Using ‘principles’ to hide the fact that you are being a jerk

It is a common tactic for people to invoke some high-falutin’ kind of ‘principle’ as a shield to deflect criticisms of their appalling views. The one that is most commonly invoked these days is to say that you are ‘fighting political correctness’ when you are denigrating minorities, gays, women and other marginalized groups whom you think are getting too uppity. The next step is to claim that your right to free speech is being denied when you get criticized for your words. These people seem to think that the right to free speech means that one has the right to not be criticized for exercising that right.
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This seems to never get old

That Americans are woefully ignorant about world geography is well known. My first experience with this was when I first came to the US for graduate studies. When I told people that I was from Sri Lanka, most people had never heard of it. That was not surprising since this was before the various vicious ethnic and political conflicts in that country had brought it greater notoriety. When you add to that the fact that the country was known as Ceylon before 1971, the lack of awareness was perfectly understandable.
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Why Buddhism can be as violent as any other religion

The country of Myanmar provides a good example of my view that the true nature of a religion becomes visible when that religious group is in the majority and enjoys state support. Myanmar is a country that is almost 90% Buddhist but in the southern part of the country that borders Muslim-majority Malaysia, Muslims are in the majority. So what do we see? We see Muslims in the southern part attacking Buddhists and Buddhists in the northern part attacking Muslims.
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Trump predicted the appointment of a special prosecutor

Seth Meyers has the videotape of Trump’s prediction during the campaign and also tells us of the preparations being made for the five-nation trip by White House officials and foreign leaders because of Trump’s ignorance, unwillingness and/or inability to learn, and short attention span. The whole process reminds me of the perpetual nervousness of parents of an uncontrollable, bad-tempered toddler, wondering when he will throw a tantrum or otherwise embarrass them.
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Sweden drops rape investigation of Julian Assange

Sweden has dropped their preliminary investigation into the 2010 rape charges made against Julian Assange. Glenn Greenwald reports that this does not mean that he is free to leave the Ecuadoran embassy in London because there is still the fact that the US seeks to bring him to the US for the ‘crime’ of WikiLeaks publishing US government documents. He reminds us that this is why Ecuador granted Assange asylum in their embassy in 2012 in the first place, not to prevent him facing trial on rape charges.
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Good riddance, Roger Ailes

Matt Taibbi gives a fitting farewell to a truly horrible human being.

When I mentioned to one of my relatives that I was writing about the death of Ailes, the response was, “Say that you hope he’s reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia.”

Ailes has no one but his fast-stiffening self to blame for this treatment. He is on the short list of people most responsible for modern America’s vicious and bloodthirsty character.

We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.
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Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia should be interesting

So Donald Trump is going on his first visit overseas and the choice of countries is interesting. Starting with Saudi Arabia on Saturday, he then goes to Israel, the Vatican, Belgium to meet with EU and NATO leaders, and then to Sicily for a G7 meeting. One thing you can be sure of is that Trump will use these occasions to talk about how great he is. He may also give other leaders a map of his Electoral College win.
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Trump is learning how bureaucratic warfare works

People who analyze politics through the lens of political parties can suffer whiplash because of the sudden changes in direction that events can take. Rather than focus on just the actions themselves and whether those are good or bad, they tend to take good and bad actions as indicative of whether the person doing is basically good or bad or, conversely, decide if things are good or bad depending on whether the person doing them is on their team.
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