are not much better - they are the Know Nothing Party of this century. They stand for nothing except to oppose Obama. Well, where you tea bagging idiots when Bush was in charge racking up deficits, starting wars, spying on us and torturing goat herders in secret rendition camps? They were in control and blew it. We should not desire their return to power anytime soon either. No, a third party is the only way to salvage this mess. On that note, stay positive. Turn off the tv and read a real book. Think. Write. Create. Plant a seed of change so that our children and grandchildren can have an abundant harvest. And if I do not get to right for awhile, Happy Fourth of July!
Rachel Lea Hunter
The N.C. State Bar vs. Rachel Hunter: When The North Carolina Courts Get Something WRONG, They REALLY Get It WRONG
I'm angry this morning. I was actually angry yesterday. But I slept on it to be sure.
North Carolinians concerned about free-speech . . . particularly North Carolina bloggers . . particularly North Carolina bloggers thinking about running for office/blogging while they do it . . . ought to be experiencing a collective ice-cold chill running down their spines with the latest cowardly, two-faced, politically-motivated, flat-out WRONG decision handed down yesterday by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the case of the N.C. State Bar vs. Rachel Hunter.
Regular readers may recall that the high-minded North Carolina State Bar slammed the hammer down hard on Rachel (a Cary lawyer who ran in two unsuccessful state judicial campaigns) for the horrible/awful sin of using the blogging moniker/nickname, "Madame Justice", on her campaign website . . . as a method of connecting with the public and achieving name-recognition.
Last year, after a series of "anonymous" grievances filed with the Bar (apparently made by people-with-obvious-agendas who were quite willing to swear under-Oath that they were gullible simpletons), Rachel was sanctioned by the Bar. And she lost her job because of the sanction. She got another job and appealed the Bar's disciplinary action to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
That appeal was rejected yesterday. And I'm not just stunned. I'm really pissed-off. Disgusted. Head ready to explode.
Of course, all of this happened in the land of Nifong . . . a state where innocent men can be sent to death row - and ultimately exonerated by "innocence commissions", yet their ethically-challenged/didn't-give-a-rat's-tail-about-the-whole-truth prosecutors suffer no consequences whatsoever.
It happened in a state where former Senator/never-ending Presidential candidate/baby-daddy John Edwards can divert campaign funds to his mistress's up-keep . . . and former Governor/N.C. Attorney General Mike Sleazely can snare cushy university jobs for his wife/weasel all kinds of influence-for-personal-profit-schemes . . yet both can STILL walk the streets free - unindicted and undisciplined by the State Bar. In fact, Edwards-fronting-his-baby-Mama can have other fine upstanding lawyers sue his ex-right-hand-man over ownership of their joint sex tape (the tape said baby-Mama threw in the trash).
And (last-but-not-least-and-the-reason-yours-truly-is-in-this-ether) it happened in a state where "non-profit" hospital executives can repeatedly in-your-face LIE-under-Oath in a Randolph County Court proceeding without the District Attorney, the Bar or the state Attorney General so much as batting an eyelid. In fact, the victim of the white-collar crime, a physician-in-public-service FIRED for standing up to threats-based-on-lies and saving a newborn baby's life (not-to-mention sued for telling the truth to the government she served) is prevented from even swearing out a complaint and does not/has NEVER merited a meeting with the DA (she's not "right people").
Meanwhile, her ex-attorney's daughter (also a lawyer/employed by dear-old-Dad's firm) is snuggling up for "celebrity" dances with one of the hospital executives-who-lied. Nothing SMELLS there. Alcohol referendums make for interesting dance partners.
While we're at it, as the GOOD doctor has lost well-over-a-decade-of-her-life falling through every legal black hole, the state & Federal oversight agencies that are charged to protect patients and who were supposed to have the doctor's back have been deliberately, methodically, criminally/cruelly obtuse and impotent in dealing with the "non-profit" hospital administrators (collecting very phat paychecks) who broke every rule.
