In case you missed it:

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury empaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office — the first time a former president has been criminally charged in the history of the United States.

The indictment is under seal, and the exact charges are unknown. However, they stem from a $130,000 illegal hush payment Trump is accused of facilitating through his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, to adult film star Stormy Daniels, to cover up an affair the two of them had during the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen was sentenced to prison in that scheme over charges of bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations, and since being released has given information to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg in the case against his former boss.

The indictment of Trump comes after a long on-again, off-again investigation by New York prosecutors. Bragg originally declined to press charges against Trump as part of an investigation of his business practices, a move that generated controversy and led to criticism from former prosecutors in the office.

Ahead of the indictment, Trump called for his supporters to stage protests — which prompted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to step in and urge against violence.

Trump is widely expected to continue his campaign for president in 2024, regardless of the charges against him.

This is not the only criminal investigation of the former president. In Georgia, Fulton County DA Fani Willis is investigating him as part of her probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia — including the effort to seat fake Trump electors and the former president’s phone call with Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding he “find” extra votes to win the state for him.

Meanwhile, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump on two different fronts: his role in the incitement of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and his efforts to confiscate and improperly stash highly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida. Either of those could result in federal charges.

April meeting: Thursday, April 20

Our March NCDC Meeting will be:

  • Tuesday, April 20, 2023
  • 6 P.M.
  • Northumberland  Public Library, 7204 Northumberland Hwy, Heathsville
  • Light refreshments available; folks are welcome to bring snacks to share.

We are honored to have as our April guest speaker Ellen Kirby, retiring Northumberland County Treasurer who served as County Treasurer for over 40 years.

Ellen Kirby (R) receiving the L. Gene Harding Lifetime Achievement Award from the Treasurer’s Association of Virginia; presented by Lancaster County Treasurer Bonnie Dickson (L)

Agenda to be posted later.

Dr. Francis Joseph “Frank” Kober, Jr.: A life well-lived in service to others

Frank’s obituary, prepared by his loving wife Bonnie, was published in the Rappahannock Record, Kilmarnock VA on March 2, 2023.

HEATHSVILLE—My beloved husband, Dr. Francis Joseph “Frank” Kober Jr., passed away on February 17, 2023, at Bon Secours Regional Memorial in Mechanicsville with me by his side.

Frank was born September 24, 1943, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Margaret Mary Flading and Francis Joseph Kober, Sr.

Frank’s education began at Saint James the Less Catholic School and Towson Catholic High School in Baltimore. Shortly after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1966, he entered the teaching field.

Frank spent nearly 50 years in public education, where he achieved one success after another, including turning a failing Baltimore charter school into one of the city’s highest academic achievers.

He became a union representative for public-school teachers. He rose to vice president and editor of the Baltimore Teachers Union Journal. Later, he was a part-time consultant to the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

In the 1970s, Frank was honored by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the top teacher/leaders in the United States. That was when Frank decided to teach in higher education. In the mid-1970s, he became a full-time Instructor at Coppin State University—later part of the University of Maryland system. He was dedicated to building skills relevant to higher learning.

Frank returned to college to receive his M.Ed. from Coppin State University (Baltimore) in 1980 and his Doctor of Education Policies Studies from Temple University in 1992, (Philadelphia, Pa.). After receiving his doctorate, and working in various university positions, he became special assistant to two university presidents, a full professor, an associate dean, a political consultant to mayors, governors and a host of state and local officeholders. Frank also authored three nonfiction books in history, education, and two college textbooks.

Frank’s life was guided and nurtured by the principles of decency and knowing right from wrong. Politics became more than an afterthought for him. It was a way of helping to ensure these principles were followed.

Starting in the mid-1960s, Frank worked diligently in the civil rights movement. He marched and picketed with political figures, was beaten by thugs and went to court to ensure that African-Americans’ rights were honored and that this country lived up to its constitutional guarantees, freedoms and rights.

