Moral Low Ground

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Obama’s Hypocrisy Re: Russia’s Anti-Gay Law

Once again, President Barack Obama has demonstrated the sort of staggering hypocrisy for which US leaders are so often criticized around the world.

This time, it was about gays and Russia, specifically that country’s new anti-gay law and Moscow’s proclamation that the homophobic legislation, under which individuals who disseminate “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” can be jailed and fined thousands of dollars, will be enforced at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Appearing on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Tuesday, Obama, who only recently ‘evolved’ to the point where he accepts equality for LGBT individuals here at home, took aim at Russia, declaring he had “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in a way that intimidates them or is harmful to them.”

“One of the things I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly because that’s what we stand for,” Obama continued. “I believe that’s a precept that’s not unique to America. That’s just something that should apply everywhere.”

Yes, it should, but it doesn’t, and some of the worst offenders also happen to be countries which enjoy excellent relationships with the United States and receive significant military, economic and political support from the Obama administration.

Gay sex is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, recipient of tens of billions of dollars worth of advanced US weaponry. Instead of rebuking the Saudi regime for its blatantly brutal homophobia– gays are regularly whipped and imprisoned in the fundamentalist Islamic kingdom, President Obama has warmly welcomed King Abdullah to the White House and hailed the merciless monarch’s as “wise and gracious.”

Gay sex between consenting adult males is also illegal in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar (where gay athletes, staff and fans have been warned against having sex during the 2022 FIFA World Cup), Yemen, Oman, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Northern Cyprus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and a host of small Pacific island nations, all of which receive considerable US aid or other support.

Sub-Saharan African nations are among the worst places on earth to be gay. Homosexuality is illegal in 38 of Africa’s 54 countries and in many of them, gays not only face long prison sentences but also the constant threat of deadly violence, as the recent grisly murder of Cameroonian activist Eric Ohena Lembembe demonstrated. In Uganda, largely encouraged by homophobic US Christian missionaries, lawmakers considered a bill that would have punished homosexuals with death. The measure failed to pass, but Ugandan gays still face routine violence and life prison sentences. Yet last year, Uganda received more than $400 million in US aid. Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Malawi, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia jail gays for periods of between 10 years and life, yet receive significant assistance from Washington. Ghana, Guinea, Liberia (whose Nobel Peace laureate president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vigorously defends anti-gay laws), Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Ethiopia and other smaller African nations which have criminalized gay sex also benefit from US aid and support.

Closer to home, numerous Caribbean nations receiving US aid and friendship punish gays with lengthy prison terms. In Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, gay sex is punishable by 10-25 years behind bars. It is also illegal in Barbados. The US State Department warns travelers to Guyana that “anal intercourse is punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison.” Yet the US government has provided more than $100 million in aid to Guyana since 2009.

Of course, Obama’s hypocrisy extends far beyond LGBT rights. From supporting some of the world’s most brutal dictators to funding armies that use child soldiers to blasting Russia for granting asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden while harboring some of the world’s worst human rights violators in the United States– and so much more, the president has proven to be the latest in a long line of Hypocrites-in-Chief who have subjected the people of the world to an endless nightmare of double standards and ‘yes, buts.’

Free and fair elections are held as sacred, unless the US doesn’t like the results. China is slammed for its unfair trading practices, but millions of poor farmers around the world can’t compete with heavily and unfairly subsidized US agricultural exports dumped in developing markets for less than what they cost to produce. Developing nuclear weapons is seen as grounds for war against Iraq and Iran but not against Israel or India.

The list goes on and on, and so does the world’s list of grievances against the bloody hypocrites in Washington who can’t seem to grasp the concept of universality or, for that matter, the ‘Golden Rule’ from their beloved Bibles.

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