Category Archives: Italy

Why Does Albania Have the Lowest Average IQ in the Whole of Europe?

Answered on Quora.

I am thinking that perhaps the IQ of Albania or of the Balkans as a whole is in error. A lot of Lynn’s data has not held up well. His figures on Vietnam, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Croatia, and Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy are all false. Dr. Lynn seems to cherry pick his data to go along with his “latitude = IQ” hypothesis.

Someone sent me an article in a recent journal testing the IQ of Croatia. I forget what the score was, but it was ~100. That’s much higher than Lynn’s 90. I have a feeling that Lynn’s scores for those other Balkan lands may be off too. Maybe it is time to do some more testing.

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Filed under Africa, Albania, Asia, Central Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Europe, Intelligence, Italy, Philippines, Psychology, Regional, Scholarship, SE Asia, Vietnam

Liberation Theology: Jesus Christ as Marxist Guerrilla in the Jungle with a Machine Gun

From the Sandinistas of Nicaragua to the URNG of Guatemala to the guerrilla column in Honduras led by the Irish Catholic priest in 1983 to Father Aristide’s Lavalas in Haiti to the ELN in Colombia to the Chavistas in Venezuela, all of these radical leftwing groups had one thing in common: they all came out of Liberation Theology, more or less a “Jesus Christ, Marxist guerrilla in the jungle with a machine gun” type of armed to the teeth Catholicism.

Liberation Theology came out a movement of Professors of Pedagogy in Brazil in 1964, especially an influential book written by a priest named Gutierrez. The argument was that teaching in Latin America was an overtly political act, and teachers should ideally by Leftist revolutionaries. Out of this flowed many documents laying out Liberation Theology or “the preferential option for the poor.” It was most powerful among lay workers, of which there are many in Latin America. In heavily Catholic areas, Catholic lay workers are nearly an army.

The French Communist Party in  France long had Catholic roots as did the PCI in Italy. Near the end of his life, Fidel Castro praised Catholicism and said he was a “cultural Catholic.” Hugo Chavez and the Chavistas were of course a ferocious part of the Catholic Left. Chavez Leftism was heavily infused with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

Even the viciously anti-Christian Sendero Luminoso in Peru had many supporters in the Catholic Church, mostly at the lay and priest level but surprisingly all the way up to the bishop level. Sendero killed many reactionary Protestant missionaries in their war, but they left the priests alone.

The great Edith Lagos, a 19 year old year revolutionary woman who led one of the first Sendero columns, was killed in battle in 1982. Her funeral in Ayacucho at night a bit later attracted 30,000 visitors, nearly the entire population of the town. Everyone was in line for the funeral – the local police, the local government and of course the entire local  Catholic clergy. The line wormed all through the city for hours far into the night. She was treated to an actual Catholic funeral right there in the church led by the local priest. Her casket stood next to the priest as he delivered his sermon. It had a Sendero Communist flag on it.

A communist flag on a coffin in a Catholic church! The crowd then filed out through the town to the graveyard where she was buried in the middle of the night. Her tomb exists to this day, although it has been repeatedly bombed by reactionaries. Local Indians make patronages to the tomb on a regular basis, leaving flowers at it. Rumor has it that she has obtained informal sainthood and is now Saint Edith Lagos in the local Catholic Churches.

FARC called itself officially atheist, although they had the support of many priests in the countryside where the FARC held sway. Nevertheless, most FARC rank and file were Catholics.

In Paraguay, a former guerrilla was elected president. He was also a former Catholic priest.

The armed Marxist Left in Uruguay and Brazil also had deep links to the Catholic Church.

In the US, we have something called Cold War liberals. This is the pathetic Left of the United States,  people who would be rightwingers or center-right anywhere else on Earth.

 

 

 

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Filed under Brazil, Caribbean, Catholicism, Central America, Christianity, Colombia, Conservatism, Cuba, Europe, France, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Latin America, Left, Liberalism, Marxism, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Political Science, Regional, Religion, South America, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela

Possible Origin of the Black Plague

Here.

