Saturday, December 3, 2016

Who Will Save Israeli Jews from PCG? PCG Makes Website Directed at Israeli Jews

This is the 2000th post for the Living Armstrongism blog. I wish to thank you, the readers, for inspiring me to carry on with this blog.

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PCG has started up another radio show entitled Watch Jerusalem which is hosted by Brent Nagtegaal. PCG has also made an accompanying website. It is will attempt to target Israeli Jews in particular and will refrain from mentioning certain passages in the New Testament to make sure that this audience will not be turned off by a message perceived as Christian thus obscuring the fact that they teach doctrines that are contrary to the Jewish faith. They are also planning of doing some advertising in Israel to promote it and to translate some of their articles into Hebrew.

As if Israeli Jews do not have enough problems already.

This development was discussed by Joel Hilliker and Brent Nagtegaal in a recent broadcast of Trumpet Hour (November 23, 2016).
Nagtegaal: This website has more of an Israeli audience in mind as opposed to thetrumpet.com which is definitely for everyone across the planet. Watch Jerusalem is as well. And yet we're deliberately going to be targeting and looking for an Israeli audience more than anything else. Just because they themselves are very unaware, it seems, both of the prophetic significance, a lot of events that take place in Jerusalem and the Middle East, but then also they're unaware of the archaeological discoveries that are happening underneath their noses.  
And like I'm in contact with people on the street. I've got some friends. I basketball with people. I meet up with people that aren't in the archaeological world, everyday Israelis, and they wouldn't have a clue what's going on...  
Hilliker: That's amazing. 
Nagtegaal: ...what's being found. And, or even religious people might not know what's being found and what can be really something that can strengthen their faith. And so the direction of this website is definitely tending towards that audience most of all. 
We are gonna try not to use terms and different passages even in the New Testament to try and make sure that a Jewish audience, Israeli audience, reading an article, wouldn't be put off just by what seems a Christian message. We just want to show the facts. We just want to show the facts from their own Bible and the facts of the Biblical discoveries that are being confirmed from their Bible in their own country as well. 
There is an audience out there, I think, that would be captivated by this but there is no real news organization that focuses on it. Yes. You'll have a discovery and then the news people, they would put out a story, but then two days later it's gone. And yet this is something that's really important that should stay in peoples' memory for far longer. And that is what we are going to attempt to do. (Trumpet Hour, November 23, 2016, 6-8 minutes.)
So this website is to target Israeli Jews in particular and to do so PCG is going to avoid mentioning the New Testament in this website and radio broadcast which obscures the fact that PCG teaches doctrines that are contrary to the Jewish faith.

It is mentioned that Gerald Flurry has been wanting to have a website catering for Israeli Jews for years and that he has been working on this website for about six or seven months. One of his directions seems to be to not offend the audience by mentioning the New Testament. This obscures the fact that PCG teaches doctrines that are contrary to the Jewish faith. Why would they try to hide who they are to their desired Israeli Jewish audience?

Also noteworthy is the allusion to PCG's Islamophobic attitudes towards Muslims.
Nagtegaal: From the very beginning, it's been years now that Gerald Flurry has asked for and has been thinking about a website that specifically tailored to the Jewish nation over here. And it's just one of those things where we've been trying to get the resources to do it and there's been different priorities that has taken place or taken the priority of where we've needed to direct our limited resources to. And yet once I came over here it seemed like that we had somebody that could be more dedicated to ensuring that we had a website now that we've got somebody here.  
So for the past six or seven months he's been heavily involved and consulted about exactly what's on the site. What shouldn't be on the site as well.  He's very happy that we have this two pronged focus both on archaeology, history and then also prophecy as well. Because they really do go together. There are end time prophesies which concern the discovery of things in Israel as well. So they ,,, he's been involved very much in that. He knows exactly what's going up. Well. The layout of the site and how it should look.  
And, yeah. He's ... I would say that he's just, he's super careful to not offend anybody. To not, to put anything up on there that would, somebody would look on the site and say, Well I'm not going to read that article because of this, that and another reason. He really wants people to just see the message that God has for the Jews and for Israel and to remove any obstacles that they might have before they would even read it. But we have to understand that for a Jewish audience, they see things from the New Testament and/or New Testament chronology or even the word New Testament and to them it is like the Koran for a Christian. It is that much of an anathema. They do not, they wouldn't even read it. 
So we're just trying to. We're not telling any... We're telling truths from the Bible but we've decided to use, as per Gerald Flurry's direction, the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, looking at He[brew] ... Jewish artifacts, to really just show them what's underneath their noses as much as possible. 
And even today, I mean, it's, just before I got here I took a look at the analytics page and we had somebody from Haifa, here in Israel, looking at the site. So that was a good sign. It's a small beginning and we hope to do some advertising here in Israel in the future to try and promote the site so that they know it's there. But really that's the main audience we're going after and that has followed the direction straight from Gerald Flurry. (8-11 minutes.) 
It is intriguing how Nagtegaal talks of Christians, presumably meaning PCG members, viewing the Koran as anathema. Shgamefully PCG has a long history of vilifying Muslims in general and of presenting them in a sensationalist and threatening manner thus promoting Islamophobia. This hostility is evident even in the comment above.

There is a difference between simply choosing not to join a certain religion and choosing to be hostile and bitter toward members of that different religion. Sadly PCG tends to choose the latter option regarding Muslims.

