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Outrage Over Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws

Outrage rises over Russia’s draconian anti-gay laws, and talk of an Olympic boycott. We look at the culture clash and potential consequences.

Activists holding placards depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, participate at a protest against Russia's new law on gays, in central London, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. (AP)

Activists holding placards depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, participate at a protest against Russia’s new law on gays, in central London, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. (AP)

New law in Russia this summer can get a person in big trouble for talking about homosexuality.  Say you’re gay, or wear a rainbow flag, or write something on Facebook, or describe a “non-traditonal” relationship anywhere that someone under 18 might overhear, and Russian law can brand that gay “propaganda” and bring down the hammer.

It sounds odd to American ears when this country is going the other way on gay issues.  It’s already an issue for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

This hour, On Point:  Russia goes tough on the gay front, just as the world’s eyes turn to Russia and the games.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Julia Ioffe, senior editor at The New Republic. (@juliaioffe)

Masha Gessen, journalist and author of “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin.” (@mashagessen)

Tim Layden, senior writer for Sports Illustrated. (@sitimlayden)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Republic: Eight Horrific and Uplifting Stories About Being Gay in the New Russia – ”On January 25, Kremlin-friendly journalist Anton Krasovsky invited a bunch of drag queens on his show on KontrTV, a Kremlin-owned channel. It was his personal protest against a proposed law in the Russian parliament, the Duma, which would ban distributing ‘gay propaganda’ to minors. The law’s broad definition of ‘propaganda’ would prohibit publicly discussing gay relationships, comparing them to heterosexual ones, or calling them ‘normal.’ That is, it would effectively criminalize the process of coming out—so often the driving force for wider social acceptance of gays.”

The Guardian: As a gay parent I must flee Russia or lose my children – ”In June, the ‘homosexual propaganda’ bill became federal law. The Duma passed a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples and by single people living in countries where same-sex marriage is legal. The head of the parliamentary committee on the family pledged to create a mechanism for removing children from same-sex families.”

Associated Press: Gay-rights gesture may violate rules – ”The Swedish high jumper who painted her fingernails in rainbow colors to support gay rights has been told she could be in violation of the code of conduct at the world championships, a Swedish track and field official said Saturday.”

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  • Wahoo_wa

    As a gay man I have experienced how much American culture has changed dramatically in the past ten years but it’s important to note that many states (I believe 19) have no legal protection for sexual orientation or gender identity. Other states have only partial protection (i.e. protection for state employees but not public sector employees). Only 13 states and the District of Columbia have full legal protection for the LGBT community. The laws in Russia may be distasteful but the hypocritical outrage from Americans towards those laws is a bit much. How can one justify criticism of another culture when one’s own culture doesn’t pass the bar?

    • geraldfnord

      Easy: if we waited to become perfect or even completely decent, we’d have to wait too long…while our opponents in both nations delayed things as surely as Russian ‘communists’ and American racists used to boost each others’ credibilities. (Russian ideologues pointed to our racism whenever we criticized their oppression of their own citizens, and our bigots labelled any attempt to promote equality as communism.)

    • TELew

      My friend, you are dreadfully ignorant of your own history and current events. How can you not know of what is happening to gays in Africa–watch Rachel Maddow who frequently features the “kill the gays” law. Iran actively persecutes LGBT people. Back in the 1980s and 1990s we Americans had distinguished politicians such as Senator Jesse Helms and Representatives William Dannemeyer and Robert Dornan, among others, calling for gay men, HIV positive and negative, to be put in camps as a “quarantine” against the spread of AIDS. And homosexual men were one of the suspected classes that were routinely sent to concentration camps in Nazi Germany. While the death camps such as Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz had facilities to put newly arrive internees to death immediately, gays went to the labor camps where people were systematically starved and worked to death.

      Like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union was horrible to dissenters and certain classes of people. Indeed, the communist government killed millions of its own citizens. Vladimir Putin is a former high ranking official of the Soviet Union–KGB, which was essentially the Soviet Gestapo. And all evidence shows he wants to return to the “good old days” of the Soviet Union. There is also the fact that many of the countries of eastern Europe have a long history of pogroms–generally anti-Jewish, but the mentality is to kill people who are different–sort of like what happened in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

      As Harvey Fierstein recently said, the anti-gay laws are reminiscent of the anti-Jewish laws passed in Nazi Germany in the early 1930s. You start with fairly mild measures, and over the years you pass harsher measures, with the ultimate goal being to rid your country of the “menace” forever.

      The issue is not about cultural differences. It is about the persecution of an entire class of people, which the Soviet government, utilizing the KGB, was always really good at.

      • Johannes

        I keep remembering the quote & I dont know who it was but something like this:” They came for the blacks, then they came for the Jews, then they came for the homosexuals & Gypsies. Then they came for us.”

        • Ray in VT

          http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392

          and there was no one left to speak for me.

          • geraldfnord

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_

            Not to be too flippant about it, but homosexuals weren’t mentioned in the original, leading to a wag’s coming up with

            ‘…then they came for me, and I said, “Hey! You forgot about the gays—AND I KNOW WHERE THEY’RE HIDING!!’

            (Well, it’s a strategy, though not an admirable…and who knows whom I‘d sell-out if they should come for me.)

      • Wahoo_wa

        I am FAR from “ignorant of (my) own history and current events.” But thanks for the unwarranted insult based solely on the fact that I have a different opinion than you do.

        • TELew

          Wahoo, after re-reading your original post I apologize. I am gay too and I live in one of those states where GLBT people have no protections and no right to legally sanctioned marriages or civil unions. I came out in the Reagan Era, and that pretty much was h–l for an isolated person. I can see what you mean by hypocrisy and I totally agree with your point. Again, I am sorry.

  • andrewgarrett

    There must be some mistake. Russia is far more progressive than the US, otherwise Snowden wouldn’t be there, right?