The standard view is that twelve ships from Florence docked at Messina in 1347, bringing the Plague to Europe. It would later kill 1/3 of all Europeans and an incredible 20% of all humans. It would be as if 1.6 billion people died in only seven years or as if 66 million Americans died over a seven year period. Can you imagine? In my city alone, 12,000 people would be dead. Of every five people you knew at the start of the period, one would be dead after seven years. Can you imagine? That would not have left one person unscathed.

A new view though is that the Plague, which had already been active in Asia for a while, came to Europe via a biological warfare attack by Genghis Khan’s raiders on the city of Caffa in the Crimea. The Caffans were probably Turkic speakers at this time, but it is hard to say what Turkic lect they may have spoken. Perhaps a dead language called Cuman.

Khan’s raiders besieged the city and a number of people died of the Black Plague in the conflict. Khan’s men suspected a thing or two about biological warfare, so they loaded up the bodies that had died of the plague and catapulted them over the walls of the city into the population. Can you  imagine the horror of looking out your window and see a dead, bubonic plague ridden corpse fly by in the air at rapid speed to splatter nearby. Good Lord. In due time, this biological warfare killed a lot of the people in  the city.

Khan knew nothing of the  germ theory of disease, but experience with the plague showed that those who came in contact with victims tended to sicken and die. No one knew what was causing it. One European physician posited that plague victims radiated some sort of death vapors or essence out of their very eyes. Without medical science, people had to fall back on spiritual theories.

But people caught on quickly that being around plague victims could quickly make you a victim yourself. Physicians refused to treat plague patients and patients were often abandoned wherever they sickened. Family members even fled from their own sickened members, leaving them to die in the home while countless people fled to the countryside. But even there they were not safe. Even farm animals, cows, pigs, goats and sheep, caught the plague. So many sheep died that there was an acute wool shortage all over Europe for years afterwards. There was no solace or respite anywhere. The epidemic ended almost as fast as it began in 1354, but Europe was ruined. Entire cities had been abandoned as thousands of residents fled to the false safety of the countryside.

Many people escaped from Khan”s raid on Caffa, and survivors fled all over the Mediterranean. This people soon sickened and died. It was possibly from some of this group, fled to Florence, that the ill-fated death ships docked in Messina on that warm October night. The disease was in Southern France the next year and Germany soon after that. Not long afterwards, it hit Paris. And despite the primitive conditions of the day, it was not long in  Paris before London was also hit. People did have ships in those days you know.

Despite the enticing new theory, the medical journal concludes that the entrance of the Plague to Europe was multifactorial and the infection of the Caffa population did not play an important role in the European pandemic.

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Filed under Altaic, Animals, Asia, Britain, Death, Domestic, Europe, European, France, Germany, Health, History, Illness, Italy, Language Families, Linguistics, Middle Ages, Public Health, Regional, Turkic, War

Trump and Bannon Are Carrying out a Fascist Coup

Here.

And Kelly Ann Conway, a fascist herself, keeps giving it away with her comments.

That’s actually the 100% truth. The Republicans have been moving towards a form of fascism or rightwing authoritarianism ever since Reagan to be honest. It’s been a Long March through the Institutions, so to speak.

The expert quoted is an expert on Italian History and the Mussolini Era.

We are putting you fascists on notice, dammit. We are coming to get you. If not now, later. You bitches have been warned.

The only good fascist is a dead fascist!

I’m not with the Antifa at all on a lot of things, but I am with them on this all right.

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Filed under Conservatism, Europe, European, Fascism, Government, History, Italy, Left, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, US Politics, USA

No Conservatives Allowed on This Website!

We have had a few conservatives posting here in the past few days. These are US-style conservatives, which are the worst kind of all. US-style conservatives are absolutely banned from posting here in any way, shape or form.