It is unfortunate that this attitude is projected onto Jews. As is well known there are long standing religious differences between Jews and Christians and such differences need to be viewed in a respectful manner. Historically these differences were even used as a pretext to impose shameful discrimination and hostility against Jews. We need to be careful to never allow terrible things such as anti-Semitism to arise again.

They then discuss efforts underway to translate PCG articles into Hebrew to reach Israeli Jews who do not know English.
One thing that Gerald Flurry did say is that he really wanted it out in Hebrew as well. A Hebrew version of the site. Because they, while a lot of Israelis do speak English it's not their preference and there are definitely some that don't speak English. Especially some of the more Zionist ones that believe in Israel's right to this land. A lot of them, you know, that do live in the settlements in the West Bank and such, they don't really have a good, they havn't really mastered English that well. (11-12 minutes.)
Is this an indication that they wish to target the settlers in particular?

It is mentioned that professional translators, presumably from outside of PCG, will be hired and their work will be checked by Christopher Eames who is learning Hebrew at present.

They hope to make a Hebrew website available in less than six months, possibly as early as three to four months from now.
Nagtegaal: So we are investing a lot of time, resources, money into making the Hebrew site. The Hebrew site, I would say right now, would only be, it would be less than six months away. Hopefully three or four months away before we have that. So it's going to be here really soon. (12-13 minutes.)
Nagtegaal then discuss some of the sources he will consult to provide content for the radio broadcast. While discussing one media source Nagtegaal reveals how far to the right PCG's leaders view themselves in regard to political affairs.
Nagtegaal: They have press conferences with different speakers that comes and gives you first hand accounts and some that might not get published by some of the more left wing English language newspapers here. (14 minutes.)
And so it is now evident that PCG is now trying to reach Israeli Jews through this new website of theirs. Israeli Jews deserve to be spared getting mixed up with PCG, a non-Jewish organization which has a bad reputation for authoritarian tendencies among the COGs and those knowledgeable about the COGs. May this attempt by PCG to reach out toward Israeli Jews and make some of them come under their influence, whether though conversion or any other way, fail miserably.

PCG's Condemnation of UNESCO Resolution on Jerusalem

Recently PCG published an article condemning a recent UNESCO resolution concerning East Jerusalem. While discussing it the UNESCO resolution is condemned as a threat to PCG's excavations in East Jerusalem. (Brent Nagtegaal, UNESCO Wants to Stop Archaeology in Ancient Jerusalem, November 1, 2016.)

Nagtegaal starts with the following anecdote.
Often while working just below the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount over the past few years, I’d look up from the dirt and notice a camera crew setting up. They did not seem to be Jews, but rather reporters from Palestinian news crews. Unlike most others who walked past the dig site, these journalists would rarely ask questions about what we were finding or what we were doing digging there. Instead, they would simply set up their cameras in a particular location. There, with one simple pan upward, they could tape the excavation site along with the black dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the background. After a few more minutes and a few more shots, they’d pack their gear and head back up the street. There wasn’t any need to ask questions or to investigate further; they already had their story: The Jews are trying to undermine Al-Aqsa.
I do not question the author's sincerity. But it must certainly be noted that he did not seem to have solid evidence to back up his conjecture. Maybe they were filming background footage of such world famous grounds? This anecdote does not seem to be very convincing. Even if he was right he has not here presented evidence to back it up.
Thus the myth of Israeli atrocities against an Islamic site was further perpetuated. For most people who are at all familiar with the situation, the thought of the Israeli government directly supporting the destruction of Islamic history in Jerusalem seems a little far-fetched.
To use the word "atrocities" in this instance seems somewhat unusual.

As for Nagtegaal's dismissal of this fear as far fetched perhaps he should take a look at the square in front of the Wailing Wall. Until 1967 it contained the houses of the Moroccan quarter in which Palestinian families had lived and worked for centuries. It even contained a mosque established by a son of Saladin, centuries older than the modern nation states of the United States of America or Nagtegaal's homeland, Australia. But once the State of Israel gained control of that territory in 1967 the Moroccan Quarter was demolished. One unfortunate woman even died in the demolition.
On Saturday evening, 10 June 1967, three days after the Israeli army had captured the Old City of Jerusalem, on the last day of the Six Day War, 650 residents of the Moroccan Quarter were told to vacate their homes on short notice. Workers guarded by soldiers first demolished a public lavatory, and then the remaining buildings, which included 135 houses and the Bou Medyan zaouia. Some of the residents refused to leave until their homes were collapsing. An elderly woman discovered in the rubble died soon after. 
The Sheikh Eid Mosque, one of the few mosques that remained from the time of Saladin, was also destroyed. 
The demolition was approved by the Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, who wrote about it in his 1978 autobiography. (Wikipedia, Moroccan Quarter.)
One Haaretz article from 2012 describes one man who used various evidences including photos from a German Zeppeln to determine the location of the mosque. The Haaretz article also mentions one reason why Palestinians would be fearful of excavations.
As a result of this case, Kedar has been leading efforts to make the antiquities authority more aware of remains from the Islamic period, which are often destroyed while earlier remains are being sought. "It was done innocently, but somebody needs to understand that if there's a tomb in the heart of the city, it means something," Kedar said. ... 
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which manages the nearby Western Wall Tunnel, responded: "Excavations in the area of the Western Wall are intended to reach the earliest levels possible. Clearly this cannot be done without destroying later periods, whatever they may be. The Israel Antiquities Authority has decided what remains are to be documented and preserved." (Rare Photograph Reveals Ancient Jerusalem Mosque Destroyed in 1967, Haaretz, June 15, 2012.)
No wonder Palestinians do not like the excavations in East Jerusalem. They are fearful that trying to find ancient artifacts from Biblical times will put artifacts from more recent times at risk.

