January 04, 2014
December 29, 2013
A security cam across the street caught the explosion from a terrorist attack in a Russian train station as it happened. You can see the light from the explosion within the building and then the smoke pouring out. At last count, the death toll was approaching two dozen.
The attack took place in the city of Volgograd.
December 18, 2013
History can be so daunting at times. For example, the historic dislike of Russia by right-wing conservatives is being wiped out by Putin's hatred for LGBT citizens. Loving the suppression of Russian LGBT citizens even former Russia hater Pat Buchanan is lining up with other religious right wingers to sing the Russian leaders praises.
In Townhall.com, Buchanan calls the Russian leader as 'one of us'. He writes:
Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?
In the culture war for mankind's future, is he one of us?
While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president's state of the nation address.
With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, "In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered."
"They're now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil."
Translation: While privacy and freedom of thought, religion and speech are cherished rights, to equate traditional marriage and same-sex marriage is to equate good with evil.
No moral confusion here, this is moral clarity, agree or disagree.
President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire "the focus of evil in the modern world." President Putin is implying that Barack Obama's America may deserve the title in the 21st century.
Nor is he without an argument when we reflect on America's embrace of abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values.
Our grandparents would not recognize the America in which we live.
Moreover, Putin asserts, the new immorality has been imposed undemocratically.
The "destruction of traditional values" in these countries, he said, comes "from the top" and is "inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people."
Does he not have a point?
Unelected justices declared abortion and homosexual acts to be constitutionally protected rights. Judges have been the driving force behind the imposition of same-sex marriage. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.
America was de-Christianized in the second half of the 20th century by court orders, over the vehement objections of a huge majority of a country that was overwhelmingly Christian.
And same-sex marriage is indeed an "abstract" idea unrooted in the history or tradition of the West. Where did it come from?
Peoples all over the world, claims Putin, are supporting Russia's "defense of traditional values" against a "so-called tolerance" that is "genderless and infertile."
While his stance as a defender of traditional values has drawn the mockery of Western media and cultural elites, Putin is not wrong in saying that he can speak for much of mankind.
Same-sex marriage is supported by America's young, but most states still resist it, with black pastors visible in the vanguard of the counterrevolution. In France, a million people took to the streets of Paris to denounce the Socialists' imposition of homosexual marriage.
Only 15 nations out of more than 190 have recognized it.
In India, the world's largest democracy, the Supreme Court has struck down a lower court ruling that made same-sex marriage a right. And the parliament in this socially conservative nation of more than a billion people is unlikely soon to reverse the high court.
In the four dozen nations that are predominantly Muslim, which make up a fourth of the U.N. General Assembly and a fifth of mankind, same-sex marriage is not even on the table. And Pope Francis has reaffirmed Catholic doctrine on the issue for over a billion Catholics.
While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm.
As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.
And though America's elite may be found at the epicenter of anti-conservatism and anti-traditionalism, the American people have never been more alienated or more divided culturally, socially and morally.
We are two countries now.
Putin says his mother had him secretly baptized as a baby and professes to be a Christian. And what he is talking about here is ambitious, even audacious.
He is seeking to redefine the "Us vs. Them" world conflict of the future as one in which conservatives, traditionalists and nationalists of all continents and countries stand up against the cultural and ideological imperialism of what he sees as a decadent west.
"We do not infringe on anyone's interests," said Putin, "or try to teach anyone how to live." The adversary he has identified is not the America we grew up in, but the America we live in, which Putin sees as pagan and wildly progressive.
Without naming any country, Putin attacked "attempts to enforce more progressive development models" on other nations, which have led to "decline, barbarity and big blood," a straight shot at the U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt.
In his speech, Putin cited Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev whom Solzhenitsyn had hailed for his courage in defying his Bolshevik inquisitors. Though no household word, Berdyaev is favorably known at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.
Which raises this question: Who is writing Putin's stuff?
