Chinese Teahouse Scam

Chinese tea scam, Chinese tea ceremony scam, etc etc.
Many variations on a simple theme. You are walking along in big Chinese city and you are approached by young students,  male or female, speaking good English. Chinese people have a reputation for being very friendly, so you go along. They want to practice their English. You walk along for a bit and they suggest you go for some tea.
They direct you to some Chinese tea shop. The menu comes, you order rounds of tea. Prices seem a bit on the high side, but not unusual. Some pastries come later. Then the bill comes, and it’s totally outrageous. You’re out $200-750, and you better pay up or else. The nice friendly young “students” act baffled by the whole thing. This scam is spreading all over China and it is nailing Americans and now Brits left and right. It’s epidemic.
You go to the cops and they refuse to do anything about it. Stupid Americans! Haha!
My God, scams are everywhere, aren’t they? Watch out!

The Narcissistic Sociopath – A Type

I can’t go into too much detail about this, but I am dealing with one of these characters right now. All I can say if you run across these people in your life is run, don’t walk, right away from them as fast as you can.
I can’t go into much details about this either, but there has been a narcissist close to me for most of my life. This person is simply out and out harmful to me. They’ve done tremendous harm to me in the past, and if I continue to deal with them, they will continue to try to inflict, or will inflict, harm on me.
I think they can’t help it, but I’m also wondering if they are incurable. Most people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder cannot be helped. Why? They do not wish to be cured, see nothing wrong with themselves, and never will.
A few can be cured, but it’s not easy. You can’t change a tiger into a lion. You can’t change your basic personality. This is a law of psychology. For all personalities, there exists a pathological side and a healthy side. For NPD, the healthy side is called Confident Personality. For APD, the healthy side is called Aggressive Personality. Neither are optimal, but truly healthy personalities are either exceedingly rare or possibly nonexistent.
There are varying degrees of narcissism. First is the narcissism that any healthy person has. Then we start getting into varying degrees of narcissism. At some point, you have to say someone has narcissistic traits, or is a narcissist. That doesn’t mean NPD.
As one starts getting more pathological, we start moving into NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This is an extremely serious condition in which the individual ends up causing harm to most of the significant people in their life. As I said above, get all the harmful narcissists out of your life.
Going even further, we get into malignant narcissism. This is getting worse and worse. We may be looking at the narcissist-sociopath. Ted Bundy was one, so was Jeffrey MacDonald, and so, in my opinion, is OJ Simpson. They differ from pure sociopaths in that they need and crave attention and go nuts when you criticize them.
Pure sociopaths pretty much don’t give a damn whether anyone likes them or not. I don’t think they need attention or admiration either – I imagine they could care less about that too. Criticism doesn’t bother them much either. Most sociopaths seem to smile, laugh or glibly explain away any criticism directed at them. That, or they ignore it altogether.
The sociopath is not hurt by your criticism because there’s nothing there to hurt. It’s like yelling at a grizzly bear in a cage. The bear just looks up at you like, “Screw you, human,” and goes back to whatever he was doing.
If the sociopath feels that the criticism may harm him or thwart his plans, he may become alarmed, because these are machines dedicated to carrying out their plans. Thwarted plans don’t get carried out. Not good. So criticism simply spins the sociopath into a dizzying performance of lying, more lying, lies upon lies layered upon more lies, show-business style performance, the Mother of All Personal Charm Shows, on and on.
The “show” is so mesmerizing, baffling, confusing and charming that you can barely understand what’s happening, but a lot of times, you end up going along with the sociopath. Afterward, maybe you wonder why. The sociopath gets up and walks out of the room and out of your life.
Later, picking up the pieces, you are sitting there, dazed, shaking your head. “What the Hell was that?” you are thinking. It’s like you just got hit by a Human Tornado that whirled into your life, trashed a lot of stuff and then twisted off speedily into the sunset. You look outside, and it’s gone. You’ve been the victim of an emotional mugging, and you still can’t make sense of it.
There’s plenty on the Net about both sociopathy and narcissism and I have only barely scratched the surface here. Suffice to say that I feel that the sociopath is at the far end of the narcissistic scale. The sociopath is an ultra-narcissist.
He’s so superior and above it all that he doesn’t even care anymore. He thinks you’re an idiot, and he doesn’t care if you disagree. He will use you, abuse you, maybe even steal from you, assault you or kill you, but then he will sit down and eat a bowl of cereal like nothing else happened. That’s the ultimate in narcissism. You don’t exist as another human being to him. You’re a pure object, a tool, a means to an end. You may as well be a steering wheel or a hammer – that’s how much humanity you have to him.
Here is an interesting post on the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath. I don’t necessarily agree,  but it’s interesting reading.
The truth is that this is all just spectrum, probably emanating from extroversion at one end and moving through narcissism all the way to psychopathy.
This entire spectrum is utterly the opposite of the introvert – fearful – neurotic type, but your average moron can’t figure that out. As a society, we think that shy introverts are “psycho”,  probably because we worship extroversion and despise introversion. Truth is the true, pure, classic introvert is the least harmful or dangerous person, the least likely to hurt an innocent person, on Earth.
True, they are not all wimps, and some will fight back against the abuse they are typically subjected to. But that’s not the same as the abusive aggression of the narcissist and sociopath that targets the innocent.
Why the introvert is generally so harmless is a fascinating subject, but I  will leave it for another post.
I would also point out that most sociopaths are never arrested. These are the “controlled sociopaths” swarming all over the worlds of business, law, politics, law enforcement and the military. All of these professions provide outlets for controlled sociopaths to channel their antisocial and extremely aggressive behavior into. The shyster attorney, crooked businessman, con artist, ruthless executive, lying and wheeling/dealing politician come to mind.
There are many non-sociopaths in LE and the military, but it’s heaven for controlled sociopaths too. There is some evidence that they don’t do well in the military though. They love to blow stuff up and kill people, but they are so fearless and reckless that they often end up dead in wartime. Studies in World War 2 showed that though this type were excellent pilots, they were much more likely to be shot down. They were so fearless that they didn’t even bother to try to save their own skins.
I’m not trying to say that all cops are sociopaths, but anyone who’s had unpleasant dealings with cops (like yours truly) knows they are out there. Personality studies have shown the cops and criminals have remarkably similar personalities. It’s just that cops are channeling their antisocial BS in a healthy direction – busting bad guys.
For more on narcissism, check out Sam Vankin’s fantastic work on the web. Vankin is a fascinating character – he is a narcissist himself!
Google “How to Divorce a Narcissist.”
Joanna Ashmum’s site, How To Recognize a Narcissist, is fantastic, as is her classic essay, And Now We Are Six. Yes. The narcissist is going to be 6 years old for the rest of his life. Ever met a 6 yr old? Think about it.
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Mutual Intelligibility as a Linguistic Concept

As I expected, the Classification of Chinese Language post is coming under some very serious criticism. I’m deleting all of the comments from the individual making them, but I will deal with them in this post.
First of all, it is alleged, by this person and others, that mutual intelligibility is a very fuzzy concept and is unscientific at core. This is not the case at all. I am not aware of any kind of fighting going on in Linguistics, other than complaints by a few cranks, about the issue of mutual intelligibility in general or between any lects. The concept is quite clear – speakers either understand other speakers or they don’t. It’s that simple.
How do linguists determine whether speakers of Lect A can understand Lect B? Real easy. They do something “completely unscientific.” They sit down and ask speakers of Lect A: “Can you understand speakers of Lect B?” Really, that’s how it’s done. It’s called Sociolinguistics, and these determinations are usually made by personal interview. There’s usually no need for fancy tests with phonology, lexicon, tones, or syntax. It’s pretty much a yes or no answer.
Obviously, many times you get something other than a yes or no answer. If they understand Lect B 20%, they say, “We can barely understand those people at all!” If they understand 1/2 of what they hear, or 70%, or 85%, or 90%, that’s a little harder, but people are not morons. Often they will attempt to tell you what percentage of Lect B they can figure out. They will say, “We can understand 50/65/70/85/90% of Lect B.” Really, that’s how it’s done.
Sometimes some speakers say they can understand more than others. There are speakers of Portuguese and Spanish who say they understand the other language perfectly. Are they in the majority? Surely not. In those cases, you just go with the majority. On the other hand, if one person says, “I can only understand 70% of Lect B,” and everyone else in the village says, “We can understand Lect B perfectly,” you go with the majority again and dismiss the first person as anomalous.
If you look at Ethnologue‘s Mexico page, you can see that Ethnologue‘s sources have gone all over rural Mexico determining the variable intelligibility of different lects of Mexican Indian speech. This is in an area where just about every village speaks a different language or dialect. Under Tijaltepec Mixtec, we find the following:

Speakers have 89% intelligibility of San Miguel el Grande and Yosoyúa, 82% of San Mateo Peñasco, 81% of Sinicahua and 66% of Teita.

So how did Ethnologue arrive at those figures? Who knows. Are these figures controversial in the field of Linguistics, that is, do we fight about endlessly in our journals and books? Not at all. Are those figures above right? Probably. Are they wrong? Anything’s possible. Do we fight about it? Other than a few nuts on the Internet, no way.
I assume Ethnologue is just sitting people down in front of tape recordings of the other lects and see how much they understand. I assume there are scientific ways of calculating how much they get and how much they don’t.
What is Ethnologue? It’s the main publication of SIL. Who is SIL? Why,  they are the very folks who are giving out ISO codes, the codes that determine whether something is a language or not – languages get ISO codes, dialects do not. Was giving this job to SIL controversial? Other than a few cranks here and there, not really.
There are currently some great big dustups in Language Policy over a few lects. Valencian speakers are fighting like mad to get their lect recognized as a language apart from Catalan. Ethnologue seems to be turning them down so far, because the two lects can understand each other.
Moldavian was granted an ISO code, then Ethnologue snatched it away and decided that Moldavian was a dialect of Romanian.
Are there intense passions aroused in these fights? Sure. Is mutual intelligibility one of the things that they fight about? Not generally, because the figures are out there, and everyone but for a few cranks agrees that the figures are scientific.
There are also indices of lexical similarity and there are various ways of doing this too. Spanish and Portuguese have 89% similarity, Italian and French have 87%, English and Frisian have 64%,  English and French have 27%,  on and on. Does anyone argue about these figures and say that they are wrong? Other than a few cranks, not really.
Finally, the very concept of a pilot study has been challenged by folks who feel that everything they write down has to be correct. I’ve also been accused of changing my research too much as a result of criticism.
This is wrong on various counts.
Pilot study is the way to go in science. Furthermore, it’s very humble. The first study really is a pilot study. Pilot study just means the first one. Is it making any claims about much of anything? Hardly. So what’s the purpose? To stimulate further thinking, theorizing, criticism and studies. That’s it. It’s the first guy to the lake, tossing out his line and reporting what bites. That’s all it is.
Research, and science, should be anything but certain. If you read academic journals, particularly the more scientific ones, at the end, they usually list about 3-5 reasons why their conclusions might be wrong. That’s as humble as you can get. Then they go through and say why they think all those reasons are probably wrong. Conclusions, when presented, are often couched in tentative language.
Does this mean scientists are a bunch of insecure wussies? Not even.
That’s simply how one does science.
Science minus huge doses of uncertainty and humility might be interesting, but it ain’t science. What is it? I don’t know. Religion, opinion, polemics, politics, advertising, fiction? Any or all of those.

Standard Languages Versus Their Parents

In my older post, I characterized the Beijing dialect of Mandarin as a separate language. This has come under criticism as it has been pointed out that Putonghua (Standard Mandarin) was based on Beijinghua, so how could Beijinghua be a separate language?
When I started that project, I certainly thought that Beijinghua would be intelligible with Putonghua, until I did a lot of reading and found out otherwise. In my research, I determined that many people find the Beijing dialect to be unintelligible. Stories about unintelligible taxi drivers in Beijing are legendary.
So what happened? Obviously, Putonghua and Beijinghua diverged at some point.
Others say that Putonghua was based on the speech of the Beijing suburbs, and not on Beijing city itself. Yes, lects do differ that much in China. I am told that even inside large cities, people from different parts of town speak dialects that have diverged so far that they are not mutually intelligible. I have even heard that there are villages where the people in the north of the village cannot understand the people in the south of the village.
Certainly there are plenty of folks claiming that they understand Beijinghua at less than 90% intelligibility. In this work, I am setting 90% as the point at which I split language from dialect. Over 90% intelligible, dialect. Below 90% intelligible, language.
Interestingly, a similar thing has occurred in Italy, where Standard Italian was based on Tuscan in the 1860’s, yet has diverged so much from Tuscan that now if you see old men from Tuscany on TV, you need subtitles to understand them.
Something similar has happened to German and French. There are actually multiple lects spoken in Germany that appear to be separate languages from Standard German. Standard German is an East Middle German or East Central German dialect that was simply chosen as standard. It’s the lect from around the state of Saxony in the 1500’s and 1600’s.It was mostly a written language until about 1800.
Nevertheless, the Saxon dialect has now diverged from Standard German to where it is a distinct  language – Upper Saxon, spoken around Dresden, Chemnitz and Leipzig – that may or may not be intelligible with Standard German.
In France, there is not one form of French spoken. Although everyone speaks Standard French, there are various French languages spoken in France that are not intelligible with Standard French.
These include the languages of the Channel Islands – Dgèrnésiais (spoken in Guernsey), Jèrriais (spoken in Jersey) and Sercquiais, (spoken on Sark) – Cotentinais, spoken in parts of Normandy, Gallo spoken in Brittany, Picard spoken in the far north of France around Dunkerque and Calais, Walloon spoken in Belgium, Champenois spoken in Champagne, Burgundian spoken in Burgundy on the border of Switzerland and Italy, Franc-Comtois, spoken in Franche-Compté over by Switzerland, Lorrain spoken in Lorraine, part of Alsace-Lorraine on the border of Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, Portvetin, spoken in Poitou, where the city of Poitiers is in west-central France and Saintongeais and spoken on the central West coast of France in Saintonges, Aunis and Angoumois.
None of these languages is intelligible with Standard French. Standard French was based on the Parisien dialect of Paris a while back, but since then Parisien and Standard French have taken dual trajectories, such that Parisien is now a distinctive dialect, as in the other cases we looked at.