    • geraldfnord

      Just as autocratic France was freer than the famously liberal Britain of the time, which is why the Founders sought its favour and accepted massive aid from it.

      (Politics have always made strange bed-fellows.)

  • HonestDebate1

    To my way of thinking, if we are going to get upset about the discriminatory laws of other nations then Sharia is the place to start.

    • fun bobby

      have you not heard? there are no gays in Iran.

    • nj_v2

      Wow, there’s a “way of thinking” at work here.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t know, I just think stoning women who have been gang raped to death for adultery is barbaric. But that’s just me.

        • Johannes

          You can’t be in the middle here with these folks. If you’re not a rabid rainbow flag waving pro gay apostle you are an ignorant homophobic Christian Rush loving Luddite. You’re wasting your ‘breath’.

    • Ray in VT

      So, do you agree with Rush on this one? Is this just Russia trying to uphold “normalcy”, and ergo not a concern? Are they just “not going to have that” there?

      • HonestDebate1

        I have not heard Rush comment on this. It just seems to me to be down on the list regarding international concerns. It isn’t even the most concerning thing happening in Russia.

        But I don’t mean to dismiss the injustice.

        • Ray in VT

          Missed that show maybe? It certainly seems to me to be a concern when a major country, which is at least sort of a part of “the West”, singles out a segment of its population for persecution.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea, I missed it. Perhaps you could post the Media Matters link for me.

            Sure it’s a concern but I am more concerned about the persecution and brutal oppression of women in the Muslim world.

            But the show does remind us how lucky we are to be Americans.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. Here you go:

            http://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2013/08/07/rush-says-russias-ban-on-gay-olympians-is-key-e/195273

            I think that treatment of women, minorities, etc., in parts of the Muslim world is quite concerning and troubling, such as a number of years ago when an Afghan apostate was sentenced to death. It didn’t seem like that was part of the deal when we helped to topple the Taliban, but it goes to show that we cannot impose our values on another people and make it work for them. Perhaps in the long term we can nudge them in what we think is the right direction.

            I agree that it should make one thankful to live in a country where one is (generally) free to be who one is, despite the issues that Wahoo raised during one of the first points of the day.

          • HonestDebate1

            You should read Bush’s speech to the UN on September 12, 2002 before the vote on Res.1441. You would be amazed at how much he talked about brutal oppression. WMD was just a small part.

            I agree we can’t impose our values and should not try, that’s why this show is a big yawn for me. But liberating victims from tyranny in a post 9/11 world is another matter. This doesn’t rise to that level.

          • Ray in VT

            So why Saddam? They are plenty of bad people in the world? I didn’t see the Bush administration making a push to invade North Korea, which actually does have WMDs and has probably killed a lot more of its people and threatens several of our allies. There’s also Sudan. They actually did harbor terrorists, and they have presided over the deaths of many in Darfur, and unless I am mistaken, was the justification for war not based upon U.N. resolutions calling for Iraq to disarm? And what was 1441 all about? Surely it was about his human rights abuses against his people? Right? Must have been. The U.N. speech was just to drum up support for a course of war that had already been decided upon at any rate, taking the Downing Street Memo into consideration.

            I guess that the persecution of a few people isn’t that big of a deal. We should probably just ignore the marginalization and discrimination of some groups. I wonder if you would feel that way if you were a part of that group?

          • HonestDebate1

            There were 16 resolutions over 12 years beginning with 686, 687 and 688 which had nothing to do with disarming. UN res 1441 was the 17th. He had invaded a sovereign nation, he had attempted to assassinate a President, he was shooting at our jets who were patrolling the no fly zone to protect the Kurds who where gassed with WMD he evidently never had. And on and on. There was no place on the planet with the paper trail. 12 years is a very slow march to war.

            http://edition.cnn.com/2002/US/09/12/bush.transcript/

    • Johannes

      thankyou- By definition–by their definition– Islam= misogynism, antisemitism & homophobia. Where’s all the outrage over that one? Hypocrites.

    • John_in_Amherst

      No doubt that Sharia law (which is debateable concept within Islam) is reprehensible in the eyes of not just the Christian West, but also Hindus, Buddhists, and sectarians anywhere.

      What is newsworthy about the Russia case is that the tide is now running
      in a direction opposite from recent history, in terms of acceptance – and now de facto endorsement – of violent acts against
      homosexuals. Attitudes toward homosexuality, and a lot of other facets
      of life & politics have taken a hard right turn under Putin, and is cause
      for one to wonder where it will all lead. Is it another rise of
      fascism, like Germany, circa 1934?

      Homosexuality is ostensibly taboo in
      Islamic countries, but there are male brothels in at least some of
      those countries, and it is more acceptable to have homosexual sex than to fornicate.

  • fun bobby

    how could Russia be an intolerant place? they used to be such a bastion of human rights

  • Coastghost

    Whatever became of “multiculturalism”? Progressives and liberals mouthed this codeword for decades, but the prospects
    of actual political latitudinarianism seem to’ve killed the notion. (That “multiculturalism” was a lie from its introduction into political discourse is shown in the intervening history of avid monocultural
    applications given to it, this one under discussion being the latest chapter.)

    Why expect Russian society to conform to our domestic standards? Why not leave a non-American society to maintain national customs that are not so deferential or accommodating to contemporary homosexual agitation? Is promotion of homosexualism (now a robust feature of US domestic policy) now also pillar of US foreign policy? (Are African Americans and sub-Saharan Africans destined for decades of political re-education until they drop their cultural antipathies towards homosexualism?)

    • geraldfnord

      Just as you on the right have a permanent tension between the libertarian, theocratic, and plutocratic tendencies, we on the Left have tension between those more interested in allowing for different cultural expressions and those who cleave more to the and the Enlightenment ideal of there being certain universal human rights that trump culture. I’m sure, being human, that we don’t get the balance right all (or even overwhelmingly most) of the time and it’s the sort of thing of which politics are made.