President Obama yesterday sent a powerful message to President Putin and the Russian people about their violence and brutality directed toward LGBT Russian citizens. Obama in selecting the 'official delegation' to the Russian Olympics clearly made his feelings known about this issue.
Not only did the President make clear that neither the President or Vice President would not be attending Putin's party but he appointed two openly LGBT athletes to be part of the delegation. Billie Jean King and Brian Boitano will represent the United States and be very visible in Sochi. Can't wait to see what kind of actions the two of them will take in Sochi since they are protected by the United States government.
President Obama now joins a long list of heads of state who are refusing to attend the Olympics in protest of the Russian treatment its LGBT citizens. We can only hope the trend continues and the Russians have only 'D-List' guests to its big party.
Now if we can only convince NBC News and Sports to begin covering this story. Surely Matt Lauer and the Today Show will have King and Boitano on in the next week. Right?
Posted at 05:56 AM in Foreign Policy, International LGBT Rights, International Olympic Committee, International Relations, LGBT, LGBT Athletes, LGBT History, LGBT Russians, LGBT Sports, President Barack Obama, President Putin, Russia, Russian Gays, Russian Olympics, Sochi Olympic Games | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
December 16, 2013
For weeks since Russian President Putin blackmailed the Ukraine government into abandoning plans to become closer to Europe, the citizens of the Ukraine has fought back against the Russian bully. Boston.com's Big Picture has published inspiring photographs for the non-stop protests in Kiev.
Click here to see all of them and the all important photographer credits. (Click on photographs to make them larger).
December 11, 2013
Protests at 1968 Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans on getting tough on athletes who in any way protest at the Sochi Olympics the human rights violations in Russia. That includes protests related to Russia's persecution of its LGBT citizens.
The Associated Press is reporting:
The IOC is finalizing a letter to Olympic athletes reminding them to refrain from demonstrations or political gestures during the Winter Games in Sochi, including any protests against Russia’s law banning gay “propaganda.”
The International Olympic Committee executive board is expected to approve the
The memo will focus on Rule 50 in the Olympic Charter, which states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
“We will give the background of the Rule 50, explaining the interpretation of the Rule 50 to make the athletes aware and to assure them that the athletes will be protected,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“I know from my own experience, this is key,” added Bach, a former Olympic fencer who won a team gold medal for West Germany in 1976. “As an athlete you do not want to be confronted in the Olympic Village or the Olympic Stadium with any kind of political controversies.”
The IOC letter comes amid continuing Western criticism of Russia’s human rights record and the recently enacted law which bans promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The issue has raised questions over what would happen to athletes who wear a pin or patch or carry a rainbow flag to show their support for gay rights.
The charter says the IOC can take action against — even expel — athletes who violate Rule 50, but the committee has said the rule would be “interpreted and applied sensibly and proportionately.”
“This is about the principles,” Bach said. “The principle is to protect the Olympic athletes to be drawn into political controversies. Then, you always have to decide on a case-by-case basis.”
"If IOC President Thomas Bach truly cares about principles, he should speak out against the discriminatory Russian laws that clearly violate Principle 6 of the IOC's Charter," said Andre Banks, Executive Director of All Out. "These laws not only stigmatize the gay community, they have also ignited a wave of anti-gay violence around the country. It's time to change the Olympic bidding process to ensure that the honor of hosting the Games only goes to countries that respect basic human rights."
"The 34 Olympians who have joined our campaign feel it is their duty to uphold the Olympic Charter and act in the face of any form of discrimination. Equality is not about politics, it's about principles," said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "The Principle 6 Campaign uses the language of the IOC's founding document to give athletes, fans and global supporters a way to celebrate the Olympic values of non-discrimination and show solidarity with LGBT Russians. How could the IOC object to that?"