Let us continue with Nagtegaal's article.
In the past two weeks, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has approved two shocking resolutions that condemn Israel (identified not-so-subtly as “the occupying Power”) for egregious violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the al-Haram al-Sharif.
Nagtegaal seems to absurdly imagines this description of Israel as "the occupying power" is merely hostile invective. If so he is wrong.

The 161 nation states that recognize the State of Israel legally view East Jerusalem as occupied territory because it was acquired by military force in 1967. Nation states want to protect their borders and therefore are very reluctant to recognize a changed border lest it should set a precedent for their own borders to be forcibly changed. This is the reason the American, British and Australian embassies are in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

He then complains that UNESCO is trying to stop excavations in East Jerusalem including PCG's excavations.
UNESCO and its Arab sponsors are resolved to shut down all archaeological excavations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. 
This is critical. Because just outside the walls of the Old City, south of the Temple Mount in an area that is technically part of East Jerusalem, some of the most important archaeological digs in the world are underway. Especially for those interested in biblical history, these excavations could not be more significant.
But what can UNESCO do if the State of Israel chooses not to adhere to such a resolution? His fear that UNESCO will stop PCG's excavations in East Jerusalem seems rather remote.

Leaving aside legal issues morally it seems strange that people who seem to view Palestinians in such an antagonistic manner should excavate on land right next to where many Palestinians live. Whatever happened to "love thy neighbor" in regards to the Palestinians of East Jerusalem? It would be good if PCG stopped excavating there and to have such work left to others.

He then mentions various artifacts that have been excavated in East Jerusalem. He condemns an excavation of earth in the Temple Mount by Jordanians in the 1990s. He talks about various Jewish artifacts that have been uncovered as though the historical Jewish presence is somehow under dispute.
Even so, the years of sifting that discarded Temple Mount earth has produced a wealth of artifacts that would have been otherwise lost. Muslim artifacts have been found, such as an 18th-century seal of the prominent Muslim Qadi (Judge) Sheick ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Tamimi, who was also the grand mufti of Jerusalem. But Jewish artifacts have also been discovered—dating to 2½ millennia earlier. Artifacts have been dated to the lifetime of King Solomon onward: thousands of pottery fragments, the seventh-century B.C. Hebrew seal of “Immer” (potentially the same personality found in Jeremiah 20:1), many half-shekel coins from the Second Temple period, a potsherd from 2,000 years ago bearing an engraving of a menorah, and a multitude of other items. All of these overwhelmingly confirm a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount—and prior to the Muslim periods.
Regardless of what artifacts are under the earth in East Jerusalem they do not change the international community's view of East Jerusalem as occupied territory. And because the international community view East Jerusalem as occupied territory that is not recognized as part of the State of Israel the international community view various international laws as applying to East Jerusalem regardless of the Israeli government's view of East Jerusalem as being a part of the State of Israel.

Nagtegaal then states that the archaeological excavations make it harder for the Palestinians to make East Jerusalem become the capital of a Palestinian nation state.
The Palestinians have long coveted their own capital in East Jerusalem. Archaeological digs proving a prior Jewish claim to the area only make that harder to achieve. And so, they have marshaled UNESCO to push the claim of Israeli destruction of Muslim sites in an effort to shut down these excavations.
One reason why Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital is because the international community, including the 161 nation states that recognize the State of Israel, do not view East Jerusalem as belonging to the State of Israel but instead as occupied territory. This is why the American, British and Australian embassies are in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. What happened in eras past does not alter that legal view. This dream is lambasted as coveting without explaining why such an outcome is desired by them.

And so we see that this article simply pushes PCG's previously held, simplistic views regarding the tragic situation in the Holy Land safely treading familiar narratives and not looking at things that contradict PCG's views about the situation.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Recent PCG Radio Broadcasts

Here are some notes concerning some of PCG's recent broadcasts.


Here Joel Hilliker and Brent Nagtegaal mention the launch of another radio show on KPCG, Watch Jerusalem hosted by Nagtegaal. The show is to mention various archaeological finds in the Holy Land. Nagtegaal states that many Israeli Jews are unaware of and unconcerned about the archaeological finds from Biblical times. Many Israeli Jews are secular, indeed the nationalist movement to establish a Jewish state initially began primarily among secular Jews.

It is mentioned that Gerald Flurry has wanted such a show to be established for years and is very eager about this radio show.

It is also announced that PCG will begin to produce articles in Hebrew. Apparently Gerald Flurry has wanted that as well. Who will save Israeli Jews from PCG's writings?

Also Joel Hilliker and Jeremiah Jacques scare monger about criminal gangs to promote PCG's false prophecy of "race war" in which it is ridiculously claimed that African Americans will soon launch a wave of riots against the white majority. Allegedly this wave of riots is supposed to occur about everywhere at once. It cannot scare anyone if the listener thinks such riots will occur away from his or her place. Genuine problems concerning criminal gangs are mentioned to promote that absurd and manufactured fear. At one point Jacques even encourages the listener to read Gerald Flurry's booklet, Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet, which is one of the main PCG sources for this absurd and racist false prophecy. That booklet was discussed in a previous post.

