‘Well Maybe You Just Swayed the Kid to Go That Way’
A California school board president is under fire in his conservative county after making inaccurate comments about sex education, making offensive comments about LGBT people, refusing to apologize, and claiming his religious and free speech rights are being challenged. He is adamantly refusing to resign.
In a five hour school board meeting Wednesday that was open to the public,Â Fresno Unified School Board President Brooke Ashjian listened to concerned parents speak in support and opposition of him and his remarks.
It wasÂ Ashjian’s comments earlier this month to a local newspaper that created anger, pain, and upset throughout the school district. Included among his remarks were his belief that telling children being gay is OK can make them gay.
Ashjian had toldÂ The Fresno Bee hisÂ “biggest fear in teaching” sex education is “you have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage, and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that itâ€™s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way.”
That is of course false.
â€œItâ€™s so important for parents to teach these Judeo-Christian philosophies,â€ he added, as if being LGBT is immoral. The Fresno Bee identifiedÂ Ashjian as Mormon.
Wednesday night’s meeting became very emotional, with one person saying it made them sick to their stomach.
“Ashjian spurned demands for his resignation from people in the audience at an overflow board meeting Wednesday night, and equated LGBT activists, who have opposed him, with Ottoman Turks,” The Fresno Bee reports. “In a two-page letter that Ashjian read into the record, he said LGBT leaders were attacking his faith and trying to silence him and force him from his school board, tactics he said were akin to what the Ottoman Turks did to Armenians leading up to the 1915 genocide.”Â
A Trump supporter,Â Ashjian concluded his remarks by saying open debate is what “makes America Great.”
KSEE anchor Megan Rupe posted the text of his remarks to Twitter:
â€” Megan Rupe (@MeganRupeTV) August 24, 2017
“These individuals who are personally attacking me and my religious foundation while demanding my resignation, I ask why?” Ashjian said in his statement, which he read aloud (video below). “Is it simply because I exercised my Constitutional rights of freedom of speech while I was doing my duty or isnâ€™t something more nefarious, like simply desiring to muzzle anyone who dares not fall in line with the narrative of the day.”
“It is sad, they like the Ottomans are trying to be the thought police,” Ashjian said of LGBT activists.Â “They are trying to make people of faith second class citizens, as they seek to silence our voices in the public square. Just like what my grandparents and millions of other grandparents had to endure at the hands of the Ottomans before escaping to America.”
“I will NOT resign my position and I will not be silenced by bullies who want to control the public narrative by mischaracterizing the intent and meaning of my statements. My comments were not intended to offend anyone, but to simply express a concern. If we as board members cannot openly and honestly express concerns without being marginalized and labeled, then why do we even have a board?”
It’s important to note that no where in his remarks didÂ Ashjian mention anything about the LGBTQ students he is supposed to be serving. He did not mention what effect his remarks might have on young LGBTQ children or teens, or what lessons might be taught by this very public display of animus against them.
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Court Slaps Down Trump’s Attempt to Intimidate Pennsylvania Voters
At a Friday night rally, Republican President Donald Trump talked about his attempts to have “poll watchers” in the swing state of Pennsylvania, an attempt that a local court recently ruled as illegal.
“I think we’re leading everywhere,” Trump said at the rally. “We think in Pennsylvania doing great. We got to be very careful Philadelphia. They play games in Philadelphia, and they won’t let us watch the count in Philadelphia… So we’re watching Philadelphia.”
Trump then told his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to “please watch Philadelphia … because I don’t like what I’m hearing about Philadelphia…. I don’t like what I see going on in terms of what’s gone on over the past, and probably what’s going on. Think of it. They fought like hell that we can’t watch them. Count the vote, what’s wrong with watching? why can’t we have poll watchers? And so we’re in court right now poll watches in Philadelphia. But we’re doing great in Pennsylvania, gotta watch Philadelphia.”
