Thursday, April 24, 2008

Consider the Source-

Voters: Please “Consider the source”
of news, endorsements and
effectiveness” ratings!"

By Fern H. Shubert

For years, when told of an outrageous misrepresentation of facts in The Charlotte Observer, my standard response was “Consider the source.”

The Charlotte Observer and I have been on opposite sides of an amazing array of issues, including Jim Black. They praised his “effectiveness” and badmouthed his opponents, while I started criticizing Black’s abuse of power during his first term as Speaker and openly opposed his re-election.

Thanks to the FBI, everyone knows I was right and the Observer wrong about Black. I’m not holding my breath waiting for the “Progressive” media to acknowledge my accuracy, because they’re too busy praising Black’s so-far unindicted co-conspirators.


The Observer’s bias is well-documented, as is their supporting role in the misleadingly named Wilmington Riot of 1898, when Democrats committed murder to advance their political cause.

The Observer’s ties to the Democrat Party, although well over a century old, are undimmed by time, as I’m reminded regularly by their candidate endorsements and misuse of “defectiveness ratings.”

A comment that ran in this week’s Charlotte Observer indicates the current editors are at least aware many recognize their bias. “The Observer’s agenda isn’t “hidden.” For a printed copy, write: Democratic National Committee, Washington, DC 20003.” (The Buzz, April 22, 2008)

Actually, that day’s Buzz had several gems, including “Negotiating with someone who wants to destroy you is like helping them reload, aim and shoot you between the eyes,” and “DejaMoo: The feeling that you’ve heard this bull before.”

The abuse of “defectiveness ratings” by the Observer and other papers is certainly “DejaMoo.”

Like the Observer, many papers are eager to support “effective” Democrats like Jim Black and Marc Basnight, and RINO Republicans (Republican-In-Name-Only), but quick to criticize real Republicans.

A typical article begins “A report on state law-makers’ sway blasts two local legislators and lauds another. The study, conducted by the nonpartisan (sic) North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, ranked” and goes on to praise the Democrat insider and trash good Republicans.

The supposedly “nonpartisan” study is so partisan that, before the Morgan "co-speakership" confused loyalties, the Republican caucus boycotted it. Honest legislators should boycott it, because the deck is stacked against them. Highly rated Republicans are deservedly viewed with great suspicion by those who know how the survey really works.

Despite the Republican boycott, Ran Coble, who headed the “nonpartisan (sic) Center,” claimed his survey was still a valid measure of effectiveness. House Republican Whip Frank Mitchell responded, “I try not to be shocked any more these days, but I was surprised at your audacity in claiming that the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research Center's "Effectiveness Rating" "was well above accepted standards of statistical validity." “No survey in which responders are self-selected, and where one major group boycotts it, can be considered valid by anyone's standards, except I guess by your partisan standards in favor of the Democrats.

You claim in your May 28, 2002 letter that the "response rate from House was 60% this year." But, as you were previously informed, the Republican Caucus boycotted your biased survey. Attached to this letter is a list of fifty-two Republican members of the House who boycotted your biased survey. Where is your 60% response rate if at least 52 House members boycotted your survey? And where is your disclosure to the public and the news media when you do not reveal that virtually all of your respondents were Democratic members of the House?

Even without one-sided input from the Democratic members of the House, your survey is fatally flawed when it relies on ratings from the lobbyists. I understand that your lobbyist survey includes the employees of the Easley Administration, who are of course advocates for the Democratic Party's agenda, and not very kindly inclined to Republican legislators who voted against Easley's busted budgets and tax increases.”

Later, two more Republicans reported they had boycotted the survey, meaning that even if every Democrat participated (unlikely), the maximum response was 55%, not 60%. So does the Center have a problem with math or integrity? How can anyone suggest the “defectiveness” survey is “nonpartisan?”

A recent letter from a resident of Moore County provided convincing proof the survey is still partisan. He asked how it was possible that their local representative, a Republican, received a 92% attendance rating for attending 115 days of sessions while Speaker Hackney, a Democrat, scored 98 percent for attending exactly the same number of days?

According to Frank Carrara, “The writers tried to explain this as "differences between their separate schedules." I do not know where they learned math. At my school, if we both were present for the same number of days of business, our attendance record would be identical.

“Next, let's look at those who were queried by this survey. It polled all 119 state representatives (78 responded), 614 registered lobbyists (184 responded), and 12 state capital news correspondents (6 responded).

“Let's see if I have this right. Our representatives were called ineffective because a sample of 268 respondents, 69 percent of whom were lobbyists, said they were ineffective...

“If I had turned this caliber of work in to my editor, I would have been exiled to the copy desk to proofread stories for a very long time.

“I'm not a supporter of either legislator; but I think having lobbyists passing judgment on our representatives is a gross disservice to them and your readers.”

I was so intrigued by Mr. Carrara’s comments that I phoned him and learned he’s originally from upstate New York where he worked for the Associated Press, which gives his opening comment extra weight: “The Pilot's reporters, who wrote the story about the rankings of our Moore County state legislators, should go back to journalism school.”