I know I'm leaving stuff out, but you get the drift.
Given the lawyers-and-gentlemen that the North Carolina State Bar has NOT disciplined in its quest for higher legal/professional standards, I'm just not understanding how the Bar can argue-with-a-straight-face that the action taken against Rachel was fair or just?
Higher standards than what? The lowest crap-filled gutter?
As for free speech, in this country, you can dip plastic statutes of Jesus Christ and/or the Virgin Mary in urine or feces can call it "art". Pornography is "free speech". Satire can be uber-ugly and humiliating to its targets. But a judicial candidate going by a nickname is deceptive and taboo?
Moving on to the ominous implications for blogging and political speech, that isn't going to ring many bells in this neck of the woods - since a lot of local bloggers just HATE Rachel and her colorful hubby, Connie Mack Berry, Jr. And that's because, red, blue or polka-dotted, those two don't march to anybody's tune.
In fact, Greensboro blogger-king and blue-boy, Ed Cone, HATES Rachel so much that he once pronounced her "batshit crazy". Rachel was undergoing therapy for a brain-tumor at the time.
So right and wrong are not going to matter to enlightened, well-named, well-connected folks like Ed Cone. No chills are running down their spine. Larger, more ominous considerations are not in play. "Free speech" only matters to these people when you agree with them.
Cue the Snoopy dance.
Some of us know better (mostly because we've taken the slings and arrows of a justice system used to intimidate and silence and suppress the truth). I've made all my arguments against this modern-day professional/political witch-hunt before, so I'm not inclined to repeat a lot of what I've said before now.
But I cannot convey how RIDICULOUS I find the Bar's premise . . . that Rachels' online nickname (one she had used on&off for years in the blogosphere) was somehow misleading to the voters. I mean, the Bar must mean the really, Really, REALLY STUPID voters who can barely point & click . . . as opposed to all of the really, Really, REALLY SMART folks in the bluer-areas-of-our-state who voted for Edwards and Sleazely . . . men whose intent to mislead and dupe the public to-their-own-ends out-distances ANYTHING Rachel Hunter EVER even imagined by a magnitude of thousands-of-light-years.
The fundamental hypocrisy is just mind-blowing.
I call the Appellate Court's decision cowardly because it was an "unpublished/not-constituting legal authority/citation-disfavored" opinion. I'm thinking there are reasons for that. Somebody is trying to fly a smooth move in under-the-radar.
Being technically-impaired, I don't have a way to link it the opinion here for the average uber-stupid-according-to-the-North-Carolina-State-Bar citizen to read. Sorry.
But I have skimmed a PDF-file of the opinion. And I must say, on first-speed-read, I've never seen a more convoluted, manufactured, self-serving load of clap-trap designed to intimidate candidates and squelch political speech in a very long time.
"Madame Justice" Hunter might not have been a N.C. Supreme Court Justice, but neither was Bill Clinton "the first Black President".
It took so long to issue the decision that those of us following the appeal thought there actually might be a dissent or even a reversal. As it turns out, these judges and their eager clerks were just taking their time to stack the deck. It just REEKS.
You can almost smell the stale cigars and the watered-down Scotch over the FECUND STENCH of politically-motivated hardball. Almost.
As I understand it, the next step for Rachel is to appeal the case to the N.C. Supremes. Since (incredibly to me and conveniently for the Bar) there was not a dissent on the ruling, Rachel has to ask permission to appeal. And that permission might not be granted.
Like I said, it's really convenient for the North Carolina Bar.
Totally shutting down her options (very much akin to what Randolph County's Garland Yates has so-far done to me), would be par-for-the-course with this state's do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do good-ole-boy club.
On the other hand, I understand that a jump to the Federal realm/jurisdiction is now possible.
And that could be FUN.