Best Alphabet Ever Made

Alpha-kinetix, the only way to write Tagalog.
Tagalog, Hell. Can’t read Tagalog? No worries. Transform your rigormortized English letters into a rockin’ mass of hyperactive letter maggots with Rotor Script! This shit could turn reading into an aerobic exercise.
The only way to write any language. I’m tired of dead letters just sitting there on my page. I want some rock n’ roll letters that rock my morning paper as I sip my coffee, dammit! Comprehension, heck, who needs comprehension? What’s better than a script that looks like live ants on the page? Can you beat that?
Why invent new alphabets? Shoot, why not? You only go around once, so grab for all the glyphs you can.

Fox in the Henhouse

You’ve all heard the stories.  A predator gets into a place where there are caged domestic animals, typically fowl, and goes berserk, killing all of them. And typically not even eating one. It’s the non-human equivalent of a serial killer. There’s a little Ted Bundy in every bobcat.
Here in the mountains, we had a similar case a decade or so ago. A bobcat got into the neighbor’s yard and killed every one of his ducks. The owner went outside and found a bobcat asleep in his yard at 5 AM in a fenced-in area full of dead ducks. Commit mass murder, then sleep it off. What the Hell, why not? Serial killing is pretty tiring, physically and emotionally.
Enough of the anecdotes. So why do they do it? People are dying to know.
Via an incredibly obscure website called The Alyth Voice, p. 7 “Foxy Business”, our curiosity is sated. What’s The Alyth Voice? Why, it’s only the local bimonthly scribblesheet of some podunk town in Scotland called Alyth in some place called Perthshire.
There are two theories.
First is pure instinct. Foxes and bobcats are smarter than Fido and Fluffy, the domesticated versions, but that ain’t saying much. They’re still emotional robots with stunted frontal lobes, like most of the people in our inner cities. The fox gets into the henhouse, sees all the hens racing around screeching in terror, and he goes into kill mode. A terrified rooster racing away =  kill. Terrified cries of chicks = destroy. Simple equations.  The predator has no choice but to commit mass homicide.
Another more civilized theory says that the predator is a forward-thinking beast, unlike our inner city residents. Sure, he kills way more than he eats, but he only kills to eat, not for kicks like Boston Strangler. He really does intend to come back and chow down all those dead chickens sometime. When? Oh, later.
Yeah right. I go with Theory #1.
Think of it in human terms. Pretend you’re in a porno movie,  except it’s happening in r/l meatspace. You’re been kidnapped and locked in a house full of gorgeous 18 year old females having a mass birthday party. They’re all naked and masturbating, screaming, “Fuck Me!” And they won’t even get jealous if you fuck the other ones. Instead they’ll just yell, “Hurry up and get over here you bastard!”
Your girlfriend/wife is waiting, and you promised to call her, plus you took a vow of fidelity. You can strip of all of your clothes, run around to each of the 10 nubiles, stick your dick in each one for a bit assuming you don’t hair-trigger off, and actually get away with it before you die. It’s almost illegal, but not quite. It’s not serial homicide, but it’s almost as fun.
What do you do? Flashback to Sunday school and race out the door to the nearest payphone and call your girlfriend? Forget it. Like the fox in a henhouse, the forebrain shuts down, you go into limbic mode, and wallow in the temporarily eternal present.
I know it’s a weird analogy, but think about it.

Hell Is Other People

So said John Paul Sartre. Never mind that this statement has been misunderstood and misappropriated by misanthropes.
I’m not usually into misanthropy, though I suppose some folks have a legitimate beef with the rest of humanity. I’m actually quite a proud person, and don’t generally have low self-esteem. I’ve recently met some low self-esteem types, and they mystify, horrify and offend me.
Even if some of my skills are apparently now quite poor, I still think I’m quite the hot stuff overall and deep down inside. This can create problems of its own, and I spent a lot of effort trying not to feel better than other people on some fundamental level. Arrogance, as good as it feels, simply doesn’t work, since all it does is make everyone hate you, but no arrogant person on Earth has ever figured this out, as you may have noticed.
I often feel perfectly at peace, calm, joyously happy and fulfilled, just reading stuff, writing, doing research, or working out theory. I can be perfectly alone for hours or even days at a time like this. It’s not that I dislike others, but that in order to truly love being comfortably alone, you must like yourself. If you hate yourself, surely it must be gruesomely painful to be psychically kidnapped and forced to cohabit with your own awfulness, with no one else around to salve the pain.
It so happens that I’m neither schizoid nor a real loner, and I do have affiliative needs. So I need to get at least once a day and go meet some other humans, even if only for a bit. It’s like a sociability injection. I get that, it feels good or it doesn’t, but anyway it was necessary, then I can go back to the glorious cave again.
Problem is that when I go out, I’m often not as happy as when I’m alone. Why? Other humans. They usually let me down. And especially, try as I might, they often don’t treat me like I want to be treated. Obviously it’s my fault nevertheless, but that doesn’t mean it’s not at least a bit of a drag.
Nothing against people per se, mind you – if the interactions would be as pleasant as I would wish it to me, I might linger for hours, or all day, Hell, why not? But it never is anymore. So it ends up that much of the misery I acquire from life seems to come from other humans, surely not from my perfectly great self.
It is at such times that the poetry of the great British poet Philip Larkin illuminates things well. Philip lived alone his whole life, never married or had kids, and had only one chair at his table. To visitors, the message, seeing that one chair, was unmistakable. Hopefully, they would not be staying long?
This is no philosophy to base your life on, but most of us have flashes of misanthropy now and again. If things get too bad, you can always get a cat.
I don’t know the name of this Larkin poem, but it’s pretty funny.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
they may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
and add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn,
by fools, in old style hats and coats,
who half the time were sorry stern,
and half at one anothers' throats.

Man hands on misery to man,
it broadens like a coastal shelf.
So get out as quickly as you can,
and don't have any kids yourself.

The Classification of the Vietnamese Language

One of the reasons that I am doing this post is that one of my commenters asked me a while back to do a post on the theories of long-range comparison like Joseph Greenberg’s and how well they hold up. That will have to wait for another day, but for now, I can  at least show you how some principles of Historical Linguistics, a subfield that I know a thing or two about. I will keep this post pretty non-technical, so most of you ought to be able to figure out what is going on.
Let us begin by looking at some proposals about the classification of Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese language has been subject to a great deal of speculation regarding its classification. At the moment, it is in the Mon-Khmer or Austroasiatic family with Khmer, Mon, Muong, Wa, Palaung, Nicobarese, Khmu, Munda, Santali, Pnar, Khasi, Temiar, and some others. The family ranges through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, China, and over into Northeastern India.
It is traditionally divided into Mon-Khmer and Munda branches. Here is Ethnologue’s split, and here are some other ways of dividing up the family.
The homeland of the Austroasiatics was probably in China, in Yunnan, Southwest China. They moved down from China probably around 5,000 years ago. Some of the most ancient Austroasiatics are probably the Senoi people, who came down from China into Malaysia about 4,000 years ago. Others put the time frame at about 4-8,000 YBP (years before present).
A major fraud has been perpetrated lately based on Senoi Dream Therapy. I discussed it on the old blog, and you can Google it if you are interested. In Anthropology classes we learned all about these fascinating Senoi people, who based their lives around their dreams. Turns out most of the fieldwork was poor to fraudulent like Margaret Mead’s unfortunate sojourn in the South Pacific.
The Senoi resemble Veddas of India, so it is probably true that they are ancient people.  Also, their skulls have Australoid features. In hair, they mostly have wavy hair (like Veddoids), a few have straight hair (like Mongoloids) and a scattering have woolly hair (like Negritos). Bottom line is that ancient Austroasiatics were probably Australoid types who resembled what the Senoi look like today.
There has long been a line arguing that the Vietnamese language is related to Sino-Tibetan (the family that Chinese is a part of). Even those who deny this acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of borrowing from Chinese (especially Cantonese) to Vietnamese. This level of borrowing so long ago makes historical linguistics a difficult field.
Here is an excellent piece by a man who has done a tremendous amount of work detailing his case for Vietnamese as a Sino-Tibetan language. It’s not for the amateur, but if you want to dip into it, go ahead. I spent some time there, and after a while, I was convinced that Vietnamese was indeed a Sino-Tibetan language. One of the things that convinced me is that if borrowing was involved, seldom have I seen such a case for such a huge amount of borrowing, in particular of basic vocabulary. I figured the  case was sealed.
Not so fast now.
Looking again, and reading some of Joseph Greenberg’s work on the subject, I am now convinced otherwise. There is a serious problem with the cognates between Vietnamese and Chinese, of which there are a tremendous number.
This problem is somewhat complex, but I will try to simplify it. Briefly, if Vietnamese is indeed related to Sino-Tibetan, its cognates should be not only with Chinese, but with other members of Sino-Tibetan also. In other words, we should find cognates with Tibetan, Naga, Naxi, Tujia, Karen, Lolo, Kuki, Nung, Jingpho, Chin, Lepcha, etc. We should also find cognates with those languages, where we do not find them in Chinese. That’s a little complicated, so I will let you think about it a bit.
Further, the comparisons between Chinese and Vietnamese should be variable. Some should look quite close, while others should look much more distant.
So there’s a problem with the Vietnamese as ST theory.
The cognates look like Chinese.
Problem is, they look too much like Chinese. They look more like Chinese than they should in a genetic relationship. Further, they look like Chinese and only Chinese. Looking for relationships in S-T outside of Chinese, and we find few if any.
That’s a dead ringer for borrowing from Chinese to Vietnamese. If it’s not clear to you how that is, think about it a bit.
Looking at Mon-Khmer, the case is not so open and shut. There seem to be more cognates with Chinese than with Mon-Khmer. So many more that the case for Vietnamese as AA looks almost silly, and you wonder how anyone came up with it.
But let us look again. The cognates with AA and Vietnamese are not just with its immediate neighbors like Cambodian and Khmu but with languages far off in far Eastern India like Munda and Santali. There are words that are found only in the Munda branch in one or two obscure languages that somehow show up again as cognates in Vietnamese.
Now tell me how Vietnamese borrowed ancient basic vocabulary from some obscure Munda tongue way over in Northeast India? It did not. How did those words end up in some unheard of NE Indian tongue and also in Vietnamese? Simple. They both descended long ago from a common ancestor. This is Historical Linguistics.
The concepts I have dealt with here are not easy for the non-specialist to figure out, but most smart people can probably get a grasp on them.
A different subject is the deep relationships of AA. Is AA related to any other languages? I leave that as an open question now,  though there does appear to be a good case for AA being related to Austronesian.
One good piece of evidence is the obscure AA languages found in the Nicobar Islands off the coast of Thailand. Somehow, we see quite a few cognates in Nicobarese with Austronesian. We do not see them in any other branches of AA, only in Nicobarese. This seems odd,  and it’s hard to make a case for borrowing. On the other hand, why cognates in Nicobarese and only in Nicobarese?
Truth is there are some cognates outside of Nicobarese but not a whole lot. In historical linguistics, one thing we look at is morphology. Those are parts of words, like the -s plural ending in English.
In both AA and Austronesian, we have funny particles called infixes. Those are what in English we might call prefixes or suffixes, except they are stuck in the middle of the word instead of at the end or the beginning. So, in English, we have pre- as a prefix meaning “before” and -er meaning “object that does X verb”. So pre-destination means that our lives are figured out before we are even born.  Comput-er and print-er are two objects, one that computes and the other that prints.
If we had infixes instead, pre-destination would look something like destin-pre-ation and comput-er and print-er would look something like com-er-pute and prin-er-t.
Anyway, there are some fairly obscure infixes that show up not only in some isolated languages in AA but also in far-flung Austronesian languages in, say, the Philippines. Ever heard of the borrowing of an infix? Neither have I? So were those infixes borrowed,  and what are they doing in languages as far away as Thailand and the Philippines, and none in between? Because they  got borrowed? When? How? Forget it.
Bottom line is that said borrowing did not happen. So what are those infix cognates doing there? Probably ancient particles left over from a common language that derived both Austronesian and AA, probably spoken somewhere in SW China maybe 9,000 years ago or more.
Why is this sort of long-range comparison so hard? For one thing, because after 9,000 years or more, there are hardly any cognates left anymore, due to the fact of language change. Languages change and tend to change at a certain rate.
After 1000X years, so much change has taken place that even if two languages were once “sprung from a common source,” in the famous words of Sir William Jones in his epochal lecture to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on February 2, 1786, there is almost nothing, or actually nothing, left to show of that relationship. Any common words have become so mangled by time that they don’t look much or anything alike anymore.
So are AA and Austronesian related? I think so, but I suppose it’s best to say that it has not been proven yet. This thesis is part of a larger long-range concept known as “Austric.” Paul Benedict, a great scholar, was one of the champions of this. Austric is normally made up of AA, Austronesian, Tai-Kadai (the Thai language and its relatives) and Hmong-Mien (the Hmong and Mien languages). Based on genetics, the depth of Austric may be as deep as 30,000 years, so proving it is going to be a tall order indeed.
What do I think?
I think Tai-Kadai and Austronesian are proven to be related (more on that later). AA and Austronesian seem to be related also, with a lesser depth of proof. Hmong-Mien seems to be related to Sino-Tibetan, not Austric.
The case for Vietnamese being related to S-T is still very interesting, and I still have an open mind about it.
All of these discussions are hotly controversial, and mentioning it in linguistics circles is likely to set tempers flaring.


Author and date unknown, What Makes Vietnamese So Chinese? An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies.