At least one local paper didn’t stop with reporting the biased ratings, they added an editorial that not only used the biased ratings to trash Republicans they would like to replace, but also attempted to bully them into participating in the survey. They actually had the nerve to criticize Republicans for refusing to help give credibility to the Center’s partisan hatchet job by participating.

Refer back to the comment about “negotiating with someone who wants to destroy you.” Why would any honest paper try to bully legislators into participating in a game we all know is rigged?

The answer is fairly obvious . . . they support “effective” legislators like Black and Basnight and want to help eliminate those who won’t follow their lead.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"First they came..."

By Fern H. Shubert
As printed in The County Edge (April 18, 2008)

When I ran for Governor, I carried with me a copy of a poem that once was well known but now seems unknown to far too many in Raleigh: 
First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, 
because I wasn’t a Communist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, 
because I wasn’t a Jew. 
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, 
because I was a Protestant. 
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left 
to speak up for me.

The poem, by Rev. Martin Niemoller, “was printed in Time magazine on August 28, 1989, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of World War II.” (From Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.) There are many variations on the wording of the poem, but all describe the way Hitler and his National Socialist Workers Party came to power.

Of course, in “Progressive” circles, mentioning Hitler was a socialist is unpopular, but the name of his party leaves little doubt of his politics. The methods he used remain popular in North Carolina politics. “Divide and conquer” is definitely still in vogue.

That is why, when a friend informed me he was told that my columns on Thomas Wright were ruining my reputation, my response was, “Says who? The people responsible for the media circus that denied Wright a fair trial may not like what I’m saying, but that’s their problem.” 

Some people apparently believe that because Wright was a Democrat, I should ignore the fact he was denied a fair trial. My response is to suggest they read and then reread the poem at the beginning of this article and then ask themselves the simple question, was Wright accorded due process? Was he treated as you would hope and expect to be treated if accused of a felony? Did he get a fair trial?

Campaign reporting is not the issue on which Wright was tried, but the charges were based on an investigation triggered by the State Board of Elections. Gee, I wonder how they decided to investigate Wright? Joe Sinsheimer has filed complaints about a lot of people who have not been investigated. What prompted Sinsheimer, right after the November 2006, elections to single out Wright and ignore bigger fish?

How many remember the case of Matt McWilliams who made the mistake of filing to run against Richard Morgan several years ago? I did not, but after I ran into Dave Burton at the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury luncheon on e-mail scandals, he was kind enough to send me the following reminder:


After Matt announced he intended to run against Morgan, they hit him with seven felony charges because of $261 in mishandled campaign contributions in a prior school board campaign:

What's more, the reason his previous school board campaign was investigated was that Moore Co. BOE director Glenda Clendenin asked the State Board to investigate him BECAUSE she learned that he was running against Morgan... and we know that is true because SBOE investigator Marshall Tutor said it right out loud, to a reporter:

That may sound pretty strong, but the press links show that McWilliams was indicted “on seven felony charges — five counts of obtaining money by false pretenses and two counts of perjury. He was accused of filing false reports with the state board of elections in connection with his run for the nonpartisan school board in 2002.” (The Pilot, September 10, 2004)

McWilliams claimed his prosecution was politically motivated, which was, of course, denied. But the press reports give the charge considerable credibility.

The state elections board official who handled the case acknowledged “The investigation really began when he filed papers to run for the House here in Moore County.” (The Pilot, September 10, 2004) In other words, had he not filed to run for the House, no one would have cared what he did or did not do in the school board race.

McWilliams eventually reached a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead guilty to one count in return for a suspended sentence with 90 days of house arrest. I suspect his legal fees were a greater punishment than the sentence. Maybe he deserved the sentence. I did not sit through that trial, and I know better than to form final judgments based on press accounts. Still, it is interesting to consider who gets to decide who gets investigated. 

For example, while the public was entertained by the Thomas Wright circus, District Attorney Colon Willoughby decided the Centex contract with Jim Black's son wasn't worth his time to pursue, but it was too sensitive to even release the SBI report. An informant claimed Centex gave Black’s son a sub-contract for the prisons as part of the deal to get Centex the contract to build the prisons. The accusation sounds plausible enough that the public deserves more information than Willoughby has made available to date.

Wright was convicted of using a non-profit to steal from the foundation he helped establish because Willoughby thought that charge was worth investigating. Don’t get me wrong. I think those who abuse non-profits to line their own pockets deserve prosecution. But who decides who gets investigated and prosecuted? 

I supported Steve Monk’s run for DA in Durham against Mike Nifong before Nifong’s reputation crumbled, because Nifong’s handling of the Duke lacrosse case was offensive to me. Was I wrong then?

Nifong won the DA race because the majority of the public supported him based on what they had read in the papers, but remember what happened next? What happened in that case should be instructive of how public perception can be manipulated by the unscrupulous until reality intrudes.