Conservatism means different things in different countries, so conservatives from much of the rest of the world (except Latin America and the UK) can continue to post. Even Canadian conservatives can continue to post, as I do not mind them. It’s not conservatism itself that is so awful. Almost every country on Earth has people who call themselves conservatives, and there are conservative parties in almost every country on Earth. But being a conservative just about anywhere outside of the Americas is more or less an acceptable position for me. I probably won’t like their politics much, but I could at least look at them and say that this is an opposition I could live with.

US conservatives and their brethren in the UK, Latin America, the Philippines, Nepal and and Indonesia are quite a different beast.

I have to think hard about conservatives in Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic. These fools had such a bad experience with Communism that they went 180 degrees in the other direction. I would have to see the positions of these conservative parties in those countries to see whether they would be OK or not.

Just to give you an example, Vladimir Putin is considered to be a right-winger, and his party United Russia advocates a politics called Russian Conservatism. Looking at the party’s platform, this is not only a conservatism that I could live with but one I might even vote for!

Conservatives in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and most other places in Asia are acceptable. The conservatives in the Stans, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia can be rather awful, particularly in the nationalist sense, but I will not ban them.

I dislike Indian conservatives, but I will not ban them.

Conservatives from the Muslim World are all acceptable. In the Muslim World, conservatism just means religious and sometimes nationalist. I can live with that. Even the ones in Iran are orders of magnitude better than the US type.

Conservatives in the Arab World are acceptable. They are mostly just religious people.

Turkish conservatives are awful, but I will not ban them. They are just religious and a particularly awful type of nationalist.

African conservatives are OK.

Conservatives in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany,  the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania are sometimes good, sometimes pretty bad, but they are all acceptable here. Conservatism in Europe mostly means nationalism. I am actually rather fond of the conservative running Hungary, Orban. LePen conservatives leave something to be desired, but they are acceptable. They’re mostly just nationalists. Hell, I might even vote for Marine LePen! If it was down to LePen versus Macron, I would absolutely support LePen!

Conservatives from Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines are not OK. These are an “everything for the rich elite, nothing for anybody else” type of conservative. Some of them even hide under the labels of Socialist or even Communist.

The word conservative has no real inherent meaning. It means whatever people say it means.

Anyway, the conservatives in the US are pure garbage and recently they have become out and out fascists after moving in that direction for a long time. And a particularly horrible type of fascist at that, a Latin American/Filipino/Indonesian style fascist. I will not allow any US conservatives to post on this board. You all are lucky I even let you lurk here. That’s an idle threat as I can’t ban lurkers, but if they all stopped lurking, I would not mind frankly.

You all really ought to go back to the gutters you crawled out of.

PS This especially applies to Libertarians, the very worst of all the US conservative vermin. We shoot Libertarians on sight here, so you better watch out.

*This applies only to economic conservatives. If you are not an economic conservative, and your conservatism is only of the social variety or you are only conservative on race, religion, guns, law and order, respect for tradition, American nationalism, the military, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity issues, you can stay. I’m not crazy about some social conservatives, but I can live with them. I will probably even let patriotards post as long as they are not economic conservatives.

I am an American nationalist myself. I just don’t like patriotards. Of course, I very much dislike and even hate the country as it is right now, but I sure don’t want to make it worse! I have to live here too you now, and it might as well be as pleasant as possible as long I stay here.

I want what’s best for my country. I don’t want to harm this country or screw it over. That will be bad for me! And believe it or not, most US patriotards do not want what is best for the country! I have dreams of a greater and better America. It’s not impossible, but we will have to undergo some serious cultural changes. One of the reasons I am so against illegal immigration is because it is ruining my country and making this place even worse. Also illegal immigration is terrible for US workers and I am for the workers. I am against H-1B visas for the same reason – they are wrecking my country. IT workers are workers too, so they are my comrades. I want what is best for America and American workers.