Posted at 05:26 AM in Civil Rights, Human Rights, International Olympic Committee, International Relations, LGBT Appointments, LGBT Russians, LGBT Sports, Olympics, President Putin, Principles and Values, Russia, Russian Gays, Russian Olympics, Sochi Olympic Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
December 03, 2013
" Sport Does Not Discriminate On Grounds Of Race, Religion, Politics, Gender Or Otherwise"
-Principle Six of the International Olympic Charter
AllOut.org and Athlete Ally has created a brilliant campaign to take to Sochi in February. The genius of it all is that the LGBT community is not putting any Athletes at risk while slowly and steadily feeding the International Olympic Committee their own words.
There is no question that by the time of the Olympics the Principle Six Campaign will stand not only for human rights but clearly for the freedom from the tyranny directed against the Russian LGBT community. The more athletes, media personalities, entertainers and others who wear Principle Six somewhere on their person the more powerful the message.
The two organizations announced this week that some Olympians have endorsed this effort. However it should not be limited to just Olympians but all athletes and supporters of human rights. American athletes should put a brilliant red '6' on their uniforms to show solidarity. That includes high school and college athletes.
Now is the time in your communities, school, universities and institutions to ask people to wear the bright red six to show resistance to the Putin's Punks.
American Apparel has partnered with the groups and will help finance the bold statement to take to Sochi. You will be able to get your "6" merchandise after January 1. Hope they have a small classy pin to put on your suit or formal wear.
This should be a campaign that everyone should be able to rally behind including NBC Sports, sponsors, athletes and activists
Posted at 06:00 AM in Civil Rights, Human Rights, International LGBT Rights, LGBT, LGBT Athletes, LGBT Discrimination, LGBT Organizatons, LGBT Russians, LGBT Sports, Olympics, President Putin, Principles and Values, Russia, Russian Gays, Russian Olympics, Sochi Olympic Games, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
November 19, 2013
Producer Bruce Cohen announced at the sold out Tyler Clementi Foundation event that the multi-Oscar nominated 'Milk' will be screened at the St. Petersburg LGBT Film Fest in Russia!. Cohen, who produced the movie, will travel will screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and director Gus Van Sant to be at the screening.
The screening of 'Milk' and it attendance by the activist trio will be a remarkable statement in the face of Russian oppression. The story of the life of the assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk has inspired activists around the globe.
The sixth edition of the Russian LGBT film festival Bok o Bok (Side by Side), which came under the authorities’ attack earlier this year, is to be held in St Petersburg on Nov. 21-30.
Among the highlights of the festival's lineup are Matterhorn by Dutch director Diederik Ebbinge, Xavier Dolan’s Tom a la Ferme (Tom at the Farm), W imie... (In the Name Of) by Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska and the documentary Lesbiana, by Canadian filmmaker Myriam Fougère.
The list of confirmed guests includes Ebbinge and cinematographer Dennis Wielaert, American filmmaker Marta Cunningham, whose film Valentine Road is to be screened in the documentary section, and Germany's Andreas Strohfeldt, co-director of Out in East Berlin.
The festival is also going to feature talks and discussions on LGBT issues.
Entrance to all the festival events are strictly to people over 18 years old to comply with the recently enacted controversial law "against propagation of homosexuality among minors."
Earlier this year, the festival came under attack from the authorities as it was branded a "foreign agent" and fined $15,500 (500,000 rubles,) in a move that many believe was a crackdown on non-governmental organizations. However, the festival appealed the verdict, and a higher court later
October 30, 2013
The site reports;
This year’s list features 17 heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of some $48 trillion — including the three most powerful people, Putin, Obama and Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China. The 27 CEOs and chairs control over $3 trillion in annual revenues, and 12 are entrepreneurs, including new billionaires on the list, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote (No. 64), founder of Dangote Group, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison (No. 58). Speaking of, this year’s class has 28 billionaires valued in excess of $564 billion.
Here are the top twenty most powerful people in the world.