Answering the Afrocentrists

We are having a debate on the old blog about a post I made attacking White nationalists for saying that Africans were still living in the Stone Age on contact. In the post, I noted that Africans had not attained a high level of development. A person who has been dosed with Afrocentrism has challenged this, saying that Africans indeed had reached a high level of development, just as good as Europeans.
I don’t want to get on some Africa-bashing high horse here, but this nonsense needs to be answered.
The evidence for a high level of development was a university in Timbuktu along with numerous written material there and the achievement of ironworking. I have already dealt with ironworking on the old blog.
Sadly, many White nationalists refuse to acknowledge that Africans even worked iron. Working iron is pretty good – most Amerindian tribes never made it to the metalworking stage. If you’re working metal, you’re out of the Stone Age – that’s the definition of the Stone Age right there – Stone Age folks are not working metal yet.
Nevertheless, this achievement does need to be seen in perspective. After a lot of research, I concluded that Africans had not developed ironworking de novo as many Afrocentrists believe. For one thing, they completely skipped the typically essential first phases of copper working and bronze working. What seems like a quantum leap is probably more a case of direct cultural borrowing.
Sure, cultures borrow all the time, and de novo development isn’t real common. Europe Proper didn’t even develop metalworking themselves. It started in Asia Minor, in Turkey, with the Hittites,  and flowed out to Europe, North Africa, etc. from there. After going through this excellent paper (available on this blog here – 55 pages but worth it if you are interested in the controversy), I conclude1 that Africans got iron from Carthage 2,500 years ago (Alpern 2005).
From there, it went to Niger and Mauritania then south to northern Nigeria.
The Bantus in the Cameroon developed this skill very well, and there is good evidence that this is what enabled the famous Bantu Expansion of 2,500 years ago in which the Bantus expanded across Africa. The Bantus had good agriculture and iron. They used the iron to make spears and farm implements, and this was a good enough advantage that they were able to expand across Africa at the expense of the Pygmies and Khoisan who populated it at the time.
So, for the Afrocentrists, even their “miraculous” ironworking is not as great as it seems. It is here compared absurdly to “steel making,” which it is claimed that Whites only got in the 1850’s. Africans were supposedly making this “steel” for 2,500 years, and White Americans never figured it out until 150 years ago. Not going into the whole complex business of forging metals, but that’s a total misrepresentation of the available data.
One thing that the Africans did do was wildly and amazingly expand on the ironmaking technique they got from Carthage. Their ingenuity in creating seemingly hundreds of ways to forge iron was pretty amazing. However, it must be a blow to Afrocentrists that the technology itself came from the hated White man, Carthaginians being probably at most 13% Black, and therefore a mostly-White grouping.
Further, once one acquires iron, one really ought to set about making some sort of machinery. My understanding is that Africans never invented even the most primitive machine, not even a hinge. That’s not so advanced.
The university at Timbuktu, I will grant, is an achievement for Africans. Malians are clearly Black folks, and it’s impressive that they had a university stacked with books.
However, the script that the people in Timbuktu used was Arabic, so the Timbuktu university cannot be used as evidence that Africans developed writing. They did not. They simply borrowed a script from the mostly-White Arabs of North Africa. Once again, Black man borrowing from hated Whitey. Not quite the smashing achievement that Afrocentrists want to see.
Further, it appears there was little or no education of any sort, much less centers of higher learning, south of the Sahara. Nor was there much advanced thinking going on. Yet in Greece and Rome, in India and the Middle East, in China, in southern Mexico, scholars were advancing medicine, literature, philosophy, mathematics, science, political theory, etc.  In Africa? Nothing at all, other than the Dogons figuring out some astronomy.
Further, the Africans in Mali around Timbuktu may be as much as 50% Caucasian. The Whiter Africans were the ones setting up the universities, reading books, writing stuff down and even figuring out astronomy.
A writing script is a very high level of development. The most primitive level are the ideographs and hieroglyphics of the Egyptians.
The first actual alphabet based on sound-symbol correspondence seems to have arisen in the Middle East around the Holy Land maybe 3,000 years ago or so (no, it was not the Hebrew alphabet of the Jews – that is derivative).
From there, it rapidly fanned out all over the world. The other writing systems of the Middle East, Europe, Persia,  South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia, all the way up to Mongolia and the Hangul of Korea, all seem to have stemmed from this first alphabet from the Holy Land.
It was not just scripts that people were borrowing. They were merely borrowing the concept of a script. As everyone spoke different tongues, each group had to adopt the alphabet to their own language in various ways. This often involved radically new sets of symbols.
It appears that Africans never got around to doing this – feel free to look over the data yourself. There were books in Timbuktu, but they were in Arabic script. Africans never looked at that alphabet and tried to make a sound-symbol corresponding alphabet for any of their own multiplicity of tongues.
It is true that in the last 200 years, some African alphabets have been invented. Some of them are pretty good – the Vai script is one of them. But the Vai script seems to have been borrowed from Sequoia’s Cherokee script. In the past century, more scripts have  been developed, but not that many. It seems that quite a few African languages are not even written down to this day.
Egypt is routinely trotted out as a great Black civilization. It is almost pitiful the way Afrocentrists so long to grab this society for themselves. It doesn’t take a lot of digging to figure out that Egypt was only a Black civilization in the last 200 years, as it was declining towards collapse.
In its final days, Black Nubians (actually ~60% Caucasian) did conquer Ancient Egypt and proceed over its final death throes. They didn’t do much to advance Egyptian civilization. They were more bed-watchers at the hospice of Ancient Egypt.
The great achievements of Egyptian civilization were accomplished by people with approximately the same racial background as the Egyptians of today – about 91% Caucasian and 9% Black. The Black is derived from Ethiopic stock. “Black Athena” is complete nonsense2.
White Nationalists typically use these arguments to hit Black people over the head and call them a failed race, as if the past automatically predicts the future. Were that true,  Germans would be running around in bearskins destroying every building they saw. So that is not my intention here.
While WN’s grotesquely exaggerate the relatively low level of African civilization, Afrocentists hallucinate great things out of thin air. They are both wrong. Africans were surely out of the Stone Age and they had the full array of agriculture, which advances them at least beyond most Amerindians.
Let’s give credit where it’s due. But they’re no challengers to the Chinese, Hittites, East Indians, Greeks or Romans. In many ways, they were bested even by Filipinos and Indonesians.
What does this hold for the future. Who knows? The past is dead and gone. Blacks in the US at least are the smartest, most accomplished and most advanced Blacks on Earth, and now they’ve even seated a Black man at the head of our nation.
Even Africa has modern cities, modern medicine, universities, scholars and world-class mathematicians. The past is the past, nothing can be done about it. What’s important is the achievements of today and especially tomorrow, not beating people up over their report card centuries or millenia ago.


1.The Iron Age in East and South Africa extends certainly from 1,100 YBP, probably to 1,800 YBP, and possibly to 2,500 YBP. There are many Iron Age sites in Kenya. Madagascar was using iron in 1,100 YBP. Iron was also forged in the Kivu in Zaire. Near Lake Chad are Iron Age sites going back 2,000 years. (Shaw et al, p. 456.)Ironworking technology was introduced to Africa 2,500 years ago in many forms, then underwent a remarkable period of development and change over the next 2,500 years. This is the best synthesis of the data.
A new site from southeastern Nigeria goes back 2,500 years. Buhaya in NW Tanzania goes back 2,900 years. (Shaw et al, p. 434.). Copper was mined and worked in Mauritania at Akjoujt 2,900 YBP and in Agadez in Niger around the same time. This is in the same area (Tok) as the earliest iron working dates.
In Taruga in Nigeria and Kagera in NW Tanzania, there could have been a copper-iron transition 3000 YBP. (Shaw et al, p. 433.)
2.“The biological affinities of the ancient Egyptians were tested against their neighbors and selected prehistoric groups as well as against samples representing the major geographic population clusters of the world. Two dozen craniofacial measurements were taken on each individual used.
“The raw measurements were converted into C scores and used to produce Euclidean distance dendrograms. The measurements were principally of adaptively trivial traits that display patterns of regional similarities based solely on genetic relationships.
“The Predynastic of Upper Egypt and the Late Dynastic of Lower Egypt are more closely related to each other than to any other population. As a whole, they show ties with the European Neolithic, North Africa, modern Europe, and, more remotely, India, but not at all with sub-Saharan Africa, eastern Asia, Oceania, or the New World.” (Brace 1993)


Alpern, S. 2005. Did They or Didn’t They Invent It? Iron in Sub-Saharan Africa. History in Africa 32:41-94 (Download on this site here).
Brace, C. Loring. 1993. Clines and Clusters Versus “Race:” A Test in Ancient Egypt and the Case of a Death on the Nile.
Shaw, Thurston, Sinclair, Paul, Andah, Bassey, Okpoko, Alex and others. 1993. The Archeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns. London: Routledge.

The Middle Eastern Left and Capitulation to Imperialism

From a Maoist mailing list that I am on, an excellent piece on how Communists and the Left in general have so utterly failed the people of the Middle East. This is part – a small part, but still a part – of why Islamists are so popular. The Left has completely blown it. I had never heard of the Three Worlds Theory before. It’s hard to believe that any Leftists anywhere got behind such nonsense.
The record of the Iraqi Communist Party has been sorry indeed, and I had not heard good things about the WCP’s of Iraq and Iran. It’s incredible that the ICP-MLM’s line is that in the event of a US invasion of Iran, they will fight alongside the US to overthrow the regime. The only reasonable position to take in these cases is to fight the invaders.
I recall that in Iraq, in 1967 and 1973, after there had been a huge purge of the Left, the Communists who were in Iraqi prisons in 1967 and 1973 demanded to be let out in order to join the wars against Israel. They promised to go back to prison afterward. That’s the spirit! Viva patria libre.
This is a good piece. It doesn’t argue for throwing our weight behind fundamentalist nuts, but on the other hand, it doesn’t argue for supporting imperialism either.
However, I would also reject the usual leftwing notion, stated below, that Israel is a pawn, tool or colony of US imperialism. As a recent piece in Counterpunch pointed out, this must be some kind of a joke. Israel offers no benefit to the US or any other Western country. At best, it’s a giant millstone.
A typical Left theory is that imperialism wants to keep the Middle East stirred up and at war so they can sell weapons to it, make money off the weapons sales, and, in the case of Arab nationalists, divide and conquer the Arab World through the placement of an Israeli colony in the middle of it. Or, alternatively, to keep the Arabs dependent on our arms sales, profiting us and insuring their loyalty.
Although this theory is very appealing to Leftists (I even subscribed to it myself for a bit), it’s appalling in its stupidity.
First of all, capitalists want peace, not war. They make way more money when a region is at peace than when it’s at war, the arms industry aside. That Israel is some sort of a colony of the US and not the other way around (as Uri Avnery has noted) is a preposterous theory.
This theory has the advantage of letting the Israelis off the hook. Poor pawns of imperialism, boo hoo. Jew as victim all over again.
Further, it avoids the minefield of the Jewish Israeli Lobby in the West, which the Left does not want to touch.
Much of the Left is still sensitive to anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semites have always been our worst enemies, and they left piles of dead Communists, Leftists and progressives built of tens of millions of our dead, as high as mountains, in the past century. Further, any anti-Semite worth his salt will quickly remind you of the debt we on the Left have to the Jews, who have been instrumental in our movement. Finally, anti-Semitism as a form of racism is of course anathema to us.
The problem here is that Israel, and its heavily Jewish Amen corner in the US, is part of the problem. No mealy mouthed pussyfooting around the issue gets us away from that. That doesn’t mean we turn into anti-Semites. It just means we call em as we see em and place the blame where it lies. The media I read and listen to it is full of Jews screaming about Israel. There’s no logical reason why one must be an anti-Semite to oppose the Zionist regime.
The piece starts here:

…What this implies is that we should only support a communist or progressive national resistance to Israel. But this is just the usual western Left delusion.
What are the Communist forces in the Middle East?
The revisionists such as the Iraqi Communist Party that sat on the Iraq Governing Council as collaborators when the US was carrying out its genocidal attack on Fallujah.
The Worker-Communist Party of Iraq and Iran whose mentor Hekmat openly supported the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist) who repeat the error of the ‘Three Worlds Theory’ by calling for ‘revolutionaries’ to fight to achieve the same objective as the US (overthrow of the current Iranian regime) in the event of a US invasion of Iran.
The Three Worlds Theory was the theory that revolutionaries and progressives should effectively unite with US imperialism to defeat the perceived greater threat of the Soviet Union. The CPI-MLM just takes the same dud theory and applies it to Islamic Fundamentalism.
Communists have sold out the people of the Middle East too often to be trusted now. It is obvious that the US and its proxy Israel is the main enemy of the people of the Middle East and other oppressed nations. They have devastated Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Palestine.
Why on Earth would the people of the Middle East choose to try to resist this dreadful force that is bringing their nations to ruin under the leadership of people that time and time again side with the country that is the cause of all their misfortune?
It’s absolutely ridiculous for Communists to make such a meal of criticising national liberation movements like Hamas. Yes, we know such movements can end up vacillating in their resistance to imperialism. But the Communists who make this criticism of Hamas just use this as an excuse for siding with American imperialism in a far more decisive manner than groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have done.
The vacillations of the national resistance movements are just used as an alibi by the Communists for their capitulation to imperialism.
Rather than criticising groups like Hamas from such a position of abject weakness, Communists should be criticising themselves for the way they have failed the people so dreadfully. Only once this is done can credibility be regained.
Does any of this mean we should tail Islamicists? Not at all, though that is the slander thrown against all Maoists that disagree with the policy of fighting on the same side as US imperialism.
The Maoist line in the case of an attack on an oppressed nation is to unite with all forces that can be united with to resist the foreign invasion. The Maoists therefore form a United Front to wage a war of national resistance. This front must be led by the Maoists, not by the reactionaries.
This leads to an obvious problem that initially the Maoist Party will be small and unable to lead. Therefore their priority is to build up their strength. This can and will lead to conflict with the reactionary government and the reactionary resistance movements, just as Mao’s PLA fought with the Chiang Kai-Shek’s army before and after the anti-Japan United Front had been formed.
Even while engaging in such conflicts Maoists must stress the line that the main enemy is the invader but that only the Maoists can lead successful resistance, not the reactionaries. Such a line is a world away from the line of uniting with imperialism against local reactionaries.
Finally, we must avoid the moralism that says we, who are not in the Middle East, should not tell them how to run their struggles. When Communist parties are going very badly wrong then it is our responsibility to point this out. The CPI-MLM has certainly not been shy of expressing its criticisms of the CPN (M), so I hardly think moralistic considerations should concern us either.