I cannot live with economic conservatives. I like cancer way more than I like US conservatives. Cancer is much more decent and respectable.

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What Sort of Fascist Is Trump? A Berlusconist, a Francoist, or a Latin American Right type?

amspirational: Trump would be the first fascist without a core of street activists which even Oswald Moseley had. Why, he’s not even as authoritarian as Putin, who indeed has NASHI and other fascist-like groups.

He’s a fascist. And his supporters are thugs. But he doesn’t have a Brownshirt army running around doing his will. But did Franco? I am thinking that at the very least Trump is a Berlusconi fascist, and he may be as bad as a Francoist fascist. He is clearly not as bad as Moseley, who was a real deal fascist all right. I do think comparisons to Hitler and Nazis are not good and a comparison to Franco feels a lot better to me.

He may not have all of the accouterments of fascism to be a 100% pure fascist, but he sure has a lot of fascist tendencies. So maybe he’s Fascism-Lite. Trump is the most fascist President in US history. That’s so obvious. We have never had a President with so many fascist tendencies as this man.

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Filed under Eurasia, Europe, European, Fascism, History, Italy, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, Russia, Spain, US Politics, USA

Problems with Newly Created Standard Languages and Speakers of Traditional Varieties: Evidence from France In Occitan and Breton

Mountleek: And it’s quite problematic that there are five Breton languages. The official written version is probably quite alien to actual speakers. Then they don’t use the written form, and extinction will probably speed up. Or maybe not. It depends on how people speak among themselves. I wonder how much it is possible nowadays to maintain a spoken language through generations where the written language is different.

There is an official Breton. It may be used on radio and TV and whatnot. I have no idea if the traditional speakers understand it. Who knows? It would be nice to have a Breton koine.

The problem is that they have created some Neo-Breton that is being taught to the youngsters. Some young people are growing up to speak it quite well. The problem is that it is a fake language, and tragically the Neo-Breton speakers say they cannot understand the speakers of the traditional Breton languages and the traditional speakers say they cannot understand the Neo-Breton speakers either. I do believe that Breton will continue on until the end of the century though if only in the Neo-Breton form . A Breton koine is certainly needed if it does not already exist, but given the gap between traditional and new speakers, it seems a schism has already opened between the two groups.

A somewhat similar situation is developing with the creation of a new Neo-Occitan out of the ~20 Occitan languages and many more dialects. It isn’t a language that anyone ever spoke. There is some sort of problems regarding this Neo-Occitan but I am not sure what they are. The main thing is the traditional speakers are not giving up their native lects in favor of this new fake language.

Occitan also should last until the end of the century if only in the Neo-Occitan form. However, children are still being raised speaking Occitan, especially in the Occitan Valleys of Italy where entire villages speak the local lect which in most cases is actually a separate language. There are still many speakers of the traditional Occitan languages. Most are older, but there are quite a few speakers in their 30’s and 40’s in some areas. Aranese Occitan in Spain seems to be spoken by most everyone, but people worry that even it is in trouble.

A koine for Occitan would also be very nice, or they could just speak French, but that sort of defeats the notion of speaking Occitan in the first place.

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Have Communist Parties Ever Won a Democratic Election?

Ed: The myth of Hitler being elected is important to debunk because it helps justify a corrosive anti-populism among left-identifying bien pensants. In fact, voters have never elected a (real) fascist, or for that matter a communist, party to office ever.

Allende, a Marxist, was elected in 1970. Marxist and Communist parties have been winning elections in various Indian states for a long time. Just recently that started happening in Nepal too. Moldovan Communists have been voted into power for a couple of decades and I think recently a Communist Party was voted into power in Malta. Communist Parties have been winning local elections and governing much of Northern Italy for decades.

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Filed under Asia, Chile, Europe, India, Italy, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Nepal, Politics, Regional, South America, South Asia

Problems of Communist or Socialist Democracy

Steve: I think the worst thing about 20th century communism was not the economic system but the totalitarianism, the police state and the spying and prison camps.