In fact, it is somewhat ironic that earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge James Beaty Jr., who is presiding over the suit brought by 38 current and former lacrosse players against Duke University, the city of Durham and others “ordered lawyers on both sides not to publicly discuss the case to protect a potential jury pool.” (Charlotte Observer, April 16, 2008)

How is it that Judge Beaty is aware of the problems posed by a tainted jury pool, while the highest public officials in the state seemed almost eager to insure that Thomas Wright would not receive a fair trial? 

Thomas Wright’s attorney ran out of challenges because so many jurors were well aware that Wright had already been found guilty by the House, but Judge Hight saw no reason to postpone the trial. A lawyer was even seated as a juror who had revealed she had family ties to the prosecutor, something Wright’s attorney said he would not have allowed if he had any challenges left.

How tainted was the jury pool? Questions should be being raised about why an attorney whose mother went to law school with the District Attorney was even seated.

Even more interesting questions could be being raised about why Colon Willoughby did not disclose he knew about the $4,900 interest payment Wright made on behalf of the foundation until Wright’s attorney raised the issue in court. Wright claimed he had reimbursable expenses. If the District Attorney knew that he had made payments on behalf of the foundation, was he not required to disclose them? I’m told he did not.

Maybe I am nuts, as some have suggested, but I'll stake my reputation as a CPA on the fact that a lot of our leading citizens act more like RICO targets than pillars of the church.

I'm still quite willing to stake my political reputation on my longstanding assertion that Jim Black was the runt of the litter when it came to corruption, which means the big boys are still in business, does it not? The Parton Theater is pocket change compared to what I expect to be revealed over time.
Speaking of church, my church has a new minister and Sunday he told the story of a nosy neighbor who, watching the couple next door standing outside, saw the husband slap the wife on the side of her head and then run to the car and take off in a hurry. Obviously, from what he saw, a sad case of domestic abuse. 

Actually, the husband was hitting a wasp that had landed on his wife’s head. Despite his attempt to protect her, she had been stung and he was hurrying to the drugstore to get something for the sting. The scripture was on the blind man given sight, not current events, but it was timely, as always.
What you see depends on where you stand and what you know, as well as what you expect and what you hope to see. Auditors are trained to try to see more than the casual observer, which is why I keep wandering away from the herd. I’m looking for facts.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

High tech hanging continues sad history

In 1898, Democrat party leaders organized the murder of a number of black citizens of Wilmington and the burning of the only black daily paper in the country. The major North Carolina newspapers cheered them on. A century later, the News and Observer, the Charlotte Observer, and other papers apologized for their part in supporting the only successful armed overthrow of a lawfully elected government known to have occurred in this country.

No wonder the leaders of the North Carolina Democrat Party might be opposed to the idea of a museum commemorating the origin of their current power. The museum might make visitors aware of how misleading press reports that drive public opinion really can be. Black visitors in particular might begin to question their loyalty to a party rooted in slavery that has controlled our state's government for over a hundred years, thus controlling our public schools and our criminal justice system, areas of particular concern to most black citizens.

Some may find it strange that a white Republican is willing to suggest the trial of Representative Thomas Wright is race-related, but he says it is and the evidence supports his charge. After sitting in the courtroom all last week, I'm convinced Representative Thomas Wright was convicted of three felonies only because the jury was tainted by press accounts of the special session of the legislature held immediately before the trial, and he was tried, not because he committed felonies, but because he crossed the wrong people.

Wright might be guilty of doing many things wrong, but he was tried for doing things most Republicans and many Democrats would consider right. Wright's real crimes were refusing to back Senator Julia Boseman in the 2006 election, seeking to build a museum to commemorate the 1898 Wilmington Riots, and refusing to follow orders from the current rulers in Raleigh. It is hard to get the public to support jail time for those crimes or bad bookkeeping so he was charged with allegedly committing fraud on a bank and three corporations, none of which seemed to feel injured or even irritated with Wright.

How ironic that on the same day Wright was found guilty, April 7, 2008, the Wilmington Star had a related story that began "A few years ago at a Brunswick County Sheriff's Office department meeting, then-Sheriff Ronald Hewett drew a bull's eye on a dry-erase board. He said that if someone caused him trouble as sheriff "they would be the target. . ."

If a "lowly" (by comparison) Sheriff can target someone, what about the big boys in Raleigh like the Speaker of the House, the Democrat Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Governor? I've long said, in writing, that Jim Black was the runt of the litter when it came to corruption in North Carolina's government.

Even before Black's conviction, I said that I thought he was being tossed to the wolves by the big dogs. But Black was relatively easy to convict because he did so much wrong; Wright must have been a comparative angel, because the charges on which he was tried last week were so weak that I doubt the DA could have won a conviction with an unbiased jury.

The trial made it clear to me Wright was a target. For obtaining a letter that could not possibly have been used to trick the bank into approving a $150,000 loan, and for admittedly depositing $8,900 donated to the Foundation he headed into his bank account, Wright was sentenced to more years in jail than Jim Black was. Wright said the $8,900 was a reimbursement for funds he actually spent for the benefit of the Foundation (and he proved at least $4,900 was), yet he was sentenced to more jail time than many violent criminals.