While we're at it, let me get this straight: The self-admitted "child-of-a-borderline" Greensboro blogger with "sociopathic tendencies" that he (and his wife) are apparently aware of, could BRUTALLY and CRUELLY harass/insult/embarrass another (female) blogger (a practicing physician and customer of "the wife's" clothing business) with threatening e-mails hurled into her Inbox, nasty "anonymous" comments on her blog and a series of horrible libelous blog posts . . . e-mails that the victim of his sick, warped bile was forced to read/absorb/re-live again in open court (to the great amusement of the snickering lawyers sitting in the back of the Courtroom). The grinning clown could then hide behind his attorney (an Asheboro City Council member who, like so many of Asheboro's "right people" HATES Dr. Johnson because her favorite Facebook page is not The Flying Pig), and sit smugly at the defense table while said attorney floated a wholly FALSE theory of his client's motives and intent . . .
. . . that intent actually (and obviously to everyone but the grudge-motivated obtuse) being to inflict humiliation and ridicule and pain . . . that intent being to frighten the doctor into silence . . .
. . . (a whole lot like what the State Bar, under cover of self-righteous legality, is trying to do to Rachel Hunter - yet taking it one step further by messing with her livelihood) . . .
. . . AND, according to another uber-enlightened member of the North Carolina judiciary, presiding over a farcical show-trial, all-of-that did not "rise" to the level of cyber-stalking?!?
In case you haven't figured it out, you're damned straight I'm still furious about what Jeff Martin did (and bloggers like Ed Cone & Roch Smith, Jr. - supposedly so concerned about civility and relevance - minimized and condoned . . . and Councilman Clark Bell, friend of Schmidlys, defended) . . . still white-hot seething over how the-joke-that-is-the-Randolph-County-criminal-justice-system compounded insult upon injury.
But hey, what Martin did is merely a "hobby", and his victim is supposed to suck it up and deal because no one can interfere with his FREE HATE SPEECH???
Meanwhile, the North Carolina State Bar and its minions can shut down Rachel Hunter's wholly-innocuous/certainly-comparatively-benign use of an online nickname . . . because compared to the dishonest/unethical behavior on the part of all the other barristers in this state that the Bar has not reigned in, Rachel is somehow uber-evilly devious, a threat to the public good and worthy of professional sanction?
ARE . . . YOU . . . FRICKING . . . KIDDING . . . ME?
I gotta tell you people that the justice system in North Carolina is way-beyond messed up!
But hey, Ed and Roch et.al. all think that when the already-legally-brutallized baby-doctor-horribly-wronged finally pieced together the PERJURY and the CONTEMT and the FRAUD committed by Randolph Hospital's senior frat-boy/team-playing executives, Bob Morrison & Steven Eblin, she should have felt very comfortable taking it back to civil Court . . . the SAME Court where civil justice was obstructed and she was de-frauded & swindled . . . instead of asking DA Garland Yates, the N.C. State Bar and the State of North Carolina to treat these things as the CRIMES that they were/are and move them up the legal food chain for appropriate investigation and review???
I'm supposed to take refuge and comfort in the high standards and tender mercies of the "home Court".
Yeah, right. Tell me another good one.
I have news for you people. Right and wrong do NOT matter any more in the North Carolina justice system.
It is all and only about who has the money and the power. We-The-Ordinary-People are screwed. I wish Rachel all the best. I know all-too-well that once caught in the North Carolina legal system's web of deceit and "culture-of-corruption" (to quote another lawyer-in-public-office), hers is an up-hill battle.
Posted by Dr. Mary Johnson, Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010.
Rachel will comment on this after filing another appeal with the Supreme Court of North Carolina
Another several months have flown by and yet another election cycle has come and gone. To hear the talking heads tell it, one would think that Obama was on the ballot and that the Republicans had won great victories, boding a comeback. Neither is true. This past election does not signify a great Republican return to power. What really occurred is what is true in off year elections, where there is no presidential race to inspire the citizens to vote. The majority of Democrats just did not turn out, particularly those who are minorities. When Democrats don't turn out, Republicans win. That is always why Republicans are trying to do whatever it takes to suppress the vote.