    • nj_v2

      That’s especially vile, pathetic, and regressive, even for you.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why is it always when the gays are the minority group in question, the concerns are marginalized about it not being the right venue (Olympics, St Patrick’s Day parades, Boy Scouts)? We wouldn’t put up with this for any other group.

    • Matt MC
    • John_in_Amherst

      Why is it gays in the cross hairs on this?? Because the U.S. has a significant block of “values-voters” from the GOP who think Putin has it right, and they control the legislatures of several states.

      Boycotting, however, seems like a blunt weapon, and confounds the fact that we have other issues that are also rankling US-Russian relations, not least of which is Putin’s open disdain of our black president. Perhaps a more pointed stance would be for the US should to send their Olympic team to compete, dressed in rainbow uniforms?

      • geraldfnord

        Back in the ‘Sixties, a lot of U.S. social conservatives seemed to admire how well the Soviets seemed to keep their youth and’ social deviants’ in line.

        • John_in_Amherst

          conservatives are threatened by “loose” social order, especially in uncertain times, and frequently find their views on matters of morality enforcement in sync with despots.

          Many right wingers in the US and Britain in the 30′s endorsed Hitler’s views on gays, Jews, and anyone else who was in a minority group capable of being scape-goated.

          • geraldfnord

            Yes, I find that hypothesis credible, and it points out that the very social disorganisation prevalent in the New Russia makes some yearn for supposed eternal verities, much as the inhabitants of teeming Cairo and Islamabad salve the dislocation of leaving village life with increased Islamic orthodoxy, and the Americans from the states with the highest rates of divorce, poverty, and bastardy cling to guns, religion, the religious worship of guns, and the use of religion as a weapon.

    • Johannes

      Have you forgotten Hitlers Olympics?

      • J__o__h__n

        No, I’d like to think we would boycott it today if the same thing was happening.

  • Ksenia

    It really bothers me that this LGBT persecution in Russia is only viewed in light of the Olympics and foreign athletes, not the Russian gay citizens for whom this is a DAILY existence. What will happen once the Olympics are over… will the rest of the world just forget about them?

    • John_in_Amherst

      more likely some of us will watch with horror, and some with smug content as the persecution continues unabated. As long as a sizable number of “values voters” think their harsh and vindictive judgement of gays is god’s will, (instead staying out of it, lest they be judged, and letting morality calls like this up to God, like Jesus implored), the US response to gay rights issues will be muddled.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Boycotting the games is not a good tact for 2014, by my estimation.

    This isn’t 30 years ago–the information, video, etc will get out.

    And also, no boycott because nothing says “rubbing their faces in it” like mens figure skating. Especially if someone hires the medalist Rudy Galindo as a TV commentator.

  • Coastghost

    Apparently, journalists in the US were not permitted by their publishers and editors to label Jerry Sandusky’s criminal activities as homosexual in nature, much less discuss his actions in terms of homosexual predation or recruitment: NOT ONE NPR report of the Sandusky affair featured the word “homosexual” in its coverage, even though in fact homosexual predation is what Sandusky engaged in.
    Does this amount to some clever “propaganda of silence” on the part of our media elites?
    Did Sports Illustrated ever ONCE use the word “homosexual” in ANY of its coverage of the Sandusky affair?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You managed to get through your whole spiel without using the word “pedophile”. Impressive.

      • Johannes

        He wasn’t doing girls.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          You need to talk to a professional about the language of the illnesses you’re misusing.

    • DeJay79

      good morning troll. glad to see you are ready to go.

    • nj_v2

      Right, that’s really noteworthy since we’ve had a long history of reporting of “heterosexual” predation or pedophilia.

      And to this this clown has worked in journalism (or so he claims.)

    • geraldfnord

      They used ‘homosexual’ as often as they would have used ‘heterosexual’ had his victims been girls, which would have also been an accurate but irrelevant adjective—’irrelevant’ because the lack of real consent is what matters, so the accurate but _significant_ adjective were ‘predatory’.

      • Coastghost

        Or: perfectly relevant, given the dynamics of homosexual agitation and advocacy in recent years.

        • Ray in VT

          Or: not relevant because Sandusky is a straight man who is a pedophile. It would probably be news to his wife of some 40+ years that he is gay.

          • Coastghost

            Well, I assume it was news to Mrs. Sandusky that her husband had become a sexual predator late in life. I don’t presume to identify Mr. Sandusky one way or the other, I only note that his criminal offenses consisted of episodes of homosexual predation while remarking on the curiosity that our media refused to identify his actions as such. (Such media inattention is sometimes reviled elsewhere as “providing cover”.)

          • HonestDebate1

            Is it any wonder with the “workplace violence” trial of Hasan? Or the effort to sell the video meme regarding the war on ter… ugh.. I mean “Overseas contingency operations”?

          • Ray in VT

            or like when we got sold the idea that invading Iraq was somehow linked to the war on terror.

          • HonestDebate1

            They are inextricably linked but when Bush made that case he was accused of trying to link 9/11 to Iraq. He never did. But Iraq is irrelevant.

          • Ray in VT

            It became linked when we toppled Saddam and Al Qaeda flowed into the vacuum that that created. Bush did, though, quite falsely attempt to link Saddam to Al Qaeda, and it is still true that a substantial number of Americans think that Saddam was involved with 9/11. You’re right, though. Iraq is irrelevant here, just as your video reference is also irrelevant to the topic of gays in Russia.

          • HonestDebate1

            My video reference was related to Coastghost’s comment.