Black helped steal the whole state government by using bribery to stay in power to execute a gerrymander; Wright didn't get a dime from the $150,000 loan and it seems likely that he lost money from his efforts to establish a Foundation rather than making money by stealing money due the Foundation. What's wrong in this picture?

Yet the same people who ignored me or made fun of me for years when I said Jim Black was guilty of unethical behavior as Speaker, long before the FBI proved I was right, now ignore any suggestion Wright might not be guilty. Just as the mainstream media praised Black when it was obvious to anyone willing to see that Black was abusing his power, they now condemn Wright with the same willful blindness.

I only became interested in Representative Thomas Wright's case because a complaint I had filed against Representative Pryor Gibson had been whitewashed and I'd been told nothing was done because Gibson's action in 2006 was too old to pursue. Since Wright was being pursued for much older events, I wanted to know how to get the same attention devoted to Gibson's multiple questionable activities that was being devoted to convicting Wright.

When this started, I was delighted to see Wright condemned, because he was an ally of Black. Now, I think Wright's convictions should be overturned on Appeal and I'm convinced Joe Hackney is far more dangerous than Jim Black as Speaker.

Jim Black's gang threatened legislators to round up votes, but they only threatened to use misleading mailings to end their political careers. (Under the Dome, May 20, 1999)

Under Joe Hackney the stakes are higher. Fail to follow orders and be charged with multiple felonies. When convicted, using whatever methods necessary, don't wait for an appeal before starting the sentence. When Black was convicted and no appeal contemplated, he was permitted to wait to start his sentence. Not Thomas Wright.

This is not written to defend Thomas Wright. He's a Democrat; I'm a Republican. He supported Jim Black; I quite clearly did not. I'm frankly surprised to find myself supporting him in any way shape or form. But I'm convinced he was railroaded.

This is not even about Thomas Wright; this is about the abuse of power by legislative leaders working in concert with individuals in the other branches of government. This is scary stuff.

If Wright can be threatened with retribution for not following orders and then convicted of a Class C felony that only a science fiction fan who actually believes in time travel could find plausible, no legislator is safe.

Being threatened with lies is an occupational hazard for anyone who seeks public office. While words can hurt, most voters know to consider the source of any accusation.

Being threatened with jail time is another matter altogether. Even if the legislator is not convicted, the damage done is beyond belief.

Thomas Wright was charged with a Class C felony, a very serious offense, for using a false letter to defraud a bank into making a $150,000 loan to purchase a building. The bank never filed a complaint, because they did not lose money. They made money.

Thomas Wright did not get a dime from the loan and the record shows he was trying to raise funds to pay the loan. Both he and Dr. Dan Gottovi paid interest to extend the loan to buy time to try and raise the funds to retire the debt. What an unusual fraud!

The fraud charge is based on the fact Wright asked Torlen Wade to prepare a letter they both knew was false and Wade did so. According to District Attorney Colon Willoughby, the letter was used to persuade the bank to make the loan.

There's one major problem: the record shows the loan was approved, with no contingencies, and the closing attorney notified of the approval before the letter even existed.

A document entered into evidence by the DA showed the bank approved the loan March 5, 2002, giving it the lowest possible credit rating which indicates they knew getting a grant was not a given. If they had seen the letter, a higher credit rating would be expected, but the letter was not prepared until March 15, 2002, so the lending officer who approved the loan could not have seen it.

Imagine for the sake of argument that Thomas Wright was so desperate for funds that he told a friend to get him a gun because he might have to rob a bank. Before the friend could get the gun to him, he got the money he needed. Could the DA charge Wright with armed robbery? Apparently he could, because that's what District Attorney Colon Willoughby, in essence, did.

When the jurors indicated they weren't buying the charge by asking if the charge included loan renewals, the judge said sure, if there was an ongoing scheme. In other words, just because Wright didn't have a gun when he got the money, he could still be guilty if he planned to get one when he obtained the money. Duh???

Democracy just took a big blow in Raleigh.

Fern Shubert is a former State Representative, State Senator, Town Manager and Candidate for Governer. She currently serves as the NC State Director of the National Right to Read Foundation.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Main Street Media Ignore Main Event

Wright Diversion Works
Main Street Media Ignore Main Event

By Fern H Shubert
As Printed in The County Edge 3-29-08

If you are easily offended, stop reading now. There is no way to discuss NAMBLA or CRR or Planned Parenthood without touching on issues that are offensive.

If you are not familiar with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, you should be. As they state on their web site ( “NAMBLA is strongly opposed to age-of-consent laws and all other restrictions which deny men and boys the full enjoyment of their bodies and control over their own lives.”

Parents who want to protect their children from sexual advances by adults are NAMBLA’s enemy. Without public notice, NAMBLA and their allies have been chipping away at parental rights, because parental protection of children interferes with their sexual desires.

The following quote sums up their viewpoint:

"Boy-lovers and the lesbians who have young lovers are not child molesters. The child abusers are priests, teachers, therapists, cops, and parents who force their stale morality onto the young people in their custody. Instead of condemning pedophiles for their involvement with lesbian and gay youth, we should be supporting them."

