September 30, 2008
Dear Friends and Voters:
I have taken the summer off and my partner, better known as "Max the Dog" has recovered from his first surgery on one leg and is gearing up for surgery on the other. I will not have much time after the next surgery and so much has been happening that I thought I would comment briefly on it.
Several years ago while I was running for office, I stated that those in charge of our economy were akin to the little Dutch boy who was placing his finger in the dike to stem a hole. I did not realize how prescient those words were till last week.
Things have been deteriorating slowly in this country with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else the neo-cons can think to invade before they leave office. The corporate culture of greed has been endemic on Wall Street. Well, in the words of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the chickens have come home to roost. We have seen the naked socialization by the "Federal" Reserve Bank and the bailouts orchestrated by Commissars Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke. However, there are more corporations waiting in the wings to see if they will be among the haves, à la AIG, Bear Stearnes or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or among the losers, like Lehman Brothers. And all the while, it's the fat cats on Wall Street who gain, while you and I are limited to how much gas we can buy at the pump and ever-higher food costs at the grocery store.
While these events are enough to make one's head spin, in the midst of this is the big election for president with charges, many of them ridiculous or flat out lies, hurled by the candidates, particularly McCain. Both are pandering to the masses, hoping to sway them because they want your vote. Although each promises change, we are only going to be treated to more of the same regardless of who is elected, although if it truly came down to a vote for one or the other, Obama would be a better choice than McCain. For example, if Obama is really about change, why did he pick the consummate insider as his vice presidential choice? McCain does not fare much better. While he argues for the lack of experience in Obama, whom does he choose for his running mate but Sarah Palin? Please. Does he think that would be Hillary supporters are going to flock to Palin, who could not be more different than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in terms of politics just because she wears a dress? Among her many problems, Palin cannot be said to have much more experience that Obama does. And we are not voting for her to be president anyway. She will not even be on the ballot.
I also have not seen such nastiness and thuggery as I have seen in this campaign, largely from the Republican side. It is all the same type of treatment that I received only much much worse. We have McCain ads that are downright falsehoods and smear tactics from Jerome Corsi. We have an attempt to persuade voters, not by the soundness of idea, but to rule with fear, such as Obama is Muslim or Obama will raise your taxes.
And through it all, Americans want real change but are not going to get it. I am so disgusted that for the first time, unless something causes me to change my mind, I am going to vote none of the above for the president and on down the ballot unless I know something about the candidate. Yes, I realize that I am throwing my vote away and it will not be counted. However, voting "none of the above" signifies to those in charge, "I am present, I am participating and I do not like the alternatives." Things are never going to change if the choice is only between the lesser of two evils. Evil is still evil. Its time we break that cycle.
Wishful thinking aside, I am going to give my opinion on the judicial races. I commented to Max the other night that I have not seen a single judicial sign. Nor have I received a single email. It appears to be back to business as usual now that I am not running. That is how the media and the legal/governing establishment likes it. Better that you know nothing and do not vote than actually cast an intelligent vote.On the whole, the Republican Party that we have today is not like the party of Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. It is a whole 'nother animal altogether, one that has kept the Republican name and structure but not its philosophy. The real Republican Party died a long time ago. What is left is the party of big spending and big government, as long as it promotes the military-industrial complex and corporate bailouts and cronyism. One must "be with them" and of the same mindset or else one is "against them" and a traitor. With that in mind, I cannot recommend that anyone vote for a Republican, whether it is for president, governor or soil conservation engineer.
Unfortunately, the judicial races are non-partisan so there will not be an "R" or a "D" next to either name. So here is the best that I can offer:
Bob Edmunds and Suzanne Reynolds: Choice here is between a former prosecutor and a family law professor. The Supreme Court does not get that many family cases, so all the experience in family law is not much of an asset, although maybe the Court will join the 21st century and finally abolish Heart Balm actions if she ascends the bench. Regardless, ask yourself which one will best protect your civil liberties or civil rights. Hint: it will not be the former prosecutor. Edmunds has not promised to be unbiased either when it comes to re-districting, although we can thank DWI Doug McCullough for divulging that bit of information to us. My choice is Reynolds.
We move on to the Court of Appeals. Five seats are up, but only four are contested:
1. "DWI" Doug McCullough and district court Judge Cheri Beasley. "DWI Doug" has a relatively recent conviction under his belt, a fact which is much more relevant than his big drug bust of years ago. How this man can hear DWI cases is beyond me. Had he any sense of integrity, he would not be on the appellate bench. All that aside, a former prosecutor will not be standing up for one's rights. Although I do not know too much about Beasley, "DWI Doug" needs to go. If he will not resign, then he needs voted out.