Furthermore some on that broadcast appeal to feelings of xenophobia by condemning people who oppose Trump's calls to deport illegal immigrants. Such persons are lambasted as law breakers and lawless. Declarations of opposition and acts of civil disobedience are presented in a most dire manner. Astoundingly they do not discuss that a mass deportation would hamper the national economy. Whatever productive work they produce will be lost.


Here PCG exploits Trump's election to bring their red herring yet again: That the European Union will replace the United States as mediator between the State of Israel and the Palestinians. This claim is an article of faith for PCG and has been continuously presented to PCG members for many years.

Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is presented as a sign of America losing power and influence to China. Once again PCG members are being taught to fear the world.

Angela Merkel's decision to run again in the next election is discussed. It is claimed that most Germans are apathetic with this decision. Since 2009 PCG's leaders have constantly insinuated that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenburg may be the dictator fated to conquer the United States. This discussion continues that theme.

The deal with Iran is condemned once again mentioning that Iran had produced too much heavy water. PCG's leader, Gerald Flurry, proclaimed Iran to be the King of the South back in 1994 consequently if relations were to improve between the United States and Iran such a state of affairs would discredit him. PCG has a strong motive to stir up feelings of fear and resentment against Iran to promote their leader as one who can accurately foresee the future.

They also continue their demonization of Japan by scare mongering about Japanese soldiers being sent as peacekeepers to South Sudan with the authorization to use force. One would think they would be happy that such soldiers are trying to manage a dire civil war fought there since 2013.


Here Stephen Flurry condemns Fidel Castro after his death was announced. It is strange listening to him condemn a dictatorship while at the same time Gerald Furry has often boasted that his PCG had the correct form of "church government," namely "one-man rule".

Stephen Flurry does well to condemn dictatorship. He mentions that it is not possible to remove the government from power in contested elections. But what about his own PCG? Are PCG members given the opportunity to peacefully remove Gerald Flurry from power should they elect another to led them?

Democracy has no need of being defended by those who embrace "one-man rule" and provide no opportunity to hold elections among themselves. Democracy neither asked for nor needs such help from persons who embrace and glorify "one-man rule."

Traditions Concerning Hebron

Recently Arutz Sheva, a right wing media outlet that caters to national religious Israeli Jews, published an article seeking to justify the presence of Israeli settlers in Hebron, the traditional site of Abraham and Sarah's graves by mentioning various traditions concerning the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Arutz Sheva, November 25, 2016.)

One particularly tragic trouble spot in the Holy Land is Hebron. Because the State of Israel acquired Hebron as a result of the Six Day War of 1967 the international community, including the 161 nation states that recognize the State of Israel, view Hebron as occupied territory ruled by, but not a part of, the State of Israel.

Hebron has been partitioned with Israeli settlements built within the city and Hebron being occupied by Israeli soldiers who are there to protect the settlers living in the midst of thousands of Palestinians. In 1977 Israeli settlements were established in the midst of Hebron despite the objections of the Palestinian population and the international community's view of Hebron as occupied territory. Normally Israeli settlements are built away from Palestinian towns but this settlement is built within the city yet kept separate from the surrounding city being guarded by Israeli soldiers.

The settlers are attracted to Hebron because it is the site of a shrine of Abraham and Sarah's graves, the Cave of the Patriarchs. For centuries the shrine had existed as a Muslim mosque until 1994 when a fanatical settler named Baruch Goldstein went on a murderous rampage in it murdering 29 innocent Palestinians. (It was after this massacre that Hamas began to target civilians with suicide bombers thus Goldstein's wicked deeds helped pave the way for so much more violence and suffering.) After this massacre the mosque was partitioned to allow the Israeli settlers to have a presence in the shrine.

Despite the severe problems in Hebron the settlers are still motivated to live in their settlements despite everything.

One tradition asserts that the Cave of the Patriarchs originally contained the graves of Adam and Eve because it had a connection with the Garden of Eden. Another tradition maintains that Jewish souls and prayers proceed through the Cave of the Patriarchs. These traditions were mentioned in a recent Arutz Sheva article justifying the presence of Israeli settlers in Hebron.
The Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer says on this Parsha that Abraham was directed to the Mearat Hamachpelah when the three Angels came to visit him after his circumcision. 
In Parshat Vayera when the Posuk says "Abraham ran to the cattle" for the Angels, it implies he was running after a wayward calf. This calf was apparently found by Abraham in the Mearat Hamachpelah [Cave of the Patriarchs]. At that time Abraham discovered the graves of Adam and Chava [Eve] there and smelled the sweet aroma of Gan Eden [the Garden of Eden]. This is why Abraham was so determined to purchase the Mearat Hamachpelah. 
The Yalkut Reuveni quoting the Zohar HaChodosh says that the Mearat Hamachpelah is the Gateway to Gan Eden. Abraham obviously discovered this and wanted to secure the location for Sarah and his Family. The Megaleh Amukot also quoting the Zohar Hachodosh says that all Jewish Souls who leave this world must first go through the Mearat Hamachpelah-the Doorway to Gan Eden. Adam and Chava are buried in the Mearat Hamachpelah based upon our Kabbalah. 
It is brought down in the Yalkut Reuveni that when Chava died, Adam (who was familiar with the smell) smelled Gan Eden in that "Cave" and buried her there. He started digging in the "cave" to try to reach Gan Eden for the sake of Chava but a Bat Kol [divine voice] told him to stop. Adam's son Seth buried Adam in the Mearat Hamachpelah. The Mearat Hamachpelah is not only a direct gateway to Gan Eden but acts as a "router" for our prayers according to the Megaleh Amukot in the name of the Zohar Hachodosh. Just as Jewish Souls who leave this earth go through the Mearrat Hamachpelah so do our prayers. Gan Eden can be construed to be a "parallel universe". (Arutz Sheva, November 25, 2016.)
May peace soon come to the Hebron and the Holy Land.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ambassador Watch Calls It a Day

Gavin Rumney has announced he will no longer be updating his Ambassador Watch blog.