Shocking? Indeed. Rare? No. The academic world is becoming increasingly brazen in its attempts to legitimize sex between adults and children.” (BreakPoint with Charles Colson 09/24/02 – Excerpt from Commentary #020924)

Similarly, if you are not familiar with CRR, the Center for Reproductive Rights, you should be. They’re allies of NAMBLA in working to erode the ability of parents to protect their children. They believe parents have no right to know if their daughter seeks an abortion, just as parents have no right to be informed if their children seek contraceptives. After all, CRR wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from having sex by denying them the false security of condoms.

Several years ago, a strategy document from CRR ended up in the hands of people who do not support pedophilia. Despite the Center’s attempt to intimidate the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute into silence, they shared the document with others.

Reportedly, the “document is dripping with contempt for democracy and decency” and “Deceit is a core part of their strategy.” As Maggie Gallagher said in her TownHall column (December 25, 2003):

“You doubt me? Read it for yourself: Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., introduced the entire document into the Dec. 8 Congressional Record (which you can access at He called the plan a "Trojan Horse of deceit," demonstrating "how abortion promotion groups are planning to push abortion here and abroad, not by direct argument, but by twisting words and definition." CRR's document itself concedes, "There is a stealth quality to the work" of creating new international legal norms "without a huge amount of scrutiny ..."

“And abortion is just the beginning of CRR's expansive version of "reproductive rights." The CRR's hit list includes schools that do not hand out condoms, and abstinence education programs. They are committed to "staving off efforts to require parental involvement" in abortion. Most hideous of all (and I do not use the word lightly), CRR aims to undo "child abuse reporting requirements" with respect to what it calls "nonabusive" sexual relations with minors. An international right to have sex with young people? No doubt CRR is reacting to the public embarrassment Planned Parenthood faced when journalists discovered that many of its personnel were unwilling to abide by child sex abuse reporting requirements.

“The document notes that such sex rights for minors have "always been one of our priority areas," and that "this is a topic about which we can coordinate efforts with our international program." Downsides include: "We will likely have to confront the politically difficult issue of whether minors have a right to have sex."

“No wonder so many people around the world hate us. No wonder so many Americans have protested the Supreme Court's recent unconstitutional efforts to base its decisions for us Americans in part on "international law and norms" -- laws and norms that are created by the good folks at places like CRR. Coming soon to a school, home and community near you.”

The column was written in 2003, and the issue had already come to a “community near you.” The issue was right on our doorstep, but the mainstream media was not reporting it because their political allies were the people advancing the NAMBLA/CRR agenda.

I still have the 2003 column because in 2003 I was in the North Carolina legislature fighting the effort of CRR and their deceitful allies to replace the North Carolina education curriculum that promoted abstinence with a “comprehensive sexual education curriculum” designed to undermine support for abstinence. The dishonesty of the advocates for “comprehensive sexual education” would have astounded me, had I not read Thomas Sowell’s masterful explanation of elitist arrogance, The Vision of the Anointed, which I recommend highly.

Sowell explains how facts and reason have become irrelevant. Space will not permit a full explanation, but Sowell describes how “the vision prevailing among the intellectual and political elite of our time” is so dominant that discordant evidence is simply “ignored, suppressed or discredited.”

In his view, the vision offers “a special state of grace for those who believe in it. . . .those who disagree . . .are seen as being not merely in error, but in sin. . . .One reason for the preservation and insulation of a vision is that it has become inextricably intertwined with the egos of those who believe in it.”

Sowell condensed the ideological campaigns of the elite into 4 steps. First sell the idea that there’s a great danger to everyone in society of which most people are unaware, and second declare the crisis demands immediate action. Then sell the idea of government intervention to implement the preferred solution of the elite, and, finally, dismiss all contrary arguments as “uninformed, irresponsible, or motivated by unworthy purposes.” (Best of all, when the intervention doesn’t work, declare more resources are needed and do more of what failed.)

One of the campaigns he chose to illustrate the irrelevance of facts in public debate when the elite control the reporting was the issue of sex education. He described how in the 1960s, Planned Parenthood and their allies declared there was a crisis that demanded immediate action to deal with the rising tide of teen pregnancies and venereal disease. They pushed sex education into the schools to deal with the crisis, when in fact fertility rates among teenage girls and venereal disease were both declining. There was no crisis.

Of course, to Planned Parenthood, declining rates of unwanted pregnancy could be seen as a crisis, because they make millions of dollars providing abortions. Similarly, companies that make condoms consider abstinence a bad idea because it reduces sales.

The Family Research Council (Tony Perkin’s Washington Update, March 25, 2008), in an article titled “Condom Culture’s Trojan Horse,” explains how the Trojan Company was using the recent CDC study warning that one in four teens are infected with an STD to promote the sale of condoms, when the CDC actually said "The available scientific evidence is not sufficient to recommend condoms as a primary prevention strategy for the prevention of genital HPV prevention."