Before Frank’s passing, he served as the president of the Lancaster Virginia Historical Society (LVHS). While serving, he was especially passionate about Closing the Gap African American Oral History Project. He also served as chairman of Northumberland’s County Democratic Party. He was an officer of the NAACP, an active member in the Northumberland County Community Center and a member of the Sheriffs Roundtable on Progressive Policing and the Lions Club.

Frank enjoyed talking with people from all walks of life, traveling and cooking (he was a fantastic cook). He also liked spending long evenings at home reading. He would read two to three books simultaneous. Frank also had a passion for watching old movies—particularly mobster movies.

Frank’s knowledge was incredible. Whenever I had a question, no matter how difficult the subject was, he knew the correct answer. So, I bought a sign that reads “I don’t need Google, my husband knows everything.” He was remarkable.

As his wife, I watched—with pride—his leadership and devotion to the people of Northumberland County. I was in awe of his loving and giving nature to family, friends and strangers alike.

I am overwhelmed with grief, not only for my loss, but for what the world has lost. I can smile, because I know how deep our love for each other was—and still is. We will keep loving each other until we meet again. He is my inspiration, my soul mate and the person I love and admire. I miss him so much; the pain is deep. But I draw strength from his memory and our love. Rest well, my love.

Frank Kober’s loving spirit on earth will continue to live on through his wife, Bonnie; his daughter, Shari Cain (James); daughter, Brandi Cresse (Mark); and son, Ryan Darnell (Maria).

His sister, Mary Margaret, preceded him in death.

He also is survived by his sisters Maryann Ward (Fred) and Maryrose Gans (David); and his brother, John Kober, Sr. (Nell); nephews, Ronald Ward Jr. (Wendy), Robert Ward (Vania), David Gans (departed), Richard Gans (Cecelia), John Kober Jr. (Chadai); grandchildren, Sherbar Mealy, Candace Mealy, Easton Wilkinson and Harley Cresse; great-grandchildren, Nikas and Miamor; great-great-grandchild Navaeh; great nephews and nieces, Dylan, Samantha, Konstantinos and Robert Ward, Jr. and the newest edition, Christina Summer Rose.

A service of remembrance will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Wicomico Church.

Services of comfort and trust provided by the Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home, Lancaster and Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Burgess.

Glenn Youngkin claims “God led him” to run for Virginia Governor

In a self-serving interview that is not exactly fact-filled, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin described his faith and then went on to tell how he was called by God to run for Governor.

The interview was conducted on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network — CBN — by Robertson’s granddaughter, Abigail Robertson, who is “CBN Washington correspondent.  Robertson’s son Gordon is CBN CEO.

Why would Youngkin appear on CBN?  Because he plans to use appearances on CBN as the launching pad for his 2024 Presidential campaign in hopes of sewing up the evangelical vote.

Here is the Youtube version of the interview.  The interview also was featured in a front-page article by the Northern Neck News on December 21, 2022.

In the interview, Youngkin talks about his years at the Carlyle Group, a job that left him veryy wealthy when he was fired by Carlyle only to be given around $200 million in stock — tax-free — and around $40 million in severance pay.

Youngkin also made no mention of the fact that he campaigned on “protecting” public school children from “critical race theory” (which is not taught in Virginia public schools) as well as protecting public school children from COVID-related mask mandates.  Meanwhile, Youngkin does not mention that his children attend exclusive all-girl and all-boy D.C. private schools where masks are required and the history of white supremacy is part of the curriculum.

Here are articles with facts about Youngkin — facts you will not find on CBN.

The Jan 6 Committee released their report today

Today — Dec 19, 2022 — the Jan 6 Committee released a 154-page Executive Summary of their report.  The full report with appendices and supporting documents will be released Wednesday, Dec 21.

Here is a copy of the Exec Summary.

The Committee recommended that four criminal charges be filed against former president Donald Trump.

  1. inciting an insurrection,
  2. obstruction of an official proceeding,
  3. conspiring to defraud the US government and
  4. making false statements.