            And no Bush didn’t try to link Al Qaeda to 9/11. To the extent people believe it, it is a result of a relentless press pounding home the lie. Usually it comes back to a Cheney quote that is also lied about. Cheney linked terrorists to Iraq not Al Qaeda. There were some early reports about Atta in Iraq or the fuselage for training in Salmon Pac but Bush and Cheney always made very clear there were no ties. ALWAYS, over and over again. For a little while it could not be ruled out but it was never used as a justification to go to war. EVER. Hussein was intolerable in a post 9/11 world and that was the only connection.

            I am always amused at the premise of your notion. It seems to be that Bush was such a gifted orator that he could specifically say there were no ties over and over and at the same time imply there was, and fool the entire world. I don’t think so.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, then I think that my point is perfectly relevant. You claim an effort to “sell” the public on the “video meme”, and I contend that the American public was sold a bill of goods regarding Saddam’s supposed ties to Al Qaeda. For instance:

            “In September, after Cheney asserted that Iraq had been “the geographic
            base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years,
            but most especially on 9/11,”"

            http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/06/15/bush.alqaeda/

            Yeah, I don’t know where people would have gotten the idea that Iraq and 9/11 were linked in any way. I am always amused by your attempts to explain away the lies of the previous administration based upon the idea that belief, despite facts to the contrary, justifies the falsehoods that one spreads. I will simply say that if Bush were to say something “over and over”, then why would he contradict himself in some very high profile, public and scripted utterances? Seems pretty fishy.

          • HonestDebate1

            I replied but am now waiting on approval from the moderator. Meanwhile look up the transcript CNN cherry picked the quote from and notice “Iraq” isn’t in the quote. Cheney did not say Iraq was the geographical base of Al Qaeda. You’re barking up the wrong tree, no one tied 9/11 to Iraq.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m guessing the moderator is off until the morning so I dug it up again. Cheney was talking about the entire Middle East and how IRaq was slap dab in it’s heart. The Middle east is the geographical base of terrorism. You should be angry at CNN for manipulating you. Here’s the context:

            VICE PRES. CHENEY: Tim, we can do what we have to do to prevail in this conflict. Failure’s not an option. And go back again and think about what’s involved here. This is not just about Iraq or just about the difficulties we might encounter in any one part of the country in terms of restoring security and stability. This is about a continuing operation on the war on terror. And it’s very, very important we get it right. If we’re successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it’s not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it’s not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11. They understand what’s at stake here. That’s one of the reasons they’re putting up as much of a struggle as they have, is because they know if we succeed here, that that’s going to strike a major blow at their capabilities.

            MR. RUSSERT: So the resistance in Iraq is coming from those who were responsible for 9/11?

            VICE PRES. CHENEY: No, I was careful not to say that.

          • Ray in VT

            I usually get more miffed when someone tries to pass off to me a turd sandwich, as you often do. Take this for instance. Cheney said that we have to succeed in Iraq so that “so that it’s not a safe haven for terrorists”. Which terrorists might those be, I wonder. Perhaps Atta, which the administration claimed had connected to Iraqi intelligence, although the CIA said that he did not way back in December of 2001:

            http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/20/declassified-document-contradicts-cheneys-claim-of-iraqi-connection-to-911/

            There was a pretty determined effort to tie Iraq to Al Qaeda, with supposed “operational ties”, contrary to intelligence. And who was carried out the 9/11 attacks at the time that they were supposedly getting aid from Iraq? I forget.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s what i said Ray.

            “Usually it comes back to a Cheney quote that is also lied about. Cheney linked terrorists to Iraq not Al Qaeda.”

            Just because I proved you have been manipulated by CNN does not mean you have to ignore it and change the subject.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps you should look at my original comment before accusing me of changing the subject. My comment was about linking Iraq to the war on terror, and my comments have been about the false linking of Iraq and Al Qaeda. So, before YOU change the subject and accuse me of manipulated, despite the fact that you still seem to want to tow the line on Bush’s lies, you might want to look at what I said.

          • geraldfnord

            Bush didn’t do it personally, but the war party within his administration did intimate, suggest, and darkly hint as much on every available opportunity.

          • geraldfnord

            No, the push to link Iraq with the 2001-09-11 attacks began roughly 2001-09-12; it is to the F.B.I.’s, C.I.A.’s,N.S.A.’s and military intelligence’s credit that they refused to say that there were credible evidence therefor no matter how many times they were asked, cajoled, and threatened. Now if they’d been _waterboarded_, then maybe they would have given them what they wanted….

            If they had had good evidence of anything justifying an invasion, they wouldn’t have bothered leaking false evidence to the New York “Times” and then used the fact that it had shown up in the “Times” as evidence, or tried to smear Joseph Wilson, or bothered to make a point of saying ‘Saddam’ or ‘Iraq’ within fifteen seconds of saying ’9-11′ whenever possible.

          • HonestDebate1

            Correction, it was F.B.I.’s, C.I.A.’s,N.S.A.’s and military intelligence’s AND Bush and Cheney who refused to say there was a connection. Joe Wilson lied as the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded.

          • jimino

            If it wasn’t determined to be a workplace injury would the victims be entitled to any compensation for their injuries? If so, what would be the legal basis and guarantee for such compensation?

          • Ray in VT

            I think that the media fairly covered who his victims were, without needing to perhaps falsely identify his pedophilia with homosexuality, which, of course, a certain percentage of the population equates.

          • HonestDebate1

            She must have known.

          • Ray in VT

            Must she have? Sometimes, perhaps, only the Shadow does know what evil lurks in the hearts of men. I think that a determined individual could likely conceal certain actions from even those closest to them.

          • HonestDebate1

            Maybe, but 40 years is a long time to stay willfully blind.

          • Ray in VT

            Again, you seem to be making assumptions about his conduct at home, about which I do not know.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, I am assuming she wasn’t stupid.

          • Ray in VT

            Should we also assume that the various people and groups who have close associations with various serial killers and the like also knew?