Here I would like to express my deepest thanks and appreciation for his fine work critiquing Armstrongism which has been of inestimable help to so many struggling to make sense of what happened while believing in Armstrongism.

I wish Rumney well in dealing with his health issue and deeply hope for his quick recovery.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mark Armstrong's Thanksgiving Message

Intercontinental Church of God's leader, Mark Armstrong, has released yet another one of his strange weekly updates. This one talks about Thanksgiving. Here he uses Thanksgiving to lambaste the current state of affairs and to condemn anti-Trump protesters.
We've come a long way, baby!  Have we not?  How does that beautiful expression of God's Hand in our personal existence and national behavior match up with all that we've seen and endured from current national leadership, from Congress, to the Supreme Court or the President, or for that matter, the behavior of their constituents?  It is doubtful that the protest crowds making “their voices heard” while abusing the freedom and safety of others have ever taken a single one of those sentiments to heart. 
Here he somehow manages to condemn the European Union, Muslim immigrants and labels the EU as socialist (whatever he means by that).
An unnerving report shows that the EU is attempting to rush ahead with the formulation of a European Army before Britain can legally pull the plug on EU membership (which is not due to begin until the end of March 2017) and thereby force the UK to fund the project to the tune of nearly a billion dollars.  But it's not the last of the punishments intended to be heaped upon the British for being so “bigoted and hateful” as to reject Europe's socialist Utopia in a sea of Muslim immigrants.  No, Europe's leaders intend to make sure that Britain pays dearly in a myriad of ways for rejecting the great wisdom of Angela Merkel and the entire EU bureaucracy.
He then talks about problems in the Middle East. Even though under President Obama the US government supplied 20% of the State of Israel's military expenditure as foreign aid and recently made a memorandum of understanding that increases this to 25% Mark Armstrong hysterically insists that the US government had virtually abandoned the State of Israel.
The Middle East has been treated as crucial to western interests for primarily two reasons, Israel and oil.  In recent years Israel, has suffered a virtual abandonment from its most historically generous benefactor, the United States.  That may be about to change under the incoming U. S. administration, but the situation, particularly regarding Iran may be substantially more dangerous than before.
He then praises fracking as keeping America economically afloat. There is no discussion of the various negative effects of fracking such as the social disruption accompanying it. Also it has often been speculated that fracking causes earthquakes as has recently been happening in Oklahoma. It is saddening to think that problems such as that may be expanded into east Texas now.

Surprisingly he includes a link to an article from Source Watch. Considering how far to the right he leans to politically it seems a bit unusual to see him referring to such a source.
On the subject of oil, the Middle East may be a much less critical a factor where the United States is concerned.  If not for the advent of fracking technology, and huge output from North and South Dakota, we might well be in much worse economic condition.  But maybe you've heard, vast oil reserves have just been discovered in west Texas that are more plentiful by far than anything ever seen before in the United States.  There is weeping and gnashing of teeth among crestfallen “save the planet” activists.  It looks like there might not be so much bowing and scraping at the feet of the Saudi royal family going forward.

That's one more fabulous blessing for which we can be very thankful.
May Texas stay safe from earthquakes whatever they are caused by.

PCG Used Fidel Castro to Scare Their Followers

Fidel Castro has passed away. Let's take a look at how PCG talked about him over the years.

This post is not about Fidel Castro or the one party society he created in Cuba. This post is about how PCG's leaders have used him to spread fear among their followers so that we can better understand how PCG's 1% are able to maintain the loyalty of their lay members.

They made their followers fear him by fixating on his relations with rivals of the United States.

Friendly gestures he made to the Vatican were presented as a sign that the Catholic Church would soon rise to great power there and in Latin America generally.

They insisted that he would have soon fallen due to economic pressure ignoring evidence to the contrary such as how the Castro regime's survived through the "special period" of the 1990s which PCG's leaders never bothered to discuss in their writings on their website dating back to 1998.

They stirred up painful memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Gerald Flurry even scare mongered that Castro may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination in his 2016 booklet, Great Again. (If so then why did the US government not publicize such information back then?)

PCG's leaders also used him to attack leftists they did not like revealing their alignment to the political right.

Criticism certainly deserves to be made especially when authorities make it difficult to share such feelings but one can scarcely imagine what could possibly justify the grotesque and uninformative ad hominen attack which talked of him in the following way while hypothetically wondering what would happen after his death: "the ailing dictator Castro finally yields his diseased body up to death." (Gareth Fraser and Ron Fraser, U.S. Enemies Align With Cuba to Claim Gulf Oil, January 3, 2007.)

There is no appeal to any kind of higher idealism with that statement. Referring to him as a "diseased body" does not say anything about his wrongs. That was a grotesque, crude and superfluous thing to say that does not treat political affairs with the seriousness they deserve.