“The committee has developed significant evidence that president Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transition of power under our Constitution,” Representative Jamie Raskin said as he outlined the panel’s findings.

“We believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today, and assembled throughout our hearings, warrants a criminal referral of former President Donald J. Trump,” Raskin said.

Here is a link to an article that lists the 17 key findings from the Committee’s report.

GOV Youngkin’s proposed budget is typical Republican nonsense — “trickle down” economics

Gov. Youngkin’s proposed budget amendments were presented this morning before the House and Senate money committees. Here are the highlights (maybe we should say “lowlights”) of his proposals.

  • No $$ for affordable housing
  • No $$ for Pre-K
  • No $$ for childcare
  • No $$ for pandemic learning interruption
  • No raises for teachers, cops or state employees
  • But tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations!

Youngkin’s budget/tax plans are the typical right-wing voodoo economics that have failed disastrously over and over and over again for decades now – “supply side,” “Laffer curve” crap the rightwingers have been pushing since Reagan. Youngkin also wants to defund government and privatize everything, including public education. @VASenateDems should toss this proposal into Sen. Louise Lucas’ trash can!

We thought they would not overturn Roe v. Wade. Now they are coming after birth control

We warned you this was coming. The same crowd that said Republicans and their judges wouldn’t really overturn Roe v. Wade have dismissed the idea that Republicans and their judges would follow up Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by coming for birth control next, but here it is.

Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas, recently released an opinion that “the Title X program violates the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.” Title X is a federal family planning program that provides services including contraceptives, pregnancy testing, testing for sexually transmitted infections, infertility help, and more. It offers services to adolescents as well as adults—and that’s where the right-wing challenge, and Kacsmaryk’s decision, comes in.

Alexander Deanda, the plaintiff in Deanda v. Becerra, is “raising each of his daughters in accordance with Christian teaching on matters of sexuality, which requires unmarried children to practice abstinence and refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage,” so he’s arguing that the availability of federally funded family planning services tramples on his rights as a father to control his daughters’ sexuality. And Kacsmaryk bought that argument, despite a ton of legal precedent to the contrary, because Kacsmaryk himself is a warrior for that kind of right-wing policing of female bodies and sexuality.

The Deanda plaintiff is trying to shut down all Title X funding to providers that don’t require parental consent before offering care to people under 18 years old. Kacsmaryk hasn’t gone quite that far yet—he hasn’t issued an injunction blocking Title X funding—but he’s asked the parties to the case to submit their plans for what should happen next, and the plaintiff’s lawyers have made clear that he wants Kacsmaryk to prohibit the federal government from “funding any family-planning project in the United States that fails to obtain parental consent before distributing prescription contraception or other family-planning services to minors.”

Vox’s Ian Millhiser lays out a litany of problems with Kacsmaryk’s decision here, starting with standing: Deanda is trying to block funding on the argument that his daughters might someday, maybe, possibly seek out these services, knowing they would never get their father’s permission. But since the Supreme Court just heard a case in which a web designer claimed she was being oppressed because of the possibility that if she ever started designing wedding websites, she might be subject to anti-discrimination policies preventing her from refusing to work with LGBTQ couples, “my daughters might someday do something I disapprove of” no longer looks so far-fetched as a legal argument.

That’s not the only giant legal hole Millhiser identifies in Deanda’s argument. Kacsmaryk leans on a Texas state law about parental consent for medical care, Millhiser notes, even though this is a federal case about a federal program, so state law isn’t in control here. And there have been cases stretching back decades that have established that this kind of program is constitutional.

In parental rights cases centering on other issues, “’the state was either requiring or prohibiting some activity’—that is, the government used its coercive power to either require a child to take an action their parents did not like, or forbid the child from taking an action their parents wanted the child to take,” Millhiser writes. But “A program like Title X cannot violate this rule against coercion because there is nothing coercive about it. The federal government provides grants to health providers who voluntarily offer family planning services to their patients. And those providers, in turn, offer their services to patients who voluntarily seek out contraceptive care. No one is required to receive reproductive health care services funded by Title X.”