          • HonestDebate1

            Only the ones who were married for 40 years.

          • Ray in VT

            So, if my wife is a serial killer, and seeing as how I have only been married to her for 12 years, then I cannot be assumed to know?

          • HonestDebate1

            My guess is you wouldn’t marry a serial killer to begin with. What are you getting at?

          • Ray in VT

            Not knowingly, but they can be tricksey. Like Hobbits. I’m just wondering how long you think that someone can be closely associated with someone who is doing terrible things before they “must” or “have to” know?

          • geraldfnord

            Kent Allard, thou art avenged!

          • Johannes

            Of course she did; he was doing his own adopted son too.

        • John_in_Amherst

          wtf is “homosexual agitation”?

          • Ray in VT

            I think that agitation it is when some “uppity” minority goes about causing a stir by trying to secure rights.

          • geraldfnord

            You mean when some ‘people’ start to act as_if_ they had rights.

    • jimino

      Just read a report of a brutal serial rapist and his female victims. Not one mention of heterosexuality in the story. Not even one! How do you explain that?

      • Coastghost

        I would begin to explain it by noting that heterosexuality is normative (statistically) and homosexuality is deviant (statistically).

        • jimino

          And those who consider gays and lesbians as deviants are on their way to being deviant (statistically).

        • geraldfnord

          Christians are commanded to ‘be not conformed to this world’; since Christians still constitute the overwhelming majority of the nation, we are in a situation in which the majority are instructed not to be like what’s normal…making that normal. (And here I thought it was the _Trinity_ and Hellfire that drove Christiandom insane enough to nearly conquer the world.)

    • John_in_Amherst

      Organized propaganda? I assume you are inferring the media has a pro-homosexual bias? Perhaps. Perhaps not. There was the awkward confounding fact that Sandusky has a wife of long standing (who apparently has a hearing problem, at the very least, as some of the sex occurred in Sandusky’s house with her at home). He also had no reported history of consensual homosexual behavior with another adult. The “type” of sex was not the issue, it was the fact that he preyed upon kids he was ostensibly protecting/mentoring.

  • smaktcat

    Send the winter olympics back to Canada., no need to boycott.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “One can’t imagine the hateful propaganda which is on Russian TV as a matter of course every day,” per Gessen (paraphrase).

    Not really watching a lot of Russian media, I’m curious to know if the guests noted an increase from when the IOC awarded the games to Sochi.

  • Guest

    Mr Putin, you can rule without hate.

    • geraldfnord

      Maybe _someone_ could, but not Mr Putin: he views the old Soviet Union as the apex of humanity and the old K.G.B. of his youth as the apex of that society.

  • Ray in VT

    I just missed a bit of the show, but has the issue of more general xenophobia and racism in Russia been raised, as it would seem that such a move would be in line with that sort of mentality.

  • Really???

    Mr. Putin, you can rule with a little love.

  • J__o__h__n

    How is the high number of divorces evidence that Russia isn’t socially conservative? The Bible Belt has a much higher divorce rate than Massachusetts.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Is there a capital-S State capital-C Church in Russia? Or can people just get married without some clergyman’s blessing?

      • TELew

        I am very skeptical about how “Christian” Russia is today. Under the Soviet Union, the official state “religion” was atheism, and the Soviets–especially Joseph Stalin–were pretty hard at cracking down on whatever they viewed as a threat to them.

        That said, the Russian Orthodox Church was never entirely suppressed during the days of the Soviet Union, and undoubtedly a sizable population remained Orthodox (not to mention the numerous ethnic Muslim groups in the southern part of the former Soviet Union).

        I would guess that many if not most Russians get married without a church blessing, but my answer here does not rest on any real knowledge of the situation. Still, as can be seen from the Patriarch’s position on gays (sign of the apocalypse, etc.), he is pretty confident that his church is the one true one.

        The Russian Orthodox Church was originally a subordinate of the Orthodox Christian Church (as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church). The OCC lost its primacy over the ROC when the Ottoman Turks (Muslims) finally captured Constantinople in about 1453. This broke ties with the Greeks, and in the aftermath the ROC viewed itself as the champion of the true faith.

        • geraldfnord

          The Orthodox Church was violently suppressed until it was used to rally the people for the Great Patriotic War…Saddam at least played the good Muslim in his later, weaker, years…the segregationist Americans called the private schools into which they placed their children to avoid their duskier brethren ‘Christian academies’…the phrase ‘the SECOND refuge of a scoundrel’ comes to mind.

  • geraldfnord

    Has the Orthodox Church tried to do anything about the rape of new recruits which has always been endemic to the Russian Army?

    Cultural conservatives tend to care much more about violations of wrong-body-parts-touching tabus than about the violation of decency implicit in ignoring consent—consent, after all, is a product of the individual, fallen, human will, the tabus are endorsed by the Creator of the Universe or The Ancestors or some such other cant.

    (But lest we be smug: I am not elderly, and these attitudes are much the ones current in the U.S. in the year of my birth.)

    • Ray in VT

      I saw Stephen Fry on Craig Ferguson, and he spoke about doing an interview with some high ranking public health official (I think from Sub-Saharan Africa) who favored criminal prosecution of homosexuality, but who seemed okay with the “right kind” of child rape (i.e. heterosexual). It is strange the positions that get taken sometimes.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Stephen Fry, from “Jeeves and Wooster” and “A Few Minutes with Fry and Laurie”?

        • J__o__h__n

          You forgot Black Adder!

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Another Brit celeb who went to “Oxbridge” and came out brainier for it. As an American, I’m a bit jealous.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Black Adder Goes Forth has probably the biggest downer as the ending of a comedy series.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I dunno, it was pretty elegaic to me.