As I’ve said before, promoting the use of condoms to reduce the risk of STDs or teen pregnancy is like promoting using fewer bullets while playing Russian roulette. Why encourage risky behavior in the first place? Could it be because some people profit from that risky behavior, either financially or politically?

As Perkins notes, “While condoms may reduce the risk of chlamydia, herpes, and other diseases, it cannot eliminate the risk . . .condoms are not even a reliable method for reducing teen pregnancy. About one in every five teens using condoms becomes pregnant within one year, according to the National Survey of Family Growth.”

So what does this have to do with Thomas Wright? Two things.

First, had Wright not opposed the NAMBLA agenda and supported a Republican in 2006, I doubt he would have received the intensive investigation which led to his removal from the legislature, since far greater malfeasance is routinely ignored.

Second, while the media was focused on the House Special Session called to remove Wright, the Rules Review Commission met and approved rules for a “Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative” that put into place precisely the same language that was debated and rejected last year by the House Education Committee.

North Carolina’s legislature made our state’s official policy promoting abstinence until marriage while providing accurate information on sex, including birth control methods. NAMBLA, CRR, Planned Parenthood and their allies don’t like that policy, so they’re changing it by executive branch action, unreported by their friends in the media.

NAMBLA and their allies can’t win a public debate, so they’re working by stealth to accomplish their ends. They made a lot of progress last week in Raleigh

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

“Getting Better All the Time”

For some reason, last week seemed surprisingly upbeat. Even though the line of the song “it can't get no worse” popped up occasionally, as in the Beatles song, the good far outweighed the bad. The information sent my way has been quite useful, and more is always welcome. If you have information you think I’d find helpful, send it to me at Thanks.

In addition to information, last week I received some wonderful comments from readers. (Who doesn’t like kind words?). Being a writer has been a lot more fun than being a legislator. One of the greatest frustrations of being in the legislature was the failure of the press to tell the public what was actually happening in Raleigh, and now I’m getting the chance to tell the stories the other papers won’t cover. What fun!

Plus, last Saturday I ran into a retired public school teacher who had benefited from the alternative certification legislation I’d worked so hard to pass as a legislator. Not only was he appreciative for what I’d done, he told me of meeting one of his former students earlier in the day who had thanked him for helping her turn her life around, so I know what I did was not just of benefit to him, but also benefited his students.

Most people are completely unaware of the things that government does that affect lives, and that’s a classic example. There was (and still is) a serious shortage of teachers, particularly in the math/science area, yet rather than recruit people with needed skills, government had made it difficult for accomplished individuals to go into teaching.

Years ago, that gentleman had approached me to vent, as he put it, because he had been teaching, was well received by his students, and enjoyed the work, but he was being required to spend so much time taking courses about things he already knew that he was planning to quit teaching. When I pointed out the legislation that made it possible for him to continue doing what he loved without wasting so much time and money on worthless courses covering things he already knew, he was amazed.

The law was simple. It required people with expertise in needed fields to pass the same tests required of education majors on the same time table in order to be certified to teach, and it put in additional oversight to weed out those not skilled at teaching. It made a lot of sense, but it interfered with a cash cow for the university system, because it made skills, rather than paying for courses, the key factor in certification.

That was one of many fights I won in Raleigh that went pretty much unreported, because if the public knew too much, it would be hard to label honest people ineffective to get rid of them. And the labeling done in Raleigh is as honest as Jim Black, done by the same crowd that supported Black until the courts pried him out of the legislature.

Blogs bring improvement

While it is true, on the minus side, that one party rule is still alive and well in Raleigh and few seem willing to take on the press or the leadership of either party to demand more openness, I’m seeing openness creeping in through the internet. I’m learning more reading blogs, including reporter blogs, than makes it into papers.

Jack Betts had a great blog last week talking about the poor handling of the complaint I filed against Pryor Gibson. (March 12, 2008 post at He actually agreed with me that the complaint was poorly handled by the Legislative Ethics Committee. (Betts is still under the misimpression that the issue was a questionable call over whether the bill was controversial rather than the clear fact that Gibson claimed he had cleared the bill with other legislators when he had not, but that’s understandable considering Glazier’s mischaracterization of the complaint.)

Betts quoted Representative John Blust, who said “It seems to me that filing a false certification with the House clerk has to be an ethics violation of some sort and perhaps a new complainant - maybe one of the Union County residents affected by the Gibson bill will file a new complaint with just the House Ethics Committee. I feel this must be dealt with if the House is to have any credibility.” . . . The Gibson matter is a clear-cut example of why the State Ethics Commission should have jurisdiction over complaints against legislators, at least through the stage of recommending a punishment, and why the process should be totally open. The entire reform community has been unanimous, I believe, in backing these changes.”

Betts closed by saying, “I think he's right about this. While legislators may have been motivated by a concern that there would be bogus ethics complaints filed and there's no reason to make those public, the risk is that the legislature will be seen as ignoring complaints with merit to them, or worse, covering up for cronies. There's a lot to be said for allowing the public to see what's going on, and to make up their own minds.”