This is a really, really weak case, in other words. There’s a decent chance that, if Kacsmaryk goes ahead and tries to block Title X funding, he will be overturned at the appellate level, even given that the case would be appealed to the very conservative Fifth Circuit. Even the Trump-McConnell Supreme Court might not be willing to go this far yet. But either way, Kacsmaryk could at least temporarily mess up a vitally important health care program. And he’s showing that, yes, the right-wing legal movement, up to and including a federal judge, has its sights set on birth control rights.


The November 7, 2023, election is upon us

On November 7, 2023, we will vote for state and local officials.  Here is a list of the seats that will be on the ballot and names of the incumbents.
State offices

Virginia State Senate, District 25:  Richard Stuart (Republican of Westmoreland County; four-year term)

Virginia House of Delegates, District 67:  Margaret Bevans Ransone (Republican of Kinsale; two-year term)

County offices

These are Constitutional Officers who do not run with a party affiliation.  All are four-year terms except the Clerk of the Circuit Court, which is an eight-year term.

Sheriff:  John Beauchamp

Clerk of the Circuit Court:  Deborah Bingham (Serves an 8-year term)

Commissioner of Revenue:  Todd Thomas

County Treasurer:  Ellen Booker Kirby

Commonwealth’s Attorney:  Jane Wrightson

Supervisor, District One:  James Brann

Supervisor District Four:  Thomas Tomlin

Supervisor District Five:  Ronald Jett

School Board, District One:  Dana O’Bier

School Board, District Four:  Betty Christopher

School Board, District Five:  Gale Haynie Sterrett

Soil and Water Conservation Board: Robert G. Van Landingham

Soil and Water Conservation Board: Robert B. Pickett

It’s about that “red wave”

While our candidate Herb Jones did not win the First District Congressional Seat held by Republican Rob Wittman, we Democrats have big reasons to cheer about the outcome of the 2022 election.

The big news is that the predicted “red wave” turned out to be nothing more than a small ripple.

Yes, Republicans took the US House of Representatives, however:  (1) Their margin is slim, only 2-3 votes; (2) They are at war with themselves with the Trumpsters and the normal Republicans at each others’ throats;  and, (3) their agenda is focused on useless investigations of the Biden administration.  Everyone I have heard predicts that the antics of the Republican House of Representatives will drive voters away, which will help Democrats in 2024.

Meanwhile, we have held the US Senate and if Senator Raphael Warnock (D, GA) wins the  December 6 runoff election, we will have 51 Senators.

Two other bits of good news from Nov 8:

  1. Several states replaced Republican governors, state officials, and legislators with Democrats.
  2. Candidates endorsed by Trump went  down in flames.

The 2022 election is behind us.  It’s now time for use to get ready for November 7, 2023, when we have a critical election here in Virginia that will give us the opportunity to regain control of the House of Delegates and increase our hold on the State Senate.

We must also pay attention to the local races on the ballot in November 2023.  Of course, looming over all this is the November 5, 2024, Presidential election in which our Senator Tim Kaine will be up for re-election to the US Senate.

See a separate item on this website for the list of local offices on the ballot in November 2023.  See this link for a list of elections and offices through 2025.

“Governor” Youngkin is running from Virginia and for himself

This article from BlueVirginia sums up Virginia’s absentee “Governor” Glenn Youngkin’s first year in office.  Remember:  In November 2023, we will elect the entire Virginia General Assembly and it is critical that Democrats hold the State Senate and re-take the House of Delegates.

Glenn Youngkin and his phony red vest campaigning in Arizona with election-denier Kari Lake.

There are many different philosophies and religions out there, but most of them hold as a central or important tenet that our lives should be judged by our ACTIONS – what we DO (or fail to do), as opposed to what we believe or whatever. For instance, as this rabbi explains about Judaism:

Yes, the Jewish ideal is right action coupled with right attitude and hopefully right belief. However, at the end of the day, we are measured, in this world and on high, by what we do, not merely what we believe.