And Doug Hoffman's loss in New York does not signify that Democrats are likely to prevail either. Have you actually seen him? Here is a link to an appearance he made on the Glenn Beck show: http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/2450 (the interview starts about 4 ½ minutes into the video). For a shorter version, check out the video clip on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-november-2-2009/moment-of-zen.... Judging by the comments, I am not the only one who came away with an unfavorable opinion. He lost simply because: he does not come across well with the electorate, to put it charitably. This is a heavily Republican district and may remain so if given a much better candidate, although the decennial exercise known as re-districting is going to occur and the Democrats hold the power in Congress. You can bet that they are going to engage in gerrymandering, just as the Republicans did when it was their turn.
But none of this really matters. Voting has become a meaningless exercise, as I and other aspiring candidates have learned. There is no difference between the Dumborats and the Republothugs - they are merely two different sides of the same coin. The corporate mobsters and the banksters control the election - regardless of whether it is Obama or McCain or Bush or Gore, the banksters and corporate mobsters always win! Obama is a classic example of this. Where is the hope and change we voted for? Did the troops leave Iraq? Afghanistan? Why can't meaningful healthcare pass? And look who is serving in positions of power around him - they are all Clinton re-treads or people who have come from Goldman-Sachs or the Federal Reserve bankers. I laugh when people get all exercised by Obama and his alleged "socialism." He is doing nothing of the sort. He has been groomed for high office since his college days, as has his wife. Wall Street made him what he is and he is paying them back by doing whatever the mobsters want. He is nothing more than a carefully controlled puppet. He is not important; rather, it is the group who pulls his strings.
Need proof? Ask yourself why we cannot have meaningful healthcare. Other civilized nations manage to provide basic healthcare to people. Why can't we? If we ended the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and used the money spent on killing people to instead improve the lives our citizens, it would be a far better place to live. However, our legislators are in the pockets of the healthcare industry and their army of lobbysists. Congress knows that if they try and regulate the industry too much that they will be shoved out of office. Can't have that! And so, while I feel that something will ultimately pass, it will be so watered down and laden with loopholes and/or pork so as to be virtually meaningless.
Cindy Sheehan (yes the very same Cindy Sheehan who camped outside the Bush ranch in Texas) was recently in town and I went to see her. Before I hear groans from the audience that she is a Communist or whatever, let me say she is not. Yes, she is left leaning, but that does not make her wrong or what she has to say somehow any less valid.
You know you are right on target when you get vehemently attacked by both the left and the right. Cindy Sheehan has been attacked by the right and left precisely because she speaks the truth about our very rotten system. She is not a Dumborat. The Dumborats loved her when she was bashing Bush and they used her to help get Dumborats elected. However, they abandoned her when she ran against Nancy Pelosi b ecause Cindy is not about left or right, Dumborat or Republothug. Like me, she is an independent and has a Libertarian streak.
She divides America into two classes: the robbed class and the robber class. While I might use different terms, the gist of it is the same. Our children are used to fight and die in these idiotic wars on behalf of Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, Blackwater/Xe, KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) and their ilk, all to make them richer and keep the world safe for the oil pipelines. We have our homes foreclosed on and lose our jobs, but bailouts are given to AIG, Goldman-Sachs, Bank of America and the other Wall Street banksters who are "too big to fail.. When was the last time you or I had a bailout? Banks are stealing our money in one form or another. She has written a book about the 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class - you can get her book by going to http://www.cindysheehanssoapbox.com. I got her book - its very easy to read and it echoes a lot of what I have been saying in many of my statements about why Elections Don't Matter, our supposedly free (its not) Press and the lack of any meaningful distinction between Dumborats and Republothugs. And she proposes some solutions. She recognizes that we cannot fight government with weapons, for we are out manned and outarmed. She has therefore hit on the idea of depriving what I have describe as the "beast" of its "food', i.e., out money. Taxes are a part of that, but it will not work unless everyone does it.