Best of all, a comment posted in response to Betts and Blust shows at least some people got the point I’ve been trying to make it my comments about Thomas Wright: “I don't think the Republicans want Wright treated as Gibson was. They want Gibson treated as Wright was.” Precisely! The point is not to ignore wrongdoing, but to hold everyone to the same high standard that the public has a right to expect.

Wright diversion

Since this column will be in print before the Thursday hearing, my comments on the hearing itself will have to keep ‘til next week. But I can already see the press focusing on Wright to the exclusion of other stories that deserve attention.

I just received copies of three complaints and a press release stating “House Speaker Joe Hackney, House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, and the Chairman of the (so-called) Ethics Committee, Rick Glazier are apparently all in violation of the law.” I was told the complaints were filed yesterday with the State Board of Elections by Raymond Spencer, a Marine Corps veteran, and sent, along with the press release, to the major media outlets in the state. Strangely, I haven’t seen or heard anything about them or even found any mention of them on the Internet, and I wonder when they will be reported.

Spencer said “It is essential and fair that all three recuse themselves from any participation in the upcoming special session called for by the Governor at the request of these three Representatives. It is particularly outrageous that the ethics committee chairman, Rick Glazier himself omitted over $40,000 given to his campaign just before a highly contested election and he of all people was selected as chairman by Speaker Hackney. Hugh Holliman has been marshalling votes to expel Tom Wright knowing full well that Holliman’s own campaign reports reveal a corporate donation of $1,000 which is a misdemeanor.”

In addition to receiving the documents about some of Wright’s accusers, I received a lengthy document reporting an even more offensive matter. The past actions of Wright’s accusers either did or did not happen, but there is an action planned for the very time of Wright’s hearing that is of such significance to some that the hearing could actually be seen as a smoke screen.

The document was sent out by Joel Raupe, who works with the House Republican caucus, and begins as follows: “Thursday, March 20 – at the very hour the North Carolina House gathers to debate the "qualifications" of Thomas Wright, the N.C. Rules Review Commission will hold a meeting where the commissioners may feel required to approve new rules passed by the Public Health Commission, making "Comprehensive Sexual Education" the expected standard for one small program and putting into precedent language that couldn't make it through the legislature. The trouble is no one knows what "Comprehensive Sexual Education" means.”

The full text of the document is available at

The subject is complex, but there are three key points that need to be made:

The timing of the Rules Review meeting, along with the subject, shows how the big money players, who see the will of the people as irrelevant to their money making schemes, ignore the legislature or use it to hide their real agenda.

There’s big money in abortions, and abstinence is bad for the abortion business.

As I said about Jim Black, “The press has hyperventilated about a handful of improperly handled campaign contributions to the point of boredom. Why? Why the focus on . . . minor misdeeds to the exclusion of much bigger scandals?

Well, there you have the answer. The purpose is to divert attention from the bigger scandals.”
The Rules Review hearing is part of a mighty big scandal. More later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wright Punished for Supporting Republican?

The County Edge, March 7, 2008

Some days you have to laugh to keep from crying. I’ve finally found out why the Legislative Ethics Committee dismissed my complaint against Pryor Gibson. They do not believe telling a lie is unethical. It is just a procedural matter.

In 2006, Pryor Gibson wanted to introduce a bill that was not eligible for consideration unless he signed a document verifying that his bill had the unanimous support of the other representatives from the area affected by the bill. They did not support the bill. Gibson lied in writing and said they did in order to get a bill passed that could not have been introduced if he told the truth.

The bill was not an insignificant matter. It moved the date of the vote on the Monroe food tax from the general election in 2006 when Gibson was running for re-election to the lower turnout municipal election in 2007. It also granted ETJ to two towns, Wingate and Marshville, that had not even made a public request for it. The bill gave town officials the authority to decide the zoning for people who lived in the county and could not vote for or against them. It affected the property rights of hundreds of people.

When I challenged Gibson’s lie by filing a complaint, the Legislative Ethics Committee dismissed the complaint, saying “the complaint alleged conduct, that even if true, would not constitute an ethics violation, or alleged conduct, that even if true, would not be within the jurisdiction of the Committee.”

It was my understanding that since the fraud was committed in 2006, the committee dismissed the complaint because it did not believe it should go into events that happened before 2007 when the current law became effective. If they truly believed actions prior to 2007 were a closed book, so be it.

But if that was the standard, how could they ask the House to hold hearings designed to lead to the expulsion of Thomas Wright based on even older events? Mr. Wright and I were hardly friends . . . he was a friend of Jim Black and I was the only member of the 2001 House who never voted for Black . . .plus he was a Democrat and I’m a Republican, but the way he was being treated just didn’t make sense.

In my experience, far greater misdeeds than any alleged against Wright were normally ignored. While I did not see his treatment as racially motivated . . .after all, misuse of non-profits by several other black legislators didn’t result in expulsion attempts. . . the fact that my complaint against Gibson was dismissed because the event was pre-2007 while events even older were being used to justify Wright’s House ethics hearing just didn’t seem right.