Or take Hinduism, which believes:

“One fundamental principle of the religion is the idea that people’s actions and thoughts directly determine their current life and future lives.”

Or Islam:

“One of the fundamental creeds of Islam is about the Day of Judgment. All humans who have lived on earth are accountable and answerable on that day for their beliefs and willful actions.”

This could go on all day, but you get the point: that in most major religions and moral codes, our lives are very much defined by the totality of our actions – the choices we make – for good or for ill. This year, for instance, we all faced the choice of whether or not to get involved in the fight for our democracy (against the forces of authoritarianism, Trumpism, etc.): whether to stay on the sidelines, or whether to actively work to undermine and/or destroy our democracy. The stakes were high and the choice was clear, so nobody can really claim ignorance.  So what did the governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, CHOOSE to do? Let’s look at his actions, which speak louder than any words he might say to try to justify what he did.

Here’s a brief summary of what Youngkin did in 2022: went around Virginia and the country, working relentlessly to elect election deniers, extremists and enemies of our democracy such as Yesli Vega (celebrated her July 4th with a notable insurrectionist who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021“), Jen Kiggans (wouldn’t say that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 elections, literally running away from a reporter who asked her!), Hung Cao (After the January 6th insurrection, Hung Cao defended violent insurrectionists saying “these are my people, set them free”) in Virginia; Paul LePage in Maine (“met eight times with members of the sovereign citizen movement between January and September 2013″)Tudor Dixon in Michigan (“in a May 2022 debate, when asked ‘do you believe Donald Trump legitimately won the 2020 election in Michigan?,’ Dixon responded ‘Yes.’”), Derek Schmidt in Kansas (“brought Kansas into an unsuccessful lawsuit after the 2020 presidential election seeking to overturn the results in battleground states as Trump and other Republicans spread baseless claims of widespread voter fraud”), Heidi Ganahl in Colorado ( “refuses to denounce John Eastman, former CU professor and author of the fraudulent legal memo used to justify the Jan 6 plot), Tim Michels in Wisconsin (said “that illegally decertifying the 2020 presidential election will be ‘on the table’ if he becomes governor, and wouldn’t say whether he would certify the 2024 election”); Kari Lake in Arizona (“repeatedly pushed the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen – even going further casting doubt on the 2022 elections); etc. Sensing a pattern here?

So fortunately, the vast majority of the far-right extremists Youngkin campaigned for lost their elections (hopefully, that will include Kari Lake, who currently trails Democrat Katie Hobbs) – and thank goodness, or our democracy would be in truly grave danger. But that doesn’t even come close to absolving Glenn Youngkin of personal, moral and practical responsibility for doing everything he could to try and elect these anti-democracy extremists.

Now, sure, part of why Youngkin did this was out of cynical, calculated political ambition, namely his burning desire to be president (which is highly unlikely to ever happen), and his awareness that the only way to accomplish this goal is to win the nomination of a radicalized, Trumpist Republican Party. But the fact is, Youngkin COULD HAVE made another choice, such as the one Rep. Liz Cheney made, which was to stand on principle and specifically to stand up for American democracy, our constitution, our values and ideals.

In the end, disgracefully, Youngkin’s cynical, ambition-driven calculations led him to the course of action and conclusion that somehow it was worth throwing our democracy, constitution, etc. into the trash heap in order to advance his own political career. And yes, in its own way, Youngkin’s amoral, craven approach is even more appalling than if you actually BELIEVE the “Big Lie,” as the Amanda Chases of the world truly appear to do. But regardless of what he actually believes, the fact is that Youngkin relentlessly campaigning against our democracy in 2022 was a conscious CHOICE he made, even as he was strongly urged by Liz Cheney not to do so. And no, that choice should never be forgotten – or forgiven – EVER.