2. John Martin. He has no challenger at all, a sad comment on our judicial system. No one to choose between here.
3. Judge James Wynn and Jewel Farlow. I have met Judge Wynn but know nothing about Farlow. Farlow is a Republican and you know my rules. If she is endorsed by the NC GOP, then I am not voting for her.
4. Judge Linda Stephens and Charles "Dan" Barrett. - I met Judge Stephens on the campaign trail when I ran in 2006. I did not care for her; nothing bad, but I did not care for her and that is just my opinion. The voters must have agreed as they did not vote for her either. Barrett is endorsed by the NC GOP. I am voting "none of the above" for this seat.
5. Judge Kristin Ruth and Sam Ervin, IV. I have met Judge Ruth but not Ervin. Both are Democrats and I have no favorites either for or against. Judge Ruth has been a district court judge, but as I know, it is not necessary to have been a trial court judge before going to the higher court. Rather, one must be able to write and reason well, and I am not familiar enough with the writings of either party to make a recommendation. Vote for whomever you please.
6. Judge John Arrowood and Bob Hunter. No, do not confuse this Bob Hunter with the Democrat Judge Bob Hunter who is already seated on the bench. This Bob Hunter is endorsed by the NC GOP and has been one of their legal counsel over the years. Better Arrowood than Hunter.
For Superior Court and District Court races, the state is too large for me to offer guidance outside my own county. I am again sad to say that there are no challengers with three exceptions. Here are my thoughts:
Judge Howard Manning, Superior Court - this is the man that brought you the Leandro and who since then has been running the schools as if he was appointed as God's commander. No choice here except for "none of the above."
District Court Judges: Judges Jennifer Green, Jennifer Knox, and Shelly Desvouges who are Republican. Unfortunately, none are challenged and again the only alternative is "none of the above." The others are Democrats or were appointed and I do not know anything about them. Judge Robert Rader seems to be a good guy though who I met on the campaign trail. No choice here. Of the three races that are contested:
Judge Mark Perry and Anna Worley. Finally, someone I can vote for and that is Mark Perry! I met him on the campaign trail two years ago and he is a really down to earth guy. I hope that he has not gotten infected with "judge-itis," which is what happens when so may decent lawyers assume the bench and become different people who think they are better than the rest of us.
*******After I wrote my statement, Max told me that last week Mark Perry was arrested for DWI. First, Mr. Perry was only arrested last week. I did not know about this as the story did not get that much coverage.
People might be able to say I am inconsistent. Not really - there is a difference between DWI Doug and Mr. Perry. DWI Doug has been convicted. Mr. Perry was only arrested and has yet to be proven guilty. Having experienced harassment by the police while I was running, the question that arises is whether this is some kind of trumped up charge. After all, it arises right before the election. However, even if the charges are bona fide, Mr. Perry was not over the limit by very much, unlike DWI Doug, who blew a .12. That still does not excuse the conduct, but it is supposed to be a presumption in America that one is innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Perry is entitled to his day in court.
If he is convicted, my feelings are no different. I learned long ago that once I became a lawyer not to drink and drive because of the consequences. The burden is always high for lawyers; they are expected to uphold the law; its even higher for judges or those seeking to hold judicial office. Judges are expected to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and it will be difficult for Mr. Perry as a judge to hear any DWI cases if he is convicted and elected. However, I am confident that Mr. Perry will do the right thing whatever he decides. And Anna Worley will still be a good choice too!
Also, I misstated that Mr. Perry is already a judge. I was under the impression that he had already been appointed. Apparently Judge Desvouges is retiring when her term expires.
Other contested races are Judge Jacqueline Brewer and John J. Miller and Judge Christine Walczyk and Walter Rand. I cannot even locate websites for these people and do not know much about them except for Walzcyk was appointed and Brewer was elected and is running again. Vote as your conscience dictates.
With that in mind, do your constitutional duty and exercise that right before it is entirely taken away. But remember, nothing will ever change as long as we keep voting for the status quo, for the same old choices of evil and less evil. For me, I am going to be like Governor Jesse Ventura. If you are content with the way things are, I am not going to stick my neck out and run. If, however, you are tired of what is happening, if you are looking for someone with leadership skills, then let me know. I will be watching.
Rachel Lea Hunter