But there are other ways to starve the beast as well. Stop forking over your hard-earned dollars on stupid stuff - like overdraft or ATM fees. Try to avoid debt at all costs so that you are no longer a slave to the credit card company. Stop joining the military and sentencing your child or family member to involuntary servitude and possible death. It is not noble to fight and die for the corporations. Turn off the idiot box of televison and turn on your mind by reading or obtaining news from alternate sources. For those who can afford to do so and who live in the right area, retrofit your house with solar panels. Stop buying the junk food, loaded with cancer and illness causing substances that has no nutritional value. Each and every one of us can make some small change in our lives to begin to starve our leviathan government.
On the local scene, two rulings by our Supreme Court aroused ire by those who are not lawyers. Recently, the Supreme Court indicated that a ruling of the Court of Appeals in State v. Bowden was "improvidently allowed." What this means is that the ruling of the Court of Appeals will stand. In tihs particular case, the Court of Appeals ruled that the defendant, who was sentenced under the law in effect in 1975 which provided that a life sentence is 80 years. With credits, the defendant, who is now 60, has completed his sentence. The police and governor and hysterical souls express outrage and prey upon the public's fears that murder and rapists will be running loose. Here is a link to but one story with the inmate's photo: http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/6235442/. Look at this man, who is now age 60. Does he look like he is going on any crime sprees any time soon? We cannot predict with certainty, but just look at him. I don't think he will do much except get his Social Security check and disappear if he is released.
The law is no longer in effect and has been repealed. So this law will affect how many people? Maybe a relative handful, compared to how many thousands of people we lock up. I don't know the details of Mr. Bowden's case as I have not read it, but I do know that too often defendants have less than stellar defenses and they lack the resources for defense counsel to do a really meaningful job. I also know that too many a wayward youth finds him or herself at the really wrong place at the wrong time and does something stupid which lands them in jail. However, that does not mean that these people are criminals or that they cannot go on to lead productive lives instead of being institutionalized for life. Mr. Bowden and the other inmates who have served their sentences should be released. And there are more pressing problems facing this state. Unemployment in this state is over ten percent (10%) (its probably higher as the government underestimates this number). There are no jobs to speak of here; two of my neighbors had to obtain work out of state and one will be relocating once the house here is sold. Yes, that is right - people are actually leaving this state to find work! The governor should stop manufacturing her phony outrage, stop gallivanting around the world and focus on the real problems facing this state instead of worrying about a handful of aged convicts.
On a final note, the 2010 elections will be soon upon us. Jockeying already has begun for Judge Brady's seat as well as the seat held by Judge Calabria who will step down at the end of her term. And Judge Wynn and a Charlotte judge, Albert Diaz, are up for appointment to the Fourth Circuit. If Judge Wynn is appointed, there will be an opening for his seat, leaving two vacancies on the Court of Appeals. I, like Cindy Sheehan, have no plans to run for office, but as I have learned, never say never to anything; one never knows what life has in store for us and it remains to be seen as to what next year holds in store for me.
I probably will not write again before Thanksgiving, so let me wish everyone in advance a Happy Turkey Day!
Rachel Lea Hunter
Well, its over, or at least phase I is over. I thought that I would report my perception of my ordeal while it is still fresh in my thoughts. It was much as I expected. In listening to the charges, I kept thinking I had gone, like Alice in Wonderland, through the looking glass. I had entered a bizarre parallel world where everything was topsy-turvy and the rules of evidence did not apply. Let us begin with the bar's presentation of its case.
The first witness was the Chief of Protocol for the North Carolina Supreme Court. As an aside, this state is approximately $3.5 billion in the red. In the spirit of cutting unnecessary fat from the budget, may I humbly suggest to Governor Perdue that she might want to look at elimination of this position? The Court should have a court crier or bailiff of some type, but a chief of protocol? I can see why the US President or the state governor or the US Secretary of State needs a chief of protocol as they entertain foreign dignitaries. But the North Carolina Supreme Court?