Also worth noting is the instance of plagiarism in a March 2015 article by Gerald Flurry which plagiarized passages from an article by Jeremiah Jacques dated January 5, 2015. It is highlighted below,

Below is a compilation of writings by PCG's 1% using Fidel Castro as a prop to insist that their view of the world is correct and convince PCG's lay members that they are worthy of being followed. They include articles by Gerald Flurry, the late Ron Fraser, Gareth Fraser, Mark Jenkins, Jeremiah Jacques, Andrew Müller, Robert Morley, Richard Palmer. Stephen Flurry and Tyrel Schlote.

***

Watch for increasing initiatives from the EU to woo Cuba into the EU camp as Castro gradually loses his grip on that nation in his waning years. These will present, to that rising phoenix of the old Roman Empire, the prospect of plucking its ripest plum in Latin America from right on the doorstep of a United States increasingly revealing the signs of its decline. (Cuban Pawn, May 2001.)

***

Squeezed between the seemingly all-powerful United States to the north and the giant Catholic countries within the huge continent to its south, Fidel Castro’s Cuba has seemingly taken a most uncharacteristic, yet, given the economic and political circumstances, a most obvious, position. With U.S.-sanctioned embargoes limiting trade with North America, Castro must see the writing on the wall. ...

Preparing for the inevitable, Castro began easing formal restrictions on religious worship. In 1992, the Cuban government, officially atheist since 1962, declared it was now adopting a secular approach. The people immediately commenced a religious revival.

Castro visited the pope at the Vatican in November 1996. An invitation was issued to John Paul II to visit Cuba. The pope accepted, but on his terms, which included free movement, equal participation of the church in organizing the visit, and free expression of faith in services. Castro submitted to the pope’s demands.

As a gesture of goodwill to the Vatican, Castro re-introduced the Christmas holiday on December 25, 1997. Roman Catholic parishes in Havana were packed with worshipers that day. Church bells rang out in celebration all over Cuba. Two days later, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, archbishop of Havana and leader of the Catholic Church in Cuba, cried out to a gathering of 1,200 young, newly religious hopefuls, “In your search for sense in your life, look for a centering place: the Catholic Church.” Religious fervor increased the closer the Cubans got to January 21, 1998—the date of the pope’s arrival in Havana. (Ron Fraser, From Communism to Catholicism? May 2003,)

***

A year ago, the EU, which has continuously opposed the U.S. trade embargo against Fidel Castro’s Cuba, reached out to that island nation and opened an office in Havana. Already, the EU, Cuba’s most significant trading partner, accounts for 80 percent of Cuba’s imports. (Ron Fraser, The Other America, February 2004.)

Even in the tiny, deprived nation of Cuba, Fidel Castro fetes both Catholic and Orthodox leaders as he seeks a patron to finance Cuban development following the loss of aid from the old Soviet Union. Will it be the Catholic EU, or Orthodox Russia, that moves in once the aging dictator fades from the scene? Castro has enough of a mind for history to understand that unfashionable communism must be replaced by another ideology as an “opiate to the masses,” to steal a phrase from Karl Marx. (Ron Fraser, Return of the Religious War, May 2004.)

Since January 2003, Cuba’s trade with Brazil and Mercosur has doubled. The president of Brazil said that he favors trade with Latin American countries over the U.S. or the European Union. He and the president of Argentina have opposed the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba and want to increase their own trade with President Fidel Castro. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has made a point of putting his friendship with Castro in the public eye and painting the U.S. in the most wretched colors possible. The state-run oil firms of Brazil and Venezuela plan to begin construction on a $20 million lubricants factory in Cuba. (Trade Bloc Courts Communist Cuba, May 2005.)

Perhaps no other visit to that region demonstrated this more vividly than the pope’s call on Fidel Castro’s socialist state of Cuba. Unable to resist the power of John Paul’s charisma, Castro acceded to the pope’s request to reinstitute Christmas as a public holiday for the first time since the socialist revolution. Unprecedentedly, he permitted the live telecasting of John Paul’s papal mass delivered before an enthralled public, starved of religion, in Havana. (Ron Fraser, Karol Wojtyla: How He Set the Stage, June 2005.)

Consider also that Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba might have collapsed by this point if not for the aid he has received from President Chavez. Without the Soviet Union to subsidize Cuban oil after the Cold War, Castro might not have been able to maintain his position without relief from Caracas. (Is Hugo Chavez a Threat?, March 3, 2006.)

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A simple reading of international headlines would tell anyone that the U.S. has two main opponents in Latin America right now: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the seemingly immortal Fidel Castro of Cuba. What might not be so evident is the support both countries have from China. ...

Latin American and African countries may be poor, but they are rich in resources, and China wants those assets. Right now, Beijing is systematically planting its feet in those regions. At the same time, the U.S. is being pushed out of Latin America by leftist leaders like Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and the newly elected Bolivian president, Evo Morales. U.S. power is fading, and the Chinese are grabbing as much of that power as they can. (Mark Jenkins, China’s Quiet War, April 2006.)

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Commentators missed the real news in their observations on this EU/Latin America summit. They failed to see that despite the posturing of petty despots such as Chavez, Morales and their aging mentor, President Fidel Castro of Cuba, the trend is fixed. Inevitably there will exist a trade nexus between the European Union and Latin America. (Ron Fraser, The Religion Factor, August 2006.)