Mutual Intelligibility in the Romance Family

It is often stated that speakers of the Romance languages can all understand each other. I’m not really a fluent speaker of Spanish, but I can speak it ok. I have known some Brazilian Portuguese speakers, and they definitely could not understand Spanish well. And the Latin American Spanish speakers I knew insisted that they could not understand Portuguese.
I’ve known some Italian speakers too. I tried speaking Spanish to them in order to communicate with them, but that was a pretty useless exercise. The Italian speaker I know right now admits he can’t understand Spanish.
I find this whole theory to be ridiculous.
It’s been shown that even Asturian has only 80% intelligibility with Spanish, and Asturian is almost as close to Spanish as a language gets. Surely it’s lower with Spanish and Portuguese.
Even Galician, as close to Portuguese as you can get, has only 85% intelligibility with it.
The “dialects” of Italian are so distant that many of them are separate languages altogether. Why? Because they are unintelligible. And that’s right there within Italic itself.
Franco-Provencal has only partial intelligibility with French, and that’s quite close to French as you get.
Bottom line is the whole notion of “Romance speakers can all understand each other” can be put to rest.
On the net recently, I found these excellent comments on the debate.

The supposed mutual intelligibility of Spanish and Portuguese is greatly exaggerated. Spanish/Portuguese speakers can mutually STRUGGLE through very basic conversations (and usually while speaking very slowly, changing their normal speaking accent, and utilizing lots of hand motions to aid communication), but not much more than that without study.
The phonology of both languages is dramatically different.
And Spanish and Italian are almost not at all mutually intelligible. Too many words, and constructions are TOTALLY different. People need to stop repeating this lie of Spanish/Italian mutual intelligibility…
…I live in an Area (Newark NJ), that has a lot of Portuguese immigrants, and local Hispanics are perplexed by the language they speak, and do not even recognize it at all, and much less understand it.
You’ll hear Puerto Ricans and Dominicans say things like: “What language was that? Was that Russian?”
Portuguese often gets mistaken for some kind of obscure Slavic language by Spanish speakers who have never been exposed to it…
…Most people who have never had contact with Portuguese won’t have the slightest inclination of what a Portuguese speaker is saying, and if so, very little…
…Italian and Spanish are not that closely related, and as a general rule are NOT mutually intelligible at all.

Indeed, I would say that that about sums it up. I can understand a fair amount of Spanish on a video, but I recently watched a video of Wally Gator dubbed into Brazilian Portuguese (the old Hanna Barbera cartoons are insanely popular to this day down in Brazil) and I could barely make out a damned word.
One thing that I noticed is that if you know one Romance tongue, you can pick up another pretty fast. I dated a Brazilian woman once and I used to speak to her in Spanish while she spoke to me in Portuguese. Within mere days, I was picking up the Portuguese, with the help of a dictionary of course. I’m now learning some Italian through interacting with an Italian translator of my work. It’s so much easier since I know Spanish.
I suspect that the other much-daunted “intelligibility chains” between the great languages are pretty much like the above with Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
Note that in the same linked web discussion, there are some individual speakers of Spanish or Portuguese who claim that they can easily understand the other language. This is why linguistic evaluation of mutual intelligibility is such a minefield. Different informants give you all sorts of different responses.
One of the big problems with mutual intelligibility testing is that when dealing with closely related dialects or languages, speakers can pretty quickly start to understand the other tongue after listening to it for a while. I’m not really sure what to do in cases like this. You would have to ask the experts like the folks at Ethnologue who run around doing intelligibility testing of speakers all over the world.
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The Ways of the Arab

In the comments section, Mort Goldman agrees with me that the behavior of Arabs in Iraq in the war there does not bode well for cooperation of Arabs and Jews in Palestine in a single state. Mort notes the cruelty with which the Iraqis have treated each other in this war.
I will point out that my Arab friends tell me that they are horrified by the behavior of the Iraqis in this war, but that they are not surprised. “The Iraqis have always been complete animals,” they tell me. It’s true that recent history in Iraq has often been unspeakably brutal.
The tendency of Arabs towards extreme cruelty and abandonment of all rules of war seems to be only true during wartime.Many Arab states have seen decades of peace since independence, and in addition to that seem to ahve a very low crime rate. Where I live here in the hood, the local Palestinians and Yemenis are vastly more civilized than many of the local anchor baby Hispanics or Blacks, many of whom are gangbangers or just uncivilized in other ways.
The ways of the Arab can be cruel in terms of strict rules and harsh punishment for crimes, but it probably makes for a society that is quite civilized at least in terms of having little of the crime, dope, squalor and chaos that we call progress here in the cities of our West. It’s not really a free society, but in it’s own way, it works and creates a sort of a civilized society.
In warfare in recent times, Arabs have been horribly cruel. The Yemeni civil war, the Iraq-Iran War and the Iraqi civil war with the Kurds saw poison gas used. The Algerian Civil War was unspeakably cruel on the part of the rebels.
I pointed out in the comments section that the modern rules of war only arose with the Geneva Conventions post World War 2. Although most nations of the world have signed on, only the West seems to even try to follow them at all. The rest of the world seems to laugh at them. One must admit that following the rules of war does constrain a military intent on victory.
I do agree with Mort about Palestinians and Jews probably not being able to get along with each other in a single state at least for the time being. Too much shit like this recent offensive in Gaza has created tons of bad blood that will wear off in many years, if at all.
One problem is that both Arabs and Jews seem to be intent on dominating the other. Even the secular Arabs in the PFLP insist that the single state must be “Arab with a Jewish minority.” That’s probably a recipe for Arab domination. To expect Arabs to act like Americans or Italians is silly. They are what they are, a people bred in the cruel and harsh desert with a culture to match.
I will say though that the Palestinians inside Israel seem to tolerate Jews pretty well considering how shitty they are treated. They are a few attacks here and there, but mostly the two sides more or less get along and coexist with each other. On the other hand, they are a minority. As soon as Muslim Palestinians got to be a majority in a new state, I do not think Jews would be treated very well.
Muslims in general have an extremely poor record of treating minorities decently. Honestly, we probably treat minorities better here in the West than anywhere else in the world. That’s one of the things that makes the Cultural Left’s hatred of the West and embrace of Third Worldism so perverse and silly.
Muslims do treat minorities OK in Lebanon, at least for now, but you only have to look back a couple decades to where both sides were massacring each other.
The situation in Lebanon may be due to the very high numbers of non-Muslim Christians, who have a lot of political power and still more or less run the place despite all their whining. They also have lots of guns and a reputation for being badass fighters with a long reputation of fighting like animals against any attempts at Muslim domination. I refer here to the Maronites.
The secular Alawites of Syria treat non-Muslims very well, but unfortunately they are not typical Muslims. Non-Muslims are treated well in Morocco and Tunisia, but that is only due to secular dictatorships forced on the people. As soon as those electorates get a chance to vote, I am sure they will vote in radical Islamists and then any toleration will be a memory.

Why Not New Englishes?

I sometimes wonder why Ebonics is not considered a separate language altogether. There are some varieties of it spoken around here by some Blacks that are entirely incomprehensible to me. These same Blacks can easily switch and speak Standard English if they wish.
I also wonder why the Englishes spoken in West Africa (or at least many varieties of it) are not considered separate languages. These people pretty much grow up speaking English from an early age, so it can’t be just regional accent of an L2 effecting their English. West African English seems to be evolving into its very own type of English.
A lot of East Indian English seems to be evolving in the same way. These people also speak English from an early age, so it’s not just L2 accent. East Indian English seems to be taking its own trajectory. I often can’t make heads or tails out of West African English, and East Indian English is also often very difficult to understand. Thickly accented L2 English from other regions is often much easier to understand than these two.
Within both West African English and East Indian English there are varieties spoken by more educated speakers that are often quite easy to understand.
James Schipper noted in the comments that in Canada, interviews of ordinary citizens from Scotland carried subtitles. This may be because they were speaking Scots. Scots is now, according to Ethnologue, a completely separate language related to English.
Keep in mind that there are three languages here: Scottish Gaelic, the Gaelic tongue related to Irish; Scots, the new language related to English yet not a dialect of English; and Scottish English, which is in fact a dialect of English. Spoken Scottish English is probably comprehensible to most of us, but Scots clearly is not. Scots was the language spoken in Trainspotting. There was a reason why that movie had subtitles!
Keep in mind that the Caribbean English creoles have long since been split off from English. Jamaicans are clearly NOT speaking English, and interviews with them and movies about Jamaica often need subtitles. The Caribbeans are all speaking English creoles, which are not the same as the English language. They are separate languages altogether.
James Schipper notes in the comments that when Quebecois French movies are shown in France, they are shown with subtitles. If this is so, then it may be time to split off Quebecois French into a separate language. Needing subtitles to understand a speaker on video is a pretty sure sign that you are dealing with a separate language and not a dialect.

Tuna With Mustard and Tomatoes

This is another in my series of bachelor recipes for single guys, especially single guys who hate to cook, are broke and don’t have many ingredients lying around.
2 cups rice
2 cups water
2 cups stewed tomatoes
12 oz tuna steak or slab
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp stoneground mustard
1 tbsp Basque fish sauce
2 chopped olives
1/4 tsp marjoram
Pepper, lemon pepper, basil, herbs, etc, to taste
Heat 2 cups water to boil, then pour in rice. Reduce heat to low and cover until done.
Pour ingredients into large frying pan and stir fry until desired consistency is reached. Add marjoram, pepper, spices, etc at the very end. Put rice on plate and spoon the tuna tomato mixture over the rice.
This actually ended up pretty good. You might think that’s a lot of teriyaki sauce but it worked out just fine. Teriyaki goes great with tuna and you can use lots of it and get away with it. If you don’t have Basque fish sauce, use any white wine.
One might think that the olive oil was excessive too, but it worked out just fine too. Usually, you only need 1 tbsp olive oil, but sometimes you can go higher. The mustard was about right too – 1 tbsp seemed too little and 2 tbsp seemed too much. Marjoram goes well with any tomato dish.
This is a good dish for guys who don’t like to cook, don’t have much money and don’t have much food lying around. You can buy tuna in little packets ready to cook and eat. Rice is really cheap. I got the tomatoes for free from some church surplus food giveaway. They had huge tins of them and they were begging people to take them so I grabbed one.
I’m welcome to suggestions from any of the amateur chefs out there to how I might improve this recipe.

Israeli Invasion Update

The IDF claims that it is in control of Beit Layiha and and Beit Hanoun, and it has cut Gaza in half. A column of APC’s and tanks now goes from the eastern border of Gaza to the Mediterranean Sea. The IDF have taken positions on top of many roofs in the area. Right now, it is encircling Gaza City, just what I expected them to do. Pretty damn good for a mere eight hours or so into a ground invasion.
Israel is dropping leaflets all over Gaza telling people to turn in the Hamas guys around them and then everything will be cool. So Gazans are going to spy for Israel. Well, obviously, some of them already are, but I don’t think this is going to be a popular thing to do.
Hamas claims that they have already seized two wounded Israeli soldiers, but I doubt it. Israel will not confirm that. Hamas is going to make all kinds of blustery comments in the next few days, and most of them can be safely ignored.
Israel really fucked up and hit a mosque full of 200 people praying inside, killing 11 civilians. The IDF claims that the mosque was used to store weapons, but it was full of people when they bombed it. Major fuckup.
There are 2,777 Palestinian casualties in Gaza so far, for a population of 1.5 million. That is about one out of every 500 people. I now live in a city of 50,000. That would mean 100 casualties in my city. Surely you would know one of the wounded or killed. There would also be 16 killed in my city. Just to give you an idea of what it looks like on the ground.
Israel has blown up the oil supply for Gaza, which was the only thing running the generators for the hospital. There are people waiting in line outside the hospital to be treated.
However, it looks like Hamas has a tunnel network all over Gaza, and they can probably hide pretty well.
437 Gazans have been killed so far, and at least 109 of those were civilians. The death toll on the Israeli side is 4! This is the sort of thing that Israel and its supporters just don’t get. When there’s 100-1 deaths on their side versus your side, it just looks like a massacre.
While Israel engages in a war with 100-1 casualties in its favor, its Jewish casualties continuously scream at the top of their lungs that the other side, which is frankly being massacred, is about to wipe all 5 million Jews in Israel off the face of the Earth. Then when they get done, they are going to kill the other 13 million Jews on the planet.
This is why no one listens to Israel and its supporters anymore. It’s like the bully on the playground pummeling the designated and professional victims, all the while claiming that the Supervictims are serial killers ready to wipe the bully and his bully-buddies off the face of the Earth. This is not just the voice of the Israeli bully – this is the voice of all bullies everywhere, in all places and at all times.
Think about it. The professional victim picked on by the bully is always someone who seems weak, submissive and is completely harmless (doesn’t quite work in Hamas’ case, but consider the 100-1 odds). The bully always claims he is defending himself! Gangs of bullies are always defending themselves! This is how aggression works, folks. Think about it! Real hard!
I am serious, this Israeli-Palestinian War will tell you a lot about human nature. The bully always claims that the Supervictim started it. The Supervictim got out of control, and the bully had to put him in his place. The bully bullies the Supervictim day in and day out and when the Supervictim finally rises up to fight back, that is when the shit really, really, really hits the fan.
Slave rebellions will not be tolerated! The price for fighting back against bullies is dear, precious and bloody indeed.
You may think I am going on and on here, but please think about what I am writing. This is human nature. Humans are just animals and underneath it all, too many times, is just dominance and submission. The BD/SM folks justify their so-called perversions by saying that they are merely mimicking life and its ugly and inescapable reality.
Indeed it is true, is it not? In any male-female relationship, one party wears the pants, right? If the man won’t put them, damned if the woman won’t slip into the jeans herself.
Over and out. Just some thoughts for the day.