"Why can't we have poll watchers? And so we're in court trying to have poll watchers in Philadelphia." — Trump pic.twitter.com/E4xCSFJqEk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 24, 2020
First off, the so-called poll watchers are needless seeing as there’s zero evidence of voter fraud at polling places, so Trump’s “watchers” are little more than intimidators meant to make Democratic voters nervous.
Second off, it’s not Meadows’ job to handle poll monitoring, election monitors or lawsuits. The White House Chief of staff serves as a “liaison among members of the President’s cabinet and the White House [and is] is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the President.”
Third off, on Friday, local Judge Gary Glazer ruled that the Trump campaign’s attempt to have poll-watchers at the state polls isn’t allowed under state law. The Trump campaign had sent unauthorized poll watchers into satellite poll offices where local election officials register voters and help people fill out their mail-in ballots, but the officials kicked the watchers out.
Trump said his watcher should be allowed to monitor such offices, but a bipartisan Philadelphia City Commission said that the satellite locations don’t qualify as official polling stations and therefore don’t qualify as a place allowed by state law to have poll watchers. Judge Glazer agreed.
On September 27, Politico wrote that Trump had hired dozens of lawyers from three major law firms and recruited thousands of volunteer attorneys to contest election results in 17 key states considered vital to his re-election.
In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Michael Gwin told the publication, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”
This Democrat Is Beating His GOP Opponent, So the Right-Wing Is Lying About Him Dressing Up As Hitler
Arizona senatorial candidate Mark Kelly is currently beating his Republican challenger Martha McSally by about 5 percentage points. So a right-wing media outlet decided to try and take Kelly down by posting a photo and lying about him dressing up as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during his school days at the Merchant Marine Academy.
On Friday, the right-wing website the National File shared photographic “proof” that Kelley had dressed as Hitler, and the post quickly went viral. But Kelly’s former classmates Jennifer Boykin, Peter Lindsey, Mark Baden and Ed McDonald have all said that the image isn’t of Kelly.
Lindsey in particular said someone contacted him with the image via the professional social network LinkedIn asked “and asked if the person in the costume was Mark Kelly. I told them no, and want to say again, Mark is not in those photos. I have spoken to numerous classmates about this evening, and they concur that he is not in any of these pictures. The people spreading these lies should stop.”
“The person who reached out to Lindsey was identified by the campaign as a paid consultant for a super political action committee aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., that is spending millions of dollars to help defeat Kelly,” AZCentral.com reports.
Every Second Another American Gets COVID-19. 100,000 New Daily Cases Predicted by Election
On Friday, the U.S. reported its highest ever daily toll of new COVID-19 cases with 83,948 new cases, according to Reuters. Considering that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, that means that almost every second, a U.S. resident comes down with a new case of COVID-19, according to New York Times correspondent Mike Baker.
Meanwhile, Dr. Angela Rasumussen, a virologist at Columbia University, has predicted that the U.S. will likely have its highest-ever daily count of newly confirmed cases by Election Day with around 100,000 new cases in a single day.
We will have 100K cases per day by Election Day https://t.co/mFoJ2vmLx6
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) October 24, 2020
As of October 23, an average of 800 U.S. residents are dying of COVID-19 each week and nationwide there are currently 41,000 hospitalizations related to the ongoing pandemic, reports The Guardian.
At the third and final debate last Thursday, Republican President Donald Trump said we’re “rounding the corner” on the epidemic, meaning that we’re improving towards sustainable change. There are no indicators that is actually happening. In fact, at a rally on Friday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden quipped, “As many as 210,000 avoidable deaths, and there’s not much he would do differently? If this is a success, what’s a failure look like?”
In fact, multiple pandemic experts, including Dr. Anthont Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said cases are likely to rise even higher during the cold winter months as people cluster indoors and meet for fall and winter holidays.
As of October 23, the U.S. has had over 8,535,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 223,900 related deaths. The epidemic has now killed more Americans than were killed in the U.S. military conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I combined.
While Trump has promised that a vaccine will appear in a few weeks, Dr. Fauci has said that a majority of Americans won’t have access to it until deep into 2021.
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