            The British always seem to have an ability to do things like that and make it work. (Which is why so many things remade in the US don’t work, and until the last decade, about none of them did. There were two “Fawlty Towers” rewrites for US network TV, fergawdsakes.)

            Given the setting of that Black Adder series, isn’t that what one expected to happen, percentagewise? How does one gussy up that bit of history?

            And given when it was created, it makes more sense. That ending would be unthinkable for a TV show written in 1946, say.

            (And I won’t spoil it for anyone else.)

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, I guess. I mean it is a bit strange to set a comedy in the trenches of the Western front anyways. Did you ever watch Red Dwarf? They tried to do that for American TV, but I don’t think that it got past the pilot, thankfully.

          • J__o__h__n

            I think the worst American adaptation was Coupling. Unfortunately, that one made it on air for at least one show.

          • Ray in VT

            My wife liked the original, but she saw the U.S. version as being a likely train wreck. Some things just don’t translate well. I can only imagine what our TV would do to a show like the Inbetweeners, which was pretty damned funny, but, I think, pretty unsuited for American television.

        • Ray in VT
        • geraldfnord

          Also of Molly Lewis[sweetafton23]‘s paean:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n_hkeYGcT0

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “They thought this was the one minority they could get away with doing this to,” per Masha.

    There’s your pull quote.

  • Coastghost

    Yes, let’s just treat Russia as if it’s a dependency or protectorate of the US whose polity WE can “fix”: we do such a swell job anymore of respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity . . . .

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I gotta say, you’re really committed to your bit.

      • Coastghost

        Yeh, I’m always suspicious of our monocultural overlords in the media.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Fine case of needle-threading. You’re not fooling as many people as you think.

          • Johannes

            he’s got you all worked up

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            You have some fantastical app that shows you how much CG makes me yawn while I bat his tired crap down?

  • Yar

    What? “People speaking for equal rights in this country was never considered a crime.” Tell that to all the people locked up in the south during the civil rights movement. Your guest is whitewashing our own checkered history.

  • Yar

    Just think how far we have strayed from the days when athletes were only males who preformed nude. (Satire intended)

    There are two stories relating to the question of nudity at the ancient Olympic Games. One story states that it was a runner from Megara, Orsippos or Orrhippos who, in 720 B.C. was the first to run naked in the stadion race when he lost his shorts in the race. Another tradition is that it was the Spartans who introduced nudity to the Olympic Games in the 8th century B.C. as it was a Spartan tradition. It is not clear if the very first recorded victor at Olympia, Koroibos, who won the stadion race in 776 B.C. wore shorts or not. It seems fairly clear that by the late 8th century nudity was common for the male contestants.

    http://www.penn.museum/sites/olympics/olympicorigins.shtml

    • John_in_Amherst

      bisexuality was also the norm in classical Greece

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        I understand only the olive oil was tested to be “extra virgin”. (/rimshot)

      • Geheran1958

        Sexual abuse of children is the “norm” in the North America Man-Boy Association. Does that make it right?

        • Brad Fulton

          And this is germane HOW?

          • Geheran1958

            Just pointing out that saying something is the “norm” within a cultural subset does not necessarily make it so.

          • John_in_Amherst

            the bisexual “cultural subset” in classical Greece (and also Rome) was basically the whole society. Julius Ceasar was reputedly a great lover of both women and men. Homosexual/bisexual behavior is exhibited in hundreds of species. Physically, it’s all just skin against skin. The “right and wrong” is in the mind of the beholder/judge.

          • Geheran1958

            Point taken. My read on Greco/Roman history is not so black and white.

          • geraldfnord

            As I understand it, I’m afraid, pæderasty was more acceptable than homosexual relations between grown men, although the main mode approved was between a full adult and a youth beginning to have sexual feelings but no body hair yet, who at least (to be crude about it, apologies) would be capable of ‘f&^king back’.

            The ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are entirely in the mind, but so are very many other useful things—there is not one molecule of Justice or Rights in the universe. I, and I hope enough others, promulgate an ethic in which consent is paramount, and children cannot freely and knowingly consent due to their mental age and lack of power. It is necessary to their survival and thriving that children be somewhat controllable, and forced to do things that are at least momentarily unpleasant (think medical procedures, dentistry, school) Given that we insist that children be in this way compellable by adults, we have to police what adults may ask of children. (Similarly, no officer should be allowed to solicit sex from a subordinate.)

            What age were a cut-off for the ability to consent? I don’t know: multiplying my I.Q. by my age (and dividing by the norm) I decided that I should have the right to vote at age eleven…but now I know that back then I was unlearned enough in the world that I gave I.Q. that kind of credence…. Scans of the neocortex and a test to see if the person in question understood the consequences of sex might not be a bad start, but for now we just use arbitrary ages faute de mieux, with ‘Romeo and Juliet’ exceptions for decency’s sake.

            (Apologies for the prolixity; I’ll do better later at controlling it.)

        • John_in_Amherst

          no. it is not between consenting adults.

  • Ray in VT

    It always makes me chuckle a bit when I hear someone say that they don’t want “gay stuff” in their faces.

    • Leonard Bast

      I’d chuckle too except that such people are so moronic and so destructive. As a gay man perhaps I should begin a campaign to keep straight stuff out of my face. That would also be worth a chuckle.

      • Ray in VT

        Yeah, that makes it much less funny. Your suggestion would make a funny shirt. My brother-in-law can be pretty homophobic, and he’ll sometimes get going with a line like “just think about what gay men do”, to which I respond with something like “why are you thinking about what gay men do?” That usually shuts him up.

    • http://www.keithrmathews.com Keith Mathews

      I always chuckle when they to use the euphemistic term, that they don’t want gayness “Shoved down their throat.”
      Irony is lost on the ignorant, I guess.

    • geraldfnord

      You have enough admirable reticence to avoid quoting the ones who say, ‘..;.don’t want all it shoved down our throats.’