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During the Cold War, this man brought the world to the brink of hot war by allowing America’s enemy to install nuclear missiles in his island nation. The country: Cuba; the leader: Fidel Castro.

Do we really want Latin American leaders to emulate Castro?

That is exactly the direction things seem to be heading. Consider Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Without this man’s support, Castro’s regime in Cuba might have collapsed by now. Having lost the Soviet Union’s subsidization of oil after the Cold War, Castro found relief from Caracas. Perhaps the best example of what is happening to Latin America as a region is embodied in this man who would remake Latin America in Cuba’s image. (Mark Jenkins, Latin America Swings Left, August 2006.)

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So personal to Kirchner is the issue that he has gone so far as to enlist the support of other left-leaning leaders in South America such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Kirchner’s quest for sovereignty over the Falklands, according to Buenos Aires-based political analyst Rosendo Fraga, has evolved from being an issue of mere sovereignty for Argentina to one that is “provid[ing] a rallying point to gather left-leaning Latin American governments into an anti-colonial bloc” (Guardian, June 30). (The Anti-colonialists, September 2006.)

Then there is Fidel Castro—that perennial gadfly of the U.S.—whose poor health has left Cuba’s future uncertain. (Joel Hilliker, Crisis Overload, October 2006.)

Whether by design or circumstance, this huge indebtedness of Cuba to Venezuela has placed Chavez in a strong position to heavily influence the political outcome in Havana when the ailing dictator Castro finally yields his diseased body up to death. (Gareth Fraser and Ron Fraser, U.S. Enemies Align With Cuba to Claim Gulf Oil, January 3, 2007.)

Critics say Chavez’s actions are a continuing threat to democracy, and that the president is trying to model Venezuela after Cuba. Chavez and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro are good friends. (Chavez Calls for Changes to Consitution, August 16, 2007.)

Cuba’s oldest despot, Fidel Castro, raised eyebrows this week with an announcement that he is ready to take a reduced role in running Cuba. The most interesting reaction came from Spiegel Online: “German opinion on the Communist leader’s announcement was united on one front: the chance for Germany and Europe to take action on Cuba is now.” Watch for relations between Latin America and Europe, with Germany as its economic hub, to improve. (The Week in Review, December 22, 2007.)

Fidel Castro on Saturday scoffed at the idea of major political change after Cuba’s parliament chooses a new president. Writing on the front page of the Communist Party Granma, the 81-year-old Castro, who announced his retirement after 49 years as head of Cuba on Tuesday, laughed at suggestions in news reports that his retirement would pave the way for political changes. It’s almost as though “Comrade Fidel” has an inside track on how his brother might run Cuba. (Stephen Flurry, The Weekend Web, February 24, 2008.)

The moment the U.S. awaited for 50 years finally arrived: On February 19, Cuban despot Fidel Castro announced his resignation. Ever since Castro brought the world to the brink of war by allowing the USSR to install nuclear missiles in his island nation, he has been the poster boy for anti-Americanism. He has also inspired a host of imitators in Latin America, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales. The Cuban National Assembly gave the reins of power to Fidel’s 76-year-old brother Raul, guaranteeing no substantial change in the direction of the country for the present. (WorldWatch, April 2008.)

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter concluded a nine-day tour of the Middle East on Monday, during which he met with Hamas leaders Khalid Mashaal and Nasser Shaer, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, among other terrorists and terrorist sponsors. This is simply the latest in a long line of foreign-policy initiatives by Carter that have helped legitimize and strengthen America’s enemies, dating back to his own presidency when he aided the likes of Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe and North Korea. (The Week in Review, April 26, 2008.)

It is worth remembering that, before he was elected, Mr. Obama received notable if unwanted endorsements from North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and number-two Hezbollah leader Sheik Naim al-Kassim (who said a vote for Obama was a step toward “peace with Islam”). (Joel Hilliker, Can He Deliver?, January 2009.)

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In June last year, the European Union agreed to lift limited sanctions against Cuba. As the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, this was “a hotly contested move designed to encourage the country’s new government under Raul Castro to liberalize. [T]he move was a victory for Cuba and put the EU at odds with U.S. policy” (June 20, 2008).

This move by the EU came only three months after the Vatican suddenly appeared on the scene as the very first of the murderous Raul Castro’s guests. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone touched down in Havana just one day after Cuban leader Fidel Castro announced the end to his 49-year reign of terror. Time magazine observed that this was “perfect timing for the Vatican, which is aiming to play a central role in the island nation’s transition into what many hope will be a post-Communist future” (February 20).

Was there a connection between the Vatican’s early endorsement of Raul Castro’s regime and the lifting of EU sanctions?

Join the dots! (Ron Fraser, Reaching Out to Our Enemies,  April 20, 2009.)

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The very fact that Russia’s President Medvedev and Cuba’s Fidel Castro lauded the awarding of this much-sullied prize to the American president does little to install confidence in those (such as Poland and the world’s whipping boy, the tiny nation of Israel) who once looked upon America as their protector and the defender of peace in an increasingly shaky, disorderly world. (Ron Fraser, Nobel Appeasement Prize, October 12, 2009.)

President Obama has found an unexpected—and perhaps unwelcome—supporter for his agenda: Fidel Castro. “The extreme right hates him [President Obama] for being African-American and fights what the president does to improve the deteriorated image of that country,” the former Cuban president wrote in his state newspaper column on August 25. “I don’t have the slightest doubt that the racist right will do everything possible to wear him down, blocking his program to get him out of the game one way or another, at the least political cost.” Clearly, Castro knows a socialist agenda when he sees one. (WorldWatch, November-December 2009.)