Be that as it may, what are the qualifications of this witness? What does one need to get the job? The individual in question only has an associates degree in some field that is irrelevant. It appears that his sole qualification lies in the fact that former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake knew him and asked him to serve in that capacity, which he has held for the past eight years. Other than this, his experience consisted of double hearsay. Hearsay evidence precludes a witness from stating what others told him or her unless some type of exception applies (none applied here). This witness was permitted to not only state that his predecessor told him about the job but also that his predecessor got his information from the Chief of Protocol of the White House. So we had double hearsay here - chief of protocol testified about his conversations with predecessor and predecessor had a conversation with someone at the White House. However, as I was Through the Looking Glass, the rules of evidence as I knew them obviously did not apply.
This person summed up his testimony with the pronouncement that in his opinion, no one is allowed to use the name of "Madame Justice" other than a female justice on the NC Supreme Court. The NC Chief of Protocol might be surprised to learn how many others are using that name and not in any kind of judicial capacity. The gay male vampire freak in the United Kingdom, the creme de la femme in the United Kingdom (http://madame-justice.blogspot.com) and the female Pakistani prostitute are just a few.
The next two witnesses were both investigators. Both admitted that they had only reviewed the front page banner which rotated a few messages ("Vee" for Victory in '10, etc.). When asked if they had reviewed something like my bio, they both admitted that they had not. One would think that if a prospective voter was actually interested in a candidate, the voter would check out the candidate's bio. However, as the female prosecutor explained, neither the state bar or citizens can be expected to engage in the task of punching the "bio" button to learn about me. This then was the sum of the prosecution's case.
Based on the evidence of these 3 witnesses, the prosecution found me to be a despicable human being, guilty of dishonesty and selfish motive. The prosecution also argued that this is not a name, but a title, which I had no right to assume. Actually, the NC Board of Elections said I could use a title like Mr. or Ms. etc, so I guess the offending word is "Justice." Lots of groups use the term "justice" in their name like the Institute for Justice or the NC Advocates for Justice, just to name a few. And "Madame Justice" can be a name, not a mere title, as the United Kingdom and Pakistani users can attest. However, the prosecution said the voters were misled by my evil scheme and might be misled in the future so I must be stopped! Assuming that I did have this awful plan when I ran in 2006, it did not work. People could vote for me or the other guy; the other guy won. Not sure how the voters were misled then. And how will voters be misled in the future if I am not anywhere on the ballot? I cannot even be written in. None of this makes sense to me, but then I was in Wonderland.
Of course, I tried to present evidence, but I could just as easily have recited the monologue from Shakespeare's Henry the V or stood on my head or spoke in tongues for all the good it did me. The judges were not listening to anything I had to say except for my misstatement of sorts regarding the genesis of my nickname. I indicated that a female Supreme Court justice had served as inspiration for the name. One can be inspired by anything and it was in that sense that I used the word. However, I was actually lampooning her, not seeking to emulate her. I have reviewed opinions by female jurists both in this state and on the United States Supreme Court and they all announce their opinions with the words "opinion by Justice [judge's last name]." All used this formula except the female justice in Pennsylvania who announced her decisions as "opinion by Madame Justice [judge's last name]." She can do what she pleases. However, I used the nickname, not the title, when I became active on the Internet. My usage was akin to that of the United Kingdom users, it was used as a nickname, not as a title. And I never said or even implied that I was a Supreme Court Justice.
I did try to get in the affidavits of a few individuals who could have verified that I used the name when I was active at a now defunct ancient history site. However, they only reluctantly admitted part of one affidavit, to which they assigned little or no weight. Remember what I said about the rules of evidence? I thought that affidavits are admissible and in their entirety. The trier of fact is then free to assign whatever weight it wishes to the affidavit. However, this is Wonderland, and the rules of evidence do not apply.
