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6 Years After Debate Led To Gay Teen’s Suicide, Oklahoma Town Approves LGBT Resolution

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With Zack Harrington’s Parents Looking On, Norman City Council Votes Unanimously To Designate October As LGBT History Month

Six years ago Wednesday, 19-year-old Zack Harrington attended a City Council meeting in Norman, Oklahoma, that became the scene of what was later described as a “toxic” debate over a proposed proclamation designating October as LGBT History Month. 

One week later, Harrington took his own life, with his family later speculating that his internalization of negative comments from the meeting may have pushed him over the edge. 

Harrington’s death — which took place amid a rash of suicides by LGBT people nationwide — inspired Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ viral “It Gets Better” speech, as well as a documentary about the gay teen’s life, “Broken Heart Land.”

On Tuesday, for the first time since Harrington’s death, the Norman City Council again considered an LGBT History Month proclamation — with Zack’s parents, Nancy and Van, in attendance.

This time, however, there was no debate, and the council approved the proclamation unanimously, with the mayor choking back tears as she read it. 

“He endured so much hate and bigotry and he heard so much at the meeting six years ago and we didn’t want to hear that again,” Van Harrington told News 9 after the meeting. “We spontaneously just jumped up and started cheering and clapping because it was a great relief. … It was a happy and sad feeling for me. The happy that we stuck it out and we’re going forward. Sad that this sort of thing didn’t happen earlier and that maybe we would have Zack. But who knows.” 

CNHI Oklahoma reports that history threatened to repeat itself prior to Tuesday’s meeting, with anger over the proclamation simmering on social media.

“I fielded a lot of heat, hate and even threats after I introduced the 2010 resolution,” Human Rights Commission member Michael Ridgeway wrote on Facebook. “I hope the discussion this time can be loving and kind, even among those who disagree.”

Councilman Robert Castleberry made a motion to allow public comment on the proclamation prior to the vote, even though the council doesn’t normally do so. 

“I look forward to actually hearing some comments and hopefully we can learn from it,” Castleberry said.

Castleberry was the only one who voted in favor of the motion, which was defeated 7-1. Councilwoman Breea Clark condemned the motion, saying it would allow targeting of LGBT people. 

“For those that refuse to recognize this history, know that history will in fact recognize what’s happening here today,” Clark said. “And I have a problem with what one of my fellow councilmen is trying to do tonight, opening the door to hate speech under the guise of freedom of speech.” 

Two people spoke against the proclamation during public comments at the end of the meeting. However, hundreds of supporters of the proclamation flooded the meeting wearing red, with several speaking in favor of it. 

“I’ve never been in city council chambers where I felt so much unity and so much love,” said Cindy Cason, a member of Mothers of Many, a group for LGBT youth. “This is the best of Norman.”

https://vimeo.com/94910811 

Image via Broken Heart Land on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

‘None Whatsoever’: US Diplomat Burns to the Ground Trump Lie That Joe Biden’s Actions Are ‘Corrupt’

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President Donald Trump’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, in bombshell testimony Wednesday destroyed the president’s lie that Joe Biden’s actions, especially toward Ukraine, are “corrupt.”

Asked if there any factual basis to support Trump’s allegations, Kent replied: “None whatsoever.”

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THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

Taylor Staffer Overheard Trump Impatiently Asking Sondland About ‘The Investigations’ Day After Infamous July 25 Call

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The acting ambassador to Ukraine said he has learned since his closed-door testimony that President Donald Trump appeared keenly interested in the status of an investigation into Joe Biden by Ukraine.

Bill Taylor, the president’s top diplomat in Ukraine, testified Wednesday that he learned last week from a staffer, after he was deposed in a closed-door hearing, about an incident that took place a day after Trump’s call to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26,” Taylor testified.

Taylor was visiting the front of Ukraine’s war with Russia at the time with Kurt Volker, then a special envoy to the country, and a member of the ambassador’s staff accompanied EU ambassador Gordon Sondland to a meeting with Andrey Yermak, an aide to Zelensky.

“Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv,” Taylor testified. “The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’”

“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward,” Taylor added.

Taylor’s staff member asked Sondland what the president thought about Ukraine, and the acting ambassador was troubled by his State Department colleague’s response.

“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified. “At the time I gave my deposition on October 22, I was not aware of this information. I am including it here for completeness.”

Taylor said he first reported that new information through the State Department’s legal adviser, and then through attorneys for both House Republicans and Democrats.

 

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TIN FOIL HAT CLUB

Nunes Promotes Debunked Conspiracy Theories: Democrats Colluded With Russia and Are ‘Culpable’ of ‘Malfeasance’ in Ukraine

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Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) in his opening remarks on the first day of public witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, charged House Democrats with wholly debunked conspiracy theories. Among them, that Democrats – not Donald Trump – colluded with Russia, and Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the 2016 U.S. elections. Also, that Democrats, not President Trump, committed wrongdoing against Ukraine.

So, Nunes is claiming (falsely) that Democrats both colluded with Ukraine and attacked Ukraine (video below.)

“Democrats have a long habit of accusing Republicans of offenses they, themselves, are committing,” Nunes claimed. “For years they accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia when they themselves were colluding with Russia by funding and spreading the Steele Dossier that relied on Russian sources. And now they accuse President Trump of malfeasance in Ukraine, when they, themselves, are culpable. The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling,” Nunes charged.

Literally every word is a lie.

Remember that the U.S. Intelligence Community unanimously decreed that Russia attacked the 2016 U.S  elections. That fact was once again proven during the Mueller investigation, and in the Mueller Report. There is literally zero proof of Nunes’ claims.

Nunes, who may be best remembered for his dramatic dark of night visit to the White House in 2017, where he was given information by the Trump administration only to claim it was from a secret source. That information was falsely framed to suggest (wrongly) the Obama administration had illegally investigated the Trump campaign.

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