1. President Vladimir Putin (Russia)
2. President Barack Obama (United States)
3. General Secretary Xi Jinping (China)
4. Pope Francis (Catholic Church)
5. Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany)
6. Bill Gates (Microsoft)
7. Chairman Ben Bernanke (Federal Reserve)
8. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia)
9. President Mario Draghi (European Bank)
10. CEO Michel Duke (Wal-Mart Stores)
11. Prime Minister David Cameron (United Kingdom)
12. Carlos Slim Helu and Family (Mexico)
13. CEO Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
14. Vice Premier Li Keqiang (China)
15. CEO Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
16. CEO Rex Tillerson (EXXON)
17. Sergey Brin (Google)
17. CEO Larry Page (Google)
18. President Francois Hollande (France)
19. CEO Timothy Cook (Apple)
20. President Dilma Rousseff (Brazil)
October 24, 2013
The Advocate has obtained an in-depth interview with MSNBC's morning anchor Thomas Roberts on NBC's decision to send him to Moscow to host the Ms. Universe Pageant. The decision has generated some debate among activists who are appalled by the treatment of LGBT Russian citizens by their government and Putin's Punks.
However, there has not been a solidified approach by the community. Most everyone is now aboard that there will not be a boycott of the Olympics. That our athletes should attend and find a way to express their support. People like Elton John have agreed to sing in Russia and make a statement while he is there. Others have decided to boycott the nation. Right now it has been an individual decision on how best to change minds in this highly intense debate.
Rather you agree with Roberts decision or not, this is a man who has been there for the LGBT community time and time again. He has agreed to show up and lean his support to almost every organization that asked for his help. On his show on MSNBC he has time and time again been open about his own sexuality and showcased the community's issues. This is a fact no one can dispute.
Roberts is a journalist who works for NBC. Here are excerpts from the interview about his accepting this assignment by his employer:
The Advocate: In your op-ed with MSNBC, you said that you aggressively pursued the opportunity to host this pageant when it became available. What was the thinking behind that for you? Why did you want to host this event?
Thomas Roberts: My thinking was that it's such a large, visible opportunity. It's saying, in over 190 countries, to a billion people, that we have a place at the table, we have a seat, and why give that up? While the homophobic laws are a major concern, there are unfortunately LGBT discriminatory laws that exist in other countries beyond Russia, and I thought this was a huge visible opportunity not only for... our own country, for Russia as well, but for the 188 countries where this is going to be seen. So I thought this was a fantastic opportunity for people to learn about me being openly gay, and marriage, and my husband being with me, and send a strong message.
The Advocate: How would you respond to folks who say it's tough to see what life is like on the Russian playing field for LGBT people, when you are on a different level, and attending there with a different level of security than the average queer person in Russia enjoys?
Thomas Roberts: Well, in advance of making this decision to accept this assignment, a lot of critical thinking went into it. And that was me coordinating to reach out to LGBT Russian activists, and to do my homework, and to get a dialogue going with them. So I didn't make this decision without doing my homework, and I continue to have great drive about the purpose of why I'm going there, and why somebody like me can do a lot more than just host, cohost, Miss Universe. So, I'm aligned with a cable network, a television network, and if people don't think that I'm going to do reporting from there, they're crazy.
The Adovocate: You mentioned that you reached out, and did your homework before accepting this assignment. What was the response of Russian LGBT activists that you reached out to?
Thomas Roberts: I was told: don't boycott. I was told that this is too big of an opportunity, and that voices like theirs need representation. So, what they want is, while they don't feel safe, they want influential people to come in, and speak out. Not only can I speak out ahead of time, before going, but I also have a great capacity to cover and storytell. So, that's why this assignment was so attractive to me.
The Advocate: I definitely agree — that's the goal. Well, that wraps up my questions. Do you have anything that you’d like to say that we didn’t touch on?
Thomas Roberts: I just hope people would have faith in me. You know I feel real strongly that I’ve always tried to be, not a perfect example, but a good example, of someone who can have a wonderful professional and personal life, and trying to do the right thing by his community. I’ve never denied this community. I’ve been a part of it for a long time now, and I hope to remain a good member in standing for a long time to come. So, I just hope people would have faith in me.