It does not matter. I had a final argument, one which had bearing on the entire proceeding. Regardless of what happens, it will always be my opinion that the NC State Bar has no power to regulate political campaigns at all. They cannot regulate the campaigns of non-lawyer candidates. Why then has it arrogated to itself the power to regulate campaigns of lawyers? More fundamentally, political speech is entitled to the utmost protection under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, as made applicable to the states by the 14th Amendment. Yes, I know the Constitution is "just a god-damned piece of paper" in the immortal words of the former president, but I still believe in it. The First Amendment allows any political candidate, including a judicial candidate, to say what they please. Of course, if a candidate says something defamatory about another candidate, the defamed candidate can bring suit. In like manner, if a candidate makes an inaccurate or false declaration regarding his or her qualifications, his or her opponent can point out misstatements. My opponent was allowed to say all kinds of false things about me, but he never claimed that I misrepresented my qualifications for office. That was because I never did. I never proclaimed to be an NC Supreme Court Justice.
It was up to the voters to decide and evaluate me, not the state bar. As even the panel admitted, they never see a case that raises constitutional questions. The prosecution relied exclusively on cases that ante-dated Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765 (2002). I wonder whether any of those involved understood the constitutional principles at stake. If they had, they would have explained why the regulation of political speech here met the strict scrutiny test. They made no attempt to engage in the proper analysis here. So I am left only to appeal in the hope that perhaps real judges can reverse this travesty.
A few other things. While I was involved in these proceedings, the NC Supreme Court decided the lottery case. One justice re-cussed himself, leaving an equally divided panel. One can guess who voted for or against the lottery, but it would be just that, a guess. I can see why they entered a per curium order - no one wanted to give possible opponents a reason for attacking. If someone voted for the lottery, they would be reviled by the NC GOP; if they voted against it, they would be reviled by those on the left. However, justices should not be allowed to hide behind secrecy. If they really had the courage of their convictions, they would not have been afraid to openly declare their decisions. And the citizens have a right to know. We do not have a Star Chamber in this country, not yet.
However, it points out how much further we have fallen into the abyss. A friend of mine said to me, "isn't America worth fighting for?" Yes, it is. However, I am tired of doing all the fighting by myself. Americans have sunk into ignorance and apathy. They do not know and do not care. Why should I stick my neck out only to have, metaphorically speaking, my head chopped off by those who sit at the NC State Bar? They even threatened to keep subjecting me to more bar complaints. They think, albeit incorrectly, that I somehow need to be punished, that I have not learned my lesson, that I am not remorseful. No, I am not. I am sick of petty tyrants dictating to me how I must live my life. I am, as I said at the hearing, soured and disillusioned by what I see in our leaders and others in power. AIG, Bernie Madoff, Jim Black and a whole host of others, both Republican and Democrat, are rife with corruption. The silence of the NC Supreme Court is just a manifestation of it.
The "Vee for Victory" on my website is not about my candidacy for future office. It is about you. I leave you with a quote from the movie, which I have lightly altered: "V[ee]: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someones death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this . . . by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now [president]. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten [to] remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow [this day] to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me . . . .
Rachel Lea Hunter
"I will do my utmost to defend myself. To them, it is just another lawyer. To me, it is my very livelihood that is under assault. You can read the complaint filed by the state bar and my answers Links Here. And I am confident that I ultimately will prevail."
December 31, 2008
Dear Friends and Voters:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
And so began Charles Dickens' classic, "A Tale of Two Cities." In the novel, Dickens compare England and France. In the book, France suffers terribly under its king and leads inevitably to the French Revolution and reign of Terror. In England the populace also suffer, although the citizens do so in a less bloody-way, as rich and poor alike are subjected to the lawlessness of the highwaymen and the hangman.
But Dickens could just as easily have compared our own King George to Barack Obama. One is currently president, the other is the president elect. One is white, the other black. The former has led us into the abyss of financial ruin; the latter it is hoped will lead us out. However different they appear on the surface, they do not seem to be all that much different underneath. Like the kings of England and France, neither knows how to solve the problems facing their realms except to print more paper money and spend it.