Why Zionists are KKK-Jews

Bedouin villages in Israel get no protection from incoming Palestinian rockets, no sirens, no early warning systems, no shelters, no nothing. These villages are all “unrecognized”, in one of the more outrageous outrages of Zionism. After the war, in 1949, Israel simply claimed 93% of the land in Israel for Jews and Jews only.
There were many Arabs living on this 93% of the land. I am not sure what happened to them all, but in the Negev at least, all Arab villages were immediately declared “illegal settlements”, “unrecognized villages”, etc. They were denied all aid from the state in the form of housing, schooling, medical care, utilities, sewage lines, water, roads, you name it.
Periodically, Israeli forces would descend on the towns and destroy them. The residents would usually be given 10 minutes notice to leave. Their agricultural fields were periodically sprayed with poisons. This nonsense has been ongoing up until recent days – it’s not something that happened a while back.
This is what I mean when I say that Zionism is racism and has been from the very start. It has not suddenly “turned racist” as commenter Goyta suggested, instead, this has been the case from Day One, even long before Israel was a state. If you are an ethnic nationalist who supports this sort of thing, then Israel is for you.
I’ve noticed that many of the White Nationalists on American Renaissance who are not anti-Semites support Israel on White nationalist grounds. Well of course. It makes perfect sense. And the rest of the WN’s would support Israel in a heartbeat where the Europeans living there not Jewish. Racism is only ok when it’s done to Jews, not by Jews.
To picture what this means, try to imagine a US where Whites seize power and declare that 93% of the US is for Whites only. The non-Whites living on White land soon find their towns destroyed, their crops sprayed with poison and their towns are declared “illegal” and all government aid – schooling, medical care, roads, sewage lines, electricity, utilities, etc. is denied to them on the grounds that they are living in illegal towns.
There are Whites-only towns and schools are over the US, and the non-Whites are crowded into 7% of the land, denied or shorted on many state services and often given the message that they need to leave the US. Many non-Whites are simply forced out of the country, where they camp out in Mexico and Canada on the borders waiting to come back, but we won’t let them back in.
The US is officially declared a White state, the state of Whites all over the world (NOT the state of its citizens – 20% of whom are non-Whites),  and Whites all over the world automatically get to come here and become citizens just like that. It’s a White Nationalist dream! It’s the KKK-USA. This is why I call Zionists KKK-Jews. I’m not being mean or anti-Semitic. I’m basing it on this analogy right here. Really, all WN’s ought to get behind Israel. They are showing how and ethnic nationalist state ought to be run. They are lighting the way, guys!
So this is really where I stake out my position as an anti-racist staunchly against Israel and Zionism. If you’re anti-racist, it’s pretty mandatory that you need to come down against Zionism. On what basis would an anti-racist make an exception for Zionism?
It makes no sense to oppose Zionism as racism while supporting Nazism, White nationalism, Islamic domination, Arab nationalism or other forms of racism or bigotry. Racists of other varieties only oppose Zionism because they hate Jews. You’re either for racism or against it.

Debka Downed By Arab Cyberattack

Debka appears to be down right now. This happens often during major offensives when the site gets flooded with hits. However, in this case, Debka has apparently gone down under a concerted cyberattack by Arab hackers. Some Jerusalem Post pages are also not loading. Debka sent out a message to its subscribers saying that both the English and Hebrew sites had been under heavy cyberattack since 7 PM local time. As its 11 hours later now, it looks like this is a serious attack.
I don’t dig it when either side does this shit. I want my news, dammit.
If Debka ever comes back up, maybe we can write something about this ground invasion.
The hackers also took down the Israeli news site in addition to and redirecting them to a webpage with an anti-Israel message. They did this by hacking into a domain name registration server.

Juan Cole On Gaza

By the way, Israel has just invaded Gaza several hours ago and are now occupying a small part of Northern Gaza. More on that later in the post.
Juan Cole makes a number of interesting points about the Gaza operation and its coverage.
Cole notes that American International School in Gaza sustained a direct hit from Israeli artillery. I assume that it was intentional. This school is working to promote good relations between the US and Palestinians. Hmmm.
Cole questions, quoting Jonathan Freedman, one again, what the whole invasion was all about. If Israel could not crush Hamas when they controlled Gaza, how do they hope to do so now when they are only going to make a temporary incursion into a few parts of it?
Most interesting of all was Cole’s account of watching CNN, or as a friend of mine calls it, ZNN (Zionist News Network).
CNN was interviewing Saeb Erekat, the PLO spokesperson. Cole noted that this was the first time he had seen a Palestinian spokesman on TV all week – it was all  Israelis, all the time. They had just started an interview with Erekat when ZNN suddenly switched to Ben Weideman (sure, he’s Jewish) in Jerusalem detailing the “task Israel has before it now.” They never did get back to Erekat.
Later, ZNN did an interview with Mustafa Bargouti, who complained that ZNN’s coverage of the war was completely one-sided. He has such a thick accent that it is hard to understand him. Cole pointed out how Israeli commenters always seem to be quite understandable. Cole wonders whether the media can’t find a Palestinian who speaks good enough English so he’s understandable to an American audience.
Interesting the subtle and not so subtle ways that pro-Israeli bias works in the US media.
What’s funny is that a lot of pro-Israeli Jews like to scream about how the US media is so lopsided in favor of the Palestinians. Yeah right! I do agree with them about the European media though. Just looking at the British media the other day, or at least the Independent and the Guardian, they are not pro-Israel at all. I would say that they are anti-Israel.
From the Palestinian side, some really biased and pro-Pallie fire-breathing coverage is available from the PFLP English site. You can get some great coverage of the war there too, albeit from a wildly pro-Pallie perspective.
According to the PFLP, the IDF has sustained casualties in the early hours of the offensive. They report that an IDF tank has been hit by a roadside bomb and that the IDF moved into Gaza in three different places. They are also claiming the use of cluster bombs and say that the IDF hit gas storage depots which is causing big fires.
Hamas says that they have killed a group of Israeli forces in Eastern Gaza. This was reported on the Arab Al-Arabiya news channel. There is no confirmation of this yet.
The Jerusalem Post agrees that there have been 30 IDF troops wounded in the early hours of the offensive in heavy fighting with dug-in Palestinian forces on the border. The IDF claims to have killed 30 Palestinian fighters so far, and another report says they have killed dozens of fighters. Palestinian sources report 3 fighters have been killed so far.
One thing that is pretty cool about the PFLP site is that it gives the lie to the notion that everyone fighting Israel is an “Islamofascist” or even a Muslim. The PFLP are very secular people, and in many cases, it’s not even accurate to call them Muslims. They’re about as Muslim as the average Israeli is Jewish.
Another thing that the PFLP site makes clear is that it is not just Hamas that is fighting Israel in this Gaza War.
The PFLP, in the form of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade (PLO splitoff), Seraya Al-Quds, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, and the An-Nasser Salah al-din Brigades, affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees, the National Resistance Brigades – the armed wing of the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of  Palestine), the Al-Mujahedin Brigades, an armed faction of Fatah, the Eagles of Palestine, a previously unknown group, in addition to the Izzadeen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, are all participating in the fighting, so it’s not all just “Hamas”.
It’s useful to note that the PFLP reports that they too are shooting rockets at Israeli towns, so when you hear about rockets being fired at Israel, it’s not all “Hamas”.
According to Debka (about as wildly pro-IDF as the PFLP site is wildly pro-Pallie), the Palestinians plan to evacuate much of Gaza and collect inside Gaza City. No way is the IDF going to occupy Gaza City. Then they will move out of Gaza City at night to carry out attacks on the IDF. That instead of holding out and fighting to the last man in every part of Gaza. That’s probably a pretty smart way to fight the war.
The rocket barrages have hit into areas of Israel that to my knowledge have not been hit before. They hit Netivot and Ofaqim in the Negev, and incredibly hit all the way to Beersheba. To the north, they hit Askelon and Lakhish to the east of Kiryat Gat. They hit Ashdod and Gan Yavne to the east of Ashdod. The furthest target of all to be hit was Gedera. In general, these rockets caused little damage or casualties. That is because they are inherently inaccurate.
However, recently, rockets have made direct hits on buildings in Ashdod and other towns. In Ashdod, a six-floor building received a direct hit.

Expanding Definitions of Fascism

The Arabs are taking the war outside of Israel. 2 Israelis were wounded by Arabs in a shooting attack in a mall in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is what I meant by these Israeli invasions just pissing Arabs off more and more.
The suspect has just turned himself in. He’s a 27 year old Dane born of Palestinian parents from Lebanon.
Hizb-ut-Tahrir (global jihad) has a presence in Denmark. They recently held a rally where they reportedly announced that all Jews everywhere were legitimate targets and wished death to them all.
In the cutting-edge debate on fascism carried out by Left theorists and mainstream political scientists, there is debate about whether or not the Al Qaeda types are fascists or not. David Neiwert of Orcinus says that they are in The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism, and recently the folks at Three Way Fight have agreed in a seminal essay entitled Two Ways of Looking At Fascism. There are some superb, cutting-edge thinkers at Three Way Fight, if you can get past the PC crap, and Matthew Lyons, the author of that essay, is one of them.
The question centers around whether or not fascism has anything to do with religion or not. Since Al Qaeda and the Taliban are so fanatically religious, it is held by traditional theorists of fascism that they cannot possibly be fascists, since fascism negates extreme religiosity.
However, the latest thinking is that both the Al Qaeda – Taliban types and the extreme rightwing Christians of the Dominionist sort in the US are actually a species of fascist.
I would really like to get away from this reductionist “Fascism only existed in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy in the 30’s and 40’s” bullshit.
One of the excellent points that Neiwert makes in his essay is that fascism looks like anything and everything. It mutates and acts like a chameleon. It takes whatever form it needs to take in any society in order for it to take power. Fascism is the ultimate changeling. And this is what makes the damned blob of mercury called fascism so hard to pin down, and enables all sorts of more or less fascists to wiggle away and claim that since their first name isn’t Il Duce, they can’t possibly be one, nya nya nya.
People on the Right are of course the most sensitive of all about fascism, and they are usually incapable of writing responsibly about it, so most of the good scholarship has come from the Left. The Right is upset because fascism is indeed a rightwing philosophy, and they wish to deny this.
Hence a modern revisionist effort, devoid of legitimate political science, that has sought to rebrand fascism as “Leftist”. Yeah right! Unfortunately, your average dittohead has fallen for it, and “libertarian” morons have also gone in for it in a big way.

The "Theory of Intelligence"

Intelligence like spies, not intelligence like IQ.
The fascinating blog Entitled To An Opinion reproduces an excellent document from an Israel intelligence scholar who has written several books on the theory of intelligence. In particular, he delves into the organization of guerrilla groups their cells. I love this stuff!
The document makes some interesting points, considering the author is an Israeli. First of all, he points out that Hamas was operating completely outside of the hands of Arafat and the PLO and was in fact trying to crush Arafat’s attempts at negotiation. Hamas’ terrorism was not Arafat’s terrorism!
Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Via Debka and the other idiot Israeli outlets, we always heard about how this guy called “Arafat” was behind all of the sui-bombers self-detonating all over Israel. Even surrounded by Israeli forces in a bombed-out headquarters with all contact with the outside world cut off, Arafat Mastermind was still coordinating every single attack against Israel. How did he do it? Telepathy, of course! Arafat was a master of ESP.
After a few years, Israel poisoned him via his Palestinian chef (check out Ghada Karmi , no conspiracy buff, on this), and then he died. The rest of the PLO, including the Abbas faction, was apparently in on the operation, at least after the fact, in that an autopsy was prevented, and his body was quickly entombed for all time. I realize this is a conspiracy theory, but after months of investigation, I am convinced it is true. If only more knew about this. And Arafat did NOT die of AIDS (Zionist rumor-lie).
Anyway, back to the point.
The article is wrong in some places. It claimed that Sheik Yassin and then Rantissi were giving the orders for every single sui-bomb. I find this dubious. Hamas is split between military and political wings.
The military wing seems to be relatively autonomous in terms of selecting targets and whatnot. Yassin and Rantissi were part of the political wing. There is lots of breathing space between the two wings for counterintelligence purposes – political wing members arrested cannot give much info on military wing members since they know little to nothing.
I also think it should be pointed out that it should be obvious by now that Hamas is riddled with Israeli informers. There is no other way that Israel had such great intelligence on where to drop those bombs.
Israeli intelligence on Hezbollah,on the other hand, is pretty abysmal though not a complete failure. Hezbollah has somehow managed to keep Israeli informers out of its system for a good 10 years now. How do they do it? Who knows? We get back to the “theory of intelligence” which this guy has written several books on. It’s a nasty world out there, and not so easily mastered, even by the best spy agencies or guerrilla formations on Earth. How to keep spies out of the insurgency? You tell me!
One more thing becomes clear in this document – the policy of targeted assassinations so decried by the pro-Palestinian side clearly works from a military POV. Further, civilian casualties are probably kept to a minimum.
The article deals with at what point does any system start to collapse. They are using guerrilla organizations as a system, but really we can plug any variable in there. It turns out that 25% is a magic number for a guerrilla group. Not 25% of total members, but 25% of its top members. Once they lose 25% of their key members, guerrilla groups do not function very well anymore. This despite the usual policy of quickly replacing killed leaders with new folks.

More on Gaza

In the Finally, A Post On Gaza post, Lafayette Sennacherib points out that Hamas has limited ability to control the rocket shooters. This is not completely correct. Truth is that Hamas are hardliners. They really don’t want to arrest anyone for the “crime” of shooting at Israelis. Ideologically, that’s not a crime to them. That’s just resistance. So the last thing they want to do is arrest people for that.
Fatah did a lot better job of this, even arresting the PFLP guys who killed the Israeli minister “Gandhi” (Gandhi – LOL!)* and keeping them in prison for years. Hamas would never do that. This is an important distinction to make.
James Schipper says that an independent Gaza ought to be recognized and aided by the US. I do not think that an independent Gaza would quit shooting rockets. Further, they would arm themselves to the teeth and there would be no way to stop this. No way is Israel or the US going to put up with that. How are you going to keep arms shipments out of Gaza? You can’t. No go, no fly.
Further, I suspect that the Gazans are so nuts that they would keep on shooting rockets at Israel no matter how much aid we flooded them with or how prosperous they become.
James says that we propose to recognize and aid Gaza on the condition that they knock off the rockets, but they would probably say yes, and then as soon as we recognize them and start the aid flowing, they would start shooting the stupid rockets again. At which point, what? We get furious and cut off aid. Gazans get all pissed again, but they’re chronically angry anyway. We’re back to square one, and they’re shooting rockets again.
James notes that the Arab birthrate is one reason why Gaza is so crowded. But that is not a good enough reason. Are the West Bank or Arab parts of Israel this crowded? Of course not. Go to the Palestineremembered site and see how Gaza got flooded with refugees from most of southwest Israel. Very enlightening.
* By the way, I supported that very controversial PFLP operation. This blog does support the PFLP and the DFLP. I’m convinced that the secular Leftists in the PFLP and DFLP could actually coexist with Jews. The Hamas types – I doubt it.