  • funboy187

    Sounds like Linda needs some dong. Or maybe a lil’ poon. Linda? Can you hear me?

  • funboy187

    Lindaaa. Liiiindaaa!

  • YesMan6

    Маша Гессен, мы с Вами!

    • rockhauler

      я тоже.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Gay marriage, marijuana, TARP, the bailouts, the stimulus, Obamacare, surveillance, etc. Where is your gut on most of these issues?

    Hmm. You’d think you’re a libertarian.

    This is America’s libertarian moment.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/americas-libertarian-moment/278785/

    • J__o__h__n

      What is your gut on roads, police, fire fighters? You must be a statist.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Where do people with libertarian principles argue that Roads, Police and Fire Fighters shouldn’t exist?

        Just hold your nose and read the article, then comment on something specific.

        • geraldfnord

          We had something like that years back—some right-libertarians have been explicit about wanting to go back to 1885—and if it had been sufficient we would have not bothered with anything else. That doesn’t mean that everything we’ve got should stay—even good code can accumulate kruft over time, it’s probably almost always a good time to refactor—but it’s tiring to hear the current arrangements treated as if they were hook-proboscidly imposed on us from Earth orbit by Masons from Space.

      • geraldfnord

        You forgot limited liability, bankruptcy, the accumulation of types and amounts of property impossible in the State of Nature and a truly free market, the ability to enforce contracts later deemed repulsive by the community…the “Libert”arians support lots of State action as long as it’s best for people who have more property than they could otherwise get-away-with

  • Geheran1958

    Great topic. While the Russian anti-gay legislation is rightly subject to scrutiny, what has prevented like scrutiny of the far more egregious harassment, persecution and severe punishment so commonplace in virtually all 57 OIC countries? Let me guess……”PC”, willful blindness, fear of retribution, unwillingness to tell the unvarnished truth, lack of journalistic integrity, fear of being labelled “Islamophobe”, fear of offending the “religion of peace” or, all of the above. What ever became of the NPR “gold standard” hook that persuades so many listeners to ante up their annual dues? Probably fell victim to “corporate support”?

  • StarGeezer

    Thanks for a thoroughly one-sided, propaganda laden episode. Where is the guest with the opposing view? Tom’s working assumption is that everyone in the west supports homosexual rights and that’s how it should be. The truth is, this is still a hotly contested issue in the US and the rest of the west and most major religions oppose homosexuality. Russia is a sovereign nation and free to choose it’s own path & make it’s own laws. Given that this is the path they’ve chosen they are wise to heed the success of the constant stream of homosexual rights propaganda so prevalent in the west. The very term “homophobia” is derisive and a form of propaganda. Most anti-homosexuals aren’t phobic, i.e. afraid of homosexuals. Try “homo-odium” instead…

    • Nobody of Consequence

      “Tom’s working assumption is that everyone in the west supports homosexual rights…”

      Wrong. Tom’s working assumption is that Homosexuals are human beings and therefore entitled to human rights. It doesn’t matter what the majority thinks. Inalienable rights are just that and not subject to vote on whether we want to recognize them or not.

      And I agree about the term homophobia. You’re not afraid of them, you obviously think they are less than human and undeserving of human rights, which just makes you a type of supremacist.

    • Brad Fulton

      Fools rush in, Geezer. YOU must be going about 257mph.

    • Johannes

      I believe in equality for all. Lets get that right out there. But I thought the same thing of the show. Tom doesn’t want to hear anything other than what he thinks is ‘progressive’ & if you disagree you are what ‘regressive?

  • Johannes

    I couldn’t help but wonder–> where’s all the outrage about civil rights violations endemic in all Muslim countries? By their own definition homophobes & misogynists & anit -semites. Where’s the show about that issue? I believe the technical term is hypocrite. I think Tom is suffering from a bad case of “Eastcoast progressive eliteism”.

    • John_in_Amherst

      what is newsworthy about the Russia case is that the tide is now running in a direction opposite from the west, in terms of acceptance and also in the tacit and now spoken endorsement of violent acts against homosexuals. Attitudes toward homosexuality, and a lot of other facets of life/politics have taken a hard right turn under Putin, and is cause for one to wonder where it will all lead. Is it another rise of fascism, like Germany, circa 1934? Homosexuality is ostensibly taboo in Islamic countries, but there are male brothels in at least some of those countries, and it is safer to have sex with homosexuals than to have sex with a woman outside of marriage.

      • TELew

        I think you overstate the case. Homosexuals are definitely persecuted in Iran, and countries such as Nigeria that have recently enacted anti-homosexual measures are majority Muslim.

        Homophobia is not confined to certain religious persuasions. It is a heterosexual majority (meaning everywhere) thing, and it is severally punished and abhorred in atheist China as it is in Christian Right America.

        • TELew

          Oh yeah, I just found out that in Pakistan, having homosexual sex can lead to life imprisonment.

          • geraldfnord

            Something makes me think that if a Pashtun chieftain were publicly exposed in flagrante aardvarko with a bacha and charges made against thme, his would be dropped (unless most of his men had defected to the side making the charges) and the boy’s pursued even unto his death.

    • J__o__h__n

      I’m always amused by how much the right cares about women and gay rights when the people denying rights are Muslims and not Christians.

      • Ray in VT

        I know that I only get concerned with people sniveling about their rights when it affects me. My rights are constantly under assault by (insert enemy of choice). Sarcasm off.

  • http://www.PsychicServices-FrankMichel.com/ Psychic Services Frank Michel

    Fascism comes in many guises. Once it was Hitler scapegoating Jews so he could consolidate his political power by intimidation and extermination. Now it’s Putin scapegoating gay Russians by implementing draconian laws to create a homophobic hysteria in Russia. When will this antisocial bullying end? Who’s next to go to the Gulag?