Maybe it was the revolutionary origins, the utopianism, the materialism, the fact the government had too much power because it owned and controlled everything BUT if it were possible to have communism with democracy, free speech, freedom of religion, trial by jury etc it really wouldn’t be so bad, you could live with the economic system.

Remember the communist countries had the cold war and sanctions and stuff to contend with too.

They have a certain amount of free speech in China, Vietnam and Cuba, but maybe not as much as you would like. They have anti-government demonstrations in Vietnam, and there are 100 protests every day in China.

There is critical press in Cuba that no one does anything about (check out Havana Times) and dissidents are mostly allowed to publish openly (check out the famous Cuban woman dissident blogger). There is freedom of religion in Cuba, and believers can now join the Party. They have trial by jury in Cuba. I am not sure how fair it is though. But there are some defense attorneys who are taking anti-government cases right now, people accused of criminal charges, police brutality cases, etc. You can read about them in Havana Times. Nobody does much to them.

In Cuba it was supposedly inside the revolution, total freedom of speech, outside of it nothing. But it never really worked out that way, and they went after a lot of loyal opposition types. In Cuba today, you can’t try to overthrow the government and you can’t advocate getting rid of the socialist system. Outside of that, you can supposedly say what you want, but even that may be limited. Check out Havana Times though. There are some very government-critical people there being published all the time, and I think they are mostly left alone.

Every time they try that, the capitalists go berserk, cause chaos and make endless coup and assassination attempts. Also they engage in mass economic sabotage. But this was only tried in places where the economy was still capitalist. The US starts flooding the country with millions of dollars to the dissidents and spends more millions setting up countless “democratic” pressure group that mostly spend every second of their time trying to overthrow the government. You going to let people own newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations. Guess who’s going to buy up all the media? In Venezuela even today, 75% of the media is privately owned. OK you will allow free elections. How about campaign contributions? Guess who’s going to buy the elections?

You can’t have Communist democracy. That’s why Lenin talked about parliamentary cretinism.

You can’t have somewhat socialist democracy in a lot of places. Look what happened in:

  • Brazil (military coup, parliamentary coup)
  • Guatemala (military coup + 200,000 murdered over 40 years)
  • Iran (military coup + 150,000 murdered)
  • The Congo (military coup + assassination)
  • Haiti (military coup + chaos + contras + 3,000 plus murdered)
  • Dominican Republican (US invasion to topple regime)
  • Guyana (regime toppled by British)
  • Honduras (military coup + 1,000 murdered)
  • Syria (military coup)
  • Greece (military coup)
  • Italy (election fraud)
  • Indonesia (military coup + 1 million Communists murdered)
  • Colombia (assassination + death squads)
  • Panama (assassination)
  • Mexico (election fraud)
  • Afghanistan (contras)
  • Nicaragua (contras + sanctions)
  • El Salvador (military coup followed by 75,000 murdered)
  • Chile (economic sabotage, chaos, military coup, 15,000 murdered, defense attorneys tortured to death)
  • Venezuela (military coup, economic coup, constant riots and chaos), endless assassination plots, assassinations and murders, death squads, economic sabotage)
  • Argentina (military coup, 30,000 murdered)
  • Uruguay (military coup, 300 murdered)
  • Peru (military coup, 1.5 million arrested)
  • East Timor (military coup, invasion to topple regime, 300,000 murdered),
  • Paraguay (legislative coup + death squads)
  • Zimbabwe (sanctions)
  • Ukraine (coup)

Mao warned about this. He said there were always capitalist elements in the party trying to restore capitalism. That was the reason for the cultural revolution. Mao thought you would have to have cultural revolutions all the time to keep weeding out the reactionary elements in the party because they would keep springing up again like weeds.

Look what happened when Mao died. The reactionaries in the party around Deng took over and restored capitalism (sort of). Mao was right.

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The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

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