Finally, A Post On Gaza

Surely, you have been waiting with bated breath for my golden words on the Gaza Crisis? But of course.
Let us begin with a history lesson. What is Gaza anyway, and why is it so crowded with people?
Why is Gaza cram-packed with “Pallieniggers” as one Jewish Zionist put it? Is it because Palestinians like to live in Hellish conditions like a bunch of rats? There’s a reason why the place is so overcrowded. Because 80% of the Gaza residents’ ancestors came from the surrounding areas of Israel. You can read all about the sordid history on Palestine Remembered, a great site by the way.
Robert Fisk says that is what is ironic about rockets landing on Ashdod. By the way, the ethnic cleansing of the areas around Gaza did not end in 1948. They continued through 1949 (indeed, this is when most of the Southern expulsions occurred) and actually, they continued all through the 1950’s. Yep, all through the 1950’s, Palestinians living around Gaza in various ways were being forced out of Israel and into Gaza. Hence we end up with Gaza, which should hold 300,000 people, now holds 1.5 million.
Check out The Jews of Iraq by Naeim Giladi, an Iraqi Jew, a great read! This book could not find a single US publisher and hence had to be self-published, amidst endless threats. Gee, who did that?
Jews in Israel are KKK-Jews. They are the KKK Whites transmuted into a Jew-shaped form. If you oppose racism, if you think the KKK sucks, you really ought to look into opposing Zionism as it is currently constructed. Anti-Semites think that opposing KKK-Jews by being racists of their own variety is some kind of a moral position. Excuse me? Opposing racism with racism? In what multiverse does that add up?
I’m not trying to say that the idiots in Gaza are angels. They are not, and I thought that this rocket campaign was moronic.
But Israel, the US and the UK blockaded Gaza from the get-go for no good reason at all, resulting in chronic food and medicine shortages. In no world does making malnourished kids and depriving hospital patients of meds make sense. Yeah it’s a war crime. Just like shooting rockets at civilians for no reason. I don’t see the point. Clearly shipments of food and medicine could be policed to keep the arms out.
By the way, it’s thoroughly criminal the way that Egypt is keeping food and medicine out of Gaza, and depriving Gazan civilians of the right to flee the opportunity of getting a bomb on the head. Egypt is in deep with the Israelis on this, and it’s all because they hate Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood by extension. Yes, Hamas is just the MB-Palestine. They don’t publicize this, because Pallies don’t like the MB, but it’s true.
Just so you understand the motives of the actors.
Does Israel have a right to defend themselves? Sure they do. Is this offensive all about Israeli elections, in which a Centrist Olmert-Livni Group is about to lose to the Far Right, represented by Netanyahu? Sure it is. Israeli elections always mandate lots of shooting and bombs. If you don’t carry out enough attacks, you’re a pussy and you lose the election to the Rightwing guy. Sabras are a macho bunch, dontcha know? No quivering Ghetto Jews marching passively to the chambers are they, no sir.
Everyone is a product of their environment, Kropotkin observed. That’s one of my favorite rock songs, “I’m a Product of My Environment.” Listen and try to understand. We all are, Israelis, Gazans, all of us.
Otherwise, I do not see the point of this crazy offensive. What is Israel’s endgame here? I just don’t get it. And as someone who does not dislike Jews, I see this whole mess as bad for the Jews. It just creates oodles of anti-Semitism and makes people want to kill Jews.
Zionists respond by saying that Jews are either passive pussies allowing themselves to be mass murdered or killers slaughtering hundreds of humans a week. If you’re a Jew, you’re either a killer or a corpse. I don’t believe that, and there’s got to be a better way. Zionists call that position “The Suicide Left.” Fine, color me Left and suicidal please, but it’s not true anyway.
By the way, it really looks like most of those “Hamas militia members” killed were just cops, not part of the Hamas armed forces at all. There’s the Hamas army, and then there’s the cops, you know, the guys who solve crimes and direct traffic. That’s who got massacred at the graduating ceremony – traffic cops. That’s why they showed their faces at the ceremony – they figured no sane person would drop a bomb on a traffic cop’s head. That’s why the police stations were full that day.
Hamas is not stupid. There’s traffic cops and there’s the Hamas Army. Not the same thing. The Hamas Army numbers about 15,000, and the traffic cops are not part of it. They have not been too hard-hit by this, and now they are hitting Beersheba.
I don’t have much more to say about this except the Arabs and Muslims are getting more and more pissed, and no way is this shit good for the Jews. As a Judeophile, this concerns me.
Check out Johann Hari. Never realized he made so much sense.
You are invited to toss your opinions into the ring.

The Reason For Footbinding

I always thought foot-binding was just men being cruel and stupid to the women they lord it over, but it turns out that it was all about sex all along, and the men would have probably bound their feet too except for what foot-binding was all about.
Turns that like so many things in life, foot-binding was all about sex. And like so many things in sex, foot-binding was all about the pussy. Well, of course.
According to Pioneers of Modern China (p.92):

In a man, big feet indicated a big penis. In a woman, small feet indicated a tight vagina.

Then again, men were keenly aware that a woman with bound feet could barely walk very well, much less run, so she was unlikely to run away from the household. The patriarchy rears its head again.
Like so many shitty things, foot-binding was closely tied in with “conservatism.” The more conservative the area of China, the more they subjected their women to this shit; the less conservative, the more they thought it horrid. One more reason for humanists to reject conservatism.


Lee, Khoon Choy. 2005. Pioneers of Modern China: Understanding the Inscrutable Chinese. Singapore:
World Scientific Publishing.

Why White Separatism Will Never Fly In Brazil

In the comments to the Statement On Radical Nationalism post, Mark (not a White nationalist) asks if I would support a movement by Whites in Brazil or South Africa to split away from the nation and for their own state. I said, extracted later to a post, that I would not necessarily oppose such a move, and that it could even be considered in the national liberationist stream of nationalism as opposed to the national consolidationist (fascist) stream.
Goyta, a brilliant new Leftist commenter from Brazil, has chimed in. Although Brazil is regarded with shivers of terror by US White nationalists (The future is Brazil!) it turns out that down in Brazil itself, the White nationalist project could not be any less interesting. Brazilians, “White”, or whatever they may be, simply cannot be bothered. It turns out that in South Africa too, Orania, a White separatist community, has not been very successful. So far only 1,500 folks have signed up.
Goyta’s comments on why White separatism will never fly in Brazil are illuminating and fascinating and more or less what I always thought.
I guess there is a lesson in here somewhere for WN’s but I am not sure what it is. Maybe it is that once your country starts looking like Brazil, your WN project is history. It does seem that the most ferocious White nationalists are in mostly White countries and nations. The more non-Whites, the less appeal to WN. Which runs contrary to WN theory, which is that increased exposure to non-Whites will make Whites flock to their project.
Turns out it just makes them want to act like wiggers, listen to rap music, smoke blunts, date, screw and marry non-White women. I plead guilty to all of these charges, (except the marriage part, thank God!), even in middle age.
This begs an interesting question. Why is it that the more homogeneous folks are, the more racist and “separatist” they are? And the more diverse a community gets, the more racism and desire for separatism declines and the more folks, make friends outside their group, have sex with and marry outside their group?
I don’t know the answer, but I suspect we are more human than we think we are. It’s easy to hate “niggers” when there are hardly any around to fight back. Once we encounter those outside our group, often our horror stories about them are found to be exaggerated, and we start to befriend, have sex with, and marry them. As we miscegenate more, racism becomes less and less palatable.
I will let Goyta take it from here:

Being Brazilian I think the idea of a White supremacist (or worse, secessionist) movement here is so laughable it’s hard to even decide where to begin explaining. Not that there haven’t been people who tried to launch the idea – in a country with 190 million people, there is certainly room for all kinds of weirdos you can think of and then more.
But they were not even met with scorn – they were deemed so insignificant that nobody listened.
South Africa and the U.S. are countries with historic racial segregation. Brazil is exactly the opposite: a country where interracial miscegenation and social intermingling is the norm, not the exception.
It all started because instead of real “colonists” or “pioneers” looking for a new land to call their own, the Portuguese who colonized us were really adventurers. They were overwhelmingly males who left their wives and kids back in Lisbon and came to Brazil intending to stay a few years, make a fortune, then go back to spend it at home in Europe.
Many never returned in the end, but whether they did or not, they still had the urges of the flesh while here. So they satisfied their urges first with Amerindian women, later with African slave ones. That mixed offspring bred with other mixed offspring. And again and again, over 500 years, in complex fractal patterns.
Add to that a big wave of European, Middle Eastern and Japanese immigration from the late 19th century to the mid-20th, and the result is that Brazilians probably have the most complex gene pool in the world. At first, such immigrants even tried to establish ghettos as in other countries, but they disappeared after a generation with complete assimilation into Brazilian society and the usual pattern of intermixing and intermarriage.
Here you can see people with Caucasian features but dark skin, and vice versa, with all shades in between. You can even see mulattoes (or blue-eyed blondes) with Asian eyes.
When we travel abroad, we are told to be extremely careful with our passports, because Brazilian passports are highly valued in the black market. Why? Because *any* physical type in the world can pass for a Brazilian.
I have very light skin and look deceptively Caucasian myself, but I have a hard wiry beard to evidence my African genes – as if I didn’t know that my grandfather was the “white sheep” in his family… I have a friend here with dark skin and Arab features who could easily be taken for a Malian or Sudanese. Another one is of Italian and Japanese ancestry and is an almost obscenely hairy man with a dense beard coupled with almond eyes.
We are the anti-Iceland – huge, tropical, and with the United Nations put in a blender and thrown into our genes. Few Brazilians (other than in the Southern states, but I’ll come back to this later) can say they are 1/4 this or 1/8 that. It’s more likely that we are some weird fraction like 29.873652% this or that.
I’ve said it above, but it’s important, so I’ll repeat it: Brazil was never racially segregated. We have the same shameful record of poverty, low social indicators, high unemployment and crime among persons who are *visibly* black as in the U.S. and South Africa, mostly because of our no less shameful very late abolition of slavery (1888), but there is no such thing as a “black” or “white” neighbo(u)rhood in our cities.
Racism exists, but in the end the divide is much more economical than racial. A poor neighbo(u)rhood is more likely to have a large proportion of blacks, but it will also have a lot of poor whites living next door to blacks (and still intermarrying with them).
São Paulo and the Southern states are somewhat different, in that they have received the bulk of European immigration, and that was just a few generations ago, so there *are* people who can claim and trace pure European ethnicity. But even they live, work, socialize and intermarry with people with all sorts of ethnic backgrounds, more often than not with two, three or four of them at once in the same person.
Some people in São Paulo – which produces 30% of the nation’s wealth, and in some economic sectors up to 80% – resent what they call “supporting the rest of the country with their work and money”, but true separatists never attracted much attention, let alone support.
There are also a bunch of separatist advocates in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. It is Brazil’s richest state in proportional terms (per capita) and it has a very characteristic regional culture they are staunchly proud of.
It was the last part of Brazil to join the country, and the Portuguese they speak there still has a very strong Spanish influence in pronunciation and vocabulary. It is also one of the “whitest” states due to heavy recent European immigration (Germans and Italians in particular) – Gisele Bündchen is from there.
But most “gaúchos” (as they are called) are also heavily mixed with Guarani Amerindians (that scene in The Mission where they raid a Jesuit mission among the natives and destroy it portrays a real event that happened there in the 18th century).
Still, not even the “gaúcho” separatists say they want to secede because they are “white” – first because they are not so as a whole, and second because their neighbo(u)r to the north, Santa Catarina state, is even “whiter” and has its own German dialect (based on Thuringian and Pomeranian), still widely spoken several generations after immigration. Yet RGS separatists don’t want to include Santa Catarina.
Anyway, separatists are a tiny minority: most people from RGS shun secession and are as proud of being Brazilian as of being “gaúchos”. And thank God, RGS separatists are not violent or extremist (in addition to being very, very few).
Apartheid and domination by a white minority were possible in South Africa chiefly because the white newcomers had an overwhelmingly superior technology, especially regarding weapons and agriculture, and segregation ensured that things would remain so.
But Brazil is an established country with an unsegregated population of multiracial individuals, now chiefly urban and technological, even if with shocking extremes of wealth distribution. White supremacists don’t have a chance here, let alone white separatists. And we have lots of empty land here. If they want to take it, we’ll be glad to get rid of that scum.

Be Cynical About Nationalism

Commenter Ken Hoop, on Chinese Fascism – An Example, asks me what I think about National Bolshevism. Click the link to try to get a handle on it. Basically fascism with a socialist economic system – it’s quite popular in Russia among the idiots that love both Stalin and Hitler.
I’m a Leftist with a capital L. We consider those NB idiots to be fascists.
Then again, it boils down to whether or not fascism is about economics. A famous commenter wrote me the other day taking me to task on my definition of fascism for leaving out the economic aspect. According to him, fascism always has an economic aspect. What that economic aspect is is somewhat up in the air. Leftist theoreticians usually say it is some form of capitalism, while rightwingers like to say it is a form of socialism, corporatism, or at any rate, Big Governmentism.
If fascism has an economic aspect that is part and parcel to it, then NB cannot be fascism. But from here, it just looks like fascism with a socialist economic system. The way we see it, Mao and Stalin got into some fascist type behavior too. No one is immune to it.
I’m really pretty hardline against nationalism, almost like some of these ultra-Left sects here like the Progressive Labor Party who have taken the extreme line that all nationalism is to be condemned. I still believe in enforced borders, state languages and national interests, but that is about it. Nationalism is just bad news. It is *inextricably* tied to fascist ways of thinking. Inextricably! And there does not seem to be any way to pull nationalism from its fascist moorings and tendencies to float in that direction.
I’ve noticed over and over that folks who start calling themselves nationalists sound an awful lot like fascists. And most racists get into some form of “nationalism” at some point. Almost all anti-Semites transform into “nationalists” somehow. No wonder Jews tend to be leery about (non-Jewish) nationalism. In fact, most overtly racist parties on Earth today have “nationalist” in their names.
Given all of that, why should progressive people not be very cynical, to say the least, about nationalism?