I approached Wright’s attorney, Irv Joyner, at Wright’s court hearing last Thursday with some hesitation. I had no desire to be seen as defending illegal behavior and some reluctance to even be involved in something with so much negative press, but the double standard being applied in the legislature offended me. In addition to giving Joyner a copy of the dismissal of the complaint I filed against Gibson, I informed him of the November 2002 Carolina Journal article outlining several other ethical issues concerning Gibson.

If the committee didn’t have jurisdiction to deal with my complaint against Gibson, I didn’t understand how they could be dealing with far older issues with respect to Wright.

Moreover, the Carolina Journal article stated that Gibson had a non-profit that seemed far more dubious than Wright’s, but to the best of my knowledge, no one ever followed up on the questions raised by the Carolina Journal. Why the double standard?

I later learned that Wright had supported the Republican NC Senate candidate from Wilmington in 2006 rather than the Democrat, and suddenly the reason for the double standard seemed very obvious. The Democratic leadership of the House and Senate, plus the Governor, needed someone to toss to the wolves to divert the public from the bribery and gerrymandering that kept them in power, the sale of DOT board seats, the mental health malfeasance, and a litany of other misdeeds.

By going after Wright, the leaders could sell the public on how serious they are about ethics without actually doing anything to reform the system. At the same time, they could show other legislators how dangerous it would be to cross the party big wigs. A twofer!

In 1998, my opponent used last minute ads that misrepresented my vote against the 1997 budget in order to defeat me. He and Speaker Black later used what happened to me to threaten other legislators; vote as you’re told on the budget or we’ll do to you what we did to Shubert. In my case, the threat lost a lot of steam when I returned to the legislature in 2000, but I see some of the same motivation behind the hearings now being held.

Note, I see nothing wrong with a criminal prosecution of criminal misdeeds. I think we need a lot more legislative attention to ethics; but to hold hearings on Wright while ignoring far greater ethical lapses by other legislators is just plain wrong.

Speaking of wrong, according to an article in The Charlotte Observer (March 4, 2008), committee chairman Rick Glazier “said that Gibson's and Wright's cases are so different that any comparison is profoundly absurd. One involves legislative procedure, he said, and the other involves allegations of fraud and corruption.”

What is fraud? According to Wikipedia, “In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain.” A lie in writing is certainly a deception, and there is no doubt that Gibson lied in writing for his personal benefit, to gain a political advantage he could not otherwise obtain. I didn’t just accuse Gibson of breaking a rule; I provided the evidence to prove he committed fraud on the people of North Carolina.

Mr. Gibson has tried to trick the House before to get a bill passed that would not pass without deception, but I exposed the trick in time and the bill was voted down. This time, the lie was told in a printed document, and even though it was exposed before the bill passed, the leaders of the legislature made the conscious decision to support Gibson’s dishonesty.

Gibson tells people he withdrew the bill when he learned the legislators he said supported it did not, but that’s another deception. Ask Gibson how the contents of the bill became law if he dropped the issue when he learned of their objection?

Gibson’s case involves the corruption not only of Gibson but of the leaders of the House and Senate. The fraud Gibson committed was embraced by the very people who are now eagerly condemning Wright for deceit.

I regret that Wright’s attorneys suggested Mr. Glazier is racially biased; I do not believe he is. But I understand why they came to that conclusion. Anyone unfamiliar with the history of the legislature, who is familiar with North Carolina history, would easily see racism in the totally disparate treatment of Gibson and Wright.

People unfamiliar with the legislature would find it hard to believe that telling a lie to deceive the legislature into acting in a way it would not if it knew the truth is a mere procedural matter.

To people not tainted by “legislative ethics,” telling a lie to the legislature to subvert our very government is a far more significant ethical transgression than anything of which Representative Wright stands accused.

The explanation of the dismissal of the complaint against Gibson makes the phrase “legislative ethics” an oxymoron.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


During Monday's legislative hearing of alleged misconduct by Rep. Thomas Wright, his lawyer, Doug Harris, claimed that Wright's treatment was very different than that of a white colleague, Rep. Pryor Gibson, D-Anson. Gibson faced an ethics complaint last year based on a claim by former state Sen. Fern Shubert that Gibson lied bysaying that he had his colleague's support for a local bill. The complaint was ultimately dismissed. Harris, though, cited the complaint and Shubert's response, saying that she was "disgusted by the treatment of Representative Wright."

Perhaps "disgusted" is a bit much. Contacted at her home, Shubert said she does believe that there is disparate treatment of Wright, but doesn't condone anything that he is alleged to have done.
"When the sharks are going after the minnows, I think we would want to focus on the sharks," she said. Shubert pointed out that there was never even a public airing of her complaint. Gibson, though, said there was no comparison between her allegations, based on procedural rules in the House, and those faced by Wright.
"Ms. Shubert has a history of distorting facts to further her personal and political ambition," Gibson said. He added that she is suffering over "her cauldron of polluted poison." (THE INSIDER, 3/04/08)