Obama was swept into office because of a yearning on the part of the American people for "hope" and "change." In fairness to Obama, he has not yet taken office and we may hope that by some miracle things will change. However, the practical pragmatist in me knows that they will not. Even of Obama had the best of intentions, King George has left behind one h*ll of a mess for his successor to clean up. Few could even hope to succeed in this situation and people's affection for Obama will quickly fade when he proves that he is not up to the task. Moreover, his appointments have proven to be most disappointing and most telling about what kind of person he really is. There are over 300 million souls in America (more if you count the illegal aliens) and all that can be found is Clintonistas and Washington insiders? Here is a link to a column by Jeremy Scahill where he analyzes just some of the picks thus far.
Forget their much vaunted experience and having learned from their mistakes. Among this group are the pro-war neo-cons, both left and right, AIPAC/Israel supporters and former members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Suffice it to say that this is NOT the hope and change that we sought and voted for.
National politics aside there is not much stirring on the home front. I have not written in awhile as my significant other has endured multiple surgeries, including a very bad reaction to medication during the second surgery. Hopefully, he is at last back on the road to recovery. Thanks to all for their good wishes for his health.
The big news is that "they're b-a-a-ck." And no, its not the poltergeists. Its those fine folks at the NC State Bar. Full of themselves after the Mike Nifong show trial, they are just brimming with hubris.
The State Bar has chosen yet again to set its sights on me. What could I have possibly done to arouse their attention? There are two things that will get one disbarred - sleeping with one's clients or taking a client's money. Messing with one's trust account is a close third; sloppy bookkeeping can sometimes be excused as long as one does not take client's money. However, none of these are at issue. I have been far too busy working and attending to my partner.
It has to do with my 2006 campaign for office. 2006? Don't they know you lost? Apparently, the NC State Bar has been bunking in an Afghanistan cave. Hello! The election is over! Even if some poor soul was deceived into thinking I was a judge, I did not win and the judiciary is safe from me.
So what is this really about? Ostensibly, its about my use of the nickname, "Madame Justice," which by the way, has nothing to do with a female member of the court. It is used must in the same way as things like the "Institute for Justice" or the "NC Advocates for Justice." Nobody stops these organizations from using the generic word "justice" even though we refer to the judges on our highest court as "justice."
With record foreclosures and people losing their jobs, with our country bankrupt, municipalities and this state facing a serious financial shortfall, one would think that these people would have more significant problems to worry about. And where were they when George Bush trashed the Constitution (he referred to it as a god-damned piece of paper)? When Alberto Gonzales and George Bush said it was ok to torture? Or lock people up indefinitely? Or wiretap and spy on us? Not a single word. How about when Mike Nifong was using the Duke non-rape case to get elected? Did the NC State Bar seek to interfere in his campaign? No way. So why did they seek to interfere in mine and have continued to do so?
This is all about politics. You see, the legal establishment, which controls the NC State Bar, is afraid. Very afraid. They are laboring under the misconception that I might run again. In fact, they accuse me of running in 2008, even though I was not a candidate for any office on the ballot. To make sure I NEVER EVER again run for office, not even for school board, they are out to take away my law license. People in this state should be outraged over this blatant misuse of public resources and unbridled abuse of power.
I will do my utmost to defend myself. To them, it is just another lawyer. To me, it is my very livelihood that is under assault. You can read the complaint filed by the state bar and my answers Links Here. And I am confident that I ultimately will prevail.
We know not what roads the New Year will lead us on. Will we come out of this crisis or will things get worse? Will we rid ourselves of the corrupt and high handed bureaucrats and greedy Wall Street financiers? Will a meaningful third party emerge and be led by someone like Jesse Ventura to fill the void? I know not what is in store. However, like Dickens' Farmer and Woodman, we will work silently and unceasingly to pave the way for a better tomorrow.
Happy New Year to all!
Rachel Lea Hunter