Englishes, Portugueses, and Chineses

In the comments to the A Reworking of Chinese Language Classification post, Goyta made several comments. First of all he noted that the differences between Brazilian and Portuguese Portuguese are considerable, especially when a Brazilian hears a less educated, working class or rural Portuguese. He also said that when P Portuguese are interviewed on Brazilian TV, Brazilians wish they had subtitles. Wanting to have subtitles when you see a video of someone speaking is actually a symptom that you are dealing with another language. He said the differences are particularly severe when it comes to IT. He said he cannot understand 99% of what is written in a P Portuguese IT magazine, whereas with a regular publication, he can get 99% of it.
IIt does appear that the differences between P Portuguese and Br Portuguese are pretty significant, more significant than the differences between US and British English.
On other hand, I find Hibernian English spoken in Ireland to be nearly incomprehensible, though it is said to be just a dialect of English. It’s clearly been influenced extensively by the Irish language. Scots, the regional English spoken in Scotland and exemplified by the movie Trainspotting , is actually a completely separate language from English. That movie actually needed subtitles. On the other hand, there is a Scottish English dialect that is not Scots that is pretty intelligible.
We can always understand British English no matter who is writing it. Same with understanding spoken Australian and New Zealand (Kiwi) English. British English is often written a bit differently in slang expressions, but we pick them up. The formal writing is totally understandable.
There have been huge fights on Wikipedia between Br English and US English speakers with complaints from the Brits of bullying by the Americans. There was an attempt to fork the English Wiki into Br and US versions but it failed. Wikipedia demands that you have an ISO code in order to get a Wikipedia and ISO codes only come from SIL, who publishes Ethnologue. I petitioned for a few new languages a couple of years ago and they all got shot down.
There is an ongoing war between P Portuguese and Br Portuguese on the Portuguese Wikipedia with complaints from the P Portuguese of bullying on the part of the Brazilians. Gotya noted that he, a Brazilian, could not read Portuguese IT materials. This is unfortunate. All written British is intelligible to us. We can read anything written in the UK, though most of our reading material here is from the US. I can read The Economist and The New Standard and The Spectator with no problems at all.
As a Californian, I speak completely normally, of course, and have no accent whatsoever! Haha. We can understand the Midwest accent perfectly, though it can be different. It sounds “flat”. They also insert rhotic consonants before some consonants at the end of a word and the raising of the preceding vowel – “wash” becomes “worsh”.
The Oklahoma accent is different and sometimes it can be hard to understand. I heard some people speaking Oklahoman in the doctor’s office the other day for a minute or so I thought they were speaking a foreign language! Of course they were mumbling too. Then I asked them where they were from and they said Oklahoma. At that point, I had caught onto their accent and could understand them perfectly.
I do not know why the Texan accent is said to be hard to understand. We understand it perfectly, but it sounds funny. We make a lot of jokes about it. George Bush has a strong Texan accent. There is also an Arkansas accent (Arkies) that is different but understandable. This is also the source of jokes. In this part of California there are many Whites who still speak Arkie and Okie. They are the descendants of those who came out here from the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. Steinbeck wrote a book about this called The Grapes of Wrath .
Other than that, there are no accents in the West.
There is some sort of a Kentucky-Tennessee accent, but I am not sure if they differ. This is also a source of jokes. It’s sort of a general Appalachian accent, and it’s the source of jokes about inbred hillbillies and whatnot.
The Southern accent is well-known but usually understandable. My brother went to live in Alabama though and he said that the workers in the factory he worked at were often completely unintelligible. The Blacks were worse than the Whites, and they had separate accents. He has imitated their incomprehensible accent to me and it’s pretty hilarious.
I have heard poor Blacks from Memphis on the Cops show who were completely unintelligible to me. People with more money and status tended to be more comprehensible. I sometimes have a hard time understanding a Mississippi or Alabama accent, but it’s no problem. Our Southern politicians all have thick Southern accents.
Cajun English from Louisiana is often unintelligible to us, but the people with more money and status are quite intelligible.
There is also a Black accent from the coast of South Carolina called Gullah that is hard to understand. The Blacks from around there speak something like it and you can pick it out if you are sharp. It has a pretty, lilting sound to it. It’s different from the standard Southern accent and is sort of charming.
Moving up the coast, there is a Virginia accent that is softer, pleasant and charming.
There is the famous New York accent, which to us laid back Californians sounds horribly rude, obnoxious, loud and belligerent. Some forms of it also sound ignorant – these tend to be associated with working class Whites in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
One thing they do is to glide and lengthen rhotic consonants – “New York” becomes New Yawwk” “Brooklyn” becomes “Bwwoklyn”.
A similar accent seems to be spoken in New Jersey, but it may be different. One again, it involves lenition of rhotic consonants, in this case turning them into dipthongs with nlong vowels. “New Jersey” becomes “New Joiisey”. This is also a source of jokes.
There is a Boston accent which is completely understandable. Ted Kennedy speaks that. It involves the lenition of hard consonants into glides and the end of a word – “car” becomes “caw”.
I believe there is a sort of a slow drawl from Vermont and New Hampshire too. Those people, especially the older men, are known for not talking much. Men of few words.
Some Blacks around here still talk with thick Black accents that sound Southern even though they were born in the Central Valley.
There is also an “Ebonics” English (for lack of a better word) that is spoken here by sort of ghettoish or semi-ghettoish Blacks. It is frankly, almost completely unintelligible. They seem like they are talking with their mouths full, mumbling and speaking extremely fast, running all of the sounds together.
Everyone who talks like this can also speak Standard English thank God, and they can quickly move in and out of that Ebonics talk when you talk to them. It’s sort of a language for them to talk so that we can’t understand them, I think. To us, it sounds sloppy, low class and ghetto, but it reportedly a full-fledged language.
The Blacks in the Caribbean do not speak English! That makes me feel good because I can hardly understand a word they say. Each island has its own form of Creole English which is a completely separate language.
I think that Indian English (Chichi derogatorily) and West African English need to be split into separate languages because they are often incomprehensible to us. This is a case of regional Englishes evolving on their own. Further, West African English often differs a lot in its written form.
Indian English is often so mangled in its written form that it is incomprehensible, but more educated writers are comprehensible. The tendency to drop articles is very annoying and makes written Indian English sound ignorant to us. Don’t mess with our damned useless articles!
Reading about the Chinese languages, there are efforts underway to get speakers to speak proper Putonghua, whatever that means. Speakers from different parts of China still speak Putonghua with an accent that can be heavy at times.
Here in the US, we do not have this problem. Even our politicians still speak in heavy regional accents, and no one cares. We can always understand them. There is no national effort to get everyone to speak proper English that involves wiping out regional accents, though I understand that in the corporate world, they are offering classes to help people get rid of Southern accents, which are stereotyped as sounding backwards, ignorant and racist. I think this is sad. Our regional accents are what makes this country great.
Goyta also notes that Brazilians are starting to speak Spanish and the neighboring Spanish speaking countries are starting to speak Portuguese. When I was dealing with them 5-10 years ago, most Brazilians did not speak much Spanish (They acted like it was extremely low on their list of priorities) and Spanish speakers had zero interest in learning Portuguese (In fact, they regarded the suggestion as offensive and preposterous!)
Goyta notes that with regional integration, more Portuguese are speaking Spanish and more Spanish speakers from nearby countries are learning Portuguese. Spanish is becoming a prerequisite to getting a good job in Brazil. This is good as it’s good to see Latin Americans getting together.
It is also true that in China there has been a big fight over Chinese language classification. The unificationist – fascist types, associated with the Communist government (and actually with the Nationalist government before also – this is really a Chinese elite project) insist that there is only one Chinese language.
This goes along with racism of Northern Chinese against Southern Chinese and to some extent vice versa. This racism is most evident in the Cantonese vs Mandarin war in China.
Cantonese speakers say that they speak the real Chinese and that Northern Chinese speak a bastardized tongue derived from the old Manchu language. Cantonese speakers also resent that a Northern Chinese was turned into the national tongue and imposed on them against their will. They also say that Northern Chinese are really from the South and that the real NE Asians are the Mongolians, Koreans, Manchu, Japanese, etc. Genetic studies show that this is not the case.
Northern Chinese say that Southern Chinese are not real Chinese and their blood is “contaminated” with Tai types like the Tai, Zhuang, Vietnamese, etc. There is probably something to this.
Although Putonghua is the only official language in China and there is a war going on against the regional Chineses, enforcement has been held off against Cantonese. And Cantonese  areas are still where you will hear the least Putonghua and the most regional Chinese in all spheres of life. Cantonese is also allowed on the radio and TV, whereas regional Chineses had previously banned from the media.
The Putonghua-only campaign has been too successful and regional Chineses are being wiped out. There is now a regionalism movement arising in China to promote and retain regional Chineses.
I think that the Putonghua campaign has been good, but that China should promote bilingualism. The Putonghua campaign has not yet been successful. As of 2001, only 53% of Chinese could speak Putonghua, but it has probably risen a lot since then as the government is really pushing this hard.
China clearly needs a language that they can all speak. For its entire history, many Chinese have not been able to speak to each other, including folks from one village to the next if you go to the southeast and the central coast. Provinces like Fujian, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Henan and Hunan are notoriously multilingual.
Most of these places have a lot of very high mountains, and transportation was typically very poor. Even today, you can scarcely get around by vehicle and you sometimes have to walk from one place to the next, sometimes for dozens of miles! Bottom line is they were very isolated from each other.
These places also retained a tradition of being hideouts for “hillbilly” types where there was a lot of unemployment and many folks turned to crime. Also criminals fled to the mountains where they could hide. Upshot was that due to all of this, and people seen as backwards, lazy, stupid and thieving, people from the rest of China had no interest in going to these places anyway.
When people left these parts of China to go to big cities, they were stereotyped in a way similar to how ghetto Blacks and Browns are in the US. This made them want to stay in their mountains.

Chinese Fascism – An Example

I noted in a previous post that readers seemed confused about what fascism was and where the line is drawn between fascism and nationalism. In particular, readers wondered whether White nationalism was automatically a form of fascism or whether it was something else. This post is intended to clear the waters somewhat.
As the definition of fascism and the borders of fascism, nationalism and racism are ill-defined and continually digressed by intellectual con men and ignoramuses, and as I am still learning about these boundaries myself, we will continue with our lessons.
Reader Uncle Milton seems to have an inkling of what I am getting at. Shout out to Uncle Milton. In a previous post describing fanatical fascist ultranationalism rampant among upper class and upper middle class high caste Indian Hindus, Unc got the point but disagreed with the inroads this mental poison had made with Indian tech workers, presumably H-1B parasites, in the US.
He then directed me to an article by the interesting John Derbyshire about Chinese neo-fascism. If you read the article carefully, you will see what I am describing as ultranationalist, nation-building, national consolidationist, unificationist fascism. In this case, it is Chinese who are afflicted.
The article also made clear to me that many young Chinese, like many Indian Hindus, will not make good immigrants to the US. Both groups are heavily poisoned by America-hatred and their respective ultranationalisms. Hence they will make parasitical at best and predatory at worst immigrants to our land. I don’t advocate these groups be banned, but only that they be well-screened.
It’s no accident we are seeing all of these Chinese “Americans” spying for the motherland. Chinese nationalism is one bloody beast.
Tragically, as the Chinese Communist Party has moved away from Marxism and embraced capitalism, it has decided to promote a sickening brand of fascist ultranationalism in lieu of Marxism and to promote its project. Hence, the young generation of Chinese, in particular the intellectuals, has had their minds thoroughly poisoned by Chinese neo-fascism inculcated into their minds, outrageously, by a Communist Party.
I would like to extend a bit of sympathy to those caught up in the throes of ultranationalist fascism. Fascism is a drug and produces an excellent high like many drugs do. The roots of fascist ultranationalism are found right inside of the very ego and soul of mankind. This is the reason for fascism’s extraordinary success and continuing popularity. It appeals to, as early Leftist researchers of fascism in the 1930’s, the “average man.”
Fascism appeals to our very basest and most intense emotions and connects to us passionately on a profound emotional level. It plugs right into the raging Id inside all of us and shuts down our more cultivated and rational Superego emotional policemen. It makes a riot in the brain that burns down the police station. The fascist is a one man riot waiting to happen. The appeal of fascism is within all of us, me included, hence all decent and progressive people need to be on guard against it to keep from heading down that muddy road.