Fidel Castro said Washington’s plan to establish military bases in Colombia amounts to the annexation of Colombia and that the people would oppose it. (WorldWatch, November 14, 2009.)

While successive U.S. presidential administrations have been ignoring Cuba for decades, Pope Benedict XVI and his Vatican hierarchy have been working behind the scenes to collaborate with Havana to combat the U.S.-led embargo and to support the Cuban government’s incremental economic reforms. This strategy is now paying off for the Vatican, as the Castro regime has recently come to recognize the Catholic Church as a legitimate interlocutor between the government and the Cuban people. Given this new recognition and the advanced age of both Castro brothers, Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega may soon emerge as a major power broker shaping the post-Castro destiny of the island. (Andrew Müller, America Is Losing the Battle of the Caribbean, December 26, 2012.)

On Friday, Putin visited communist revolutionary and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana to reignite relations with the communist island. Russia’s history with Cuba is no secret. Some of the most tense moments in the 20th century centered on relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba. At the height of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world as close as it’s ever been to nuclear war. Cuba was the Soviet launchpad into the United States. (Tyrel Schlote, Putin Works to Rekindle USSR, July 16, 2014.)

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[Note the plagiarism that occurs in the following two quotes. The passages in question are highlighted.]

Critics of American foreign policy in general and of the United States’ embargo of Cuba in particular have a tendency to romanticize Cuba’s ruling regime. That is a grave error. Under the Castros, the people of Cuba have suffered political terror and rampant human rights abuse. Fidel and Raúl have run the nation like a totalitarian police state, and they continue to model it after its former patron: the Soviet Union. Cubans are the only people in the Western hemisphere who haven’t been able to elect a leader in more than 55 years.

When Russia and Venezuela, the main sponsors of the Castro regime, started reeling in 2014 due to plummeting oil prices, it looked as if the corrupt Castro government might finally collapse. Such a collapse could have paved the way for democracy to prevail on the island. What the Castro brothers needed to survive was an economic lifeline from the United States.

That is exactly what the pope delivered. As a bonus, it bestowed international legitimacy upon their government. (Jeremiah Jacques, Why Did Pope Francis Push for a U.S.-Cuba Thaw?, January 5, 2015.)

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Critics of American foreign policy in general and of the U.S. embargo of Cuba tend to romanticize Cuba’s ruling regime. That is a serious error! Under the Castros, the people of Cuba have suffered political terror and human rights abuses. Fidel and Raúl Castro have run the nation as a totalitarian police state, and they continue to model it after the Soviet Union. Cubans are the only people in the Western Hemisphere who haven’t been able to elect a leader in more than 55 years.

When Russia and Venezuela, the main sponsors of the Castro regime, started suffering in the last few months due to falling oil prices, it looked as if the Castro government could finally collapse. That could have paved the way for democracy to finally prevail for Cubans. What the Castro brothers needed in order to survive was an economic lifeline from their enemy, the United States. And that is exactly what the pope and President Obama delivered. The deal also gave their criminal government international legitimacy. (Gerald Flurry, The Deadly Dangerous U.S.-Cuba Deal, March 2015.)

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“I had before me a man who made history,” said French President François Hollande after meeting former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. That’s a curiously positive response to a meeting with the man who could well have ended history had the Cuban Missile Crisis gone down a little differently. But it is typical of the positive response Cuba is getting from Europe right now.

The world is going through a kind of “Cuban spring.” Except not much is actually changing in the nation’s dictatorial government. Instead, other nation’s attitudes toward Cuba are thawing. (Richard Palmer, Courting Cuba—The EU Is Eager to Move In, May 15, 2015.)

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But in 1964, he [Pierre Trudeau] made it to the Communist island, gaining an audience with Fidel Castro. The two later became close friends. At Trudeau’s funeral in 2000, a frail and ailing Fidel made an unprecedented trip to Canada to be an honorary pallbearer. Justin Trudeau’s mother recounted how Castro would get drool marks on his shirts while pacifying the younger Trudeau boys on his shoulder during the family’s visits to Cuba. A Canadian ambassador to Cuba said that Pierre Trudeau and Fidel Castro were fast friends and “intellectual soul mates.” (Robert Morley, Like Father, Like Son?, January 2016.)

The Castro regime in Cuba has a half century of history of collaborating with Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea and a myriad of authoritarian regimes that seek the downfall of America. Along with President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, the thawing of relations with Cuba will likely be remembered as one of the premiere diplomatic feats of his presidency! (Andrew Müller, Can Americans Finally Trust Communist Cuba?, March 24, 2016.)

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Did the Castro brothers have a big hand in assassinating the U.S. president? I’m not saying that happened, but with this report it certainly seems like you could make a strong case for it. ...

Do you suppose the Soviets and the Castros were wrathful against John F. Kennedy? His administration ruined a plan that would have either held America at nuclear gunpoint—or would have destroyed it in gigantic nuclear balls of fire! I would think that would make them very angry and revengeful! Just over a year later, Kennedy was dead. (Gerald Flurry, Great Again, Chapter 3, 2016.)

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And so it may be seen that PCG's 1% used Fidel Castro to prop up their tapestry of beliefs among their followers to maintain the loyalty of the lay members.