  • Alex Parkovich

    I like how Putin handled adoption by gay families. I think this is a disgusting western practice and should be separated from gay rights. How people have sex has nothing to do with raising a child in a family where both parents are gay. Such an abnormal family will end up making psychological invalids out of their kids.

    • Ray in VT

      Except that available research contradicts that suggestion.

    • nj_v2

      [[ Such an abnormal family will end up making psychological invalids out of their kids. ]]

      Do you make this statement based purely on your own ignorance, or is there some bogus, pseudo-science you’re privy to?

      • geraldfnord

        Aah…you see, if the children turn out content and self-assured and moral and capable, that would make them approve of their parents—they will be ‘psychological invalids’ in that they won’t be as good at bigotry as they would have been otherwise.

        • Ray in VT

          Decreasing the ability of people to be fully capable bigots. Just another insidious part of the Gay Mafia’s master plan.

  • tbphkm33

    I have always thought that what goes on behind private doors by consenting adults is none of mine or anyone else’s business. I never cared about homosexuals kissing in public, but just like with heterosexuals, I rather not see couples getting too grabby or physical, get a room already.

    It is a bit much for the U.S. to place itself on the moral high ground. I have gay and lesbian friends who say there are plenty of locations in the U.S. they they would not feel comfortable holding hands in public. The status quo of the U.S. has progressed over the past twenty years, but there are still plenty of neanderthals out there.

    Furthermore, there is a fine line between diplomatically nudging social morality in other countries versus trying to impose our values. Lets not forget, there were several hundred years that slavery was outlawed in Europe, while it ran amuck in the U.S.

    I am not condoning Russia and other countries that enact repressive laws, they should be ostracized in the world press and be reminded of their responsibilities under their own signature to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, much of the press articles on the Russian laws incorporate an element of moral superiority. Such a view will on insure entrenchment of the Russian people and further set back development of Russian society.

    The U.S., and activists in the U.S., need stronger incorporation of homosexual rights into treaties with foreign countries. Make it clear to Russia that for example a free trade treaty is dependent upon them revoking anti-gay laws. That way sovereignty of other countries is respected, but if they want to benefit from relations with the U.S., they have to make advances in human rights.

    • geraldfnord

      As we say in Yiddish, «La perfection est l’ennemi du mieux.»
      To say that one’s nation must be perfect before criticising is equivalent to saying that one must never criticise.

  • http://www.keithrmathews.com Keith Mathews

    Define “normal,” which is a judgmental term used mostly by those who cannot understand subtlety.

  • Coastghost

    I guess it must be up to Barack Obama himself to begin the long process of political re-education of both sub-Saharan Africans and African Americans that will be needed to disabuse them of the deep-seated animosities and pronounced antipathies towards homosexuals and homosexualism that these populations broadly are known for. I can see why postponing news of the advent of this public re-education program could be delayed for another few years, but the inevitability seems stark enough: Hillary can tell us whenever she wants to just how she proposes to conduct the schoolmarming.

    • MrBigStuff

      Lol that’s what I was thinking.

  • geraldfnord

    I’m firmly on the Left, and I have to admit some errors in this wise on some of the Left’s part: there is a difference between keeping people from using images, mockery, and verbal threats as weapons of exclusion from employment or use of a public facility and saying that anyone has the right never to be offended, ever…Sometimes my side has blurred that difference, and now the Right have picked up that trope and run with it. (…with less finesse, of course, in my perfectly unbiased opinion/)

  • geraldfnord

    Enlightenment in its universalistic (humani nihil a me alienum puto) vs its multicultural (all pre-Enlightenment cultures about equally bad, so no privileging any of them) modes.

  • geraldfnord

    ‘Captain, the Godwin alert just tripped.’/'All power to shields, Mr Sulu…and may I say you look _lovely_ today.’

    • Ray in VT

      Oh my. There should be a name for a law that any conversation about homosexuality will turn, sooner or later, to pedophilia.

  • HonestDebate1

    Here is the entire transcript, read it and my replies to Ray.

    http://www.today.com/id/3080244/ns/meet_the_press/t/transcript-sept/

  • HonestDebate1

    That was a big reason we went to war, I gave you the speech when Bush made the case for war. Read it.

    9/11 changed everything. It’s not that complicated.

    • Ray in VT

      Got it. 9/11 gave the President the leeway to lie to and mislead America into a war in Iraq against a guy who he wanted a fight with anyways under the guise that it was fighting terrorism. The ends justifies the means, I guess.

  • MrBigStuff

    80-something percent approval from the Russian people? I think many Americans forget that Russia has a very different socio-political history that is deeply rooted in their cultural psyche. Just because they’re white, no longer Soviet and a UN-member nation doesn’t mean they share the universal western liberal ideals imposed by the United States’ “higher moral authority.” Putin (along with Jingping) has long viewed American global hegemony and the standards that it imposes on other nations as a threat against state sovereignty. Please don’t confuse me with a Putin apologist, however we must keep things like this in mind when we ask “how could Russia enact laws like this?” Not everyone in the world thinks gay rights are a top global priority, despite what MTV might say.

    • nicholas

      true but treating humans equal should

    • ThePhdScientist

      Yes Putin and his Russian’s sure look like classy people when they’re beating up gay men and women in the street. Kudos to the 3rd world mentality!!

  • MrBigStuff

    “This is my country, go live in Europe.” Again, that statement highlights that the political and cultural differences between Russia and the West are marked. Two heads looking in different directions, and neither can figure out which way to go.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    What do we expect from power-drunk statists?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=related&v=nkcY7SVBG-4&nomobile=1

  • HonestDebate1

    I don’t even know who this guy is but kudos to him for speaking truth on the Russia Today Network.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEV9O_O7EB8&feature=player_embedded#t=153

ONPOINT
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Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

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