Nationalisms, Fascist and Liberationist

In the comments to the Statement on Radical Nationalism post, a commenter named Mark asks if I would oppose a White nationalist movement in say Brazil or South Africa carving away a piece of the territory completely peacefully to have a White state.
Mark, along with an earlier WN commenter, Scott, who confused White nationalism per se with integrationist blood and soil national fascism, did not un understand the post.
Once again, there is a difference between integrationist, national unificationist, fascist nationalists (who never want to allow anyone to secede) and national liberation secessionist movements.
Much as I dislike WN’s, I must admit that a number of them do fall into the progressive national liberation seccessionist movements category. They certainly are not the integrationist, unificationist, nation-building standard variety of blood and soil fascist.
The problem in South Africa and Brazil would be find an area that had no people in it and then populate it with Whites and the press for secession. I normally don’t support secessionist movements that are trying to secede for shitty reasons (to grab all the oil in the country, for instance) and I might oppose such a movement, but it certainly is NOT fascist type blood and soil ultranationalism.
In fact, I would have to admit that it was a progressive minded movement. I usually only support the secession of actual nations within states, and usually nations with a long history, a common language, culture, etc. Catalans, Basques, Scottish, Welsh, Corsicans, Bretons, Chechens, Ingush, Galicians, Kurds, Baloch, Kashmiris, Tibetans, Acehese, Papuans, Shan, Karen, Assamese, Tripuri, Bodos, Inner Mongolians, Abkhaz, South Ossetians, etc.
What are the differences? For starters, national liberation secessionists movements, ideally, are about liberation, autonomy, democracy and maximal freedom. They are about people ruling themselves and being themselves, speaking and cultivating their own languages, promoting their own cultures and religions, governing themselves, and even having their own postage stamps.
It’s hard to think of a more liberating project out there for a valid and real national entity. Sadly, these projects are opposed all over the globe by existing states, many of which have no right to their post-colonial borders.
Blood and soil, integrationist, national unificationist, consolidating national fascism seeks to rule over existing nations within the state against their will. It tries to crush all minority languages, cultures and religions and meld them into one language, culture and religion, that of the state – typically that of the largest ethno-religious group, I might add.
It’s oppressive and dominating by its very nature. It’s Domination writ large. It tries to force people to live in a state that they want no part of. It lays claims to the lands of nations that it has no right to rule over. It is hostile towards most or all of its  neighbors and is very warlike. At its worst, it believes in permanent war and the permanent martialization of all society. At no time does it invision peace, because all states are seen as permanently at war with each other due to their ultranationalsims constantly having competing interests.
It is interested in alliances only with other ultranationalist states. It generally lays claims to its neighbors lands and often attacks its neighbors. It’s not uncommon for it to attack all of its neighbors. It is typically backwards and reactionary. It is sexist, men rule over women. It is heirarchical, the strong rule over the weak. It exalts the most reactionary customs and history of the land, since this is part of the glorious blood and soil spectacle.
It often refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing on the part of the nation and blames all problems on foreigners and outsiders. It is often suspicious of or hostile to modernism, especially if modernism is coming from competing nations not of one’s own.
It exalts the glorious history of the past and seeks rebuilt the great nation of old on the ashes of the degraded present. The phoenix rising from the ashes is an appropriate metaphor. This sort of nationalism is pessimistic. It sees the present as an era of degradation and humiliation. The great nation has been smashed down, impoverished, colonized or in some way prevented by wicked outsiders from achieving the greatness to which it is entitled.
The national-fascist movement will unite the state, crush all the traitors who seek to divide and thereby weaken it, threaten or attack its external enemies, assimilate all minorities within the state and thereby rise from the ashes of the present to become the glorious state that is its destiny, possibly its religious destiny ordered by God.
It is fascism, in a word.
Ideally, national-liberation secessionist movements are not like this, but there is a lot of overlap. They tend to be positive towards minorities, to not harbor claims on surrounding nations and to seek not domination but merely autonomy or indedpendence. They welcome modernism, women’s rights and democracy. They support other national liberation movements around the globe. In the 20th Century, these movements were often Marxist, despite Marxist internationalism. Ideally, these are really just decolonization movements. These nations are really just being colonized by existing states.
They look forward to an era of peace at some time and do not imagine being involved in permanent war. They look forward to national alliances, since when they become independent, they will be weak, small states in need of allies.
Although in general they are cultural modernists, there are exceptions. The Basque separatists of the ETA, nominally Marxists, were said to be notorious sexists about women’s rights on at least an individual level, and female cadres often had to put up with a lot of bullshit form male ETA members. The dichotomy here is Liberation versus Domination.
There do exist cases of carryover. There are Irish nationalists of both the consolidationist fascist and the national liberationist variety. Since Northern Ireland is seen as a wayward part of the state, it is necessary to reign it in to consolidate the state.  They make alliances with Spanish Franoist consolidationist fascists and oppose the ETA.
There are also very many leftwing Irish nationalists who, while wishing to unite with Ireland, see this as an anti-colonization movement of national liberation. They support secessionist movements around the globe. Within Breton nationalists, there exist both rightwing (fascist) and leftwing (Leftist) varieties. Things get awfully complicated pretty fast once you start researching these movements, but the main dichotomy above still holds.
Fascist national consolidationists have cynically utilized national liberation secessionist movements to screw over neighbors they feel hostile towards. Fascist nationalist Saddam Hussein used the Ahwaz national liberationists against the hated Iranians. Fascist nationalists in Syria supported the national liberationist secessionist Kurdish PKK against Turkey as punishment for Turkey allying with Israel.
US imperialism, one of the most cynical and amoral entities on Earth, generally opposes all seccessionist movements, except only if they are trying to secede from an enemy state, in which time they are cynically supported.
The Kurds were alternately either supported with arms to fight states, or states were supplied with arms to fight the very same Kurds, all part of Realpolitick bullshit, back in the 1970’s. This is actually ongoing today as the US supplies Kurds with weapons to fight Iran but at the same time supports Turkey’s armed warfare against these very same Kurds.
The US supports Baloch nationalist secessionists attacking Iran but also supports Pakistan’s armed attacks against these very same Balochs seeking to separate from Pakistan.
None of it makes any sense, except if one thinks like a sociopath.
Imperialism is sociopathy melded into a state ideological form. The morals of the sociopath involve doing whatever is necessary to meet his needs at the moment. That’s inherently amoral. Those are precisely the morals of imperialism. If you support imperialim, you are effectively supporting criminality and sociopathy on a state level. There is no excuse for any moral and/or progressive person to degrade their character in such a way.
Getting back to the subject, White nationalism exists in both “progressive”, national liberationist secessionist forms and in fascist, blood and soil, national consolidationist forms. The former, ideally, would seek to move Whites to a part of the stae with few of them and then petition for independence. However, the newly independent White state would probably discriminate against non-Whites, assuming any lived there. They would also have to set up some pretty weird immigration policies.  As much as I hate to admit it, such a project could be seen in part as progressive.
The other type are the national consolidationist Whites who preach the blood and soil greatness of the Whites of whatever land, the need to attack all non-Whites in the land, throw them out of the country or legally discriminate against them. In the US, this type calls for deportation of all non-Whites from the US. That’s clearly a fascist movement.
As you can see, White nationalism can be either fascist or some strange sort of progressive.
This whole subject of the nature of fascism is very complex and many people, including some readers, do not seem to be grasping it well. I urge you to continue to study, as I was confused about it for a long time, and I still do not understand it well!
Their confusion is logical because the term fascism is much abused. It’s horribly abused by the Left to where any racist or any conservative is a fascist. This is not necessarily so.
It’s really the subject of another post, but a racist is not necessarily a fascist at all. On the other hand, most if not all fascists are indeed racists. One could argue that that is an essential aspect of the fascist project.
Further, all authoritarianism is routinely called fascism. This is not true. Fascism is only a variety of authoritarianism.
In addition, conservatives are not necessarily fascists, though most if not all fascists are conservatives.
On the other hand, we now have far rightwingers inventing some sort of “liberal fascism” (See Ann Coulter’s book of the same title) as a general term of abuse. It turns out that all of us liberals are really just stormtroopers in disguise. In reality, liberalism is quite a ways from fascism.
This silly mischaracterization has been abetted by a movment led by the Far Right to reinterpret Nazi National Socialism as a Leftist movement. Although German national socialism was heterodox, such a characterization is rejected by all reasonable political scientists.
Fascism is an extremely complex subject and it’s probably misunderstood by most people.
David Neiwert, a journalist from Washington, has done some excellent recent work on fascism, and I recommend it highly. His The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism and Rush, Newspeak and Pseudo-Fascism are two of the best recent documents on the subject and encompasses the recent groundbreaking work on fascism coming from political scientists. They are long (about 100 pp each) but I recommend them highly. After reading those documents, you should be a lot less confused about what fascism really is.
^here is also a scholar from Israel who has done a lot of top-notch political science and historical work on fascism, whose name escapes me now.

The Place of Mandarin in Sinitic

In the comments, James Schipper suggests that Mandarin is to Sinitic what German and Russian are to Germanic and Slavic. He also offers that most Sinitic speakers also speak Mandarin and makes a comparison with Welsh and English and Frisian and Dutch, where every Welsh speaker speaks English and every Frisian speaker speaks Dutch, and each one would rather write in English or Dutch than in Welsh or Frisian.
My comments:
English and German have 60% lexical similarity. English and French have about 25% and English has about 29% with Russian (I need to check on that one!). I need to look at some charts here.
It’s not uncommon for Chinese lects to have 5-30% lexical similarity. Further, there are deep differences in tones, and even grammar and structure. Even the pronouns can differ. But clearly they are all related to German and they all derived form Chinese.
So yes, your analogy with Russian and German as super-languages on top of their families is correct, but it is important to note the vast differences in the lects. It was said that no one could understand Chairman Mao’s dialect, Xiang Nan (Mandarin dialect). Apparently his secretary could understand him, but few others could. I’m not sure how he got his points across.
Further, at this point probably most speakers of the Sinitic languages for sure speak Putonghua, which is the Standard Mandarin. It’s a standard the same way that High German is Standard German and Standard Italian is the standard for that language. However, overseas, many do not speak Putonghua, and in the Cantonese area, I believe many still do not speak Putonghua. English is a Germanic language.
Look at the vocabulary – closest language is Frisian with 64%. Dutch is 62% and German is 60%. French is 25%. English is clearly a Germanic language. There are similar cases with the English Latin layering in the Chinese languages. Some of them have heavy layers of non Sinitic tongues like Zhuang or Hmong.
Besides Putonghua, you are correct that the vast majority of Sinitic speakers are native speakers of some kind of Mandarin.
I believe that a lot of the older folks do not have very good Mandarin and may be monolinguals of their Sinitic tongue, but I’m not sure. The government has been pushing Putonghua very hard for the past decade or so, almost too hard. It’s been killing the smaller tongues. So it’s not quite the same way with Frisian and Welsh yet. I believe it’s pretty common in the South to find Cantonese speakers who don’t speak Mandarin, and it’s for sure the case overseas.
As far as writing, I don’t believe it’s a problem. An ideographic system was perfect for Chinese as it was the one way that all of the speakers of the various Chinese lects could communicate. My father was in China in 1946 and he said that the rickshaw drivers often could not understand each other, but they could all write Chinese, so they would communicate by writing notes.
All Chinese can write to each other, no matter what language they speak, assuming they are literate. A decade ago in a college in Henan, a professor said that the students would come to the college from all over the province and for the first month would communicate by writing notes to each other, so they all wrote a common language. In that province, every county has its own language, and there are even separate languages within counties. It took them about a month or so before they could start working out each other’s languages.
Some comment that the Chinese languages are like a Cockney accent of English. On a website, a commenter said that that’s not true. He said he can understand Cockney, but they had a speaker of an Anhui Mandarin lect as a professor at the university and no one could understand what he was talking about. So it’s quite common for the various Chinese lects to be pretty much incomprehensible to each other.
There are other comments around the Net that say that the Chinese lects are close enough to pick them up if you spend a bit of time there. That’s not really true. The differences between the Chinese lects are often as different as English and German. Now suppose you are an English speaker and you go to Germany. Are you going to “just pick up” German really vast? Forget it. I mean, if you stay there 3 years, maybe. Maybe! Someone else compared the differences between Chinese lects to the gulf between English and Irish. That may be too distant, but it may also be correct.
Differences between the lects ecompass tones, grammar and lexicon. All of them boil down to intelligibility. The major Chinese lects regularly score around 50-60% intelligibility. That is pretty bad and certainly does not qualify them as dialects. A dialect should have 90% intelligibility or more.
This is especially true in the center and south of the country. In Anhui, Fujian , Henan, Hunan , Jiangsu and Zhejiang there is an incredible diversity of tongues. It is said in Fujian that every 3 miles the culture changes and every 6 miles the language changes.
In these parts of China, there are lots of mountains and it is very rural. Many people never left their home village to go over the mountain to talk to the people over there, so a multitude of tongues arose. I understand that in this part of China there are even incomprehensible tongues inside major cities where the downtowners can’t understand the suburbs.

The Difference Between a Language and a Dialect

In my opinion, a dialect should have 90% intelligibility or more. There are others who put it at 50%, but I think that is ridiculous. Everything above 50% goes to dialect and everything below 50% goes to language. Ethnologue uses 90% (in general).
For instance, Moldavian is widely regarded as a dialect of Romanian and the Moldavian linguistic nationalist movement has bit the dust. That is because there is 95-100% intelligibility between Romanian and Moldavian. Initially, Ethnologue granted Moldavian a language code, but then they revoked it later, probably because Moldovan is not a real language, plus the issue was really blown out of proportion by Romanian nationalists.
The Valencian linguistic nationalist movement has also bit the dust, as Valencian is 90-95% intelligible with Catalan. In contrast, Galician is only 85% intelligible with Portuguese, hence is regarded as a separate language from Portuguese, though Portuguese nationalists regularly get very upset when you say that.
Splitting gets very difficult in places like Mexico where in some mountains, just about every village has its own lect. In some cases, Lect A has 100% comprehension of Lect B, but Lect B only has 85% comprehension of Lect A! This lack of one to one correspondence is also a very common and strange feature of world lects.
Since each language needs over a 90% comprehension of the other to be considered dialects, Lect A and Lect B are split into 2 separate languages, even though Lect A speakers understand 100% of what Lect B speakers say!
For instance, Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec has 100% intelligibility of San Juan Guelavía Zapotec, but San Juan Guelavía Zapotec has only 59% of Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec, therefore Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec needs to be split to a separate language, but I guess Ethnologue has not gotten around to it yet.
You may ask why I am using the term lect. The confusion about languages and dialects is so great that a lot of times we just use the word “lect” as in “tongue” to refer to something that may be either a language or a dialect, or one or the other. In this way, you can also lump languages and dialects together in one term, which is handy.
The notion of what is a language is what is a dialect goes on and on. A famous maxim puts it that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy.
Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian are examples of dialects that have recently obtained the status of languages. Since they were involved in wars where they were killing each other, the Hell if they wanted to say they spoke each other’s languages. Due to sociopolitical issues, Ethnologue has accepted these new languages, but Montenegrin has been rejected up until now. A newly free Montenegro is now pushing for status as a separate language.
Macedonian is said to be nothing more than a dialect of Bulgarian, but since it is now an independent country, it has been granted the status of a language.
The differences between Belorussian and Russian and Ukrainian and Russian are said to be not so great. Further, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian speakers are said to be able to understand each other. Breton and Welsh are said to be somewhat intelligible.
Czech and Slovak speakers can generally understand each other, but here we have a dialect chain, where the speakers at opposite ends of the chain are unintelligible. For instance, Czech speakers cannot understand Slovak speakers of the far eastern dialects, and Slovak speakers cannot understand Czech speakers of the far western dialects. Dialect clusters and chains are very common across the world and make it a real headache when it comes to splitting up languages and dialects.